One year. He made it. I made it. We made it. One year sober.
It hasn’t been the year I envisioned. I thought, more than once, that he had relapsed/was on the verge of relapse/wouldn’t make it past a few months. Thought it because I didn’t have the hope. Because I had no trust in him. I had no faith in him.
I remember…a year ago…taking him to a meeting at a long term rehab center. Talking with the director, praying desperately for him to be accepted there. I remember him going to a men’s event with the guys from the center. He went Friday night, and actually got up to go Saturday too.
I remember, that Sunday night, sitting in our living room and hearing him say, “I’m not going back to rehab. I can do this, but I’m not going to rehab. I’ll leave if you want me to, but I’m not doing that again.”
I remember the feeling. I remember falling apart inside. I remember wanting to scream and throw things and get mad. I remember doing none of that. I remember crying. I remember feeling alone. Abandoned. Isolated. Desperate. Lost. Confused. Broken. Worn.
I remember waiting. Every day. Wondering how long it would be before he started drinking again. I remember the anger I felt towards him, pastors in our church, God.
I was so angry at everyone. I knew God had abandoned me. I resigned myself to a life with a husband who would always be a drunk. I deserved it. I didn’t deserve anything better. Life was going to suck, but it was what my fault and I needed to stop thinking it would get better.
Days, weeks, months went by. We went to church, marriage counseling…I was so empty. There was no love in our marriage. There was a lot of anger. On both sides. Me, because he was supposed to leave. He was supposed to go to rehab. I needed a break. From him. He stole my reprieve. His selfishness prevented me from getting the time I needed to recover. Him, because I should have immediately trusted him and known it was different this time. I had no right to still be angry. I had no reason to doubt his sobriety would stick this time.
I remember feeling angry. Guilty. Sad. Alone. Scared. Tired. Worn.
He was sober, everything should have been good. Why was the anger still there? Why didn’t our marriage suddenly get better? Why wasn’t he spending every waking moment trying to make up for all of the pain he had caused? How dare he be mad at me for not trusting him yet?
And, seriously, I was so tired of everyone telling me how proud they were of him. How awesome it was. How great he was doing. How happy I must be.
Because. Um. No. Not happy. I was miserable. Hating my life. Our life. Did everyone just all of a sudden forget all the years…all the awful things he had put me, our girls, through? It was bad enough he expected me to forget…but everyone else, too?
7 months of misery. Waiting for the relapse. Waiting for the miracle in our marriage. Waiting for something to change. Something to go back to our normal, what I was used to. Or something to change and be good.
And it did. A painful breakthrough. No storybook romantic story. But. A breakthrough. Healing started.
And. It. Was. Awesome.
It was hard. It was work.
It IS hard. It IS work.
But that’s what marriage is right? I mean, yeah, the alcoholism definitely added…more? bigger? more difficult? struggles to the marriage, but, even without all that, no marriage is easy. It’s work.
And all of the years of living with an alcoholic. All of the pain. The heartache. The misery. The anger. Would I appreciate the amazing goodness of our marriage now without that?
(Um. Yes. Pretty sure I would. Maybe not quite as much, but. Yeah.)
I don’t wake up every day now, wondering if today will be the day he relapses. I don’t think, how much longer? It’s different this time. God has definitely blessed us.
He was delivered from his addiction. What does that mean? It means he stopped drinking (and smoking!) one afternoon last year during an obvioustly amazing, God-filled men’s event. It means he has and is working his recovery. He goes to church, Celebrate Recovery, Life Recovery. He has a sponsor and accountability partners. He has people he reaches out to. It’s not easy. It’s work. And he’s working it. One day at a time, one moment at a time.
We’re working it. Recovery is not a “him” thing. it’s an “us” thing. It’s a family thing. We’re all involved. We’re all committed. We’re all in.
What doesn’t it mean? It doesn’t mean he is “cured”. It doesn’t mean he can go have a couple of drinks and be fine. It doesn’t mean he thinks he can do this on his own. It doesn’t mean he isn’t still an alcoholic.
But he’s a recovering alcoholic. He’s a year sober. He’s a husband. A father. A friend. An encourager. A true Christ follower. A leader.
One year. It’s kind of a big deal.