Being a wife and mother is one of the greatest joys any woman could ask for. To hold that little child in your arms after labor and delivery. To know that the man you married treats you with the greatest respect, shows you love and willing to walk to the ends of the earth to acquire your heart’s desire. Sometimes it is better to walk away even if it causes more hurt than relief.
I married a man in 97 thinking he was simply perfect. Never knowing that this man was an alcoholic. But then I honestly did not know what an alcoholic was. I did not know about addiction. I did not know there were people that craved something destructive so much they did not care who they hurt in the process when acquiring whatever they craved. I guess you could say I was ever naïve, innocent, or just clueless.
Learning about the disease of alcoholism has been an eye opener and not in a good way. Don’t get me wrong I have no problem with someone coming home and maybe having a glass of wine or a beer or even on the weekends sometimes having one or two to many. These things can happen. I am not a prude and think having a drink is bad. Some people have no problem taking a drink every now and then. But then there are others where one drink is one to many and one thousand is not enough. I have personally experienced the latter. This is my story.
Hi, I am Suzie and the wife of an alcoholic. An alcoholic who has turned his rage and demons into life. See when he drinks I become the demon he has to kill. The demon that is taunting him, the demon that wants more and refuses to settle for anything less. I have only hit my husband back in self-defense. Somehow I always ended up receiving the bad end. It did not matter if I did not defend myself. I always came out looking worse than I went in.
I am not saying my husband is a horrible person. If he is sober he is the greatest guy around. Willing to do anything I or my parents ask. Does not matter what my parents ask of him he has always helped. From helping to pick up roots in a field to digging up a sewer line to helping my mom clean her house. He has helped and been glad to help. But this is him showing his good side.
Sadly no one in my family knows or believes he has a bad side. They do not know about the times I have suffered. The times I have been scared wondering when the next hit will come. The times he raped me, the time he tried to kill me. I have often wondered why they do not believe and for a time it hurt. It still hurts but I am not here about the hurt from my family. I am here about marriage, addiction and divorce.
What is a wife supposed to do when she is hurting physically, mentally and emotionally? Is divorce the answer? Would counseling help? Would she be able to move past the hurt if the alcoholic got sober? Can she apologize for all the lies she told on the alcoholic’s behalf. Can she apologize for stealing on behalf of the alcoholic? Sometimes all this is possible other times part of it might happen then there are times when nothing is possible.
I remember when I realize my husband first told me he had to go to a meeting. I ask him about what and if I could go. He flatly told me no but he would not give me any information about the meeting. We were still dating and I honestly believed he was seeing someone else. He assured me he was not interested in seeing anyone else and I quickly put it aside. I believed in him. I thought I was in love. It was after we had gotten married that my husband told me he was an alcoholic. But he was in Alcoholics Anonymous and would never drink again. He promised. One of the first broken promises to come in my 19 years of marriage. I soon found out that no he really was not in recovery he just attended meetings but did not actually work the program. Without working the steps with a sponsor the alcoholic will move back into his old lifestyle. The alcoholic will believe he has mastered his addiction to alcohol and stop attending meetings. In the alcoholics mind meetings are just sucking up their time. A place for people who do not know how to manage alcohol. Sadly the alcoholic allows the disease to rule his life. S/he allows alcohol to determine what will happen next. Friends and family of the alcoholic soon learn the will of alcohol over rides the will of the alcoholic. Because nothing is more important to alcohol than when that next drink will happen.
At first my husband was funny when drinking. He was the life of any party. If someone said that something would be funny he would attempt it just for the laughs. This funny drinking behavior can quickly turn into something dark. So dark that no light will make the room bright enough to illuminate the corners where demons hide. The alcoholic does not remember these demons are still around. They forget that when they are sober the demons rear their big heads and the alcoholic will start drinking more, start drinking earlier, and need more to drink in an attempt to banish these demons. This creates a long dark road the alcoholic will walk. But then the alcoholic is not alone. The spouse usually walks with the alcoholic. Not usually the same road but a road that is very similar.
I married my alcoholic in 97, by the year 2000 he was drinking. His drinking did not help with the depression I was suffering. My depression needed something his alcoholic mind could not provide. Depression is similar to addiction with demons rearing or hiding in dark corners. Waiting to come out wanting more than a person has to give and then the person is willing to give in to the demons. The person just wants to find peace. To find a place where there is no more hurt, no more pain, no more life. Sometimes depression wins and sometimes the person is able to grab onto a small breakable thread of life. But talking about depression is for another day.
The first time my husband hit me was in the early 2000’s. It was not a lot and did not leave much of a bruise but I felt that hit for days later. I honestly thought I was in the wrong and I deserved what he gave me. After this first time the marriage was never the same. I honestly thought I could not live without him. The drinking had become so bad I would take the empty bottles to work and throw them away. I did not want my parents to know about the alcohol. Then my parents acted like I was the alcoholic and my husband was a saint to put up with me. It takes a saint to put up with an alcoholic but then it also takes more strength to walk away. To decide that what you want is more important than helping the alcoholic in their downward spiral. I would not wish this hurt, this pain, this feeling of helplessness on my worst enemy. Knowing that there is nothing I could do to help him. Knowing that anything I tried to do only made matters worse. Begging and pleading with him did not help. Intervention did not help. Actually being fearful of him the next morning only made matters worse.
In 2004 my alcoholic ask me to leave the house. A house that belongs to me and my family. A house where he did not pay any rent or mortgage. A house that my grandparents lived in for almost 30 years. Where could I go? I could not go back to my parents. I was the one with the problem not him. The reason he ask me to leave was because he needed space. The first of many hurts I would face. Never knowing that I would have been better off if I told him to leave and filed for divorce. Looking back I cannot believe I abided by whatever he wanted. I was so co-depended on him that I almost could not go to the bathroom without his permission.
A few weeks before Easter in 2005 my alcoholic walked out on me. I would like to blame this on his daughter pleading to come back to her. That he allowed some woman to steal him away from her. I can’t lay the blame on a young teenager that just wanted her father to spend more time with her. When I stated walked out I should of stated I came home from work and all of his belongings were gone. Nothing of his left in the house. He could not even leave me a note. I called around crying my eyes out wondering what happened. Wondering why he left. Having no one to support me except my cousin and best friend. I believe my parents felt he was justified in leaving me. Why? Because in their eyes I was the alcoholic. I was the one with the problem. I finally got ahold of my husband around 3 o’clock that morning. He was sitting in the parking lot where he worked. Over 12 hours later he told me he was leaving. I begged, pleaded and I told him I would do anything for him if he would just come back. Then to see the laughter in his face. To see that he thought it was funny to see his wife hurting so bad. In later years I have called this his ‘little happy dance on my heart’. That the more he was able to hurt me the more joy he got out of it. He is hurt by my terminology but that is what I felt. That is how I saw it. Through months of counseling he finally decided to come back. This happened two or three weeks after I told him I was finished. I was moving on. When he told me he wanted to come back I was over joyed. I thought finally he sees what he has lost. He knows he has hurt me. He wants to change. Well he changed and it was not for the better.
His drinking quickly became worse. So bad that over the Christmas holiday in 2005 he called the cops to have me arrested. ME! Arrested because he did not like how I did something. We both ended up being arrested because I had hit him defending myself. If only the sheriff’s department came they were not going to arrest me. However the state police showed up. In Kentucky state law both parties had to go to jail. Did not matter if the other person was defending their self. So I ended up being charged with domestic violence. When I was released I called my father asking him to pick me up. He refused because he was at a farm auction. I started walking home. A fifteen plus mile walk. Thankfully some female driver felt sorry for me and brought me home. When she pulled into the driveway I saw my dad and brother by my parents’ house. I cannot explain the hurt I felt. Knowing that my father would not help me. Then several days later my father came to my house. He looked at me and told me I deserved whatever I got. I do not know what he really meant by this but I took it to mean that I deserved any abuse my husband wanted to inflict on me. Then when at court the prosecuting attorney did not want to drop the charges against me. In his eyes I was not a victim. I had a public defender and I refused the pled deal. I only hit him to protect myself.
I do not know how had hurt me more mu husband or my father. I was broken, bruised and batter. I was lost and had no one. I cried myself to sleep at night. I wanted to die. I was not working because my husband did not want me to work. I was not working, not working was better than me working. Whenever I worked my husband assumed I was cheating with a fellow co-worker. Let me state this the only cheating I have ever did was when I became one with a character in a book. In my thinking depression was trying to rear its ugly head again. The demons I thought I had banish with God and forgiveness started creeping back into my life. Thru the grace of God I noticed a workshop put on by a local church. This and only this helped me to get through my thinking. To overcome the demons that wanted to rule my life again. Helping me to realize my earthly father may think I deserved being a punching bag but my Heavenly Father wanted to show me a better way of life. Years later I realized that my father did not mean I deserved to be abused but at the time my messed up mind could not figure that out. So again I took my abusive alcoholic husband back. Back to abuse me, back to see him drink his self to death, back to the dark world of an alcoholic.
One time it got so bad I ended up stabbing him. He was drunk again, nothing unusual in the house but he kept coming at me. Throwing hurtful things out at me. I ran to the kitchen and grabbed a knife. I did not plan on stabbing him. I only wanted to scare him so he would not hit me. I did not want to feel his fists on my body again. I was so scared of him I usually slept during the day and stayed awake while he was home. But then when I talked about working he would keep telling me I couldn’t work. That he needed me at home, that he could not have me working because no one would be home to cook his supper, wash his clothes, take care of him and anything else he could think to say to me and get me to change my mind. This was not a marriage, this was a master / slave relationship. He would tell me to jump and I would ask how high. This was not love this was abuse of a different form.
One weekend he was so drunk and abusive he kept slamming my head against the concrete kitchen floor. I am amazed he did not crack my skull. He kept yelling over and over “how do you like this bitch” or “does this feel good you fucking whore”. I can remember passing out from the pain. I remember waking up and the house was quiet. No noise, no sound, nothing. My first thought was where he was. Did he pass out, go to work or what. Did I hurt him? Yes I was concerned that I might have hurt him when I was the one with a throbbing head, the one with a knot larger than a baseball on the back of my head. But I was more concerned with him. I found him passed out and left him alone. I had learned my lesson early to not wake up a drunk. They or at least he was sometimes a whole lot meaner than before.
During this time he was drinking around a gallon of vodka a day. On weekends if he did not have to work he would drink two or more gallons. I honestly do not know how much money was spent on alcohol but it was a lot. He would take a drink as soon as he got up and he would pass out from being drunk. He would drive to the liquor store while on his lunch break for half a pint and then stop by a different liquor store on the way home to buy the nights worth. Looking back I question how I was able to keep my sanity while living with him. I see myself as messed up as the drunk. Giving in to anything he wanted to not cause an argument. To try and keep the peace was my main and only goal for that day. I will not lie I had an addiction also but my addiction involved sweet tea with sugar. Something I seem to not be able to live without. My addiction is not harmful to anyone but myself, if that. To this day I laugh and tell anyone I can drink them under the table, if that drink is sweet tea.
One Sunday afternoon during a Titan’s football game he was angry about something, who knows what. I said something wrong or maybe he thought my walk was provocative. He threw me in the floor not caring where I hit. My head hit the corner of my grandmother’s cedar chest. I hit very close to my temple. He ripped my clothes off and rapped me. When he was finished he got up and went back to his game. I just laid there. I was dizzy, my head hurt and I felt beyond violated. I wondered why someone who claimed to love me would do something so horrible. I got up, curled up in bed and silently cried myself to sleep. If he heard me crying he would have started hitting on me again. I tried to be as quiet and small as possible. I can remember waking up when he came to bed. I jumped up out of bed and refused to let him touch me. That made his anger come out in full force again. Telling me I was imagining stuff that he would never and had never did that to me. I do not know what hurt more that he actually did that or him denying he did that to me.
I was still attending church but I was not getting what I needed. Oh I knew God was with me but I was still lost. One day my husband started mocking me because I was attempting to read and study the bible. He laughed at me when I told him that I had faith God would take care of me if I needed it. He did not believe it. I had chicken, beef or something laying out on the counter thawing for supper. I told him that I had enough faith that if needed God would cook that meat for me. He laughed that I would believe in a God, then laughed that I believed something so stupid in his eyes. I could mock him here because he says he is a Christian but he has never fully accepted Christ as his Lord and savior. His reasoning for getting baptized is that it will keep him from going to hell if there is one. Kind of like having life insurance. He has it just in case he dies. A few days after he was a raging drunk and hit on me I called the pastor at my church. I did not tell him who I was and figured he would never figure out since I was attending a large church. I ask him if a wife should stay with a husband when he abused her. The pastor told me that I wife should never leave her husband. That anything he did is forgivable and she probably deserved whatever punishment she received. Well after hearing my dad tell me I deserved whatever happened to me I had it from a man of God that I should stay with my husband. I believed I deserved whatever abuse I received from my alcoholic. Never believing it was in my best interest to pack all my stuff and leave. Not believing I was strong enough to take care of myself.
These thoughts were nothing new to me but if you knew me before I was married these thoughts would of shocked you. I was a very independent person. I could work on my vehicle go into the house and cook a seven course meal. I would walk out of my house dressed to kill and took no prisoners. I enjoyed life. If I wanted to do something I would jump in my car and go do it. I enjoyed dating and never stuck with one man long. I guess you could say I was footloose and fancy free. And I was I worked, I took care of myself, I paid my bills, I bought whatever I saw I wanted. Granted I was still living at home, I could not let go of the apron strings attached to my parents. Maybe I should have moved out, moved away, things might have been different. But today looking back I do not regret my past. To regret my past makes me regret the person I am today and I do not regret the person I am today. It may have took me years longer to become the person I am and I accept that. I love the person I am today.
Sometime in 2006 my step-daughter came to live with us. She was having problems with her mom and wanted to live somewhere else. I welcomed this. I thought that it might make my husband stop drinking. I thought he might change for his daughter. Again my messed up thinking that an alcoholic will not stop drinking for anyone. If anything it did slow the drinking down during the week. He only drank heavily on the weekends. He would get so drunk that he would pass out instead of falling to sleep. He would not eat, alcohol had become his food, his water, his manna. He weighed about 120 pounds. That is not much for a 5 foot 2 inch man. When it came to clothes they do not make them in an extra-small for men. Clothes in the boys youth section were to small and the men’s section were too large. I had stopped cooking when his daughter was not home. If I cooked he would not eat so no sense in wasting food. He was still working but we never had any money. During the summer his daughter needed to attend band camp. We did not have the money for gas so I would drive him to a neighbor’s house to take him to work. Then I would take his daughter to band camp and sit in the vehicle all day waiting. Sometimes I had a book to read sometimes I slept. I never had anything to eat because food for me was not important. It was more important to buy his alcohol or feed his daughter lunch.
I was thankful she came to live with us but I also hated it. The relationship with my parents was on rocky ground and I still had no support system. I knew about Alanon and had attended meetings in the past but when I mentioned attending meetings he would go off. So I did not go. I suffered, I suffered in silence. I am not stating she did not know what was going on. She knew and she ask him to stop also. But pleads fell on death ears. He was not concerned with anything but when he would get the next drink. In her short time with us I honestly think she suffered more than I did during all the earlier drinking. She had two dysfunctional people being a parent. Two people that could hardly take care of themselves let alone a teenage child. Oh I tried but I let my anger for him show in how I talked with her. She would have been better off living with a friend than living with her father and me.
Problems were created faster without any previous problems worked out. Things were happening and there was nothing to change the outcome. On what was supposed to be our tenth anniversary that year I went and had my hair cut, colored, permed and styles. I was looking for a new me and hoping that he would notice. He noticed a little in his drunken stupor. His daughter had plans to stay with a friend the whole weekend so him and I could have some alone time. What I looked for as a big celebration turned into him being drunk and me sitting at the kitchen table hurt and crying. Hurting that my husband had so little concern for such an important event. At least I can say he did not hurt me physically that night. Alcohol had become his wife, love, mistress and friend. Alcohol provided everything I was not able to provide and escape where the demons did not haunt him, a place where he could forget everything. I was quickly losing weight and he did not like the new me. I was working and I had found courage that I had forgotten I had. I found faith in myself, faith that I did not remember having.
So much happened between June 24 and July 7 that it is hard to believe it. With such a short time span looking back I wonder how so much could have happened.
To be contuined when I am in a better frame of mind. After writing this I cannot contuine in my current state.