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Providing non-judgmental and non-criticizing support for family and friends of end-stage alcoholics through one-on-one coaching, support groups, blog posts, workshops and public speaking.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Harmony's Success Story

My guest poster, Harmony Rose, is the wife of an alcoholic who allowed forgiveness to set her free. She submitted her story to me in response to requests for success stories. A link to her book is at the end of this post.

This is Harmony's story:

I can honestly say “Love at first sight” is where our story begins. When my husband
and I met it was as though time stood still. Our relationship moved very fast.  After three months of dating my daughter and I moved in with him.  He had three other children and a grandchild.  My husband and I went to the bars often and although I wouldn't drink he did and he would become very intoxicated. We had fun, we played pool, we played darts, he never went without me at first, but that all changed.

We were together for a year & a half when I had to have major surgery to remove my left adrenal gland and a large tumor, it was adrenal cancer. Seven days after my surgery was the first time my husband stayed out all night drinking and didn't come home.  That is when everything started to change.  You see for once I needed him to take care of me, it took me months to recover but when I couldn't focus all my attention on him he abandoned me.  We were married three years.

If I had to hit on the key notes of our life I would say it would be this. I mostly tried to raise the kids myself (including my stepchildren but that is a whole other story entirely) he went from drinking at home to going out to the bars.  Some nights he would come home some he wouldn’t.  Sometimes he gambled his paychecks away I would never know what to expect because life with an alcoholic is a roller coaster ride!

Things progressively became worse over the years as did his drinking.  I was becoming more bitter & resentful. I never could understand how this man could drive a car home so drunk and never get caught.  One night I got the phone call after 12 ½ years of his binge drinking that my prayers had finally been answered he had been arrested for a DUI.  I thought now things are going to change they will get better we can be happy.  Boy was that putting the cart before the horse. The first few months were okay the tension was lifted he went to a treatment program for 5 weeks then started AA meetings.  At about 3-4 months he started becoming worse than when he was drinking and this baffled me, why was he not getting better, was he secretly drinking? Nope he was what is called a “dry drunk”.  You see although he was actively in AA he now thought he had all the answers and he was so high on the “pink cloud” they talk about that his ego was bigger than he was.
Selfishness and self-entitlement are a big factor in alcoholism.  My husband continued to not drink but that was the only change he made he wasn't making any internal changes emotionally.  If you can imagine the first ten months of sobriety were far worse than when he drank. The lies, abandonment, verbal abuse, blame, and finally the infidelity that about killed me!  How is it that my husband the “sober alcoholic” was far worse than the “drunk alcoholic”?  We separated, he moved into another room in our home after his indiscretion and he needed to decide if “he” wanted to be married to me anymore.  This is where I contemplated taking a bottle of pills so I wouldn't feel the pain.  Instead of doing that I decided to surrender which led me to an amazing spiritual experience.  I put the pills down and suddenly I felt a warm sensation flow through my body slowly from my head down to my toes as if I was being hugged from the inside out.  After that and talking with my therapist I realized I never truly forgave my husband for anything so for the first time in my life I gave him complete forgiveness for it all, the lies, the abuse, the infidelity, the abandonment, the neglect, everything.  I could have walked away at that point but instead I chose to stay and love my husband stronger and deeper than I ever had before because I wasn't giving up on our marriage or on him.  I knew deep down that my husband wasn't my husband it was the alcoholism it was the disease, he was a very sick man.

So I began showing love at every turn even when my husband couldn't I stayed strong.  A few weeks after that my husband’s sponsor had him read something in the big book of AA that touched him differently this time.  That evening I came home from work to find that he had moved back into our bedroom.  This was our chance to start over, or at least I had hoped.  That was September “2013’’ three months later for Christmas my husband got a ring got down on his knee & asked “will you marry me again”!  June of “2014” we renewed our wedding vows on our 11th wedding anniversary.  We have now been together almost 15 years.

I actively go to 2 meetings with my husband every weekend & I support him 100%.  I am so proud of the man he is today! He is my best friend the absolute love of my life. He has been clean & sober for 2 years 5 months now.  We are more in love and happier than we have ever been. We hope to inspire others to know that addiction doesn't have to mean the end & recovery can mean a whole new beginning. We are proof that miracles do exist you just have to believe and hold on to hope! We have rebuilt our marriage, our life, and our family that was once destroyed by alcoholism.  If you ask my husband or read my book this is what he will say “My wife never gave up on me. When I thought I was dead inside it is she who saved me from myself”

My book is titled Married Under The Influence my author name is Harmony Rose it is my memoir of what life was like for me being the wife of an alcoholic.  Thank you for letting me share.  I hope you take the time to read our whole story it is full of strength, hope and forgiveness!

                                                                                         Best Wishes, Harmony

Here is one link to my book: http://bookstore.archwaypublishing.com/Products/SKU-000731704/Married-under-the-Influence.aspx. You can also find it on Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, and Google the title other links will pop up.

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