This is the story of Marie B. as it appeared in the first edition of the ‘Big Book’ – Alcoholics Anonymous. The story is unusual in the first edition as it is the only one not written by an alcoholic. Marie was the wife of Walter B., The Back-slider.
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An Alcoholic’s Wife
I have the misfortune, or I should say the good fortune of being an alcoholic’s wife. I say misfortune because of the worry and grief that goes with drinking, and good fortune because we found a new way of living.
My husband did not drink, to my knowledge, for several years after we were married. Then we started on an occasional Saturday night party. As I drank nothing except an occasional highball I soon became what was called a “wet blanket.” The parties became more frequent and more often I was left at home.
I would sit up and wait for him. As each car passed the house I would return to walking the floor and crying and feeling so sorry for myself, thinking, “Here I am left at home to take care of the baby and him out having a good time.”
When he did return sometimes on Sunday and sometimes a week later, it usually called for a scene. If he was still drunk I would put him to bed and cry some more. If he was sober it would mean I would say all the things I had been thinking and cry some more. He usually got drunk again.
I finally went to work as the bills worried me. I thought if I worked and got the bills paid he would quit drinking. He had no money in the bank but would write checks as he knew I would pay them for the boy’s sake and in the hopes that each time would be the last.
I thought I should have a lot of credit, as I was paying his bills, taking care of the house and baby, besides my work, making as much money as he was, doing without things I wanted so he could have a good time.
I always went to church and thought I was living a Christian life. After my husband came in contact with Alcoholics Anonymous I thought our troubles were over as I was sure all our trouble was his drinking.
I soon found out that there was a lot wrong with me. I was selfish with my money, time, and thoughts. I was selfish about my time because I was always tired and had no time left for my family’s pleasure or to do God’s work. All I did was go to Sunday School and Church on Sunday with the boy and thought that was all God wanted me to do. I would be irritable and lose my temper and say all manner of things which usually called for another drunk and me pitying myself all over again.
Since giving my husband’s problem to God I have found a peace and happiness. I know that when I try to take care of the problems of my husband I am a stumbling block as my husband has to take his problems to God the same as I do.
My husband and I now talk over our problems and trust in a Divine Power. We have now started to live. When we live with God we want for nothing.