Facts: Alcoholism is a progressive disease. I did not cause it, I cannot control it, and I cannot cure it. The true alcoholic must actively combat the disease to stop progression.
Watching this progression scares me.
My husband started AA, and I, Al-Anon, in August 2016. He’s attended as many meetings as he can, and he reads the literature and listens to speakers, but he’s still had relapses. I don’t pretend to know what is going on in his head. I do know he is always fighting something I can’t see.
Over the past two months in particular, I’ve watched changes for the worse. In particular, he has started hurting himself. In one ugly fight, he started this prolonged, wild yell and then accused me of equating him with the devil (I never have. The equation was his own) while punching a household appliance as hard as he could. The other night we had another fight in which I employed as much program as I could to not escalate my part. He still ended up banging his head repeatedly on the dining room oak table, where he was sitting. I have never seen that from anyone, anywhere.
He knows, as do I, that it isn’t him when he bashes his own head atop the table. He knows he needs more help and that I am not the person to provide it. In weak moments, I have reminded and pushed him about needing a sponsor, and working the steps with that guidance. He has said numerous times now he will find one. I told him last night that I was scared about what it might take for this to happen. He told me he was scared, too, and that he knew it was getting worse. He repeated that he’d find a sponsor.
He said, “It’s so hard, having part of my brain logical and functional, and then there’s this other part that goes against EVERYTHING I’m trying to do.” I can’t imagine it, to know the healthy path and to continually thwart myself while going in the opposite direction. But this isn’t like a diet where you eat things you’re not supposed to: for true alcoholics, this is life and death. This is him one night possibly deciding to hurt himself so he doesn’t hurt anymore.
I know I can’t push for what he needs because I would be pushing my own agenda, my skewed perception of how things need to be fixed. My program needs to be stronger for me to be able to stand beside him. Close friends have suggested that I leave the relationship. If I felt I was in physical danger, or if I knew he wasn’t going to try to get better, I’d contemplate it. Hell, I’ve contemplated divorce numerous times before, but what it comes down to is I love him and committed to him in sickness and in health. He’s sick. Unless he becomes a threat to my life or to our children’s life, I will stay and work alongside him. I will do things to keep myself healthy and pray that he and his higher power find ways to mend his sickness. That is what can be done for today.
Please keep him in your prayers, if you pray, or send good energy. Thank you.