A woman comes home from another 10-hour workday and finds her husband asleep in bed. She knows why. It’s always the same reason — he has a bad back. He says it’s getting worse so he has to take pain pills. She DOES know that he is in pain–it’s obvious. But it sure seems like he’s not trying very hard to get better. He KNOWS he’s an alcoholic; why is he taking this chance? He makes regular visits to his doctor and it’s his doctor prescribing the medicine. So the doctor must know what he’s doing.

She tiptoes into the bedroom and checks the prescription bottle–hmm, not many left. She grabs his cell phone and tiptoes back out. Scrolling through the calls he’s made, she sees that a couple are to a business associate. None to her own cell phone, of course. She doesn’t recognize the rest of them even though some are in there 2-3 times each.

Checking the incoming calls, she sees the many times when she called him and he didn’t answer. He said he didn’t receive the calls–and that familiar anger starts burning in the pit of her stomach. Continuing to scroll through the numbers, there are more calls she doesn’t recognize but then she freezes when she gets to the next one. She knows this guy. She’s told her husband more than once to quit talking to him because he’s a loser; she also suspects that he does drugs. Her anxiety starts to pick up because she can see he’s called more than once over the past week.

She goes back into the bedroom, feet stomping this time. They have that same argument they’ve been having for a few years now, you know the one:

“Again?!” “You don’t know what you’re talking about! ”
“You lied!” ‘I never promised!”
“You’re a loser!” “Well, I’m not the one going crazy here!”
“When are you gonna grow up and be a man?!” “Maybe when you get off my back!”

Later, trying to fall asleep on the couch, she thinks about what was said and about what she SHOULD have said. Maybe he WAS just being a friend to this loser. Or maybe she’s right. She’s tired of wondering what the truth is. It changes every day.

The pain in her heart is great, but she pushes it down and only allows herself to feel the anger.  She goes over what she needs to do tomorrow. Ugh, tomorrow. More pretending, more covering up for his failures, more excuses, repairing damage between the children and the husband. And for some reason, the kids always seem to be mad at HER, too.

Into the morning hours, she lays there, intermittently sleeping and thinking about how to fix this. Surely she’s not trying hard enough.  She wonders why she just can’t stop thinking and go to sleep but the fears and tears keep her awake. She finally drifts off to sleep somewhere around 3:30 am.

It seems she just fell asleep when the alarm in the bedroom goes off; she goes in to shut it off.  Her neck hurts. Why does SHE feel hung over? It’s starting to get light outside now. She tucks yesterday into the back of her mind–again.

And she’ll wait another day for him to come to his senses.

Now you tell me, does drinking and drugging only hurt the user?