This week’s HTYH is a continuation of Larcine’s story: I ran across a phone number for a local chapter of the “National Council on Alcohol Abuse,” and copied down the number. After the dope house incident, the police and the hospital, I called that number. A woman answered the phone and for the first time I told her everything that was going on in our life regardless of what she might think. To my surprise she seemed to know what I was going to say next, it was like she had already heard the same story a million times. She said that she would send me some Alanon literature and a few days later a brown envelope arrived in the mail. To this day I cannot remember what it contained because by the time it arrived, Butch was behaving again, he was going to work every day and coming straight home. I had taken Butch to the doctor and he put him on antibuse (antabuse). I warned him every day that if he drank any alcohol while he was taking those pills he was a dead duck! Butch went for two years without drinking one drop of alcohol but he was still using drugs. I understand today that even though he wasn’t drinking alcohol the “ism” part of his alcoholism was still alive and living in our house.
Because antibuse (antabuse) has a negative effect on the enzyme levels in a patient’s liver, after a while, the doctor had to take Butch off the antibuse (antabuse). “I want you to wait six months and then try some controlled drinking,” said the doctor. I don’t believe Butch waited six days and when he started drinking alcohol again it was anything but controlled, or social, he started up right where he left off earlier and perhaps even more. When the A.A. people say that an alcoholic’s alcoholism progresses even during long periods of abstinence, they know exactly what they’re talking about. Even though Butch had been alcohol free for two years, when he drank again, it was absolute insanity. He stopped going to work and whenever I came home for lunch he would be passed out on the floor. I could not pick him up, or do anything with him; he stayed drunk and frequently blacked out during the last nine years of his drinking career. I used to come home from work and pray that his truck would be there and now I was praying it wouldn’t be there. I was totally defeated, desperate, at my wit’s end, and that’s when I finally went to my first Alanon meeting.
I vividly remember sitting in the front row, but I did not want to be there. I hated my life, my husband and everything else including sitting there with old people. There were young people there too, but I didn’t see them, I only saw old people because I felt old and worn out. If you’re new to Alanon and you’re making excuses why you shouldn’t come back, please know that you are not alone because that’s exactly how I felt. The Alanon women at that meeting were as warm and friendly as was humanly possible, but I did not want to be there and I was looking for any excuse not to come back. They said, “If somebody’s drinking bothers you then you belong here.” Somebody’s drinking bothers me? That’s not where I was at; I wasn’t bothered, I was enraged, miserable, defeated, insane and pissed-off. I didn’t want to hear about “bothered,” the word bothered paled by comparison to how I felt. I wanted the Alanon’s to fix my husband so I could be OK, but they said instead, “You can fix yourself, but don’t you dare say one single word to him about his drinking.” Some how, I had come to believe that it was his job to make me happy and “by golly,” he was falling down on the job. To be continued.