By Christopher Roberson
Jennifer Ravikumar recently shared the all-out struggle that she endured as her husband’s drinking problem spiraled out of control. At the Peabody Institute Library, during her Feb. 20 presentation of The Addiction of Loving an Addict, Ravikumar said she wrote letters to her husband every night politely asking him to stop drinking. However, she said he would always tear them up and throw them away without a second thought.
“He was emotionally abusing me every single night,” she said. Yet he would still take her out for dinner and buy her Michael Kors purses on the regular. All the while, her husband would continue to say that consuming alcohol was normal.
Although the writing was on the wall, she could not bring herself to call her husband an alcoholic. “I was in denial for many, many years,” said Ravikumar, adding that he spent half of their wedding night off drinking with his friends.
One day, she said, in a drunken rage her husband physically hurt someone they loved. The altercation also took place in front of their son, Zyan, who was nine months old at the time. That was when Ravikumar made the decision to get out. “The reason I decided to leave was because I was no longer safe,” she said.
She said that during the next two months, her husband appeared to be getting better at controlling his addiction. “Everything was going really, really well – until it wasn’t,” she said. Yet she decided to give him another chance and moved back in.
On July 14, 2016, Ravikumar attended her first meeting of the Al-Anon Family Group, “an independent fellowship with the stated purpose of helping relatives and friends of alcoholics.” “I was blown away, I realized for the first time that I was not alone,” she said.
Ravikumar wanted very much to tell her husband about the meeting when she returned home. “His eyes just glossed over, he didn’t care,” she said.
However, she still believed that alcoholism was something that she could fix on her own. “I needed a lot more help than I realized,” said Ravikumar.
The next day, she and her husband drove up to their summer home, both of them in what appeared to be a good mood. Ravikumar even had “From The Ground Up” by country music duo Dan + Shay playing on the stereo. That night things changed when her husband downed an entire bottle of Jack Daniel’s whiskey in one hour. “Twenty minutes later, he was trashed,” she said. “I don’t even know where he got alcohol from.”
Later that summer, Ravikumar filed for divorce. Yet, there continues to be an element of guilt for doing so. “One of my biggest challenges is forgiving myself,” she said. “I am trying my absolute damnedest to move forward.”
Ravikumar is now the owner of Barefoot Yoga Shala in Middleton and the founder of Yoga for Families of Addiction. She is also a certified crystal healer and Reiki master.