Tuesday, January 15, 2013

"What Should I Do?"

I get quite a number of emails from women in all walks of life, all enduring the same journey - being an alcoholic's wife.
Other than being married to an addict, they all share a common emotion:

When do I walk away?
What do I tell my children?
Do I kick him out?
Do I have him arrested?
Do I tell his company?
What if I can't afford to arrest him?
What happens if I out him?
Will it get better?
What if it doesn't get better?
What do I do?
When will he hit bottom?
Can I help him hit bottom?

These questions go round and round. Where one is answered, another one pops up.  Truth be told, there is not a concrete answer to any of these questions. That's the hardest part. The path of existing in a marriage with an alcoholic meanders much like their drunken gaits: winding, stumbling, faltering, falling, and hopefully, eventually, getting back up.

To each person, the answer is completely different. Even Rocky and I have opposing views on a lot of "what-should-I-do" questions.

When an old friend called me today to ask for advice for her husband, I had no answers. And I so desperately wish I could tell her what to do. I wish I could put myself in her shoes, trap myself in her body, experience her every day, and come back to her with an answer.

But I can't.
And I HATE that I can't.
When an alcoholic is the world's greatest dad, goes to work every day, and is a pretty upstanding citizen,  - well, how do you know when to draw a line in the sand?

Much like every alcoholic has a different low, every wife also has a different low. As my children have gotten older, I look back and wonder how long I could have gone on with Rocky being an alcoholic. The only answer I can think of is till I have had enough.

It may differ for you. It might be till he gets a DUI, or until he physically hurts you, or if your children become aware. It might not be any of those things. It may just be a culmination of events far less drastic. See, even my answer is confusing!

If you are in that place of "what do I do?", put it in writing. Write down what you want, and what you currently have. Write down your last straws, and the lines he'd have to cross to push you over the edge. Write down the resolution you want - and not just sobriety. How do you want him to achieve it? A moment of clarity? Forced his hand to counseling, AA, or rehab (inpatient or outpatient?)? Are you willing to accept losing it all? What's your plan B? You may never answer any of these lingering thoughts, but you also may be surprised how one concrete answer can change your whole life.

Peace, love, & sobriety.

1 comment:

  1. Jake, This is a great post. I found you on accident, as I decided to write my own blog and the night I began, I wanted to see how many other women I could find doing this and follow their stories as well. It's sad that it happens to so many of us, to be put in this situation, but I actually felt relief reading your posts, reading the posts from your 'Other Blogger', because for the first time I felt like someone knew what it was like to be me, to stand in my shoes. I've just started my own, and I'm currently writing it anonymous as to not hurt my husband's reputation, but hopefully I can inspire people as you are and it be a relief for me to vent to everyone and yet no one. You can find me at www.confessionsofanalcoholicswife.blog.com I'll be following your story, and I hope Rocky is able to maintain his sobriety for you and your family's sake. Love & peace, Lilah