I’ve never had the grand experience of a formal intervention – that uncomfortable scene where everyone sits in a circle and reads hand-written letters, begging the alcoholic or drug addict to get help.
Looking back, though, my husband has made multiple attempts to intervene on my drinking/drugging.
I remember one Sunday morning spent in absolute misery on the couch (because I was out of alcohol, and the stores didn’t start selling until 12:30). My husband came upstairs to talk to me about what I had done during my blackout the night before, how I felt now, and whether or not I would continue drinking.
He talked to me about how much it hurt him to see me in the state I was in, how difficult it was to handle me the night before, and how he wanted to see me healthy and happy again.
This was not the first time he had talked to me like this. Unfortunately there had been many similar talks over the last few months. Yet, I still persisted in my drinking and drugging.
I already felt like a failure. His talks heaped anguish on top of misery. I could see no light at the end of my long, dark tunnel.
Sometimes he gave me ultimatums, and I would swear that I would stop drinking. I could have passed a lie detector test – I truly meant it. I went to AA meetings. I cleaned up all the empty bottles. I was serious about my fresh start.
And within a week or two (or sometimes even a day or two) I would be drinking again.
It wasn’t until my husband left me alone to hit my rock bottom on my own that getting sober stuck. Maybe it was the knowledge that I’d let him down again – or maybe it was just the fact that I’d spent all night drinking and I couldn’t get drunk. But something clicked, and I stayed sober for almost 8 months.
Here’s the thing – interventions work. You’re confronting your loved one with their harmful behavior, and you’re laying out concrete consequences for what will happen if they continue to engage in that harmful behavior.
Of course, you have to be prepared to follow through with those consequences. My husband did. He took the car away. He kicked me out of the house for 30 days. He sent me to rehab. He did everything in his power to get me sober.
But it wasn’t until I decided to get sober for myself that it clicked.
Looking back with sober eyes, I can see the devastating hurt I caused. I thought I was only hurting myself with my drinking/drugging, but I was an angry drunk. I picked fights, I yelled and screamed, I hurt myself. My husband had to deal with all that hot mess of emotional turmoil while somehow caring for his own emotional well being.
The 9th step promises state that “we will not regret the past, nor wish to shut the door on it.” I greatly regret the past. I feel there is much for which I need to make amends, especially to my husband.
But I do not want to forget the past. I do not want to forget the hole I came from. Because if I did that, it would be very easy for me to fall back into it.
It’s important for me to remember not just the ugliness of the hangovers but also the anguish of the morning-after talks between my husband and me – the private interventions held between a loving husband and his drunk wife. I am grateful my husband took the time to try to talk sense into me. I’m grateful he never gave up hope.