The other day, my husband and I were celebrating a special event. We came home, got our pajamas on, tucked the kids into bed, and prepared for a cozy evening in.
I was standing in our bathroom washing my face and he walked in with a drink. And all of a sudden I felt a feeling I hadn’t experienced in years. My stomach got tight and I felt a little lump in my throat.
As I mentioned, we had been out and had our limit of two drinks. I don’t have a drinking problem and neither does he, so we don’t intentionally choose that amount. We just know from experience that three drinks are one too many for us.
So when he walked into the bathroom with drink number three, it took me off guard. I was unprepared. After a few moments, I realized – these were old feelings surfacing from my first husband who has a drinking and drug problem.
My quick, subconscious reaction to his third drink was a trigger caused by the pain from my past.
As I was staring at myself in the mirror blotting my face with a washcloth, I debated if I should say anything. He’s not my ex. He’s a sober, responsible man. Shouldn’t I be fine?
But then I thought if I did something that was causing him to have his old buttons pushed I would want to know.
So I kindly said, “I love you, honey, and I just need you to know that I’m feeling uncomfortable that you’re having another drink. I’m not asking you to pour it out – it’s just bringing up a lot of old feelings for me.”
And you know what he did?
Before I could even get the last few words out of my mouth, he was pouring it down the bathroom sink. He wasn’t angry or resentful. It was a natural choice for him that didn’t even require any more conversation.
I gave him a huge hug and thanked him over and over.
And that’s when I realized – when you love someone who isn’t struggling with this disease – they will gladly get rid of the alcohol if they know you’re even mildly upset. It’s not a big deal to them.
If you’re wondering if your partner loves alcohol more than he or she loves you, ask them to throw out the next bottle or cup and see how he reacts.
I know in my first marriage I begged, pleaded, threatened, and manipulated to try and get him to do the very thing Brian did in our bathroom. And it never worked.
Now and then I get transported back into my past and I can compare the life I had then to the life I have now. This is what I know for sure… I’m so glad I stopped focusing on his issues and started to focus on mine. If I didn’t commit to my recovery, I never would have had that moment in the bathroom.
If you’re ready to commit to your healing – join one of our programs and let’s get started. They are full of REAL tips (and not a lot of fluff) that you can start using immediately.