Impact of Alcohol Abuse
Updated: Apr 28
When your counselor, stated I needed to write an impact letter, my first thought was… great that sounds like a good place to start, how does your drinking affect me. My second thought was, a very common thought I have that occurs as general theme in our marriage together…. “What if the letter upsets him, and sets him back”? Can he even handle how his drinking has impacted me/us? What if it “triggers” him to want to drink again? What this means, is the majority of my time spent with you has been spent worrying about you and your drinking. Can he handle that stress? I feel as if I am always tip toeing around matters. So I don’t upset the applecart- which puts tremendous amount of weight on my shoulders to carry around.
A quick reflection back in time: When we first met, I used to think… “How did he get that drunk so fast”… Getting to know your drinking habits was like putting together a puzzle… We had two beautiful children together by the time the last piece of the puzzle was placed in the correct spot…. Right around the same time you coherently walked into Detox with Sarah with a BAL of .43….. Near or at death for the sober man.
Before this relapse, I was new to the world of alcohol addiction and the effects, so I think I handled it in a way that made matters even worse. This relapse was different because, well simply put it wasn’t the first time. I remember being at the event 2 years ago when I looked at your eyes and knew you had taken a drink after an extended period of sobriety. All of those fears– they came flooding back to me in an instant as if a train had just hit me, I went into the bathroom and puked. Yet, in the midst of the party, it is always important to keep and maintain a peaceful disposition. Yet, it was important for you to know I knew… always. So, I would ask, and you would lie, until I found the evidence… and then you would act like you had control or stopped, yet it continued…. This awful disease that is your addiction, that I hate for you because I know you don’t want it.. I knew what was to follow.- like a bad trend-line traveling to the bottom. The energy it takes to get to the bottom is exhausting, yet the courage to leave at the first set back to immense. I know you can’t stop. And so the past two years, the impact of your drinking has made me feel every emotion you can feel: sad, angry,, disappointed, embarrassed, fearful, bored, lonely, consumed, crazy, neurotic, nervous, extremely manipulated and used, ashamed of myself for manipulating, frustrated, pissed off, regretful, stupid, unfocused, wrought with worry, guilty, and life becomes extremely chaotic and unsettling on a daily basis because I never know what I am going to come home to.
When you drink excessively, you display some main characteristics observed by everyone, so your secret you think is safe never is. Those characteristics are an extremely negative mindset, extreme anxiety and ridiculous talk about the same stuff, argumentative, constantly saying “Let me talk”, poor listening skills, extreme denial, and intense blame to everyone but yourself. These personality disorders that manifest themselves after you drink effect the people you typically care about the most. It creates chaos in the house. And then your extreme guilt always makes you state, “I have a big heart and I am a good person”…. Not recognizing how your disease makes those characteristics become less relevant in the daily life that is delivered to us from the effects of your behavior when you drink. Our son stated that he was extremely sad around 5:00 when you would blame him and then make me take your side. He did what he had to do to “keep the peace”. From the sober eyes looking in, it was so obvious that the relationship you had with our son in your sobriety was deteriorating the more you drank, and him even started to “make up” systems of lumps in his throat. He states now that he is happy he knows it wasn’t him, he is sad you are sick, glad you are getting help and he wishes I would have done this much sooner. He had concerns for his safety in the car driving with you. He loves you , he just hates your addiction like I do because of your behavior while intoxicated. Our daughter is to immature to process it all. She understands it. My message to them is… This is not your fault, you didn’t cause it, nor did you create it. We don’t condone bad behavior, Daddy is getting better, he loves us and we have open healthy discussions about how they feel.
I have to be honest, the impact of your drinking has taken a toll on all of us. The trust in our marriage is severely destroyed. I am resentful for the way you have acted this past year, you have said so many mean things to me (I question if they are truths). I question if you even know who I am for real? Like does your perception match my perception of who and what we are to each other? I have been sober watching a drunk man, and you have been drunk watching a sober woman. This house purchase has really been a huge disappointment to me. You were drunk on my 43rd birthday and the night you looked at the house for the first time. You handle stress poorly. You never have a plan for your life. You knew you would be off for 5 months and had no plan for the family, kids or yourself, leaving it all up to me.
I feel like the impact to your drinking always ruins milestones in our lives that should be happy. When we go places or we have people over, I am constantly worried you will secretly be drunk and act like you do when you drink. I was very upset with the 4th of July party when you decided to drink when I was having people over that you should have respected me enough to maintain a sober disposition. I had to do everything that day to not cause a ruckus, only to be told that everyone knew you were drinking, and treating Jack terrible. Well-everyone knew you were drunk except you, and it embarrassed me. The cruise was resolved around you drinking, and it was a terrible time. I feel like our life resolves around your addiction and I am not living my life the way I want to live it because of your habit. I am extremely disappointed in my choices to rouse Jack with you and started using him as a person to blame. I am extremely upset that I have allowed you to drive the kids when you have been drinking. The impact of this alone makes me very resentful of your choices even though it is an addiction. The impact of your drinking has affected my ability to relax and enjoy life effectively- exercise, eat well, because I never have a stable day. The impact is that I can’t focus on the relevant matters because I am always focused on your drinking and the effects it has on our family. It is miracle I have been able to distant myself from it at the level I am in my job to be effective and actually keep promoting myself given the fact that 60% of my marriage to you has revolved around chaos from drinking.
Your alcohol addiction makes me adapt to a normal that I have been forced to become accustomed to, but yet is very abnormal, and not what I want for my life or the children. The bottom line, is that you have to love yourself before you can love anyone. You spend a lot of time looking in the rearview mirror. I think if you looked in the mirror and really started to believe and live up to your potential of all you are- happiness can be unlocked. But, as Melissa stated, I can’t keep living with “What he can be”… “I need to live with what my husband is”- and only you can decide that and have a plan for the future…. And I do feel I have given you every opportunity to do just that. I’m afraid that at this juncture staying together may do more harm than good for each of us individually and as a family unit. You know what I am talking about. Admittedly, I have to work my program too, but I am not and never will accept even one drink or slip and that is a lot of pressure, but I know where one drink ends. I’m not even sure if that is a healthy principle of an Alanon program, but it is where I am today. At this stage, I worry your liver is going to give out and you will be on an implant list. I worry the kids will watch you die in the hospital on a ventilator as your eyes stare at us with a trach tube jammed in your throat days before the kids are going to graduate high-school. The effects of your alcoholism make me worry about these things. You need to know where this disease takes people…. To death… an early death. I have seen it, heard it, and watched it take lives of people I know. Do I want to watch this simply because our vows say till death do us part? No, our vows have already been violated. And the effects of this disease on a family are awful.
And then there is HOPE, God, trust and all the positive outcomes that an overly optimistic person like myself hangs her hat on to a fault in this life. I call it my curse…. My enabling spirit. The woman who spent 4 and ½ years with a wonderfully considerate smart sober man. The man who primarily raised our children while I focused on my career. The man I love. The man I love that has these demons from the past that manifest themselves and make him drink. The wonderful sober kindhearted husband, friend, son, son-in-law, cousin, Uncle we all love. Everyone loves sober you more than you love yourself…. But, nobody can make you love you but you. And so I don’t have to make any choices Bear- you do. You have to make choices about how you want the story of a bear to end…. And HOPE and have faith that all the choices and all the effects of this disease can be reversed… Because in this life if you truly want to do something, you work at it daily forever and every action and every choice has a consequence. That is just the way life works. With all my truth, with all my love, and you know I love you. You know I think you are amazing…. Sober.
Monday – Friday9:00 – 5:00