Back in the days (1970s) driving around with a cooler of ice cold beer in the bed of your truck was a sign of manhood. It was especially satisfying to pop the top and cool down on a hot summer day, and a reward for a good days work down on the farm. At family get-to-gathers the men would all sit around drinking beer and shooting the breeze. If you happened to consume a little too much libation, and happened to get pulled over by the police, you got a ride home and that was that.
Fast forward 40 years...the stigma of alcohol consumption has changed (and rightfully so. Today, my spouse of 40 years is suffering from the devastating effects of an alcohol addiction. The alcoholism has progressed over the years to the extent that he is now unable to work, handle daily situations, isolates himself from friends and family, and is currently undergoing psychiatric treatment for severe anxiety issues. The drinking, which used to give him relief from life's stresses, is now only exasperating his debilitating anxiety.
He denies having a drinking problem but the reality of it persists. The extent of his drinking became apparent when, after his last day of work for the week, he would rest (alternating between trips to the outdoors) so that he could drink in seclusion throughout the night. By the early evening though, he would be unable to carry on a conversation and his wobbly posture, he would explain, was due to his extreme exhaustion. The two refrigerators filled with beer and other assorted bottles of alcohol are locked away in the garage and he maintains a separate bank account which he uses to withdraw cash to avoid having to explain his alcohol purchases.
Gradually, I have lost my support system (my best friend and confidant) and miss the affection and intimacy we used to share. Over the years, I've had to make financial and health care decisions, raise my family, and deal with cancer alone because he "could not deal" with stresses of day-to-day life; and I worry about the effects of alcoholism on my children and grandchildren. I hope and pray that with the proper treatment (for both of us) that our remaining "golden years" will be filled with a renewed passion for life.