Bottled Fear

The room was full of familiar faces. He sat next to me with his polished brown hair and dress shirt. We had just recently met and I felt that he was nice, but there was no connection other than we were both ambitious, sober, and great with our own kids. Then my ex-husband walked into the room with his friend and drunken colleague from his unit.

My ex looked at me with a little bit of fear and a lot of rage and confusion. He sat next to me and he and his friend made a few demeaning jokes audible to my date and I. At this point, it became clear to me that we were at a unit re-integration meeting. I saw one of my previously fellow military wives whose husband enjoyed the bottle as much as me, if not more. She glanced at me with a little hesitation.

My ex looked at me straight in the eyes and said, “Did you really bring him  here? Is this really the guy you’ve been seeing?”. His words struck me deeply because I could see the hurt in his eyes. I could feel that connection we had once had over booze, but had lost when I’d gotten sober. I felt some guilt over the fact that we couldn’t make it work out. I felt the stagnant love that we still had for each other and our beautiful daughters.

The passion we had cemented over booze was lost over all the progress I had made as a sober person. All he could see was the girl who was out of control, who slept in, you let go of all care on most days, who was selfish. So, we divorced. We split our family. Now, there were these strangers entering our lives… entering our kids lives someday.

This was the terrible dream that woke me up at 4:11 this morning. This nightmare plagues me as I journey through my sober life. Yet, I know that if I could accomplish all of those things drunk, my sober abilities will be limitless. I ran two marathons, birthed two children, moved countless times, bought homes, sold homes, moved countries, taught middle school, achieved my bachelors, worked on my masters….this list goes on. I struggled to accomplish those things. Now, I will succeed.

I hope to take him with me in my new life. I love my husband. He aggravates me with his lackadaisical outlook on most things, including important deadlines. For example, he was supposed to fix the snowblower before he left for a week. The part is here. He said it would take five minutes to fix when I reminded him to fix it. Now, we have gotten two snow storms, he’s gone and the snowblower is still broken.

The big question: does he love me or the version of myself muted by booze? In reality, I cannot actively engage in these worries because my recovery is of utmost importance. However, my mind is subconsciously spinning this web of worry. However, I actively have faith that we will flourish with this change over time.

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