Dear Aunt Dora.
When I came to the US six years ago, my wife feared snakes and alcohol. But after she got a job and started going with her colleagues for happy hour, she slowly became an alcoholic. She says it only started with a sip. Now, she quite can’t remember when she started taking alcohol for breakfast, lunch and dinner. She urinates and throws up on herself and our son keeps asking me if Mummy is sick again? She has also started stealing and selling little stuff from the house. To cut a long story short, she is now going into Rehab, in a different state so she can have her detox and change. They say she may be away for a year. We have a boy aged 4. We’ve been married for 7 years.
Will she be the same person when she comes back? Will life be the same again? Do you think she will be influenced by her friends at the Rehab to ask for a divorce? Should I divorce her before she goes into Rehab? How can I while away time while she is away? I am confused! Please help. Scared Dad.
Dear Scared Dad,
No one chooses to be visited by the ravage that is called alcoholism. Tempting as the bibilical snake, alcoholism pulls people away from their true selves and their loved ones and into a downward destructive cycle. The pain and confusion you feel over the future is understandable, and expected.
Separation, especially for a year, can be a very daunting proposition for a couple. Have you exhausted all your treatment options? if so, look at the separation less as a threat, and more of a chance to reconnect with yourselves, and each other. Is this not what long distance relationships are anyway? You can continue to communicate and visit with each other as much as you can.
While your wife is away, focus your efforts in finding healing for you and your son. it can be very easy to get carried away by emotions and make life-changing decisions in an instant. Talk to a trusted and objective confidant about your experience, process your feelings, and move towards a more informed decision making path. A professional counselor or trusted faith leader can meet that role for you in your community.
No matter the outcome, everyone has the right to be happy. Involve yourself in family bonding activities with your son. He is an innocent, and will need all your love and support in the upcoming year.
Take heart, you are stronger than you think.
Note: Aunt Dora has a Masters Degree in Psychology from Villanova University, USA