If you are a linear thinker, you’ll like me for this. In order to tell our story, I ought to begin where it did. Yes, I’m going to talk about our story beginning when we, as a couple, began. No, I do not want my feminist friends to shake their heads and think I believe my life began when I met my husband. You know better. It’s just that all things before that point are mostly irrelevant to this blog.
Call me crazy, but I married my husband almost a year to the day after meeting him. It’s okay, we have 7 dogs and 6 cats; we get called crazy all the time. There have been times I’ve questioned my own sanity for this, I won’t lie, but most days I wake up with my rose-coloured glasses on and am grateful to have married my best friend.
We had a strange start. No really, unless you’re an addict that married another one, we had a rougher, stranger start than you could probably understand. I was hustling at a job I won’t mention on this blog, and it was killing my soul. I had just left a teaching job and moved to Toronto, and my husband had just lost his parents and was living a slightly insane life with his inheritance. We were both in a state of chaos and excess, and the blur that was our partying beginning would easily qualify as a “war story” in recovery circles. I don’t have anything to prove these days, so we’ll leave it at that.
The Hub took me in, got me out of the hell that I was calling life, and we happily went about domesticating each other. Sort of. We walked our three dogs, we bought a parrot, we laughed our way around the city and took the ferry to the island and biked around. To our visiting friends and family, it probably appeared either idyllic or Gatsby-esque, as we slipped into the hot tub and gazed out at the lake, giggling, every night.
We talked fast, we walked fast, and we laughed even more quickly. We were two peas in a little padded pod. But in the background, a tempest was tearing down every wonderful memory, trying to chew them to pieces before they could even solidify in my soggy brain.
Not long after we were married, the biggest challenge to our marriage and sanity reared it’s head and refused to be ignored: I had an actual drinking problem, and it wasn’t cute anymore. I drank, I raged, and I woke up with no memory of any of it. I was a tornado, tearing everything around me to shreds, while sitting peacefully oblivious in the eye of my own destruction. Like myself, my addiction moved quickly, and I hit a bottom that left only death as the unexplored consequence.
Not many new spouses would put up with the gruesome darkness I drove our marriage into, but I’ve been graced with family that doesn’t quit, and my husband is no exception. My parents got me into rehab, my husband stood by my side, and I got my first six months under my belt. I stood up proudly, and then fell down. I stood, I wavered, I fell. I stood, I wavered, I fell. Even I was getting sick of myself after two years of this pattern, and that became my turning point: I got sick and tired of being sick and tired of myself. I was exhausted from the guilt.
Of course nothing was this simple, and if I’m brutally honest, the Hub isn’t innocent either, but this is MY blog, and it’s not my place to confess the sins of others. I’ve been sober for about a year now, and it dawns on me that my marriage began in the midst of the most chaotic and ugly part of my life, but as my father said in his toast at our wedding, sometimes things DO move from chaos to order. Our marriage was my Big Bang.
We’re not perfect, but we’re still here. We’re the family we chose for ourselves, and we’ve been through beautiful turmoil since marriage, and continue to go through it hand in hand. We’re assholes in remission, I like to say. At first glance, it may seem that I’ve put on my rose-coloured glasses and refuse to take them off, but the truth of it is that I choose to look at the world through my gratitude these days, and that is how I keep grace in my life. In my vows I promised to see him through my love every day, and in turn I’ve come to realize that he’s done just that for me– even when the sight of me would have made most turn away. I’m grateful to have my best friend by my side every day.