Alison's Insights

Making Sense of Addiction Recovery in Midlife One Slow Deep Breath at a Time

A Moment To Honor My Marriage

Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”
~Henry Ford

Today is my 13th wedding anniversary.  To know my story is to know how monumental this is.

It’s no coincidence I came across this quote from Henry Ford today.  It sums up exactly why I believe my marriage has withstood the many tests of time.

My husband and I got together 15 years ago on a golf course in Southern California.  We’ve stayed together because we’ve supported each other through many obstacles with respect, dignity and perseverance.  Our marriage has succeeded because through it all, it has been teamwork and nothing less.

It’s hard enough these days to keep a relationship healthy and strong.  When a marriage includes one partner struggling with addiction, it’s a mess of epic proportion, but that’s a blog for another day.

It is not uncommon for marriages to fall apart as recovery enters the picture.  The dynamics of the relationship change, typically in dramatic fashion. It has to because that’s precisely what recovery is, change.

My marriage did not fail but it got close … very close.  There were words said that I can still hear in my head as clearly as the day they moved past my husband’s lips.  While I have long forgiven, I don’t want to forget because I don’t ever want to be in that place again.

In early recovery I was told many things but there is one piece of advice I clung to and have never let go.  Recovery has to be the number one priority.  It must come before everything else.

It did and it still does.

During those early days, months, even years, I had to forge on in my recovery regardless of what was going on at home.  It’s like the flight attendant telling you to put your oxygen mask on first and then tend to the people around you.  You can’t think clearly if you can’t breathe.  If I don’t continue to keep recovery filtering through my system, I will be right back to where I was.  I don’t mean I’d be drinking or starving myself, but the old attitudes and mannerisms I used to live by would seriously affect those around me.  And that, my friends, is a roadmap to destruction.

The interesting thing is, as I got healthier, so did my marriage.  By showing respect for myself, the mutual respect for our marriage and our partnership escalated.   As I changed, so did my husband.  Not because I asked him to, but because he began to trust me again and in so doing, was able to relinquish the anger so deeply imbedded in his being.  This was the anger toward for the disease of addiction, not toward me per se.

Through the years we’ve worked through things together, honestly, openly and yes, sometimes loudly.  Change does not come without moments of adversity.  And sometimes it even comes down to a good fight which, in many cases, can be rather cathartic.

As I reflect on where I was in my life 13 years ago to where I am today, I get chills.  I think about what it felt like back then to hear my husband say he was embarrassed to be seen with me, and what it feels like today to hear him say, “I’m such a lucky guy, I’m in love with my best friend.”

I’m not sure it’s luck, but I am sure with love, gratitude and continued work, we’ll keep this team of ours going strong.

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3 thoughts on “A Moment To Honor My Marriage

  1. Monica on said:

    Right on! And Happy Anniversary!

  2. Ally Martin on said:

    Congratulations on 13 years! As always, you are spot on about recovery comes first. I actually thought that I was doing a pretty good job with that but still experiencing attitudes and thoughts that I want to cease. My husband left Saturday for a week long trip. I have noticed that in his absence there were some things that I needed to do for me that I felt more freedom to do this week. The freedom to do or not to do these things is of course is in my brain not anything he was thinking or said. So I am blessed in that respect this week. I totally agree that if we don’t take care of ourselves than we can’t take care of others….

    • Enjoy your week Ally! Just a thought, but maybe as you do the things you feel more free to do when he’s not around, ways in which you can accomplish them when he is. Wouldn’t that be a gift!!

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