Swenny has the most beautiful eyes. They are big, blue and telling. And sometimes, they betray him.
Following yet another relapse, we are preparing for him to leave our home in order to focus on sobriety in a setting that is less comfortable, less forgiving, and more accountable. After a week of forgotten conversations, bed times alone and the familiar smell of alcohol, I wasn’t surprised to find cans of beer tucked under the sink for his convenient consumption last night.
His instinct was to deny that they were his, looking at the cans on the table with surprise, as if he was trying to figure out from where they had come. Unwilling to own them until I called his bluff and dialed our son who was out with friends to ask if they were his. Before I pressed the final number, he folded himself into our couch, tired of the charade and ready to talk.
In a conversation we’ve had far too many times, I asked him to find another place to live. Not for forever, but for now. And not just for me, but for him. And for the future we still want.
As the evening went along, I was buoyed about what lies ahead, even though it includes a separation that could move beyond geography. With an outcome that rests in part with his ability to achieve the sobriety that has so far eluded him, the magnitude of what he is facing was not lost on him. While I read and watched television, Swenny looked straight ahead. Through the cans of beer still sitting in front of him and past the far wall of our living room straight out the door. Where I felt light, he felt heavy, and his eyes revealed his inability to find a way out. When he finally spoke, his words matched the look on his face. “I’m just so tired of this.”
Watching him tempered my hope. For his chances and ours, and guilt crept in again. This morning, though, when he asked if I was really going to make him move out, I said yes. No longer will I stand beside him as he compromises his health and happiness. And even though I believe I am doing what is best – and what is necessary – I’m not able to recover my optimism from the previous night.
Gravity has set in with a weight I’ve not felt before. Tomorrow, my husband is leaving. And his return date will be determined by a moving target we have yet to hit.