Alison's Insights

Making Sense of Addiction Recovery in Midlife One Slow Deep Breath at a Time

“Frankly My Dear, I Don’t Give a Damn”

Ok, I admit it.  I’m 50 years old and I just watched “Gone With The Wind” from start to finish.  Over the years I had seen bits and pieces, smiled when someone would reference it, but never took it all in at one time.  Perhaps I wasn’t meant to until now.  I say this because as I watched it, I was completely taken back by how profoundly parallel the story line was to my own life.

No, I did not have to tend to any fields, wear curtains or have someone bustle me up to fit into a hoop skirt, but I did take someone to the brink.  I did manipulate people.  I did use my “charm” to work my way through countless obstacles.  I did throw tantrums masked as intentional isolation from people who irritated me.  I most certainly belittled what others had to say.  And like Scarlett, I led a man who fiercely loves me to decide a life without me was far better than a life with me.  That man is my husband and on one very cold January day he, like Rhett, turned to me and said in so many words, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn” and left.

It has been over 10 years since that day.  I’ll never forget it.  I can’t forget it.  It’s not easy to disregard what it felt like to watch my husband walk away saying words that could stop a clock.  The memory of it still makes my blood run cold.  It was the day he had seen me drunk for his last time and in a slow, quiet moment he told me so.

There is nothing like seeing first hand when, after years of second chances, how you can drain someone of their last emotion.  That January morning when my husband sat next to me he was not mad, he was not angry, he was not crying, he was nothing.   Absolutely no emotion transcended his face.  He just turned his head and said, “Don’t be here when I get home.”  And with that, he walked out.

Unlike Scarlett, I didn’t fall on the stairs relieved to know tomorrow is another day.  No, I didn’t have any more tomorrows, I only had that day and without knowing it, I chose to fight for my life … for our life.  I picked up the phone and asked someone to help me who I knew could.  From that day forward I have not found a good enough reason to pick up another drink.

And unlike Rhett and Scarlett, eventually my husband and I built our own Tara and together we aren’t waiting for tomorrow to share in today.

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One thought on ““Frankly My Dear, I Don’t Give a Damn”

  1. Leanne Steuer on said:

    Hi Alison,
    Started reading some of your blogs here. Thank you for sharing. I am enjoying all of them so far. Will try to keep up with this. I must keep trying so I don’t have a husband walking out too. Wow.

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