Alone Together

The morning after Swenny traded his job for a drink, I asked him to find another place to live. I want him to work on his sobriety away from home, providing a much needed break for our family and hopefully new focus for him. A friend offered him a room, a job and support as an addict in longterm recovery.

Why then, is he still here?

Because I’m not strong enough to make him go.

The days and weeks ahead are full of uncertainty.  Is it better to navigate alone?  Together? Alone together?  After being a couple for 30 years, how is it possible that divide and conquer is our best strategy to confront our most challenging circumstances yet?

As I turn these questions over and over in my mind, I churn up more.  Two in particular demand answers.  Do I love him too much to watch him go? Or not enough to make him?

The Darkest Night

Last evening, Swenny was terminated as a result of his alcoholism.  I was surprised, while expecting this all along.

I knew his drinking had escalated.  Rather than searching for hidden bottles, they were finding me, appearing as if from nowhere.  After bringing one inside that I uncovered while taking out the trash, I could see his eyes searching for the memory of placing it there, unable to connect his hide with my seek.

The meeting intended for earlier this summer was finally called, with his bosses, recovery mentor and me.  He knew what to expect after being asked to take a breathalyzer early in the day, to prove his bosses wrong after they smelled alcohol.  He failed, but was prepared to debate the level of alcohol in his system, below what is considered intoxication.  Mainly because he managed to procrastinate for more than 5 hours in order to deplete his level.  Cleared on a technicality, he hoped to stay.

Again, he was missing the point.  He did not meet the expectations for his second chance – complete sobriety, and at the very least, sobriety at work.  He deliberately tried to deceive the people who had sought to help him, the very people rooting for his successful recovery for more than three years.  And I was the last to know, finding out in an early evening phone call from his boss that we needed to meet.  Audibly shaken, he told me how the day unfolded, leaving him with no other choice than to fire my husband.

Racked with sorrow for his predicament, and anger for the position he has put us in, I found my way to bed later than usual.  Exhausted but unable to sleep, I finally dozed off to the feeling of being inside of a jar.  As the lid was lifted, only darkness was let in.  Moving further up toward the stars, there was no light to be found.  Under a high canopy of night, I fell asleep realizing that I am afraid of the dark.