Starting a blog is like telling someone that I am going to get a drink of water. It’s not that exciting anymore. SO many people do it, but I didn’t decide until recently that I might have something to say and put out there. This bold move (for me) is because I have deep compassion for those that are suffering through addiction. It might be a family member, a good friend, or yourself. The problem is, we ALL know someone. It has become more prevalent than cancer and like cancer, it’s not really real until it happens to you.
I am proud to say that my husband will have 1,095 days of sobriety in about a month. 3 years! To say that I am proud of him is actually an understatement because I had written the idea of this accomplishment off. I didn’t believe it would happen. I didn’t believe that there would ever be a day when I didn’t have to worry anymore about what he was doing…that co-dependent stuff that really interferes with the recovery process. But I didn’t know that is what it is called: co-dependent. It was such a relief to find out that all of this worry, fear, and feeling out of control had a name. I would compare it to the relief you feel when you go to the doctor with some kind of unidentifiable pain only to hear that it had a name AND BONUS, a cure.
On February 14, 2009 the cure came. I let go. It was the best gift of love on Valentines Day that I could possibly give to my husband and myself. I let go of the hopes and dreams of a life that had held me in this relationship because it wasn’t helping him recover. When I say “I let go” it has a tendency to confuse people because the concept sounds like you are giving up. You ARE giving up on a future together because when you are with someone that doesn’t feel the same, that’s shackled to alcohol or drugs, then you can’t save them so therefore, you can’t let yourself go down with a sinking ship. If you have exhausted every effort to get help, encourage, motivate, self-reflect with no results (no REAL time of sobriety which in my opinion should be a minimum of a year) then you have to move on, especially if children are involved.
The decision was the toughest I have ever had to make but I wanted him to know I was serious. And more importantly, it was time to put myself first. Co-dependents have a tendency to think they are helping and then become somewhat of a martyr (like in a marriage):”well, I married him in sickness and in health so I guess this is what I signed up for.”
Well, no you didn’t. Not a sickness where they aren’t faithful to you. Not a marriage where they put you and your family in danger. Not a life where you are crippled by fear of what bad thing will happen next and you can’t function at work or supposedly enjoying time with friends. That isn’t what you signed up for! And for families, it’s the same thing. You have to do what you can but there comes a point where you have to draw the boundary line, for your mental and physical health. Most people reach this point naturally after countless disappointments. I had been through it. Silently for a while, then gradually began to let people in my life hear the truth. And to know that I wasn’t alone. It’s amazing when you begin to open your life up and share, how people respond. If anything it made me long for authentic relationships. The ones where you share the stuff that is happening to you. The real stuff. And it lands in a safe place. I didn’t have energy for surface folks. To this day, I love to talk to people who are falling apart. Not because it made me feel better but because it gives me purpose to let them know that “hey, I have been through some pretty rough stuff and I made it through and so will you!” The outcome may not be the same, but you will emerge stronger, more self confident, and less interested in the stuff that doesn’t matter.
I am so grateful that my husband took me seriously. He fought for me, for his daughter, for our future, and here we are at day 1,055. Closing in on another milestone. We live our “life on the wagon” now and I love it. We were definitely party people about 4 years ago, but I wouldn’t change our simple, quiet life for any amount of temporary fun…because if we are honest, isn’t that what drinking is? Temporary distractions that cover a deep seeded truth we aren’t willing to reveal in ourselves. It gives us momentary relief from the weight of baggage we carry but don’t want to go through or handle because of what it might mean to shed light on it.
Through my husbands sobriety I had to do a lot of self reflection and found that I too had plenty I was covering up and escaping. I was on my own road to an addiction based on genetics and behaviors I noticed in myself. One glass of wine never happened. More like 3 or 4 depending on how tired I was. It was a scary moment for me. But I have sense realized that alcohol is not in our future. It will not be a part of our lives and our daughter will never know us like that. So, we are a sober family. That’s the thing about addiction. It is a family issue. It doesn’t just belong to an individual. Everyone has to respond and change or the recovery won’t happen.
The good news is that recovery can happen and we can experience redemption. The Lord can use our mess and make it a blessing to someone else. I hope this blog will be a blessing to someone else. I plan to use stories and observations of our life to help and give hope. That is my purpose. I am sure there will be plenty who won’t agree with everything I say about addiction but I have to remind myself that every story is different. We all find our way out differently but as long as we are honest about it we can face whatever comes.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
II Corinthians 5:17