I don’t think I would have understood exactly why it is marriage to an alcoholic is so toxic if I hadn’t actually married an alcoholic myself.
I mean, I would have gotten that it sucks to be with someone who is drunk more times than not.
I would have understood if someone complained about bailing their husband out of jail.
I would have totally agreed that being married to someone who is losing his job every six months due to drinking absolutely stinks!
I think I would have been able to wrap my head around all the typical and stereotypical problems with an alcoholic husband.
But I doubt I would have understood how it could be that bad for someone like me who is married to an alcoholic but he…
Doesn’t get arrested. Ever.
Is home every night. Every. Night.
Pays all the bills. On time.
Is not physically abusive. To me or the kids.
And in general is just more checked out than in.
I suppose I wouldn’t have thought it was grand but I don’t think I would have understood how it was really corrosive and destructive.
So I’ll explain it to that me.
Years ago my husband and I took a family vacation to the beach. The kids were young and all was relatively good.
For an alcoholic household.
Compared to now.
One morning my husband was making bacon and eggs for the family. Like almost everyone does, I suppose, he made the bacon first and had it set aside while he made the eggs. And like almost everyone does, I suppose again, I walked by and took a piece of bacon.
Let me be clear here:
You know, to eat.
You would have thought I had cut off my husband’s arm to eat it.
He absolutely exploded!
Yelling about how I was ruining everything and he hates when I do that and now he won’t have “enough.” (Yes, I did point out that he simply consider that I ate “my” piece “early.”)
Let me set the scene:
We’re at the beach.
The ocean is just outside our window. Our rental house close enough for us to hear and smell and see its beauty from the living room.
Kids are playing all about us.
And I eat a piece of bacon!
I would say that was six or seven years ago.
Last night I was cooking dinner and my teenage son walks by and helps himself to some green pepper I was cutting up.
I don’t care.
It doesn’t bother me.
In fact, when you have teenage sons, anything that brings them back into close proximity with you is welcomed.
But when he did that, my mind flashed back to that morning at the beach.
I don’t want to hold this stuff in me.
I don’t walk around actively remembering these things.
But they are there.
Like the scar tissue of old wounds.
And these sorts of memories matter.
Even though they may not seem “that bad” at face value.
They are bad.
They affect you.
They change you.
They corrode the way you see life.