My History as an Alcoholic's Wife
Being married to an alcoholic is a very secretive world. I have been with my husband since we were 19 years old. At 19, most people aren't considered an alcoholic, you are just having fun. And maybe becoming an alcoholic is like growing weeds in your garden; all of the sudden the plant sprouts a flower and you realize you have a dandelion. As we became married, Rocky's drinking steadily increased as mine steadily decreased, I considered the fact that I was married to an alcoholic. It wasn't until we had Georgia, I was 5 months pregnant with Houston, a SAHM, and I had to have my volatile, drunk husband arrested - that I realized I was indeed married to an alcoholic.
I was so embarassed with the events surrounding his arrest. I was embarassed to admit that I was married to an alcoholic. But I knew the only way to save my husband was to talk about it. I contacted his friends that would provide a great support system, and let them know where he was and why. I asked for their help. I sought solace with friends and family that would support ANY decision I made regarding my marriage.** [It is sometimes unwise to maintain friendships with people that always opt for leaving (because if you stay - you will dispise them later)]
Rocky committed to Alcoholic's Annoymous 90 day program - 90 meetings in 90 days. He would arrive home from work, have an early dinner, go to his meetings, spend an hour with Georgia, and then off to bed. Being supportive was very hard, and I feared anything I did or didn't do would drive him back to the bottle. It was a rough 90 days. Rocky stayed alcohol free for a solid 8 months. We have had a couple bumps in the road, where he thinks he can drink like a normal person, but he is quickly brought back to reality and settles back onto the road of recovery.
Why am I sharing this?
Growing up, I knew several parents that were alcoholics. I grew up in upper-middle class America, attended Catholic High School - alcoholism does not discriminate against social class. My husband is a blue collar worker, and grew up in a blue collar society - I grew up in a white collared world. We come from mixed backgrounds, with a mixed group of adult friends, however, I currently know of NO other woman that admits to being married to an alcoholic. It's a very secretive society. Here are the facts though:
- 43% of Americans have had a child, spouse, parent, or relative with Alcoholism.
- 19% of Alcoholics in the US are married.
What I've Learned
I am NOT a bad mom for staying married to my husband. My children are loved by both their parents, and Rocky's drinking never affected his abilities as a father. If my children were to ever be physically or emotionally harmed by his drinking, you can bet your balls he'd no longer have his.
I AM a strong, confident, intelligent woman! I never sat around waiting for my husband to become magically cured. I am proactive, stay involved, and I react with actions, not words. I am also no longer afraid that everything I do will return him to drinking.
There is no cure for alcoholism as it is not a disease. Alcoholism is a personality weakness, and a practice in selfishness. It is no different than practicing racism, over indulging with food, or spending beyond your means.
As long as Rocky is willing to work towards sobriety, I'm willing to be married. He hasn't given up, why should I? He wasn't an alcoholic when we met, and I took vows for better or for worse. No one defined what worse would be.
Alcohol is over-rated. I don't need to drink for any reason. I don't have time for it anyway, and it makes me tired so what's the point (especially hard to drink if you have to get up 2-3 times a night with little ones). I actually don't miss it, and I'm not suprised by that.
Talk about it! Sure, it's embarassing, but it exists! Judge me if you must, but God will have the final judgement, and I prefer His verdict.
Resources for Wives of Alcoholics
Unfortunately, there is a limited number of resources for wives of alcoholics. I found that blog support sites go without updating for several years - understandable - seeing as how once your husband finds a soft landing spot in recovery, you do not want to continue to dwell on the horrors of your lives before. As with any serious situation, if you, or anyone you know is married to an alcoholic and being abused in any way, get out.
Here is a national list of women's shelters.
Al-Anon Support Groups Online: offering support for families of alcoholics and addicts.
Al-Anon is even on Facebook!
And of course, don't be afraid to e-mail me!
**A special thanks to The Jarett's & The Phillips's for their help, support, and friendship during and after the times I needed it most.**
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