Why Did You Stay So Long? | Alcoholic Husband
Marrying an Alcoholic
When I was 22, I never thought marrying an alcoholic would literally change the trajectory of my entire life.
“What would you do if I ever started drinking again?” he asked me, before we married.
I thought about it briefly, and replied, “I don’t know.”
And I really didn’t, not for sure anyway. I mean, I knew I wouldn’t stay in a bad relationship. I knew I wouldn’t put up with being treated poorly, or being lied to. I knew I would never stay with someone who didn’t treat me and my future children perfectly…right?
We all have grand ideas about what we would do in a situation. Strong opinions even, full of certainty. “I’d leave him,” we say, when we see women mistreated in movies. “I’d never put up with that,” we say, as we listen to some story about a friend. I’d even thought these things myself. I mean, who would stay with someone who was drunk all the time? An alcoholic husband? Definitely not me.
I had so much faith when we got together, that I barely even questioned what would happen if he ever drank again. I had never seen him drunk before. I had never even seen him drink at all before. How bad could it be?
We celebrated his second anniversary of sobriety together, and were married before his third. Things were pretty blissful, in spite of his long deployments on his ship during our first few years of marriage. Separation is not exactly what one envisions for their first years of marriage, but so it was. We muddled through, and had our first child.
Life was mostly great, our baby boy was the light of my world, and before we knew it, we welcomed our first daughter, my pumpkin, my Halloween baby. Life was amazing having these two perfect little humans, 7 years of a sobriety, and 4 1/2 years of marriage. Life couldn’t have been better, or so I thought.
There had been a lot of talk, and questions, and wondering. Was he really an alcoholic? Maybe he was just young and a problem drinker. He had long stopped going to AA meetings. He started drinking O’Douls. And yet, my young radar was still not up. As time went on, I had actually noticed an odd smell on him, but couldn’t quite place it. New cologne, I assumed.
That December, I walked into the garage to get something and he was in there, fumbling with the saddlebag on his motorcycle.
“Stop!” he said, “I have your gift.” I obliged — it was almost Christmas, and I love love love surprises, so I was excited he had something he was hiding!
It wasn’t until Christmas morning and there was no present under the tree for me that I started to realize what was happening. With my heart pounding and a lump in my throat,I sneaked out to his motorcycle to check the saddlebags myself. I found his new cologne alright: a bottle of Jim Beam.
It would be another 11 years before I left him.