The funny thing about saying “I do” is that you don’t know exactly what that promise entails. What will life bring your way? What struggles will you be up against? Will you be fighting a battle together, or will you be on opposing teams? Marriage is probably the only contract that we will enter without fully understanding what we are agreeing to. In my case, I committed to fighting a disease with my husband that I understood absolutely nothing about- Addiction.
The day I realized that addiction was trying to destroy my family was one of the darkest days of my life. The signs had been there for years and I blamed myself for my naivety. How could I have not seen my husband looking sickly, our money disappearing mysteriously, so many unexplained hours of his absence, and countless stories that didn’t match up? The questions swarmed over me as I tried to make sense of this sneaky disease. I felt betrayed. I felt hurt. I felt angry. And I felt scared.
At the time we had a 2 year-old son and I was 7 months pregnant with our daughter. I had no idea what we were up against, but I knew he needed help, and I also knew we would do whatever it took to fight this. In this case, we were advised by our amazing counselor to look into an in-patient recovery center. He left the very next day.
At that point all I could do was feel sorry for myself. I threw a few pity parties before coming to the realization that I had a family to be strong for and a husband to fight beside. And, as all moms know, putting your feelings aside and finding strength for your kids is one of the superpowers that comes with motherhood. So we cheered Daddy on with our whole selves for those 75 days. I didn’t know if he would be home in time for the birth of our baby, but to be honest, I didn’t really care. I wanted him there for her LIFE. But thankfully, my healthy and thriving husband returned home with a few weeks to spare before miss Davee Rain came into the world.
I have learned so much in these past 20 months, priceless lessons that could not have been taught without such a difficult journey.
What I’ve Learned:
- My husband is the most brave and committed person I know. Many addicts refuse help. Many give up on their sobriety because it is a daily effort to stay spiritually grounded. But he not only accepted help when it was offered, he continues to fight to stay well and I could not be more proud.
- Addiction truly is a disease. Once I educated myself I found sympathy, grace, and patience. I vowed to be there in sickness and health, and this is sickness through and through, my friends.
- I can live without my husband. Doesn’t sound very loving, does it? Actually, this is a statement of how deep my love is, the love for my God, my creator. He will take care of my family no matter what comes to pass. I don’t mean that I wouldn’t be completely heartbroken if anything ever happened to my husband, but I also don’t take our moments together for granted because they were almost taken away. I cherish our time together because I had to face the reality that I almost lost him. Realistically we never know what the future holds, and I had to face my fear of losing him to arrive at a place spiritually where I truly know with all my heart that I will be okay in ANY circumstance.
Addiction is now a part of our lives forever. Oddly enough I can actually be grateful for what it has taught me and how I have grown. This is not an easy disease to fight but there are so many resources available because of how common it is. For anyone in a similar situation please know that you are not alone. Countless families are in the same battle and support is available when you are ready for it. My hope in sharing part of our story is that you will find encouragement and strength for whatever battles your family and marriage face. Because behind every “I Do” is the willingness to let love grow and move and change, no matter what circumstances may come to pass.