Monday, December 5, 2011

Life . . . .

Wow! I haven’t posted anything since September 11 - almost three months. It’s not that there hasn’t been anything going on in my life, it’s just that the things that have been happening have left me worn out and needing to take a break from everything.

It’s been a tough year for my husband and me. Some who read this know the situation, the rest will have to remain in the realm of suspense as it’s not something I wish to discuss on the world wide web. But suffice to say, it’s been an extremely tough year. My foot injury in March was but a drop in the bucket catching the torrential downpour of pain - emotionally, physically, and financially.

We are, however, beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and with each passing day, the light grows larger and brighter. Part of that light is my husband finally admitting, and coming to terms with the fact, he is an alcoholic. After 24 years of both of us suffering through this disease, I cannot fully express my joy and relief at being able to say that the suffering, while not over, is being replaced by living. We still have a long, hard road ahead of us - as you know, an alcoholic is never cured, but has to work hard each day to maintain sobriety - and each of us continues to struggle as we work to put our life together back together, but he has fully embraced his sobriety, and I believe we are on the road to healing and recovery, as individuals and as a couple.

The changes that have come over my husband in the past eight months, both physically, mentally, and emotionally, are still a bit overwhelming. He’s lost close to 50 pounds, other physical manifestations from the abuse of alcohol have subsided, he is thinking clearly for the first time in years, he is finally beginning to understand he has a life worth living and it’s a good life. He’s a good man who really screwed up, but as I’ve told him a number of times, we are blessed that when he hit rock bottom, it didn’t bring about the injury or death of another person. For that, I am so very thankful to God each and every day.

When we slammed into the pit together, we came face-to-face with our faults as individuals and as a couple. Although no marriage is perfect, we had lost sight of who we were to one another and the respect that is suppose to accompany that relationship. Many people questioned why I chose to stay with my husband, but I tell you now, I have had to do just as much soul searching as he has, and I have had to hold a mirror up to my own face, as well. It takes two to tango, my friends. Rarely is the dying of a relationship solely the fault of one person.

We have friends who have chosen to walk away, but we have had just as many who have been willing to forgive, wrap us in their loving embrace, and give my husband a second chance. I don’t fault those who chose to leave, and I don’t wish them ill will. Just the opposite, I fully understand the choice they’ve made. I do, however, hope that maybe one day they will be able to forgive, even if they continue to choose to not have us in their lives.

Many have told me they admire my resilience, that the strength I have shown throughout these past eight months has been both admirable and astounding. I appreciate each and every one of those comments as they have sustained me during some very long, dark periods. On the other hand, it surprises me that people are astounded by my attitude.

When I vowed 24 years ago to love, honor, and cherish my husband for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health til death do us part, I meant it. Those weren’t simply words said by my pastor to be repeated, I . . . meant . . . them. Fortunately, I never stopped loving. Unfortunately, I stopped cherishing. Some may say it was inevitable given the circumstances. I say the circumstances were no excuse.

We are coming to terms with what happened, and we are slowly building our relationship again. It’s not unlike when we first started dating and were getting to know one another. We’ve been given something precious - a second chance at a better, more fulfilling relationship and life. We have been very blessed in so many ways, especially with regard to the people who have surrounded us. Certain individuals reading this will know I am talking about them, and without giving specific names, I say thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to each and every one of you. I will never be able to fully express how much you mean to me, to both of us, how much you are loved, and how so very grateful I have been for your support, love, and understanding.

One of the greatest blessings, however, is that these last eight months have led me back to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is true that in our darkest hours when we cry out to Him, He wraps us in His loving arms and saves us from ourselves. I spent the last 24 years pushing God out of my life. I spent the last eight months finding my way back to Him. The peace I have found in His loving embrace is like nothing I have ever experience before in my life. The blessings He has bestowed upon me, upon both of us, have been overwhelming, and each day brings new blessings. I am finding a foothold in a local church, and have been warmly accepted into this new family. My husband has indicated an interest in attending when the circumstances finally allow, and for this I am also so very grateful and thankful. It is my profound hope and prayer that we are able to begin our life anew with a relationship built not only on mutual respect and love, but also on a faith in God.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Psalm 73:26: “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

I have also returned to running. It’s close to two months since I started back, and am slowly building my mileage again. I have switched to Inov-8s for both road and trail as the wider toe box is more agreeable to my foot. I still have issues of minor swelling now and then, but I appear to be over the major hump.

As such, I’ve set some lofty goals for myself for 2012. If all goes according to plan, I will be running the Chuckanut 50k Trail in March, the Western States 3-Day Training Camp over Memorial Day Weekend in May, the Mt. Hood 50-Mile Trail Run with my friend, Kate, in July, and perhaps a final 50k or marathon in October/November. I don’t know if I’ll accomplish each goal, but I am thankful to finally be able to set them again.

As 2011 comes to a close and we prepare to enter the new year, I pray that God enriches your life with His blessings, and that 2012 brings you the joy, peace, and lasting happiness you so richly deserve.

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same…
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

- Rudyard Kipling, “If”


Ewa said...

Seems you've had a difficult journey. Hope your path becomes less rocky from now on. Thank you so much for your openness. For some reason seeing that other people struggle too, makes it easier to deal with our own difficulties. Lots of hugs to you.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you're back. I take it as a sign. I have a friend who said to me once, "I thank God every day for not only the blessings but the lessons I have learned." I thought she was overdramatic. Suffice it to say, I now thank Him every day for the blessings and the lessons and that he put people and situations in our lives to remind us that He is there, still on the throne, and that He give us opportunities to give back. He never fails to do so.

Anonymous said...

As a recovering alcoholic, I wish you and your husband the best. I came across your blog through your Golden Gate 50k race report link on the Coastal Trail Runs site. I am signed up for the 50k (my first ultra) to be held in February 2012. Also, I spent a couple of years "behind the redwood curtain" as a student at Humboldt State from 1991-1993.

Glad to hear that you are back running.


fatozzig said...

Thank you for your supportive comments, everyone. It truly is appreciated.

Scott - You will enjoy Golden Gate. Fun, challenging (ie lots of climbing), great aid stations, and spectacular views of SF and the Pacific. Good luck, and let me know how it goes.