The majority of people who read this blog don’t have the historical knowledge of my life and, particularly, my marriage. So, for the benefit of the majority of you, I’ll give you a bit of a crash course and try to not make this post too heady.
We’ve been together for 17 years and married for 8 years of that. We have three kids, two of whom are 18+ and the youngest is in high school.
(Right about now, you are maybe doing some math to figure out how old I am… I’ll help you out, we both started families when we were young.)
She’s a person who believes firmly that if a little of something is good then more is always better. This is a common theme that I’ve observed over time and, because of this tendency, she often steamrolls into (and through) situations making decisions contrary to what most people would regard as common sense. In doing this, she has gotten herself into hot water over and over again. Consequences of these poor decisions range from significant financial setbacks for the family to questionable parenting episodes to her personal safety being in serious jeopardy.
In the vast majority of these situations, I’ve stepped in to pluck her from the fire because… well, that’s just what you do for your spouse and your family. Often, this comes at your own personal cost and is done thanklessly. I know this just as well as anyone who has found themselves in this role.
Now, fast forward to present day.
You don’t have to scroll back very far in this blog to see that I’ve had struggles with alcohol. Drinking became a coping mechanism to compensate for my inability to cope with stress and loneliness. My relationship with the bottle finally culminated into me having a grand mal seizure while at work and being taken to the hospital.
It was at this time, while laying on a hospital bed and freshly swearing off booze, that my wife told me if I were to start drinking again… she was going to leave me.
Going back a few posts in this blog, you’ll note that I dabbled with alcohol again. I’m the type of guy that lives by the adage ‘never say never’ so I generally don’t close a door on any possibility. I felt like I needed to convince myself that, indeed, I had to close the door on my drinking past and walk away.
This didn’t go by unnoticed, of course. My wife had no clue since we have been working opposite schedules for years now and rarely see each other. However, my youngest teenage son did notice and finally said something to her a few weeks ago. The very next day, she confronted me and said that she was leaving; stating that I’d had started drinking again that she couldn’t live with it anymore.
Given the fact that we rarely see each other and that she admitted that she hadn’t even noticed, this statement felt disingenuous and the situation was being used as an excuse or, worse, an opportunity.
Throughout this past ten months, I’ve felt angry and bitter toward my immediate family that there has been little to no support for me staying sober. I also feel that there has been little to no effort made by them to understand or appreciate how hard this is. So, this past ten months has felt like a gigantic slap in the face that highlights how unappreciated I’ve been for the previous 16+ years of bailing this family, and particularly my wife, out of trouble over and over again.
Now, my natural tendency is to try to inject humour wherever I can and especially when it’s a painful subject for me. So, when I was reflecting on it at the end of a work day immediately following that weekend confrontation, I related this entire scene to an episode of The Simpsons. The episode in question is titled ‘$pringfield (or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling)’ where Mr. Burns opens a casino in Springfield and Marge ends up developing a gambling addiction.
Homer: You know, Marge, for the first time in our marriage I can finally look down my nose at you.You have a gambling problem!
Marge: That’s true. Will you forgive me?
Homer: Oh, sure! Remember when I got caught stealing all those watches from Sears?
Marge: [ Groans ]
Homer: Well, that’s nothing, because you have a gambling problem! And remember when I let that escaped lunatic in the house ’cause he was dressed like Santa Claus?
Marge: [ Groans ]
Homer: Well, you have a gambling problem!
The writers pretty much hit the nail on the head with this episode. I’m feeling a lot like Marge here. And my wife has been Homer for our entire marriage and I’ve never noticed it.
Maybe this is why she hates The Simpsons.