My husband and I imbibe, and it causes problems. Tonight, at a party, my husband got drunk and asked repeatedly if I loved him. Once home, he said he was tired of my moods and couldn’t take it anymore. He often takes off after arguments, even staying out all night partying with his single male friends without calling me. I asked him not to leave me at home again with our baby. I said I would not rescue him if he were jailed. He left, saying I didn’t love him if I wouldn’t bail him out. A few minutes later, he returned, and then he left again with an object wrapped in a towel. As I write this e-mail, he’s back. He had taken his gun but obviously didn’t hurt himself. Am I stupid to stay? I hate to break up the only family my daughter and I have, but this life certainly isn’t what I want for us. I keep thinking we can work through this, but we fall into the same traps. He did ask if I would go to counseling with him, and I said yes.
By saying yes, you chose love. Our culture, drowning as it is in images of infatuation, does not comprehend that true love requires partners to be their true selves. To be true, we must face, admit and release our illusions about what we think love (or marriage) is. The first awakening in marriage is to understand that your spouse carries the same bag of wounds, childishness, illusions and hunger for love that you do. Unfortunately, in our I-want-it-now culture, most of us end relationships rather than learn how to release our attachment to forcing others to fulfill needs that our parents did or did not fill. We flit from relationship to relationship, addictively sipping from the illusion of perfection we project onto others. When we wake up and see that it’s a human being, not our perfect illusion, we leave physically or emotionally. In this way, we can deny that our illusions created the problem.
It’s a blessing that you recognize alcohol is a symptom in your troubles. It’s also a blessing that you have shed the egotistical belief that the two of you can figure this out. It’s time now for Alcoholics Anonymous and therapy. Don’t do either superficially. Devote yourself. Get a sponsor and work the steps. Similarly, don’t just show up for therapy. Between sessions, practice the insights you’ve gained. Remember, the greatest gift you can give your daughter is to be healthy adults in a loving marriage.
I let my best friend drive my car. She doesn’t have a driver’s license. My sister told my parents. Now, I can’t drive or hang out with my friend. She is a really good driver, and I felt totally safe. Can you help my parents to understand?
You must understand that your joy ride placed your parents in jeopardy. If it feels like they overreacted, it’s because they’re scared. They trusted you with a car and believed you would make responsible decisions. Now, you’re focused on the fact that nothing happened, and they are fixated on what might have happened or what might happen in the future. If an accident or death had occurred, your parents would be financially liable. If you had died, they would be devastated. Cut them some slack. When you can see their side, apologize. From now on, try to be as responsible as possible to avoid the consequences of irresponsibility.