Had I not married an alcoholic, I never (NEVER!) would have understood the complexities and depth of problems being married to an alcoholic creates in your life. I would have thought the “only” problem was that alcoholic husbands were drunk “all the time.”

If only that was the only problem.

I could write forever on how pervasive the toxicity of the alcoholic marriage is but the other day, while talking to an old friend, it occurred to me that it all boils down to one “real” problem:

For you, the sober spouse, the alcoholic marriage erodes your very interest in, love of and passion for you OWN LIFE and SELF!!!

Now that hardly seems fair, I know, but it’s true.

He drinks too much and you end up hating yourself and your life.

I have known the friend I was talking with nearly all my life. Since I was a young teenager. He and I grew up in the same neighborhood. He is five years older than me so he occupies that paradoxial space of “like a brother” though I by no means forget the mad crush I had on him when I was a girl. It makes me giddy-happy to talk with him.

And it makes me want to be a better Me!

To talk with someone who values you and sees you for who you once were, who you believed you’d always be, who you long to be now is both empowering but saddening. By nothing more than pleasant conversation, he makes me feel both good and bad about myself.

He’s trying to do neither, I suspect.