women

By the time my daughter was born, three years later, our marriage was over. Sam was completely drunk, comatose in the spare room, when, already having contractions, I drove myself to hospital. He only came to the hospital for the end of labour. Days later, I told him to move out, to choose between the love he professed for me and our children, and the love he actually displayed, every day, for alcohol. He broke down, admitting he drank all the time, showing me a pile of vodka bottles at the end of the garden, hidden behind the back wall where I wouldn’t have seen them. He promised he’d stop, saying that we were everything to him and, because I loved him, every part of me wanted to believe him.

Description:  He broke down, admitting he drank all the time, showing me a pile of vodka bottles at the end of the garden, hidden behind the back wall where I wouldn’t have seen them.

He broke down, admitting he drank all the time, showing me a pile of vodka bottles at the end of the garden, hidden behind the back wall where I wouldn’t have seen them.

Our separation took over a year. On the advice of a friend who had been married to an alcoholic, I started going to Al-Anon, the support group for families and friends of alcoholics. The first session I went to was in a draughty community centre. I sat on a plastic chair, embarrassed that I’d found myself in this place, while a circle of people started explaining their own experiences of living with an alcoholic. What I heard made me realise my own experience was much worse, and Sam’s alcoholism far more extreme, than most of the stories I was hearing. When my turn came, I started to speak, but all that came out was tears. I cried and cried. Admitting defeat in the face of alcohol - such a powerful enemy - was a profound relief. It made me realise I wasn’t mad or unreasonable, as Sam frequently told me I was.

Sam, meanwhile, was in and out of the house. He’d move back for a month, pretending to be dry, then the familiar patterns would re-emerge and I’d kick him out again. One night, I finally snapped when he came in late, drunk, while I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth, the children long asleep. Blearily clutching the plastic wrapper of a bunch of pink chrysanthemums he’d bought hours earlier as an apology, he wanted to know what there was to drink in the house. “Nothing,” I said, trying to step past him. He blocked my way, then reached for the mirror over the sink and threw it at me. It hit my cheek and smashed into pieces on the bath. He threw the flowers at me and the petals fell like confetti as I felt the cold, metallic taste of blood in my mouth and heard the sound of my daughter crying.

Ending the marriage was like coming up for air after being forced underwater for a long time. It was only when I stepped out that I realised how terrifying the place alcohol had taken me to had been. I woke every day feeling relieved, despite now facing life as a 27-year-old single mother to a baby and a toddler. Bringing up the kids alone was easier than it had ever been with Sam. I felt as if I was reclaiming some of the boundless joy of parenting that coping with Sam - and his devotion to alcohol - had robbed me of. I no longer sat on park benches and wept, but instead felt as if I was running through sunny fields with my kids, enjoying every moment of being with them, with the knowledge that at the end of the day, I wouldn’t be dealing with a drunk, angry man. I started laughing again, and because I wasn’t pouring time and energy into managing a broken marriage, my creativity flourished and my life as a journalist took off. By separating myself from Sam’s alcoholism, I’d found my way out of the maze. There were tough times, of course, when money was tight or I felt lonely. Bringing kids up alone, and managing motherhood and a career without support requires huge amounts of energy but, honestly, it’s a breeze compared with being married to an addict.

Description: It was only when I stepped out that I realised how terrifying the place alcohol had taken me to had been.

It was only when I stepped out that I realised how terrifying the place alcohol had taken me to had been.

Sam still drinks and refuses to acknowledge the emotional price that those who love him have paid - and continue to pay - for his addiction. He’s always utterly refused to contribute financially towards things for the children - karate lessons, school dinners, new school uniforms. Despite my anger about this, I made the decision, early on, that they should continue to see him. They see him straight after school, when he’s still sober, and do not stay overnight unsupervised with him, but instead go to his wonderful and loving family, who have always been exceptionally kind and supportive towards me throughout this.

I feel strongly that it’s really important for the kids to know their dad. While he is unquestionably an alcoholic, he’s still their father, and understanding that is safer in the long term than denying it exists. Besides, I know, too, that he genuinely loves them, and they love him. I want them to have fun with Sam, which they do, just as I did, all the time. I’d like them to know the good qualities that attracted me to him in the first place, because I do not believe he is a bad person. His addiction is a tragedy because it masks the great man that Sam could be, were he sober. I love the fact that both children have inherited his humour and sometimes I see flashes in them of the funny, flawed man whom I loved so much, and that makes me happy.

Description:  I can happily forsake it for weeks on end - it’s not something I’d ever, ever prioritise over my children, although of course I know it enhances good times with friends.

I can happily forsake it for weeks on end - it’s not something I’d ever, ever prioritise over my children, although of course I know it enhances good times with friends.

Sam’s utterly dependent relationship with alcohol has, of course, also made me question the role it plays in almost all our lives. I can happily forsake it for weeks on end - it’s not something I’d ever, ever prioritise over my children, although of course I know it enhances good times with friends. Shortly before I split up with Sam, an older friend who is married to a recovering alcoholic warned me that while Sam was still drinking, his relationship with alcohol would always be stronger and more compelling than his relationship with me, or with the children. Everything - and everyone - will be less important than the next drink. And giving up that ‘marriage’ is very hard. It’s not a challenge I’d like to ever face again within a relationship, and it’s for this reason I advised the friend who called me last week to walk away from her boyfriend as fast as possible.

Earlier this year, I got married for a second time and am now expecting a third child. I’m grateful that the children can witness on a daily basis what a grown-up relationship, without anger and manipulation, really looks like. I’m grateful, too, that the children can have an easy, loving relationship with Sam - without having to deal with the daily stress of living with alcoholism, they can take much from their relationship with him that is incredibly positive. The afternoons they spend with him are happy; they come back to me with stories of fishing trips and movies, or his excellent lasagne - always better than mine - and the jokes he has told them.

Somehow, something sweet has been salvaged from the wreck of our marriage. The sadness I felt about our divorce has long gone. I don’t regret my relationship with Sam in any way at all. Sometimes, I’m even grateful for what it taught me about resilience and survival. From it, too, came my beautiful, funny, sweet children, but I’m under no illusion that marriage to an alcoholic is anything other than a horror show.

Top search
women
- 6 Ways To Have a Natural Miscarriage
- Foods That Cause Miscarriage
- Losing Weight In A Week With Honey
- Can You Eat Crab Meat During Pregnancy?
- Grape Is Pregnant Women’s Friend
- 4 Kinds Of Fruit That Can Increase Risk Of Miscarriage
Other
- Money-Wise Tips And Recipes
- Naturally Sweet - Why Not Try It In Your Favorite Recipes
- Planning with Kids : Avoiding Christmas chaos - A Christmas Day menu plan
- Planning with Kids : Avoiding Christmas chaos - A 10-week Christmas preparation plan
- Planning with Kids : Avoiding Christmas chaos - Christmas preparation in July
- Why We Really Broke Up (Part 2)
- Why We Really Broke Up (Part 1)
- Planning with Kids : Stress-free birthday parties - Parties away from home, Birthday presents
- Planning with Kids : Planning a stay-at-home party
- Busy Women's Guide To Barbecue Heaven
 
women
Top keywords
women
Miscarriage Pregnant Pregnancy Pregnancy day by day Pregnancy week by week Losing Weight Stress Placenta Makeup Collection
Women
Top 5
women
- Cinnamon: A natural treatment for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?
- 5 Tips for Safe Exercise During Pregnancy
- Four Natural Ways Alternative Medicine Can Help You Get Pregnant (part 2)
- Four Natural Ways Alternative Medicine Can Help You Get Pregnant (part 1)
- Is Your Mental Health Causing You to Gain Weight (part 2) - Bipolar Disorder Associated with Weight Gain