I was set up for this: Adult child of alcoholics marries an alcoholic

Anyone who knows me or has read my laments here in the blogosphere probably reached this conclusion long ago: husband has a real problem with drugs and alcohol. Is it denial? He doesn’t give a fuck? Who knows. He just keeps drinking, and that’s all I need to know. And remember.

He’s not getting better. He’s “giving himself until Thursday to leap into the recovery lifestyle.” He actually said that. And then what? I just don’t trust him.

Let’s be clear, here: it could be way worse. He doesn’t have any DUI’s. He’s never hit me. He’s never hit the kids. He hasn’t driven drunk, that I know of.

He’s just a lonely guy with lots of problems. Many, many women in my situation would look the other way.

They’d let the missing money go.

They’d forgive and move on.

But I just can’t. I grew up with two alcoholic–and highly functioning–parents, and I just can’t go back there.

Then and Now: Let’s Compare

I never felt safe growing up; I don’t feel safe with him here.

I never knew what mood my parents would be in; husband’s moods change rapidly after only 1 beer.

I walked on eggshells until I left for college; I tread lightly now, never knowing if he’s sober or truthful.

I never really trusted my parents, they could/would change their minds frequently, or forget what I’d said; I don’t trust husband at all.

My parents held down good jobs but still drank every night; husband frequently reminds me that “he has a good job” as way of defending his alcoholism.

My parents refused to admit they had problems or go to counseling with me; husband has yet to call a therapist even though many, many folks have recommended he do so.

My parents’ rage and violence hurt deeply, both physically and emotionally. Husband has slammed doors, broken things, called me names, and yelled. Even while sober. His anger has no healthy outlet.

My mother kept friends at arm’s length and always seemed lonely and distant; husband chooses to stay home and drink. I can’t remember the last time he called a friend.

What Next?

My therapist reminded me that I shouldn’t blame myself too much. That, by being raised by alcoholics, I was set up for this life.

This is something I’ve explored in the past but need to explore more, obviously.

He wasn’t drinking much when we married! I didn’t know!

But still, something in me (the nurturer, the caretaker, the fixer) was drawn to something in him (underfunctioner). Family systems says it is so.

I feel so frustrated, like I should’ve known better. But that can wait for therapy.

My Truth for Today

For today I say that I refuse to live in a household run by substance abuse.

My home will be filled with light, honesty and love. I will teach my boys healthy coping mechanisms and be a good role model for them.

I will protect them from growing up like I did: confused, scared, lonely, and hurt.

What Do You Think?

Are you also the child of an alcoholic? How did you stop the patterns from your childhood?

Did you also marry an alcoholic?

I love your comments and am enjoying the validation this blog has provided.

Thanks to everyone for coming along on this journey with me.

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One thought on “I was set up for this: Adult child of alcoholics marries an alcoholic

  1. One of my favorite quotes. I hope you like it too… 🙂

    “If you aren’t in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?”
    ― T.S. Eliot

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