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An apology from an alcoholic

  • 11-09-2015 9:41pm
    Closed Accounts Posts: 10,562 ✭✭✭✭ Sunnyisland

    An unreserved apology from this alcoholic for all the hurt I caused and on behalf of all alcoholics

    Taken from the the bottled up website

    Facing reality can be a painful experience. So it is no surprise that some of us avoid it if we possibly can and substitute a more fantasised version where we are the hero of the piece. However, occasionally the fantasy melts away like snow in a rubbish dump to reveal the unpalatable bits of life that we would rather stay hidden. For me this week has been one of these times.

    A couple of weeks ago (13th August), I celebrated being clean and sober for 31 years. Yes it’s a long time and it is very easy to dissociate with the addict I was all those years ago. Don’t get me wrong that is not entirely a bad thing. I don’t want to live in the constant memory of who I was then and the things I did in my addicted years. I got sober to save my life, but I stay sober to have a life, and I have a very good one, so I don’t live in the past. However in the last couple of weeks I have been talking with partners of alcoholics and I’m reminded of where I came from.

    Part of getting sober involves coming to terms with the problem and making amends for the hurt that we have caused. At the time I did that to the best of my ability but times change and so do we. So now I feel that I need to go beyond what I did then and do something more public than I have previously done.

    Today there are many, many people who live with an alcoholic. Most of them are hurt and confused. If you have been following Lou’s Diary of a drinker’s partner, where she so eloquently describes her life, then you will have some idea of what I’m talking about. Or, of course, you may be reading this because you are in that position yourself. So although I want to reach out to all the people I hurt by my alcoholism, even more than that I want reach out to all of you who have been hurt by an alcoholic now or in the past.

    Major Betrayals

    I want to say how sorry I am for the things I did, for the hurt I caused, for the love I killed, for the hope I crushed. It would be easy to say that I did not mean to hurt anyone, I didn’t. It would be easy to say that I wasn’t a bad man, or a violent man or an unfaithful man or so many other things. The problem is that I did all of these things when I was drunk or when I needed a drink.

    Maybe I wasn’t a violent man but that did not stop me from I pinning my wife against the wall and shouting at her and threatening her and terrifying her. For that I am deeply ashamed and I make no excuses. Maybe I wasn’t an unfaithful man but that did not stop me from making passes at other females when I was drunk (I have to report that most of them had the good sense to not respond). Again I have to say that I am deeply ashamed.

    Everyday Betrayals

    These are the big betrayals and they can damage a relationship badly. However the things that crush the life out of the relationship are the smaller things, the every day betrayals. The continual lies that destroy any sense of trust, that essential commodity for a successful relationship. Looking back now I lied, often, very often. I considered myself to be an honest man but I lied to protect my drinking, I lied to avoid arguments, I lied to get out the house to go for a drink, I lied about whether I had been drinking, about how much I had been drinking. And I lied to protect my lies. I did not lie about everything but I did lie about drinking and I am ashamed.

    I considered myself dependable, but I wasn’t. I would promise to be home at a certain time but I would not arrive till much later, sometimes days later. I promised to clean up the house, that I had messed up in my drunkenness, but I found some money in my pocket and went off drinking. I promised to go to the shop and get milk and come straight back but did not return till the following day. I promised to come home without drinking and staggered in drunk. And during all these betrayals I would demand of my wife – “Don’t you trust me?”. Looking back on these incidents now I find it hard to believe that I was the one who did all these things – but I was and I did.

    Financial Betrayal

    I considered myself to be trustworthy but I stole money from our household budget. In my need for alcohol I used the cheque book as a license to print money. I bounced cheques all over town and in many bars to get booze. In the middle of a bender I had no regard for anyone but myself and how I felt at that moment. The inevitable result was that we were always short of money and ultimately deeply in debt.

    I wish that I could return to that time and change it all but obviously I can’t. However I do offer my unreserved apologies to everyone who was hurt by my drinking and for all that I did during that time. I also offer my unreserved apologies to all the people out there who are being and/or have been hurt by the behaviour of an alcoholic. I am so sorry that we hurt you – no buts, no excuses!

    Making Amends

    I hope that some part of this helps to heal some of the hurts that we have caused, or helps to repair some of the trust and love that we have destroyed. It would be easy for you to dismiss this article as ‘just words’. After all, who could blame you, you have probably heard all the promises and apologies, I certainly made plenty.

    However, it doesn’t just end with words. With my current wife Lou, I have created Bottled Up to help people in your position. We have both poured our personal and professional experience into this website to help and support the partners’ of alcoholics. This is part of me trying to make amends. Another part of my amends is helping alcoholics to change, and they can and do. Just look at me as one person quipped; I had gone “from a drunk to a doctor in a decade”. So there is hope.