Alcohol is the root of much evil
At the end of the day it is not the drinking that is the bug problem, it is the secrecy and lies that go with it.
In the early hours of Sunday morning it all came to a head. We had been celebrating our daughter's 21st birthday with a meal I had cooked followed by plenty of alcohol, including Tequilla shots which I was later to regret. At around midnight India and and her friends headed into town and Brent and I stayed up, dancing by ourselves chatting and finishing the wine. I had been telling him about my ideas for a book for young adults and we had chatted happily for several hours. Before going to bed Brent headed to the kitchen to do some tidying up and I just sat in the lounge thinking and listening to music. Eventually I got up and barefoot wandered into the kitchen, making no noise, only to see Brent put down a glass out of my line of vision. I knew instinctively what it was. I challenged him and he admitted that it was Bourbon. Well, I lost it for the second time in one day. Earlier I had found an empty beer bottle in a cupboard in the garage which he denied any knowledge of, yet another in a long line of lies, and now this.
I think I screamed at him that I was sick and tired of all his deceit and that I had warned him so many times before, I also told him yet again that he was an alcoholic and said that as far as I was concerned we were through. Then I left the room and went upstairs to bed, to the spare bed, taking my pillow and making up the duvet as best I could.
There was a time when I would have cried and not been able to sleep but, over the years this has happened on a fairly regular basis so I have got over the crying stage. Besides I was really quite drunk myself and I knew that I was going to have a hell of a hangover in the morning. I am too old to drink Tequilla. I must have slept for an hour or so then woke up feeling bloody awful so went downstairs for some headache pills. I had no idea of the time but knew that Brent had not gone to bed as the lights were on and the doors opend. However, I chose not to investigate and went back to bed with my pills. I tossed and turned, wondering what to do about where we would live and how Brent would manage without me, and all those other little things that gnaw away at you in the early hours of the morning. The early morning light started to sneak around the blinds and I knew that Brent was still up. I felt really unwell and knew that the only way to rid myself of this awful feeling was to be sick. I had to lay there in my bed trying to convince myself that is what I needed to do, and, in time, that is exactly what happened. I made a dash to the loo got down on my knees (I made sure I had a towel to kneel on) and threw up. I really hate vomiting but sometimes it is the only way. I really did feel better, well my stomach did anyway. My head still ached, partly as a result of the alcohol and partly due to the quandry racing around my brain.
I managed to get a little more sleep then woke and thought I should get up. I went downstairs and boiled a kettle and avoiding direct eye contact I asked Brent, who was in the lounge watching the TV, if he wanted a coffee. He said yes so I made it and gave him a cup, still avoiding his gaze, although I feel he was probably trying to avoid mine too. Nothing else was said, and after I had sat in the kitchen for a few minutes, realising that I was exhausted and still feeling much the worse for wear, I went back to bed. I tried to lock the cat out of my room but he was persistent, clawing at the carpet and meowing pitifully, so I let him in so he could fall asleep beside me.
Later on I awoke and had a shower then went back to bed to read my Kindle. I had no interest in going downstairs or speaking with Brent. What was there to say, we had been through it so many times before. I was starting to lose interest in the book and drift back off to sleep when I was aware that Brent had come into my room. I didn't have my glasses on but could see he was still wearing last night's clothes and was obviously distressed. He started talking with his back to me and I couldn't understand him so I made him turn around and face me. He was shaking and crying and his lips looked really bright pink, as if he had lipstick on. Through his sobs he said he was sorry and told me he had telephoned Alcoholics Anonymous and that someone was going to call him back inthe afternoon. I tried to talk to him about it but he was too distressed to say anything further and went back down, leaving me alone with the cat. I sat and thought for a while before going down to try to talk to home again but, although the doors to the deck were open was not home. I did look for him in the garage and the garden and I even shouted his name upstairs and downstairs but he was not there. Next I decided to just watch some TV for a while and wait for him. About an hour later he came home and, after mooching around in the kitchen for a while he came in to see me. He told me abuot his conversation with someone at AA and I found myself apologising to him which is crazy and he knew it too as he said that it was all his own fault. We didn't speak much for the next few hours. I went back upstairs to bed so that I wouldn't be in the way when the call came through. I must have fallen asleep as the next thing I knew India had finished work and had come around with Ollie to pick up some chairs they had brought around for the party. It was a slightly awkward time as Andrew and I weren't communicating well and I feel sure they were aware that we or should I say I was trying to get them to go home so I could find out the result of the telephone conversation. Eventually they went and Brent and I had a chance to talk. He said there was a meeting at 7.30pm that evening tha he was going along to. I asked if he wanted me to come too but he said no and I said that I thought that was best as it was something he was gong to have to deal with on his own.
We talked for quite a while, I asked why he drunk and he said he didn't know, he just felt he wanted to and always wanted just one more drink. I asked why he hid the alcohol and again he said he didn't know. I said I was worried how he was going to manage financially if we split up as the money from the house would not be enough to buy a place outright and as he doesn't earn much it was a big worry. We talked about how long this had been going on for and agreed it was at least 10 years, if not longer. In fact it was almost the length of time we had been in this country as he rarely drank back in the UK. I said I had known about this for ages and thought I had put my head in the sand when India was younger but now she is grown. I said that he was hurting her just as much if not more than he was hurting me and that she was always on the lookout and had often found hidden beer and told me, an that I only got mad some of the times when I found empty cans. I told him that the worst thing for me was that he thought he could lie to me and get away from it and that he was getting so good at it, except that he was trying to lie when there was no way it could have been anyone but him hiding beer bottles. I said he must think I am stupid not to realise that the number of empty cans and bottles in the recycling vastly outnumbers the beer I ever see him drink. And on it went. I said I thought he should give up drinking beer altogether.
Eventually we went into the lounge as it was getting cold in the family room. He asked me to come back to our bed that night as he didn't want to sleep alone and that the person on the phone said he would need support to get through this. I have given in, as usual, and hopefully this will be the last time.
The AA meeting lasted for an hour or so and apparently there were around 30 people there, men and women of all ages. All looking respectible, just like anyone else. I think he was expecting to find a number of real down-and-outs, which, in turn, made me realise how had it had been for him to make that first phone call. Maybe he will keep going now he knows that alcoholics are ordinary people too.
A lady had obviously been looking out for him and welcomed him and told him what would happen and he took his seat. At the beginning of the meeting the speaker asked if anyone was new and Brent stood up and told them his name - he did not say that he was an alcoholic. I am not sure if this is significant or not yet. The meeting progressed with people sharing their problems and difficulties and he realised that some people had been coming to AA for 20 or so years, and some went to a different AA meeting every day to try to help kick the habit. He bought back a leaflet with a list of places and times of meetings and he also has the number of someone to call if he feels he needs support. The meeting was held in a church and Brent said that the meeting had slighly religious undertones but thinks that people need something to cling to if they are trying to give something up, which makes sense. It also explains why most of the meeting venues across the city are churches or church halls.
I wanted to know if he had to give up drinking alcohol altogether and he does not know. I think he probably should, at least beer.
I guess it really is now a case of taking one day at a time. I don't want us to split up but this cannot go on forerver.