And it’s really ironic that even though I am over two years removed from what ended up being the worst two years of my life, I still don’t like talking about it.
Substance abuse, bipolar disorder, and even suicide attempts tried to rob us of our marriage and even our lives.
My husband and I both feel like God wants us to share what we went through. We know there are people who are where we were, and are desperately needing to hear a message of hope.
But it’s not fun to revisit that time of our lives, so we don’t talk about it much.
I did write a blog post about it a few months ago, and shared what we went through a couple of times on social media, and then thought ‘There. I shared my story. I hope it helps someone.’ After all, I don’t want to overdo it, or shove it down people’s throats, or keep talking about myself and what I went through. It will just end up looking like a pity party.
God, however, apparently has other plans.
All I’ve been able to think about is how I need to do more to help women who are struggling in a home with an alcoholic spouse.
I remember back to feeling hopeless, to feeling enveloped in darkness, to feeling like it would never EVER be a happy marriage again.
I remember being worried about my kids, being terrified for my husband, and living in such a state of panic and fear that I was covered with hives for months, feeling like I was going to have a nervous breakdown at any second.
And I know there is someone….probably lots of someones….out there right now who are in that very place.
God keeps telling me that nothing good comes from silence. He is impressing upon me on a regular basis that I need to keep talking, to keep shouting my message of hope from the rooftops, until I've reached as many of those women as I can.
I also want to help these women learn how to care for themselves through all of this, and most importantly how to lean on the Lord. Because that can truly make the difference between getting through it in one piece, or not.
When I was going through it I wasn't very good at either one of those things for much of it. I felt so deeply alone.
The husband I knew and loved didn't make an appearance very often. Most of the time I lived with his counterpart, who I couldn't even have a real conversation with.
I searched for answers online. I tried to find stories of women who had been in the same situation.
I did find one whose story sounded somewhat similar. She offered up materials that I thought might be helpful.
I remember sitting there with my credit card in my hand, desperate for some direction. But her marriage had ultimately ended, and while that may have been the right choice for her and her situation, it was not the ending I wanted for myself. So my search for answers continued.
As a Christian I was seeking spiritual guidance as well, so I looked into Al-anon since they are a faith-based organization.
While I did gain some very helpful knowledge from their teachings, I could never get to a meeting because of work, or having to stay home with my young son. Plus truth be told there was a part of me that felt too embarrassed to show up there. I now know that I should have done anything I could to get there. It is SO important to be supported when you're going through this.
But I didn't, so my feelings of isolation continued.
Between the shame I felt about what was happening in my home, and the feelings of not wanting anyone to think badly of my situation (or even my husband), I kept much of it to myself. I told my friends that I didn’t want advice, and I tried to keep my extended family from realizing how bad things were.
Instead I searched the house for bottles, went through his car, threatened, yelled, and screamed in an attempt to control the situation on my own.
Until it all finally blew up into a million pieces and there was nowhere left to hide.
That is when God began his miraculous restoration.
He delivered my husband, myself, and our marriage from addiction, anger, hopelessness, hatred, trust issues, feelings of betrayal, and every other relationship-crushing problem that had made its way into our marriage.*
During that time I thought our relationship was surely destroyed, but instead we will celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary tomorrow completely in love and relating to each other better than we ever have.
Are you in a relationship that is crumbling? Do you feel sad, hopeless, lonely, or scared?
Please hear this: God can restore it.
He can breathe life into it. He can bring beauty and light back in. It’s not too late. He is a God of miracles. I’m living proof.
If you can relate to any of this, won’t you please message me? I’d love to share some hope with you.
I know how it feels to try to carry the weight of this alone. But you don’t have to.
Praying for you,
(*Please note that at no time did I feel unsafe in my marriage. If there is even the possibility of any sort of abuse in your relationship, please get to a safe place first and foremost.)
If you have a spouse whose drinking is affecting your marriage, I encourage you to pick up a copy of my devotional 'Married to Addiction'.
It was written specifically for the wife of an alcoholic by someone who deeply understands what you are going through.
Please pick it up if you feel so led.
My hope is that it will offer you some much needed daily encouragement and hope as you move through this difficult journey with your loved one.
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