There is a lot (A! LOT!) written on the topic of alcoholic marriages of course.
And through my very much un-scientific, I have come to the conclusion that much of what is written comes from the stand point of staying in the marriage. How to survive being married to an alcoholic. How to be happy even though married to an alcoholic. How to navigate your relationship with your alcoholic husband. How to help, not be an enabler, enable, avoid being “co-dependent,” what you are doing wrong, how to help your husband in his search for sobriety.
Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
If I sound cynical, I suppose I am.
To me, life is the ocean.
And your life is your journey swimming across that ocean.
And marriage to an alcoholic is doing it with a 150 pound anchor tied to your ankle.
Can you do it?
Yes, I suppose you can.
But can you do it easily? With joy? And can you go as far as you could if you were swimming freely and unencombered?
No, no you can’t.
No matter how strong you get, no matter how “used” to the weight you get, no matter how good you get at ignoring the anchor that threatens to drown you at any moment, you cannot swim and dive and play in the ocean of life as freely as one who is anchor-free.
People have challenged me on this stance. Taken exception to the absolute in my stance. Offered how they, indeed, are swimming free though still married to an alcoholic.
I’m not here to tell anyone their view is wrong, their reality is wrong, their way of living this thing called Life is wrong. If someone says she feels happy and free and is frolicking through the sea of life like a playful dolphin – despite being married to an alcoholic – ok. I may not fully believe her but I’m not going to challenge her. Make her “prove it.” That’s not my place or purpose in life.
But personally, I have come to the realization that living life to its fullest potential AND staying married to an alcoholic are mutually exclusive. Most alcoholics do not seek sobriety and if they do, most don’t sustain it. Sorry, but it’s true. So you can’t hang your hat on that flimsy peg of hope. And, alcoholism is a progressive disease. There is no “not that bad” alcoholic. There is no “status quo” in an alcoholic’s behavior.
It’s going to get worse.
He’s going to get worse.
The issue is how do you keep yourself from getting worse?
How do you keep your life from getting worse?
How do you swim as far as possible in this big, blue, beautiful ocean of life?
With as much joy and happiness as possible?
To the fullest extent of your potential?
In my opinion and from my experience?
You have to lose the anchor.