“Are you with us or not? We need to schedule this before things get worse. Please, Alaina.” Nancy’s urgent words came through Alaina’s cell phone loud and clear. But she still was not convinced.
“Bryan’s not going to hurt me now that I’m pregnant. You’ll see. This is going to bring out the best in him.” Alaina touched her cheekbone’s faded bruise, wishing truth into her words. She heard Nancy exhale a frustrated sigh.
“I want to believe that, too, but do you really want to risk danger to the baby? Douglas is his brother and he won’t listen to him alone, and you’re his wife and he won’t listen to you alone either. We all have to work together so he’ll realize he needs help. You do realize he has an alcohol problem, don’t you?”
Alaina closed her eyes and hesitated. “Yes. But he’s been through so much with his parents’ death and changing jobs. It was hard on him. He just needs a little time to adjust.” Alaina hesitated. “I’ll think on it again tonight and call you back.”
“Okay. But no longer. Call me tomorrow morning.”
That night Alaina dreamed about delivering her baby. Joy flooded her until she realized her newborn was dead. Because Bryan had pushed her into a wall. She woke up, heart racing. 5:00a.m. She stole quietly from the room and called Nancy, who she knew would already be awake.
“I’ve decided. I love him and our baby too much to wait any longer.”
Alaina could almost hear Nancy’s smile. “Good. The treatment center Douglas talked to is ready for Bryan. We’ll finish up the preliminary stuff and schedule the meeting for next week. Okay?”
“Okay.” Alaina blew out a long breath. They said their goodbyes and hung up.
A week later Alaina sat in a circle of chairs along with Nancy, Douglas, Stan, and Tyrone. Sweat formed on her neck and underarms. Nausea threatened to send her to the bathroom. She wondered if it was from nervousness or pregnancy.
Bryan returned home from work about 30 minutes later. Alaina prayed he hadn’t been drinking, but she knew better. When he opened the door, Douglas stepped forward to meet him.
“Bryan.” Douglas gestured towards the group.
“What’re all of you doing here? Did I miss the party?” Bryan chuckled and slapped Douglas a little too firmly on the shoulder. Alaina’s stomach tightened, and she swallowed to keep the acid from coming up.
Nancy’s voice broke the silence. “Sit down, Bryan. We all want to talk to you.”
“Who died? Is something wrong?” Bryan stopped smiling.
Douglas escorted Bryan to his seat and explained why they were there.
“Our friends are trying to say I have an alcohol problem. Do you agree, Alaina?” Bryan glared at her, causing tears to fill her eyes.
Somehow Alaina found her voice. “We all love you, Bryan. You haven’t been yourself lately. You have to know that your drinking is affecting us. Me. And it will affect our child. I’ve written a letter to you—we all have—and I want you to listen to us.” She read her letter in a hushed tone. When she looked up, Bryan’s face had softened. Thank God he wasn’t angry. Each person read their letters in turn, and she could tell Bryan was actually listening.
When everyone was finished, Douglas took control of the conversation. “Well, that’s how we feel. I’ve got your suitcase packed and the treatment center is ready for you. Will you let me drive you there right now?”
Bryan looked down and muttered, “I can stop whenever I want.”
“Then prove it,” Douglas said. “This way, you’ll know that you really can.”
Alaina spoke up with the most loving and confident voice she could muster. “I’ll be here when you get back and I promise I’ll help you stay sober. We all will.” She smiled, walked over to Bryan and hugged him with all the energy she had left.
“Group hug!” Douglas shouted. Relieved, Alaina welcomed being squashed. It was the first day of a better life. One of hope and love and safety. She was so glad she hadn’t waited any longer to do the right thing.
The majority of addicts who receive an intervention enter treatment. Here are some links if you need more information on intervention.
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