Thursday, December 4, 2008
Active alcoholism isn't pretty
In the worse part of those years when my wife was drinking, we had our share of horror shows. I would start to nag about the drinking and she would reciprocate with a lot of anger. From there the whole thing would escalate. We never struck each other--thankfully. But the emotional strikes from the things that we would say were terrible. She would threaten suicide, I would threaten to leave. She would throw plates, I would say that I wanted to die. It was a dance of two sick people going round and round with our hurting words and deeds.
As I look back on that drama, it seems surreal that I ever tried to bargain or reason with an alcoholic. And I would do it when she was drinking. I would purposely go at her when she was drunk with the idea of venting all my pent up anger, driving things to escalate, hoping to confirm just how miserable I was, as if I didn't already know that. I had so much anger that I wanted to lash out at her and took a form of perverse satisfaction in the following morning's apologies when she would be remorseful.
What a sick person I was. I'm just thankful that I'm no longer dealing with active alcoholism and that as a consequence of alcoholism in my life, I've learned a better way to live. I think that the peace of mind that comes from understanding how powerless I am over another has been a turning point for me. And having a God of my understanding who is with me during the good and bad times has kept me from feeling alone and lost.
I know that I won't live with active alcoholism again. It's a choice that I've made. I also know that there is nothing that can be said or done to "fix" the alcoholic. It's been a painful but valuable lesson in life. I hope that those who live with active alcoholism will find their way to a better way of thinking and living. And that it won't take them as long to do so as it did me.