A Year of Sobriety

Last year on this very day, Sam stopped drinking. It’s been a year of sobriety for us.

Tonight I sit in somewhat awe of where we are. How much our life has changed. In a million years, I would have never imagined this. The Army, El Paso, being so hot you can feel the sweat slide down your back, pursing my dream of writing, working on our marriage and parenting, and sober.

For most of our marriage the thought of “If Sam would only stop drinking my life would be perfect” crossed my mind on almost a daily basis. 7 1/2 years of that.

Well, it isn’t perfect. It never will be and that’s ok. But it’s so much better than I really ever could have imagined.

When he stopped drinking, I suddenly realized that so many other problems had been swept under the (to class it up) beer keg. Suddenly I had to take responsibility for my actions – ones I’d justified forever because he drank.

This past year has been a real come-to-Jesus meeting, as my dad likes to say. Quite literally. I’ve been humbled and humiliated at times to realize how much I didn’t help the situation we found ourselves in. I’ve been quite shocked to find that alcohol had such a hold on me that I only see looking back. How much it seemed to depress me as a mother, wife, and person. It changed me. Alcohol ruined so many of my memories.

Even though she’ll never remember her first 10 months, one day I’ll apologize to Bella for what we did. How we acted with her around. In a sense, attachment parenting became the apology and answer to my guilt for now.

As for Sam and I – where do I begin? There is so much more understanding between us. We still fight and lose our tempers (and yes, I still nag some) – but beneath it is a sense of belonging to each other. I saw how much he wanted to go back into the military, and I was willing to make the sacrifices again to let him do so. I know what this could entail one day and I’m willing to stand beside him proudly knowing that this makes him whole.

He takes an interest in my work, my love of writing. Something I always wished he would do. In fact, the other day (unprompted) he read the Keeping Romance Alive post and told me how funny and true it was. He encourages me to go to conferences, to take time to write and pitch. Never once has he complained about the effort some of this has taken.

As a kind of reminder of how far we’ve come, I set up a page on here for our journey with alcoholism. There you’ll find links to sites that may help, books, and all my posts that talk on it. My email is there for anyone at anytime to just vent or ask advice. I’ll never judge because I get it. All I want to do is help someone to understand they are not alone – and it’s your choice alone what you do. Whether you live or know an alcoholic, or think you might be one.

Our life is not perfect. It’s perfectly ours. I have said it before, and I’ll say it again. I am happy here. It may be 100* out every day. It may be a tad boring. There are many times I wish he didn’t have to work 16 hour days right now.

It’s our life though. And I love it. I know what it could be, because I’ve lived the flip side already. I hold on to our moments – sober and together – and try to focus on what we’ve built this past year. What God had and has in store for us is amazing, I know it. And no matter what comes my way, I’m holding onto that.

Look where we are – how could I say anything else?

 

Comments

  1. Amazing. Congrats on that year of sobriety. That’s such a precious thing. :)

  2. So happy for you and your family. Truly.

  3. Congratulations!
    It’s so nice to be able to look back on a crappy time in our lives and see how far we’ve come, and how much we’ve grown up because of it.

  4. Congrats to you BOTH. Have you ever seen the movie “Terms of Endearment”? Emma (played by Debra Winger) is facing separation from her cheating husband (Flap) and he says to her “I don’t know who I am if I’m not the man failing Emma.”

    We base a lot of our lives on other people. We create our identities around that. My mother was the wife of an alcoholic for decades. When my parents finally divorced, my dad went on to be happy because he found someone that tolerated his habits. My mother, on the other hand, went on the flounder and still has not found happiness 20 years later. She spent her life in “if only” mode and then when she lost that, she didn’t have an identity of her own.

    Thanks for being honest. This is important stuff to share.

    • Unbelievably – I never have seen that movie. But now I really want to. For the longest time my whole life as wrapped up in Sam and his addiction. And it was so strange to have that suddenly gone, then him joining the military again to live his life – and me just kinda tagging along. And now with writing and being able to do all this – it’s just changed my outlook completely.

  5. TheNextMartha says:

    That is an amazing accomplishment. I think it’s great that you have been able to come this far in a year.

  6. What a wonderful post. Congratulations on the sobriety. It took a lot for you to share that and I applaud you for being so open. Sending good thoughts and prayers for continued recovery — for ALL!

  7. Congrats on one year. You two are awesome. ((hugs))

  8. Love this! I am so happy for you guysit takes a lot to work through things together.

  9. This is so wonderful! I love that you are sharing your journey with us. These posts will help change someone’s life. Alcoholism is so often hidden by one or both of the spouses involved that I just know these posts are going to feel like a safe friend to other women out there struggling with this issue. Thank you for keeping it real. For sharing “you” with us because we’re all smitten :)

    • You know, I wish I had been brave enough to say something while it was happening. I hinted at it, but I knew the mess it would cause so I left it alone. But I do wish I had said something sooner, and I can only reach out now as I get well and try to help others.

      And thank you. I’m pretty smitten with you too even though we still haven’t Skyped yet…

  10. I am so happy that your family is celebrating one year of sobriety. I have a cousin who is a recovering alcoholic and alcohol took probably 8 years away from him and his three kids; he’ll never get that time with them back. It was extremely rough on my family, especially my dad and I because we gave him a home to stay at when he lost his job, wife and home because of drinking. I have seen the destruction alcohol can cause in a family and I am so, so happy that your family has been free of it for a year. Here’s to many, many more sober years. <3

    • This story is sadly so typical. So many of us lose years to alcohol – and sometimes we’re not even the addicts. This past year has been amazing.

  11. What an incredible accomplishment for your family. You are both brave to continue on the journey together and your daughter will thank you for it as will the rest of the world because there are two happier, more content people to add to it.

  12. I just love you to pieces. So proud of you & your family. What an inspiration you are to so many, & what a testament to unconditional love & the vow of marriage.

  13. I remember reading about your journey. I’m so so glad for how far yall have come. Especially (selfishly) because it’s brought you to EP where I can visit you now :-D

  14. What a blessing you both are to each other. It’s amazing the type of clarity that can come from walking through something so difficult. The most important thing is that you did it together!
    Miss Bella is one lucky little girl to have such wonderful parents!
    So happy for you, Diana!

  15. So happy for you and your family. It’s such an inspiration to watch your journey.

  16. Woohoo! Yay for Sam & you. What a wonderful accomplishment. So happy that you’re both is a much better place today because of it.

  17. Amazing. You and Sam are amazing. I can’t believe it’s been a year!

  18. I’m going to be a bit selfish here and ask that you never stop blogging. Sorry, I just enjoy your down right straight up honesty. Reading your blog is so refreshing to know that there are real people out there that write what they really feel instead of what someone wants them to write or feel.

    A few weeks back I stalked your blog and read about the big “I’m leaving” etc. It made me fall in love with you. You are a good woman to stand by your man, you are a strong woman for deciding that something had to change.

    I loved reading about how far y’all have come. It’s a huge accomplishment!

  19. Congrats! Sounds like a long, difficult, and extremely worthwhile journey you’re both on. So happy for you.

  20. Still giggling over the “come to Jesus meeting” lol. Congratulations on the year of sobriety. I know how hard that is, and I am so glad you guys are finding your happiness. I just hope that the heat will eventually drive you back closer to us :)

  21. Good for you. for both of you. for fighting for what was important and finding a way through it instead of away from it.

  22. I’ve been silently following you since around the time Bella was born and just wanted to pop in and say CONGRATULATIONS on one year of sobriety.

    xoxoxo

    • Thank you!!! And it gives me such a thrill to see someone pop out of lurking – thanks for sticking around through the mess for so long!!

  23. Congrats on your “new” life! It sounds like you both are doing a great job making everything better. =)

  24. Thank you.

  25. I heart you momma. You’ve done so much soul searching and realizing so many things about yourself as well this year. How far you have come is a real testament to your true character. And that Sam, he’s one great guy! It takes a lot of courage for the two of you to do what you’ve done this year, and to share in with the world, that’s giant as well. Thanks for always making no apologies and saying how it is, and taking us along for the rid. I’m sure you’ve helped so many people along your own family’s journey. Can’t wait to see where your dreams and wishes take you next. (I won’t mind if they take you to the PNW someday ;) )

  26. You guys have done amazing things in the past year! Seriously! What an accomplishment for you both. Congrats to your whole family :)

  27. How did I miss this post? Congrats on one year of being sober! I’m so glad you stuck it out, made the necessary changes, and came out better on the other side.

    I sure do wish I could say the same. I hate thinking about this subject but after blogher the discussions with my therapist are back. I have to stop drinking. For good. But I don’t know how.

    • It’s not easy. You’ll be in my thoughts and prayers, and I’m here to chat if you ever want to talk. It wasn’t just Sam that struggled with alcohol.

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