The Things Alcoholics Do

The other day, Wife Goes On blogged about “The Things Alcoholics Say,” which has sent me on a trip down memory lane.  I can’t remember many funny sayings, but I do remember more than a few funny “doings,” which is why I titled this “The Things Alcoholics Do.”  I’m only 99% copycat.

I didn’t grow up around drinking.  When my parents divorced several years ago, the same liquor bottles were in their cabinet that were in there when I was a teenager.  (Don’t tell my mom, but they probably taste more like iced tea than alcohol, but I am pretty sure it was because of my sister’s rebellious teen years, not mine.  Once again, fingers crossed.)

I had certainly never heard the term “alcoholic.”  When I was dating my ex, his father and step-mother were often out dancing and drinking and having a good time.  I considered them “fun.”  One night, my ex-husband’s father was having “fun” and he accidentally drank a beer bottle of Copenhagen and spit instead of beer.  (This is the south.  It’s what southern men do.  Southern women married to drunk southern men have brown carpet stains to prove it.)  My ex was embarrassed.  He told me that he knew that his father drank too much, and he promised that he would never turn out to be like him.  I was perplexed.  What was the big deal?  He was a little drunk. He was having a good time.

Many years and many drunken episodes later, I learned what the big deal was.  He was an alcoholic.  And once you become family, it isn’t fun.

I wish that my ex had been able to keep that early promise.  I wish that I didn’t have enough drunken stories to fill a novel.  I wish that I could forget them, but they are part of my memory and so they are part of me.  Just like my boys and all of the memories of raising them are part of me.

Having the boys only thirteen months apart was a struggle when they were babies.  If one got sick, the other one got sick.  If one woke up at night because he was sick, the other one woke up at night because he was sick.  It’s not easy to get two healthy babies back to sleep at night, let alone two sick babies. One night, to get the miserable babies back to sleep, I strapped them into their car seats and drove around town.  The lull of the engine worked every time.  Even if it took hours.

When I arrived back at the house, my husband’s truck was in the driveway.  He was home from the bars.  I left the car running and quietly brought the babies into the house and put them to bed one at a time.  I can’t remember what Godforsaken hour it was, but I was exhausted.  As I walked down the hall from the nursery to the master bedroom, I could see my husband on the floor on his hands and knees.  Buck naked.  Peeing into a pair of my favorite shoes.  Suede shoes.

I’m not gonna lie.  I wanted to pull out some of the old soccer skills and punt him.  I showed restraint.  I just yelled.  WHAT. ARE. YOU. DOING???

The response was something about swirling hot dogs and liquid gold.  I never could figure that out, but I sure can’t forget it.

In my married days, I had to sleep with one eye (or ear) open.  Partly to listen for the sound of crying babies, and partly to listen for the sound of my husband peeing in random places in the house. 

That is NOT the toilet.  It’s the hamper!

That is the computer room.  Turn around and go back the other way!

Jeez, the toilet is BEHIND you.  I’m not gonna clean that wall, you are.

There were other annoying things as well.  One time, my ex sat straight up in bed and spit in my eye, as if he had Copenhagen in his mouth and was simply discarding it.  How’s that for a wake-up call?

Despite the weariness of those types of nights, the really ugly memories are the ones that happened outside of the home.  The ones that other people witnessed.

One year,we attended a Christmas party and all of our friends were there.  When it got late, I took the boys home, but my husband wanted to stay a little while longer.  I didn’t care.  By that time, I had given up the fight.  Besides, he wasn’t in a bar, so what was the harm?

He slept most of the next day, which happened to be the day that my son decided that he couldn’t walk and we had to make a trip to the hospital, but since my husband wasn’t really equipped in the patience-with-hospitals department, I just let him sleep.

That following Monday, my mom called me after working at the church Mother’s Day Out Program.

Mom:   Do you know what time your husband got home Saturday night?

Me:      No, but I have a feeling that you do.

Mom:  It was Sunday morning at 6:30am.  It was after he and a friend went to drink somewhere else, and then went back to the party and broke into the house through the garage to get the leftover beer.  The homeowners didn’t know who it was, so they called the police.  Lucky for you, it was your other friend’s husband on duty that responded to the call.

Me:      Yeah, lucky for me.

(Have I mentioned how small this town is?  Everyone knows everyone, and therefore, everyone knows about this.)

I can’t remember a conversation with my husband about that incident.  I have no idea what he might have SAID, but I sure can’t forget what he DID.  Oh, the things that alcoholics do…


  1. I think you got me beat in the battle of the ex’s. Girl, all I can say is OMG.
    Love ya!

  2. We should trade stories someday 🙂 No, scratch that.
    But I feel you. My ex wasn’t the alcoholic, my current husband was.
    He’s been sober nearly 2 years but I am still finding beer bottle caps hidden in random places.
    Wish I could erase all of those memories.

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