Watching My Best Friend Slowly Kill Himself

I saw this poignant, heartbreaking post on Facebook, “My husband drinks whiskey until he’s a different person. First, he hid it and then tried to say I ignored his problem out of convenience, but when I try to talk to him about it I’m told I’m making it about myself and being selfish. He’s currently in our basement passed out. It’s been a hard day with a lot of tears shed by me. I can’t get through to him and we have two children. I’m just lost and feel like I’m watching my best friend slowly kill himself.”

This was my story too (I’m the alcoholic), almost exactly. I understood how awful it must’ve been living with me. When I’m sober I am a kind and thoughtful person, but when I was drinking all bets were off. My drinking caused so much uncertainty, volatility, and desperation, while at the same time I was feeling hopeless, helpless, and full of shame.

After my second DUI, I found my bottom and finally sought the professional help I so desperately needed—with the rock-solid support of my wife. It was scary and, at first, all I could think of was, “You mean I can never drink again?” At some point in my recovery my thinking switched, naturally not intentionally, to, “You mean I never have to drink again?”

 I have now been sober for 12 years, but hearing vivid stories like the one above remind me that there but for the grace of God go I. As we get sober, we are often told in the rooms of AA and NA, “Don’t give up until the magic happens.” The “magic” is hard-earned, but it can save your life, your marriage, your family, your job.

For the active addict and alcoholic, you have to take that next step and get help. For the spouse, wait until your husband or wife is sober, then help them take those critical next steps of reaching out and getting that help. It’s not easy, but something as gratifying as sobriety seldom is.

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