Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Warning Signs

"My husband and I have been together for almost four years now. We have a new baby girl with wispy blond hair and big, steely blue eyes. Everyone tells me how much she looks like her father.

Four years together, and little of that time with him sober. He is not a mean drunk but a reckless one. What was fun in college has become tedious in adulthood. I can no longer count the number of times I have threatened to leave if he doesn't sober up. He has committed to the twelve-step program so frequently that it's a running joke.

He hit rock bottom so hard one winter that he landed in rehab. He stayed sober for almost a year that time, but then he became cocky, certain that a few drinks here and there couldn't hurt.

Last year I was proud of him. I felt sure he had finally beaten his addiction - only to find out this year that much of that success was a lie. He can control his urges for a few months, swearing that this time it will be for good, but it never is.

And here I am, still in love with the sober man that he occasionally is, defending his character, still believing in his potential.

He relapsed again a few weeks after our daughter was born. I had thought that perhaps having a child would inspire sobriety that he would not want her to grow up with an inebriated father, the way he had. But tonight, less than a week after he received his umpteenth thirty-days token, he came home from buying us ice cream with that certain dismissive tone, that careless sway to his walk. He denies it, of course, but I know he's drunk. I used to ignore the warning signs. I became a pro at pretending, at making up excuses for his erratic behavior. But now, with my baby sleeping in the other room and him lying in bed in a stupor, my question to myself is: What am I going to do about it this time?"

- Name Withheld, The Sun Magazine, February 2012.

Funny how all our stories are nearly the same. I pray for her sake and that of her baby that she leaves him, now.

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