Drinking very nearly destroyed my marriage. Nothing in long-term relationships seems that simple. But, the reality is that alcohol made me completely irresponsible.
I was not an abusive drunk. I would not pick fights, seek arguments or get particularly angry.
I was a happy drunk.
However, alcohol made me forget.
It made me forget promises.
It made me forget my commitments.
It turned me into a hedonistic pleasure seeker and I would place my own fun above anything else.
Alcohol was a key catalyst to the vast majority of problems in my marriage. I would get drunk and then inevitably seek out drugs. Once I had enough booze to yearn for harder chemicals, all bets were off.
I wouldn’t call.
I wouldn’t return home.
I essentially threw up my hands and completely neglected my parenting duties. It put so much pressure on my wife, and it strained our strong bond as a partnership.
After having yet another accidental bender where I’d told my wife I’d be home at 11pm and stumbled in high, pissed, and physically ill at 8am, I decided enough was enough. My daughter, who was two at the time, said that I stunk and asked me what was wrong with me.
Where to begin?
Alcohol. That’s what was what was wrong with me.
I started to research how best to kick the booze. I tried AA. It was too hard-line for me at that time. Through my online searching, I found One Year No Beer. It seemed like the softer approach I was looking for. I decided to commit to a 28 day challenge.
It took a few goes, but something eventually clicked. I was calmer, happier, more patient, and more honest. I told my wife that I didn’t want to let her down anymore. I was sick of the person I became when I was drunk and I meant to never subject her to that version of me again.
That decisive moment was two years ago, and I am happy to say that I have been entirely sober since then.
My relationship has repaired immeasurably. The trust I had systematically eroded through my partying has begun to be rebuilt. Honesty and dependability are words I can now comfortably use to describe my approach to being both a husband and father.
Long-term relationships require constant work. There will always be conflict. There will always be times when you butt heads. But without alcohol, I feel I am in a much stronger position to negotiate those contentions.
It has not been easy to both give up addictive chemicals and to acknowledge the strain my behaviour placed on our relationship. But the best apology is changed behaviour, and through that change, I hope I am showing my wife the commitment and respect we promised each other on our wedding day ten years ago.
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