ALCOHOL AND MARRIAGE DO NOT MIX
Alcohol abuse and marriage, a relationship of any kind seldom mix well. It is a destroyer at best. Unless brought under control (that means you do not drink, not even one drop) it will eventually kill you and maybe kill those you love and many other innocent people in the process. Alcohol abuse leads to physical and mental abuse and any love that is or was there will be crushed.
Alcoholism affects every member of the family, the wife or husband, the children and the extended family as well. Sadly there is nothing you can do about the problem except get out of it…walk away and don’t look back, unless the alcoholic is ready to admit he or she has a problem and is powerless over alcohol and willing and ready to do something about it. As long as you stay in the situation you become an enabler and the situation will only get worse. I know. I’ve been there. I was married for 13 years to an alcoholic and then waited many more years after I took the children and got out hoping upon hope my husband would change, get help, follow through and maybe, just maybe there was a slim chance we could resolve our issues and rebuild our broken lives. I loved him. He died from the effects of alcohol abuse.
There is no cure for alcoholism but it can be controlled like diabetes can be controlled. Like a diabetic has to stay away from sugars, the alcoholic must stay away from alcohol or you will surely die…and sadly you will probably take others down with you. You can not build love, marriage, a family, a working relationship of any kind when your life is wallowing in a bottle. It will not, it can not work. Alcohol controls you.
I tried all the usual things a wife who loves her husband does. I tried to be a better wife, do things that pleased him, go with him places he wanted to go even though those places made me uncomfortable, accept his friends though I could not respect them, keep the house neat and clean, cook his favorite foods, compliment him as often as possible, encourage him regarding his job or his search for one, he couldn’t keep a job for any length of time, try to keep the kids out of his way and not doing things to aggravate him. I went to AA with him and I went to Ala-non. I went to marriage counseling and to my church for guidance. None of it worked because he couldn’t and yes, wouldn’t put the bottle down. No matter how much I tried or thought I was helping it backfired. I know now there was nothing I could do to help him until he was willing to help himself. He loved us but he loved the bottle more. It eventually killed him and in the process it drove us deep into poverty and drove a wedge so deep between parents and children that we still haven’t completely recovered, maybe we never will. I do believe my husband loved us because he readily apologized for things he did, for short times he would really try, he did from time to time admit his problem. He’d do okay for awhile, things would look up and then it was back to the love of his life, the bottle. Any little thing, dinner running ten minutes late, the kids being kids and having a squabble, leaving toys where they didn’t belong, me not wearing my hair the way he wanted it, the kids and me going to church, me taking a job to try and help out financially, a bill collector calling because a bill was not paid; he was never to blame, it was always one of us or someone on the outside. He’d start drinking again and again and again.
We’d go to AA together. He once got up to two full years of sobriety and life began to look good and we actually began to see some real semblance of happiness and togetherness and then he lost his job and the drinking started all over again. Every gain was wiped away and things got worse and worse. AA was no help because he would not follow the steps. He’d talk the good talk and then we would leave and go to a bar or tavern where he would get drunk and the abuse would begin again, physical, mental, emotional. It was shredding our lives as seriously as a paper shredder shreds paper. I was literally afraid of him and for a time afraid to leave because of what he might do if I did. I finally had to. It was sink or swim. If I did not want to see my children completely destroyed, if I wanted any decent sort of future for them and for myself I had no choice, I had to get out. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do because I loved him but because I loved him I had to stop enabling him, get out and make him face his own self if he would. He chose the bottle. We all have to make choices for better or worse.
Alcohol is a destroyer as deadly as any cancer or other terminal illness. It destroys not only the alcoholic but everyone close to him, his marriage, his family, his friends and in the end it will kill you. My marriage has been destroyed, love lost, my children deeply scarred, their lives effected by the past. Though they have all done well for themselves there is an estrangement and a bitterness that lingers. My husband was sick, very sick. Alcoholism is a disease but it is a disease that can be controlled but first you have to admit you are an alcoholic and then be willing to be well. It is a life or death choice. Alcohol and marriage do not mix and better than oil and water. You can try to mix it. You can try to make it work but eventually it will separate by death or divorce and the severing is deeply painful.