“Sober means I’m not getting drunk. I have a glass of wine or a beer now and again. So what? It was never my intention to stop drinking forever.”
These words were hurled to me as I confronted my favorite addict after I found a poorly hidden empty bottle of wine. They claimed they were 75 days “sober.” And by their definition, perhaps. But for a known binge drinker, I doubt that’s the case. I’d also like to mention all this drinking was done in secret – as was their addiction; their family was oblivious, because they would have gotten upset. And rightly so.
The addict then proceeded to make me sound like I was the crazy one. A master manipulator, there was no confession of wrongdoing or relapse. It was in-your-face defiance with their version of sober. The bait and switch made me feel cheated, hoodwinked, and the structure of trust came crashing down; that will have to be rebuilt. Again.
I liken it to having an affair on my husband with a guy named John (this is for comparison only, I’ve never cheated on my husband). An event caused me to confess, with tears, that I was ending the affair, profoundly sorry for the pain I caused, and I was again faithful to my husband. And so the marriage rebuilds. Then, my husband comes home after work several months later to find another man’s coat had fallen between the couch and the end table. His heart races as he asks me who’s it is.
“Oh, it’s John’s,” I’d say. “He came over today to watch a movie with me. We’re not sleeping together anymore, we just hang out, go to lunch and stuff, and have been for awhile, I just didn’t tell you because you’d freak out about it. I said I would stop sleeping with him, which I have, not that I would never see him again. John and I have a friendship that goes way back and he’s so interesting and nice to have around! What’s so bad about me having a friend over? It’s not a big deal!”
My husband would not think this was okay. No reasonable spouse would think, hey she’s right, I’m totally overreacting! I’m sure something would happen down the road, regardless of my good intentions, and I’d wind up back in bed with John: past behavior is an indicator of future behavior, like credit scores. My husband’s anger would boil over and he would give me an ultimatum: John or him.
I would be angry back, saying it’s unfair just because I spent the past few years sleeping with John and now that I’ve mended my ways, everything is fine, and trust should be restored.
Yet this is the argument I’m having over 2 carbon atoms with a hydroxyl group hanging off of it – alcohol.
There will come a day in the not too distant future where a line will be drawn with that ultimatum: family or alcohol. Personally I’d choose alcohol: it has no accountability.
The entire premise for my addict’s continued use of alcohol all revolves around them and their wants and needs. The fact that their use is destroying their family does not register.
Perhaps that is the most heartbreaking part of this whole painful situation.
I covet your prayers at this time.