I had a lot to think about last Saturday. And I also had a lot of time to think, since my Saturday began at 1:41am. That was when I first woke up and realised my husband was missing.
His side of the bed was untouched. His car was gone.
I don’t know if I can do this anymore, was the third thought I had.
I barely dozed through the long dark hours of the early morning. I tried to read. I tried to write. I even tried to cry. I felt physically sick, and I knew it had nothing to do with the gastro bug my daughter had just recovered from.
He stumbled through the door sometime around 4:30am. But still I couldn’t sleep. And I knew it had nothing to do with the peculiar sounds of intoxication downstairs.
Predictably, the kids were out of bed by 7 o’clock that morning. Unpredictably, they found their father in a heavily drunken slumber on the lounge room floor.
Mummy, why is Daddy sleeping on the floor in his clothes?
I wanted to talk. I wanted some kind of explanation. Or maybe, selfishly, I just wanted an apology. But even after waiting a morning that dragged on for a year, he could still only brush me off with a mumble.
Can’t you see I’m still drunk?
With relief, my words finally flowed onto the page. And my thoughts took me on a roller coaster. The ride eventually ended when I realised my choices came down to one simple question – are my actions supporting him, or are they enabling him?
I have come to realise that, although many of my actions are focused on keeping the family unit together and stable for the children, most of my actions are being solely directed by a deep-set fear I’ve been holding onto. The fear of letting my husband fall. I can see now that my emotional drain and utter exhaustion is borne from the strain of constantly holding him up.
The past still haunts me. It probably always will. But by absolving him of responsibility and consequence, I am essentially giving him the green light to stay on his not-so-merry path of avoidance and self-medication.
Today, it stops. Today is when I let go of my fear and throw away his safety net.
I will be here to love, here to motivate, and here to support. But I can no longer hold him up. That is something he needs to take full control of, or he’ll never beat this.
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