SuAnne (Murphy) Davids
The destructiveness of alcohol has found me once again. It has been thirty-five years since my last experience. It began for me as an infant, when my mother was in the grip of its addicting, magnetic pull. I, along with an older brother, was placed in a foster home as a result.
But the destruction that could have been mine was turned into good. I was adopted and raised in a loving, stable family environment. The ruin, I know, was felt by my mother, whose alcoholism cost her the opportunity to raise and love two of her children. By the time sobriety found her, we were rooted in a new family and she no longer had the opportunity to be a parent for me or my brother.
Now I look to the present, at the age of thirty-six, with three boys of my own. Sixteen years ago I married an alcoholic, but the pain of his drinking then was not as bad as it is now. There were many hard times early in our marriage, but he found the true source of healing in Jesus Christ. Recently, however, my husband began to test the waters of alcohol once again, and my pain returned.
Years of sobriety give some people the false sense of control over alcohol. They suppose that they can handle being a social drinker, able to have a few now and then. That is what my husband thought. But the brief weeks of testing the waters have already come to an end, bringing destruction to him, to me, and to our boys.
Today my husband lies in a rehabilitation unit an hour away, learning to come to some measure of independence as a person. Having placed himself behind the wheel of his car in a state of drunkenness, this is where he now finds himself. And now the husband I once knew no longer exists.
His destruction began with his sober choice to have that first drink on that eventful night. His body, though it lives, has left a mind somewhere between life and death. He knows certain facts and details of his life, but he misses the many pieces that reveal who he really is and who his family members are. I am not a widow or a wife today. Our boys are sons, yet they have no father.
My days are spent conversing with a man who is much like a child, much like a stranger. He cannot apologize or understand his family's pain. He once sacrificed his time and placed his family's needs before his own. As a father, he gave every waking minute to teaching and training his boys in what he felt was important. He coached his boys' baseball teams, was a Cub Scout leader and a Sunday school teacher, and loved to cook, hunt, fish, laugh, and live. Here was a man who loved children of all ages and who was loved in return. He would go to his friends in the middle of the night to help track a wounded deer, or would change the oil of a widow's car, or would fix a friend's lawn mower in his spare time. To know him was to like him. This is the man who no longer exists.
So today I sit, not understanding, feeling pain unlike any I have ever known, giving answers to boys who are in more confusion than I am.
My hope is that in another thirty-five years I will once again look back and see the good that became of our lives through the tragedy that we find ourselves in the midst of today. For I believe in a God who can and will do this very thing. He will take what the enemy meant for evil and destruction and use this very thing to bring hope, a future, and joy. How is it possible? It is beyond my comprehension. This is the meaning of faith. It is to believe and trust in what I cannot understand.
Today is not the future; today is tears, pain, and questions. Today is three young boys visiting a dad and hoping for his return. We will live through this, one day at a time. We are surviving today, believing that we will one day wake up to discover that we have found our future, our hope, and our joy once again.
Mrs. Davids is a member of Old Stockbridge OPC in Morgan Siding, Wis. Her husband, while intoxicated, was thrown from his car in a single-car accident and suffered serious head and brain injuries. He was expected to survive in a vegetative state, if at all, but has recovered beyond anyone's expectations. This article was written on December 2, 1999, and his condition has improved since then. He is expected to fully recover physically, but how far he will recover mentally remains unclear. His memory is weak (especially short-term memory) and often distorted, and his other mental processes remain impaired. Reprinted from New Horizons, April 2000.