It’s that time of year where people are feeling festive and there are more holiday parties than days in December. Egg nog is a staple and so are the “whoop it up” moments. I am the first to tell you that my drinking tends to be limited to social occasions. Call it age. Call it recovery time. Or simply call it, I don’t have to have it. Unfortunately, I have learned, not everyone shares my sentiment. In my years growing up I have seen friends and/or family struggle with addiction. Some overcame it successfully, some…. not so much. I think it was because of this early(ish) exposure that I steered clear of things that had any addiction potential. That is except for alcohol. I never saw it as a problem. My mom doesn’t drink and my dad would drink beers from time to time. Never can I recall seeing my parents drunk. Again, making drinking low on my radar. It wasn’t until I was in my 30’s that alcoholism had a direct impact on my life. I was living life and low and behold a handsome man entered my life. Charming, charismatic, did I mention handsome?! We started to date. He seemed like everything I wanted my future husband to be. Sure, he would sometimes have a cocktail too many from time to time but hey, haven’t we all. EXCEPT his “from time to time” became more often than not. We would go to parties and I spent more time acting like a mom than his girlfriend.
I learned to max out at a cocktail or two because otherwise I knew we might end up in a world of trouble. As in, I was tipsy and he would be full on drunk. Again, being in my 30’s I was too old to gamble on our safety and livelihoods by getting behind the wheel under the influence. When I would bring up his drinking it was often met with, “I can stop if I want.” and sometimes coupled with his devotion to not drink for extended periods of time.
I now realize this was his way of buying time and more importantly trying to convince himself he didn’t have a problem and was in control. Time went on and with each chance I gave him to “get it together”, I realized I was living a lie. I could no longer pretend that he was Prince Charming… I mean he was….except for when he drank too much… sure that was every weekend… but come on we all have bad days right… A good woman is supposed to help her man through his valleys…
Before I knew it, I was as knee deep in disillusionment and denial as he was! I began to isolate myself because I didn’t want anyone to see my truth…. I had fallen in love with an alcoholic! Well, I wish I could say that as soon as I started to see the truth I ran out the door. I didn’t. It took several months of me praying for strength before I could call it quits.
I felt like I was giving up on someone I loved. It was through my prayer that I realized that it is not my job to fight someone else’s demons. Demons they had yet to even acknowledge.
In my support of them, I was losing myself. His problem was depleting my joy. I had to make the choice to choose me and my happiness. And that’s EXACTLY what I did! I chose me!