Today is October 6, 2016 and the 4th year my husband has been sober! That alone is a miracle In itself. My husband has been drinking and using since he was a very young teenager. I am so proud of him for maintaining his sobriety. Every year I find a special coin to represent that year because it truly is an amazing accomplishment! The coin to the left is this years gift. Sixteen & a half years ago I never expected my husbands drinking would affect our lives in the ways that it did. Four years ago when my husband called me from jail at 2:00 A.M. to tell me he got arrested for a DUI I was thanking God for answering my prayers but completely scared at the same time feeling like our lives were headed for a huge change. Not knowing if our marriage would make it, if he would have to spend time in jail, if he lost his job we would lose our home and everything else. It was a very unstable time.
I think the worst part of my husbands alcoholism is how it affected our kids, our marriage, & me. What I mean by that is he always hid behind his disease and used it as an excuse. He played a “victim” role very well. Recovery takes the desire to want to stop drinking and to change your life. It means you are sick and tired of being sick and tired and you finally take that step to do something about it! I cried, yelled, begged, my husband for years to get help for his drinking but he never saw it as a problem. To him someone else was always the problem. That is a classic alcoholic behavior…….it is always someone else’s fault. Believe me over the years he has blamed every family member or stranger for the problems he has caused.
While I am not a professional in the field of alcoholism I feel like my daily experience living with an alcoholic allows me the ability to give you a pretty good account on what it is truly like from a personal perspective not a professional one. To me sometimes that speaks more to the heart than anything else because you talk about things that really happened. What I can say is it is NOT an easy journey to be the spouse of an alcoholic. I have learned that no matter how much sobriety someone has there is always the possibility of relapse. I have learned that no matter how much sobriety one has sometimes they can behave in old comfortable “alcoholic ways” rather than the new “recovery ways”.
If any of you saw the Elizabeth Vargas interview about her struggle with alcoholism they asked for other people who struggle with alcoholism to send in their photos for a collage to be shown during her interview. My husband is the man in blue to the left holding up his 2 year coin. The most amazing thing I see in this photo is all these people from all walks of life struggle with alcoholism and are putting their faces to the disease. My husband is one of those people that is not ashamed to tell someone he is an alcoholic. My husband feels if he can help someone by sharing his story then he also helps his own recovery. Helping others is a big part of recovery. Not everyone understands what alcoholism means. Some think that you simply put down the bottle. Some people still go against my husband and even though he says “I am an alcoholic” they insist he is not an alcoholic. I am not sure how someone else can tell you that you don’t have a problem but believe me it happens. I know alcoholism is still not talked about enough openly. People and families still hide it in fear of what others will think.
I have to tell you the biggest difference in our lives now is that my husband is able to be present in our lives. Not just physically be somewhere but he is mentally and emotionally available. My husband and I have an amazing life together! We love our life and we choose to spend our time together doing what makes us happy. My husband and I have learned that not everyone is supportive of us and not everyone understands our journey nor do they want too. My husband is a recovering alcoholic and I am the spouse of a recovering alcoholic. The biggest misconception is that alcoholism only affects the person drinking but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Alcoholism is devastating and so painful for the families of alcoholics. People have a hard time understanding that.
My husband has a great job now that he enjoys and he is finally appreciated for the work he does. We have a great amount of gratitude for those that have loved us and supported us, encouraged us, and have given us both their friendship. The biggest change in my husband is that he is humble. I look at my husband now and I admire him for his accomplishment to remain sober. We have gone thru some very tough times in his sobriety and before he would have drank over it. Now he has no desire and he chooses not to live his life that way anymore. He doesn’t want to live in a bar being oblivious to life around him. He missed so much of our family life that now we get to spend a lot of time with family and friends having fun laughing and building back those relationships. This life wouldn’t have been possible if he was still drinking.
What I have learned the most is that the terrible person my husband was isn’t who he is it is what the addiction does to someone. It is this dark energy that lives inside the person and literally sucks the life out of them. Like a poltergeist (I know a bit extreme) but really addiction has no angelic qualities what so ever it’s all evil. It trickles down to the whole family and everyone is infected. You spiral out of control and it feels impossible that your life will be anything more than it is when you are drinking but my husband and so many like him are living proof that miracles happen every day.
There is so much life to live. I can promise you that if you get help you will be blessed with a whole new life you never imagined possible. When you live a wholesome, honest life with values, morals, integrity, character, compassion, love, kindness, you will see things you have never seen before. You will feel things you have never felt before. You will finally feel all the bad too but the beauty of that is you get to heal, you get to forgive, you get to make amends, you get to be the best version of yourself when you choose to lose the addiction that keeps you wrapped up in chains and imprisoned in your mind and body! Truth be told happy people with no problems don’t usually have addition issues it’s those that are running from things they don’t want to face and drowning it with the bottom of the bottle. The answer is not in the bottle and it never will be.
My friends free yourselves from the addiction that holds you back from the most amazing life that awaits you! You are never alone there are millions who understand and have been where you are just reach out your hand; there will always be someone to help guide you and the rest is up to you. My husband is in his 50’s so let me tell you that you are never too old or too young to get into recovery. As for my husband he is an amazing human being. I would take our worst day with him sober than his best day drunk!! He is a good role model for others, he has helped people and he continues to work on his own recovery and stay on the path that he believes is best for him. AA meetings are an important part of our life there is so much inspiration in those rooms, so much positivity so much support. However, you also have to bring that attitude with you no matter where you go, no matter what hard life situations come up remember all you have learned and put it to work in your everyday life!
My husband, I am so proud of your 4 years of continued Sobriety, CONGRATULATIONS!!! And Congratulations to us too! Many people had said to me the first few years of his sobriety that it is as much my celebration as it is his. Ever since I thought that is true because I am a big part of his sobriety. So I view it as a beautiful day for US! It is a BIG milestone and one that amazes me each an everyday. Your mind is clear, your soul is no longer dark, you have a positive energy, you have love in your heart, you have a smile on your face and everyday when you walk thru that door I see how happy you are to be home and how grateful you are that you no longer have to run! You have learned the importance of making amends, being a man of integrity, living an honest life, being grateful & appreciative for all the little things! With all that I am and all that I have I Love you deeply and unconditionally, Always!!
Wishing you all Peace, Recovery, & Serenity………….Harmony