Friday, March 28, 2008

A Prisoner

A Prisoner. I heard this at the Family Night Rehab, from a man who was describing his life with his wife and her alcoholism. He was an ex-military person, who apparently spent some time in active combat.

A Prisoner. That's how I feel, or maybe felt. A Prisoner.

Not too many people - if any at all - can actually understand the feeling of living with an active alcoholic. Especially one that is angry, deceitful, lying and puts on a "show" to the outside world. No one will know how they can manipulate you, and make you lose self-confidence and self-esteem. Essentially, they make you feel inadequate, undeserving, unloved and often, like it (it = everything) is some how your fault. At least this is the words from some of the people from these meetings.

For someone reading this - who is not living with an active alcoholic - this may sound extreme. I can assure you - it is not.

Living with the alcoholic - even when I did not know she was drinking - somewhere deep inside, I was missing something. I look back now and know it was the hidden drinking of alcohol by my wife that was affecting me. It was big and little behavior that was out of the norm that soon became "the norm" that threw me off. But I didn't know it back then.

The weird behavior was; the throwing out (purposely losing) diamond earrings, because they were, "too small." Or falling down in the center of a sidewalk, because she had too much too drink (I didn't know it then, because I didn't see her drinking). Or when she threw up one morning on a street, on a beautiful spring morning in a quaint southern town on the Atlantic Ocean with my friend and his wife looking at her going, "what the ?" The burning of food. The burning of pots. The late bills.

How in the world did you miss this? You dismissed it because when you inquired about it to someone you trusted, you got "dismissed" as being "controlling" or a "control freak" or that, "I am a little ditzey." So, you start to doubt yourself. Self-doubt . . . a killer of instinct and all good from within.

It's all clear now of course. How could I have missed this? But we do. How many stories have I heard from both men and women who have spouses that hid their drinking - so well, that no one even had a clue. Next thing we know, there is no escape. Because we have become too weak, too ashamed, too much self-esteem lost, to leave, to get unstuck.

Then one day, something happens. We say - "Stop."

Where and when do we say this? How do we get away. I can tell you, that only through getting out of the house, every day, and meeting with YOUR friends or better - Al-Anon Meetings. Only at Al-Anon Meetings is really where you find people who understand.

I have compassion for the alcoholic. I really do. I feel sorry for her. She is being controlled by a substance that is powerful. Except in our society we see alcohol as "alright." It the alcoholic's fault for not being able to control themselves. It's "just" 10% of the population who can't handle it. If it was cocaine, well then, that's another story.

But it's not just the 10%. It may be another 25% - because of the effects on the family. Maybe the number is larger. We have made drinking glamerous and popular. We have become connessiuers of beer, wine, and scotch. Isn't that sad, knowing what we now know? The general population has not a clue of how this is a dangerous drug.

Are we prisoners? That is my question to you this morning.


Syd said...

Hey Joe, I've decided that I'm only a prisoner if I want to be. I can be chained to misery or I can decide to be happy, joyous and free. Detach, detach, detach...

I tagged you to write about yourself, if you'd like to . See my blog for the format. It was a challenge to remember back when.

Anonymous said...

Just this morning my alcoholic husband, in a rage, followed me out of the house screaming for me to tell him where his keys were (I hadn't touched them). As he yelled "F-- You" over and over, and as neighbors probably watched and heard, I handed over *my* keys to that car. I then hearded my kids in another car and drove away. A living nightmare. I've just made reservations at a hotel for two days to get completely away while I figure out what to do if he won't leave. It's exhausting and demoralizing, but Al-Anon does indeed provide steady and much needed support.

Anonymous said...

"Alcoholic husband in a rage".... stay or go .... good luck, my thoughts are with you

Anonymous said...

"Alcoholic husband in a rage".... stay or go .... good luck, my thoughts are with you

Ginny said...

I just finally accepted that I gotta fix ME and stop trying to fix my alcoholic husband. 9 yrs of marriage and 12 together and it's falling apart. I'm so scared and I'm a realtor and not making any money. Not that he cares about that. He is angrier than I have ever seen him because I have been begging, pleading, threatening, guilting him and shamig him about his escalating drinking. Used to be a binge every 6 months now its up to every 3 weeks. A good man that has gone off the deep end. The last man in the world I would ever suspect of cheating on me, but he admitted he did, ironically with a co worker who was also an enabler and listening to him sympathetically. He is drawn to controling, fixing women. Even with the adulteress he cheated on me with. Hasn't spoken or slept in the same bed with me in almost a week now. I am feeling so sad and trapped in this mess. I have sent him two emails to work to beg that he have mercy on me and forgive me for trying to fix him. I told him I am going to go to alot of Alanon meeting to learn how to fix me and not him.. A good man but very troubled by his son's problems and my nagging has sent him over the edge. He acts like it's over. I'm praying he will calm down and give me a break. I just HAVE to give it over to the Guy upstairs and stop harping on what will happen if he kills someone driving or gets arrested, or worse for me and his family that love him, if he kills himself. I think he really hates himself but it feels like he doesn't love me anymore after this last awful episode. Comments and words of wisdoms are appreciated. Just found this blog and glad it's here. Ginny