Monday, 7 December 2015

Alcohol and Marriage

I read many stories of marriages breaking down when the wife (or husband, or both) stops drinking.

Some of these women were drinking too much because their marriage was already toxic. As soon as they stop drinking they can't hide from the truth any more, and can find the strength and courage to leave.

Sometimes they stop drinking too late. Years of alcohol abuse has taken such a toll on the marriage that it can't be repaired. Which is a fabulous reason not to wait until you get to 'rock bottom' to quit. Rock bottom can be a very lonely place.

Then there are the co-dependant marriages. The husbands that really don't want their wives to stop. They'll pour her glasses of wine and wave them under her nose saying "go on, just the one. You deserve it!" She has to leave if she really wants to quit.

Well, I married Mr SM fourteen years ago today. I cannot tell you how grateful I am that I quit before I drove him away.

Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love) writes To be fully seen by somebody, then, and beloved anyhow - this is a human offering that can border on miraculous.

There is no doubt that over the last fourteen years Mr SM has 'fully seen' me, through all my ups and downs, tempers and sulks, in richer in poorer, in sickness and in health.

(Especially now that he reads my blog posts).

And, miraculously, he seems to love me anyhow. Wonky left boob and all.

To be fair, he's not perfect either. He has a terrible habit of leaving wet towels on floors, and dirty plates on top of the dishwasher rather than in it.

There is more tummy to love than there was fourteen years ago, and a little less hair. He's Scottish, so very 'careful' with money, and has been known to put gaffer tape over the central heating controls.

But I wouldn't have him any other way.

I loved him the minute I met him, twenty years ago on New Year's Eve.

He was wearing a kilt, and I've always had a weakness for men in skirts. He made me laugh - a lot, and he was one of the kindest people I've ever met.

We became best friends, but, back then, I was still in thrall to the bad, arrogant boys. The ones who'd make you feel grateful for their time and attention, however begrudging.

So it was four years before we kissed. I felt my foundations morph from sand to rock, and wondered why on earth I'd taken so long.

Since then, Mr SM has loved me patiently through thirteen years of over-indulgence and bad behaviour, and supported me quietly when I threw in the towel nine months ago.

(See Secret Drinker Hits the High Bottom)

Only he could make me laugh through a cancer diagnosis and treatment.

I think marriage is like a piggy bank. Every time you do something thoughtful for the other person you put a token in the bank. When you treat them carelessly you take one out.

In a strong marriage, the piggy bank gets really full - there's plenty there to see you through the bad times.

I ran my piggy bank right down to the bottom.

This morning Mr SM bought me wedding anniversary scrambled eggs on toast in bed. I started sobbing into the egg. He looked alarmed, assuming he'd done something terrible.

But I was crying because I'm just so terribly grateful. Not just for the egg. For everything.

Quit drinking, and top up that piggy bank before it's too late.

Love SM x


  1. When you have a good husband/partner (despite foibles) and a strong happy family life you can face anything. Hope you are holding up SM xx

  2. Craig and I have always had a good relationship. But years of life had left me depressed and lonely and in hindsight we were often sitting together on the couch drinking, together, but alone.

    Sobriety has changed everything. We are both committed and available for ourselves and our family. We have fun together. We went to vegas to a concert and got tattoos.

    And we do our own things.

    But I really like Craig, as a person, more than ever. And I finally believe he loves me, the real me. Because I deserve love too.

    Sobriety is a gift. Life is a gift.


  3. SM, I couldn't agree with you more. I got a second chance (well, third) when I met my husband, and thank god I smartened up! Glad Mr SM is looking after you, but given that we've come to know him quite well, we wouldn't expect anything different. Thinking about you, xx

  4. This is the sweetest post. Congratulations on your anniversary!

  5. Congratulations Mr and Mrs SM. Hope you had a lovely day celebrating you two. Your comment about the tape on the central heating control made me laugh. Himself is also from Edinburgh and I tease him about his deep pockets but arms too short to reach them! He is in NY for the next week so our house will be toasty while he is gone. I just have to remember to put a woolly jumper on when we Skype or the jig is up. Hugs to you, xx

  6. Happy Anniversary SM! It sounds like you have a good man by your side. You are very lucky. A x

  7. Rings very true to me..... Stopping drinking hasn't changed our marriage much yet but I feel a lot of changes in myself which have given me strength to deal with some of our issues in a less manic fashion! I really don't put up with much sh** any more from hubby or anyone else but i deal with things calmly which helps. Also knowing in the sober light of day that any argument really wasn't my fault is great! So will keep topping up that piggy bank and lead by example (being calm but firm and rational) and will wait patiently for results. Happy anniversary xxx

  8. I love my husband!
    I was lucky to marry my high school sweetheart! I am so glad I gave up drinking because it made things so hard for him!

  9. Somehow Mrs F was willing to stick with me. I often quip that my marriage survived my drinking and probably more remarkably survived my recovery so far too