Friday, November 4, 2011

At least he asked...

When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you,
And when he speaks to you believe him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.
For Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.
~Kahlil Gibran

Hubber is what you might call a "High Functioning Alcoholic." What is a high functioning alcoholic? I'm so glad you asked. Hubber does not fit the stereotype of what most people think of when they hear the word "Alcoholic." He does not drink all the time. He does not hide bottles. He doesn't drink in the morning, or even every day. He has a great job and provides for his family. He doesn't drink at home, and he doesn't drink alone. He is not physically abusive. In fact, the majority of the time he is the kind, funny, intelligent, loving, sensitive, respectful, charming man I fell in love with. His alcoholism is the "hidden sword." However, once he starts drinking, it's out, and he rarely has the ability to stop until he is hammered. When he's hammered, he's like a completely different person.

The longest he has gone without drinking (in the four years that we have been together) was 5 months, after he quit his job DJ-ing at a local bar. That was 3 1/2 years ago. Since then his drinking goes in spurts. The worst it has been was immediately following the birth of our daughter 12 weeks ago. He had actually been drinking when he drove me to the hospital, not enough to be impaired, but had I had another option, I would have taken it. At that point he had been drinking 2-3 times a weeks pretty consistently. After she was born, however, it increased to 3-4 times a week. For several weeks in a row, he was drinking every. other. day. Aside from the emotional toll this took on me, dealing with his illogical mood swings while drunk, it took a financial toll as well, during a time when we were already stretched pretty thin, due to the birth of Bunny and my "maternity leave" which was really 5 weeks of 60% paid disability, 1 week of PTO, and 3 weeks of unpaid FMLA.

Since I started back to work, he has been doing better. Twice he went an entire week between benders, and last week he went a whole 8 days. He drank Monday, but he was home by 10:30, so looked at it as a minor setback. But then last night he had band practice. Historically, band practice is decidedly bad for his sobriety, or lack thereof. He almost always has at least one beer during practice, and this almost always makes him want more after. Last night he came home a little after 10pm. I was asleep with Bunny.

Hubber: I tried to call you like ten times.
Me: I didn't hear it.
Hubber: It went straight to voicemail.
Me: Well then, it must be dead... *looks at phone*... yep. It's dead.
Hubber: I want to go have a beer with John, but I wanted to ask if it's okay.
Me: *sigh*
Hubber: Is it not okay?
Me: It's never okay with me for you to go out drinking, especially on a weeknight.
Hubber: Just for an hour.
Me: You always say that, and it never is. It's already after ten. Even if you were really good, by your standards, you still wouldn't be home until after midnight.
Hubber: *smiles and sticks hand out to me* Deal! I'll be home before midnight.
Me: What? No deal. I did not say if you're before midnight.
Hubber: Fine. *takes Bunny's tiny hand and shakes it as she sleeps* I promise I'll be home before midnight.
Me: Don't start that. Do not make promises to Bunny that you can't keep. I don't care that she's still too young to know what's going on.
Hubber: I'm not. I'm going. But, just for an hour.
Me: Then why did you ask me if it was okay?
Hubber: At least I asked.
Me: No, you didn't. Because you didn't get the answer you wanted, and you're going to do it anyway. The words came out of your mouth, but they didn't mean anything.
Hubber: I didn't have to ask. I could have just gone.
Me: You might as well have.
Hubber: So you're saying I should have changed cars, snuck in without saying anything, and then left? No.
Me: No... I'm saying that you should have just come home and said. "I dropped off your car, I'm going back out." Because for all intents and purposes, that's what you did anyway.
Hubber: No. I asked.
Me: No, you didn't, because when I said no, you said you were doing it anyway. What that says to me, is that you don't care how I feel, so there was no point in asking to begin with.
Hubber: I wasn't asking permission, I just wanted your opinion.
Me: Well, I gave it to you.
Hubber: Whatever. Fine. It's all about you. It's your night mama. Whatever you say. Whatever mama wants. As always.

At which point he proceeded to stomp off to the bedroom, slamming doors as he went. He emerged in his pajamas and proceeded to complain loudly, but to himself. He'd already had a couple, although he never said as much. I can tell when he's been drinking, even when he's not outwardly intoxicated to the detection of others. There is the slightest shift in him, that I only I can perceive, even after only a couple beers. He was incredibly rude and condescending. It was grating, but at the end of the day, I decided I didn't mind. I wouldn't let myself be bothered. Because at the end of the day, it wasn't me he was really mad at, it was himself. I was the scape goat. I refused to react, and instead said "Thank you for staying," then was quiet until he came to me, took my hand, and said "How could I leave?"

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