Yesterday, you met Kate. My blogger friend struggling with self-righteousness, a marriage in turmoil, and an alcoholic husband. She asked him to leave. He asked to stay. Today she shares the rest of her journey.
He always said he never drank to hurt me. He drank because he didn’t know how to deal with what was going on inside of him. He struggled with fear and anxiety, and the alcohol numbed those feelings. Yes, he was addicted, but he didn’t become that way to intentionally cause me pain.
I’d just not seen it that way.
I love how God can take our darkest moments, our deepest wounds, and turn them into something glorious. Even in spite of us, He can work miracles!
We had been seeing a counselor on and off for years.
We would go in when things were terrible and he would tell us what to do. We would ignore him and go on doing what we had in the past.
My husband asked if he could go in again, if that would change my mind. I think I said “do whatever you have to do, but I am done.”
He knew that things had spiraled out of control. He knew something needed to change, but he wasn’t sure what to do. He had tried AA, tried a counselor and a treatment program, tried church and God, but nothing had worked.
He’d hit bottom. He was willing to ask God for guidance, and do whatever it would take, and God stepped in and grabbed his heart.
The changes I saw happened almost immediately.
He came home that night with a fire in his voice – almost a giddy excitement. He attended a local AA meeting and a man volunteered to be his sponsor. He felt like something was different.
I didn’t buy it. I was angry and bitter after years of getting my hopes up only to be let down. I was convinced he was beyond saving.
He kept attending meetings and even invited me to come with him. I couldn’t let him go and manage this on his own, so I went along. These were speaker meetings, so someone living in active sobriety would come and share their story.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
Here stood men and women telling our story. Our hurts, our drama, our fights, and yet they were living in long-term sobriety. I started seeing that there might be hope. For the first time I thought that maybe my husband wasn’t the monster I made him out to be.
With the guidance of his sponsor, we started praying together as a family. Every morning, on our knees, reciting a prayer he learned.
But I would pray and then get up and mutter something about him being a hypocrite. I would go right back to being horrible even though he had been sober longer than ever.
One morning he must have had enough and asked me, “What have I done to you this morning to make you so angry?”
I didn’t have an answer. I said, “I don’t know, but I hate you and I hate my life.” He told me that I too needed to seek help. While I didn’t have a drinking problem, I certainly had a problem of perspective.
And so began my journey of finding God.
It was a slow and painful process.
I had years of bad habits. Blame and anger had built up. I had to look critically in places I had never taken responsibility. I had also caused so much hurt and damage, and I had been sober!
What was my excuse?
God placed a wonderful woman in my life that walked this path to serenity with me. She shared her stories, told me there wasn’t anything I could tell her that she hadn’t already heard. She didn’t shame me. She was patient and encouraging and let me slowly see how I needed to take responsibility for my actions. She was God in the flesh, and I will be forever grateful for her.
Our marriage didn’t recover overnight.
Ten years’ worth of pain doesn’t go away in a few weeks. But we started to see the changes in one another. Our relationships with our extended families started to heal. He and I began sharing our story at local treatment centers. We saw that we could offer hope even if we didn’t have it all together.
Laughter returned to our home. Communication returned and walls came down.
Today we are living in our seventh year of continuous sobriety! Praise God for that blessing!
We have had two more children in sobriety. Children that, God willing, won’t ever know the pain of that past life. Today my husband and I work together in his successful business that is itself a reflection of God’s blessing on our lives.
But we can’t get the credit.
Only God can get the glory.
He restores. He heals and He blesses. We are living proof of that miracle.
Alcoholism is prevalent and carries a terrible stigma. My prayer in sharing our story is to break down some of those walls and to offer hope. God can heal what seems beyond fixing if we reach for Him and are willing to act.
I also want to share that we still don’t have it all together. We fight. The old nature comes back and we say mean things or ignore each other and want to give up. Being sober doesn’t mean having a flawless marriage. But God’s still in this. And the restoration is still a work in progress. I believe we have to hang in there and keep working.