After the debacle of my starter marriage, I made sure my eyes were open when I started dating my forever husband. He, like me, was a mild social drinker. He would have a glass of wine at night, maybe a beer, maybe two. We would have more on weekends or when we were out with friends. Somewhere along the line though, something changed for him. During our first couple years of marriage, I noticed he was drinking 5 to 6 beers a night (Miller Lite, if you can even call that watery beer a beer. I’ve become such a beer snob!).
If you’ve been a reader of my blogs, you’ll understand how Trinity has helped me heal my own pain throughout the years. You’ll also understand how I have empowered him to do the same. He has been instrumental in me becoming the woman you know today. He has successfully done what others could not; he has helped me find and use my voice effectively. I, through gritted teeth, often tell God and my angels that they can knock off the “using my voice” lessons anytime.
I would tell him how frightened I was by his usage of alcohol. He would, in the earlier years, agree he was drinking too much and he would back off. About 3 years ago, though, that all changed. A six pack of Miller Lite or two glasses of wine was no longer satisfying. He had moved on to Heineken, Guinness and then the high-alcohol content craft beers, not to mention bottles and then boxes of wine. As days moved into months, his consumption increased in direct proportion to my fears.
As Trinity’s drinking exceeded even his maximum, I became frantic. The way I was approaching him wasn’t working so I took several steps back. My husband has helped me overcome so much…and here was another way he did so. Instead of feeling as if my (and our daughter’s) safety was threatened by his alcohol usage, I backed off. I decided I could no longer count how many beers he had, I could no longer call it out to him and that took tremendous pressure off of me. I stepped back from sort of a parental role and decided I had made my fears known. I had been clear about his alcohol consumption and I needed to give him space to figure it out on his own.
One night he came home late and had been drinking. Our daughter was 3. He stood in our entry way with tears in his eyes and said, “I can’t stop with just one. I’ve tried. I can’t stop with just one drink.” I thought that was it; I thought that was his rock bottom but it wasn’t even close. I would wait two more years before that happened.
After the discovery of his emotional affair in late 2015, he vowed to stop, or at least slow down his drinking. He did well for about a week and then I noticed a beer on his desk at 4:30, then at 3:00, then at noon. It would get earlier and earlier each day. Towards the end he was drinking at 9:00 in the morning. He tells me now I didn’t know the half of how much he was drinking. For that I am thankful as what I knew terrified me.
I watched our bank accounts dwindle and I refused to say anything to him. My thought was, He makes money, he can spend it as he sees fit. As is the way with alcoholics, secrets and hiding things from others are a way of life. What was being charged to our credit card was only about half of what he was really spending.
In September 2016, on my birthday, he was arrested for DUI. When he told me about it, I thought two things: This is going to financially fuck us without lube, and Thank you, GOD! Thank you! Maybe this is what he needs to finally get some help. But it wasn’t. In fact, he repeatedly stated that he was only at .09 and “that’s barely over the legal limit.” He missed the point entirely. For him, .09 was barely breaking a sweat; it was his normal Blood Alcohol Content. He hired an attorney and pled down to reckless driving.
My reaction to his drinking was subconscious but I was experiencing real PTSD because of it. I didn’t put these pieces together until an amazing counselor at the VA pointed out that I felt like everything I wanted or had obtained, my entire way of life, my existence, was once again being threatened by alcohol. This was the counselor my husband and I went to after I had my anxiety breakdown. He also witnessed my physical distress as my body shook like that of a scared dog. It was him who suggested I might be in fear for (and fighting for) my life.
(Jim, if you are reading this, I thank GOD for you every day. I didn’t have the knowledge to work through this one and you helped put some of the puzzle pieces together. There was no coincidence that I found you. Thank you for helping me heal.)
Jim pointed out that I have lost (almost) everyone I’ve loved due to the highly addictive bitch called Alcohol. They have either physically or emotionally abandoned me or I have had to leave them. This explains why I have Abandonment issues in this lifetime, doesn’t it?!! Alcohol(ism) is in both my maternal and paternal sides of the family. On a scale of 1 to 10 of how terrified I felt due to Trinity’s drinking, I was at a 12. This was a mouth-goes-dry-eyes-go-wide-body-tremors-flight-fight-or-freeze kind of 12.
I hated who he became when he was drinking. Couldn’t he see how this terrified me? Didn’t he care? Where was the man I married? He’d be horrified at the thought of hurting me. It turns out, the man I married was still in there, but his brain chemistry had changed so much that he no longer cared about anything except alcohol. He didn’t care about his health, his work, his marriage or his children; he just wanted to escape. He became mean, impatient and angry with the world. He would use vulgar, lewd and harassing language in front of our daughter. He constantly reeked of booze and when he would touch me in ways I viewed as volatile, he would belligerently laugh as I rebuked him.
He was really bringing out the big guns to get me to leave our marriage. He was fighting against growing spiritually and dealing with his emotional pain. He still viewed himself as unworthy and unloveable and he was trying to avoid the spiritual Mack truck that was bearing down upon him.
I had made a vow before him and God that I was never going to leave him and I meant it. As with his emotional affair, he expected me to leave him because that was what people in his life did. He wanted me to leave him so he didn’t have to face reality. At one point, towards the very end when he was drunk and having a pity party for one, he insinuated he was going to ask me for a divorce.
Go ahead buddy, I thought nonchalantly, I’m not afraid of being alone anymore. You’ve made me stronger. I no longer fear abandonment. I know Ceta and I will be just fine without you but know this; We’ve been through too much and I’m NOT leaving you. You do it, you call it quits, after all it’s what you do, Mr. Avoidance but I believe we made a commitment to help each other overcome our past life issues. I’ve been there for you and I’ve given you a safe place to do just that. I trust you’d do the same for me. I am NOT leaving.
The truth of the matter was I wasn’t sure how much longer I could physically do this.
This is the second of a trilogy of blogs: Part 1: Alcoholic Part 2: Alcoholism Part 3: Sober