the couple with problems pt. 2
Before you begin reading this post check out pt. 1.
As fall of 2017 began I started focusing on myself. I loved Alan, but I couldn’t make decisions for him. I am only responsible for myself and my child. Work, being a mom, and working out became my day in and day out routine. I would see Alan only to swap Mitchell for a couple hours. It seemed to be the beginning of the end.
The next few months seem like a blur. In October I received a phone call from Alan’s dad that Alan had been in a car accident… Yes, he had been drinking. He was charged with Driving Under the Influence and spent the night in jail. This was another moment of disbelief. My heart hurt for him, I wanted to come to the rescue, I wanted this to be his rock bottom, I wanted him to wake up in that jail and never drink again. But what I wanted is not what happened.
I began to see a counselor that helped me shape my image of Jesus, grace, view of myself, and the truth about addiction. I found hope and strength through many books and lots of scripture. I worked through anger and frustration of "why me, why was my marriage failing, why why why." But ultimately, I chose joy in the midst of my chaos.
In November I gave Alan an ultimatum, "If you want to see Mitchell then you will need to go rehab." His drinking had escalated and I was starting to set healthy and safe boundaries for Mitchell and I. When I told Alan he could not see Mitchell until he got professional help, he gave me the silent treatment. He has always known that is what hurts me the most. I like to talk things out and so for him to not speak to me for 10 days was very difficult. To be very honest, during those 10 days I met with an attorney. I wanted to know my rights with Mitchell and I wanted to be prepared for the worst. I didn’t know what his next move was going to be and so I did what I thought was right.
By Thanksgiving weekend he was on his way to rehab in Florida. I took a trip to NYC with my family and the day before Thanksgiving I was on the 14th floor of a hotel looking out my window with the view of Central Park. I had anxiously been waiting for a phone call from Alan. I remember the phone call like it was yesterday. His voice was weary and tired, and I didn’t know when we were going to speak again. What many people don’t know is that he checked into rehab on his 27th birthday. Never did I think we were going to be spending his birthday and Thanksgiving Day like this. Those next 30 days were painful yet filled with hope. We spoke every single day and for the first time he was sober for an extended amount of time. I felt as if I had my husband back. I thought this was it, he had hit rock bottom and we were going to start building our life again.
I always said to family and close friends, "I love Alan and as long as he is trying to be sober and get help I’m willing to stand by him." But there were those moments when it seemed he loved his addiction more than anything else, and because of that, I started planning for the worst.
The day Alan flew home from Florida I waited at the airport for him. Mitchell, his mom and I watched him walk down the baggage claim. I was so excited, yet so hurt. I couldn’t believe we were days away from Christmas and this is how I’m spending another holiday; wrapped up in his addiction waiting for him. BUT HE WAS SOBER. That was all I wanted.
I asked him to go back home with me for the holidays. I wanted everything to go back to normal, but when you set boundaries with an addict you can’t just go back to normal. Nothing will be normal again. We spent Christmas in Arkansas with my family who was incredibly accepting and wanted us to be together. Shout out to my family, they walked through hell and back with us and allowed me to make my own choices, opened their homes up to me, allowed me to work for them, and were always there through this entire process.
Once Christmas was over Alan and I had a long conversation about our living situation. He was still living with his parents and I was still living with mine. He was ready for us to move in to together. I wasn’t. I didn’t trust him. I mean, he did tell me about 100 times he’d never drink again. How was I suppose to believe this time was actually it? I was so skeptical and afraid of getting hurt again. I stood firm on my decision that until he could stay sober for an extended amount of time, we were going to keep our living situation the same.
January 5th, 2018, two and a half weeks after rehab, Alan relapsed. Once again a living nightmare. I couldn’t believe this was happening. It was the vicious cycle starting all over again. Just as I began to let a few walls down I had to put them all back up again. I was done. I was past being hurt; I was mad and ready to move on. I couldn’t keep riding this emotional rollercoaster. I no longer was speaking to him. If he or his family wanted to see Mitchell, I would contact his mom or sister. I was done being friends, searching for hope, and being an encouraging voice. I couldn’t handle working, having Mitchell full time, and a drunk husband playing games with me... But that’s my clear and sober mind, for Alan it was completely different. He couldn’t just stop drinking. What we think will be rock bottom isn’t most alcoholics rock bottom. Over the next few weeks we slipped back into our previous routine. Speaking only when needed to talk about swamping Mitchell and payments that were needed to be made.
Thursday January 25th, 2018. 10:45 AM. I received a phone call from my sister in law. She stated that she was on her way to pick up Alan from his job because he had shown up to work intoxicated at 10:00 AM that morning. I am very thankful for his boss. Instead of calling the cops, she called a local pastor that was over the Celebrate Recovery Program. My sister n law took Alan to his parent's house where he continued to drink until he passed out. The pastor of Celebrate Recovery and his parents showed up to the home and tried to come up with a plan to hopefully get Alan help. Once Alan woke up from his drunken state, he was faced with a decision to go to a detox center. He was going one way or the other-- he could go by cop car or voluntarily. Alan proceeded to go to a detox center in Downtown Dallas and spent the night there. He says to this day that he would rather go to jail then back to that place. The next morning I called him and we had a few brief words but we were both so removed from each other that we did not have much to say.
I had received an email from my attorney earlier that month, I responded to her while Alan was still in the detox center with this: "It has been a tough couple of weeks. I am going to hold off just a little bit longer. Hoping for a miracle." This email sticks out so vividly because I truly had nothing to hold on to. Our relationship was nonexistent and I had no idea how life was going to play out of the next few months. That same week I really felt the month of July being pressed on my heart. I kept feeling like the Lord was saying to be still until July, to let him work these next couple of months. I had no idea if we would be together by July, if Alan would be in jail, or if we were going to be back together. Literally, I had no idea what my future held.
Earlier, starting in February, Alan started going to Celebrate Recovery every week, he met with a counselor who specialized in addiction, got a sponsor, worked at a metal and steel warehouse for minimum wage (his sister took him back and forth because he couldn't drive for 90 days), and he was trying to build his life. I was very distant and at my end, so all of this hard work he was putting in still made me skeptical because he had tried to be sober so many times before... but each week it seemed like he was changing for the good.
At the end of April, Alan was sentenced to two years probation for is DUI. That very same day, his sponsor called him with a potential job opportunity in downtown Dallas. This was a great opportunity for Alan to start making more money and provide for all of us.
In May, Alan and I had a conversation about our future. I truly felt like, for the first time, I had my husband back. I didn't realize how long he had been "gone." It was like we were starting to date all over again, and since we were separated we had to plan out times to see each other... and seeing each other included meeting with a couples counselor and dinner. Date night definitely looked a lot different. I was hopeful and proud of who he was becoming.
Since he had been sober for almost 5 months, we made the decision to try our marriage one more time. We looked for a place to move into together, close to his new work, and we found ourselves at the end of June moving in to together... starting our new future together. By July 1st, 2018, I had my family again. I had a husband who was sober, I had my daughter who was healthy, and my dreams of owning my own business were actually coming true. July was here and it was far more than what I ever could have imagined.
I am happy to say Alan has been sober since that night at detox. The season was hell and I had to rely on Jesus, family, and friends for everything, but I am forever grateful to see how far we have come. We have new challenges and struggles that come our way daily, and I don't know what the next 10, 20, or 30 years are going to look like, but I do know today we are stronger than yesterday.
Alan, I am forever honored to be your wife and partner.
You have taught so much and I love you more today than ever before.