I found out when I was 23 that my mother had a problem with alcohol, and my perspective on life changed quickly. Learning what I was told as a kid wasn’t true turned my world upside down, and watching my mom's battle with alcohol was one of the hardest things I’ve ever dealt with. My mother eventually got sober, but died in the hospital during a liver transplant. I had just had a baby, and the devastation of losing my mother took its toll. Shortly thereafter, I found myself in the same situation – this time my husband's battle with alcohol. Adam’s substance use disorder put a strain on our marriage and our life. As a couple, we slowly deteriorated, as did his health. We were barely hanging on. Finally one day -- hours away from death, Adam agreed to go to the emergency room. That was the beginning of a long uphill battle for everyone involved.
My struggles began in middle school. I was dealing with anxiety and didn’t have the tools to cope, so I dealt with it physically – by hitting things, like walls or doors. I started drinking toward the end of my senior year in high school and carried on into college. I experimented with drugs and alcohol and it became the way I handled life from there on out. The more I drank, the more I needed to drink, until alcohol became the crutch that almost took my life.
We started dating in May of 2003. We were in our early 20s, working at a radio station – it was a fun-filled romance and we did what normal 22 year olds do. We would go to clubs and bars and hang out with our friends. With all that was going on with my mom, I looked at alcohol as something that can destroy a person’s life. So I took a step back from partying, and hoped Adam would too. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.
After years of battling her addiction my mom got sober, right around the time we found out we were pregnant with our first baby. Our daughter was born in 2011, and shortly thereafter, my mother went into the hospital to have a liver transplant. Unfortunately, she died due to complications from her surgery. I was devastated and overwhelmed by having a new baby and living without my mom, and our marriage struggled even more as a result. In the beginning, Adam was a very hands-on Dad, but as his drinking got worse, he became more distant. We drifted further apart, and Adam was drinking more and lying to me about it. It came to a head when I found empty bottles hidden around the house. I had just lost my mom to this terrible disease and now my husband was putting me in the exact same position again. We started to live separate lives. He would go to work. I would go to work and take care of our daughter. We both felt alone. We both felt ashamed.
In June of 2013, Adam was headed home after a work trip. As soon as I caught sight of him coming through the door, I knew he was going to die. His eyes- his skin – everything was yellow and I knew something wasn’t right. After everything I had been through with my mom, I knew the signs. Luckily, Adam was willing to get help.
For the next 4 months we had many ups and downs ,including Adam agreeing to go to treatment.
After all the traumatic situations we had been through, we were about to be reunited.
How would we each react? How would we move forward? Could we make our marriage work?
As a couple in recovery, we have both worked hard to get our marriage back to where we thought it should be. We both knew in order to make our marriage work, we couldn’t try to control the situation and we both had to put in the work.
Curious how we did that?
We continue to tell our story so that we can give hope to people on their darkest days.