A/N: OK, so this was extremely hard for me to write, probably because this is what I wish happened with my family but it ended very differently for me. The song is "Wasted" by Carrie Underwood.

Sarah x

Standing at the back door
She tried to make it fast
One tear hit the hard wood
It fell like broken glass
She said, "Sometimes love slips away
And you just can't get it back
Let's face it."

She didn't linger at the door as she dealt the final blow to him: she couldn't live like this anymore. She felt the tears stream down her face, but she'd put up with years of this drunken insanity and she just couldn't do it anymore. "I'm sorry, Brian," she said very quietly, but she knew he heard her. The house was silent. And Brian was drunk. But she just knew he was understanding what was happening.

"Esther, don't do this," he begged her, confirming her suspicions with a intoxicated drawl. "Please."

"I can't live like this," she told him, her back still facing him. "You want me, I know that. You just want the drink more. I can't make you love me like you used to."

"Please..." he said again, and she could hear the tears in his voice. She didn't need to look at him to know he was so close to crying. "I do love you. Just don't do this. Please," he said for a third time. She wiped her own tears away and picked up her suitcase.

"Sort yourself out, Brian," she warned him. "Keep going like this and you'll end up knocking at heaven's door soon enough."

For one split second
She almost turned around
But that would be like pouring rain drops
Back into a cloud
So she took another step and said,
"I see the way out, and I'm gonna take it."

It took everything she had not to turn around and look at him – she almost did – but she knew if she saw his tears, his desperation, she wouldn't be able to walk out that door and teach him the lesson he so badly needed to learn. She loved him with all her heart. Even after the years of insanity, of alcohol abuse. Even after going days not knowing where he was. Even when he was absent in his son's life, and hers, she still loved him.

But going back wasn't what she needed to do. She wasn't doing this out of spite. She wasn't doing it because she hated him. She wasn't even doing it because she couldn't live him. She was doing it to save him. Going back would just let him think he was safe, which he most definitely wasn't. He'd pressed self-destruct years ago, and had been torturing both her and himself ever since then.

"I can see freedom, and I have to take it before it's gone," she said, and she just walked. She could do nothing else. The situation was desperate. There was nothing else to be done but to leave. Maybe it would give him a shock to the system, and he would sort himself out. Or maybe it would make things worse. It was a gamble she had to take if there was any chance whatsoever of helping him.

She closed the door behind her and let herself sob as she got into the car. She turned the key and looked straight ahead. At least she knew she would never have to live like this again, whichever path he took.

I don't wanna spend my life jaded
Waiting to wake up one day and find
That I let all these years go by

She didn't want to spend the rest of her life cooking dinners that never got eaten, and throwing out empty bottles of whisky and vodka from places they never belonged. She didn't want to keep having to ask his friends and colleagues where he was when he went days without coming home. She didn't want to continue living a life of worry and fear that he never would come home.

She wanted to live a life worth living. She wanted to live for herself and not for a man who was past noticing she loved him dearly. For years she'd lived like this, and she hated it. She didn't hate him; she hated what he was doing to her. She hated what he was doing to himself. And she could not sit and watch him kill himself. This was the last resort. This was her last option. She'd tried everything else she could think of. Counselling. Rehab. Detox after detox after detox. And still he crawled back into a bottle after a couple of weeks.

She was wasting her time trying to force help on him.

Another glass of whiskey but it still don't kill the pain
So he stumbles to the sink and pours it down the drain
He said, "It's time to be a man and stop living for yesterday
Gotta face it."

He poured another glass of whisky, and looked at it accusingly. This destroyed his marriage. It was destroying his mind. It was destroying his body. It was destroying his wife. It wasn't easing any pain. It was causing it. The way he abused it was causing his family pain. "To hell with this," he muttered and he unsteadily got out of his chair and went into the kitchen.

He leaned against the counter and threw the tumbler into the sink, hearing the glass shatter and not caring. He went and retrieved the bottle and did the same with that.

"This isn't right," he asserted to himself aloud. Perhaps taking to himself was a sign of madness, but he was already there, so it didn't make much difference, really. So he continued berating himself. "You better pull your act together or she's never going to come back. Forget about everything else and focus, Brian!"

He gripped the counter top so hard his knuckles turned white. "Focus on Esther. What does she want? She wants you to stop this. If you think you're miserable, how the bloody hell do you think she feels?!"

That was it. He'd finally done it. Only he was too late. She was gone, and he couldn't even tell her that he knew now what she'd been talking about all these years. He couldn't tell her he loved her more than anything and that he really did want her more than he wanted the drink. The drink wasn't going to save him. She was.

'Cause I don't wanna spend my life jaded
Waiting to wake up one day and find
That I let all these years go by

He went and found the phone book and found the number for a rehab centre in London. He was finished with this. All those horror stories he knew so well as a police officer, about drugs and alcohol taking over, killing people, and it was happening to him. How could he have let this happen to him?

"I need help," he slurred out as soon as the phone was answered. "I need help to stop drinking. It's killing me. It's killing my wife," he sobbed. And before he knew it, he was booking a four week rehab stint. And he was determined to do it. He wanted to start living again. Years he'd spent with his head stuck in a bottle, missing out on his family. Missing out on life.

He went up the stairs and started packing bags of his own. He knew that he would drink between now and when he left. He wouldn't be able to stop himself. Without some kind of help, he would keep throwing himself down this road, and it would kill him. He had heard of people dying a slow and painful death because of alcohol abuse. He knew of people driven to suicide by it.

But he was determined not to be one of those people. He was determined he would come out of this a survivor.

Oh, I don't wanna keep on wishing, missing
The still of the morning, the colour of the night
I ain't spending no more time

His life had become monotonous. Drink, work, drink, home, drink, work, drink, work, home...it was endlessly depressing. Every day blurred into the next in a dismal drunken haze. He hated it. He hated the life he led. It was empty. And it was making the lives of those he loved the most empty.

He couldn't really blame her for walking. It had taken her long enough. He hadn't expected it; she was unendingly patient and kind, and she had tried her best, but there came a time when even the most patient and most kind and most supportive person had to give up. It was losing battle she'd fought for far, far too long, and she finally realised that and packed a bag.

There was something about what had just happened that shocked him. He didn't know exactly what it was – in a way it was obviously going to happen eventually – but it shook him. It gave him a good shake and showed him he could do it. He could bear to to lose the alcohol; he couldn't bear to lose his wife.

There was so much he missed out on. His vision was too clouded to see anything in detail these day. He hated it. He had to change his ways before they killed him

She kept drivin' along
Till the moon and the sun were floating side-by-side

She was almost at her sister's home by the time the light began to fade. She was still silently crying, but she knew she'd done the right thing. If she knew him at all, he would take this and use it to help himself. He was a very intelligent man. She just hoped he knew where she drew the line and stepped back onto the safe side of it.

He looked in the mirror and his eyes were clear
For the first time in a while, hey, yeah

He went into the bathroom and threw cold water over his face, trying to sober himself up for the first time in weeks. Next on the list was coffee and toast. As he dried his face, he caught a glimpse of himself in the brass mirror, and realised he really was doing the right thing. He knew he could approach he as soon as he was back on track, but until then it was up to him. It occurred to him very suddenly that that was the whole point of what she did today.

Oh, I don't wanna spend my life jaded
Waiting to wake up one day and find
That I let all these years go by

After more than two months, he called her sister's house. He'd not touched a drop in over five weeks, for which he was immensely proud of himself. When she was on the other end of the line, he explained what he'd done. "I haven't touched it, Esther. I went and got help, like you've been telling me all those years I never paid a blind bit of attention."

"Are you being serious or are you winding me up?" she asked, the suspicion clear from her sceptical tone.

"Do I not sound sober to you?" he demanded. "Come and see for yourself," he challenged her. She fell silent, and he knew she was considering it. They both knew this was never really over, but he hoped she would understand that, for the first time in many years, he really was making an effort. He'd done this for himself and by himself. He didn't want to put her through all that again.

"Yes, Brian, you do sound sober," she allowed. "But it doesn't tell me you haven't been drinking for over a month," she reminded him.

Oh, I don't wanna keep on wishing, missing
The still of the morning, the colour of the night
I ain't spending no more time

"Honestly," he vowed. "I've done it. I've stopped," he swore to her. "I swear on our son's life I haven't had booze in thirty-nine days. Come back, Esther," he pleaded. "I can't do this without you. There's no point if I don't have you."

She paused for a moment, but finally sighed, "Alright. I'll come back. But if I even smell alcohol on you, I will not be pleased. Do you understand?" she warned him.

Elation hit him. He was getting her back home. She was actually coming back to keep him on the straight and narrow. With one difference this time: they would be living lives worth the effort put into them. He had found himself smiling at the sound of her voice; it was the little things like that that had been so dull before that he'd taken no notice of them.

But everything was sharper and clearer now, and he could honestly say he was living. What he had before wasn't a life. It was nothing more than an existence, and a miserable one at that.

Oh, I don't wanna spend my life jaded
Waiting to wake up one day and find
That I let all these years go by
Wasted, yeah, yeah

When she walked through that front door, carrying her suitcase, she could barely believe what she saw. He stood there, sober as a judge, with a smile for her. The house was completely spotless. He looked reasonably well-fed, though he probably had been living off of tinned soup, toast, cereal and yoghurt. Cooking never had been a particular talent of his, and she could honestly say that had nothing to do with his alcohol issue.

She knew she would have to look out for him, and look for the signs of a relapse. This time, though, she would be free. She would have a life of her own. She could barely remember what that was like, but she could think of many things she wanted to do.

She could go out now and not have to hurry back so he didn't do anything too stupid while he was drinking. She could live and not have to worry about where he was and who he was with. All the years she spent running after him, trying to help him, and what he really had needed was a brutal blow to shock him into doing what was right.

But she wasn't going to waste any more time like that. It wasn't needed. She could tell she could give him some degree of trust now. She couldn't properly trust him, and she doubted she ever would, but she could now give him the responsibility of his own life. He'd retired from the police early and proceeded to make himself and everyone else miserable, but those days were in the past now.

Oh, I don't wanna keep on wishing, missing
The still of the morning, the colour of the night
I ain't spending no more time

As she pulled him into a hug, they both realised the same thing at the same time: life began from this moment onwards.

Hope this is alright!
Please leave a review and tell me what you thought of this!
Sarah x