The unthinkable has happened. Readers will know that I’ve had two job interviews recently. You will also know that I got the first post, which is permanent and based in London. Yesterday, I found out I also got the other one which, I can now reveal, is based in Hong Kong. That one is only for a year.

The choice is clear. I’m taking the London one. But there is another option. I could propose taking the Hong Kong post as a secondment, if they let me. Still, as some of you have commented, do I really need the stress of uprooting Rosie and me to another country just for a year, when it would be so much easier to stay here and finally settle into a safe and secure routine?

And then there is Ben. If I’m honest, I have to admit that the real reason for my hesitance about pursuing this option is the impact it could have on him.

He’s been in recovery for nearly a year now – and has been doing ok, better than ok. The look on his face when I presented that option to him said it all, even if the words he was saying were the right ones (You can’t base your decision on me. I could fly out a few times – if you can afford it. We can skype and speak on the phone. It’s a great opportunity. It makes sense to take it.)

I could see his heart was breaking even as he said all this. He looked terrified – his face quivering like a lake disturbed by rainfall. It’s an expression I’ve seen before: when he was ill, stumbling at the lip of that morass that would eventually suck him in.

I asked him: What if you relapse?

It’s a legitimate question. If Rosie and I leave, he will lose his social net. He has no other friends, apart from the one guy who lives about two hours from where we are. He has no assurance that he will get into the course he’s meant to be taking this September. He only just submitted the application the other day, so the likelihood of acceptance is low. Which means he won’t have anything to occupy him while we’re away, although he has an alternative in mind.

He said: I could relapse any time. That’s just a reality I have to live with.

And Rosie and me – we have to live with that, too.

The fact is, it’s been an appallingly difficult couple of years, and we are only just striking some sort of balance and normality. The thought of returning there is, well, terrifying. When I look at it this way, I can see that Rosie deserves more. She needs her dad. And more importantly, she needs him to be well.

I know I can never guard against a relapse. I know it is his choice and not mine. But I’m married to an alcoholic. And even if our relationship now is ambiguous, his relationship with Rosie is not. Am I wrong in thinking that leaving him on his own for a year is a risky thing to do – for all of us?


17 thoughts on “Consequences

  1. Somehow I missed your last post on your interview. I went back and read it and I thought of how (again) really talented some of us affected family members really are. We don’t always give ourselves credit for our talents. The fact that you were offered both jobs is an indication to me that you are very good at what you do.
    I think you should ask yourself where you would be most happy? Yes, Hong Kong is far, it will take Rosie away from her father but what would your day to day life look like? If you have the forethought that it will be hard, difficult, your husband could relapse, etc. maybe it is not worth it.
    But, if the job seriously intrigues you, I have a feeling it could be a growth opportunity for all of you.
    Depends on the lenses you decide to look through it all. In the end, I would do what would make you the most happy. Your happy/unhappy emotions will trickle down to your husband and daughter. xo Joanne

  2. It makes sense that Ben would support you going. He’s dragged you down and down again, and I wonder if he’s feeling some personal responsibility for that and doesn’t wish to be the “cause” of you denying yourself this opportunity.
    Rosie is young and would adapt to the changes a year abroad would bring, and the worldly exposure would do wonders for her perception of the world around her, yet, that experience would come at the cost of a personal relationship with both of her parents. That’s a tough decision.
    What’s the likelihood of getting this kind of opportunity again in the future? Why did you apply for the Hong Kong job in the first place? Was it because you were intrigued by the opportunity or as a back up plan in case redundancy set you out of your current organization? In my opinion, if you applied for it as a back-up plan, stay and take the London job; if you applied because it’s a career move that gets you excited, then I think it warrants some serious consideration, family planning, and a contract between you and Ben that he stays sober no matter who, what, how, or why life gets tough.

  3. If your reason for applying for the position in Hong Kong was purely as a back up in case London fell through, then stick with London. However, if the Hong Kong position is truly a dream job for you, then you should seriously consider it. Yes, the distance could give Ben an excuse to relapse; but that’s all it would be–and EXCUSE! He, and only HE, is in control of his urges. It is up to him alone not to act on them and to get help when he needs it. It is up to him to prove to Rosie, prove to you, and mostly prove to HIMSELF that he can do it. The distance can make you each stronger and make you each appreciate one another more. Rosie will be exposed to a whole new culture, a whole new way of life, and that can make a person grow immensely (Believe me, even a few months in another country can make a huge difference in one’s own growth! I spent 3 months outside of the US and it was the best experience and made a huge difference in my personal growth and understanding of the world as a whole.). Also, even though the job in Hong Kong is said to be a one year position, what’s to say they won’t ask you to stay on… or what’s to say that it won’t lead to an even more exciting position somewhere else? If you don’t take the opportunity, will you be wondering what it would have been like? Would you be kicking yourself for not taking it? And, I agree with Melanie-it does make sense that Ben would support you. That’s what family does. It hurt like crazy to have my sister move 12 hours away from us, but I was proud of her for doing it and extremely supportive of her decision (even though it was killing me inside- for selfish reasons, I didn’t want her to go). But it does make our visits that much more exciting!! And on top of that, I’m sure Ben feels an awful lot of guilt. He knows that his alcoholism has put a damper on your lives and that you deserve some excitement and fulfillment of your own! Another thing to think about is the anger and rage you and Rosie both felt when Ben would relapse… would NOT going to Hong Kong (because you were worried about a possible relapse) cause the same resentment? Just some food for thought, as you are obviously chewing it over already!

      • OH! And I should add… when I was abroad, I ‘met’ my husband! I knew OF him, because he worked with my mom, but I didn’t KNOW him and was too shy to get to know him face to face. At one point I became a little homesick and my mom gave him my email address (she didn’t have email back then). He sent me an email and we wrote daily. By the time I came back home, we were ready to date…and the rest, as they say, is history! lol. I know you aren’t taking a job abroad to find yourself a mate… but exciting things can happen, even outside of work, while abroad!

      • What a lovely story! And it’s true that I met Ben when I went abroad… because I spent nearly half my life in Canada before I moved back to the UK to do my postgrad. And that’s when I met Ben. So, yes, travel opens up new experiences in very unexpected ways. Thanks for sharing that – how lovely that you are happy together after so many years.

  4. It is a hard situation to be in. Only one person knows and that is you, you know your partner and your gut feeling what may or may not happen. It took me many years to make the decisions I have made. Living with an alcoholic is like living with a time bomb, you never know when it is going to go off. No-one unless they have lived with an alcoholic what it is like. Please check out my blog my journey is covered in 7 parts and it covers the journey I have taken to get where I am today. After 35 yrs it has been a long journey 3yrs to even start and feel human again. Whether you stay or go is your decision.

  5. Just stumbled on your blog, and wow, almost tears in my eyes thinking on all the what ifs in you life. Keep on going!

  6. Pingback: Digging shelters | married to an alcoholic

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