By Bunmi Sofola
Iâ€™m writing this letter with my left hand because my husband slashed the tendon of my other wrist in a drunken rage. This is the first time heâ€™s attacked me.
â€œHe was a hard man when I married him but now, heâ€™s worse than ever. I have no family I can turn to. I donâ€™t have that many friends either as my husband is insanely jealous and wonâ€™t let me talk to anyone.
Iâ€™m 25 and heâ€™s 33, Weâ€™ve been married for only two years. How do I get out of my nightmare?
The letter quoted above is just a few of the frantic ones being constantly received by me from wives (and husbands) whose spouses are chronic alcoholics,
Most women have been known to give up on their alcoholic husbands; and of the nights such husbands spend out drinking with slimmy looking friends only to stagger in the door, filled with anger and abuse. The nights they come in crazed with liquor and lust, driven to attack their wives like animals. How many women in situation;; like that would have enough courage to face the fact – that the real enemy in their homes is not their husbands, but the alcohol such husbands pour into their body?
Alcoholism is a disease. A bit of it might do you good but once you abuse it, youâ€™re on the fast lane to destruction. For excessive alcohol is the cause of cirrhosis of the liver – a degenerative liver disease which is now a leading cause of death in the 45 – 65 age group.
Not until very recently has some attention been focused on this serious health threat. When you overload the liver consistently with alcohol, you decrease its functioning; and although the liver has some regenerative properties, cirrhosis does not go away. According to medical advice, if you have the disease, you should cease drinking immediately. Easier said than done – especially when you are the one who sleeps and wakes up with a man who is gradually killing himself…
BOLA is a 43-year-old staff nurse married to an accountant. Theyâ€™d been married for eighteen years and have five children. According to her, her husbandâ€™s incursion into the world of alcohol started very gradually: First, it had been only on Friday nights so that he could relax â€˜with the boysâ€™ after working hard ail week -he was the chief accountant of his company. Then Bola said, â€œit became two nights a week, the three – until it got to a point where ! no longer knew if, when he left in the morning; I could expect him hâ€Every time he went out drinking, I sat and waited, shaking, expecting at any moment that someone would walk through the door to tell me heâ€™d been killed in an accident. Heâ€™d had a few in the last couple of years – one or two very serious.
â€œWhenever he came in and I said anything, he would round up on me; â€˜you think you can control me donâ€™t you?â€™, heâ€™d sneer. You think you can run my life. Well youâ€™re wrong! You donâ€™t want me to be man, do you? I am a man damn it!
â€œAnd itâ€™s time that I showed you what kind of a man I can be!â€ would be his threat.
â€œThen, one fateful night he did show me. Iâ€™d started telling him off when he grasped me by the neck and began to tear at my clothes. I screamed, but I was stunned as he pinioned me against the kitchen stove. I screamed again and again that he should stop but he dragged me into the sitting room and threw me down on the floor.
â€œI struggled, kicked and screamed but it was useless. â€œStop it you bitch!â€ he kept on muttering in his drunken breath as he dealt me a few choice slaps in the mouth! â€˜Iâ€™ll show you tonight what a real man is!â€
â€œI was sure I would faint through the whole sordid mess. Thank God three of the children were away in boarding schoobThe two that were at home could be fast asleep – or they could be cowering in their beds with fright. The terrible pain I felt that night, the humiliation and horror, and the cursing and animal sounds he made were worse than Iâ€™d ever gone through.
â€œThe next day, he smiled at me sheepishly as he usually did the morning after his drinking binge. It was then it dawned on me that he actually didnâ€™t remember a thing from last night! That was it! I promptly called a family meeting for the next day making sure heâ€™ll be home early.
â€œWhen everybody was present, I stripped to my underwear and recounted in details what humiliation my husbandâ€™s drinking had recently subjected me to. How heâ€™s spent good money on liquor in the past and how I was sure that one day, he would drink himself to death. Thank God some of the scars from hisÂ previous attacks were still visible.
â€œI felt ashamed when I saw how acutely embarrassed my husband was. But he needed to be shocked into realizing the type of nightmare the whole family was going through because of him.
â€œThank goodness it worked! After they all left, we both had a long talk. I gave him a copy of the paper one of the professors in the teaching hospital presented on cirrhosis of the liver and I was glad when he agreed to read it. Iâ€™d given him similar articles in the past but hi tore them and threw them in my face!â€
â€œHe doesnâ€™t touch any alcoholic drink now-except on very rare and special occasions. The promotion heâ€™d looked forward to for years and which had always eluded him because of his drink problem is now finally his _ an executive director (finance) of his company.
â€œTo this day, I still have occasional nightmares of the horrors I went through, but theyâ€™re getting to be few and far between.
â€œThe battle against alcohol was a tough one for both of us. My husband understood right when he decided to stop drinking that he could never take a serious drink again. But he told me that was a little punishment compared with the pain I went through. That whenever he remembered the way I tore off my clothes in the presence of all our relations to shock him into reality, he always cringed with humiliation.
â€œAt first it was rough because he confessed that iiquor was the answer to some of his problems. When he was drunk, he felt like a man. He felt brave and in control. Sober, he said, he felt inadequate and afraid of life and its problems.
â€œNow, thank goodness he is almost over his fears….â€