Christian - Alcoholic - Marriage
I am a Christian woman (46) and the adult step-child of an alcoholic. My husband is my second marriage. We share two children (13&11) and I have a child from my first marriage (19) and he has three children (Adult) from his first marriage. My husband is 63 - 17 years older than I am, and an alcoholic.
My husband is a very sweet, caring, Christian man. We have now been married 17 years.
When I met and married my husband, I knew that he drank - but it was nothing like the alcoholism in my childhood. My step father was an angry drunk. He would beat my mother, pushed us down stairs, and one Christmas Eve, he burned our Christmas presents and Christmas tree up in the fireplace. I never saw the life we are now living in our future then.
In the last three years I have watched my husbands health deteriorate rapidly. He has spinal stenosis and was forced to retire from a retail management position because he could no longer be on his feet ten to twelve hours a day. When he retired and was staying home, he began to drink more. He has tried to occupy his time by volunteering at church - but it did not keep him busy enough - and the drinking became excessive - to the point of what I would call binge drinking - where he was a different mean person.
In the past year - he has had 10-15 hospitalizations. Some of them he came very close to dying. Since January of this year we have made a trip to the ER every three weeks - all resulting in admissions. All of the conditions seem to relate to his alcoholism - though each time it is something a little different.
I have converted a study on the ground floor of our home into a room for him because he can no longer navigate the stairs in our home. Additionally, I do not want to sleep in the same bed with his because he now has a colostomy and wets the bed nightly.
Two of the admissions I mention above were to alcohol treatment programs where he dried out - but he has not been successful at maintaining that sobriety. The treatment facility we have used is considered in the top two or three in the nation. He attends AA meeting daily - and goes thru all the motions of calling his sponsor, etc, but he is still drinking.
I have also gotten involved in Al-anon, and have a sponsor - though I am not consistent in working the program or attending the meetings. Someone has to manage the house and take care of the kids - and hold down a job - and there just seems like not enough hours in the day.
When I was still in my mother's home I found it very easy to give her advice and very difficult to understand why she stayed married to my step father - even buying for her the book - "Co-dependent No More" - which I am now reading for myself. I have every one of the characteristics now myself.
But now I stay because of the following reasons:
I took a vow.
I don't want my children to grow up in a divorced home.
I am not sure how to face my church friends if I leave my husband. They just think he is sick and do not know of the alcoholism.
Financial reasons - Its fiscally advantageous to live in the same home - in different rooms.
I have no idea how my husband would possible care for himself.
I don't feel any love for my husband anymore. I think in the last three years I have seen two glimpses of the man I married, and felt love for him. I pity him rather than have compassion for him - something I wrestle with from the Al-anon program.
I struggle most with the face I wear for the world of the loving wife - at my husbands bedside in the hospital for days on end, but inside I am not that person. I am exhausted, depressed, tired of sorting his medication. Tired of cleaning up the bathroom after he pees all over the floor and leaves his dirty colostomy bags on the counter.
And now his mind is going too. Not just while he is drinking. He is losing his mind. He becomes incoherent. He hallucinates. He repeats himself over and over.
I know I am not the first woman with an ill husband. Alcoholism is an illness - I know. I know many loving wives care for ill husbands and have dirtier jobs than I do. I just can't take it anymore.
The Holy Spirit in me knows that I am losing it too - a Christian woman shouldn't't feel the way I do. Truthfully, I feel I live day to day just waiting on my husband to die. Lord help me!