“Expectation is the root of all disappointment.” Uhhh, yes. Yes it is. When I stumbled upon that timely sentence (thank you, Fargo Forum!), I realized I needed to stop all expectations regarding Trinity. If he said he’d be home for supper, I didn’t believe him. If he said he’d help me with a project, I didn’t believe him. If he said he’d pick up our daughter, I didn’t believe him. No expectations, no disappointments.
One night, after working late, he brought our daughter home. He was horribly drunk and thought making himself something to eat was a good idea. He burned everything. It took some time for his glassy eyes to focus. His words were slurred even though he was trying to appear somewhat sober. In my head, I thanked God for getting them home safely.
The next day, when he was less drunk, I calmly told him he had crossed the line by driving drunk with Ceta. I said, “Look. I don’t give a damn if you kill yourself in a car accident, but you may NOT kill our daughter. She is a miracle and you may not hurt her.” In my head I said, “If you drink and drive with her again, I’ll call 911 myself.”
I asked him if he could tell me how much longer he planned to drink. One year? Five years? “No. Not that long” was his dejected response. I said again, “Can you please tell me so I can plan accordingly?” He replied in a soft dispirited whisper, “Someday I won’t drink.”
I looked into having him committed. I researched what I needed to do and ultimately I decided I couldn’t control this. I wanted to call his doctor and tell him the truth about how much Trinity was drinking. I was the only one who would have been at an Intervention so that wouldn’t work and besides, I had been steadily doing that throughout the years.
One day, after leaving work, I sat at a red light and looked at a lady in a white, four-door car. In my head I said to her, “Do you think about your marriage ending every second of the day, every day? Do you? Do you wonder if your marriage is going to make it? Does it consume you like it does me? No? I didn’t think so.” I swiveled my head and looked at a sparkly blue Chevy pickup. I mentally asked the driver if he constantly worried about the success or failure of his marriage. No? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
“So,” I thought, “what the fuck am I doing? ENOUGH!” I made up my mind then and there, sitting at that stop light, that I was done worrying about it, too. I was going to put all my energy into focusing on trusting and believing this marriage was going to be successful. I told God and my Guides, that I was leaving it up to them. The light turned green, I pressed my foot on the gas pedal and I felt lighter than I had in years.
Not long after my stop light revelation, I heard my husband mumbling to himself as he was making coffee. He said, “I’ve GOT to get a life.” I didn’t say a word but my eyes rose from the newspaper I was reading. I felt something changing. I stared at his back with squinted eyes trying to figure out what it was. Could it be, with that simple mumbled comment, he was acknowledging he had a drinking problem? I lowered my eyes back to the newspaper, lifted my left eyebrow, pursed my lips and thought, “Huh. How you liking life, honey?”
Soon after that he came home and said he had contacted the VA about alcohol in/out patient treatment. Uh huh. Sure you did. Riiiiight. He said he’d left a message for them and they were to return his call. Yup. Sure. I bet they’ll “drop the ball” and you’ll never reach out to them again and then it’ll be their fault that you’re still drunk. Without any of the hope and excitement I was feeling, I said, “Good for you, honey. Let me know what they say.” Disengage and have no expectations. If you’re the spouse of an addict/alcoholic, this could be your motto.
But he DID contact the VA and they DID get back to him. Whaaa? Apparently, he was ready to ask for and accept help. I remained optimistically guarded. This wasn’t my first rodeo with an alcoholic cowboy. But true to his word, he did report for an alcohol evaluation and he did enter treatment.
He elected to detox at home. The VA allowed him to do this as he still had a good support system. Most alcoholics have lost their entire family by this time and just have a few enabling “friends” in their life. I watched as the DT’s took hold of him as he slept on our couch. I watched his body shake violently. I watched him reach for the garbage can to empty his stomach. I watched him walk to the bathroom on unsteady legs, like a newborn colt. I heard him moaning in pain while he fitfully slept.
I watched as this man desperately struggled against the siren song of the internal alcoholic who whispers, “Awww, come on. You can have ONE drink. It’s just one drink and then you can stop. I promise.” While remaining emotionally cautious, I watched him fight this invisible demon and found a growing respect for him and for all recovering addicts/alcoholics.
There was already something different about him; he was gentle again. He was embarrassed at how much he drank and how far he had fallen. He was thankful I was still at his side. He told me that I got through to him when I told him he could not drive drunk with our daughter ever again. He tells me that made a powerful impact on him.
Early on in his recovery, I was standing at the kitchen sink (this, apparently, is where I’ve been struck with a lot of intuitive information throughout the years!) and I saw/heard/knew that by Trinity choosing to become sober, he changed our daughter’s life for the better. She was no longer going to be a slave to alcohol. He had broken the cycle. THAT is some big spiritual whoop-ass, my friends.
I said to God and my Guides, “Holy shit! That’s HUGE! Oh my gosh! Thank you for showing me that glimpse!” My respect and admiration for him tripled. By facing his demons, by no longer choosing avoidance, by trying to heal, he was not only making his life better, but mine and our daughters, too. Talk about a new perspective, huh?
We recently watched the movie, “My Name Is Bill W.” It’s about the gentlemen who started AA. It was powerfully moving for me. I found myself wracked with tears at one point, not bothering to stifle or hold them in. I was crying not because of something the alcoholic was dealing with, but something his wife was dealing with. It hit way too close to home. It also helped me understand I’m not alone and that this disease doesn’t discriminate. It helped me understand how much the personality changes when a person becomes an alcoholic.
It wasn’t long after that movie I started recognizing my anger towards him. For so long I shoved that emotion (as well as others) under the table as I wasn’t able to effectively deal with them. But now it was coming out in full force. I was angry for so many reasons and that anger was working towards resentment. Once resentment takes hold, your marriage is in a death spiral.
I took our 5 year old to skating lessons one evening. My favorite deceased person “randomly” showed up and sat down next to me. I tried to be all casual and off handedly said, “Oh! Hi, Kyle. What’s up?” His smile was infectious and his blue eyes danced. He said, “Not much. How about with you?” I knew he was there for me as he certainly wasn’t there to watch my little miss skate backwards. For about a nano second I thought about lying to him and then I realized it was demeaning to both of us. I said, “Well, I’ve been better.” He said, “What’s up?” and I internally replied, “I’m having a bunch of anger issues towards my husband.”
Without losing a hint of his smile, he telepathically told me to let it go. I immediately got defensive and flustered. I hurriedly gushed, “But anger is a stage of grief! I’m supposed to go through this!! It’s normal!” His smile was softly fading and his laughing blue eyes became tinged with seriousness. He repeated, “Let. It. Go.” I blinked, took in a deep inhalation and mentally smiled at him. I, with humbleness and genuineness, softly said, “I love you, Kyle.” His mega-watt smile reemerged and he vanished instantly.
At a recent open AA meeting, my husband spoke loudly and clearly, “My name is Trinity and I’m an Alcoholic.” It jolted me, kind of as if I was being roused from a trance. I immediately knew he was going to wipe alcohol’s bastard ass all over the dance floor. I hadn’t yet heard him call himself an Alcoholic. I hadn’t yet heard him own it. But when he did, I knew it was real. A sort of peace came over me and all the nagging “what if’s?” and fears disappeared.
Trinity is early into this living sober thing (day 90!) and he tells me he will never have another drink. I believe him; he’s just stubborn enough to pull this off. He is also facing the cause of his drinking, head on (play on words there, people! Did you get it? HAHA!). Boooyah, soldier! Boooyah! His humor, playfulness, respect and kindness have all returned. I see him watching our daughter sometimes and I know he’s thinking about how much time he’s lost with us, how much he’s missed out on.
His brain and his body will continue healing from alcohol’s destruction for up to two years. I’m so proud of this Army Ranger who will now fight for his sobriety every day in a culture where alcohol is a staple.
(He has given me permission to publish this story in hopes that it helps others.)
This is the third of a trilogy of blogs: Alcoholic, Alcoholism and Sober For background reading pertaining to these blogs: Kyle The Guys (Guides) Priestess