Every time I leave the house, my husband goes missing. Because of this, I don’t attend social events. When someone invites me to a wedding, I don’t go. When someone close to me loses a loved one, I do my best to offer them my sympathies without showing up at the funeral. When anything is happening in my hometown, I don’t even attempt to go.
Just this Saturday, I had to attend a funeral here in Accra. My relationship with the bereaved made it difficult for me not to attend. So I decided to just step out for a few hours. By the time I returned, my husband was gone. As I am writing this, I don’t know where he is. My only comfort is that his car is parked at home. That’s even because I ceased his keys. If not he would have driven it away.
The last time he disappeared with his car he came home without it. I had to go on a search party before I found it parked somewhere with the key in it. Thankfully, someone else didn’t get to it first. This is what happens when you are married to a man who has a drinking problem. You are always on edge, terrified that if you let him out of your sight, he would run off and drink himself to death.
Was he like this when I met him? The answer is yes. Don’t get me wrong, he is not the kind of man who drinks every day. He has a good job that pays him very well. He is a high-ranking staff. So he spends most of his days sober.
He is a quiet and well-behaved man. He is also very caring and extremely generous. I remember when I first met him. I was struggling to find my feet in life. All I had was an SHS certificate that couldn’t help me get my dream job. Moses offered to send me to school and take care of all my fees. I didn’t believe him at first. He is about fifteen years older than me so I thought he was probably married and looking to lure me into being his side chick with an offer like that.
He didn’t agree to my terms. He asked me, “How will your family feel if they find out that I have a child with you but refused to marry you? How will your church take it? I can’t do such a thing. I love you. That’s why I want to marry you so we do things the right way.” I also had feelings for him. How could I not? He is a good man. Besides, he promised to work on his drinking. There was also the problem of coming across as ungrateful should I turn him down. That’s how I come I agreed to marry him.
Things were peaceful between us after marriage. He continued to take good care of me. Everything we use at home is bought in packs. I have not lacked anything. I also do my part as a wife. He doesn’t eat out so when he is going to work, I cook and pack his lunch. And everything is fine when he is sober. We don’t argue, or disagree on things. My only problem was his siblings. They would smile at me and say nasty things behind my back.
According to them, Moses used to give them money and provide for their needs until he married me. After our marriage, he reduced whatever money he used to give them so they blamed me for that. I don’t know much about my husband’s finances so I don’t dictate what or who he spends money on. This is why I didn’t allow their comments to get to me.
My only concern was helping my husband to overcome his addiction. We tried counselling but it didn’t work. So they started saying that it’s spiritual. I have prayed myself into exhaustion. I have gone with him to see powerful men of God for prayers. We have even gone to see spiritualists and herbalists but nothing they recommended has worked. I’m at my wit’s end as I’m typing this.
The first time he left home, I didn’t know where to find him. I called his siblings to tell them Moses had gone missing. They just said they would make some calls. For five days I didn’t hear from him. I was about to go to the police station to file a missing person’s report when someone told me, “I saw your husband in his hometown. He is with his brother and sister.” I was shocked. That was the day I understood the depth of their hate for me. How could they not tell me he was with them when I was in tears that my husband was missing?
When I ask them to help us find a solution to his problem, they don’t mind me. They’ve left him for me to handle. When I complained, his sister told me; “It appears you don’t know how to take care of my brother. We heard you don’t even cook for him. If you think you are tired, leave so that I will come and stay with him and take proper care of him.” Their behaviour tells me that they don’t want their brother to get better. It seems they get more money out of him when he is drunk so they want it to continue.
Honestly, I am scared out of my mind. We have a three-year-old daughter who is so attached to her father. So whenever he leaves the house, she becomes miserable. Which in turn adds to my misery. I keep fearing that the worst would happen. I keep asking myself what will become of me and the baby if he gets drunk one day and doesn’t make it out alive.
Here I am with no income. I had to quit my job when I got pregnant because of the way it affected my health. After that, I am struggling to get another job so I have gone back to school to further my education. And my husband is the one sponsoring my education this time around too. I am dependent on him for all my financial needs.
There are times I think about leaving him until he comes to his senses and gets better but I can’t. Apart from the part that I am not financially independent enough to leave, I am afraid something bad will happen to him if I leave. There’s also the fear that people will talk about me. His siblings especially. They will call me ungrateful for leaving him at his worst. So I’m still here fighting my hardest to help him get better.
Besides, when I threaten to leave him, he cries and begs me until I decide to stay. I identified his triggers and realized he only starts drinking when I travel or step out of the house for a few hours. This is why I am always at home. I have no social life. This whole thing is draining me psychologically and emotionally. I have even decided to see a psychologist because I have gotten depressed. I can’t eat anymore. The moment I think about his addiction, I lose my appetite. Needless to say that I have lost weight drastically. Meanwhile, people see me and I assume I am happy.
The other day I found out I was pregnant. I couldn’t bear to bring another child into this situation so I got rid of it. This is how bad things are. I am crying as I am writing this because I don’t know where to go and him. When it happens like this too, he doesn’t pick up my calls until he gets sober and returns home. And I have no idea when he will come back. Unfortunately, I cannot count on his family to help me.
I know that I entered into this marriage with my eyes open but I don’t know how much of this I can take anymore. I need help. I need counsel. I need comfort. The only people I talk to about this, are my parents and they are out of suggestions as well. What can I do to kick this problem out of our lives for good? Or do I leave with my daughter and start life without him?