The War

When my daughter was 2 months old, my husband got out of the only job he knew for 10 years, the military. Job security, health insurance, and the life we knew as a couple. We were offered jobs closer to my family so we had the movers come and pack up our house and move us over 1,500 miles away. We stayed with family those first few months.

It was rough.

My maternity leave was spent moving, job hunting, and finding a house, not just bonding with my baby . I started back to work when she was 3 months old.  Again, it was rough. I mean rough. I hated leaving her. I was going to a job where no one knew me and adjusting to this new normal of being a working mom.

My husband began to struggle when we moved into our new house. He started working about 100 miles from where we lived. He drove it once a week and would be there for 3 days and off for 4. On his 4 days off, he began to drink. Usually started with just a beer in the evenings, but then it because an afternoon drink, then an all-day from the previous day. He began hiding bottles and lying. We started to fight more and I stayed with my parents often. I begged him to get help. He suffered from PTSD but never received adequate care from the military of veterans’ health.

After a year I moved out for a while. He had some big problems and decided to get treatment. He relapsed the day he got home. Then again 5 weeks later. He relapsed again about 2 weeks later and his counselor’s wife was able to get through to him about him needing to stop for his daughter. She told the story of her father who was an alcoholic and how she hated him for how he treated the kids and her mother. I helped manage his medications, appointments, follow-ups, schedule and whatever he needed. I was still working full time and with a toddler at home, so this was a major task to do. He started a new job closer to home and seemed very happy.

Two months went by and he was doing well. He said he didn’t need one of his counselors anymore and that he wanted to decrease his medications. We found out we were expecting baby number two and we couldn’t have been more excited.

Three months after his last drink, I miscarried. He did ok for the first 2 days while I was grieving, then drank himself into a stupor for two days. I didn’t stay at the house for those 2 days and then he went to work. We talked and he seemed receptive to not drink again. The last month he drank on and off and then became verbally abusive to the point he threatened me. I was granted a protective order and he was removed by the police from our house. He was drunk for about a week, not going to work, driving, blaming everyone but himself. One of his friends and co-workers showed up at our house. He asked if I was ok then asked if my husband was ok. I said “no”.  He needed help but I wasn’t sure what to do anymore. His friend was able to get him to the hospital and my husband agreed to go to intensive outpatient treatment.

This story is still in progress…

If you are struggling with loving someone with PTSD and substance abuse, you are not alone. So many times I have wanted to leave but still see the man I love in there. He is struggling, too, but that doesn’t mean you have to be taken down with him. You have to watch out for you and your little ones. Be strong, mama, you can make hard choices. Sometimes the hard choices are the right choices.


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Photo credit:  Lorna Dancey