I was married to an alcoholic. But he wasn’t a nasty, mean, or hurtful alcoholic. He was actually known as one of the nicest guys around. But he was still an alcoholic and sometimes, that was embarrassing. He would drink to the point of falling down, of being unable to talk – of urinating off balcony’s and falling off chairs. I rarely drink to the point of being drunk and almost never to the point where I’m out of control. It was a weekly thing for him.

When I left him, and people expressed disbelief that the drinking was really that bad, I would ask them to identify the number of times they’d met him when he was sober. Many couldn’t even name one time. Being a professional working in the psychiatric field, with a number of addicts, people thought I should be more understanding and more patient. Go through counseling and see if he could sober up. But I was burnt out on working with people with addictions, I just couldn’t face doing it at home too. And I didn’t love him anymore. It was lost somewhere- drowned in the gallons of beer and liqueur I watched him consume. So I left. Do I feel guilty?

It’s hard to feel guilt when leaving presented me with the opportunity to form a healthy relationship with a partner who is my equal in all things. And with whom I made a beautiful baby.

Why am I rehashing this? Well, two reasons, one was my foray into the experiment of breaking my internet addiction. The other? My family is having to come to terms with the sad fact that my 22 year old brother has a gambling addiction. My dad has been dealing with the brunt of it. It’s hard for me to be half a country away. I want to go kick that kid’s butt. Of course, everything I know about addictions, which is a fair amount, tells me that he won’t be able to deal with this and get past it until he’s ready and wants to.

But I’m also angry with him, because three times now, my dad has bailed him out of the massive debt he’s amassed. Bailed him out so he wouldn’t go to jail. End up with a felony on his record. And literally have to be bailed out. Three times. Thousands of dollars. I’m so pissed. And incredibly sad and worried. This is a relationship I can’t and won’t give up on. There is no walking away.

It made me wonder, for a minute, if I did the right thing with my ex-husband. And then I saw Brianna smiling at me. And it didn’t matter if it was right or wrong. It just was and it turned out wonderfully. I can only hope my brother’s story has a happy ending too.

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