His cough made a hollow, painful, barking sound, and his breathing was labored. Her infant son’s struggles to breath and the sudden onset of it all was beyond terrifying. It was the middle of the night, and she scooped him from his crib to rush him to the hospital. Her confident actions were betrayed by the look of panic on her face and the trembling she felt through her entire body.
Her husband seemed half coherent as she tried to wake him and explain the urgency of the moment. She worried for the safety of her young daughter as she raced her baby son out the door and into the car. Her husband had been drinking that evening. He had drank until he passed out, and now she was leaving her daughter in his disoriented and semiconscious care.
How did she get in this situation? How did she commit her life to a man that now disgusted her in so many ways? How could she leave her first born in the care of a man who seemed incapable of caring for himself? How did it all get this dysfunctional and unloving?
My wife, the wife of a high-functioning alcoholic, has a story to tell about surviving this most traumatic disease, and you’ve just read an excerpt from episode nine of the Untoxicated Podcast where Sheri speaks publicly for the first time.
It is time for Sheri to tell her story.
It is a story of dreams that didn’t come true. It is a story of falling out of love. It is a story of lies and pain and hopelessness and survival and ignorance and confusion and secrecy and venom and deceit.
If you’ve ever wondered why alcoholism destroys so many relationships after the drinker stops drinking, listen to Sheri’s story. If you want a glimpse inside a loveless and toxic marriage, listen to Sheri’s story. If you’ve ever wondered how Sheri and I stayed together through the pit of despair and the anguish of recovery, listen to Sheri’s story.
This is by far the most emotional Untoxicated Podcast episode thus far, and the details are hard to hear. It is raw and honest and real. This is what addiction to alcohol does to a family, and it’s something everyone needs to understand if we ever hope to end the stigma and cure the epidemic of this disease.
It is also long and painful. If you can’t make it through the entire episode, please listen to the last few minutes starting at the 1:02:20 mark where Sheri tells me for the first time why she is still my wife. Although I’ve listened to that part a dozen times already, I’ll never truly understand.
Untoxicated Podcast Ep9 – Sheri’s Story: Matt’s Wife on an Alcoholic Marriage