I remember the early days of coming to terms with my husband’s alcoholism. And by “coming to terms,” I mean trying to crawl out from under the avalanche of shock, disbelief, bewilderment and fear I found myself buried under. I just could not believe what was happening in my marriage. I didn’t even know how to process being called a fucking bitch, screamed at to shut the fuck up and the other assorted sundries of emotional and verbal abuse he would unleash on me.
That was nearly 18 years ago and I remember so vividly sitting in our basement before this big clunker of a dinosaur-now computer and googling “alcoholic husband,” “being married to an alcoholic,” “wife of an alcoholic,” etc. Anything. ANYTHING that would connect me with something that would leave me feeling less lonely, less isolated, less afraid.
I didn’t find much. Mostly I found blogs that were like ghosts in a graveyard. Shadows of what had once been. Hints at a life form that was no longer there. The blogs had been abandoned. Suffocated by the weight of life with an alcoholic husband.
Were these abandoned blogs not graveyards but chrysalis?
The sweetly abandoned cocoons of butterflies who had emerged from the darkness and taken flight?
It’s take me a long time – and I mean LONG time – of focusing on my husband’s drinking to realize that if I am to survive this, if I am to reclaim my life, if I am to crawl out from under this avalanche, I cannot focus on his drinking.
I cannot focus on his disconnect and detachment.
I cannot focus on the misery of his making that he projects onto us.
I cannot focus on his anger.
I cannot focus on the painful disappointment my marriage is.
Nor can I focus on my own anger.
My own misery.
My own grief at finding myself in the clutches of (someone else’s!) alcoholism beast.
I need to focus on growth and movement and gratitude and passion for life.
I have been SO unhappy for SO long.
I have been SO angry for SO long.
I have hated with a tragic magnitude my life and who I have become for so long.
But I am finally emerging.
From my own chrysalis.
And I can’t go back.
I began this blog because I wanted to give that woman who I was many years ago what I had been searching for. Some sort of connection in the middle of the night when the demons are circling and the beast of his drinking is gnawing on her flesh. But I can’t stay There. In that darkness. It doesn’t mean that I want to abandon the woman I was. I just need to write from a different place now.
A place of hope and possibility.
I know the desire – the need – of staying in that darkness. Of having to cry and lament, rant and vent about what is becoming of your husband, your marriage, your family, your life and yourself at the hands of his drinking. I get it. I really, really, really do. And if these are your first days of being called a fucking bitch or watching your husband stagger home drunk or being called to come pick him up somewhere, it’s going to be hard to appreciate how bad it’s going to get and how much you need to turn your focus away from him and to yourself. But if you find yourself here at this post – whether the day after it was written, a week later, a month later…years later – I hope you will visit my new blog – WrenRWaters.com. I don’t think we can force ourselves to skip the grieving process. Where I am writing from now, at that blog, is a far cry from where I was when I started this blog. It was a long journey to get there. Sometimes I feel too long. But I am there. Finally. And my hope is maybe my long journey will help other women shorten their own journeys out of the alcoholic marriage and back into their own amazing lives filled with limitless potential.