They say if you dig deep enough into any family tree, you will find one, no matter how hard the family has tried to hide their family shame. The "one" I am talking about is the family "alcoholic."
In my family, it is my husband. My name is Sue and I am the wife of an alcoholic. I have been married for 34 years and for the past 27, the hell known as alcoholism has tortured me in terrible ways, and I am not even the alcoholic.
My husband was not always an alcoholic. Hell, he wasn't even much of a drinker in the beginning. It still amazes me just how fast things can change, especially when you didn't see it coming.
I have suffered through years of raising three kids basically on my own. He was, and still is, a functioning alcoholic. He goes to work and gives me whatever amount of money he sees fit to pay bills. Other than financially and his days on the couch nursing his hangovers, he has spent very little time at home and even littler as a father, or husband.
In his mind, as long as he holds a job and attempts to pay bills, he is hurting no one with what he does. My kids are all adults now. Only my son remains at home, and he is not here that often.
The alcoholism has taken over not only his life completely, but mine as well. His health is deteriorating rapidly and for the past three or four years, he has had to be hospitalized at least twice a year.
Each time with doctors warning him he is going to die sooner rather than later if he continues on the same way. Their words mean nothing to him. In fact, I have wondered a number of times if it is death that he is trying to accomplish.
He now doesn't just come home after the bars close, but most often once a weekend or more, he doesn't come home at all. Is it terrible of me to look forward to those nights just for the peace it brings me alone?
His skin is a grayish color. He doesn't look healthy at all. His weight is dropping, he rarely eats anything that is good for him, but lives on booze and sweets and chips.
His teeth are a mess. What is left of them is rotting out. He may take one shower a month. It is disgusting and ridiculous. I am not the least bit attracted to him in any way at all now. In fact, we have slept apart now for more than seven years, and that goes for sex too. I grow nauseous thinking of him touching me at all.
He has not had a driver's license in more than 16 years. He used to rely on me to drive him into town to meet the guys he worked with to go to work, then come back and pick him up again.
I have stopped that completely and he always seems to find guys to drive him around. Not sure how he manages that all the time. Not only is he a full-blown alcoholic, he is also a drug addict.
He has a doctor convinced he is in constant pain, so he prescribes him 60 Vicodin a month. That is two a day as needed (what a joke). However, as soon as he gets his pain pills, they are gone within a week.
He either takes them, sells them, or gives them away as the life of the party. You may be thinking to yourself, why are you still with him? Well, in all actuality, I am not with him.
We co-exist in the same home when he is here. At my age and health issues now, I am finding it hard to find a job that I can do, or that will hire a 54-year-old woman with no skills or experience in the work world. So finances are the biggest reason.
However, I continue to search for ways and opportunities to make an income for my self, despite how little that tends to be some months I continue to plug away at it.
It is a very stressful life being involved in any way with an alcoholic. The alcoholic only thinks of their self. He reeks of booze 24-7. He comes home smelling that way, he wakes up and leaves the next day smelling the same.
His main concern each waking moment is drinking their booze, getting more booze, and continuing in their destructive cycle.
For me, it is constantly being on edge. Hoping I am not doing anything to send him into a drunken, angry fit when he is home. And when he is not, there is always the dreaded panic every time the phone rings that he has either been arrested, hurt, or has drunk himself to death. On any given day I expect any or all of the aforementioned to take place.
Some moments I just feel terrible that I have bad thoughts about him, wishing him gone one way or another, no matter how difficult my life will become.
Some nights, I spend hours online looking up his symptoms, searching for life insurance I can afford that will insure a man his age with his problems. Not an easy task.
I live my life in constant stress. One thing I do know is that at the rate he is going, downing a fifth or more of vodka or whiskey a night, on top of whatever drugs he has managed to obtain, he will not go on that way much longer. His body will just not be able to take the damage he inflicts upon it daily for much longer.
He is also a heavy smoker, is bipolar, on top of being a pill addict and an alcoholic, there are the 15-20 prescription pills his doctor feels he needs for his bipolar disorder, high blood pressure, and pre-diabetic meds he takes daily.
To be honest I am not sure how he has managed to make it this far. Hopefully, God will continue to give me the strength to see me through it all.