Addiction recovery and marriage do not often go together. Watch how this wife supported her husband through his recovery while saving their marriage at the same time.
My husband is not a fan of writing so I’ll share my side of his story. He is an alcoholic and drug user who has been sober now for 4 years. We were first together when he was drinking and I left after he started abusing pain killers for a slipped disc. I never thought I would be in his life again. I wrote him to say I didn’t want to watch him kill himself and that I hope he would seek help for addiction. Painfully, I heard nothing in return but hateful words. I cut him completely out of my life after that.
Four months later I get an email that he wanted to get clean after a night of attempting suicide. He said he tried to call me that night but that I didn’t answer. The day before someone had broken into my car so I didn’t have my cell phone to take the call. In many ways, I think back on that with gratitude. I am grateful that I wasn’t the one who saw him in that moment when he had a gun by his table. Maybe it just wasn’t where I was supposed to be.
The person who came to his aid was a girl he was kind of dating at the time who also had issues with alcohol abuse. Despite the sting of him rebounding after me with her, I will always be grateful she was there for him. When I got the email that morning I didn’t know how to feel but I knew that I had to be there because I promised that if he wanted to get sober I would be. Not as a girlfriend or even a friend, just as a human looking out for another.
That morning I saw him at his home, I was scared and it was a risk to be there, but I knew I had to go, not sure why still. He looked awful, the worst physical shape I could have imagined. Yet, in his eyes there was a slight sense that he had finally given up trying to wear a mask. After saying hello, I watched him pour all his liquor down the sink. In that moment I felt worried it was manipulation and pleading tactics to regain control of our past but watched quietly. After he flushed down the pills I reached out.
For a long time I hugged him. I said that I would be there in the capacity I was able but that we couldn’t see each other for a while. I wished him luck and hoped he would go to AA. It took us about a year to be physically with each other again. In that time he completed AA’s 90 meetings in 90 days and went through all the steps. He started seeing a therapist, he started living. Before getting sober he had lost his job and was drinking bourbon in his morning coffee. Today he doesn’t even drink caffeine and he even started a successful business. The first job he had sober was actually given to him through a mutual friend who had been sober for 20 years who he surprisingly saw at a local meeting. That job, which he still does on the side, allowed him to start his business.
Today, he is not perfect and insecurity and shame still are a part of daily life, but he is alive now–he is awake. I accept that he will always be an addict and love him as an addict who is not using. I did have to tell him that marriage came with the condition that I had to leave if he broke his sobriety, and that was a difficult decision but one I know is the best for myself and my family. The first year of dating again was not easy, as old patterns emerged but he remained sober and I began to carve out more of my own life and self worth.
After two years he asked me to marry him. We were married in the small chapel built in the 1800s we used to picnic in front of when we first started dating, the toast we gave to each other was with two glasses of water. It was more than beautiful. I never imagined we would get married and love each other the way we do. I never imagined I too would learn and grow with him and learn not to enable, not to be codependent, not to fear lack of control in others and in myself. Now that we have come this far we can talk, we can hear each other and empathize. Honestly, I am not sure how it happened because for all intents and purposes he should be dead or dying. But he made a choice for himself, for his future, and I’m grateful for every day that he is sober and for all the time we have together as husband and wife, as best friends, as partners, and as people who respect each other for who they are and all they hope to be– if we had 100 years, it would still not be enough.