What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. Today’s guest post is by Anonymous
My husband has a problem with alcohol. He knows that he does. He knows that his alcohol problem breaks my heart, and that I want him to stop. He knows that his need to drink in order to blow off steam and to relax isn’t healthy. He knows that his excessive and irresponsible drinking might kill him someday. But he doesn’t care. He drinks anyway.
I have known my husband since we were 12 years old. We have been together since we were in college. He is a loving, kind, patient, good-hearted man. He is hard-working. He genuinely cares about other people and their needs, and he goes out of his way to help people who are in need. He encourages me, believes in me, and supports me in all of my endeavors. He makes me laugh. He has never allowed his drinking to affect him at work, and he has always held down a job. He is a good husband, and I love him deeply. As cliché and cheesy as it might sound, he really is the love of my life. He is the other half of my heart.
I knew that he had a drinking problem back in college, but his drunken antics at parties were humorous back then. Our friends still tell stories about the some of the funny, but stupid things that he did at parties when we were young, and they get a good laugh from it. His drinking was fun back then. It made us the life of the party. It never impacted me or anyone else in a negative or hurtful way, so I never said anything to him about it.
But now, as college graduates with full-time jobs, his drinking is not fun anymore. It’s actually terrifying. Three months after we got married, he woke me up in the middle of the night in a drunken rage. He was angry about something (he hadn’t been angry when I had gone to bed), but he couldn’t tell me why he was angry. I walked out of the bedroom into the living room to find that he had ripped things off of the walls of the apartment that we were living in at the time and broke them, he had pulled his computer off of his desk and destroyed his keyboard, he had broken closet doors, and he had ripped blinds out of windows. Our dog was terrified. He was cowering in a corner. I got angry and told him to go to bed. He pushed me up against a wall and screamed in my face. I pushed him away, grabbed the dog, and locked ourselves in the bedroom. I was so angry, hurt, and broken that night. He apologized profusely the next day and said that it would never happen again. But that was a lie.
We went to a New Year’s party this past year where he got stupid drunk, called me names, and tried to pull my hands off of the steering wheel while I was soberly driving us home. When he has a stressful day at work (which is a lot of the time), he sits by himself in the garage and drinks. He usually comes inside the house later, belligerent and angry. He yells at me and calls me names. He has kicked at our dogs. He never knows why he was angry the next day. Never.
I make excuses for him when he is too hungover to show up to places with me. I lie every time. He’s sick, or he had to go into work for a little bit, or he is doing yard work. I never tell anyone the truth. Nobody really knows how bad his drinking problem is. I am too embarrassed and hurt over it to reveal the truth. People would tell me to leave him if they knew. But as much as I hate his drinking, I don’t want to leave him. And people would judge me for that. They wouldn’t understand.
We are never going to have children. My grandfather was an alcoholic, and my mom has told me several stories about how her father consistently choosing alcohol over her as a child hurt her. I know that my husband would choose alcohol over our children. He chooses it over me all the time. I can’t allow myself to purposely put children into a situation where they have to live with that pain.
He will never get help for his drinking, because he doesn’t want to. He wants to keep drinking and behaving like an idiot. And I want to keep being his wife. See where that leaves us?
Don’t dismiss or overlook drinking habits in young people. Don’t write them off as kids being kids. Don’t assume that those habits will stop, or that they will change as a person gets older. Recognize the signs of alcoholism. Be careful and thoughtful before you commit yourself to a person who has a drinking problem. Know that it is not easy to love and to live with an alcoholic. Be sure that you understand what you are getting into before you marry an alcoholic.