I pulled into the parking garage at my downtown office. It had been three days since the intervention. Following Kay’s direction, I didn't mention a word about the events from the weekend. It was killing me to play this game. It consumed me. How can I go on like this? He is slowly killing himself and I am watching it unfold before me. I felt the tension rising in my chest. I can’t NOT say anything. I can’t NOT do anything.
I knew in my gut that he didn't go to work that morning. I knew it.
And I had an overwhelming sense that something had to happen TODAY. I put my car in reverse and left the parking garage as soon as I had arrived. On my drive north to the suburbs, I called my boss and told her I would not be in the office because I had a husband I was either leaving or taking to inpatient treatment. Either way, I needed some time off.
Arriving home I found his car parked in the driveway. I entered the quiet house. He was sleeping in bed, just as I suspected. My heart sank. He began a new job a week ago and here he was sleeping. It was a little after 10:00 a.m.
I sat down and it startled him awake. He looked surprised and confused. He faked some kind of concern that he was late…like he had to go. I told him that he was not going to work. He laid his face in the pillow in defeat. I spoke to him softly. Almost pleading, I said, “today is the day.”
He looked up at me with a puzzled look.
I spoke clearly and with pure intention. Upon hearing my case, he conceded. Immediately. It caught me off guard that he agreed. And so easily.
I quickly said, “Let’s grab a coffee and hit the road, I have your bag already packed.”
He spun towards me with surprise, “Now?”
He threw himself back on the bed and said defiantly, “I am not leaving now.”
Back and forth we went. He was immovable.
We were so close. And then he shut it down. Damn it.
After an hour of packing my things along with the kids’ clothes and toys, the car was loaded. I was heavy. My breathing was slow and my footsteps labored as I walked into our bedroom. I sat on the bed. He stirred but did not look up. I began to speak...one last good bye and I included a final plea. He turned.
“I’ll go,” he said. “But I want to see the kids and spend time with them first.”
He got up, dressed and we went to pick up the kids. We returned home, put a pizza in the oven and all climbed into our bed to watch a movie. But Michael fell asleep. I was overcome with sadness. His desire to spend time with the kids was stolen from him because he was still recovering from the last bender which lasted for days. He was still gone. He was able to give nothing of himself.
“Michael, it’s time,” I said. “We have to go. We need to drop the kids off with my parents before we get on the road.”
The kids chattered in the back of the car as Michael stared blankly out the window. Upon arriving at my parent’s house, he got out of the car and held each child and silently kissed them good bye. He immediately returned to the car and shut the door. I gave my parents weary hugs and held back tears as I kissed my babies good bye.
This was the same route we drove together a few months earlier on our way to Austin. This time I was awake and I was driving.
Michael did not speak for four hours. I was alone with my thoughts and got us a bit lost. I finally found the hotel and checked us in. He carried his bag into the hotel room and flung himself onto the bed. He was asleep in an instant. In just a few hours, as soon day broke, I would drive the remaining few hours to Kerrville and check him into rehab.
Although I felt like this was a huge accomplishment——I felt empty and scared.
Is it intuition? Our inner most knowing? Whatever you'd like to call it, there comes a point when we must listen to the voice inside that nudges us when we're called to action. It can be very confusing and hard to decipher especially during traumatic times. Nobody can tell you when to act. For me, the sense of urgency was so overwhelming I couldn't shake it. Action was required, and I knew I had to be prepared for Plan B - leaving my late husband if he didn't seek inpatient treatment.
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Photo Credit: Maria Stiehler