Tuesday, February 5, 2013
The Closet Alcoholic
When did I realize Rocky was an alcoholic?
The night I had him arrested.
When did Rocky realize he was an alcoholic?
2 years prior to that night.
So how is it two people have differing views of one's alcoholism? Simply put, Rocky was a closet alcoholic.
Rocky has always like to drink excessively. Since we met at 19, drinking excessively just seemed like part of the gig. You got drunk, you got stupid, you got hung over, and you repeated the same scenario every weekend.
He hid A LOT of his drinking from me. Rocky is a union tradesman and I was an office girl. He would get home at 3pm and wait for my arrival around 6pm. Often times he would pick something up and drink it while driving home. Between the car ride home and my late homecoming he had plenty of time to hide the evidence. On the weekends, he would volunteer to pick up breakfast. That's when he would fit in his morning drink or purchase stash to hide in his vehicle for later consumption.
Didn't his breath smell? Did he act differently? How did you not know??
First and foremost, I wasn't looking for it. Who goes around making blanket assumptions that their spouse is an alcoholic? Not I, but I definitely wasn't in denial either. It just was a non-issue for a long time.
Rocky chews tobacco and gum. His breath always stinks regardless and easily could mask a smell of alcohol. Plus, we often had a beer with dinner. There were times he acted differently, and I knew flat out he was drunk - like when arguments had no stopping points. However, there were many times I had no idea. He went to work at 5am so he was tired earlier than I was and would often fall asleep on the couch. I assumed he was tired from work.
There was only one thing that was a pretty dead giveaway of his intoxication. His eyes would turn red - vein bursting, blood shot red. I would always ask him if he was drinking, and he'd always joke, "yes, I had 10 beers." In reality, his joke was the truth. Addicts lie. They lie, they lie, they lie.
The month leading up to his arrest, he had started car pooling with a different co-worker. The signs of addiction started coming on pretty quickly. At this point I was a stay at home mom. He started coming home from work really late, or looking for reasons to leave. He was obviously drunk. He was angrier. He was the most volatile he had ever been. This time was very dark for me as I have images locked into my head of his stagger, the redness in his eyes, the stained work clothes. Mostly though, it was the look in his eyes - similar to being possessed. It was scary. There was no reasoning with Rocky during this period. The arrest was just the peak of it all.
Do you remember that moment when you realized your spouse was an alcoholic? Was there a defining moment? How long did you wait before you/him did something about it?
Alcoholism doesn't just sprout up overnight. It's like growing weeds in your garden; all of the sudden the plant sprouts a flower and you realize it's been a dandelion all along. The great thing about dandelions - they really are beautiful, and I make wishes on them all the time.