What About Love?

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So here it is, almost Valentine’s Day… and part of my “New Year’s Goals” was to publish a blog a month.  Well life seemed to get a little in the way as the end of one year and the beginning of another tends to be extremely busy at home, at work, and in general.  To save my sanity, I had to prioritize and with this, some of my hobbies took a back seat.  But it doesn’t mean I haven’t thought about it, or written little snip-its to use later.  So I was looking in my Notes section of my phone and found a lesson in love I had written down.  A lesson given to me by my 3 year old.  And well, as Valentine’s Day is almost here, I thought this would be a great way to refresh my blog, refresh my heart, and hopefully touch and refresh those around me.  And I hope you enjoy this short piece and stay tuned for more…

Today my almost 3 year old gave me a lesson in love. He told me he loved me after I said the same to him. My heart was of course bursting, as we all want to hear those words especially at those moments when we may least expect it (he used to just smile really big when I told him I loved him). However in the same moment he added, “but not Daddy”. I looked over and saw Dad’s shoulders slump as he was busy cleaning up the dishes among so many of the things he does for our family. I know 3 year olds say things to see what reaction it may elicit, so we didn’t dig further at this moment. And I didn’t tell him he “should” love Dad.  But apparently the lesson wasn’t over.  As I laid him down to sleep, he said it again,  “I love you, but not Daddy.” “Well I love you and Dad,”  I replied.   Then he added, “I’ll love him after I wake up from my nap.” Of course my mind started spinning as I was trying to navigate through this teachable moment. So I asked, “You can only Love one person at a time?” “Yes” he added. And I realized- I was the one who was getting schooled on big emotions that so often come from little words.  I put him down and walked out of the room, processing the conversation.  It hit me- to him, love is such a big (and complicated) emotion, he thought he could only offer it to one person at a time.  Of course we know this is not true, but in his mind and heart, when he “loves” someone it is an action that can only be directed at one person.  This gave me pause… a chance to reflect as I left his room.  It reminded me, that we should do all things wholeheartedly in the moment. Especially Love.

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Photo Cred: Jessie Lathroum @insidethepaperbox

The ghosts in our closet

So where does it all really begin- the moment I knew I was in love with an alcoholic? Well of course the signs were there, but I ignored them. You could say that I didn’t actually admit my now husband had a “problem”, until he admitted it himself. What can I say, love is blind.

J and I rarely, if ever, argued- but while examining our relationship later, our arguments were mostly centered around alcohol. These escalated after I learned about his first DUI- something I did not know about until well into our relationship. It happened before I met him. He was sent to a “program”, but like most alcoholics, it was not his last as he did not believe there was any need for change. I then helped him cover up his other transgressions (like when he showed up to my apartment after a night of drinking- most likely still drunk, with a big dent in his car for which he tried to tell me was a “hit and run” from another driver). We later argued and I began asking him a question that would later become a regular part of our arguments, “Why do you do this, you know what happens when you drink and drive? Just tell me where you are next time so I can get you, or call a cab”. This was all before the ease of Uber or Lyft, but I don’t know if it would have been different because he honestly could not answer the question- a hallmark of an addict. I should also tell you that these arguments ended in me giving him an ultimatum- “if it happens again, I’m leaving”. Well we’ve been married for 5 and together for 10. Why? It’s complicated of course. But I can tell you about the day I flew back home from a weekend bachelorette party in NYC and he was very quiet as I rolled my suitcase up to the car. The hair started to tingle as I got in the passenger seat and my palms grew sweaty as I tried to flashback to the night before in which, yes, I myself was now suffering a hangover and tried desperately to remember if I called him in my own inebriated state and said something I shouldn’t have. Then he dropped the bomb, “I have something to tell you… I was out at a bar last night watching (insert sport of choice) and was pulled over for driving only 30 in a 40 and refused a breathalyzer so was taken in for a blood test, spent the night in jail, and have been issued another DUI. I understand if you want to leave me.” Well I knew in that moment, I loved this man for better or for worse, and in this worse moment- I was not going anywhere. We told no one and lived our lives as “normally” as possible, until the case was settled- 1 year without a license, community service, and classes for multiple offenders. At this point we obviously had to tell people. His mom of course was silent with anger. His Dad offered to help out and be available to drive him when necessary. The few co-workers he told, was so he could arrange a ride to and from work and to see his clients. My own parents were very supportive from the distance in which they live (my Dad has been known to get behind the wheel himself). I drove him to his community work program every Saturday during this time. We would come back from weekend trips early to get him to his “multiple offender classes”. Oh, and watched helplessly as the 2 cops that showed up at our door 1 day put him in the backseat of their car stating a warrant for his arrest. I called his lawyer, who asked if Jamie had been following his program, which he had. He was released several hours later… apparently a “glitch” in the paperwork they were receiving, or rather didn’t receive from the program so it was thought he wasn’t meeting the requirements. And then, just like the sun rises and sets everyday, that year ended, and we moved on…

J proposed (finally!) and we began planning the wedding of our dreams. We continued to enjoy drinking socially, as most people do, and while certain situations made me nervous (usually a round of golf with day drinking) there were only 2 other incidences that I can recall, where I received the dreaded phone call where he was drunk and I knew he was driving around and I couldn’t find him. I of course would threaten to leave, but we would kiss and make up and there was always a promise to never do it again that I always wanted so badly to believe. And I did try, even as I walked down the aisle into his arms.

Next… the promise actually kept….

The Hard Truth

Hi-I’m Megan and I married an alcoholic. I should also say I married my soulmate and most amazing person I know.

It’s taken me a long time to start this blog- 5 years to be exact. Why so long you ask? Well being vulnerable is never easy, especially when licking fresh wounds… but I want to share my story about what my life looks like now after clean living for 5 years- one day at a time. It’s real, it’s raw, it’s human (to quote my favorite Barre Class @alkalignme). It’s about opening yourself to the possibilities that come when you decide to make change- you can’t support someone in their biggest life transformation without changing yourself. It’s not about perfection, but about progress through learning, and leaning into the unknown.

So come along with me in my journey and share your own experiences as I share mine. And don’t worry… I’ll catch you up first in my next post.