Stories of Love Triumphing Over Addiction
With my husband, our relationship is almost like it was when we first got married. … We are working on it together. – Angie, proud graduate of the Treehouse and recovery advocate
Just about anyone who has ever struggled with addiction would attest to the wave of destruction that substance abuse has not only on addicts, but on those they love. Sadly, some of the people most deeply affected by substance use disorder are life partners of substance abusers — the people we love most and want to hurt the least, but inevitably do when drugs and alcohol are involved.
If this is a scenario that hits close to home for you or someone you love, hold onto hope: there are many romances that endure the devastation of addiction. Eddie and Ellen have experienced addiction in different ways, yet their stories are just two examples demonstrating that love truly can conquer all.
Eddie struggled with alcohol and opioid abuse, and knew the kind of toll his substance use was having on his entire family.
“My biggest challenge was trying to gain back the trust my family had lost in me over the past eight years,” he said of his journey to recovery. “My addiction to alcohol and opioids had changed me so much I didn’t recognize myself.”
He admitted that it wasn’t just he who barely knew who he was anymore — his wife could hardly recognize him, either.
“After my reliance was cast away and my vision was restored, I looked at the path of destruction I had left in my wake. All I could think was, ‘Oh my! How selfish of me!’”
Still, Eddie said he worked hard on remaining sober not only for his own sake, but for the well-being of his family — and the survival of his marriage.
“I worked on laying the foundation for the rest of my life, with or without them. I had no control, so I didn’t know what was in store for me.”
And while his hard work to stay in recovery was ultimately for himself, he said that he felt even more redeemed one life-changing day thanks to his forgiving wife.
“One day, my wife walked up to me, looked me in the eye and kissed me on the cheek. Tears filled my eyes as I looked back at her. I wanted to grab her and hold her, but was afraid. She said to me she was willing to give it another try!” he recalled. “The rest, so far, is history.”
Since then, the road hasn’t been completely without its bumps, but their love is stronger than ever.
“It’s been over a year clean and sober. She and I take stock in our blessings quite often.”
Ellen had been with her husband, Larry, for decades before alcohol became an issue in their marriage.
“He wasn’t contributing to life anymore — or the life that we had built together,” she remembered. “He stopped doing things around the house, he stopped doing things with the kids and the family. He just wanted to stay home all the time. And that meant staying home to drink.”
Ellen says that Larry’s alcoholism changed their bond, and their once solid relationship started crumbling.
“It led to fights and arguments that we never had before,” she said. “He’d promise me he’d stop. He’d tell me he’d get help ‘tomorrow.’ But tomorrow never came. I loved him, but I hated what he turned into. I wanted our relationship to work — I wanted our family to work — but his drinking was destroying it.”
Finally, Ellen had had enough. She mustered up the strength to confront her husband.
“I finally put my foot down and told him that he needed to make the choice: vodka or family. I told him there was no more ‘tomorrow’ — that he had to change today.
“That conversation and that ultimatum was so difficult, because I really didn’t know what he would do,” she continued, adding, “I told him if he went to treatment, I’d still be there when he got back.”
Ellen kept her promise — and she says she’s grateful she did. Larry successfully completed an in-patient rehabilitation program, and is holding onto his sobriety for himself and his love for his family.
“My husband has a positive attitude again. For so long it was gone. Now, he has the spunk back in his life, the kidding and the caring,” Ellen glowed. “He’s helpful around the house, he’s taking care of the dog, he’s wanting to get back into work.”
It was an unimaginably difficult time for Ellen, Larry and their family, but she said that the result of their arduous journey was well worth the battle.
“It’s really like a dream come true. For so long, I was doing everything myself. Now, I have him back to do things together.”
Whether you’re the one struggling with substance abuse or love someone who is, take heart knowing that all doesn’t have to be lost. You shouldn’t stay in an unhealthy relationship, but if you’re with someone you truly love and your only obstacle — devastating as it may be — is substance abuse, don’t be afraid to fight for them if that’s what your heart is telling you. As Eddie, Ellen and their partners prove, their can be a happy ending after all.
Share your story – or find other stories about the addiction recovery process at Recovery Well. Their organization exists to help those who are combating an addiction or watching a loved one struggle. By sharing stories, the creators of Recovery Well hope to provide hope that the fight against addiction is worth it, and life can get better. This post was written by Recovery Well.