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I am the wife of an alcoholic who is slowly committing suicide, and there is nothing I can do to save him. I have been married almost four decades, don't get me wrong, my husband did not start off a drunk, and an addict.
It wasn't until more than seven years in that the man I married, had children with, and once loved with all my heart ,turned into a total stranger right before my very eyes.
The drinking started off slow, and escalated quickly. Not only did he become a drunk, but he also became a liar, a mean, and manipulating man who lost all joy in life. He shut himself off from his wife, his kids, his family, and friends.
He began drinking more and more, and not just on weekends, but every night, he began running the bars, gambling, using pills, and cocaine. His life became one night after the next of blackout drunkenness.
It gets far worse, he began to get arrested for DUIs, car accidents, drunk and disorderly. He has done jail time, court-ordered counseling, and nearly killed himself, and a friend/co-worker in a major car accident.
None of which were his rock bottom. Oh sure, he would say with each and every arrest, or incident he was done. He never was, he would slow down a bit, and hide it a little better, but it never stopped.
Now he is heading towards 60-years-old, his health is crap, and he goes from one day to the next in a drunken stupor. Yes, somehow he manages to keep his job, as a self- employed construction worker, but he has no drivers license, and has to rely on someone else to drive him around.
He has been in and out of the hospital five times in the past three years, each time doctors tell him he is going to die sooner rather than later, if he does not stop with the drinking.
His last hospital stay was in January of this year, he had been feeling poorly, and I just so happened to check on him, and he asked for a drink of water. I left to get it, and when I returned he was having seizures, and appeared to be gasping for air.
I called 911, he was taken to the hospital where he stopped breathing. They were able to get him breathing on his own again, but he continued to have more seizures. He was placed in the ICU, he was completely out of his mind at the time. He did not recognize me, his kids and thought the year was 2002.
He had to be restrained, and tied to the bed, because he was combative, and pulled tubes out. For five days he did not know his family, on day six he started to recognize me. I asked him the questions the doctors said to ask him, he was foggy, and had to think about the simplest of answers.
He finally detoxed in the hospital, and started to get his wits about him. His doctors told him this was a close call, and that next time he may not make it. He was told he was lucky I was there to call 911, or I would have found him dead at home that day.
He was released with all the info stating he had been hospitalized for alcohol withdrawal, and Delerium Tremens.
Delirium tremens (DTs) is a rapid onset of confusion usually caused by withdrawal from alcohol. When it occurs, it is often three days into the withdrawal symptoms, and lasts for two to three days. Physical effects may include shaking, shivering, irregular heart rate, and sweating.
It took him exactly two days after being released from the hospital to drink again. Mainly because he had no alcohol at home, and I wouldn't take him to get it.
Now it is May, he is drinking just as much, if not more than he was before; about two-fifths of vodka per day. He still runs the bars, takes pills he buys on the street, and feels horrible all the time.
Despite all of that, he is dying a little more each day, right before my eyes, and there is not a thing I can do about it. It is in his hands. Why am I still here you are probably asking?
A few reasons, one, he has no one, his kids do not want to see him like this, and who can blame them. They still love him, and see him on occasion, but they have made their boundaries with him. His family, mom and dad, and two brothers have all passed, he has one living brother, and he wants nothing to do with him either.
The other reason, at this time, is financial. I have been a stay at home mom and wife, and I'm currently trying to figure out my life. As for the alcoholic husband, he chooses his last days, however many that may be to drink and drug them away, missing time with his kids, grandkids, and enjoying his life.
My children and I have come to terms with it, it is what it is. There is not a thing we can do to save him from the slow day-to-day suicide mission he has chosen.
According to Al-Anon "We didn't cause it, we can't control it, and we can't cure it." The choice is all his. Yes, it is a sad life, and it is not easy to see, but, it is one that we have accepted.
If any of you are dealing with an alcoholic, or drug addict I wish you all the best of luck. Some can be saved, and see the light, others just choose to walk a miserable slow walk into the light.