I’M NOT AN ACOHOLIC!!!!
In September 2011, Rob started his typical screaming/tirade episode at me. And he said something to me that really did shock me for once.
He screamed with his shrill voice, “I talked to my alcohol counselor and I’m NOT AN ALCOHOLIC.”
OK, so that did floor me. I was speechless for once. I said, “Well, Rob, if you tell me you’re an alcoholic, I’m going to believe you’re an alcoholic.”
“I ONLY SAID THAT TO TRY AND SAVE THE MARRIAGE!” I’m telling you that NO ONE can scream like Rob.
So we had a couple’s counseling session with his alcohol therapist. Except, as usual, Rob didn’t show up. Just me. “Rob tells me you say he’s not an alcoholic. Well, whatever he is or isn’t– I will tell you he has a drinking problem. It materially changes his personality and it’s a big problem in our marriage and it was a huge problem in his last marriage,” I told her.
“Wait a minute,” she jumped it. “I did NOT tell Rob he isn’t an alcoholic. Rob is an alcoholic.”
“But he told me you told him that he wasn’t,” I stammered.
“That’s not what I said. Just because he can go days without drinking, or even go on the wagon for a few months, doesn’t make him NOT an alcoholic. It makes him a dry alcoholic. It drives everything he does. Every decision he makes.”
“But why would he tell me that?” I asked.
“Because alcoholics lie. And Rob is no exception.”
Yes, alcoholics do lie. It’s the pathology of their disease. I felt so stupid and duped. I knew he lied. He lied to me about his drinking, where he was, what he was doing. He lied to others about everything and I’d bight my tongue so as not to embarrass anyone. He embarrassed me around others when we had had too much to drink.
I’ll never forget the time that we invited our next door neighbors over to dinner. John was the assistant basketball coach at SDSU. Rob proceeded to down wine like there was no tomorrow. When there was an audience, Rob was a happy drunk. Slap happy, silly, talkative. Stupid. This was no exception. He rambled on and on. He said stupid things. He wouldn’t shut up. I watched John’s fiancé, Anne, and John exchanging funny looks. I wanted to crawl under the table. When they left, I walked them to the door. Anne said, “Your husband is funny.” She gave me a big hug. “It’s ok. Are you ok?” she whispered.
I nodded my head. I couldn’t speak because if I did, I knew I’d start crying.
I’ll never forget the time that Rob’s daughter was on rotation and was staying the week at our house. She and Rob got in a huge fight and she ran up to her room and slammed the door. I could hear her sobbing. I went up to her room and knocked on the door. She invited me in. I sat on her bed and she started unloading on me.
“He drinks every day. He is at the BrewCo every day drinking,” she sobbed.
“What? No he’s not,” I said.
“You don’t know that?” She looked at me like I was crazy. “You can’t tell? Because I can! I can see it in his eyes. They are glassy and watery. And he has mints in his mouth to hide the smell. You don’t know this?”
I shook my head. “No,” I whispered.
Rob didn’t like his daughter and I talking about him one tiny bit so he showed up. “What’s going on?” he asked, standing in the doorway.
She started yelling at him. “If you keep drinking, I’m leaving. I will not stay in this house with you drinking anymore. I hate it!”
“Ok,” Rob said.
Well, two days later, Rob took us to dinner at — guess where? — the BrewCo! And he ordered a drink in front of his daughter. I almost fell out of my chair. When we left, I said, “Why did you do that?”
“That will be the day I let a kid dictate what I do. I’m the adult, not her.”
And a few days later, his daughter called Rob up and said she wasn’t going to be living with him any longer. A few months later, Rob was in court with his ex and Rob lost custody of her. His custody went from 50-50 to 90-10. Nice job. But, no, Rob isn’t an alcoholic!
Not long after that, Rob decided to go on the wagon and go to AA. One day, Rob was supposed to go to an AA meeting after work. I was picking up my daughter from pre school and I got a call from his oldest daughter, telling me her dad wasn’t at AA, he was at the BrewCo. “He needs to decide what’s more important- his family or drinking for once.”
So I drove by the BrewCo. I couldn’t see his car. I pulled around the back and, sure enough, there it was. He had parked his car so I couldn’t readily see it. Instead of being at an AA meeting, he was drinking. So I walked in. “Hi, hope that drink is worth your marriage.” And I walked out.
Rob came home SCREAMING at me. “You FUCKED the whole football team in college. How dare you call me out on drinking,” he SCREAMED like a shrill woman.
“Rob, the kids are in the house. They can hear you.”
“I don’t give a FUCK you FUCKING WHORE. HIT ME!! HIT ME!!” he screamed. He had me backed up into a corner.
“Back off, Rob. You’re drunk!” I yelled back.
“Hit me! Hit me! You FUCKING WHORE! HIT ME!”
So I slapped him. He backed up. I went to his closet and started throwing clothes on the floor. I was shaking. “You have to move out. I hate you. Oh my God. I hate you. Go!”
And he did. He moved in with his mover for two weeks. I was giddy happy he was gone. For two days I wouldn’t answer his calls, respond to his texts, or answer his emails. I went silent and it was heaven. I didn’t love him. I never did. His behavior was revolting. He made me ill. I finally got a call from his mom and I answered.
“Are you going to divorce Rob?”
“I can’t live like this anymore! This isn’t right. He needs help. He is a monster when he was drinking. And this was a huge problem in his last marriage,” I said.
I let Rob come home. I was sick about it though. I did it to save the marriage, for my faith and hope in family and home and marriage. But I didn’t want him home. It was not good for me when he came home. And he didn’t drink (to my knowledge) for three solid weeks. I went with him to a few AA meetings. I went to Alanon. I learned that alcoholics accuse their significant others of being controlling. Well, Rob accused me of being a control freak.
Honestly, I tried the whole gamut. I allowed him to drink. I drank with him. I didn’t drink with him. I forbade alcohol in the home. I allowed it in the home. I stopped saying anything either way. I stopped stalking him at the BrewCo. I detached. And the more I detached, the angrier he got about that. I just stopped caring. I grew to resent him. He was pathetic to me. He screamed at me. The more detached I got, the more he tore me down: I didn’t make as much money as he did. I couldn’t handle life without him. I was lucky to have him. He was the GREATEST dad in the whole wide world. I was lazy. Blah blah blah.
When we moved from our house into a smaller home, I was cleaning out the garage and found countless mini bottles of vodka. Pathetic. But, no, Rob the Great was no alcoholic. He was a great guy. A great dad. And great amazing human being. He was AWESOME!