My husband had his first drink at Thirteen years old and his last drink when he was Forty Nine years old when he was arrested for a DUI. That was in October of “2012”. He drank for Twelve and a half years of our relationship. I always prayed for the day that he would stop, so I was grateful when he called me from jail letting me know he was arrested for a DUI.
Don’t get me wrong I was completely stressed and scared, terrified actually but he wasn’t going to live much longer on the path he was on I believe he would have died. His drinking the last few years spiraled out of control. His lies became daily, the drinking daily, the loss of money daily and the destruction just compiled into one giant mess. This man emptied our retirement fund without my knowledge and blew over ten thousand dollars on booze in less than a years time.
So how did we go from my husband’s alcoholism causing all this destruction for many, many years and being unfaithful in his sobriety to being the happiest we have ever been in our lives and being able to save our marriage? Forgiveness……..it is all about surrendering and having the faith and hope that people can change. My husband was “dry” his first ten months of sobriety and what that means is he removed the alcohol but he wasn’t working the program the way it was suggested to him and he hadn’t completely surrendered yet. If you just attend meetings but your not willing to clean your “emotional house inside” and do some hard work then the only thing that changes is you remove the substance but not the behaviors that come with an addiction of any kind.
So while my husband was working through his mess I had to work through my emotions of it all and learning that my husband had been unfaithful I had not a clue how I could ever possibly trust him again or how our marriage could even be saved at that point. Then in the midst of contemplating for a moment taking my own life to rid myself of the pain, my eyes burning from crying so much I threw up my hands and said “I surrender, please help me I can’t do this alone, please help me” and this is where I had a spiritual experience of my own. I felt a warm sensation from head to toe going through my body slowly like I was being hugged from the inside out and in that moment I felt a great peace. With the wisdom of my therapist and my new found experience I learned how to give complete forgiveness to my husband and it allowed me to be free from my own emotional prison. My resentments were gone, my bitter anger gone, I really felt the stresses of it all as it released from my body & my mind. What a feeling!
From that day forward I was able to love my husband more deeply than I ever have before. I was able to do for him what he was not able to do for himself at that point which was forgive himself for all he had done and to love himself enough to heal and grow from his mistakes. As fate would have it a few weeks later my husbands sponsor asked him to read a few pages in the Big Book of AA because it reminded him of our situation. Even though my husband had read it before this time it carried a whole new meaning to him and it was just what he needed to begin to accept things and have some relief of the guilt he had buried himself under.
I never lost hope or gave up on my husband and as the days went by he started to believe and feel that I really had forgiven him. He started to have hope again because he could see that I did. I would leave him love notes and just be kind in my communication because we both had a lot to heal from, their had been a lot of destruction caused in our marriage and the only way to rebuild was one layer at a time, one day at a time. Don’t get me wrong life isn’t perfect for us, we still have struggles (some worse than others) and sometimes the old alcoholic behaviors are just under the surface waiting to come out and they do at times with a vengeance. It is during those times that he has to keep his program close and remember that it is easy to act out of habit but putting forth the tools he has learned in recovery to act out of new habits is where the change begins.
Today my husband has a little over 2 years of sobriety. I am so proud of the man he has become and for all the hard work he has put into achieving that. Today we don’t yell at one another. Today he doesn’t leave the house for countless hours or days to go drink. Today we have to remember to work on our marriage every single day, to have kind communication without blame. The most important is to be completely open and honest it is the only way to feel safe and secure for me. No more hiding things from me or lying. When the past rears it’s ugly head and starts to cause some havoc we have to address the situation immediately or it can get out of control. At times it is an uncomfortable topic but the more you ignore it the stronger it becomes it is better to handle things as they arise. We have found that when you have openness and really listen to one another it helps create a stronger bond between you. I am also part of his recovery, every weekend we go to AA meetings together and that has helped us to share in recovery instead of being separate.
Do I ever worry that my husband could relapse? I suppose yes sometimes but Honestly it is no longer the first thing on my mind because I am choosing not to dwell on that, instead I am concentrating on all the positive changes that he has made. My husband will always be an alcoholic no matter how much sobriety he has but he is choosing to live a sober life and that is the difference, as long as he works his steps every day then alcohol no longer has control over his life he does! The fact that my husband is my best friend, that I can trust him to be honest and not hurt me, to communicate that if there is an issue we can discuss it and it doesn’t have to be an explosive argument. The fact that every night I go to bed I know that my husband will be right next to me holding me and loving me and that is something we missed for many years.
If I had a message to give to others I would say there is always hope no one is ever hopeless. Some unfortunately never seek the help they need but it doesn’t mean that you have to give up. Keep hope and faith alive in yourself. Listen to your inner voice follow your instincts on what you feel is right for you, no matter what the opinions of others may be you have to follow your own path and even if you make mistakes those are just stepping stones to help you grow and learn where your place is in life.
Wishing you Peace & Serenity……….Harmony