“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” – Leo Tolstoy
The opening sentence to Leo Tolstoy’s novel Anna Karenina rings true as much as it did in the 1800’s as it does today. Every family has their own set of challenges and struggles. No family is perfect. This idea is sometimes easy to forget when we watch famous or wealthy families in the limelight. It’s easy to forget the humanity of celebrities and assume that they are removed from the lives that we live. For professional golfer Billy Horschel, balancing his golf career and home life became a trying task when confronted with his wife’s alcoholism. As he stated in a Golf Digest article, “people always think when you’re in the public eye, it’s really a glamourous life…we’re trying to make a marriage work, trying to raise our kids. And by sharing our story, we’re hoping people can see that as well.” Billy and his wife Brittney’s story is both thought provoking and moving. The Horschel’s show us that everyone goes through ordeals, and that alcoholism effects not only the person suffering, but the whole family.
For Brittney, she was concerned about keeping the “perfect” wife image for her Husband. For Billy, he was concerned with keeping his personal problems off the golf course. Both had to manage themselves to keep a perfect, happy image for the public eye. Unfortunately, the truth was that Brittney was struggling with a real problem and needed help. You don’t have to be a celebrity to have this struggle though, for everyone there seems to be an image of “happiness” or “goodness” that must be maintained. There is still a negative connotation and stigma attached to alcoholism: that it is either not a problem, or it is solely the user’s choice. Addiction is a disease and never a choice. However, having to be faced with the public stigma, it can be difficult for some people to reach out for help, for fear of ruining their image. Instead of trying to keep a “perfect” image of ourselves, we should change the attitude of the culture. Instead of passing judgement on those suffering from alcoholism, we should offer our hand for support. We must realize and be sensitive to the lives of other people, for all families, all people, go through thir own unique sets of challenges.
For the full story of Billy and Brittney Horschel’s journey in sobriety and growing together, read the article at Golf Digest.
There is also a podcast you can listen to at the bottom of the article.