Augusto: A Love That Endures Mental and Substance Use Disorders

A man shares the story of his wife's undying commitment and his efforts to overcome mental and substance use disorders.

My drinking career ended after I abandoned my family and was living alone, sleeping on the floor, and wanting to end my life. One 26th of December I was lying in a hammock at 5:30 in the morning when suddenly a thought came into my mind: "You have stopped drinking for the rest of your life".

I went into town and asked a friend if a support group existed in this part of the island. He said: "Yes, I go there and would you like to go with me?" It was another miracle that I said yes.

Three years into my sobriety it became obvious that I was also suffering from a mental illness and went to see a psychiatrist. The doctor prescribed medication and suggested I go to a self-help group for mental health to which I went once but I didn't like it, and didn't go back.

I spent the next 18 years sober and in medical treatment. I had returned home in the first year of my sobriety after four years of estrangement. My wife had waited for me and got help for her own serenity. She accepted me back with unconditional love.

But I was angry with her about all sorts of trivialities all those years. I didn't realize that I was unnecessarily angry. I would go away from home for weeks at a time as a result of this anger. I barely kept sober.

Then I had another episode of my mental illness. After a change of doctors and treatment, going back to the mental health support group, and a partial hospitalization, I was getting increasingly angry with my wife. I accused her of doing things to annoy me, and of telling other people to annoy me as well. I suffered for eight months of a bipolar disorder nightmare and almost relapsed. I went back to meetings. I also prayed for humility.

And then, one day my wife left home on account of my accusations. I got so depressed that I made plans to commit suicide. After a couple of telephone calls to people in my support groups and a visit from my son I made the decision to "act as if " my delusions were imaginary. It worked. My relationship with my wife started improving and my health as well. To this day I ignore what little is left of my delusions.

We celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary on December 20, 2013. I am indebted to my wife for all she has done to help me with my alcoholism, drug addiction, and my mental illness and am also grateful for the help I have found in my support groups.

Last Updated: 04/25/2017