One Monday morning as we were getting ready for work, my husband turned to me and said, "I probably won't be home tonight, I am going to the hospital today."
He had been acting strangely for about a week; he called his brother one morning and took the phone outside to talk. He had called his parents the day before and again took the phone outside where I could not hear. That same day, we went to the baseball game and he didn't have anything to drink. My daughter told me that he said to her that he was trying to quit drinking, but he never said anything to me.
My husband has always drunk a lot. When we first met (at a bar) he would drink himself to sleep every night. At times it was less, but over the years it was steadily more. I pointed it out occasionally, even going so far as, after he had poured the whiskey in his glass for his nightly "one-of-only-two" drinks, picking up that glass and dumping the whiskey into a measuring cup. It measured a full cup, 8 ounces of whiskey in each drink. "Do you realize you drink a full pint every day?" I asked him, "That is not two drinks, it's sixteen." He was very angry with me for that.
A few years ago, his drinking began to affect his health. Gout came after our last visit to his parents' house on the east coast, where he drank beer for breakfast and we ate seafood every day. Before that the acid reflux problems had begun, and others as well. We went to have an upper-GI scope done, and afterwards the doctor came in and sat down with us. He reported that there was no real serious damage yet. Then, he looked my husband in the eye and told him that every one of his health problems would be cured if he would stop drinking. He told my husband that even though he wrote on the pre-op paperwork that he only has "two drinks a day" they knew it was way more than that because it took an unusually large dose of anesthesia to knock him out. When we left the hospital, he went straight to the liquor store.
On that Monday morning last July, he went to work and asked for leave He told his boss everything, and went to the local hospital and checked himself into an in-patient detox program. A co-worker dropped me off at the hospital to get his car, so I could drive it home. On the passenger seat was a tupperware container half-full of koolaid and vodka. I took the car home, and told our kids where he was. We talked for a while, about being supportive, and how good it was that he was getting help. They had seen him every night, falling asleep in his chair by 7 pm, the erratic behavior and the mood swings affected all of us.
He told our family doctor that I had no idea how bad it had gotten. My family told me they had no idea he was "that bad." I knew; I just never told anyone When my brother asked how I was, I surprised both of us by telling him I was angry. I hadn't really thought about it, but I was angry. He had ruined our vacation plans (we were supposed to be going camping that Wednesday), he announced it on Twitter before I could even tell our kids, and he obviously talked to everyone else in his life about it but he wouldn't talk to me. He wouldn't tell me, the person with whom he pledged to share everything.
He came home three days later, and was signed up for an outpatient program that required him to be back at the hospital every day from 5 pm to 9 pm, and every Sunday morning for an hour. He drank that Sunday at the baseball game. He went to that outpatient program for two weeks, then switched to a one-on-one counselor at a different hospital. He did that for a month. His last visit was August. He went to a different physician who prescribed a medication that is very expensive (Suboxone), and I'm not sure what it is for. When I asked him, he said he didn't want to go into all the ins and outs, but it helps. He is on an antidepressant, the drinking medicine, the reflux medicine, a mild antibiotic for his acne and now a medication for high blood pressure.
He's still drinking. He still won't talk to me about any of it.
And I'm still angry.