Was this you in This Is Us season premiere?

For those of us who have lived with an alcoholic, the storyline of Jack, the beloved father, and his wife, Rebecca, in This Is Us will be hauntingly familiar. In this scene when Jack confesses to Rebecca – “I’m drunk right now. I’ve been drunk for weeks” – she’s not just heartbroken, she’s shocked.

Have you ever been asked: ‘How long was he drinking? Didn’t you know?’ Yes, we eventually discover their secret, but at first we second guess our senses: I must be mistaken. It can’t be. My husband was a social drinker. How would I know when that first drink wasn’t social, but medicinal? How many of us know when the alcoholism began?  To this day, almost nine years after Robert’s death, I still try to pinpoint when he slipped from a Scotch with dinner, to sneaking in Scotch before breakfast. I’ve constructed timelines, and re-read a decade of day planners. My mind constantly rewinds snippets of yesteryear: the thud of his car trunk being closed in the dead of night; never being without his backpack; overdoing the mints and mouthwash. When did all the secrecy and deceit begin?

For those of you who don’t watch This Is Us, please watch this scene. It was validating for me, I wonder if it will be for others.  His wife hasn’t yet realized the enormity of it all; it’s a ‘drinking problem’ not alcoholism. “I know you’re not an alcoholic.” To which Jack replies: “You don’t know everything about me. I’m drunk right now. I have been drunk all day. I’ve been drunk for weeks. And I thought I had it under control like the first time, but I have a problem, Rebecca. And I’ve hidden it from you for a very long time. And I’ve hidden it from the kids. And I need to get a handle on it before I walk back into that house. I’m sorry, baby. I’m very embarrassed. And I am very sorry. I need to fix this, on my own.”

Rebecca takes Jack home, vowing, “If you have a problem, we will fix it together.” Most of us have learned it’s impossible to fix someone else’s problem. But I didn’t always know that. And Rebecca’s shock and innocence was validating as I recalled my own.

 

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5 thoughts on “Was this you in This Is Us season premiere?

  1. I was “blindsided” when he told me (the weekend of May 17, 2014) “Jack, I can’t stop drinking….not even for an hour.” Me – “But what about at night when we’re asleep?” (that was how naive I was). His reply – “I’m passed out”. Starting this third year of widowhood has been worse then the first and the second (he died 09/16/2015). I have been formulating a time line in my journaling……where We were each month from that day on, but I have been looking farther back, to this incident, this hospital visit, and I have to admit to myself as well as my children (and it’s not an excuse for what he did/became) , that he struggled with alcohol all of his adult life. He did have control, he was able to “real-it-in”…..but in the end there was this one incident that sent him over the edge (2010 -he was given a promotion and then they took it away from him because he didn’t have a bachelors degree) and he still was holding on by his fingers – he knew he had to stop to quit and we tried – going threw detox at home because he was embarrassed……and I thought I could help him do it, even finding herbs and homeopathics to help with cravings and withdrawal. The family intervention, the ICU stints to detox, the rehabs, getting pancreatitis, none of it could stop him from how he felt about himself. Yes, there were more “good” times in our 34.5 years of our marriage then bad. I’m struggling with trying to feel normal, to keep moving forward, and every time I feel good about myself, something I’ve accomplished, being happy – enjoying the peace……”It” is there, just enough to remind me that I couldn’t be this if he hadn’t done all that. I think what a waste, I have a love-hate relationship with my dead husband. I hope something good comes of all this.

  2. My wife did admit she was an alcoholic. After years of truly being a “closet drinker” never drinking in front of me because of my 25 years of recovery, yet each night for over 3 years she’d be pass out on the couch. And it was a long slow road to oblivion and a case of the crazies for me. All those years watching helplessly. All the lies, and hiding and denying even when confronted. And damn it! I knew the answers to recovery. But yet, on a Monday in early January 2016 she was in the kitchen and it just came out. “I’m an alcoholic”. The next day she said she went to an AA meeting. The following day I received a text from my brother saying my sister was dying and wanted to see her brothers for the last time to say goodbye. It was a shock that rocked my world. I thought she was in the hospital for an asthma attack. My sister was my go to person and I, hers. We had a special bond. So I drove to Boston (my wife said she wasn’t feeling well, so I made the trip solo) which was 3 hours away and with a broken heart like I have never experienced, I said my goodbye to her. I drove the 3 hours home. Walked up into the bedroom and smelled the booze as she was snoring away. Damn it, why did I have to smell booze tonight of all nights? I crawled into bed, kissed her on the back of the head as she was sleeping and layed there, listening to her snore and smelling the booze. I got up the next morning, slip out of bed and walked the dog. When I came home, I had a cup of coffee, called my brothers to see if they heard anything. After a while I said that I just needed to talk to my wife to let someone know my pain of losing my sister. I walked around to the side of the bed and she was dead. It was a horrific scene. I shook her and her whole body moved like a mannequin. She had been dead for a while. Drank herself to death. BAC of 0.377. The next day my sister died.

  3. I never heard those words, either. Not once did my husband admit to me: (‘I’m an alcoholic.’) He fought me when he should have been thanking me: (‘Thank you for trying to help me.’) Even at the end of those hellacious years, he never apologized: (‘I’m sorry I put your through all this.’) Never.

    • My husband “agreed” to rehab twice.
      He was the best little ole patient they had at both places, even inspiring others with his wisdom. And at both family weeks, we were the stars. But he was faking it. He would say, “I’ve got ‘a little cirrhosis'”….or I’m monitoring my blood tests..though he wouldn’t go if he’d “eaten fruit” over the weekend. When I give all the flat out lies and subterfuge much thought, I feel like I’ll go mad.
      (He died a horrible death, 2 years ago as of 9/18 and we’d been married 39 years. I wasted SO much time staying in that doomed marriage. Not easy starting over at age 69!

  4. I do watch that show and that scene has haunted me for days…it brought me to tears. If only I’d heard those words and most importantly, they’d been sincere.

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