Today I am honored to share a piece from a guest blogger and colleague over at Chicago Now. Kathy is a talented writer, quilter and survivor of an alcoholic relationship. She’s got a terrific life today but it wasn’t always so bright. I’m so glad she wrote about all this as I know so many of you out there can relate.
I married my High School sweetheart, the BMOC Football Star who took the Drama/National Honor Society Geek to prom, the one and only dance she ever attended in 4 years. He was cool, I was not. The first time he called and asked me out, I shrieked with joy. He drank, I did not. It didn’t bother me because lots of people drank in High School, I knew that someday the drinking would stop.
We dated all through college, able to see each other on campus and at home. It was so easy to continue dating him. I had a guaranteed escort for all of my sorority dances and I didn’t have to worry about having a boyfriend. I studied, had fun with my friends, had a fabulous year abroad in Spain and had a steady Saturday night date. He drank, I did not but I didn’t worry about it. Nearly everyone drank in college and I knew that after these four years, the drinking would surely stop.
But after we got married and I was around him all the time I realized that the drinking hadn’t stopped and in fact was not stopping. I tried ignoring it, denying it and bargaining about it. We had a baby girl and when I was expecting our second child, he got his first DUI. You would think that being 9 months pregnant and having to ask your father to bail your husband out of jail would be a really low place but it got worse, our baby died. After that the drinking never really stopped.
I was determined to save my marriage, to beat the alcohol to make our lives whole after they had been so shattered. We adopted a baby girl and only then I began to realize that maybe this drinking was never going to stop.
When the drinking doesn’t stop it kills love and it destroys respect. My ex-husband was drunk on my Mother’s last Mother’s day. He drank his way through vacations and major life events. He peed in the sink, in his drawers and in his bed. The love turned to pity, disgust and hate. I hated the alcohol and that I had chosen a man who preferred it.
When the drinking doesn’t stop, you lose jobs. My ex lost them all but it was never his fault, people were against him. The other teachers talked about him, his last group of students sued him and the parents lobbied against him wherever he landed. He continued to drink until finally that was all he wanted to do.
When the drinking doesn’t stop, you lose your family. My Ex-husband left so he could drink without anyone nagging him or judging him because as he told me, that is who he was, he drank. When he left neither of his daughters was sad, neither cried. The oldest hadn’t invited him to her confirmation. He had missed all the school conferences and open houses. He had been asked not to coach her sports anymore.
When the drinking doesn’t stop, even your most forgiving child will finally have enough. After a particularly nasty series of drunk phone calls she shouted at me, “What kind of parent calls his daughter when he’s wasted?” What kind of parent indeed, a drinking parent.
When the drinking doesn’t stop you aren’t invited to your daughters’ High school graduations. You don’t walk your daughter down the aisle, instead she chooses a new father who has stepped in to heal the wounds.
When the drinking doesn’t stop, you end up dying alone, your body not discovered for three weeks. And if that death occurs in California, your next of kin will be forced by law to come and settle your estate. Your daughter will see that you lived in an apartment without a working toilet, surrounded by your own filth and bottles of Jim Beam near everywhere you could possibly reach out an arm to grab one.
Stop drinking. Do whatever you have to do to stay sober. My family has healed and moved on but at a tremendous cost. My ex-husband took happiness and threw it away with both hands and grabbed for a bottle. I beg you, grab onto your happiness and sobriety and hold on with all your might, all your strength. Please, don’t make yourself and your family suffer like this.
Do what you have to do to make sure that the drinking stops. Today. Right now. Today, the drinking stops.
You can find Kathy Matthews on her blog over at Chicago Now called Quilting! Sewing! Creating! Right here – click on this, then you can follow her blog too! And follow her on her Facebook page. She’s a stitch. See what I did there? HA! But really, she’s funny, kind, and as you just saw, one hell of a writer.
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