I remember so clearly the very first night the gravity of my situation hit me.
My husband had been in an ugly-drunk mood that evening and he ended up screaming at me, telling me to "shut the fuck up," calling me a "fucking bitch" and other assorted variations on the same (fucking) theme.
I was numb.
I was horrified.
I sat at the computer in disbelief.
I began googling things like "married to an alcoholic," "alcoholic husband," and the likes.
Not anything I could really use in that moment.
I needed some "real time" (or at least recent-time) advice or guidance from women experiencing what I was experiencing.
But I couldn't really find it.
Now I kind a understand why.
There is a fable that goes something like this:
Two frogs fall into a vat of buttermilk. They try to climb out but the sides are too slippery. One of the frogs says, "it's no use." And sinks to the bottom where he drowns. The other frog, unaware of how he will get out but unwilling to give up, keeps swimming. He swims and swims and swims all night long. By day he had churned the buttermilk into butter and hops out.
I am coming to suspect women who are married to alcoholics are one of the two frogs. They may try at first to "climb out" but finding it as difficult as a frog in a buttermilk vat, they let themselves sink to the bottom of their marriage and drown, if not literally, certainly metaphorically.
You and me, we're not that frog.
You know how I know?
Because we're here.
We might not know exactly what or how or when all this effort is going to pay off but we're not giving up.
The reason - as I suspect it - there are not a lot of blogs kept current in regards to living with an alcoholic is because sooner or later, if you're not to sink to the bottom, you have to move past that. Even if you stay with him.
That first night, I could never have heard what I finally know now:
It never matter that my husband was an alcoholic. Of course, it mattered but I shouldn't have let it MATTER. That is, it's taken me nearly 20 years to realize that concentrating on the problem of being married to an alcoholic was not the way to save myself from being married to an alcoholic. If I had found a blog where a woman had written something along the lines of,
"He's an alcoholic? Ok. So what now? What are you going to do about your life?"
I would never have been able to accept that. I would have rallied and raged against her message - even if it was from the dark of my living room at 2 am after being called a "fucking bitch" for the up-tenth time.
I still have my original blog, "quietragingwaters."
I thought I could write here about moving beyond my alcoholic husband while writing there about the horrors and heartache of living with an alcoholic husband. I want to be there for women who were feeling what I was feeling that first (of many) nights. But, as they say, you can't steal second with your foot on first.
The most honest thing I can say to a woman now who is just coming to terms with this runaway train called an alcoholic husband is,
"What are you going to do about you life?"
I lost a lot of years fixating on his drinking rather than my life.
I am not bitter.
I don't blame myself.
At least I kept swimming.
But if this whole alcoholic-husband thing is relatively new to you, let me offer you this:
Get over it.
Sooner rather than later.
That doesn't mean you have to accept it or like it or be ok with it.
It just means that what he is doing TO his life does not command nearly as much energy and attention from you as what you are doing FOR yours.