My ex is an alcoholic. This is the reason our marriage broke up. For most of our marriage he drank, but not heavily so it wasn’t a problem, at first. We had a good marriage and a good life. We both worked, him full-time me part-time so I could care for our kids. He had a good job with an higher than average income. We lived in a nice house in a nice neighborhood with good neighbors. We took great vacations all around the world and drove nice cars. We had season tickets to our local NFL team and had nice dinners out frequently. Our kids wanted for nothing, nor did I. What I did not realize during this time was what was brewing underneath. He was an alcoholic our entire marriage and I did not see it because he was a “functioning” alcoholic. He got up and went to work everyday. He spent weekends doing activities with the family or fixing things around the house. He made pancakes for the kids in the morning and bbq at night. He cleaned and shopped as well. So how did I not see what was really going on? He was very good at hiding it…for a while.
Things slowly started to unravel, he was slipping up. I started finding his bottles hidden around the house and in his car. He started sleeping more and working less. He became difficult to talk to and hard to be around. When confronted he lied, of course. But when given the choice between sobriety and leaving he chose to leave. Now the man that I married, the man that I once loved has lost it all. Not long after we broke up he lost his job, and then a second job. He was forced to move in with his mother and then forced to leave after his behavior, the same behavior that got him kicked out of our home, became impossible for her to live with. I will never understand how someone could have everything and then nothing. He had everything that many people could only hope for, a good job, a nice home, a great family, everything and he lost it all because he could not walk away from the alcohol. It was easier for him to walk away from his family than a bottle. In million years I will never understand that. And now he is basically living in poverty because he has been unable to keep a job. He has gone through all of his family and friends and has nowhere to live. He is alone and does not see his kids because of the choices he made and I don’t know how to feel.
I realize he did all of this to himself and that he had a choice many years ago to do the right thing and put his family first, but he chose otherwise. I stepped up and did what I had to do to take care of my children and we are all in a good place right now,but it wasn’t easy.
And for some reason I feel sorry for him and want to do something to help him, but I know how that ended when I tried that many years ago. Should I worry about him, should I be sad for him, should I put any energy at all into helping him? When this all began I was working very few hours a week, not nearly enough to support my kids and myself. I worked hard to get where I am now all the while taking care of my children with no help from him, family or friends. I know I am not the first mother to ever do this but I take a certain satisfaction in knowing that I did. I was angry for a very long time that he would put me in this position, just walk away and leave me to fend for myself and our kids. I am over that now, but am left wondering, after everything I have gone through because of him, struggling to pay the bills, put food on the table, take care of my kids all the while not letting them know just how bad things were, having to ask for public assistance so they could go to the doctor and dentist, having to humble myself and ask his mother for the money he should have been giving me to take care of our kids. Why after all of this do I still feel like I need to help him? He walked away and didn’t care about me or our kids, knowing that I was struggling and knowing what he had to do to make things right. He did nothing so why should I care about him?
I don’t know but I do.
“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.”
― John Holmes