Alice’s Story, an Excerpt

Alice met her husband, Andrew, at a college party, through her best friend in her med lab class. He was fun and gregarious. Alice was shy. She remembers Andrew coming up behind her in the kitchen at the party and giving her a kiss. She found out later that he decided in that moment that he was going to marry her. 

Alice says that Andrew drank too much and that she was scared of him, but she loved how he taught her to have fun. They would go to parties and cabarets and have a wonderful time. Alice ended up breaking up with Andrew in August of 1974 because of his drinking. After they broke up, he drank more, and he would ride around on his motorcycle. He would be so drunk that he couldn’t stop and hold the bike up at red lights, so he would keep riding around the block.

Alice thought that if she didn’t take Andrew back, he was going to kill himself on the motorcycle. Alice knew that Andrew loved her. He would listen to her dreams to have a house and children, and he promised himself that they would have a house by the time they got married. They got engaged on Christmas Eve in 1974 and were married on July 31, 1976.

Andrew became violent after Alice became a mom with their first child, a daughter. “He was jealous,” says Alice. Alice believes that Andrew’s unresolved past exploded. As a boy growing up, Andrew had seen his dad beat his mom. Alice admits that she thought she could save Andrew and used to think, “If I just love him enough, he will change.”

After many years of marriage and violence, Alice began seeing a counsellor. She asked her counsellor, “How do I help my kids?” He told her to grow up. He explained that her husband was most likely about four years old emotionally and that she was about six years old emotionally. Alice realized that she didn’t know how to grow up. She began the journey of “Healing the Child Within,” which was the program her counsellor gave her to work through. She began to get to know herself and to love herself. She learned that joy means love turned inward. She says, “When I started loving myself, I started treating myself like someone that was loveable and then modelled that for my kids.”

For six years, Alice focused on keeping herself safe and the kids safe. Before bed every night, Alice would ask the question, “What is the next step?” She would wake up the next morning and the message was “Wait.” She began thinking about how she could reframe this life experience that was so painful and scary into something that would make a difference for other people. One morning she woke up and asked her usual question, “What is the next step?” The message was “It’s time.” She told Andrew that she wanted a divorce.

 

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