Lorna is now Chuck’s wife. Let’s peek into the first month of their marriage.

Sometimes a couple can seem happy, but there's something that just doesn't bode well for them...

The wedding reception went well, I think. Cases of champagne were consumed that afternoon. The band mispronounced our name when they introduced us, as in “Ladies and Gentlemen, and now entering the room for the first time as husband and wife are Mr. and Mrs. Churble Gerbil (or some nonsense name).” I wondered if the band had a head start at the open bar.

"Mr. and Mrs. Who?" I need a drink to catch up with these guys.

After the reception, I thought we were supposed to go on our honeymoon. We agreed before the wedding that, because we were poor and moving to Washington D.C. in 3 days, our honeymoon would be a brief stay at his family’s camp in the mountains. It was rustic. This is realtor-speak for no insulation, no electricity and no plumbing. It was, basically, a hard tent.

A reasonable facsimile of our honeymoon destination, bats hidden inside due to excessive shyness.

But we didn’t go to the Hard Tent, as appealing as it sounds. His parent’s house threw an after-reception soiree that he wanted to attend. For out-of-town guests on my trivial side of the family, my sister was also having a get-together at her house. Tension mounted between us. I wanted to go to my sister’s house rather than his parent’s house or a hovel in the woods. He wanted to go to his parent’s party where the company, food and booze were better than at the reception. We compromised. He pouted while we stayed for half-an-hour at my sister’s house. I cried on the way to his parent’s house, enduring a lecture on how selfish I was to disappoint his parents and their guests. We stayed until the wee hours at his soiree and crashed at my apartment. No honeymoon romantic sex.

I cried a lot of tears. Wait! How cool would that have been if I could cry vodka into a glass? Talk about the ultimate in recycling...

We spent one hurried day and night at the Hard Tent Hovel. A bat joined us for most of the evening. We had hurry-up-before-the-bat-bites-our-naked-butts sex. It was more obligatory than celebratory. I was happy to pack up and leave only to get to my apartment to pack up a U-Haul to journey to our new home, some 10 hours away.

I couldn't leave my wicker (booze) baskets behind. But I still needed to find room for Humphrey, my Old English Sheepdog. Somehow everything fit.

Chuck found a half-basement apartment that allowed dogs in Bethesda. He had a job as a bookkeeper with a Savings and Loan and I landed a job as a Technical Writer for a Beltway Bandit (an independent research firm that produced government reports). Between the two of us we made less than $30,000.00 a year. That’s why I had to drink the cheapest vodka I could find.

Ah yes, this stuff was best when tossed back quickly and never near an open flame. Although my esophagus felt like an open flame after drinking the stuff.

Immediately I went into culture shock: away from my family; country girl confused by the big city; married and living with a man for the first time in my life; and little worker-fish in a big pond with Piranha Boss. She criticized my clothing in front of other employees, told me I couldn’t write (I had several publications at the time), and  rearranged my desk while I was working. I dreaded work. My drinking escalated just to dull my new reality.

Oh, yeah, and Piranha Boss did that to me, too.

Hiding a drinking problem was easy when people around you believe you’re perfect. But around people who were looking for your flaws to “fix,” like Chuck, keeping up the pretense of sobriety was nearly impossible. Plus we lived in such close quarters. I drank quickly and heavily when the opportunity presented itself and passed out nearly every night. Chuck knew this wasn’t normal, even though I blamed it on hormones or stress. He had two sisters. He knew about hormones and stress. He watched me more closely; I devised sneakier ways to sneak drinks.

You'd think Chuck could overlook one flaw and cut me some slack. But no, my feminine wiles didn't work with him. Apparently I was less fetching when I was passed out.

On our one-month anniversary everything fell apart. I had to admit, “Chuck, I think I may have a drinking problem.”

Lorna divulges her 10-year secret. Why did she do it? How did Chuck react?