The ghosts in our closet

So where does it all really begin- the moment I knew I was in love with an alcoholic? Well of course the signs were there, but I ignored them. You could say that I didn’t actually admit my now husband had a “problem”, until he admitted it himself. What can I say, love is blind.

J and I rarely, if ever, argued- but while examining our relationship later, our arguments were mostly centered around alcohol. These escalated after I learned about his first DUI- something I did not know about until well into our relationship. It happened before I met him. He was sent to a “program”, but like most alcoholics, it was not his last as he did not believe there was any need for change. I then helped him cover up his other transgressions (like when he showed up to my apartment after a night of drinking- most likely still drunk, with a big dent in his car for which he tried to tell me was a “hit and run” from another driver). We later argued and I began asking him a question that would later become a regular part of our arguments, “Why do you do this, you know what happens when you drink and drive? Just tell me where you are next time so I can get you, or call a cab”. This was all before the ease of Uber or Lyft, but I don’t know if it would have been different because he honestly could not answer the question- a hallmark of an addict. I should also tell you that these arguments ended in me giving him an ultimatum- “if it happens again, I’m leaving”. Well we’ve been married for 5 and together for 10. Why? It’s complicated of course. But I can tell you about the day I flew back home from a weekend bachelorette party in NYC and he was very quiet as I rolled my suitcase up to the car. The hair started to tingle as I got in the passenger seat and my palms grew sweaty as I tried to flashback to the night before in which, yes, I myself was now suffering a hangover and tried desperately to remember if I called him in my own inebriated state and said something I shouldn’t have. Then he dropped the bomb, “I have something to tell you… I was out at a bar last night watching (insert sport of choice) and was pulled over for driving only 30 in a 40 and refused a breathalyzer so was taken in for a blood test, spent the night in jail, and have been issued another DUI. I understand if you want to leave me.” Well I knew in that moment, I loved this man for better or for worse, and in this worse moment- I was not going anywhere. We told no one and lived our lives as “normally” as possible, until the case was settled- 1 year without a license, community service, and classes for multiple offenders. At this point we obviously had to tell people. His mom of course was silent with anger. His Dad offered to help out and be available to drive him when necessary. The few co-workers he told, was so he could arrange a ride to and from work and to see his clients. My own parents were very supportive from the distance in which they live (my Dad has been known to get behind the wheel himself). I drove him to his community work program every Saturday during this time. We would come back from weekend trips early to get him to his “multiple offender classes”. Oh, and watched helplessly as the 2 cops that showed up at our door 1 day put him in the backseat of their car stating a warrant for his arrest. I called his lawyer, who asked if Jamie had been following his program, which he had. He was released several hours later… apparently a “glitch” in the paperwork they were receiving, or rather didn’t receive from the program so it was thought he wasn’t meeting the requirements. And then, just like the sun rises and sets everyday, that year ended, and we moved on…

J proposed (finally!) and we began planning the wedding of our dreams. We continued to enjoy drinking socially, as most people do, and while certain situations made me nervous (usually a round of golf with day drinking) there were only 2 other incidences that I can recall, where I received the dreaded phone call where he was drunk and I knew he was driving around and I couldn’t find him. I of course would threaten to leave, but we would kiss and make up and there was always a promise to never do it again that I always wanted so badly to believe. And I did try, even as I walked down the aisle into his arms.

Next… the promise actually kept….

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