Today is Jeff’s 55th birthday – the perfect time for a happy post! Five years together, wow we have been through so much. Yet for the hard times, those struggles that I write about, there has also been so much happiness, so much joy.
When we first started dating, in May 2015, we used to joke that everything was “rainbows and unicorns”. We had the best time together and our relationship was so effortless, we just clicked. Yet at that time, and for the first two years of our relationship, I was still drinking. So, in addition to moments of such happiness, peace, and joy there were unpredictable drunken episodes, hurtful words that never should have been spoken, and behavior that jeopardized all that was so wonderful between us.
Miraculously we made it. We had recognized in each other all that we wanted to find in a life partner…love, passion, fun, respect…and most importantly being loved and recognized for who we truly were. And that sense of being seen and known? It carried us through some really tough times. And that Jeff was able and willing to forgive me, because I deeply hurt him during my active addiction.
Once I was sober, and Jeff was seeing real changes in me, we were able to reconnect. And pretty quickly we were able to put our relationship back on track. But the scars from the time before, when I was drinking, they lasted a while. And they would emerge during arguments, when one of us was tired or feeling vulnerable, that damage was with us for a few years. Gradually, through practicing better communication skills and trying to learn how to resolve conflicts in healthier ways, the scars faded. Now the balance tilts in the other direction. I’ve been sober for almost three and a half years, and our foundation and history together is built on more than five years together, much more of it spent in the “after” time.
Now I have a marriage that fills me with contentment on normal days and joy on the extraordinary ones. We argue and feelings get hurt, but respect is always present and once things are resolved, we move on. All I ever knew was the constant worry of upsetting someone and the panic of wondering what consequences I would suffer. It took a long time to adjust, to be able to take a deep breath and accept an argument could just be about the issue at hand, and that bad things wouldn’t happen when I stood up for myself.
I am so grateful that I am married to a man with such strength and character, who loved me and hung in there until I was able to love myself.