My husband is an in-denial alcoholic who has also abused drugs.
Summer 2017, our situation became so bad that I fled our home with our son for two and a half months. The first month, he was angry and still drinking. The last month he supposedly “dealt” with his alcoholism and was seeking help. Because I believed him and wanted to make our family work once again, I travelled 1,000 miles with our son back to our home.
My husband promised that things would change. Boy, was I played for a fool. His anger had gotten worse; the emotional abuse had gotten worse. My self-esteem that I worked so hard to rebuild was steadily breaking down with every mean word that came out of his mouth. What was I doing to make him so angry with me? I didn’t know.
No more drinking, he said; he would respect me, he said; he would put our family first, he said…
Nothing changed. Actually, that’s not totally true. The anger and verbal abuse was one thing I thought would disappear over time, but he had started a new habit of staying up days at a time; if I said anything about it, it was like a bomb exploding in my face. I would be on the receiving end of his rage. I did not have a name; I was “The Bitch” most days. Being around him was like walking on eggshells. It was easier staying quiet and hiding in another room with our son.
One late morning, I came down the stairs to the kitchen and discovered that my husband was snorting prescription medication. (Adderall, specifically.) He literally took a razor blade, chopped up pills on our television stand and snorted it through a straw. I froze. Now things were making sense. Adderall was keeping him up for days at a time to help him play video games. He had been prescribed it before for ADHD. One change I noted immediately was the fact that it made him abnormally aggressive.
My husband looked at me and smiled. Then he brushed it off like it was no big deal. My mind was racing. I was 1,000 miles away from family. I was stuck with little money and a young child. My husband was snorting prescription medication while we had a young child in the house. Mentally, I was kicking myself for coming back to him while thinking: “Is he trying to kill himself? My leaving did not leave any kind of mental note for him? Not one?” I could not process one thing to say to him other than “Okay”. Then I “hid” in our bedroom with our son. The one clear thought that I had was to say something to someone. Anyone. A family member, a friend a doctor. Just anyone. Keeping his drinking quiet tortured me slowly. There were frequent visits to the emergency room. I had to listen to multiple doctors say: “You need to stop drinking…” and him just deny the physical evidence of it destroying his body.
He later went to walk our dog and I took my phone and took pictures of the powder, the razor blade, and the straw. I wanted those I told to know that I was not just seeing things. I emailed them to my parents, his father and his father’s significant other. They were the ones I truly trusted. When I fled our home because of the drinking, they were the most supportive. They would keep things quiet because my son’s safety and mine were at stake. My husband was a ticking time bomb when it came to his anger. Naturally, those I told were concerned and upset. My husband’s father was absolutely furious. He was encouraging me to travel back to where my family was because my environment was not suitable for a child. I decided to stick it out because I had just started a temporary job and I wanted to save money for my son and me. When I left in the summer, I had nothing. I could not even get my own child diapers and my husband had cut me off from our shared bank accounts.
I did not want to be put in the same situation again. It was bad enough that I would have to move in with a family member, it would have been worse if I had to go through the humiliating situation of asking them to provide something as small as diapers for my child once again. I should be able to do at least that for him. Along with my temp job, I was freelancing as a photographer on weekends and designing websites for those who responded to my Craigslist ads. I was hustling, but had a small nest egg. The only problem is that it came at a price. The verbal abuse from my husband was constant. My husband’s anger with life was frequent. My husband’s behavior became more erratic. I was being berated in public and in front of our son. My son was uncomfortable in the presence of his own father. When his father started to yell, our son became visibly upset and would only calm down when I would take him away from his father.
Because others now were seeing my husband’s behavior outside our home, it got to a point where someone called Child Protective Services. It was 8:30 PM when a knock came at our door and there the official stood clipboard and all. My husband was not home. Actually, I had no idea where he was. He had been gone for over 5 hours with not even a phone call. I invited the official in kindly into our living room and she started sharing the concerns of the report. We were about 10 minutes in when I heard the chirp of the car’s alarm system. My heart stopped. My husband was home. I silently prayed that he would be on his best behavior.
My husband opened the door and after seeing the official he said: “Who are you?”
She introduced herself and explained why she was there. Then asked him to leave the home for about ten minutes so that she could continue speaking with me. Then she would speak with him.
He became very smug, telling the official that she was very rude and not to break the chair she was sitting on as he exited our home.
I was embarrassed. Actually mortified was more like it. The official started scribbling away in her pad.
“Strike One,” I thought to myself.
We continued to speak, the official and I, for about ten minutes. Then my husband came back and he was not happy. He demanded that she leave. Then explaining that she needed to finish the report, he started to cuss her out. The official asked me to follow her outside. As we descended down the stairs, my husband shouted for all the neighbors to hear: “We’re good fucking parents!” And slammed the door.
“Strikes two and three,” I thought. “We’re in trouble now.”
The CPS official communicated to me that she did not feel safe leaving me alone with my husband and that she would advise me to pack some things and leave. She would drive me to a friend’s house or a shelter. Because she saw my husband’s “dark side”, there would be a possibility that our son could be taken away if I stayed. Either way, she had to see my son was okay. I went upstairs, woke my son out of a deep sleep and brought him outside since my husband refused to allow CPS to come back in. My husband was not happy to hear that, so he followed us outside and continued to yell, berate and cuss at the official. It was so bad that she called the police. I had no choice at that point. My son and I had to leave.
I was in tears, but with a police officer and a CPS agent watching my back, I packed up a few things, called a friend and my son and I were gone. Several days after that I returned to my home with a police escort and retrieved my son’s belongings and mine. The last memory I have of my family home is my husband giving me the finger from our kitchen window and shouting: “I hope you’re happy destroying our entire family!”
I have not returned since.
© 2018 Denalia Evans