A Husband’s Story

I’ve never written anything like this, nor have I been on a journey like this before.

So where do I start?

I’ve known for many years that my wife has a problem with alcohol, but it’s only in the last 12-18 months that I’ve realised the extent of the issue.

I’ve gone from love to hatred of my wife and everything in between during that time.  There have been lots of lies deception and false promises.  Whilst she’s sought help, it’s been purely because I begged her to,  and not because she’s admitted the problem.

But what about me?  What about our kids?  Where’s the help for them?

There’s very little information on the internet, helplines, NHS or mainstream agencies.  The focus is always on the alcoholic; nothing for the ‘victims’, those that truly suffer the fallout of alcohol misuse.

I’m well educated, switched-on, modern kind of guy…but I simply didn’t have the tools, knowledge or mental strength to deal with an alcoholic, abusive wife.  On the recommendation of a friend, I approached Sarah at Harrogate Sanctuary.  Whilst my journey has resulted in divorce, I recognise that everyone’s outcome will be different.  For me, there was no going back.

As a ‘victim’ of an alcoholic, I’ve been through pretty much every emotion imaginable.  It’s tiring, draining, you have anger, self-doubt, fear and uncertainty.

You question:

  • Is it my fault?
  • Have I allowed this to happen?
  • What do I do when my wife falls off the wagon?
  • Why do I feel like this?
  • When did it all start?
  • Why did it all start?

I spent an incredibly rewarding, informative and educational 6-weeks with Sarah, who has helped me understand these emotions and questions.  Some very difficult decisions have been made during our time,  but speaking to Sarah has allowed me clarity of thought and understanding.

Being colloquial, I wouldn’t wish what I’ve been through on my worst enemy.  There is no shame in asking for help, and Harrogate Sanctuary has been absolutely brilliant.

Sobriety & Emotional Hygiene

We have all been zealous in our quest to stay as safe as we can during and after the pandemic, all the different companies that deal in cleaning products and santizers have jumped on this band wagon.

But what of our mental health hygiene? There are no lotions or potions that will kill 99.9% of harmful toxins with that. Of course there is a very quick fix with a bottle of herb infused disinfectant, not so with our brains. When we stop drinking there is a real impasse, a plateau of… is this it? Unless we are aware that the contentment party has only just started with stopping drinking we will stay on a very difficult plateau, that does not allow us to reward ourselves with the dopamine hit that was such a trickster with booze. The most important lesson is to keep our expectations manageable. The doomsville tribe will always tell us that once an addict, always an addict, referring to us always having alcohol in our sights as our weapon of choice. Given our enthusiasm for the bad stuff, we can also reboot and use that incredible determination for doing ourselves a whole heap of good, and I show clients how to flip this switch.

It does take patience, time, and a great deal of digging deep. The Sanctuary works with the background noise, the chatter we all had and tried so hard to shut up by harming ourselves, with the realisation that we all need to resolve this self doubt, fear and unworthiness to become intoxicated with who we are rather than comparing ourselves to others and ignoring that we were bloody fabulous in the first place.

I don’t offer a quick fix, but I do offer an understanding of why we became so entrapped in the first place.