Today we’re going to talk to a brave woman who grew up in a home with an alcoholic father. I know a lot of you in our community can relate to this situation. We’re also going to be sharing how to match our expectations with the reality of our personal situations, what to do when the one you love has been drinking and wants to come to bed with you but you want to be alone, and how to handle children and visitations when we’re worried about leaving them if their parent is intoxicated.
This is a jammed-packed interview so we’re going to jump right in.
Michelle: Thank you so, so much for agreeing to share your story with me and for talking with me. I really appreciate it.
Rachael: It’s great to talk with you in person. You’ve done more for me than you probably know, so thank you.
M: I would love to start out with these questions: how did you meet your husband and when did you start to see that there are red flags?
R: We got engaged in four months and we got married 13 months after we met. It was a total whirlwind. But I was totally confident and I had never felt surer about anything else in my life. I guess looking back, there were some red flags initially. I remember thinking, “Sometimes he drinks too much,” but it was kind of sporadic. It was, like, six weeks or something he would have too much to drink at a party, but it was something excusable. We didn’t have any kids and he had a good job and was responsible. But it’s been about five years now that it’s been a definite problem on a daily basis.
M: So he’s drinking every day now?
R: Pretty much. He stopped a few months ago for about two months and he went to meetings and he seemed to be getting his act together and now he’s back at it. So he was never really fully, fully committed [to quitting].
M: Did he do anything else that you know of? Is he addicted to pornography, is he addicted to drugs, has he ever cheated…?
R: He has never cheated. If he has access to prescription pills, he will abuse prescription pills until he runs out and he will wait a couple of months until his doctor will give him more.
M: That’s normal. That’s totally normal. I’ve heard that many, many times.
R: He’ll say, “Oh, I’m not drinking,” but he’ll be popping eight pills a day or something. Or he’ll still drink and take pills with it, but won’t drink as much, but he’s still high or checked out or whatever. So, he seems to think with pills that it’s not as evident to me, but we always know.
M: Isn’t it interesting how you can tell? Like right away? Like you have this built-in alarm system that goes off?
R: Even when I’ve been away this week, I’ll talk to him or I’ll FaceTime with him and I’ll just know instantly if he’s on pills or he’s been drinking.
M: And that’s a really good point. Because a lot of women allow themselves to be convinced that they don’t know and that they are crazy and that’s where I think that some growth needs to happen – to trust our instincts and trust our gut and to just say, “I don’t even care what you’re saying to me. I know the truth,” and not wait for them to confirm it. Just to know.
R: He would say, “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” and I’d believe him. It’s like you just said… like I’m crazy. And I’m now at a point where I know what’s going on here. You tell me X-Y-Z, but I know that’s not true and you know that’s not true. So I can put him in his place a little bit more or tell him, “I know you’re lying to me.”
M: You grew up in a household with alcoholism or drinking or drugs? Is that correct?
R: Yeah. My father was an active alcoholic when I was growing up off and on, but when I compare him to my husband, there’s just no comparison. My husband is a thousand times worse just with some of the things that have happened.
So I grew up with my father drinking, but the issue really was that my mother shielded it from me. She never told me what was going on. He could sometimes be verbally abusive in a way. It’s not like he was swearing at me or anything, but he was just was unpredictable, which was the biggest problem.
I was an only child. So the father-daughter relationship is important and girls grow up and they kind of idolize their father. They want to be with someone just like their father. So I didn’t know what was going on. One day what I did was perfectly fine and the next day he’s drinking and I was yelled at or chastised for [the same thing] and I was just confused. I had no idea that it was because he was drinking until I was a teenager, probably.
So I’ve definitely been different with my kids now. But that would make sense – my father was a lot like my husband [is now]: white collar, had a good job, did well financially. I grew up in a really nice town and I’m an only child, so my parents bent over backwards, just sacrificed everything for me. I mean, they still do, which is wonderful.
M: Is your father sober now?
R: Not completely, no. He can go weeks at a time without drinking. My parents will travel and he won’t touch it for weeks and then he’ll come home [and drink again.] But he’s remorseful. He doesn’t typically get mean or belligerent or inappropriate. He might just joke around a little too much.
M: Is that how your husband is? Does your husband get mean?
R: Yeah, he can get mean. He can get one of two ways. He is either really sweet, like “I love you so much. I want to spend time with you. Let me give you a back rub.” That kind of thing. Or he can be horrible – just saying horrible things, putting me down in front of the children. We can just be sitting there watching TV and he’d be like, “Oh, that’s a really hot chick.” Just really inappropriate. He also has two grown sons, so when they were teenagers in my house he would pretty much just behave like a teenager with them.
M: You know what I find interesting that you’re saying, though? You said that you didn’t want to compare your husband to your father and that they were vastly different. But I see that they were actually somewhat common in their behavior in the sense that both of them cause you to never know what you’re going to get. They are both unpredictable. Both of them you have to walk on eggshells around. Both of them caused you to doubt yourself.
The actions are different and the details are different and the way they behave and the frequency is different. I am fascinated that a woman who comes from a home with alcoholism is going to, in some way, recreate that atmosphere.
Do you feel like you subconsciously did that or do you feel like there was a part of you that couldn’t fix your father and so at the beginning of the relationship you thought you could fix this man?
So there are usually two reasons why women go into a relationship with a man that comes from an alcoholic family. Either one or the other or sometimes it’s a little bit of both. The first reason is because they couldn’t fix their relationship with their dad.
The second reason is because it’s comfortable for them. It’s familiar. It’s easy because you know how to operate in that situation. You’re used to walking on eggshells. You’re used to this very dysfunctional relationship because, subconsciously, you feel you perfectly match and you’re a perfect pair only because he reminds you of what you grew up in.
R: It’s the last one. For sure. I feel like when I was a child that it was kind of put on as a show that I was close to my father. And my father was there. He’d be there for every concert. He was there for every school conference. He was there for everything physically and he truly did care, but he was just not there emotionally. He’d put me to bed every night, read me stories. At the time I was a small child, but I didn’t really have him emotionally at the time. And as a college student and as an adult. I mean my father was one of my closest and best friends. I can talk to him about anything. So even though he’s actively drinking to a degree, he’s a person I totally respect and think very highly of and love very much.
In my formative years when I really needed to know what a man in my life should be like, I don’t think I had that. I’ve had a bunch of relationships before I met my husband with people that were very emotionally unavailable – like someone who was bipolar and addicted to prescription pills and living with his mother and grandmother. Thinking, “Oh, but he’s so nice,” and people are looking at me like I’m crazy going after guys like that.
When I met my husband, he worshiped the ground that I walked on. He was like, “ I can’t believe no one snatched you up.” He took such good care of me. I felt very safe and secure with him. I had all these things that I had been yearning for my entire life. And, like I said, I initially saw some red flags, but we were so in love and everything was so wonderful and this wasn’t going to get worse – this is just going to get better and this wasn’t going to be a problem in our future because we were just so happy and he’s so responsible. And then it just blew up in my face.
M: So how do you feel about your future with him?
R: Well, I’m definitely concerned. It’s not the fairy tale that everyone wants. He actually grew up with an alcoholic father in a very unfortunate situation, so he has that going on which didn’t help him. I’m still kind of sorting out what to do because at the end of the day, I still love him. I don’t want to have a broken family. Selfishly, I really enjoying not working outside of the home. I have a couple part-time jobs that I do just to make some extra money that are flexible so I can be with my children.
Part of me feels stuck. I don’t have a full-time job. If I did have a full-time job, I feel like I wouldn’t be able to spend as much time with my children and be emotionally available to them. I don’t want to disrupt my kids – take them out of their home, possibly take them out of their school system.
But at this point, I’m more detached from him than I ever have been. I’m able to function and kind of keep the peace and keep my children as happy as I can. I think of it like, they have an alcoholic father whether we all live in one house together or we don’t, so at this point, I’d rather keep us all in our home.
I feel like I kind of just have to see what happens. The other night I said to my parents, “In ten years a lot can happen, but when they go off to college if I’m still dealing with this, then maybe I would rethink it.” My family lives far away from me too, so it’s not like I can say, “Oh, I’m going to move in with my parents for a month with the kids.”
M: Usually if you say you want to move in with your parents for a month, men are like, “Great! Cool! Because I can have a party for a month.” You want to scare them into getting sober when you threaten to leave like that, which never, ever works. I’m not saying in order to leave you need to consider divorce as the only option, but you definitely need to leave without the intention of coming back until he’s been in long-term recovery or sobriety.
R: Right. So I feel like I have to have all my ducks in a row.
M: Yeah. And that takes time and planning.
R: Yeah, so I’m trying to figure out some things in that regard, but ideally I don’t want to leave. Ideally, I want him to get better, but I just don’t know if it’s possible.
M: I love how you’re able to keep the peace. I think that’s phenomenal. Can you talk more about that?
R: I feel like I’ve just been able to start doing that. I’ve been trying to detach for so long – ever since I got your program. I just have the expectation now of, “Okay, he’s going to drink or he’s going to be on drugs every night and that’s just what it is and I have to figure out my own stuff to do and I’m going to be putting the kids to bed or I’m going to be you know keeping an ear out for what’s going on if he’s putting the kids to bed.”
M: That’s huge. Have you realized how big that is? That’s an amazing place to get to. One that some women never get to. And don’t rip yourself off by saying it took a year. My goodness. That’s not a long time. That’s wonderful!
R: Yeah, it’s huge and I feel so much better. My parents were beside themselves. I kept it from them for a long time, but they would come and visit and they could see what was going on. So I said, “I don’t sit and cry every day.” These are just expectations that I have. We’ve been down here since Monday and finally, I think last night, my daughter said, “I miss daddy.” She didn’t even ask for him. It’s really sad, but they’re used to him not being around. He doesn’t engage or do things with them.
M: A lot of women are very scared to break apart a family. I know I was. So when I chose to leave, I remember thinking, “My kids are going to hate me because one day when they’re old enough to understand they’re going to know that I was responsible for doing this – for moving, for leaving.” I’m mean because I had to pull them out of their schools. I had to pull them out of their home. I did not trust my ex-husband to tell them the truth when he had them about the situation.
R: That’s what I’m afraid of too.
M: Yeah. And here’s how it went down: the kids recovered completely. In fact, some of them thanked me for the new peace that they were surrounded with. All they really needed was me.
And the baggage that the addiction brought into our home every day, I kind of became numb to it a little bit and I think they did too. Because they don’t know any different. My kids didn’t know a life without addiction.
So when they got out of that, they were like, “Thank you so much, Mom. You’re actually happy now. And we don’t have to worry about daddy leaving or screaming or passing out.” It just brought such a sense of love into our home that filled the walls, that filled the space, that I didn’t realize that addiction was suffocating out of our home.
I would have told you when I was married to him that I knew I was sick, but I didn’t realize how sick our space had become. How infested. That just everything had just been covered with this thick coat of addiction. And I didn’t realize that because when you live that way, it becomes normal. And then when you get into a new space and it’s clean and there’s room to breathe and there’s room for laughter and there’s room to be goofy and silly and there’s joy in the walls and the air… It’s a beautiful thing. And my kids are recovered in that space. They found themselves, they found their childhood, they found me. They found the mom that’s actually present with them and not constantly worrying, “Is he going to be home? What is he going to do tonight? What’s going to happen?”
R: So how old were your kids when you left?
M: My oldest was six or maybe eight. I’m so bad with numbers. I know my youngest was one-and-a-half, my middle was three, and my oldest was six. And they’re now 16, 14, and 10.
My daughter, just today, who just started a brand-new school just asked me if she could do a paper on her father’s addiction and present it to the class. And my son, who’s 16 did a project last year where he was the only child in the classroom that was doing a presentation on why marijuana should be illegal.
That’s the beauty of it. When I look at that, I think, “This addiction has been one of the greatest gift to not only me, but to my kids.” And this is just for me.I promise I’m not trying to convince you to leave and I’m not trying to convince anyone listening to this to leave.
I spoke yesterday with a woman who was very happy to stay and that’s wonderful for her. But for me, I think leaving saved my kids’ lives. I do. And I look back and I found another man who adopted them and is the father that is present and steady and stable all the time and who cherishes me so they get to see what a healthy marriage looks like.
M: I said this, and I know I’m sounding like I’m beating a dead horse, but you are your kids biggest advocate. It’s your job to be in the middle between addiction and your kids and to do what your mom did. You absolutely should talk to your children about what’s going on because they have to get it.
You know if you’re going to choose to stay, which is totally fine and acceptable. If that’s your decision, then my advice would be to write down every way this disease affects [your kids] and then on another separate piece of paper, write down how you can avoid those sticky, terrible situations. Does that make sense? And be committed to doing them.
R: Yeah, absolutely. My husband says, “Well, they’re old enough to put themselves bed at night.” I’m like, “Right, they may be old enough to put themselves to bed at night, but until they ask me not to, I’m putting them to bed.” So I pretty much do bedtime five or six nights a week.
Also, he would get drunk and talk horribly about his ex-wife to his older son. When he was sober, he wouldn’t say a bad word about her, but when he would drink, he would. I mean, he had absolutely no respect for her and she ended up having a lot of problems, especially with his older son who she pretty much had to kick out of the house when he was 20 years old because he was just so disrespectful to her.
M: Did he see [his other kids] on a regular basis?
R: He did when they were in high school. They would come over every other weekend. They would come over for dinner. But I’ve noticed that over the last few years, it’s definitely been less and less. I don’t know if it’s partially because of their ages and they’re busy with college. But the one just graduated high school and we didn’t really see him all summer.
M: Yeah, that’s not the reason why. I bet you a thousand dollars that’s not the reason why. I think the reason why is that this disease has progressed and it becomes more and more important. It becomes more important than you and me and the kids and anyone else that gets in its way.
I can’t sit there and say that it’s going to be easy, but what I can tell you is that the visitation, and I’ve been doing this for seven years now and I’ve heard this over and over and over again: the trend is that the visitations stop. Because the kids get in the way of the partying, so they become a pain, and that’s a good thing. It’s a good thing because you don’t have to expose your kids to those visitations anymore.
R: He saw his kids religiously. He was living in a different state, but it was only a few hours away and he never missed a visit with his kids. He’d drive four hours round trip to spend two hours with them in the middle of the week. He made this big deal of, “If we ever got divorced, I would just want to know that I would have the kids.” He feels like he lost his other kids, which is why it might be a big part of why he started drinking.
Now looking back, it’s like the kids would come to visit and he would have a little too much to drink and be kind of silly and whatever, but he never feels very self-righteous like, “Those are my kids.” He’s either a very, very intelligent person or he’s a person who is extremely stubborn and very entitled, like, “I am their father. These are my rights.” That kind of thing.
M: Do you still love him?
R: I do. But the love isn’t growing at this point. We’re not moving forward like we should be after being together for eleven years. At the end of the day, I still care about him.
M: But you’re okay with that? You feel like you can live with this kind of love and this kind of situation in your future. This is enough for you. You are okay with whatever needs he’s meeting and whatever needs he’s not meeting. What I hear you saying is that you’ve actually come to a place where you’ve accepted it and it’s good enough for you right now.
R: Exactly. I just feel like at this point to for me to go get a job, for me to raise my kids. I really think it would be detrimental for them and what they’re used to and what they’re comfortable with. Like my daughter told me she was going to miss the cats more than she was going to miss her father when we went away. I’m always number one on the list.
M: And you’ve come to a place where you’ve accepted it. And I think that that’s a good place to be. And there are lots of couples out there where a woman is very happy, or a man is very happy with the situation. It’s manageable.
R: Right. It’s not like it’s my dream, but at the same time I look at my role models and I look at my parents and my mother stood by my father for over 40 years – dealing with him. And he’s lied to her face. Just the other day he said, “No, I didn’t have anything to drink.” And the next morning he was like, “Oh, I’m so sorry.” The difference is my father is remorseful. My husband is completely not remorseful. Which is a major problem. But that’s the difference. My husband is at the point where he’s just like, “Well, this is what I do and no one’s going to make me stop and she can tell me all she wants, but this is my house and I can do what I want,” type of thing.
I think eventually my children would be able to see and appreciate what I had done, but I think at this moment right now, it would be very, very difficult for them and I would be around less and I feel like I’d be more stressed.
M: Totally. The idea of leaving just doesn’t sound like an option for you and that’s the great thing is that you don’t have to leave, if he gets sober or not. You’ve managed to get to a place where you’re happy and you’re peaceful and he doesn’t need to get sober and you don’t need to leave and it doesn’t need to be some dramatic change.
Absolutely reserve the right to change your mind. Tomorrow you can call me and say, “Michelle, I’m leaving.” And that’s fine. No judgment. You get to decide that. For today, this is where you’re comfortable and I think that that’s okay. It’s absolutely okay.
R: It just seems to make sense. I’ve had to grieve the marriage I don’t have, so I think that’s what took me so long to finally get to this point. Because I just wanted to believe that this time it’d be different and that’s false. That’s what addiction does.
I literally said to my parents, “I don’t think there’s anything humanly possible other than leaving him that I can possibly do to get him to stop. He just has to make up his mind that this is what he wants to do or what he doesn’t want to do.”
M: That is a very, very wise statement. And that is a beautiful place to be.
R: I’ve kind of been grieving the relationship that I wanted to have and that I thought I would have. I feel like I don’t have quite as much freedom. I’d like to have a girls’ weekend with some friends and I feel like he would tell me, “Oh, yeah, you can totally go.” One of my best friends from high school is getting married in a few weeks and I’m literally going away for one night because this is my best, best friend’s wedding. There’s just no way that I would ever, ever miss her wedding. I’d like to stay for the weekend, but I’m not going overnight because I’m not sure one night, everything will be okay. I just don’t know what’s going to be happening when I’m not there.
So for me, it’s just that I’m not able to control the situation and I’m just anxious. I’m kind of like, “They’re old enough. They know how to call me. They have these watches that I can track where they are and they can call me from them.” They’ve never called me hysterically like, “Please come home!” It’s just owning my anxiety. He can keep it together for like one night…
M: Well, I love that you have a backup plan. I think that’s super important because the reality is you’re not being dramatic. You’re actually like, “There is a man with a disease who you’re trusting to watch over your kids.” That’s something to be anxious about. That’s not in your head. You’re completely justified to feel that way and I love that you’re taking precautions and that you’re giving them training on what to do if they need to reach out to you.
You know, I remember my best friend got married and I did not go and I was too embarrassed to say why I couldn’t go because I didn’t want to embarrass my husband. I was protecting him and rejecting my best friend and her wedding, and I took the blame for it. Our friendship suffered from that for many years because I didn’t tell her the truth. I felt like I was being disloyal to my husband, which was ridiculous because she’s my best friend and she knows the truth now and forgives me entirely and would have been completely understanding.
But I’ve missed weddings. I’ve missed funerals. I’ve missed family reunions, and I lost all my friends. I had one friend who was my neighbor, but that was it. I just felt like I could not leave my kids, you know? And I couldn’t and there so much going on. My full-time job was just trying to get him sober. You are in such a healthier place right now. And I love that. I love hearing this. That’s such a place of strength that you’re in. And I just commend you for that.
R: Oh, well, thank you. I was not in that place until I started using your program, though, trust me.
M: So when did you join the program? You joined it a year-and-a-half ago?
R: It was almost two years ago.
M: How did you find it? Did you Google it?
R: I forgot what I was Googling, but I was Googling something
M: I love that you found this.
R: It’s been amazing. Even though I don’t post very often, I read a lot and I just feel like I’m never alone. I know that there’s always someone there. I’ve definitely gotten more open. Like with my closest long-term friend. My parents know what’s going on. I think people that I’m close friends with in town, some have an inkling that he’s got a drinking problem.
The people that I see all the time… I don’t want it to affect our social engagements and things like that, so I don’t really say much. Like July Fourth. He got completely drunk, passed out at a barbecue at my neighbor’s house and everyone knew and I literally took him home and left him at home and took my kids to the fireworks to meet up with this other family
My friend that was at the party said, “Are you sure you’re okay?” I said, “Yep, I’m not going to let him ruin my holiday.” And told her that it’s not my problem. This is his problem and I’m going about my business. So the neighbor’s we met at the fireworks, we just said, “He’s not feeling well.” That’s all I said and they didn’t ask questions.
Then I talked my friend the following week, and I think I just said in passing like, “I don’t think it’s a secret that my husband has a drinking problem.” So people know. She kind of said something like, “I’m really glad you went to the fireworks.” So I think they know that I’ve got some somewhat of a decent handle on it.
So I have so I definitely have people I can talk to. A support system. It’s just that some of my friends in town, they don’t need me to show up at their door at 8pm with two kids asking if I can sleep over. I mean, they would let me, but…
The thing is that he won’t leave our bedroom. I’ve told him before that if he’s drinking he has to sleep in the other room, but it’s pretty much like I have to leave the room. He will never leave. I’ve just gotten to the point where he’s kind of manipulating me. He had decided to drink earlier so that by the time we go to bed he’s not passed out and he’s functioning so that I can’t say, “Oh, I’m not coming to bed with you.” So sometimes I’ll just go to bed with him anyway to avoid a confrontation or an argument because it’s easier as long as he’s not snoring too loud or something. And sometimes I’ll just sleep down the hall. So I’m just trying to sort out if that’s a good move or a bad move…
M: The ultimate goal would have him to stop drinking altogether, right?
R: Yeah. Absolutely.
M: Okay, so a boundary that you can put in place is if he has one drink, you’re sleeping down the hall or wherever. You don’t need to wait for him or to see how much he has to drink or when he passes out whatever. It’s just, “Hey, you’re going to drink because you’re an alcoholic, you have a problem, you know you need to stop drinking altogether, so if you have one drink, I’m not sleeping there. I’m sleeping in the guest room.” And probably because it’s every day, you’re probably going to need to turn that space into something really, really special and beautiful for yourself. Even if it’s just a closet or whatever. Because you’re going to be spending so much time there. I think that that’s a really healthy boundary to make.
R: Okay, so that’s what I did and I literally got the same mattress topper that I have on the mattress in my bedroom so like the bed feels like my bed. Then what started happening was that he would he would come barging into the room. The door has a lock, but because we have kids it’s one of those that can open with a coin. So he just would just start barging into the room and say, “You’re supposed to be sleeping with me because you’re my wife.” So I was upset that my sleep was getting disrupted. I kind of decided I just wanted to get my sleep.
M: Do you have a Home Depot near you?
M: Okay, so you go to Home Depot and you need two things. You get a $12 lock and you can put it on the door yourself because we’re grown women and we can do tools even though we think we can’t. We can do it. So you put the lock on the door. And then if he bangs on the door and won’t let you sleep, you have two things you can do.
One: you can go to Home Depot and you can get one of those air purifier things. They’re round and they purify the air, but that’s not why you’re gonna get it. You’re going to get it because of white noise. And you can put it on full blast. I have to do this with my dog, who is like the biggest pain in the butt.
I put it on high and I cannot hear single bark. And so you put it by your bed and it drowns out any kind of sound. You might need to get some for your kids, so I have them in each of my kids rooms because [the dog] wakes them up too.
And then the final thing I just want to tell you if you do this, is that you cannot under any circumstances open the door. No matter how loud he gets, you must not open the door because the moment you open that door is the moment he knows that if he pounds on the door long enough that he’ll get what he wants.
So it’s like I can’t go down and let Albert out of his crate because I’m just reinforcing the fact that if he keeps barking I’m going to give in. It’s the same type of mentality. If you’re going to do this, you have to be committed to doing it no matter what kind of behavior goes on outside. I don’t know how nasty he gets when he’s drinking, but I know from my past experience that it got bad, so I would sometimes bring in the kids with me.
Have you heard of the Ferber method for babies who are crying?
M: So think of it this way… it’s like the Ferber method where it’s three nights of you being consistent. You’re teaching him how to to behave and what your tolerance is. This is a new boundary that you’re introducing and you’re sticking with it and addiction hates boundaries because it means it loses control. And addiction’s biggest thing is control.
So you’re telling addiction “You’re not going to mess with me. I’m smarter than you. I’m more powerful than you. I have more control over myself and my kids than you. I might not have control over him, but I can control everything else in this house. And you stick to your own lane. And I’m going to stick to mine.”
Addiction will learn. It will learn, “Oh, okay. I can’t get away with that.” It is responsive. You can actually train addiction. Women tend to kind of give up on boundaries. You’ll try a boundary, it won’t work and then you just kind of throw it out. You just need to get more creative.
You are smarter than addiction. I promise you that. Addiction is pretty manipulative, but it’s stupid, so you can outsmart this. You just need to be willing to get creative and keep trying things. Does that make sense?
R: Totally. I feel like it’s just easier. I would get the guilt trip of, “You don’t want to get near me, you don’t even want to sleep in the bed with me,” and then I’d get broken down and it would start all over again.
M: When he says those things to you and tries to guilt you, that’s when you turn into the dignified woman that you are, the dignified and truthful and strong woman that you are, and you look him in the eye and you say, “Yes, that is the truth for me. I love you so much. You have this amazing potential and when you are sober I can’t get enough of you. But when you drink, I have to do this and I’m prepared to do this and I will keep doing this until you stop drinking because I cannot be around you. I don’t want to share the bed with you when you’ve been drinking. When you’re sober, there’s no one I’d rather have lying next to me than you.”
And that’s what you say because it’s your truth. And you’re not yelling.You’re not coming from a place of anger or resentment. You’re coming from a place of very dignified self-control. And regardless of how he responds to that, walk away. Just walk away. You’ve spoken your truth, you’ve given your truthful voice and that’s important.
That man that you love who is kind and wonderful and full of potential, he heard that. The addiction might be screaming back at you. The addiction might be throwing a fit like a child, but the man inside that body – he heard that and he registered that. And that’s important for him to hear.
R: Could you email me that?
M: I’ll send you the recording. I’ll send you the recording and you can listen to it. It’s inside of you. Like you are an articulate, very smart woman. What I just said is inside of you. You just need to get to that place of knowing that.
R: I’m just not 100% there. Like I can say it, but I just don’t know if I can stick with it day after day. But I will get there.
M: You will get there. I know you will. Because here’s why: you’re talking to me two years after purchasing a program from me. You are in it to win it. You’re willing to do the work. You are committed to this mission. And the mission is you. And the mission is your kids. You are not a quitter. You are not somebody who walks out. You’re loyal, and you are loving, and I know that you’re going to get it. I know that whatever you decide in the next month, six months, year, and five years, you are going to be okay. I know that and I can tell that from you.
R: Oh, God, I hope so.
M: Yes. You are doing the right things. You’re on the right path. You just keep walking it. I promise. It will be okay. It will turn out okay. I promise you and I’m so happy that you shared. Thank you so much. I know that the women who want to stay, that are choosing to stay, find comfort and wisdom in in your words. And I’m really grateful.
R: Oh, I sure hope so. Because there are too many of us on this journey and we have to share with and support one another.
M: Absolutely. Thank you so much.
R: It was such an honor to talk with you. Really. You’re an incredible role model and just an amazing person. I’m just so, so happy that I got to speak with you personally. So thank you.
M: Well, it’s my pleasure. It is totally my pleasure.
You know what I love about this interview? Is that not everyone wants to leave their loved one. Some women are completely fine with staying. And because we don’t do judgment in our loving community, we are okay with staying or leaving. There have been many women who have stayed in their marriages and experienced a calmness and peacefulness if their loved ones got sober or not. The key to remember is to do your own work and stay in your own lane. Worry about the leaving vs. staying later. Just get busy starting your own program. If you haven’t joined us, please consider one of our programs.
I hope you enjoyed this podcast. Please do me a favor and leave a review. I would love to hear your thoughts and I promise I read every one of them. Also, if you know a sister, aunt, girlfriend, or mother who loves someone suffering from addiction, please share this with her. It could be just what she needed to hear. We don’t have to do this alone.