Evolution Series: American Dream

American Dream

I think it was about 4 years ago when I wrote my first letter – my first letter where I addressed the issue at hand. It was the first of many letters to come where I stressed how much I needed my husband, how much my kids needed their dad.

 

I begged and pleaded for him to stop drinking.

 

As the years continued, I continued to write my letters to him. I cried, sobbed, begged, pleaded and threatened, but it was not enough.

 

I changed through the years, and so did my message. Where the letters once started with, “I need you! I can’t live without you,” the sentiment slowly turned into, “I can do this on my own. The kids and I can no longer continue on this merry-go-round with you.”

 

They say you know when you know. It is 100% true.

 

This is the letter I read to my husband at his intervention. I thought it was the end.

 

It was just the beginning.

 

***

 

I remember when we met in college. It was amazing how fast my love grew for you, and I knew within a few months that I would marry you. Your kind, caring soul and big smile, with a contagious laugh, always made for a better day. Our lives continued to grow together, both finding successful careers – marriage, two amazing children and a beautiful home.

 

On the outside it appeared that we were living the American dream.

 

No one knew the dark secret that was hiding inside. Your alcoholism took control of not only your life, but my life as well. The fear and anxiety that I live with on a daily basis – wondering which version of my husband is going to walk through the door, or what dangerous event is taking place – has become crippling. Watching our son attempt and fail to wake up his drunken dad on multiple occasions is devastating. Over time, I’ve found myself searching recycling bins, golf bags, glove boxes and trash cans as if looking for evidence – as if finding it would somehow make me feel better.

 

I have collected empty vodka bottles, nips, and hidden empty cans as if somehow showing you the evidence would make it easier for you to see the problem.

 

You’re so smart, you have to see it, right? But little did I know how much this disease has a hold of you. I have hated you for using me as a punching bag of your drunken anger, and I have hated myself for allowing this to continue to happen. Your eyes have become different, and your soul depressed. I long for my vibrant husband I once grew to love.

 

I truly believe you are still in there.

 

I love you, and I hope for nothing more than long-term success in your recovery. However, I am no longer going to enable you. I am no longer going to sit and watch this disease spiral you to lower depths in front of me, and most importantly, our children. I can no longer hide your secret and the effects it has on me. I can no longer shield our kids, as I can already see the disappointment in their little eyes on a recurring basis. I am asking you to please accept this gift of treatment that we are offering you today.

 

If you do not accept this gift, you must leave the house immediately. We can no longer be a part of your life. I cannot continue to watch you slowly kill yourself.

 

I can only hope that you chose sobriety and this life saving requirement.

 

I truly believe that we can fall back in love with each other…Our kids deserve to know what it’s like to have a stable, safe home.

 

Sobriety doesn’t fix anything, but it is a prerequisite. The road following the intervention, and subsequent treatment (he chose to accept the help), was bumpy – full of starts and stops, progress and relapses. But Kim and her husband kept trying. At the time of this publication, they are almost eight months sober, working to secure that stable, safe and loving home.

 

If you are ready to accept the support that can help you get there, too, please consider joining our SHOUT Sobriety program for high-functioning alcoholics, or our Echoes of Recovery program for the loved ones of alcoholics.

SHOUT Sobriety

Echoes of Recovery

The Link between Alcohol and Survival, and My Costanza Moment of Truth
January 15, 2020
Why the Holidays are the Best Time to Quit Drinking
November 28, 2018
Sheri’s Story, Part 2: Recovering Our Marriage
July 10, 2019
2 Comments
  • Reply
    Kimberly Schroeder
    September 7, 2022 at 5:43 am

    Wow Kim! Thanks for sharing this with the world. We need to hear it. I could have written these exact words 3 years ago.. at the time I thought I was the only one walking alongside a spouse that was losing his battle to alcoholism before my eyes. We have over 3 years of sobriety here today and I want to tell you that it just keeps getting better! Congratulations on 8 months! I’m so happy for you and your husband!

  • Reply
    Mike
    September 7, 2022 at 6:52 am

    This story really relates. It is / was my story. Except, very sadly, my wife didn’t give me the gift of treatment. My wife didn’t give me the ultimatum of getting sober or leaving? My wife didn’t believe we could find “love” again and rebuild. My wife left. We barely spoke for a year and now we’re divorced. I’m still so heartbroken. I’m 11 months sober, but never have had a chance to celebrate one day of it with my wife. My kids truly appreciate and love their “new” sober father. I just wish it was our whole family enjoying it.

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