In September of 2013, I kicked my husband of 10 years out of our home after I discovered the severity of the addiction he’d been fighting for years. I was left a single mother to three children under age six for nearly three months while he went to rehab. I didn’t want to believe he’d get better so I started planning a divorce, but even while we were apart, my husband held onto the belief that God would give us “a life beyond our wildest dreams.” Part 3, the final chapter, continues here…
“A Life Beyond Our Wildest Dreams”
How do you create “a life beyond your wildest dreams” out of a broken home, broken family, broke bank account and hollow well of faith?
You just let go, and let God.
You show up and suit up to healing and grieving, feeling and dealing with the pain between you and another person. You ask your higher power every single day to take away your anger. You sift through the rubble of your marriage, your heart, your broken dreams, your feeble spirit and tormented mind, and you decide what stays and what goes. Then, piece by piece, you rebuild, from the bottom up, from the soul to the surface, from the heart to the home. And along the way, you damn well better believe in miracles if you want to see them show up.
Yes, Kory went to rehab, and in spite of all my doubts, he found a way back to himself, and back to me. And I, to him. It was when I finally figured out that my hatred and anger were aimed at the disease of addiction, not Kory, that I was set free to learn how to forgive.
I don’t know how we did it. I don’t think WE did it, actually. Because, really, just in all of our raw humanness, I think it might have been absolutely impossible for two people who hurt each other so much to ever forgive. But, 10 years after that first magical fairy tale “love at first sight” night at a karaoke bar, we fell in love again, and this time, with all of each other. This time we chose to embrace the beauty, the brokenness, the hurt, the shadows, the selfishness and the pride. We granted each other “Get Out of Jail Free” cards. And, we didn’t do it by burying the past, but by walking right back through it, step by step.
There’s so much to tell between then and now, but here’s the happy ending to the story. There’s no escaping the trials and tribulations of life and death and everything in between BUT, there is this:
God gave us back to each other and that was our “life beyond our wildest dreams,” because having each other, truly having all of each other now, to bear witness to joy and pain and love and family with – that was the greatest gift.
Oh, and God also gave us another baby. Wait until you hear that story! That’s a really good one. And, Kory had his best year ever at work the next year. We paid off so many debts, and actually finally for once had this amazing thing called: A SAVINGS ACCOUNT with actual real money in it (and not just the required minimum to keep the account open)! We went on our first ever family vacation, and then another. We went back to the little Church that had taken up donations so we could have Christmas that year, and I spoke to them and said thank you and we all cried together at the miracle of us.
We went back to Kory’s Rehab Center on the one year anniversary of his sobriety and I stood next to him, 7 months pregnant, and watched a room full of newly recovering addicts and alcoholics stare at me in stunned anticipation as we shared our story. A woman in the front row began weeping when I finished, “If you feel like you’ve lost everything, maybe even your family, please know, miracles are always possible if you believe.” Afterwards, addicts and their loved ones approached us with tear-stained cheeks, and told us we gave them hope again when they most needed it, and that made even the darkest of moments we had suffered through a little bit worth it.
Kory has been sober ever since, replaced his addiction with a love for the gym, and gained 50 lbs. of muscle. He is now a very present, tender, loving, empathetic, and inspiring person, co-worker, husband and father to my children in ways I could never even have imagined. And just typing that makes me cry, because I used to cry in the shower day after day, wishing for exactly what I have now: real, honest, gritty, tender, precious love, and life.
I have never felt more courageous than I did that Fall. I have never felt more like a warrior for truth. My surrender became my salvation, and within me I found a power I never thought I had. Years of being married to an addict left me deeply scarred. I am still in “recovery,” just as Kory is. But, because we actually faced all the pain and the hurt head on together, I was able to heal more quickly than I could have imagined, and move forward into the life of our dreams.
Our children are so resilient, a few months later, once Daddy was home, it was like it never happened. One day, they will hear our story and know that we are not perfect, and they don’t have to be either. I hope that frees them, and makes them proud of how their parents fought for us.
Life is never a happily ever after, but we like to believe that ALL things work for good in our lives. It’s not always easy. The last two years have proven that. Money comes and goes. Sickness comes and goes. Postpartum depression has rocked our world most recently in ways we could never have imagined. But, we hold onto each other a little more tightly now, and we love a little harder now for how we had to fight to get here, and we kiss a little more softly now, for the thought that we almost lost all of this.
We try to savor the ordinary moments and we try to make each other laugh when all we want to do is cry at the hardness of life sometimes. It’s all crazy and scary and beautiful, too. It is our “strength, hope and recovery,” in the making, and our happily ever after is simply this: that we get to do it all together, and that in spite of our best efforts to screw it all up, God made a miracle of us and our little family.
Excerpted from my book, “The Bold Grey: Shifting Gears from Surviving to Thriving.” ©
© Copyright Megan Aronson 2015