Finding Lizzy: How Life With An Alcoholic Impacted My Behavior
by Lizzy Smith
December 30, 2014
A while ago, a friend and I were talking about my former life with Rob, my alcoholic ex-husband. (In case you've missed it, I was married to a highly functioning, verbally abusive alcoholic. I finally left him on the day I was being tested for cancer when Rob, in a drunken rage, spit in my face, calling me a thief, loser, drama queen and lazy.) This friend then he asked me a very thought-provoking question: What would Rob say about me? What would he claim were the reasons our marriage didn't work out?
Rob says: You're a control freak!
Lizzy Says: Absolutely and completely false.
This accusation from the mouth of an alcoholic is so trite and boring. Pretty much every alcoholic says that their partner (or children, parents, etc) is a control freak. After all, how dare anyone have the audacity of saying the alcoholic's behavior is unacceptable, right?
The reality is, I had no control. Every ounce of control was held by Rob the Great (Alcoholic). Every single thing I did was controlled by Rob's temper tantrums, expected temper tantrum, or a hope that I could somehow avoid a temper tantrum. By Rob's refusal to do almost anything around the house meant that I was worked to the bone, overstressed, overtaxed and, eventually, sick and fighting for my life.
Control? The only thing I controlled was the cleanliness of the home. The more chaotic our alcoholic home became, the cleaner I tried to keep the house. To the point that it became an obsession.
Rob Says: You have a hair-trigger temper!
Lizzy Says: I deserve a medal for restraint
When one is getting screamed at, belittled, and emotionally terrorized pretty much every day, I think I deserve a medal for keeping my mouth shut most times. True, after a couple days of silence, I would email or text Rob messages about how I really felt. Mostly that he was a lazy, pathetic, abusive drunk and I hated him.
But I walked away from Rob ninety percent of the time I was terrorized. And for that, I am proud of my behavior. Of course, what I should have done was left his drunk ass as soon as I realized what a jerk he was.