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.


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

  1. 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!

  2. 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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