10 years ago this month our life was forever changed. My dear Hubby’s drinking problem finally came to a head and he hit his “rock bottom”. This post isn’t about that moment. However, just to give you a SUPER brief overview: there was an event fueled by an alcoholic binge, the event led to prison…for 7 years. I moved in with my parents for 5 years to have help with the kids (1,2,5& 7). Later I bought a house (awesome God story in that one!!). Hubby came home roughly 18 months ago. I have stories galore of God and His plan and the countless mercies and graces He rained upon us through our family and our friends but those are for another time (or when I feel led to copy them over from my prior blog); this is about my Hubby. About staying sober. About losing everything and gaining even more.
Immediately following the event, Hubby went to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). In the midst of losing his job, draining our retirement account and preparing to sell our house to prepare for what lie ahead, he continued to attend meetings; everyday, sometimes twice a day, faithfully trying to figure out how to repair his life, our marriage and live without alcohol. He also went to an inpatient rehab center for 28 days. Though it was difficult (to say the least) with him gone, we both knew there was no other option if he was going to make sobriety a priority first for himself, secondly for our marriage and family. He was in it for the long haul.
The time apart was good since it gave me time to process everything that had happened, was happening and would likely happen. It gave me time to choose if I would throw in the towel or stay and fight for our marriage. Neither would be easy, but the fight would be A. FIGHT. In the end, God gave me the amazing gift in the ability to forgive my husband. The peace that followed lit a firestorm in my faith, gave me amazing strength and removed the weight of grief weighing my heart down. It was at that time I received a clear and concise promise through my quiet time:
“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for good and not for evil, for a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
It’s become our family’s Scripture. Our mantra. Our lifeline. His plan is not always ours, but He can most certainly use ANYthing for good. And He most certainly did.
From rehab Hubby and I both learned that Alcoholism is a hereditary disease. In talking with the kids, we explained it as an allergy; ‘some people can drink alcohol with no problems, other people can’t’. It may not BE an allergy, but it’s a realistic analogy. We also learned it takes hard work, not to mention that family and friend support is crucial. This was a HUGE help for me in not being resentful at the time he spent at AA meetings and with his sponsor. These times away were for the long run and this was a marathon for our entire family.
For my Hubby (and I know this doesn’t hold true for everyone), drinking alcohol is a non-issue. He has no desire or urge whatsoever. He lost his job, career, financial status, friends, and years in prison to alcohol…no amount of Miller Lite is going to wash that taste out of his mouth. Ever. As for me, I can take it or leave it. On that note, we keep our house “dry”, it is a small sacrifice for me in supporting him. On occasion, I do meet up with my girlfriends or my mom or my sister and have a glass of wine. Just not with my husband. And it is rare. Maybe once or twice a year. Seriously. Guess what? It’s no big deal. However, everyone is different and I know that for us, we chose to seek God in showing us the way to work it together. It works for us.
The thing is when you are an alcoholic and choose sobriety, your life changes. Even if you don’t go to prison, but have come to your “rock bottom” or close, it is a lifestyle change; sadly not everyone will be on board. Our family recognizes this and respects our dry house and go on about their business in their own homes. Some family members just don’t get it. at all. period. They can’t understand why it’s even an issue. Often they are the ones steady hitting the bars and/or regularly “tying on one”. You just have to be ready to change and willing to put in the sweat equity.
For us, ten years later, our marriage is stronger because we can communicate–even if we disagree on something–and respect each other’s opinions and work toward a compromise. We are setting an example for our children in pushing through difficult times and staying true to your self, even if that choice is contradictory to everything the world tells you. Our health is good (knock wood, we are getting older you know!) and Hubby even ventured back into triathlons at the end of the season last summer. We have jobs (although in this economy and uncertain job market that can change at any time for any one) and are thankful for them. Our finances are improving and recovering from our total drain. Our faith grows. Everyday. So many ways. We take each day, one day at a time. Today is all we have.
Honey, I’m proud of you. Of all your hard work. For every effort you make at improving yourself for us and for yourself. You are an awesome Husband, Father, and Friend and I look forward to every day and am excited to see what God has in store for us for the next decade…and so on and so on!
So far, so good, so much better than it was. 10 years later.