PROJECT RECOVERY WITH CASEY SCOTT & DR. MATT WOOLLEY

Utah man recounts how his wife’s alcohol addiction almost cost them everything

Apr 1, 2020, 5:33 PM | Updated: 5:34 pm
alcohol addiction...
Alan Richards joins the 'Project Recovery' podcast to detail his experience with his wife's addiction and how it affected their marriage.

For Alan Richards, losing both his job and his house in the same year was incredibly difficult. But he says it couldn’t compare to the pain of almost losing his wife to alcohol addiction throughout it all.

He recently joined the ‘Project Recovery’ podcast to tell the story of a disease that would plague his family for a decade.

Alan recalls the early years of his wife’s alcohol addiction

Countless factors can be the cause of alcohol addiction. Whether it’s genetics, behavioral tendencies, or just numbing the pain, alcohol can seem like a quick band-aid for many problems that we face on a day to day basis. For Alan’s wife, years of abuse and trauma laid the groundwork that allowed her alcohol addiction to flourish.

“Everything through her life … she’s been through a lot. She’s been in relationships where she’s been mentally abused, physically abused,” Alan described. “She had issues growing up. She was teased all of the time and all of this just compounded onto her.”

And even though the two have been together for fourteen years, Alan recognizes his wife’s alcohol addiction as the root of years of damage. For the last six to seven years, she has been battling her alcohol addiction. For the couple, things got drastically worse when Alan lost his job of twenty-four years, almost eleven years ago.

“In 2009, we got married; two months after we got married I lost my job. In August, she lost her dad. A year later, we lost the house,” he explained.

Once Alan lost his job and the house, he began to realize how bad things were getting. He would find liquor bottles that his wife had hidden in strange places throughout the house.

Not until she started drinking directly from the liquor bottle did Alan realize the extent of her addiction.

Drinking from the bottle to a shimmer of hope

“I think she knew deep down that she was getting to a different level of drinking,” he said. “Even when she was drunk all of the time, she did everything she could to prove to me that she wasn’t drunk.

“Even though, you could see her staggering from one end of the room to the other end of the room and falling and slurring her words.”

His wife’s addiction kept advancing and Alan says her abusing quickly grew. But the two were able to sit down and try and repair the damage that had been done. After struggling with her alcohol addiction for years, the couple was able to find some resemblance of normalcy, he says, at least for a while.

“The crazy thing was, she went thirteen months sober. She really got herself clean. Our relationship was incredible,” he added.

That was until the two were able to take a getaway after Alan won an overnight stay at a local hotel. The two were just lounging around playing Rummy until Alan’s wife had a slight relapse.

“It got to where she was comfortable to where I could have a drink in front of her and she was fine,” Alan said. “I got up to go to the restroom and when I came out I saw her hurry and put my drink down and I said, ‘What the heck did you just do?'”

Taking a turn for the worst

Shortly after her relapse, Alan’s wife was jailed after receiving her first DUI. Three weeks after that, she would spend time in jail again for driving with a suspended license. To make matters worse, she would spend time in jail again for her second DUI after she drove into a parked vehicle.

“That’s when her life went upside down. She’s been in and out of jail, over and over,” he said.

The pressure was getting so bad for Alan, that last June, he decided he had had enough. He says he couldn’t handle the stress and chaos anymore.

“I was on my way home and I’m just like, ‘I’m done. I cannot walk into that door anymore and go through what I go through on a daily basis,'” Alan said.

Alan had begun having suicidal thoughts. He drove home to get his gun and says he planned to drive into the mountains and end his life. On his way home, though, he got a call from his own cellphone. When he looked down, he saw a picture of his two daughters and his three grandchildren.

“Immediately, I just broke down and started crying,” he said. “So I pulled over off the side of the road, I’m crying and I’m like, ‘I cannot believe that I’m thinking this way,'” he said.

“Just because of what’s going on in my home life, I’m thinking about going and taking my own life.”

That’s when Alan knew it was time for a change.

Alan’s wife’s last hope

“For years and for months, I really thought I could fix my wife,” Alan said. “But you know, I was enabling her and I didn’t realize it.”

Alan says he learned that he could not truly comprehend his wife’s alcohol addiction and that the only person who could help his wife was her. Alan’s wife began another stint at rehabilitation to help combat her alcohol addiction. But during this time Alan would move out of their shared apartment. He began to ignore all of her phone calls and even started the process of filing for a divorce.

What was supposed to be a six- to eight-week process, became a long ordeal. Months would go by where Alan wouldn’t hear anything. Sometimes he would get a call from the state inquiring if he would still like to go on with the divorce, which he would affirm.

Months later he received a call from the state. They were ready to begin working on his case.

“When I hung up, I got this knot in my stomach and I just got this weird, weird feeling like, ‘What the heck are you doing,'” Alan said.

Alan immediately questioned his own decision to begin the process of divorce. He wondered if he was really going to leave his wife to struggle on her own; if he was going to give up on their marriage.

“A couple of days after that … I went to visit her, saying, ‘look, I can’t ask you to promise me anything because of where you’re at but if you’re willing to give this 100%, more than you’ve ever given it in all of the other times, I promise you I will be right by your side,'” Alan said.

Putting alcohol addiction in the past

Alan’s wife was ordered by the state to stay at rehab for six months following her last stint in jail. If she was kicked out or anything happened at her stay in rehabilitation, she would be immediately sent to jail for three years.

So with her husband’s support and the incentive to stay out of jail, Alan’s wife was able to successfully complete rehab a little over a month ago.

“She’s been doing extremely well. She’s a little over seven months sober. I went with her to get her six-month [Alcoholics Anonymous] chip,” Alan explained. “Her whole demeanor is completely different. I can see that her character is so much stronger and she’s just got this confidence in herself.”

Even after all of the abuse and struggling to overcome his wife’s alcohol addiction, Alan believes they are stronger because of it.

“This has made us both so much stronger, and it has really helped me develop even more as a person, which I’ve wanted to do ever since I lost my job eleven years ago,” he said. “I didn’t want to be the person who I was. I wanted to be somebody different, who I thought I could be.”

Listen to the podcast

For more information on addiction or if you or someone you know is struggling, you can find more information on Facebook, KSL TV, or from Use Only as Directed. To hear more from Casey Scott and Dr. Matt Woolley, you can listen below or subscribe to the ‘Project Recovery’ podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get major podcasts.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Project Recovery with Casey Scott & Dr. Matt Woolley

recovery...
Josh Tilton

How a Utah recovery center is innovating treatment for substance abuse

A Utah recovery center owner is redefining how others find recovery after he struggled to live a substance-free lifestyle for years. Jordan Burningham, who was once addicted to heroin and struggling to stay sober, is in charge of one of the leading innovative recovery centers in Utah. He’s currently 6 years sober himself and through […]
10 months ago
Instagram...
Josh Tilton

How Instagram became an outlet for a mother struggling with addiction

After struggling for years with being able to stay sober, Gentry Jones turned to Instagram to try and help curb her addiction to alcohol and get her on the road to recovery. Gentry, now a mother of four kids, began to experiment with alcohol throughout her teenage years. Her substance abuse began to escalate as […]
11 months ago
Tainted...
Josh Tilton

Utah artist on how his addiction help fueled the creation of his new single “Tainted”

Growing up in a traditional Utah household, Tyler Gould was living the all-American dream. He was active in multiple sports and even a member of the Church of Latter-Day Saints. But after getting an itch to sell extra ADD medicine that he had laying around when he was fourteen years old, his life would never […]
11 months ago
Project Recovery host Casey Scott talks to Sarah Frei about their experiences with drunk driving cr...
Ashley Moser & Jared Turner, KSL TV

Sarah Frei Gives Emotional Interview About Losing Legs In Crash

Project Recovery podcast host Casey Scott sat down with Sarah Frei, the young woman who lost both of her legs in a crash caused by a drunk driver.
1 year ago
Coming to understand what Casey Scott’s addiction was truly like for his children only came recen...
Aley Davis & Debbie Worthen, KSL TV

Addiction Through A Daughter’s Eyes: How Teen’s Letter Impacted Casey Scott

Addiction is a family disease. It doesn't just affect the individual struggling, but everyone who loves them. Former KSL-TV feature reporter Casey Scott took that message to heart after reading a paper written by his 16-year-old daughter, Preslee.
2 years ago
promote safe prescription drug use...
Josh Tilton

Helpful ways to promote safe prescription drug use with Know Your Script

SALT LAKE CITY — Between 2017-2020, Intermountain Healthcare has been successful in reducing opioids by 9.5 million fewer pills and reducing benzodiazepine and opioid co-prescribing by 49%. All the while, finding ways to promote safe prescription drug use for Utahns within our state. According to Kim Compagni, AVP Pain Management Services at Intermountain Healthcare, we […]
2 years ago

Sponsored Articles

young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Types of Computer Malware and Examples...
PC Laptops

5 Nasty Types of Computer Malware and Examples | Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Computer and Family Safe

Here are the different types of computer malware and examples that could potentially infect your computer.
tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
cyber security through multi factor authentication setup...
Les Olson IT

How multi factor authentication setup helps companies stay safe

Multi factor authentication (MFA) setup is an important security measure that every company should implement for their workers. It’s also wise to install it for your personal and home accounts.
Utah man recounts how his wife’s alcohol addiction almost cost them everything