This week’s HTYH is a continuation of Larcine’s story: I watched my future husband drink the better part of a gallon of wine and drive safely home with both hands at the 3 O’clock position. I thought to myself, this guy can really hold his liquor. I grew up around Army bases and witnessed the brawls, bar fights, and black eyes and was determined to never marry a mean man like my father. I never liked asking anybody anything and so, I acted like I knew everything, it was like I didn’t need to ask because information floated around the universe and I just picked it up? There was one major thing he had in common with my Dad; both swore that they didn’t have a problem with alcohol. We began to date regularly and alcohol was always present wherever we went and if it wasn’t there he would take breaks and drink outside and return to the party. In the beginning it was difficult because he couldn’t remember my name, but I wasn’t going to let a little thing like that stand in the way when I was husband hunting. That, however, was just the tip of the iceberg.
This was during the 1970s in California where other drugs besides alcohol were usually present at parties. We were pretty laid back and he never hid his drinking or drugging from me. If however, you would’ve asked me if I knew he was drinking and doing drugs, I would’ve lied and said, “I had no idea that was going on.” If the truth got too ugly; I made up a story and covered it up. That’s how alcoholism affected me. Even though I wasn’t the person doing the drinking, I would lie and make up a story to look better than his story. I’m not proud of that, but I’m sharing this to demonstrate where the family disease of alcoholism took me. We dated for two more years and I got pregnant. My guilty mind believed that I was being punished for breaking the “no sex,” rule before marriage. I imagined this was my cross to bear and that I should bear it in silence. I never asked anybody else about my plight; I just imagined that this was my punishment for being a bad girl. About two years after I had joined Alanon several of us women were having a “meeting after the meeting” in a hotel room. We shared our darkest secrets with each other and when it was my turn, I confessed that I got pregnant and had to get married. As it turned out, 6 out of the 7 of us got pregnant and they had to get married too. Suddenly it became a “we,” problem instead of a “me,” problem. We decided that the one woman who married an alcoholic when she didn’t have to must be the sickest one among us. One more time, I learned, that we are only as sick as our secrets. Day after day, month after month my husband’s alcoholism progressively worsened, but I had no program of action, or anybody to share it with. A problem shared is a problem halved!
The very worst part of my sickness was that I began to blame my little boy because if I hadn’t gotten pregnant with him then I wouldn’t be stuck with a drunken bum. If it wasn’t for this little boy, I could’ve married somebody who didn’t drink alcohol and lived happy ever after? I’m not proud of that but the whole sordid mess was caused by the progressive disease of alcoholism. That I could blame a precious little child for my bad choice especially when it was my choice to make; was regrettable, unbearable and disastrous. My son had nothing to do with my husband’s drinking problem but alcoholism and denial affects the whole family. That night in the hotel room after I shared my darkest secret with other women; it freed me. My son is 31 years old now and I love him as much as any mother can love a son and I owe that healed relationship to Alanon and Alcoholics Anonymous. To be continued.
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