An Unfortunate Incident
I will start this by saying my hubby has been supportive of my recovery from day one, and he even stayed just as clean and sober as I did before the first 18 months I was clean. He is also not an addict or alcoholic, he’s one of those people I don’t quite get. He can leave a beer half-finished, a joint half-smoked, he hates how painkillers make him feel, and there are drugs he would NEVER touch. Alcohol doesn’t come into the house, and he gets drunk maybe four times a year.
Last Saturday was one of those times. He had a few too many sugary sweet novelty shots and a few hours after he got home he puked. Mind you, my downstairs bathroom is a remodeled closet and doesn’t fit a 6’1” 260 lb man kneeling in front of the toilet well, so the door was open. I stepped outside on the porch for a smoke and to avoid the sound. When I came back in my living room, the smell hit me like a punch in the gut. MY WHOLE LIVING ROOM REEKED OF BOOZE. Awesome. I lit a candle, he cleaned the bathroom with bleach, 5 minutes later the smell was gone. Issue handled, right?
The next day I was awful to him, without realizing why. I was nagging, picking at him, pushing him away from me, the whole nine yards. I’m not usually that way with him, and I didn’t realize why I was doing it until he left to go run errands. Once I realized what I was doing, I felt guilt and shame to no end. I called a woman in my recovery circle, told on myself, and we discussed how I would amend my behavior. I did exactly that when he got home, and promptly stopped being so awful.
Here’s the thing that really got me. I’ve been around drinking and even the smell of pot since getting clean, but I’ve never reacted quite so, um, unsavory before. I didn’t feel or react like that at 30/60/90 days, why SHOULD I react this way at three years? That dangerous word SHOULD. Perhaps the most dangerous word I can apply to my recovery. “I SHOULD feel….” “I SHOULD think…” “I SHOULD react…” Those are dangerous thoughts for me.
I reacted and felt the way any addict or alcoholic in recovery would. I was uncomfortable and didn’t know what to do with it. So, I lashed out. I didn’t want to drink with him, and that is huge. I saw what I was doing and changed it, and the bad behavior only lasted hours, not days. I guess the huge shock in this whole experience was that it took three years to have it. I figured I was immune to being affected this way by the drinking or using of others around me.
Turns out I’m not. But today I have the choice to join them, resent them, or turn to other people in recovery that can understand exactly what that smell did to my little addict brain. I’m vigilant and aware now, and I can find gratitude that it wasn’t my head in the toilet that night, or any night since.
Rachel has been in recovery since October 29, 2010, and she’s not afraid to speak out about it. She lives in Michigan with her husband and two daughters.