Living out in Doha was never easy, given that I had a daughter and son living back in the UK. Unfortunately, my daughter Jemma who is 33, was struggling with alcohol dependency. The only way I could be with Richard (my husband) and support him in his new job, was to have a carer to look after our daughter whilst I was away.
Every few weeks I returned to the UK to be with her and also to see our son. Whether the time apart from Richard gave him an opportunity to have an affair or whether it would have happened anyway, who knows? The fact is he did. What makes it worse is, that it was at a time when I was doing my best to try and get the help Jemma needed in order to stay well and safe. There was never a day when I was in Doha when I wasn’t in touch with what was going on back home.
I would be lying if I didn’t say my life felt torn, trying to be a good wife on one hand and a good mother on the other. It was during this time that Jacqui and I had a conversation about needing the support of others who understand your situation and one of those situations was my feelings towards being cheated on.
I can honestly say that the writing of the MANScript kept me sane, because it gave me an outlet to maintain my own identity when the situation I was facing was my greatest challenge to maintaining who I am. Every day was a struggle to survive and carry on, that’s what it is like living with the chaos and crisis which emanates from someone who is ill with alcoholism. Although I asked for Richard’s support, it was the support from my friends that really held me together.
The distraction of writing the book pushed me forward as well, regardless of the emotional turmoil I was feeling, I would talk to Jacqui at length and just having her to listen and chat with, as well as other friends, became my new-found support system. This gave me the capacity to write the book with Jacqui and to focus on something else other than my other family and health troubles.
The more we worked together, the more we realised just how much we understood each other. We had good days and bad days, when we both had family demands that came out of the blue and on those days, we would always step up and help each other in whatever way was needed. It’s amazing how doing a project together has enriched both our lives and made our friendship even stronger. Of course, there are times when we don’t always agree on something, but we discuss these and reach a mutual conclusion in the end.
If only couples were prepared to talk more, compromise more as friends do, maybe there would be less affairs and less broken relationships. In the ‘My Freedom Diary’, we help you to find the energy to face the day, because we know it’s the last thing you feel like doing.
Distraction and being occupied are two key things which will help you get through some of the worst times in your life however at the same time bringing your self-awareness into the picture will truly support you on another level. Do not be afraid, there is no shame in asking for help, on the contrary, it gives others an opportunity to show how much they care and love you.
With hugs Julia and Jacqui x