This should be a private post.
What I’m about to share is really hard to write publicly, to “air our dirty laundry”. Sam agreed to me writing this (because it’s about him too), and so, in hopes that someone might read it and find a little comfort or strength -
Sam is an alcoholic. I almost let it ruin our marriage.
That’s right – me. Alcoholism is a sickness, a disease that spreads through an entire family, infecting everyone in a different way. For Sam, it was the alcohol that consumed him. For me, it was the “thought” of alcohol and controlling the drinking that slowly began to consume my life. My entire thought process. Everything. All I did, all day long, was think about him drinking. From the moment I woke up, till I went to sleep, and I even started dreaming about it. 7 1/2 years.
I felt helpless, insecure, and out of my mind crazy. Whenever he drank, I felt as if I had to control it. I had to make it stop, make it less somehow. I watched him like a hawk to make sure that he wasn’t drinking too much, or that he was sneaking it. I didn’t like to go out for fear he would drink and start acting silly. I didn’t like to stay home because I would pick a fight and we would end up screaming at each other for hours.
I tried everything I could think of to get him to stop – or to get myself to cope. I drank with him, I drank before him, I drank after him, I out-drank him, I punished him for drinking, I nagged him about drinking, I fought with him about drinking, I threw alcohol out the window, I poured it down the drain, I hid it from him, I finished it first, marked the amount on the beer can in the fridge, checked it in the morning, stayed up at night listening for the beer can sound; I cried, begged, screamed, pleaded, argued, and agreed to plan after plan about drinking.
Only beer. Only specialty beer. Only wine. Only Fridays. Only on his days off. Only after 4. Only after Bella was in bed. Only when I was around. Only when I drank too.
All of these agreements were broken, causing me to retreat further into CONTROL mode. Which caused him to drink more, hide more, and become more and more resentful of me. I was no longer a wife, I was an overbearing mother to him.
And in the meantime, I was turning into someone I hated. I made so many empty threats and never carried one of them out. I thought about leaving all the time, but never could. I loved Sam, but I wanted to get away from crazy ole me.
I began to feel as if I was slowly losing my mind. I was so, so unhappy with life in general. I dreaded his days off – DREADED them. I felt as if the only thing I could do was make him as unhappy as me, then he would understand that his drinking had pushed us to this and he would stop.
The only thing that did was cause us to fight more, threaten more, and to start considering divorcing.
The night before we moved here (mid August), we were staying with my mom. I was mean to Sam all day because I knew he wanted to drink and I didn’t want to go anywhere he could. So I turned on “sarcastic bitch” mode, and did it well. I ruined both of our evenings.
I went to bed early and sat there thinking of how much I hated my life. Mom peeked through the door and asked if everything was ok. I began to cry and tell her how I hated being married, hated everything. I fully expected her to be sympathetic, but instead, I got what I deserved and needed.
“You know, you were so awful to Sam today. Really horrible. I can’t believe you treated him like that,” she said.
I almost died. Um, I was the one with all the stress because of him. Didn’t she realize what I was going through?
After a couple hours of talking, I began to see that she was right – my problems, my attitude, my control was mine. This wasn’t just Sam, it was something I had been struggling with my entire life. Even without alcohol involved. Alcohol just made it worse – in part because I couldn’t control it.
And although I’ve been in church since I was a little girl, and knew all the right words and said all the right things, that night I realized I had no idea what it meant to be a Christian wife, mother, or person. I always thought that when someone gave their life to Christ, it was because they had hit rock bottom with drugs, going to jail, whatever. I wasn’t like that – I had it together. ::snorts::
I didn’t realize until that moment that my rock bottom was emotional. Right then and there, desperate for a change, I prayed something I’ll never forget with her, “Oh Jesus, I hate me so much. I hate what I’ve become. Please, please help, because whatever I’ve been doing the past 7 years of my marriage obviously isn’t working.”
I didn’t wake up the next day a new person, or Polly Pureheart. But something had changed, I just didn’t know it yet.
One week later, I laid in bed as Sam drank in our apartment at 2am and thought I was going to throw up. I went out, looked at him and the beer bottles and said, “I’m done.” He rolled his eyes – he’d heard that probably a thousand times. I went back to my room, and as I laid there I pictured him falling down the apartment stairs and dying. And even though I knew I would have been devastated, part of me was relieved because I wouldn’t have to deal with the drinking anymore.
It was right then I knew I was just as sick as he was from this – if not sicker. What was I thinking, how could I envision that type of stuff? I love Sam, he is my best friend. We have been through so much together, how did we end up like this?
The next morning, after he went to work, I wrote him a note that explained how much I loved him, but I just couldn’t live like this anymore until things changed. I packed my and Bella’s things, and left. I went back home to my parents – 3 hours away.
I never have felt so unsure of a decision in my life. Everything in me SCREAMED for me to go back as I left. It would have been so easy – so easy to just pretend nothing had ever happened and when he got home we would make up for the night before with apologies and empty promises, and go back to disliking each other. Life would continue.
But I had a strength I had never had before, something told me as I looked at Bella and the innocence we were ruining, as I thought of what Sam wanted so desperately to be as a husband and father – to go. To leave and finally stick to a threat I had made. I had to so that I could get away from what I had let myself become.
So I left.