I have journaled most of my life, which I have found to be very cathartic for my soul. It is helpful to gain insight and use as a tool to go back and read your thoughts and behaviors. We are not always capable in the moment to understand why or how things go wrong, but when you’re open and have an opportunity to step back as I have, you begin to realize it isn’t all just one person’s fault (most of the time).
I felt ashamed, lonely and lost. I bought book after book, searched online and I found helpful things to read but most of the literature I found is geared toward the alcoholic, not the spouse or the family. So I started to think how I could possibly help someone else who feels just like me. I decided that I would open up my journal and turn it into a book and tell my true story of being married to an alcoholic. Honestly, I wasn’t sure if I was crazy or if this was an amazingly wonderful idea, but I jumped in with two feet and went for it because the worst thing that could happen is it would flop. The best thing that could happen would be that I have helped others– and that became my motivation.
I had a front seat to the effects that an alcoholic can have on an entire family. Children can become rebellious, feel unloved, have a hard time trusting others, and as they grow into adults it has a big impact on their lives.
The alcohol destroyed me as much as it did my husband– and I don’t drink! We became dysfunctional and found a way to live a very sick life for many, many years. My life was a nightmare, but at the same time I didn’t want to walk away from my marriage or my husband. I had lost myself, so what was I to do?
I went into therapy and slowly but surely I started getting stronger. I was able, through therapy and journaling, to get my thoughts and feelings out of me. I learned that keeping it inside was so toxic that it was killing me, so were the resentments I carried for my husband. Understanding the meaning of true complete forgiveness is what set me on a new path as well as a beautiful spiritual awakening that changed my life and my way of thinking. This allowed me to reach out to my husband. The way I looked at it was that I wouldn’t leave my husband if he had cancer, so why would I leave him with alcoholism? It is a disease that is just as deadly—and he was a very sick man.
I realized that marriages don’t have to end just because one of you has an addiction. There are programs out there to help you create new behaviors and give you a whole new life.
Writing “Married Under The Influence” has been an incredible journey and it’s just the beginning. I hope you will join me on that path.