Thursday, April 22

Writing Workshop

For this week's writing workshop from Josie at Sleep is for the Weak I've chosen the prompt:

A moment of realisation and knew that something HAD to change

Why do you put up with it? Why do you love this 'monster' How can you go through the same thing every weekend, week after week after week? These are all questions I asked myself. I always made excuses. He's not a monster, not really. The monster lives in the beer glass, or the wine bottle. It's not really him. The alcohol monster takes over. It spoils our weekends. Causes fights on a Friday night.. and then on a Saturday night too. It spoils our Saturdays because it makes him sleep until 3pm sometimes.. and then it started to happen on Sundays. Weekends became a lonely time for me...and he was oblivious. He'd get up in time to have something to eat and then start drinking again. This was our life. We'd both work all week, and because he thought he'd worked so hard all week, he deserved a 'treat'. Except his treat was my nightmare. 

To start with, weekends were fun. We'd have a drink and a good laugh, but it got so that 4 beers or 6 beers wasn't enough for him, so we'd have a bottle of Jack Daniels to go along with it. I don't mean a small bottle, I mean a litre bottle. There was none left in the morning. It didn't take long before it was a 12 pack of beer plus JD on a Friday then wine for him on a Saturday because "it wasn't good to drink so much beer two nights running". Then the fights started. I tried to avoid them, I hate arguing at the best of times, even more so when he was irrational due to alcohol. I stopped drinking altogether. He carried on. The fights became physical. I spent the weekend with huge puffy eyes from crying, he'd get up on Saturday wondering what the hell happened and why I wouldn't talk to him. He had no idea what was going on. 
It then started that I'd get to Wednesday and think, oh no, it's nearly Friday. On Friday, I was quiet all day. When he opened the first tin of beer, I'd want to hide. I made plans in my head to escape, but it never happened. The evening would start off pleasant enough, then it would slide into my weekend nightmare. 

And then Isabelle was born, but the weekends carried on the same, but I had someone else to look after. I had to be in a fit state to care for my baby in the morning. I couldn't do that if I was an emotional wreck. I packed out bags on Thursday afternoon in preparation for Friday night. Plenty of clothes for me and my baby. I could take no more. If he starts on Friday night, I will get my baby, put her in the car and I will leave. I had no idea where I was going, probably to my mum's, but I had to get out. I couldn't take anymore. It was destroying me and any feelings I had for him. He was such a strong person during the week, he was fun to be with, clever and entertaining and funny, but the weekends.. the alcohol monster took over
Friday night arrived and 9 tins of beer were gone. He told me (not asked) to go to the supermarket and buy some more. 12 tins wasn't going to be enough. I told him I wouldn't go. This is when the explosion happened. He erupted like a volcano. His language was shocking, his insults to me were the worst thing I've ever heard anyone say about someone else, especially someone you are supposed to love. He grabbed the car keys and his parting gesture was to headbutt me in the face on his way out, breaking my nose. Blood everywhere.. and he was gone. I didn't know how long he would be gone for. He'd had 9 tins of beer, yet he was driving the car. He didn't come back that night. I had a mixture of emotions. Thank god he'd gone, was he lying in a ditch somewhere after crashing the car? Had be been pulled over by the police? Was he parked up in a car park sleeping? No. I had a text message from my Father in Law. He'd driven for 5 hours up to his mums in Scotland.

So this was it. What next? Was it life as a single mother again for me? I certainly couldn't live with an alcholic any longer. I spent a lot of that weekend thinking. The Sunday was Mother's Day.. a long and lonely Mother's Day, spent thinking. The conclusion was that although I loved the sober man, I hated the drunken one. I wasn't prepared to live (or drag myself) through the weekends to spend time with the sober man I was married to during the week.
The phone rang, it was him. He had no recollection of what had happened. He can't even remember driving to Scotland. He wanted to come home to talk. I didn't know if I wanted to see him. I'm not a very strong person when it comes to facing things, I'd rather hide, but this is one thing I had to face up to, be strong and speak my mind no matter what he thought, this was mine and my kids future and he wasn't going to wreck it.

He did come back, we did talk, for three days. He slept on the sofa as I asked and we did some serious talking. I told him I wasn't prepared to live with this anymore. I told him all the things he had done when he was drunk. He could obviously see my nose was broken this time and he cried when I told him how it happened. I told him all the things he called me, he cried again. He didn't want to hear anymore, but I made him listen to the catalogue of events that had happened over the last 5 years. He wanted to curl up and die. I gave him my ultimatum. If you want this marriage to work, you can only come back if you stop drinking. If you need time to think about it, fine, but you need to make a decision. I am sticking by my descion, make yours and stick by that. (This is so not like me, I'm a whimp really). 
This was just over 4 years ago. He hasn't had a drink since. We spend time as a family at the weekends and he's rarely in bed past 9am.

The only regret I have, is that it got to breaking point before I realise that something HAD to change.


  1. Do you know what I love about this piece of writing? I love the end. I love the fact that it bucked all trends and things changed. He changed. How strong were you to force that ultimatum? I am so happy for you that he actually listened and actually stopped drinking and that you have a family. Amazing

  2. Catharine Withenay10:20 AM

    So often stories like yours end in separation, and all the agony that goes with it. How lovely that yours has a happy ending and you are now a stronger family because of it. A lovely piece of writing - thank you.

  3. Catherine11:44 AM

    My goodness, how brave of you, both for dealing with it and writing this post. And well done him for addressing his problem.

  4. I am in tears here. You are so brave, both of you.

    I was so expecting you to say that you couldn't work through it, that you had to part ways. But your didn't and I am so moved by your love for each other and your capacity for forgiveness and for your husband's capacity for humility and change.

    A phenomenal story. So humbling. Thank you so much.

  5. Bravely done. Both of you. Wish more stories like this had endings like this. Thank you for sharing. Much.

  6. Agree with The Moiderer. I'm so pleased for you that you managed to stay with the sober man you loved and not lose him to the drunken one you didn't. Very strong.

  7. http://deerbaby.blogspot.com12:04 PM

    What a powerful piece of writing. I too expected it to end with a split - but how happy I am that you managed to overcome it. Well done to him for quitting and well done to you for fighting to save your precious family. Thank you for sharing this. It must have been tough.

  8. bronagh12:20 PM

    This is such a powerful piece - I'm so glad you were able to work things out.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  9. An amazing story, beautifully written. You both have so much courage and I'm delighted there was a happy ending x

  10. Written so well, I am so so pleased that you both came through it. I am crying as I write this and did try to find an email address to reply to. It must have been so very hard. You are both very strong people and should be proud of yourselves, many people wouldn't get through that. I'm so happy to hear of a happy ending. xx

  11. You had me going through many emotions reading this: first hoping you'd leave the bastard. Then afraid for you. Then suspense. A gleamer of hope that things might get better, and immense relief for you, your daughter and your husband. What a brave family! And what a beautifully written post!

  12. Thank you so much everyone for your kind comments. They are very much appreciated, especially when I'm just writing.. often forgetting that the world out there is going to read it. So thank you, for reading AND for taking the time to leave me your comments.