Abuse Hides in the Dark. Turn on Your Light.

Sobriety Fixes Nothing

a man's hand holding a cup of hot coffee while sobering up from a period of drinking

Drinking and Domestic Abuse

We (meaning “soldiers”) did a lot of drinking in Germany. Alcohol became a way of life, but it was very new to me. I found out quickly that Will was angrier when he was drinking, but I was more fun-loving. The two extremes of our personalities didn’t mix well.

Back in those times, I started noticing that the happier I was, the angrier Will got. Recently, I figured out why. When I was happy, I felt stronger. He didn’t like it when I was happy because it showed my strength. My strength threatened his ability to control me. So, as soon as he saw me happy, he clamped down hard.

Interestingly, that strong, glowing side of me is what attracted him in the first place.

The Drinking, the Sobriety, and Back Again

I started drinking at Fort Lee on our weekends off from AIT (advanced infantry training). I was 19, away from home, and drinking for the first time in my life. It was social for me; I could take it or leave it.

I made the mistake of assuming Will was in the same place as I was with alcohol. I didn’t know that he’d drunk alcohol since he was 12. I didn’t know he was an alcoholic. I’m sure my inebriated state helped to block the truth.

But I stopped drinking right after I found out I was pregnant with Marc. I don’t even look back on that time of partying with fondness. I sowed plenty of wild oats and do not have the itch to return! I have had a drink too many on a few occasions. However, these days I prefer sobriety all the time. Besides, the psychiatric medications I’m taking don’t mix well with alcohol.

Then, surprisingly, three years into our marriage Will stopped drinking. He stayed sober for 8 years. He didn’t admit he was an alcoholic, only that his drinking seemed to cause us problems and he wanted to solve them. As far as I know, he was dry as a bone.

Drinking lowers inhibitions – it lets you be “more you.” Drinking doesn’t change who you are-it lets you be exactly who you are. Drinking lets the abuser cut loose and be more abusive – it does not change who they are.

~ Hard-Won Truth

During his sobriety, our problems worsened! I was in shock. He fed on my confusion saying, “I did MY part! I changed!” I thought that I was the crazy one! I had banked on his sobriety “fixing us”, and when it didn’t, I went into a tailspin of depression. I started taking antidepressants when I was 26, and anxiety medication soon after.

The End of Sobriety

When Will came home from war in 2004, he decided to drink again. I wondered about PTSD, but he said war was his job and he was not stressed because of his job. He said, “I think my temper got in the way when I was young. I don’t act like that anymore.” (Says him!)

A part of me knew that his decision to pick up the bottle again was the beginning of the end. But I didn’t admit that to anyone.

Featured photo by Clay Banks