I wrote this last week and have decided to post it on here to show what my family and I have gone through as my husband battles with his PTSD and his choice in alcohol. As of today he is over 16 days sober, with the exception of a beer the other night when we had our first dinner date in a few years. Below are just some of my thoughts and recent experiences.
After all the ups and downs that this life has left us living, I have to say, I live for the moments of happiness and feelings of security. I am not one to take them for granted or to even think those ten minutes down the road it will all be the same. With this being said, since Sunday things have been AMAZING between me and Kevin. We have been able to joke around, laugh, spend time together, cuddle, act like crazy in love teenagers, smile, cook dinner, and so much more together. He has been calmer with the children. He has smiled a lot and found happiness in things. He has also not had anything to drink in almost two weeks. Right now we are one day shy of the two week mark. K and I have been able to sit down and actually talk about things that matter to us and are important to our futures, as well as our children’s. I tend to feel bad because there are moments that I just wait for it all to change and for an argument to blow up or for him to have a sudden, unexpected mood change that leaves me feeling more helpless than before.
After thirteen days of no drinking and four amazing days of pure happiness and more of a relaxing environment, I decided to look into PTSD and drinking. The effects it has on the ones that suffer from PTSD and TBI. I know that there are many people that try to use alcohol as an outlet, a self-medicator. I also know I have heard my husband refer to it as self medication. The other day, after he decided to quit drinking, I was moving things in the freezer around when a bottle of whiskey fell out. I picked it up and was placing it back in, when he simply stated for me just to throw it out. Ummm, not a chance am I going to be the one to trash it! I told him that if he was serious about throwing it away, then he could be the one to take that step. I am not going to be the “bad” guy nor am I going to be the one he lashes out on if/when later he decides he wants a drink. Plus, I figured the best way for me to see how serious he is and to see where his self control is now at was to leave it there. I don’t think I have gone into sufficient detail about his drinking before now. He was drinking daily, multiple drinks. He never got stupid drunk, but he would use it to numb himself. This is why him not drinking in almost two weeks is such a big deal to me. I am so proud of him, yet I have not made a big deal out of it all. I am just letting him work through things and remaining by his side, always making it known I am here and available. I know that things will not always be this smooth, just as I know there will always be setbacks. However, the one thing I will say is that for whatever time God is allowing these good days, I am going to enjoy them all and run with them. We don’t have them often enough.
Some people say that PTSD and alcohol or drug abuse go hand in hand. Being that my husband has come home from two deployments, mentally, physically, and emotionally injured, well, I can understand this. Before the deployments, he rarely drank. In fact, he would have maybe one or two beers whenever we would have get togethers, but that was his limit. He despised alcohol and drunks. After the deployments, alcohol turned out to be his outlet from it all. As I stated before, it was his self medication. The more they realize they can “forget” their problems the more they drink. They are fully aware that it is a temporary fix and that sooner or later the issue will resurface. The one thing that is not thought through is the families that this affects. Drinking when added to PTSD causes more issues in a marriage than the PTSD alone does. In return this leads to divorce in many cases. Not in this case, because I refuse to leave my husband and I refuse to let my marriage fall apart due to any of this. I can’t blame him for what he has had to witness. I want to help put the “pieces” back together. I know I can’t make it all better, but whatever I can I am willing to do. I’d go through just about anything to see my husband more like he has been the past few days. It honestly breaks me to see him struggle in the ways that he does.
Earlier my husband made the comment that he feels better when he is not always intoxicated, but life seems somewhat easier because he could just “forget” it all. A temporary fix isn’t going to get anyone far in life, just my opinion. He also told me that he quit drinking so much because all he was doing was trying to suppress bad memories. Now that he has quit he has to face them all on his own and it’s extremely hard to do. All I could do was express that I am here to help him through anything and everything. Being here is where I want to be. I just hope this no drinking thing continues and we can start to face these demons and memories that he battles. I know that only time will tell and it has to be one step at a time as well as one day at a time.
As always, we hold on tight during the bumpy rides and love the smooth sailing ones! Cherish the moments of happiness and learn that the ones of hardships will pass… they always do. So to all of you that have been or are in the same boat, we will hold on tight and continue to love the ones we are with. War changes them into individuals we are still trying to learn, know, and grow with. Keep calm and try communicating. Getting upset and letting arguments take place will do nothing but prolong the good days that lie ahead.
One day and one step at a time…. This is what we have to do in this life....