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People in the “outside” world seem to be befuddled by the fact that the wives of alcoholics don’t simply run for the door the first time they trip over a pile of “empties.” They think drinking problem = marriage dissolution. No questions asked. No doubt. No remorse or hesitation. If only it was that simple.

Or easy.

Or painless.

No, leaving our alcoholic husbands is never simply, easy and certainly not painless though that seems to befuddle the outside world as well. Why would we grieve leaving some “no-good drunk” of a husband?

Well, for lots of reasons I won’t go into right now. What I will go into is why I finally (finally?) feel ready to leave. Ironically, it has nothing to do with his drinking, per say.

I asked my husband if he wanted to take a vacation this summer.

“We can’t afford it.”

“Who is going to watch the dog?”

“I don’t know if I can get off work.”

No sooner did he finish his last objection thent I realized,

“Oh my God! I have been listening to these excuses for 20 years!”

Everything – EVERY! THING! I have ever – EVER! – presented to my husband in terms of our lives, direction we might take, dreams we might pursue, adventures we might create has always – ALWAYS – been met with the same – SAME – reasons why we CAN’T.

First and foremost is the steadfast,

“We can’t afford it.”

I don’t care if I was suggesting planting a willow tree in the backyard or taking an overnight trip to the lake.

“We can’t affort that.”

It’s his go-to, his safety, his stand-by.

Then, depending on the situation, he has his alternates.

The dog is a popular one for any sort of trip.

“What are we going to do with the dog?”

When I suggested we be foster parents (this was LONG ago, when I would even dare suggest such an idea), I guess since money is hardly an issue there, he had to pull out the,

“We don’t have room for that.”

There is also his all encompassing,

“That will never work.”

So when he said we “can’t afford” a vacation this summer, it hardly seemded the sort of thing that would cause a deep revelation within me. But that’s the thing with “revelations;” they may seem sudden, like a volcano erupting, but really they have been a long time coming. Like a volcano after all. The energy brewing and percolating beneath the surface, “undetected” until the day…

And so last night when my husband began with his litany of “can’ts,” it hit me,

“He will never want to do anything.”

His excuses are just that. Excuses. The real “excuse” is he doesn’t want to or can’t leave his comfort zone. He wants to work, come home, drink only to wake up and do it all again the next day. Now I by no means think he’s happy or fulfilled. No, I know he is quite unhappy but he’s not going to challenge that. He’s not going to work to Be happy. He’s just going to sit in our house, worrying and yelling about about money until the day he dies.

And THAT is why I finally feel ready to leave.

Because I want to LIVE…

Until the day I die.

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