Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Bottle

The monster is back.

I don't know how long my husband has been drinking this time. There have been a few days in the past few weeks that I suspected, but I don't feel like I can ask, because they tell me in the program that it's not my business and I have no control anyway. It starts a fight about my asking and no longer becomes about the drinking. And in the end, I am no further along than I was before I asked, so I stopped asking. But this week it became abundantly clear that he is drinking, a lot.

Yesterday I came home from work to take him to our weekly therapy appointment. I knew the moment I saw him that he was drunk. His eyes, his speech, the way he was swaying slightly as he stood, which normally means he is VERY drunk, as usually he is highly functional, and you can't tell he is drinking at all. He was home before me, which means either he didn't go to work, or he drove to work and came home early, which he isn't supposed to do because he lost his license due to the DUIs.

I confronted him without saying my actual suspicion. I hate that I have to do that, that I do it at all. I can't just state the obvious: you are drunk. And he says no, nothing is wrong, nothing unusual, nothing bad happened today, he is fine. I can tell, of course, that he is not fine. Curiously, I can't smell alcohol, though I can smell the gallon of cologne and the toothpaste and mouthwash he used to cover the smell of alcohol.

So I took him to the therapy appointment. The therapist could tell before even seeing him that he was drunk. The "last time" he relapsed (obviously not the last time, but whatever), it was also on a therapy day, and I called her to ask if I should bring him, given that he is drunk. She said she takes her clients however they are that day, and if he could come, it was fine. So this time I brought him. He was staggaring and unsteady. He sat down on the couch with a cup of coffee and misjudged how far the drop was, so he spilled coffee all over himself. We had our appointment upstairs in her waiting room so he wouldn't have to descend the stairs to her office. We talked briefly about the obvious, and he denied that he had been drinking, that day or any day since he quit in January. She suggested I take him to his treatment program where they could do a breathalyzer, so that we could establish what the truth was. He agreed to this, still denying that he had been drinking, but when I got him there, he refused to get out of the car.

I went in the building, which was closing. I found the director, who had been meeting individually with my husband for many months and knows him. I explained the situation. I knew that they couldn't test him if he refused, so I asked the director to come out to the car with me and see him. He did, and talked to my husband for a few minutes. He could tell, as could I and the therapist, that he was drunk, and told him so. Husband finally admitted to the director that he had been back on the bottle for about a week. This was no comfort to me, as he will later just say that he only said it because it was "what you wanted to hear" (his favorite way of revising history), and I knew it had been longer than a week.

He looked like he wanted to say something to me when the director left us alone, and I approached him, but he just pushed me, hard. We got back in the car and he accused me of putting his parole in jeopardy. But even as much of a codie as I am, even I know that that is crap. He made all his own decisions, and for me to ignore them and stick my head in the sand would be at best irresponsible, at worst lethal.

Today at work I was anxious and edgy and nauseated all day. I tried to say the Serenity Prayer to myself to calm myself down. I mentally identified all of my emotions and reminded myself that they are feelings and that they don't last forever. I thought of impermanence and suchness. I tried to stay as sane and serene as I possibly could, which was very difficult. My job is taxing and I have responsibility for the lives of others, so I needed to be as focussed and calm as possible. Knowing that I truly have no control over this situation, that the only thing I can control is myself, didn't exactly help, per se, but it restored me to reality at least.

An alcoholic relapsing isn't necessarily an emergency, though it is a crisis. But this strikes me as a slow suicide. In fact, I was certain when I got home that he would be either drunk or dead. I am engulfed by an incredible weariness and sadness. I honestly don't know what to do next, what my future should be, how to be healthy and sane myself. I don't know if he is acting out sexually along with his active drinking. I don't have evidence that he is, and the only thing that makes me think it's possible is that he is drinking again, and the two always went together before. I don't even know if he still has his job--when I came home today, he wasn't dead, but he was drunk in bed. He denied it, but the half-empty bottle of vodka was under the bed. I don't know if he went to work or not.

I love this man so much, but I don't know how much I can take. It scares me that I might be able to take much more than I should--I already have, actually. He has many, many wonderful qualities. But he is very sick, and he is killing himself. I hope he finds his way out before he succeeds, or before there is no one left around him to care.


  1. "I don't know how much I can take. It scares me that I might be able to take much more than I should--I already have, actually."

    I think all of us who love addicts can relate to this. I know that I've said this to myself before, and being in a place where I even have to say it, think it, sucks. Much love to you.

  2. Novice - I just want you to know that I am where you are at. My couselor says that I need to take care of myself and "be my own best friend".

    What I want to do is whatever the healthy thing is for someone in my position... but being just a few days into my betrayal... I have no idea what the healthy thing to do is.

    I feel like I am on a teeter-totter that goes between feeling committed to helping him through his recovery to figuring out how to get out.

    I am not sure that it will help, but I just wanted you to know that you are not alone and thank you for posting your experience and feelings. It makes me feel less lonely to find blogs like this.

    ~Seeking that Joy in Hope.... just wish I knew which way to look...