Today I’m brining you the story of a woman whose husband is an alcoholic. She is sharing bravely and submitted her story anonymously in hopes of support. I’m proud to share her words.
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He’s in hospital again.
My depressed, anxiety-stricken, suicidal, alcoholic husband.
It’s the third time this year. Saying it’s been rough is a bit of an understatement, especially since I’ve been trying to shield two boys from the chaos.
His first wife believes the booze is the base problem. (I wish she’d given me the heads-up sooner.) I’m not sure I know which came first. The chicken or the egg. The booze or the depression.
Whatever may have started it, they are all dancing together in a horrible, destructive, downwards spiral, and have been for some time.
It’s the lies that bother me the most.
When we met, he was open with me about his depression, and how his first wife left him because of it. But her leaving was basically good, because his misery in the marriage was the root of his depression. So he said, and I believed him. Depression I can deal with. I deal with it daily. I suffer myself.
I knew he drank a lot, but so did I. And it wasn’t like he was drunk all the time, or drinking in the morning, or anything. But when he drank, he drank a lot. He couldn’t have just one beer. He had to have 4, or 6. Dinner out meant a cocktail, a 70/30 shared bottle of wine (or 3 beer), and an Irish coffee. It was expensive, and made him tired so he fell asleep early instead of spending time with me, so I complained. But it didn’t change.
Then we had our son. And our son was difficult. More difficult than most parents could imagine. My husband couldn’t handle it, and he drank even more. His temper was horrible. I once called him a monster. He heard me that time, and he tried really hard to control his anger. And he did a good job.
But he still drank to relieve stress. And to sleep.
Did you know that alcohol completely disrupts your sleep? It may help you to calm your mind so you can fall to sleep, but it will give you a fitful and disrupted sleep. So then you drink more. And your tolerance increases the more you drink. So you drink even more. And then your liver starts to feel the effects.
Not to mention your relationships.
Alcohol is a depressant. When you self-medicate with alcohol to deal with your depression and anxiety, you may dull the pain in the moment, but you contribute to your depression in the long run. You get worse. And you can’t stop drinking. You spiral.
And it sucks. And the people you love pay the price.
My husband is very successful in life. He is fantastic at his job and is highly respected. He can put on an amazing show of competence and composure, even when he’s tanked. If you are a stranger or a colleague. But if you’re family? Forget it. We get the full show.
For the last six years I have been holding this family together with the thinnest thread imaginable. I’ve begged him to see a doctor, to seek help. I put myself between our kids and their dad, softening the blow of his vodka-induced rage. I try to hide the fact that he’s passed out on the couch. I make excuses for why he isn’t doing whatever household chore, or why he won’t go to the zoo with us. I make excuses to our friends, to his office when he doesn’t show up. I make excuses to me.
I’m tired of making excuses for my alcoholic husband.
I’m tired of feeling like a single parent.
We’ve lost our husband and father to alcohol. I’ve been holding on to hope for years, because I love this man. I remember why I love him when I see him in his sober moments and he fixes man things around the house, or cooks an amazing meal, or plays with the boys. And, don’t get me wrong, there are still a lot of those days. He is an amazing man when he is sober. Even the depression doesn’t keep him down, now that he’s medicated. And since his failed (thank God!) suicide attempt this summer, he has been trying really hard, as far as I can see. He was himself again for a long while, though it was a struggle, and he had a lot of professional support. He was wonderful. But then something triggered him, and he started again.
And the lies started. I mean, I know this man. I can tell when he’s drinking. And I long ago gave up on being quiet about it. But he denies it every time. He would deny it when I’d kiss him as we left the parking garage in the mornings and parted ways for our separate offices and I could taste it on his lips. He denies it now when he yells and wails, and then passes out at 8pm. But I know.
The lies hurt me the most. That and how his actions are affecting our children. No child should have to see their father this way. No child should have to walk in on their dad passed out on the couch with an empty vodka bottle rolling around the floor. No child should have to know that their dad is in hospital because he wanted to end his life for the third time this year.
No wife should have to continue to protect her children from this every day.