Actually, it’s him… and me

A couple of days ago, I wrote that I might have been imagining Ben’s drinking. It’s safe to say that I probably was, here and there. But the truth is, he is drinking again.

Yesterday, he rang me sounding miserable. Apparently, he’d decided to come clean to the rehab centre and admit that he’d relapsed more than the two times he’d told them about. The programme is abstinence based, and the fact that he carried on lying for so long meant that he had broken their trust, so they had an ‘ending’ for him, and that was that.

He left the centre and drank much of the afternoon away. He has been drunk since then. But he has been telling me the truth about when and how much he is drinking. I see this as a positive step – for him, at least.

As for me, I’m back to zero. Rosie and I are leaving on Wednesday for a month. So, now I’m in panic mode. Am I really going to change the locks? Should I? He has to go. I don’t want him to stay here on his own. He is unreliable, incapable of doing anything for himself. Left to his own devices, he will drink himself into oblivion. He may even burn the flat down.

He has to go.

During sober moments, he has been looking for a residential alcohol rehab centre that will take him. If he had accepted this was the right option a month ago, we would have had a programme in place for him. But he left it right until the last minute. We now have two days left and he has nowhere to go. I can’t believe it. I deliberately didn’t organize it because it was up to him, but in the end, I am the one more put out by this than he is.

I am angry. So angry. At fate, at him, at the day rehab programme (because they did nothing to prepare him for this month besides convincing him he had to test his willpower).

We found one residential rehab centre that Ben liked, but they have no availability for another two weeks. Ben doesn’t have two weeks. If he carries on as he is doing, he will end up in hospital. I told him, whatever happens, he is not staying at the flat. If he wants to go to that rehab programme, then he will have to find somewhere else to stay in the interim. Otherwise, he will be a homeless, penniless alcoholic. He’ll have to squat with the other drunk in the pedestrian subway near the tube station.

It’s been more than a year now since he lurched onto this path. Rosie and I seem to be stumbling along behind him. But I’m tired of all this. It’s a road I have no interest in travelling any more.




13 thoughts on “Actually, it’s him… and me

  1. I’m so glad I found your blog! I have just started one about my journey of getting sober. I am not married and I haven’t had to enter a rehab facility, but I am aware of the urges and the other things that comes with being an addict. I grew up in a home with an alcoholic parent, so I do have some idea of what it is like to live with one. I have read some of your passed blogs and my heart goes out to you and your family. I have lost many people because of my addiction and reading your blog will be a tool for me to understand what it is like being on the other side of things and help me stay sober. I will be following your journey.

    • Thank you for sharing and I hope that my journey helps you on yours. Despite living with an alcoholic for many years, I still don’t understand alcoholism – and fear I never will. It’s heartening to find people who are making their way towards recovery. It helps to remind me that recovery is actually possible. I hope to hear more from you – how did you manage to turn your life around without going to rehab?

      • Well I should clarify and say that I’ve never done inpatient rehab. I go to substance abuse group once a week and I’m also working on doing rehab, but outpatient. This would include different groups, programs to help me as well as counseling.

  2. I am so sorry for what you are going through. It’s hard not to worry about the alcoholic. It’s hard not to feel like you are failing him. But you have to try to think of what is best for you and your daughter. That is all that matters. You can’t control what he does, whether he ever gets help, whether he drinks himself to death, whether he finds a treatment center in time, etc. I can’t say that i was able to follow this advice until last year. I had been divorced from him for THREE years and I still continued to enable him. I no longer give him money or help him out. I am responsible for my children and if meeting their needs contradicts what he needs, well, that is not my problem anymore. I’m not going to lie…it’s still hard. He was evicted from his home this week and I panic at the thought of his pain when I allow myself. But he has taken me to the point of nothing. He might not have hit a bottom, but last year, he forced me to hit mine.
    Focus on what is best for you. He is an adult. He will find his way. He won’t ever find it with you pointing in the direction. Sad, but true. You can’t do the hard work for him. You can’t find the magic words to make it happen. You just have to let go and trust that he will find his way on his own.
    Again, I am so sorry. I know that it is scary, but addicts are resourceful. They are survivors too.

    • StrongerMe, you are right. But you would not be the person you are if you didn’t feel some compassion for that man. He’s the father of your children, you were married to him for many years, of course you still care for him in some way. But you’re right – it is about prioritising the welfare of your children and yourself. At every stage, we have to ask ourselves, is this ultimately going to hurt our children? Will it damage us so much that we are unable to care for them?
      My therapist says the same thing, and yet my husband seems so helpless. He is clinically depressed. How can I just let him go when he is so clearly ill? I keep thinking he’ll just die. He really has no friends here. He has no family either. I’m torn. I know I have to do what’s right for my daughter. This, too, is a problem. Despite everything, he has a brilliant relationship with her. They love each other completely. They play hide and seek, they chat, he pretends he’s a horse and lets her ride around the flat on his back. And he is more patient with her than I am. Can you believe that? I know she has a right to a healthy dad. But if I take her dad away from her altogether, how do I make it ok for her?

      • Oh my gosh, I get that! I have been hesitant to change the visitation order because he is their father and they love him. But my situation is different because I have to leave them ALONE in the care of their father. You are there to supervise his time with her. I think that his patience with her stems from the fact that he really doesn’t have any responsibility for her (or much else). He can relax and be silly without a care in the world. We have the weight of the world on our shoulders.

      • Yes, this is something I meant to ask you, actually. I imagine it is very difficult for you to leave your children with him. In a way, I’m surprised the law actually allows it. Over here, social services would enter the picture at this point – although not always. In our case, they were alerted because I did leave her alone with him before I knew the extent of his problem. But once I knew, I ensured he wasn’t left with her – although here and there, when I thought he’d stopped drinking – I did, much to my eventual horror. Nothing happened, but I’m always consumed by what could have happened. How do you manage? Your children are older, true, but they are still children. What do they say? Do they want to see him? How do they cope?

  3. If you don’t change the locks and everything goes to hell, who will you blame? Him? Yourself? Some people need to hit REAL rock bottom before they will act. The fact that he is looking into places now tells me that he was hoping you would do that for him or at least, let him stay in the flat. It doesn’t matter what you do… In the end it will be all your fault. At this point I would be focussed on the parachute, and not the plane…

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  5. Answers to your Questions: I am just now filing with the courts to reduce his visitation. When we got a divorce, I was still in denial about the alcohol. Even now, I am not sure if he is an “addict” where his body would go into withdrawal without it or if he still just “abuses” alcohol. Either way, it’s a problem and I know which way its headed. At first, I followed the approach of “if the kids seem okay, then I am okay.” There is a clause in our decree that says that he cannot be intoxicated when he has them, but I would have to call the police and cause a scene to enforce it. I just never wanted to put my kids through any more drama than they already face. Now that they are older, however, they are tired of it. They are old enough now to form their own opinions and see what’s going on. No more hiding it from them. They aren’t stupid. And they are tired of dealing with it. What compounds the problem is that my ex is also a compulsive gambler, so many of his problems stem from that. He moves around so much, and kids (or my kids at least) don’t like that much change and uncertainty. That’s why I am finally taking steps to change what probably should have been changed from Day One.

    • You must do it. Good for you. You are right to do this, because ultimately, it is damaging for your kids to be around such a negative influence (oh, look at me dishing out the advice now). Anyway, you have to do what is right by your children. I don’t know how you managed all those years dealing with dual addiction. But this is the way of the addict, isn’t it? In many ways, it doesn’t matter what the substance is: gambling, alcohol, crack, whatever. Some people deal with stress through maladaptive behaviours. Hardwiring them to channel their anxiety into something positive is the challenge. But we have no control over that. The sooner we realise it the better.

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