Monday, January 11, 2010

The Monster walks among us

I ought to follow-up on my post about The Bottle. There was not one, or two, or ten, brief relapses. There was one long relapse, starting sometime in September. During that time, I tried to realign my sense of reality. For many years, I have picked up on certain signs of my husband's drinking. When I asked him about it, though, he would deny, so vehemently and convincingly that I learned over time (1) not to ask, and (2) not to trust my own senses. This has resulted in unmanageability of my life.

This time, I made a mental note of the times that I thought I smelled alcohol on his breath, the times I thought he might be lying to me, the peculiar behavior that was different in a familiar way. I confronted him about it a few times, but mostly just paid attention. I would like to say that this was accompanied by a great deal of serenity and working my program, instead of the craziness that I did feel. I never knew what to expect when I came home from work. I found a total of 4 bottles of liquor (mostly or completely empty) in the last 5 months, and I think a great many more were disposed of before I could see them.

I am terribly sad about this. But, we were finally able to have an honest, if painful, conversation about it all last week. My husband is trying sobriety again. I hope he can make it work. I know that most seasoned AA people, as well as those who work in the field of addiction, say that relapse is an unfortunate eventuality for most recovering alcoholics, and that it doesn't mean that all is lost. Each relapse can be a learning opportunity for the alcoholic who truly desires recovery and sobriety. I hope that is the case for my husband.

I've learned some more things about myself in the intervening time, and some things have changed in me. I know how it feels to be lied to, and to know deep down that I'm being lied to even if I'm not consciously certain of it. I know the pain of losing my trust in the person I love most. And I know that I cannot be one of those old women in Al-Anon who works her program and lives serenely and consciously with active addiction for years. I can't control anything about my partner's sobriety, but I can make my own choice about what I am willing to live with.

I was very, very close to leaving this marriage last week, when it seemed that my husband had no desire to be sober and no desire to take any care of himself. He has been getting no exercise, has been vomiting up blood and living with terrible insomnia for weeks. He has profound depression yet has refused to treat it. He seemed to be killing himself slowly, right before my eyes. I couldn't stay to watch that, and felt he was not living up to his end of the bargain in this marriage by not choosing to care for himself.

I hope that his rededication to his program and to his sobriety is for himself, and not simply an attempt to keep me here. It's another thing I have no control over. Only time will tell. It is a little bit easier to give all of this another chance, now that I have a better idea of what my limits and options are. But I am weary, and sad and uncertain.

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