Soft landing

It’s late –  past 4am my time – except I’m on Canada’s east coast and it’s closing in on midnight here. It is a thick 31C, the air unmoving in the house where Rosie and I are staying. Outside the window, crickets scratch out a familiar ostinato. It is hot. Even my fingertips are sweaty.

Sixteen hours ago, Rosie and I left London for a long-awaited holiday from Ben. In the old days, I might have said that the objective of this sojourn was to see my family who live out this way. But over the months, that primary motive has been eclipsed by the greater urgency of escaping the stultifying atmosphere of our flat and – let’s be honest – Ben.

Coming here, I had to compromise on one thing. I had said in an earlier post that I wouldn’t let Ben stay at the flat while Rosie and I were away. In the end, Ben left his admission to residential rehab so late that I had no other choice. Yes, I could have played hard ball and kicked him out, but he has pledged to go into rehab now. What good would it do to jeopardise that over something as shifting as my boundaries?

On Monday, he was in severe withdrawal, shaking and vomitting. Nevertheless, he travelled the 1.5 hours to the rehab centre in South London to attend an assessment. He spent most of Tuesday lying on the futon, drying out. On Wednesday morning, the day Rosie and I left, Ben took the train back down to the rehab centre to be breathalysed again. He will go back on Thursday, and if he tests negative, he will be asked to come in on the Friday so he can be breathalysed again and finally admitted.

Given his stated commitment to the programme, his declaration (which sounded sincere) that he was ready for it now, I couldn’t take his keys and throw him into the street. We have come too far for that. He is so close – so very close – to finally getting the treatment he needs. At some point, I have to let go and leave him to it. So, I’m trusting him, counter-intuitive as that may be.

Of course this means I will be on high alert until Saturday, fearful of another relapse. With him, it is all so unpredictable. But if he is admitted… well, I dare not indulge in that possibility, for fear of being disappointed. I hope he doesn’t let himself down. I hope he really is ready and that he stays strong over the next crucial days.

As for me, I am many times lighter than I was in London. There’s more room here, for one thing. And no one occupying half our living space and most of my head space. Today, I walked into this house – the house where I spent my childhood – and saw the sun reflecting off polished wood floors. It was an image that I have carried with me all these months – one that would open up in my mind whenever things became too awful – reminding me that an end, even if temporary, was in sight.


14 thoughts on “Soft landing

  1. Hi. We all do what we need to do. You are an amazing wife and mother! I hope that you can/allow some time just for you when you are here in Canada….you so deserve a break and some ‘you’ time. Take care. I am praying for your husband.

  2. I am most certainly not an expert, but my gut reply is to set Ben and your thoughts on him to the side for your holiday for the sake of your child and yourself. Try to focus on Rosie and enjoy your time with her. What comes will come and either Ben will be in rehab when you return or he won’t.

    • True, if only it were so easy. He nearly burnt the flat down in one of his drunken stupors. Hence my fear of leaving him on his own. On the other hand, there isn’t much I can do from here, so I just have to forget about it and let go. Distance is having the desired effect. My anxieties are not nearly as pronounced as they were in London.

  3. Your continued candor and bravery is immensely commendable. I lived with an alcoholic once and my mom was not nearly as brave or independent. Rosie will idolize you for this strength one day, if she doesn’t already.

  4. I am almost finished reading a great book called “Getting Them Sober” by Toby Rice Drews. It is scary how close to home it hits. I think you might like it. You are doing the right thing. You are removing yourself from the situation. You are allowing him to either fail or step up to the plate. It is his recovery process. I say all of this because it is great advice that I got out of the book. BUT I also say all of this knowing that its easier said than done. It’s so hard to put it into the hands of someone that has proven that he isn’t responsible. Its frightening. But it’s because he doesn’t take care of himself that you have to let him do it. When you do it for him, he works against you. You are exactly where you need to be. Removing yourself from the situation, even if it’s for a brief time is so healthy for you. I am feeling much healthier with distance from my alcoholic. I hope the same thing for you. I’m thinking about you and sending positive thoughts. You are strong. You have accomplished so much. You can find peace.

  5. I have no words of wisdom to offer – but I think you are an amazing woman and I am praying that your strength and courage will be rewarded and that Ben will find the strength and courage to really commit to rehab.

  6. Pingback: Long distance anxiety « marriedtoalcoholic

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  8. I am so proud of you! And the strength and courage and humanness (is that even a word???) you share with all of us is uplifting. So many of us are with you in this journey, sharing your pain and your triumphs. Keep it going.

  9. Pingback: Back up and running « marriedtoalcoholic

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