March 11th, 2009
11:22 AM ET

My battle with alcoholism

Here is an excerpt from Jack's new book, "Now or Never"

For years, the most complex and stressful situation Carol Cafferty had to cope with was my drinking problem. When I'd get up in the morning, I immediately wondered, What kind of mood is she in and how soon can I start drinking today? How do I get all the booze I want, and get myself half or three quarters f**ked up without winding up in divorce court?

On weekends I wanted to get to drinking right away. I knew that she would be watching to see how early I'd go to the fridge and reach for that first beer. If we got up on Saturday and Carol went out someplace to, say, get her hair done, that was my green light to have a few extra ones. If I held off till three or four in the afternoon, we had a much better day, but I was suffering.

This is where she proved how tough she was, stronger than any man I have ever known. I still don't know how the hell she did it. I'd have told me to go f**k myself long before I quit drinking. I had her walking on eggshells, just as my parents had done to me. Now it was Carol who had to constantly be on guard, wondering what mood I was going to be in, how much I'd been drinking, how it would impact the emotional tenor in the home with the girls around. I knew this was hard on her and worried her to death, but like all addicts who have earned their Ph.D's in denial, I figured, I can finesse all this s**t and keep an even keel, addictions and all. But no one finesses it indefinitely unless the spouse/partner becomes an enabling doormat and says, "Okay, I'll pretend this isn't happening or I'll excuse it this one last time."

That wasn't Carol's style, and our marriage was seriously tested and threatened. We didn't have a lot of knock-down, drag-out fights, but we had our share of loud, explosive arguments. Ugly things were said and threats made - I'm getting a divorce, I'm going to do this or do that. Sometimes, to be sure, Carol could overlook what I threatened and ignore me. Other times she was provoked beyond her limits and fired back, and we got into shouting matches.

Click here to read the entire excerpt

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