Withdrawal

Another weekend, another round of withdrawal. Ben is going into withdrawal more and more frequently. The futon mattress is exposed, the urine stain announcing itself in sepia. Bloodstains are smudged along the outer ring of the patch: fingerprints.

Rosie and I are sitting together, colouring in a Gruffalo when I hear Ben dry-heaving in the living room. It’s so loud, I jump off the stool I’m sitting on. He needs the basin. I put it down next to him – on top of the futon – and flee the room. Out on the landing, I can hear him throwing up again and again. I press my palms to my ears to block out the sound, and feel pathetic. For a moment, I think I’m going to cry.

I go back into the bedroom, and close the door behind me. ‘Look mummy!’ says Rosie. ‘I’m colouring it all in.’ And she is. She keeps going, brown crayon streaking across the body of the Gruffalo, staying impressively within the lines. Ben is still throwing up. ‘We have to keep the door closed,’ she says. ‘So we don’t hear him making those sounds.’

Later, I’m emptying out the basin, dry-heaving at the stink. I tell Ben he has to go into private treatment, that neither he nor I can manage this any more. He tells me to be quiet and just let him sleep. He’s been on his back for weeks now. All I do is let him sleep.

‘Oh great,’ I say at full voice, ‘Just leave me to clean up your mess. Arsehole.’

When I walk back into the bedroom, I find Rosie playing on her own, learning how to write the letter ‘T’. Her little face is swollen with sadness. Her mouth is drawn down at the corners. ‘Stupid mummy,’ she says.

I apologise. I know that every time I say things like this, she blames me for making her daddy sad. She’s right. As Ben has always maintained, it takes two.

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6 thoughts on “Withdrawal

  1. I would like to say that this blog is very powerful and it has the potential to help so many people! I admire your courage and strength.

    • Thank you so much. I would really like to hear from more people in a similar situation – whether carers or recovering alcoholics. In sharing our experiences, we have the power to help each other.

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