My Husband's Alcoholism and Relapse: When Does it Stop Hurting?
I have been married for 19 years( together for 25) to the love of my life. In 2000 his alcoholism was brought front and center and it took almost 4 years of hospitals and rehabs for him to get sober.
During that time there were several life threatening injuries that I thought meant he had hit bottom for sure. How wrong I was. Finally in 2005 he got sober after an extended inpatient stay. Life was good for 4 1/2 years. Or so I thought.
This past spring he picked up again and 2 more hospital stays followed. Everything came to a head when he picked up again 3 days before he was to be the best man in my brothers wedding. I was left with no choice but to ask him to leave. The hardest thing I have ever done!
The last 3 weeks have gone from bad to worse. His family of course blames me and tells me I tried to kill him because he managed to get a credit card and spent 3 days in a hotel a drunken mess. I was told he was near death. He has since moved in with a family member out of state and I have not heard a word from anyone.
I have also discovered that he has been taking prescription ativan on a mostly regular basis for almost 2 years. I have spent these 3 weeks in a state of mourning. I don't know that he will have the strength to come back from the abyss again.
It breaks my heart and I am very sad. On the other hand I am so angry for the lies and let downs. I keep having arguments in my head between anger and sadness.
Does this get any easier? What can I do to help get me though these difficult times. I have done AA, Al-Anon,and am in counseling.
The old adage that time does heal all wounds also holds true for you. The last few weeks have been understandably traumatic for you so try and make peace with the fact that anger and sadness etc. are part of the natural grieving and healing process. It's best not to fight those feelings, just let them express themselves however they need to.
Remember too the principles you would no doubt have learnt in relation to your husband's alcoholism: You didn't CAUSE his alcoholism, You can't CONTROL his alcoholism, and You can't CURE his alcoholism. It's easy to feel guilty and blame ourselves in some way if a loved is struggling with an addiction (especially if family members start throwing blame around). So you have to keep reminding yourself that your husband is entirely responsible for his relapse and the state he now finds himself in.
But onto some practical ideas that can help you process your grief and pain, and hopefully make this period a bit more manageable ...
Journalling and writing down your thoughts on paper can be a massive help and release. When there's a lot of stuff going on in your head, writing down your thoughts, feelings etc. can really help ground you and make sense of all the chaos that is seemingly going on all around you.
And so you don't spend all your time stewing in your thoughts, make some quality 'me-time' again. It's so easy to lose yourself in the toxic dysfunction of being involved with an alcoholic, so you need to make time to reconnect with yourself again and discover what it is that makes you happy. Walking? Exercise? Yoga? Meditation? Reading? Favorite Hobbies? What things could you do and try that would re-invigorate your soul and help you find peace and happiness again?
So don't fight the grieving and healing process, remembering that in time things will get easier. But also make the commitment to yourself that you're going to spend time developing a relationship with yourself again, and re-discover what it is that really makes you happy.
Good Luck and God Bless