27 days. Yes, today I am 27 days sober. It was 27 days ago that my life truly began, and it was also 27 days ago that I hit rock bottom. On that day, the first day, I would have described it very different. I would have told you that my life was over and that I didn’t know how I was ever going to pick myself back up. Don’t get me wrong, that day was horrible, and I can only hope I’ll never have to re-live it, but I also think it was necessary and most likely saved my life. It’s amazing how clear things become with some time, good therapy, a few good podcasts, and of course no guilt ridden trips to the liquor store.
I am writing this post for one main reason. I want to get my story out, so that maybe it will help any of you who are in a relationship with an addict. The things I will write about are based only from my experience and no one else’s. I am not a doctor or a therapist, I don’t have any licenses or degrees that validate any advice I give, all I have are experiences, a lot of them, and I hope that through them I can help someone else who needs it.
Since I started this blog a couple weeks ago I have gone back and read my first post more times than I probably should have. Each time, as grateful as I am that I was able to be honest and vulnerable that day, I can’t help but be angry at myself. I’m not angry for the mistakes I made and all the sad details of my story, and I feel no regret putting it out there for the world to see. What I am mad about is something that I’ve always done and I did it over and over again in that post. I blamed myself. I blamed myself over and over again for every bad thing that ever happened in my marriage, and I blamed myself for it coming to an end. I will never discount the role alcohol played, and all the horrible mistakes I made when I was drowning in the bottle, but it is foolish to say in any type of ending that it is all one-sided. This is why I wanted to write this blog for any of you who are married to, or are with someone who struggles with addiction. The role you play is huge, at least it was in my experience, and I think every alcoholic out there reading this would agree with me. Sitting here 27 days later with a clear head and far less emotion in my writing, I can finally be honest with myself and say that some of the situations I was placed in were not ok, and are also not what a loving, supportive partner would ever put the person they love through. I am in no way trying to “bad mouth” my ex-husband because despite the pain and heartbreak, I wouldn’t have married him if he wasn’t a good person. Having said that, I have realized that even the best people can do things that you will never understand. My self-esteem and self-worth was so low that I let things slide and believed what I was constantly told, it was my fault. My addiction caused everything. I have so many questions that I wish I had the answer to, but I am also prepared to live my life without ever getting those answers, and thats ok.
Over the last 3 years I have attempted sobriety probably a dozen times. Each time I started I woke up with high hopes, but inside it felt like I was already defeated. My sobriety seemed to be more of a burden than a good thing. When you are trying to stay sober being around alcohol in any way is a risk. You are so vulnerable and still trying to detox your system, so your body still craves it as if you are still drinking. Because of this, I could not go to parties and I really just didn’t want alcohol around me. This was not easy because my husband liked to have his parties on Sundays, and even though he didn’t drink, others did, and they didn’t care to bring over their own. My husband let them, knowing my struggle and knowing how vulnerable I was. After everything we had been through in our relationship and after how hard I was trying to stay sober, I would come home from work to a bottle of vodka on the table like it was water and I shouldn’t care. I took that on though, I blamed myself because I’m the one with the problem so I shouldn’t expect my husband to stay sober with me. He should still be able to live his life right? Thats what I constantly told myself. Although this is true in some ways, it is very false in others. I was doing everything I could to save my life and better our relationship, and it felt like the support I got in return was very little. What I did get was money here and there to help with therapy, and then words like “I don’t bring alcohol in the home during the week, so I’m supporting you”, and “I don’t want you to drink because you get so emotional and I can’t handle the drama”. It didn’t feel very compassionate and I felt so alone in the whole thing. There are many people that have now reached out to me and said “I never wanted to say anything Amelia, but it frustrated me the things I saw your husband do when you were trying to get sober.” And now, I can finally say I agree. I have my voice. I am frustrated. I am hurt. I am also smart and understand that my alcoholism was probably very hard to live with at times, but it doesn’t change the facts. When you marry someone, you vow to be there through the thick and the thin. That’s what marriage is supposed to be about. Marriage is not giving up after 3 months and treating it like a prom date was cancelled. There are so many things that I wished he would have done, because I know he was capable of it. He was my hero, my protector, and my safety net for years. So why? Ugh. I don’t understand and I probably never will. The one thing I needed was for him to show up like a husband should and have my back, be compassionate, loving, and protect me from the one thing that could kill me. If he would have just held me one time and told that everything was going to be ok and that I wouldn’t have to go through this alone, that would have done more for me than I can explain. Maybe he didn’t know how to do those things though. Who knows. All I know is the man I was with for 7 years changed in an instant and I feel like he’s a stranger to me now. So thats that. Thats a sliver of my story, and I am not going to feel bad for sharing it. Vulnerability is necessary even though hard to take sometimes.