I functioned normal for a while heavy drinking while dabbing into whatever pills Eric or I could get our hands on. Back then, I did not think twice about it. I did not wake up and drink. I waited most days until Eric arrived home from work. He usually had the goodies in hand when he walked through the door, already taken his shot or two of vodka prior to opening the garage door. He greeted me with alcohol, and I was happy at first. That was until I tried to drink like him and chase his buzz. When I met Eric, I enjoyed shots of whiskey. What I have come to realize is that I began to mimic Eric’s odd behaviors with alcohol and drugs. He was always so secretive at hiding everything. What I once thought was absurd behavior I began to adopt as my own. Funny thing about it, years later that same behavior Eric would use to my own demise. Kicking me when I was down and playing the victim. I will admit it, I went bat sh*it crazy when I felt like no one would listen to me. I became an angry, bitter woman who was scared to let my guard down to anyone. And when I did use my voice, it was usually in a drunken rage. The pain was kept deep inside until the substance entered and then it was game on. I will tell you this, at the end of my run in active-addiction, I feared myself. I was afraid that if I used again…I would not be able to manage the guilt and shame and I would end my own life. I still am. It is one of the many reasons I stay sober.
I would like to say, I do not blame my husband for my downfall, nor do I judge him for his past behavior. But for a longtime I did, and it kept me sick, unable to maintain sobriety because I would not hold myself accountability for my own mistakes and sins. It used to be easier for me to point the finger at him because I changed so drastically after he became a part of my life. Truth is, Eric kept me alive in ways and a lot of nights that I do not remember. Sure, he watched me drink myself into an oblivion and got high with me, but he was not aware the spiritual battle and demonic hold the substances had on me. Back then, I did not either. We were both ignorant. We collided worlds with no true realization of the other. This is not about who is good or bad. This is about sin. The sin of alcohol and drugs will have your whole world sinking like quicksand begging for reprieve.
My mama and granny visited me on Easter right after I had the boys. I will never forget it. Why? Because it was my first intervention to Eric's drinking. They came and I was so depressed. My mama assumed I was overwhelmed by the babies; she always thought it was that. My depression had very little to do with my role as a mother and more so as a wife. I think I was exhausted and felt alone and when Eric began to hide vodka or lie about is drinking it drove me mad. Not to mention, other things that I choose not to share and as a post-partum, low-self-esteem mama who felt alone; I was happy to make it through the day without shedding tears in public. My mind raced. Eric tried to make me happy, but I assumed he was being fake, and I hated it. He was trying to survive all the changes-he was coming from a single man's haven from Atlanta who spent his money on a life of "fun" supporting a wife and three children. It was a lot of pressure and he wanted to measure up to my expectations. Our lives collided and we had this amazing family and was and are truly blessed but had no healthy communication.
(We grew up in divorce homes. He grew up being a "people pleaser" even if he was not himself. I could see right through it. I did not want him to lie to please me. I wanted his honesty and him to find himself beyond the masks he wore. He adopted unhealthy behaviors at a young age and thought if he kept quiet and did what he was told he would avoid conflict. Eric and I were different in the fact that he wanted to hide all his "demons" and appear perfect like he had no flaws. And he would get angry when I confronted him or called him out. I, on the other hand, wanted him to know everything and it was like a test of love if he loved me despite the wreckage. I truly think for a longtime it was easier for Eric to love me broken. He was accustomed to dysfunctional women in his life. I think he was more challenged and a little intimidated when I became a healthier version of myself. I did not need saving. Truth, I never did. And he did not want me to test his love. Wasn't he sticking around enough?
In fact, it was not like we fought a lot. We did not. Our lives simply evolved around the babies and that is all good, but a man and woman need one another in an intimate way. A woman and man need each other but in very different ways. Men need sex and respect. Women need intimacy and affection. Intimate conversations, to feel seen beyond our bodies but for our minds. I truly feel like a lot of fights stem from unmet needs that manifest themselves in stupid arguments like household chores, bills, and pity fights that take off from lack elsewhere. I have noticed that I tend to "pick an argument" with Eric when I want his attention. I am working on expressing what I expect from him and needs that are not selfish for me to ask for. It is extremely beneficial in any relationship if you talk about expectations and what you want and need. We are all complicated human beings, in need of God and forgiveness. And all in need of LOVE and sharing it.
So, on the weekend my mama and granny visited I did not feel like taking the kids to see the Easter bunny at the mall. Eric took them with my mama, appearing like Mr. Perfect and I wanted to puke. I was carrying around a bitter taste in my mouth as Eric spoke to my mama like there was something wrong with me. It was him! The whole time ..."it is you," I thought. He was so confused because he had not changed. Because... he had not changed, and I was pissed because he was behaving like I THOUGHT he should not but never express it until this moment when I was confronted for not being "myself." Why in the world is it "not okay" for women to not feel "okay" after huge shifts in our lives. Love us through hormone changes, weight fluctuations, and mental drainage. That day, I remember breaking down crying finally telling my mama it was Eric's drinking and such that had me down. I was over him lying about it. It bothered me because I did not understand why he lied about it because I never told him he could not drink. But- being the gentleman he is and knowing I could not drink like him because I was up and down all night feeding the boys, he did it for me. For me not feel left out from the party. He acted the same when I was pregnant. Randomly, I would look through his bag or underneath the guest bathroom sink in my Montgomery home and find his hidden stash. I never said a word except for the one time he took my pain pills that I had hidden away in my jewelry box after I delivered Bentley.
While they left with the kids to take a picture with the Easter bunny, I laid in bed feeling sorry for myself and feeling like a terrible mother because I did not go. I assumed the kids would feel like "mommy was not there" and I did not want them to feel abandoned. That ole' abandonment wound from my childhood manifested itself in matters that cut deep to my heart. Guess what? The boys were only 3 months old...and were not wounded by me staying home that day. Mommy's do yourselves a favor and chill out and take time for yourself. I promise them babies are fine. When they arrived home my mama had shopped for me and bought me some "cute" outfits. I am sure to try to make me feel better about myself because my give a damn was busted. After I voiced how I felt, relief came. But- that only came after I was integrated by my mama. She knew something was wrong and Eric never asked me. He did not want the truth because he did not want to change his routine. With my granny and mama intervening, Eric promised he would not drink anymore if it was affecting me like that and my mama said she would feed the boys through the night so Eric and I could make time for each other. Eric and I drank wine in the upstairs bedroom and vowed not to drink anymore thereafter and make time for one another. We always connected through drinking so that night was no different. The next morning, my mama and granny watched the boys and Bentely, Eric, and I attended church. It was good for my soul. Even when I was not actively living for Christ, I can see my desire and long for God's presence and he was there. God was always there. He never left me, and the events coming is evident.
And so, as the days of our lives, things magically got better for a while. A few weeks. My paranoia trying to keep up with what and how much Eric was lying about subsided. I was also dieting and trying to get my body back. Had I been anchored in God back then; I would not have struggled so much with trying to be perfect to everyone else. I was hard on myself, and I was talented at given the silent treatment which may be even worse than belting out my feelings. I found my worth in being a mother. What I have discovered is that I tried to find my worth in many things over the years until I realized my worth in Christ. In Christ, I am free to be myself without judgement or shallow opinions. I found my purpose. God works in mysterious ways and who would have ever thought he would change my heart to share some of my deepest hurts, embarrassments', and sins to the world. God is a storyteller, and he is writing mine. I challenge you...give him reign to write yours.