I couldn’t feel my legs anymore.
As I stood in the dining room of Cracker Barrel, I grabbed the empty table next to me to steady myself. This wasn’t happening again. This cannot be happening again.
Except, yes, it was happening again.
My addict husband was confessing to lies and sin and hiding and deceit.
It was like it was 2010 again and we were back on the porch in Tennessee on our family vacation. It was exactly like finding my husband in the throes of drug use surrounded by the beautiful Smoky Mountains.
“I think you know what I have to tell you,” he said, voice shaky and weak.
“No, I don’t. What are you talking about?”
“I’ve been drinking.”
What came next didn’t–and still doesn’t months later–make complete sense to me. The confession: drinking. For years. Rum, mostly. Drunk driving. Drunk at work. Drunk at home with our family. Drunk at church. Drunk on stage with the worship band. Drinking in the morning. Drinking while driving our kids around. Drunk. For years. Almost three, to be exact.
I felt blindsided, dumb, and tired.
I DON’T WANT TO DO THIS AGAIN. I don’t want the heartache, the lack of trust, the suspicions, the checking-in, the disruption, the despair.
This will break me, I just know it. I can’t do this again.
Before we get off the phone, Chris asks me to come to a counselor with him. He wants to get it all out in the open so we can start again.
I don’t want to start again.
I do not want to start again.
Here’s what I want: a husband who is not an addict. I want a husband who doesn’t become addicted to anything and everything he tries. I want a husband who tells the truth. I want a husband who can’t lie to my face when asked point-blank if he’s drunk because the way he’s acting doesn’t make sense. I want a husband who isn’t so good at lying. I want a husband who loves me the right way. I want a healthy husband.
The exact opposite of what I have.
I don’t want to be married to him anymore. I don’t want to keep doing this every few years. I don’t want to live in fear of the rug being pulled out from under me again and again and again. I can see eventually I will not be able to get back up.
I hate him.
I hate him so much.
I hang up on him, numb and scared. I spend the rest of the afternoon pretending everything is fine as I shop, laugh, and hang out with my grandma. Being out in public with her and not at home by myself where I would normally be is probably saving me at this moment. At home I would be raging–packing his bags, tearing up the house looking for alcohol, destroying things.
But at the lawn and garden store, I look at plants and cute pots with my grandma. At the grocery store, I buy food I’ll serve my friends for dinner the following night.
Doing these things feels fake, unimportant, and useless. But having something to do–even for a few hours before I go pick up my kids from school–is God’s mercy in this moment of utter heartbreak and destruction.
God being good in the midst of this makes me angry instead of bringing comfort. How about you be good by taking addiction away from my husband? How about you be good by leading me to someone else to marry? How about you be good by showing me what he was doing years ago so we didn’t have to do this again?
I don’t agree with God’s goodness right now.
I am beyond angry.
That night we go see a new drug counselor Chris has found. This isn’t the first drug counselor he’s seen and it won’t be the last.
On the way there, I drive because he’s not allowed to drive me places anymore. He obviously doesn’t care enough about my safety or my children’s safety to make wise choices. No more driving us anywhere.
“I FUCKING HATE YOU,” I scream, “FUCK YOU.”
It’s all I have.
“You will NEVER do this to me again; do you understand what that means? THIS IS DONE,” I yell through tears of anger and deep, deep hurt.
I’m not sure why I’m going to the counselor with him. There’s no point in reconciliation. I don’t want to fix this. I want it to be done. I want him out of my life. I want him to go be a worthless, lying alcoholic anywhere but in the house I live. I know how he’ll turn out–his father is already there and gives a really good glimpse into Chris’ future–I don’t need to stick around to see how this ends. I already know the ending.
The ending will be he breaks me, he will always be a liar, and he is dangerous to our family.
I tell him on the way home from the counselor he needs to move out this weekend. As soon as I figure out how to tell the girls, he’s gone.
We are done.