July 4, 2016: The day I knew something needed to change.
We looked forward to this family-friendly Fourth of July party every year. Lots of kids, bounce houses, pool, DJ, good food, and adult beverages for the parents. The kids were brimming with excitement as we headed over to the party.
I, however, was less than thrilled and growing more anxious about it with every mile that brought us closer to our friends’ house.
My stomach started to turn, the knots only growing larger and tighter with every beer my husband picked up. One beer, two beers, three beers, a shot or two, or three.
Once it began, there was no stopping him.
“Please don’t drink too much,” I begged of him in the days leading up to the party.
It was the same request I had made a million times for the last 10 years.
To others, he’s the funny drunk guy, the life of the party, with his obnoxious remarks and inappropriate language. To me, he’s the man I hate because I knew the remarks were going to turn to me – and that behavior was only going to get worse as the night went on.
And I’d be left to apologize to people who I didn’t even know for behavior that wasn’t even mine.
People who don’t know me would laugh and say,”It’s okay, he’s just drunk and letting loose.”
People who did know me would say things like, “He’s lucky to have you,” and “You are a saint.” Personally, I hated both because they didn’t truly know what it was like living with a functioning alcoholic.
He would go to work every day, go to the kids’ games, dances, and we’d never argue about money.
Friends and family just thought it was the just the way he relieved stress. Sure, it could have been – but then his stress became my stress.
The fireworks ended and the kids and I were ready to go home. It took about thirty minutes to get him to the car.
Once we were all there, it started, “You all are party poopers,” and “You guys suck!” “I am not leaving bitch,” or “Go the fuck home.”
And this was all happening in front of our kids (seven- and eight-years-old) who had started to cry because they want daddy to come home.
It wouldn’t be the first time or the last time that I left him at a party.
When we were driving home, my child said to me, “We are the only ones that know how to handle daddy when he’s drunk. What if something happens to him?”
I thought I sheltered them from it, but they knew a lot more about Daddy’s drinking than I realized.
I knew right then that something needed to change. It was the first step to my new beginning.