Category: Marriage

God Has It Covered. Blended & Blessed.

My son barely knew his biological father and to this day, doesn’t remember him.
Despite those facts I still do not speak badly of or write negative things about him.

I will just keep it vague and simple.
He was young. I was young.

We were both on our way to being addicted and were both irresponsible, immature and selfish little humans.

And neither of us were prepared for parenthood.

But I changed.
He didn’t.
End of story.

There was a time where I wasn’t able to function because this particular part of my story filled me with the kind of rage that overflowed and infected every area of my life. The hatred that I had for him weighed me down and hindered my ability to focus on anything else besides my self-loathing.

I spent far too many years walking around like a zombie; confused, and wounded and for a long time, I didn’t understand. I felt betrayed, abandoned, and disrespected, but mostly frustrated.

As each year came and went, my anger continued its’ transition and eventually turned into bitterness and resentment. Those feelings held so much power over who I was as a person and they played a part in my self-destructive patterns.

It took me a really long time to heal from the pain that I experienced being a single, teenage mother.
I had held those negative feelings so closely to my heart and I did that because I thought that to forgive meant that he was given a free pass, and that his behavior would be excused.

It also took me an equal amount of time to admit that I too had a part in the story, and that I had the power to change how this whole thing could turn out for my child.

After I got sober and entered recovery, I finally felt like I could see a different picture.
I realized that in order to give my son the whole, complete, emotionally stable mother, that he deserved, I had to get to a place where I could embrace a new perspective on an old hurt.

I realized that people make choices and their choices usually have nothing to do with us.
Most often they are a reflection of their own character and their poor choices usually stem from their own personal struggles, bad habits, and strongholds that they have yet to acknowledge or conquer.

I leaped out of my comfortable place padded with hatred and I forgave.
After those chains that had been trapping me were snapped I had more room to grow.

I allowed myself to move forward and I watched and experienced the Grace that is given freely to us.

I watched as God provided for my son every single step of the way.

When my husband met my son he was four years old.
IMG_3828
And he fell in love with both of us.
He chose to love us both, and he chose to accept us as a package deal-
and even when I sternly said take it all or leave it all, he gently reminded me that I didn’t need to be defensive or protective, even though he understood.
He told me that he would gladly take it all, love it all, and commit to it all.
(And he had no idea what else was headed his way…)

IMG_9248

I have had the privilege to have a front row seat to his selfless love and have watched him live out his commitment to my baby boy for the last ten years.

He has had to maneuver and adjust and learn. He has stretched his own personal boundaries in ways that he never imagined and has pushed himself to new heights as a man and as a human.

There was a lot of work put into this transition in his own life, and it shows in his authentic bond, and the natural relationship that has formed between the two of them.

Next month, my baby will celebrate his fourteenth birthday.
20150814_144951

It is surreal to me, even after a decade of watching them interact. They have created this unique, one-of-a-kind, special, father-son dynamic and this is yet another testament to how amazing choosing sobriety is. It is like the gifts never stop coming.

I am grateful to embrace the emotions and to be able to remember watching their journey together. This is also another representation of the powerful, perfectly played out plans that can only be authored by God.

I just wanted to thank my husband for choosing to step up, and for providing and for offering support, direction, love, compassion, and a great example of what it means to be a father, a husband, and a man.

Happy Father’s Day Zachy.

11060163_1135371303146599_7485557280149677596_n

Addiction, Sobriety, & Ten Years Together.

PhotoGrid_1464019646247
May 22 of every year is special, simply because we made it.
I am not sure how, but we did.

I can’t sit here and say that when our story began it was ideal or even close to something healthy but regardless, it started and our story kept on going.

It is nothing short of a modern-day miracle that we are still speaking to each other.
How we are even friends today who love and respect each other is beyond me (in a very literal sense).

Of course our relationship didn’t start out in a healthy or normal place.
I wasn’t either of those things and had never been.

And as for him He was still processing and coping with (drinking away) the recent death of his dad. But we came together, and bam!

We became one giant black hole of all things dysfunctional with fun sprinkled in between.
This was ‘us’.
Which was great, because that is what I was accustomed to anyway.
Except that he wasn’t abusive, or controlling, or dealing anything illegal and I liked him anyway.

In reality the very real contrasts between he and I were important, and really, should have kept us very far apart.

He didn’t come from generations of dysfunction or unhealthy living. His family dynamic was pretty healthy and included sober people, established boundaries, a family business, lakes houses fun memories, annual family vacations, and even a long-time pastor in the mix. None of this means he came from perfection by any stretch, but for his family, it did mean that there was balance and tradition and love, and bonds that were created.

And while he may not have been grieving & dealing with his dad’s passing in a healthy way, and while he did drink a lot …..he wasn’t (and isn’t) an alcoholic.
He did own his own business and was also a home owner. He even paid his bills on time and by all accounts, was a typical 26 -year-old bachelor.

As for me? I looked normal on the outside and I did that on purpose.
I always had, actually.

From a very young age I got very good at dressing the part of ‘normal’ or what I thought that ‘normal’ looked like. One the inside I was truly just a shit storm of rage, navigating life aimlessly, doing my best to fit wherever I could fit while secretly I was really seeking some kind of relief or acceptance or validation, or probably all three. We didn’t have a family dynamic. Wait. We did, but it disconnected and patchy and was contingent on codependency and helping each other in the worst ways possible.
I did have a few fun memories tucked away and had taken vacations with my grandma. But most of that was done because she felt so guilty and responsible for the way that things turned out for my brother and I, and I thank her for those experiences. But if a few vacations could have reversed trauma I probably wouldn’t be here sharing this story at all, and honestly, I hate that she felt that way.

By the time I crossed paths with my now-husband, I was a 22-year-old high-school drop-out, working, single-mother of one, who was also addicted to prescription medication, who also preferred to work at a bar to feel a tiny bit more justified about habit of drinking every day by noon.

Oddly, I was able to spew false confidence like nobody’s business and  I also aspired to be something someday without actually believing that I was capable of anything.

But somehow our paths crossed.
And by somehow, I mean I was a bartender and he liked to drink with his buddies.

A match made in heaven we were.
Totally.

Not really.
And the truth is, I didn’t even attempt to reciprocate any interest in him for the first couple of months and after we did start dating, I didn’t even think about sobriety until we were together for a solid six months.

It took eight for the idea to stick, and for my recovery to officially get off of the ground, or out of the ditch, or whatever.

Eight months.

That doesn’t sound like a long time.
Except that it is in terms of addiction. It’s can feel like a lifetime for everyone involved.

Day-to-day living with someone who is addicted to drugs and alcohol, or essentially, addicted to escape as quickly as possible on days that end in ‘y’ feels like a form of self-torture.

Eight months of me lying or wiggling out of telling the truth at every turn.
Eight months of not really knowing where I was or if I would show up or if I would disappear or if I would come back.
Eight months of me being in court or in and out of jail or getting pulled over or being picked up for one thing or another.
Eight months of a lot of drama and the unknown.

It would be like riding a roller-coaster that you have never been on without a seat-belt.
Sort of like white knuckling every single day and only being able to exhale when they were sleeping right next to you, but at the same time you can’t sleep because you have to make sure they are still breathing, yet you are still grateful that you actually know where they are.

Like that.
Dating me would have been exactly like that.

As a healthy sober person who is sitting here typing this post I can tell you with one-hundred percent certainty that I wouldn’t have put up with my sh*t.
I would have left and I would have left a long before eight months, probably before eight weeks, and maybe even after eight dates.

I am glad he didn’t.
Because he is obviously certifiable.

But when I ask him what his problem was his answer always surprises me even though I have already heard him explain himself over and over again in different ways.

It really wasn’t that he felt sorry for me.
He had seen a glimpse of ‘me’ and somehow felt that I was hurting and pretending.
So I guess he saw me sober once or twice, probably in the morning.
And apparently, I wasn’t as great at hiding my pain or how much I was hurting as I had thought.

Somehow, he was able to see the very human parts of me and found them to be likable, and even, worthy of love.

He has told me that he could see how much I was trying every day to keep it all together and how much I struggled to balance my family situation with my own, and how much I struggled to keep them separate and also how much my compartmentalizing wasn’t working for me.

Funny how things look from someone else who has a sober, healthy vantage point, right?

It is so much easier to pinpoint where the problems and solutions might be hiding when you are looking in from a distance.

It is much more difficult to see a way out of the maze when you have been spinning around in the dark tunnel year-after-year and have lost all sense of direction, like you are stuck in a bad adult version of pin the tale on the donkey or something.

But he was standing outside, in the light, without all of the weight of the past or the drama and the confusion.

And instead of trying to fix me or change me, he handed me off to a group of people who led me into recovery, and helped me to face and uncover my own truth for myself.

Anyway, here we are celebrating year ten.

Instead of trying to convince myself that this whole thing began with an intricate web of perfectly timed coincidence all strung together I choose to believe that God had his hand right in the middle of my broken road and He helped it all come together in a way that could only be explained by His Grace.

My marriage is an imperfect but healthy living and breathing thing.
I am so grateful to know what it feels like to endure ups and downs with another human, while remaining loyal and accepting, and excited and connected at the very same time.

It’s the coolest thing.
So here’s to ten more.

Constructive vs. Destructive

I am reading  Ed Young’s, The 10 Commandments of Marriage.

communication

 

 

 

 

 

 

I started it a few months ago. It could have been a short read, but my time management skills are obviously lacking. I have a house full of boys who I love, one of them being a seven-month-old who recently started teething. I will use him as my excuse as to why my daily plans aren’t really plans at all. 🙂

I do my best to get in a little bit of this book every day, but some days I only get one page in!

Honestly, taking it slow through this book has been beneficial.
It gives me time between fragments to really take it in, and time to apply it.
So I am digging it.

My marriage is a lot of fun. I have a an honest, caring, hilarious, hard-working, sweet, thoughtful, husband. He always remembers details. He never forgets an important date, he writes sweet things in my cards, opens doors for me, I get sweet texts more than twice a day, we have a rockin’ physical attraction, he still winks at me and kisses my forehead. He invests time into ‘us’ and is good about balancing his work, friendships, and being a daddy. Our sons love & respect him and he makes sure to take time out every day to read to them, ask about their day, and chill with them.
God has seriously given me a gift; this is the only man in the world that I want to do life with.

But even so, our marriage is still very hard work. It almost forces me to my personal max every day. When we have busy lives and polar opposite personalities, it sort of happens.

My personal Recovery has taught me a lot about the importance of continually self-improving.

One big part of my life is focused on evolving, learning, and growing; living in maintenance mode so I don’t risk getting stuck in a state of stagnation.

The other part is about remaining grateful for being alive to live this life, and never forgetting who I owe this second chance to.

Recovery has allowed me to uncover, face, and accept all of my many shortcomings, weaknesses, and character defaults. I know what I need to work on, and I try really hard to learn ways to keep improving. I also know that I am a chronic mistake-maker, and that’s alright too.

I don’t throw or break things when I am angry anymore.
I try not to allow myself to verbally attack, or say mean-spirited /smart-as* stuff that pops into my mind when we have a disagreement.
I rarely use my words as a spirit devouring machete.
I don’t utilize my skills in the silent treatment department, and I don’t abruptly leave as much.

Not perfect in these areas, but they are definitely far and few between.

The 10 Commandments of Marriage aligns directly with three key factors played a humongous role in my growth in Recovery: 

*You can’t fix a problem by saying it’s not there. (It will turn into resentment, anger, etc)
*You can’t fix other people. (Leave that to God)
*Communication is key. (To form lasting and thriving relationships)

I can apply the same principles directly to my marriage. 

I am not reading this book because my marriage is failing or on the verge of falling apart.
I am reading it because over the last ten years, we have gone through a lot.
We have become stronger and closer, but we are still human beings who make mistakes.
We still hit bumps and have arguments.
This past year one, of these bumps threw me right off of the road.
I felt like I was shot gunned right through my gut. (and no, it was not infidelity, or in that realm).

But it was time to choose.

I could have chosen to quit and derail the last ten years piece by piece. I could whine, complain, and allow sadness and anger to take over my life. I could begin to look at my husband as a giant mistake maker, who is unworthy of my forgiveness and who isn’t capable of truly being apologetic. I could could silence my anger by making him look as terrible as possible, by bashing him to any listening ear.

Or, I could learn how to handle this in a constructive way, rather than a destructive way.
I could learn to forgive him, just like he has forgiven me in the past. I could seek wise counsel from people that I trust, and from people who truly want to help us get through this trail.
(Read about that here) I could learn how to make this situation work for us, helping us grow even closer. I could offer him Grace, because I have been given so much of it in my lifetime.
I could try my damndest to love like Jesus. 

So if you are a husband basher, or a chronic complainer of all things marital…
before you begin to lace up your gloves for 12 rounds of very public husband bashing

Think about this.
It is an annoyance to people who are trying to learn and utilize constructive tools to repair a marriage. It does a disservice to other women who are susceptible to being sucked into that kind of talk.

As hard as it may be during your time of need – try focusing on the good. Try not speaking of your husband publicly or within a group of women, unless you are complimenting him or speaking of positive progress that the BOTH of you are making.

As friends we are called to help our fellow ladies and sitting back and supporting this kind of ranting, is not helping our friends who are very much in need of some real help and guidance.

7437901

The Husband Bashing Thing.

I'm_with_the_dummy

If you walked into a room you could actually feel the difference between:

Women using their gifts, talents, or experiences, to help empower, teach, or inspire another woman who needs help, direction, or advice when it comes to her husband or their marriage-

and a woman who is throwing herself a husband bash-sesh,
who is secretly hoping to suck everyone with a vagina into her husband-hating, soul- sucking, vortex.

These are two completely different environments.

One is positive
(not perfect) but gives off vibes that aren’t debilitating to others, but creates more of a supportive place…

and the other–

Is negative.
….the bashing, it creates a tense, awkward, toxic atmosphere.
that just feels wrong.

These particular sessions can often feel friendly or fun in the beginning,
but can quickly turn into women one-upping each other.

Listen. As a woman, I know that we need other women to encourage us, to relate to, to get advice from, and sometimes- we simply need them to listen to us and nothing more.

I just hate, (yes, hate)
I hate being in the room when a bashing festival is going on.

Bystanders are left feeling super awkward.
Everyone’s usually masking or feeling some level of discomfort.
People are left wondering what the right move actually is.
Others are secretly searching for a fire escape or making mental notes of what they need at the grocery store.

In the end, everyone usually ends up feeling pretty sucky and completely drained.
(Hence the difference between the two environments and approaches)

Having been the awkward bystander who has endured some of these toxic play dates…

Here are 5 Things that incessant husband bashing inadvertently tells me: 

*You are choosing to retreat.
You are in the middle of a battle, and you are running the wrong way.
Each negative, mean, hateful, spiteful, or chronic complaint is contributing to this rift that you so badly want bridged…yet every single shit*y thing that you say is only creating more distance between you, your husband, and your peace. Don’t alienate yourself from him.
Seek wise counsel + constructive feedback from people who love you and who desperately want to help you keep your marriage together.

*You aren’t at all interested in utilizing constructive solutions. 
There’s a HUGE difference between seeking wise counsel, or speaking with someone in confidence, and whining or incessantly complaining anytime you have the mic in a group of girl friends.
-Venting is more like expressing your feelings; sharing the status of those feelings with a person that you trust. There is definitely therapeutic value in allowing yourself to openly share, and in considering another person’s constructive feedback. There is also value in having a reliable support and encouragement when we just don’t feel motivated to keep pushing.
-Chronically complaining or ‘bashing’ on the other hand is simply you making your husband look like an as* in front of people who he probably knows and has to see. The motive here is not to seek any real support or encouragement. That isn’t what you are looking for.

*You just want generic confirmation that you are right and he is wrong.
This is a quick fix. Like an emotional band-aid.
You end up with a truck load of useless ‘that’s too bad’ or a sore shoulder from all of the pats on the back. You feel a little bit better when someone else begrudgingly chimes in to play this game with you. Hearing the collective ‘ooh’s and ahh’s’ ,occasional gasping, or seeing the eye rolling of the other wives in the room-all temporarily make the real problems seem a little bit less terrifying.

(None of which will actually help to mend your marriage.)
But then again, mending your marriage is not the primary goal of husband bashing.

*Maybe you don’t know what else to do. 
Your tool box is empty. Your reference point is off. Your fear is paralyzing your logic. Guilt from shaming him so much internally and socially is hindering your ability to do something useful.
You rely on that generic support. The character assassinations have become your norm.
You are legitimately hurting and are feeling angry. You aren’t handling whatever the situation is productively, but the bottom line is,
you just don’t know what else to do.

*You still care.
So the good news is, when you husband bash his brains all over the place, it shows listeners that you still care. If you didn’t, you would not be inappropriately seeking help for this laundry list of things that you feel that you can’t tolerate anymore. You would not risk embarrassing your husband. You wouldn’t put yourself through the agony of apologizing to everyone later for overstepping boundaries that you already knew you were crossing when you opened your mouth.

An apathetic stance seems to be the opposite of love, and if husband bashing tells me anything it’s that you still care deeply about this man, and your marriage.

So there’s that. I am writing this to help you to reconsider this technique of solving marital problems. I cannot express how odd it feels to be put in this situation. Asking or forcing a person to contribute or absorb this kind of negative stuff is a ridiculous position to put people in.
It’s pretty much a lose lose for everyone.

I am not writing this to express to the world how perfect my marriage is either.
We have had our rough patches, believe me. I have chosen him to be my life partner. I am grateful for him and I am choosing to respect him. I am an imperfect, moody, mistake-maker too. I suck at things, I am great at other things, but at the end of the day, any time I run to someone else to complain about him, I am missing an opportunity to communicate with my husband.
We are on the same team.

I know some people will hate this post, and others will relate.
Either way, I appreciate you reading and welcome your feedback.
Feel free to connect with Discovering Beautiful on Facebook and let me know what you think.

The Perfect Man.

20150529_095515I have been with my husband for nine years and married for six of them.

So I am no expert. Although we are closer than ever, weare still learning, growing, and navigating the waters of marriage.

Last year I wrote a few posts about how my addiction affected my relationship with my husband and how he dealt with some of the circumstances that I created and issues that I brought into our relationship. (If you are interested, you can read them here: http://discoveringbeautiful.com/husband-thoughts-part-1-the-realization/ )

By the time we got engaged and were married, I had been in Recovery for a while.

My moods were finally evening out, I started sleeping at night a lot more, and we finally had time to really focus on one another as a whole couple, and not as one person desperately trying to tolerate, babysit, and save the other.

In other words, we had a pretty solid, healthy relationship.

The photo above was taken in my kitchen. My two oldest boys were hanging out in the kitchen having play-doh wars with little people that they created. I heard my six-year-old holler at me from the kitchen:

                                                    “Look mommy, I made a perfect man!” 

My husband and I have not been arguing or going through anything recently.
However, this past year I have been tested on what it really means to forgive, heal, and move on.

I have certain days where out of the blue, I have to fight off feelings of anger that creeps in from out of no where.

I have to remind myself that forgiveness is a choice and It is beneficial for both of us.

It is not something that is earned or begged for, it is offered as a gift because of love.

It is a proclamation of peace made by you and is a declaration of your personal acceptance that the situation happened.

You proclaim that you are not a victim, you are not in the dark, you are not fighting anymore.

You are accepting what is for what it is, and you are declaring that you are allowing the healing process to do its thing.

No more going over it repeatedly.
No more rehashing.
No more of me giving in to temptation by drowning him in my witty, sarcastic, or funny references that directly tie into the situation that has been shelved.

So that afternoon when the play-doh playing was happening, maybe I just needed to see the cookie cutter.
Maybe I just needed to hear that little voice tell me that he had in fact, created the ‘perfect man’.

The one that we all know doesn’t exist.
Because that day it hit me like a ton of bricks.

I don’t want a perfect, cookie-cutter man.
If they did exist, I wouldn’t want one.

I like the one that God has placed in my life, for me.
I am not perfect, but in his eyes I am perfect for him.
He is not perfect but in my heart I feel that he is most definitely perfect for me.

That is what counts.

 

Husband and Wife.

Two whole parts, that came together as one.

Many many many people have asked me why we waited to get married. Why this, why that. I wanted to be a healthy, whole person that he was taking as his wife.

I wanted him to have a partner in life- and to feel like he had a person on his side that could be strong when he couldn’t and that could encourage him when times got rough.

He deserved to marry someone who was clear-minded and level headed.
I wanted him to have what I had.

I knew he was ‘it’ for me- (and he still is, even more so now)

So..I will end this little mini series by saying this:

It is possible to make it through active addiction- early recovery and all that goes with that.
It is not easy, some days suck really bad and you won’t always see clearly or have clear answers as to what you need to do. You won’t always understand each other and some things don’t make sense right away.

Also, remember that the difference between controlling someone, being co-dependent, enabling and LOVING someone is really about motive. What are you trying to accomplish? What is your definition of love?

Love is not giving a sick person everything they whine for when they are stressed or tempted.
Love is not buckling from guilt or bending boundaries to make someone temporarily happy.

Love is a journey- it is a self-less thing-
When you love someone with an addiction sometimes they need your sensitivity and other times they need set- firm expectations.

It takes a lot of patience and determination to figure out which one to draw from and what to do.

The most important thing is — not ‘loving’ that person to death. Or loving that person so much that you begin to kill yourself. If either of those things begin to happen, something somewhere-  needs to change.

I hope that some of our ‘real’ experience helps someone else in some way.

And Mr. Zachariah- I am so grateful to have such a strong man-
I love our love and man- we have some crazy love.
Thank you for supporting me in all that I have done, and hope to do-
God has done some incredible work in our lives and I really can’t wait to see what else is in store. You are my bestie and we are strong people individually, and together–that much better.

1459902_777341658949567_1101066620_n

Husband Thoughts part 5- Is Recovery forever?

My husband has been a trooper.
He picked me up so many times after I had fallen-yet again.

My ‘falling’ doesn’t necessarily mean that I relapsed.
I lapsed a few times, he helped pick me up (he was mad, but he picked me up)

I have gone through sicknesses related to this disease, memory issues that continue, lots of fog, early on mood changes and lots and lots of discovering, properly handling and learning to regulate emotion.

He has always been behind me-
making sure that I was honest and holding me accountable for working my recovery.

He didn’t let me slack and he pushed when I didn’t have the drive to push.
he wouldn’t let me back down or quit, and didn’t ever feel sorry for me when I was feeling sorry for myself.

So..recovery –is it forever?
I believe it is.

My husband understands that Recovery is not unlike any other process that we have to keep healthy. It needs to be an area where I stay on top of my game and continue putting effort in and learning about.

I know that no matter what, he will always be my cheerleader- except now,  he knows that I am alert, aware, willing and in a healthy place and can be there for him now as well.
He showed me what for better or worse, actually means in real –day to day life.

1463763_777332598950473_2137009064_n

The Husband Series: A Boring Future.

 

1499640_777349165615483_1241512158_n

 

At this point guys- we have gone from dating, to him realizing that I had a serious problem, us having massive fights and emotionally driven issues that led to my eventual decision to try to get sober and learn about Recovery.

At the point where I began going to meetings- I was figuring out who I was and why I used so much and how incredible life could be sober.

I also felt like this photo! Yes it’s funny, but as I changed I really went through a time where
I didn’t feel like myself anymore

– and among many other things–

I worried that my Zach would not
like the ‘new’ me.

Husband thoughts part 4- Phases, waves and meetings.

***On Celebrate Recovery meetings:

So after being sober for awhile she started going to meetings every week.
Every Thursday night.

I felt like they weren’t going to do much for her, but I also had no issue with her going to them. I did start noticing small changes here and there.

She started reading a lot more.
Other things changed too.

I feel like her Recovery came in waves. It started hard- so hard that we didn’t know if SHE was going to live or die.

After a certain point, she was alive and trying but we didn’t know if our relationship was going to make it through all of the mood swings and anger- depression and sadness.

After the meetings- more changes came. She told me she was getting to know who she was again and that it had been a long time since she really knew who that was.

***Did the meetings help?

Yes. They gave her a place to learn more about her addiction and a place to learn how to regulate her emotions and vocalize some of how she was feeling and what she was going through with people who she did not feel so defensive with. It was great for me! 🙂

***How did you support her going to the weekly meetings and other recovery activities?

Always asked how they went. I always wanted to know how she felt when she got home and how things went. I also made it a point to ask what is coming up or what homework she had to do that week. I had no idea what most of it meant, and honestly- just wanted her to know that I was proud of her for going at all.

***Do you think that meetings are a good idea for anyone in Recovery + relationship?

Yes because we were not in a place where we could afford counseling and it provided education and a lot of other therapeutic stuff.

***What would you say to others who are trying to act as ‘supporters’ during this process?
Stay patient. This all sounds wonderful and easy on screen, but the reality is—
it was a difficult period of time for us. I had to keep reminding myself that she had a lot of self-discovery to work through and she just needed my love and support. She needed to have that positive in her life- she knew that I was not going anywhere-no matter what.

This took more time too than I had imagined. It takes a long time to uncover a person’s deepest hurts and for that person to learn how to live life sober.

Stay patient and enjoy all of the victories along the way.

Husband thoughts part 3- Patiently driving her crazy

***Tough times.

Relationships are ideally suppose to be two whole people, coming together to be like a badass couple. I felt like I was one person, babysitting this broken person.

To be honest, It was very very hard. I needed things too. I wanted love and affection. I needed attention. These are things that you usually expect when you are in a long-term, healthy relationship.

She just didn’t have anything to give at a certain point.

So yes. It was hard. I had to learn not to be selfish and that if I EVER wanted to have a whole person as my future wife, I needed to keep you alive first.

We had our good days and our bad days, but I stuck to the plan.
I did not bend any of the set agreements that we had and I was pretty hard on you.

I came off as over-bearing but I just knew that you would walk all over me if I budged at all..

I know it drove you crazy.

I also know now, that you were so annoyed and touchy for a long time but it was more you detoxing. A lot of your aggression and anger was not even because of me or my ‘crazy’ expectations. You were coming off of drugs and learning how to live in a sober world.

***What would you tell someone who is frustrated, dealing with the mood swings and anger issues that commonly come with detoxing and trying to stay sober?

Don’t take it personally. Most of the time, she would lash out at me or blame me for something, or just want to fight for no apparent reason.

I learned that there are so many different things that she was going through and none of it had much to do with me —

so learn to be patient and just take it. (assuming it was non-violent/abusive etc.)

At the time I did not understand and I did fight back more than once. It took me awhile to learn that she was going through emotional things and psychological things that I could not help with.

I will say that I did not allow her to use that as an excuse to fight. I am just saying that I understand why some things happened the way that they did early on.

1454896_777364865613913_1351329960_n

Husband thoughts part 2- Clear rules and Boundaries.

***On hitting his own breaking point:

After the time that you took too many pills on a random weekday afternoon, you collapsed in the post office. I got a call and came up to the hospital. This was about the time that we had a big blowout fight and I asked you to leave.

This was my bottom- I think. I had been through a lot myself that year and I just didn’t think I could do it anymore. I told you to get help or gtfo.

I remember that day, you talked to my mom and we all told you that we would have your back and would help you get through whatever happened next if you would just agree to get help.

And you did.

***Changes taking place in the relationship:

At this point we are well over a year into our relationship.
At home- things were different because I had to choose between making you happy and doing what was best for you as a person.

That sucked.

***How did things change?

Well listen. I loved you and knew that I could not allow you to use at all. I would ask you for specifics. When were you coming home? Exactly what time?
I wanted to see your eyes a lot, in the light. Lol. I also looked through our phone bill each month and kept an eye on things more than I normally did.

This annoyed you——that would be an understatement.
This pissed you off so much sometimes.

I think you were frustrated that I was being so ‘nosey’ or ‘father-like’ and I thought I was being caring and watching out for you.

I felt bad sometimes but it was more important to me that you were safe, not going to drug houses and not spending money on things that you didn’t need.

I knew that someday it would pay off- even if sometimes, you wanted to gouge my eyeballs out. I felt like I could see the greater picture and I understood that your annoyance was only temporary. I wasn’t controlling you but I was definitely not going to enable you in ANY WAY.

I never gave you cash. You did not have access to the bank account. I knew where the money was coming from and where it was going. It drove you crazy for a long time.

But I did not trust you.
It took me a long time for me to even consider that……

1483343_777334498950283_1261266330_n

No matter how angry, annoyed or defensive that you got, I just tried to ignore it.
I never responded or did my best not to take it personally. It hurt sometimes, but I knew that you needed someone to help you and stay strong.

We had our tough moments, but I never quit on you……

Husband thoughts part 1- The Realization

My husband’s journey through my addiction and recovery.
It breaks my heart to go back and think about all that I put him through, but living this life in the now, we can both see just how much this experience bonded us and our hearts together in such a spectacular way, that if we can get through what we have already- life might throw us curves but we are in this game for the long haul.

So it begins.
We went through a long list of questions and had long discussions about specific feelings and times in our lives. This series of posts will encompass these conversations, and various others that we have had over the years.

1506603_777363885614011_1390958974_n

***On recognizing the ‘problem’:

After a few months of dating, it became pretty apparent that your drinking and pill use was not normal. The way that you acted was not like a typical young 20 something just ‘having a good time’. It was much more than that.

You slammed your finger in your car door and barely noticed, there were times that you would fall asleep while we were talking and there were other signs that I noticed.
There was a time where you fell asleep on the side of the highway because you couldn’t stay awake, and you went to jail (the first of many times)
Another time multiple people had called in about your reckless driving and you were apprehended until someone came and picked you up.
On a different occasion, I was at your apartment and bail bondsman came over and started pounding on your door, and you went to jail then too.

This was all while we were dating. I was like what the fuck have I got myself into?
This girl is crazy and also, irresponsible. lol.

***Why did you not run for the freaking hills?

I already knew I loved you. The times that we had eating together, and just hanging out- when you were still sober or not as bad- I enjoyed being with you. You were a fun girl. So thoughtful and funny. When you were using, it is like you were a different person.
There was just something about you, and something in me telling me not to give up on this person just yet.

Later on after we moved in together, I began seeing even more of the addiction’s seriousness.
Living with you opened my eyes up to your world.

There was a lot of lying- not coming home when you said, not getting off of work and coming home for hours. You were evasive and defensive when I asked you where you were or what you had been doing.

There were so many other things that happened, but it all accumulated and I started to understand that this was a serious problem.

***How did that make you feel?

I was confused. I come from a family that has never really experienced true ‘addiction’.
We drink and have fun, but no one is dependent or addicted.

I did not know anything about addiction, that it was a real thing and a disease.
I thought people like that made the choice to ruin their lives and act like idiots.
So, I was close-minded for a long time.
Willpower and the sheer motivation to change was what I thought was the only necessary ingredients to change or stop.

I was ready to love this woman, and quickly learned that she did not know what that looked like or felt like. Not adult, mature —love you for you kind of love.
I loved her and was ready to fight.

I had no idea what I was up against…….

Husband Q & A

Relationships. 

Let’s say you are a couple.
You love each other and value one another.

One of you ends up with an addiction and becomes dependent on a substance.
It tears them apart and dismantles who they once were.

That person that you fell in love with  is gone.

All you are left with is an empty relationship, basically completely deteriorated;
looking nothing like it use to and there is not a lot of hope in your heart when it comes to the prospect of finding him or her once again.

*You are sad, and feel lost. What can you do to get this person back?
*Is it a fruitless effort?
*Are you hurting or helping? Where should you turn?
*Who is this person that you use to know?
*Should you take it personally?
*Can you be of any help?
*Is this person who you love going to be this manipulative shell of deceit and self-absorption permanently?

These are the types of questions that ran through my husband’s head and made his heart ache leading up to the days where I smashed into my rock bottom face first, and throughout my first two years of Recovery.

This is the type of confusion that he dealt with and had to learn how to navigate through. 

My addiction did have a profound affect on him, and although I was far too busy focusing on my recovery to empathize or inquire at the time–

in the succeeding years post active addiction— he has revealed so much to me about HIS journey riding on the crazy coattails of my recovery.

While I was abstaining, detoxing, hurting, learning, growing, and changing-
He was going through his own change and was navigating a new path himself.

I am going to share that with you guys now.

As a side-note or a disclaimer of sorts:
As a professional I would never support or recommend that a person in Recovery start/begin/consider a new romantic relationship.
It is not a healthy choice to make.

In the event of entering recovery as a married person or as a person who is already committed to a long-term relationship, I would definitely set certain boundaries and limits with both parties on a case-by-case basis. Everyone involved would be learning and would need to be counseled on some level.

Every life, recovery and circumstance is completely different. What worked for us, may not be something that will work for another couple who is struggling with getting through Addiction-TOGETHER. 

What does inspire HOPE is knowing that there are other people who have made it through some of the most exhausting and trying times, and have come out the other end—
strong and CRAZY in love with the new people that we have transformed into throughout our journey together and individually.

So take what you can from it and leave the rest. 

Thank you for reading and I hope that we can inspire you to keep working and loving.

63477_181738628509876_1531583_n

 

 

>
%d bloggers like this: