This past weekend was Father’s Day, a time to honor and celebrate the dads in our lives. Not exactly a good weekend in my house. For my husband there were no cards given, no phone calls, no posts on his facebook page, and nothing said to him in person. He was avoided in every way possible. It is too painful to be around him. He is not the meticulous, kind, thoughtful person he used to be. Today he has a swollen face (from the alcohol), an unkempt beard, purple splotches around his eye from the last time he fell, his clothes are filthy with cigarette burns on them, his fingers are stained brown, and his dirty jagged nails are a full centimeter longer than they ought to be. His hair has not been washed in months so he wears a stocking hat at all times. He does not always know if it is day or night, and can be as demanding as a toddler when he wants fast food or more alcohol.
An alcoholic like my husband will die if he keeps drinking and will die if he suddenly stops drinking. If he were to choose to stop it would need to be in a detox setting. His body cannot tolerate the absence of alcohol. If I did not buy the alcohol for him, he would tear apart the house looking for car keys. Letting him drive not only gambles with my only source of transportation, but also would put other people at risk of great physical harm. My husband could walk a few blocks to the local convenience store, but the physical exertion would probably cause him to collapse and die on the sidewalk. It’s a no-win situation.
As I was buying him more cigarettes and vodka this weekend, I was surprised at how angry I felt. Angry that I had to buy this stuff so he could continue to kill himself. Angry that our children were going to be constantly reminded this weekend that their dad was different. Angry that he causes them so much pain. Angry that they have to avoid him to alleviate the pain they feel. My heart aches when I know my kids are hurting so I waffled between anger and sadness all weekend.
The only conversation I had with my husband over the weekend was asking him if he was coming to family dinner at his brother’s house. For two days his answer was “I don’t know”. An hour before we needed to leave, I ask again. This time it is a yes. I give him nail clippers and ask him to also wash up before we leave. I check on him half an hour later and ask him again to please wash up. When it is time to leave, he is drinking and smoking, has not touched his nails, and has not washed up.
“Just go without me. You never really wanted me to go anyway.” If that were true, I wouldn’t have spent so much time checking on him and asking. I am swamped with studying for finals. I say nothing for words are futile at this point. I go to family dinner without him.
The past several weeks I consciously worked at trusting God for my future, to not worry or stress over it. As Jonathan David and Melissa Helser sing, “I’m no longer a slave to fear. I am a child of God.” This weekend was an eye-opener of my need to consciously let God work out the anger that seemingly fills my heart.