Monday, February 3, 2014

2014 Feb 2 A New Beginnng

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.


  1. Dearest Jeanie,
    Just read your blog with happiness about his decision and sadness for your uncertainty. I can say that from experience, not husband & wife, but Dad and daughter. My Dad drank from the earliest time I can remember. He would drive us home from visiting family friends drunk & have no business driving us home. I can remember fights between Mom & Dad which made me so mad. He was NEVER a mean drunk, but Mom constantly treated him badly because of his addition. That probably led to a vicious circle between drunkeness & bitterness on her part. From what my sisters tell me, it got worse after I left for collage. He would miss work consistently and always come home late after being at the bar. I never knew this until recently. BUT, at the age of 67 years old he went off the road into a guard rail. I visited him at the hospital & prayed with him for the first time ever. He sobbed like a baby, and I felt like the parent. He was a broken child! Within 6 mos. he gave his life to the Lord. By a miracle, he never, ever touched another drop of alcohol after the accident. My love for him though never waivered be it then or now. He has the kindest, most loving heart. My Mom sadly still treats him coldly with sharp words sometimes. It is very sad to still see her bitterness. Where am I going with this??? I'm sure you two have a long road of adjustment ahead, but....... you need to give him what Christ gave us pitiful sinners... GRACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My Mom can't forgive Dad & the bitterness is ugly & continual. Grace allows us to wipe the slate of the ones we love. I will daily hold you two in my prayers. I pray you will meditate on 1 Corintians 13 which I am sure you know as the love chapter. Jesus loves us unconditionally!!! I've been following you for a while now, & your love for each other is so apparent in your writings. Yes, it is that obvious!!
    Love you dear friend,
    Sue J.

    1. Dearest Sue,
      I am only today seeing your comment. I appreciate so much, your wisdom, prayers and comments. I have not posted this, but R was alcohol free for 5 weeks before he began to drink "two beers, in the afternoon", which has since escalated to 4 to 6 daily.
      I am saddened by his return to alcohol, bc I was beginning to see glimpses of the man I originally feel in love with all those years ago. His sleep patterns had begun to "normalize" and he was more "present". When I am able to I will blog about it in this blog.
      In the meantime, thank you for praying for us. And thank you for the reminder that His grace is sufficient - for me and for R.
      I love you, my sister!