The Elephant in the Room

I’ve written this post privately several times over the past year, and every time I have eventually gone back and erased it. While I’ve written about very personal things before, I’ve never written about the personal matters of someone else. Aside from some possible legal ramifications, it’s simply not fair to them. So I kept quiet about it, on-line and off. But it’s tearing me up inside, so once again I have to write about it in order to get it out, and I’ll probably come back and delete this one later as well.
My name is Ben, and I’m in love with an alcoholic.
When we first started dating, Strutter and I went to small friendly gatherings and, of course, we drank. I didn’t really think of it as a problem then because, well, people drink at social gatherings. After a couple of months of dating, though, I noticed that she would drink three or more times a week, often when she was home by herself. When we would drink together, just the two of us, it started to get ugly.
Alcohol is a method by which Strutter vents her anger. Anger at her father. Anger at herself. Anger at whatever. When she vents it, though, she would usually vent it at the nearest person. Me. As embarrassing as it is to say, since I’m twice her size, she’s gotten physically abusive more than once. It’s not like I couldn’t defend myself, but I can’t really strike back without hurting her. The few times that I’ve pushed her away, she’s been so drunk that she stumbled into something and ended up getting hurt anyway. It’s just an ugly, ugly scene.
In recent months, it’s gotten better. Maybe it’s because she’s holding it back, or maybe it’s because we just avoid each other when shes drinking. There are still arguments, and unreasonable accusations, but I mostly just ignore them and wait for her to wander off. She’s even taken a prescription drug that makes you throw up if you drink alcohol… but she just stops taking it when she feels like drinking again.
Her problem, which I imagine most alcoholics face, is that there’s not something there waiting to fill that void, that “hobby,” when she stops drinking. She drinks when she’s bored. So when she doesn’t drink, she just goes to sleep at six o’clock. I’ve suggested several hobbies, and she doesn’t respond well. To be totally honest, she doesn’t really like talking about the subject at all.
My problem, on the other hand, is that I’m not going to marry a drunk. I can handle a recovering alcoholic, but not someone who refuses to quit. What if we got pregnant? Could she honestly stop for nine months? The best she’s managed so far is just over two. Would she start back up again once the kid was born? Become a drunk mother? That’s a horrifying thought.
While she talks to her friends at work about it, I can’t really talk to anyone about it, because it’d be violating her trust. (Much like if I made this a public post.) I love her dearly, and I want to see her beat this. I want to see her enjoy life, instead of hide from it. I want to be there for her as she pulls through it. But there is no promise that she’s really going to try and beat it, and hope is starting to fade. Worst of all, she needs help that I can not offer her. Help which she avoids seeking.
So why have I stayed with her for a year? My answer is simple. The good times we have together still outweigh the bad. If/When that changes, it will be time to call it off.

1 thought on “The Elephant in the Room”

  1. I’ve been a lurker on your & VB’s blogs for quite a while and I just want to say that it really sucks and you’re a very strong person for being there all this time. I dated an alcoholic for a few years and finally had to leave, he didn’t want to believe it was a problem and never wanted to get help. You can’t make it happen, they have to make it happen and honestly sometimes they just won’t. He’s married now with kids and I just can’t imagine what his wife goes through, he still hasn’t changed. This just really help you but I wanted to say I”m sorry.

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