“Little Bit” “Little Bit” a voice cut through my phone conversation. I told my friend that I would call her back and hung up the phone.
I had relished being absolutely lazy on Sunday mornings; sleeping in and than taking it easy. My friend had called just after I had gotten out of the shower and I hadn’t had time to really talk to my husband. What,I wondered, could be wrong?
I found him trying to put a leash on our pet Rottweiler. She was jumping about, making it difficult to get the leash hooked up. That was business as usual, what caught my attention was the tone of my husband’s voice. It sounded like he was drunk! Again, he hollered at Little Bit and this time I could hear it plain as day. I Also noticed that he was bracing his shoulder against the wall as he struggled with Little Bit. Once he got the dog leashed and stood up I saw his unsteady gait and it hit me, my husband was tipsy.
I looked at the clock, it was about one in the afternoon. I asked my husband if he needed any help. Of course he said he was fine and managed to take the dog outside for a walk. I went over to the table and sure enough there was a plastic cup filled with some alcoholic concoction. There were no ice cubes, but when I stuck my finger in the drink it felt cool.
Nancy Drew to the rescue, I hated to sneak around, but I knew that the straightest answer would not come from my husband. I figured that the drink was probably an hour or two at the oldest. I stood in shock as I thought over the ramifications. My husband was drinking into well into the next day. I couldn’t, I didn’t want to believe it, but there it was. Worse, I knew what the ramifications could be. Also, given my husband’s lack of self control, I had a bad feeling that this was not an exception. Rather, it was a warning sign of things to come.
Of course, when I asked him about it, my husband tried to play it off. He claimed that he fell asleep at the table and woke up in the early morning, saw that he hadn’t finished his drink and so he re iced it. When I pointed out that it was early afternoon and the drink was still cool, he fudged a little, trying to say that it was actually mid morning when he had awoken.
I knew he was lying. This was before his seizure and the seizure meds which greatly amplified the affects of alcohol. My husband had drunk more than one partial drink.
The ensuing weekends did not bring a repeat of this episode. However, I started to watch his drinking. It was the first time that I ever worried about his drinking.
Now as I lay in bed, months later, I realized that I was witnessing the nascent beginning of a new problem. For whatever reasons, my husband was developing a problem with alcohol. Worse, he was handling it the way he had with previous issues which was to say that he wasn’t handling it at all. At least in the early years of our marriage, my husband would acknowledge his problems. He always had plans to loose weight or to get out of debt. From time to time, he would make a serious effort to curb the problem. Of course, the efforts would fail, but at least made an attempt. When I confronted him about his abuse of alcohol, he went into denial mode, trying to downplay the evidence and even going on the offensive by saying that I was being paranoid.
Dread filled me. I was at the doorway of something terrible. My husband’s new found problem would make the past look like a day at the beach.
Some how I must get through to my husband, our future depended on it.
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NLQ Recommended Reading …
‘Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich
‘Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland
‘Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce