Sunday Confessions: The Aftermath of Alcoholism
When Sam was at his worst drinking point last summer, I used to think every day, “If he would just stop drinking life would be perfect.” I couldn’t imagine wanting one more thing than for him to come home and announce he was done. And really be done.
So when he stopped, the best thing we could have done was to see our marriage counselor again – one month into his sobriety. I remember him saying that while we were all giddy and happy and willing to change our whole lives and personalities for each other at that moment, that down the road we would start to notice things that would bother us, and we would have to adjust to living with each other sober.
Life since then has been two things. First – wonderful. The part of me that so desperately craved to have my husband back is fulfilled. He is 100% a partner in our marriage and in our family again. I can say that my life is how I’ve always wanted it to be – and some of that has to do with Al Anon and not drinking myself.
Second – it’s been difficult. Because while his drinking stopped completely, my nagging didn’t completely. And there were and are times were I know he resents that because it was just as big of an issue as his drinking in many ways. I am working really hard on it, but it’s there. It’s part of my insecurities, fears and controlling ways.
Along with that, his role in our family drastically changed. I had always managed the money. For 7 years of our marriage, I did it and did it poorly. We had money, we just never had a lot of savings and I felt like I could harp on him 24-7 about his drinking because I was the one who knew how much money we had in our account. I was always stressed out, always upset, and we always fought about money. When Sam became sober, he took over the finances. And as much as I hated doing them, I disliked him having that power over the money.
So while it has become more of an equal balance as we’ve found our comfort level in it, he still manages our finances. And? We have savings. We have one car payment and student loans. We have almost no debt because of him.
He is more involved in our lives, which took getting used to. I felt like I had been a single parent for the first year of Bella’s life in many ways, and suddenly he wanted a part of that. It was hard to let go, or to ask him for his opinion.
There have been times I’ve resented the fact that I will never drink again. While that is my choice to be completely sober, the fact that we had to get to this level makes me a little angry. But I realize those thoughts come from me drinking too much as well, and I always ask myself if I would rather have my life right now, or go back to the way things were simply because I should be able to have wine in the house.
And I choose now. Every time.
I still have fears of him drinking – I think I always will. It’s such a powerful thing. It took such a hold of our lives and robbed us of so much happiness together. But I have faith in him, I know that isn’t what he wants for himself and his career, and to be remembered as that as a father.
Our lives are so different. For the first time in a long time, I am more than happy. Because happiness is brought on by things, stuff, fleeting moments. I am joyful. I have a comfort and a peace I have never known before that carries me through good and bad days.
The aftermath of alcoholism isn’t easy. It isn’t all roses or 27 pots of coffee a day. It’s work. It’s fighting to make a new path. But it’s totally worth it. I would never go back and change one thing I did when I decided to leave. It brought me the life I dreamed of for 7 years.