The first time I put my foot down on Rocky's alcoholism was when I had him arrested in 2009. It was a very huge, dramatic production of forcing him into sobriety.
After 8 months of being sober, and with some fault of my own, he began to drink again. It was a slow downward spiral. Frankly, I'm not even quite sure how long it lasted, but it was slow. A beer or two after work, a six pack on the weekend. Coming home without boos, but glaring red eyes giving away his secret. Old habits started returning. Houston was 6 weeks old and Georgia was 22 months old.
The biggest indicator of Rocky's drinking is his behavior. The fights that have no ending. The irrational thinking. Finding projects that keeps him busy in the garage. Not eating all day, or grotesquely gorging himself. I was witnessing all of this after his 8 months of sobriety. I didn't have the fight in me. I had two young children and frankly, I was exhausted.
One evening, I sent Rocky to the grocery store to pick up an item. He left the house through the garage door, closing it behind him. Minutes later, I headed out to the garage to switch out laundry loads. There, standing in the garage with the garage door partially closed was Rocky chugging away on a large bottle of clear liquor that he had been hiding in his tool cupboards.
I said nothing.
He sheepishly laughed.
I gathered up my basket of laundry and walked into the house. I felt no anger, no rage, no sadness,...nothing. It was like a quiet before the storm. I didn't know what was going to happen next. Was he going to walk in? Was he going to start making excuses? Was he going to somehow blame this on me? Was I going to start yelling at him? Demanding sobriety?
I suddenly found myself within a prayer. I'm not deeply religious, so the sound of my own voice pleading with God in my head was unreal. I repeated:
Please give my husband the strength to want to quit, or give me the strength to walk away.
I said it over and over and over again. I sat on the edge of the bed, and saw the words in my head. I never mumbled them aloud, yet they echoed loudly between the walls of my skull.
Rocky came inside the house seconds after catching him drinking. He found me in the bedroom, sitting on the bed. He started begging me to not leave. I had made no threats. He started promising he would get help. I had asked for nothing. He was pleading with me as much as I was pleading with God.
Many times over my life time I had prayed to God. When my first boyfriend broke up with me. When I wanted to run away from home. When I wanted a baby sister for Christmas when I was 6 years old. My prayers were always fairly shallow and more about personal wants than needs.
God never answered those prayers, but he answered this one. Within 24 hours of catching him drinking, Rocky asked me to start looking for churches. He found a new AA group (as we had just moved). He made phone calls to sober confidants.
What's your mantra? It doesn't have to be a prayer, it doesn't have to be directed at anyone. Create the thought that will be the catalyst for change, and live it, no matter the consequences.