Surrender…

We went to see A Star Is Born on date night.

I thought it was supposed to be a romantic Love Story.

I had no idea it would rock me to my core.

You see…

There was a time in my life my husband was going to die.

I’m not trying to be dramatic. I just don’t want to sugar-coat it.

He was going to die.

Somewhere around the time we got married, addiction grabbed a hold of him and for seven years wouldn’t let go.

He was lost in the darkness of drugs and alcohol…stumbling and broken and ashamed and alone.

The man I’d loved my whole life was trapped.

No matter what I tried, I couldn’t pull him out. Couldn’t bring him back into the light.

Yelling. Fighting. Arguing. Reasoning. Loving. Crying. Begging. Guilting. Being unreasonable. Blaming. Counting pills. Following him. Checking up. Making excuses. Ignoring it. Praying. Pretending.

Maybe if I’m just more available? Or more loving? Maybe if we have sex more? Maybe if I just keep pushing us forward through life? Maybe if I just carry him? Maybe once we start a family?

But I was powerless.

He was going to die from this disease.

I waited for the day I’d find him unresponsive at home. Waited for the day I’d discover he killed himself. Waited for the day I’d get a phone call explaining he was in a car accident.

I would’ve been devastated, of course, but not surprised.

I was just waiting, really.

He was going to die.

That movie made all those memories come flooding back.

I sat for most of the movie with my hand clasped over my mouth. Then we walked out in silence. It was the first time we ever walked out of a movie without holding hands and leaning into one another and saying things like, “Oh that was sooo good, wasn’t it?” or “Want to go get ice cream?”

I didn’t even cry until we were home.

And as we lay quietly next to one another before bed in the dark I turned to him and whispered, “I thought you were going to die.” And he softly replied, “Me too.”

We huddled there in our big bed holding hands and praying together as warm wet tears spilled onto my pillow…then made love like he had just returned from the darkness.

I fell asleep thinking about one night more than ten years ago.

A night on call at the hospital when I hit my knees next to the bed and cried.

Bawled.

Loud and long and wailing until my voice was hoarse and my whole body hiccupped and shook like a two-year-old having a temper tantrum.

Then I lifted my hands and prayed.

“I’m giving this to You. I’m giving this to You. I’m giving this to You.”

Over and over and over and over.

I had prayed before, of course. I had ‘handed it over’ to a Higher Power as Al-anon instructed me to do. But I had always immediately taken it right back.

This night was different. I was done.

Done.

I was broken. Our marriage was broken. He was broken.

He was going to die.

It was My Breakdown Moment.

My Surrender.

And then nothing happened, really.

It was six months or a year later before he went to rehab for a second time and we separated and I assumed it was over. Our marriage was over.

He was going to die.

But then, somehow…

Days turned into weeks turned into months turned into years.

And he is here.

He is sober.

He is whole.

We are whole.

He walked right back into the light.

It feels like forever ago. It feels like yesterday…

The morning after our movie date I sat at our big dining table serving oatmeal to the kids. My husband rounded the stairs into the kitchen and flashed me this giant smile.

His smile.

And I had to catch my breath…he is here.

Alive.

The answer to my desperate Breakdown Moment prayer.

I could feel God pressing into me…

I was listening, Mikala. I was right there with you…with both of you all along. THIS is the answer.

And suddenly this Ordinary Life we live is SO BEAUTIFUL.

This house, these kids, this family, this amazing man bathed in the light is EVERYTHING I’ve ever wanted.

THIS is my answer…

Maybe we need to let go to hang on.

Maybe we need to breakdown to be whole.

Maybe we need to surrender…

And maybe, just maybe, THIS life is a true Love Story.

 

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

 

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24 thoughts on “Surrender…

  1. Omg Mikki! I had no clue! I am so sorry for all you went through, but am so happy for you giving it up to God and your life now! Spent some time with Cassidy a few weeks ago and we both said how much we wish you lived closer and how proud we are of you and your writing. Please know that I pray for you and Dan and his continued success in beating his addiction. I love you two and miss you! Patsy

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    1. Patsy I WISH I could’ve just been more honest during that time. With Cassidy especially…I couldn’t trust Dan to drive the kids anymore. But I was so worried about how I looked. How we looked. I MISS you girls so much!!! I am so grateful to have this amazing family forever in my corner. Love you too!

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  2. This movie really touched me too, but for different reasons. My dad is a recovering alcoholic and I saw so much of him in Jackson. Gaga’s character really spoke to me as well, also for different reasons – about following our dreams. I’m so glad that you and your husband are in a good place now, even if it took a while and a long path to get here.

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    1. Britt thank you so much for reading and sharing YOUR story. Alcoholism is EVERYWHERE and touches so many lives. And Bradley Cooper’s character?? I cannot get him out of my head. Thank goodness God is with us in this messy life. Thank goodness He redeems. And thank goodness He is walking with you on your path to your dreams!

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    1. Thanks so much for reading! Strangely I forget sometimes of the journey we’ve been on…caught up in the day to day stuff over the years. That movie reminded me to be grateful for this small, ordinary stuff of life. We were SO CLOSE to losing it all. I appreciate you taking the time to comment!

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  3. So good. My husband and I walked through something a little similar, but not quite, years ago and we are still on that journey. It isn’t the great ending, yet, but it’s better and it’s getting there. Thank you for sharing this all and putting it out there in such a raw way. I need to add your blog to my blogroll so I can keep following.

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    1. Thanks so much Lisa…I appreciate that. We spent a long time wrapped up in some difficult years, but truly there was so much goodness there too. We celebrated holidays and welcomed babies and took vacations and laughed and loved. Even in the middle of the hard there was always love and something to be grateful for. This is my great hope for you as you continue on this journey together. Remember progress, not perfection!!!

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  4. I had the same reaction when we went to see the movie. 18 years ago, I was my Danny’s bartender and we fell in love. 15 years ago, we had our first child and then got married. 13 years ago we had our 2nd baby. He drank so much his Dr told him he wouldn’t live past 40, and he was only thirty something. I had 2 older kids and the 2 younger ones and I was also taking care of my aging parents. We both turned to God, and in getting closer to Him, we grew closer to each other. My parents have both passed. We bought his father’s business. I homeschool the kids and do the bookkeeping. We use the business for ministry– mainly for kids. My sister tried to commit suicide by taking 85 Oxys and 15 xanax in September, 3 days after the anniversary of the suicide of another sister, who hanged herself in 89. I kept my eyes closed at the end of the movie– I KNEW he was going to kill himself. Such a powerful movie, especially now that the magnitude of the opioid epidemic is starting to be felt. (My one sister was addicted to valium and was getting it 3 years after her prescription ran out. My other sister had been getting around 600- 800 pills a month for years.) Thanks for sharing your story– I know it will give someone hope that God can change their situation! God bless!

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  5. Mikala,
    Wow… Here we are approaching 20 years post high school… And our stories are so similar. We struggled through addiction for 15 years… Scott will be sober for 4 years in a few days. So many times I gave it over to God & then took it back. So thankful for His goodness and mercy. Praying for you all and thank you for being brave enough to share…I know how difficult that is. Blessings, Sara (Erickson) Nachtigal

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    1. So AMAZING to hear from you!! So awesome to celebrate 4 years!! I bet we could talk forever about that long hard road. And the constant underlying uneasiness we still fight. I remind myself over and over to hand it to God every day. So good to hear from you Sara!!!!

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  6. Thanks for sharing your story. I’m so proud of you for sharing. If enough of us share maybe addiction won’t be so shameful anymore. People will educate themselves. I’m so glad you got your husband back. With my husband it wasn’t him smile, but his beautiful blue eyes.

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    1. Thank you Tammy. It is EVERYWHERE. And there is so much shame…you are so right. Shame for the addict. Shame for the families affected by it all. I am so happy you are here. I am so happy to know I’m not alone. I couldn’t agree more…the more we share and talk about it and let people know they aren’t alone and help is available perhaps the more can find recovery. Beautiful blue eyes…

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  7. It literally sounds like you typed out my life. I am also married to my high school sweetheart & he also walked through addiction. We just turned 30 and he struggled for years after being prescribed pain medication. He had to have hip replacement surgery(due to AVN) & they tried for so long to push the surgery off that he became addicted. It was a very hard journey & I would give it to God & take it back just like you said. When I finally surrendered & prayed the same prayer you prayed my husband went to a faith based rehab and has over two years clean! It is crazy to say but I am so thankful for our journey because it brought me so much closer to God. Thank you for sharing your testimony! It brought tears to my eyes!

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  8. Yes. Surrender can be the strongest, most powerful thing we can do, especially when loving someone who suffers from addiction. I’ve been there, praying for my husband, wondering if we would be together forever or if it was all just a stupid fantasy. And then on the other side, hanging on to those ordinary moments when he’s clean and present, grateful that we’re together and recovering, together. Thank you for sharing your story!

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