2014 Feb 2
Very recently, my husband had a bout of pancreatitis. It was the worst he's experienced, and he's had some bad ones, starting back in June, 2004. For years our PCP has treated him while continually explaining to him the need for him to stop drinking. While he did finally forgo hard liquors, he continued to consume beer, on a daily basis, and occasionally wine. The decision to stop is one that only the person consuming alcohol can make.
My husband says he has made that decision.
Great! Wonderful! To God be the glory! Well, yes. Absolutely.
Yet, as with any change, there is something frightening about this shift in the whole dynamic of our relationship. This is all new, for both of us. Our roles have been well established over our long years together. Sometimes there has been an irritating imbalance. Yet, our patterns seemed set and there was a certain comfort in the familiarity, even when it was irritating.
We are currently just a few days into our brave new world and the only things we have going for us in this sobriety, are honesty, caring, and our long history, along with the fact that we each made a commitment to be in this relationship for the long haul. That, and the fact that, In spite of all our ups and downs, and round the bends, we do love each other. Not that we haven't questioned that basic tenet. But, as Tevye and Golde so eloquently sang in Fiddler on the Roof, "Do you love me?" "I suppose I do." Yet I find myself wondering if that will be enough in the days, weeks and months to come.
For years, I prayed that God would do whatever it took to make my husband stop drinking. In fact, I was on a bus in Ireland, praying exactly that, when he had his first pancreatic attack, in 2004. Gradually, I prayed less. Sometimes I nagged more. Neither seemed an effective strategy. Now, it seems my husband's eyes are finally opened, and I am afraid. Of what, you ask. I suppose the whole paradigm shift that is taking place scares me. What if we are too comfortable with our old roles? What if, in his sobriety, he realizes that he doesn't really love me? What if I am unable to adjust to these changing patterns? What if the strain of getting and staying sober is too much for us, as a couple to handle?
Please, do not counsel us to go to therapy. I suggested that several months ago during a particularly rocky patch, and was met with a resounding, "NO!" I suppose I may revisit Al-Anon, at least for awhile. I am grateful to have several people in my life who have walked this road and who, I am sure, will be willing to offer whatever guidance they can. I am praying again. This time, for both of us, that God will provide His wisdom, and most of all, His love as we navigate these new circumstances. The times they are a-changing. Lord, give us grace to change with them.