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"I Didn't Find Sobriety To Be An Improvement"

Updated on May 21, 2012

First things first, let me clarify. This hub is about how the non-sobriety of other peoples lives have affected mine.

Both the second and the third time I married it was to men who had a relationship or love affair with alcohol. My second husband had stopped drinking shortly before we married and to the best of my knowledge never touched a drop of booze the entire time we were together for 9 plus years. He told me alcohol made him mean and inclined to get into fights, so he quit. Sadly somehow the meanness never went away. He had a quick temper and anger management issues. We fought like cat and dog most of the ten years we were together. I finally filed for divorce and moved out of state and out of his life. I didn't care where he went and didn't give a tinkers damn if he lived or died. He had hurt me so much over the years I'm surprised I had the strength to pull up my boot straps and begin anew, but i did. The only blessing from that marriage was my step daughter. She was my ray of sunshine, my island in the storm, and I often unwittingly used her as a shield to quell his angry, to divert his issues. The divorce scattered us like tumbleweeds in the wind. She was a young woman by then and in love with her man. She relayed the story to me years later that after the divorce, her father, my ex husband, fell off the wagon and into dispare. Blaming the world and everyone around him for his troubles. He couldn't keep a job, ranted and raved, drank like a fish and leached off of anyone he could. The monkey on his back was alcohol and it clung to him like the devil itself. He was so self destructive in this behavior he managed to alienate himself from his own daughter and grandchildren to this day.

My third attempt at marriage didn't prove to be much different. Another drinking man who said he had it "under control" . Turns out he was what was called a "high functioning alcoholic." Always held a good job, had his finances together, nice car, home owner, but 7 days a week right after work he was a drinking man. I learned early on to let him have a few drinks after work, because it seemed to take the edge of his anger. He was easier to talk to, not so quick tempered. Yes, you guessed it, he had anger issues too. But I quickly realized there wasn't such a fine line between taking the edge off and becoming irrational and abusive, which would just become a vicious circle back to anger. I never did figure out if he was just naturally negative about life or if the booze amplified it or both. I myself am not much of a drinker at all, maybe a glass of wine with dinner a couple times a month if that. So it was very difficult for me to understand his need for consumption. He told me all kinds of justifications for his desire to drink. Coming from a family of drinkers, it was the way he dealt with life. A counselor later identified it as "self medicating" a way to dull the pain of life's trials and tribulations. The painful lesson I learned is alcohol destroys relationships period. Like any other vice or addiction, I could want him to quit drinking until the cows come home, but a drinker, a smoker, or a person immersed in drugs won't get help or stop until THEY are ready. Fast forward 9 years later, miserable in my marriage, I finally threw the towel in and filed for divorce. Some 6 or 8 months after we divorced I ran into him in town and he told me he had quit drinking cold turkey. The thought that rushed through my mind was "Why now?" "Why couldn't you stop drinking while we were still married?", but I didn't ask, it didn't matter anymore. I only congratulated him on his journey and wondered what had been his motivation and how long it would last? I saw him from time to time and he maintained his sobriety was in tack going on 18 months.

Then the next time I spoke to him I heard the famous line. An utterance I don't think I will forget because it was one of the most unbelievable statements to come out of a human mouth.

Being a woman that speaks my mind, who often asks questions that should perhaps be best left unasked, I'm sure you know what comes next...........

"So how life in sobriety?" I ask. "Oh, he says with a wave of the hand, "I DIDN'T FIND SOBRIETY TO BE AN IMPROVEMENT". I almost fell off my chair! I don't know why I found that so stunning, so shocking. I guess it's because I couldn't believe someone would actually utter those words out loud and expect people to accept that statement and be ok with it. I bit my tongue, my brain screaming things like, " Do you know how retarded that sounds?" "Are you serious?" But I kept my mouth shut, after all I wasn't his wife anymore and reminded myself a leopard usually doesn't change his spots unless he really wants to.


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    • writinginalaska profile image

      writinginalaska 7 years ago from southeast Alaska


      I concur completely! Sad but true. thank you for your comment and visiting my Hub Anna.

    • profile image

      Anna Walker 7 years ago

      That was awesome Leah. People don't often think about what their actions do to other people.