My life was moving right along according to “The Plan.” I met my future husband in college, we started our careers, got married at 26, bought a house at 28, had our first baby at 30, our second baby at 32. However, somewhere along the way Tom started having an evening cocktail. Granted, he was home every evening by 6:00 and he did love the 3 of us dearly, but he had some deep rooted feelings of inadequacy. He withdrew to the backyard each evening – boy, did we have a beautiful yard. And while he did his gardening, his drinks were getting stronger and stronger. One day I had to face the fact – “Wow, I think my husband is an alcoholic.”
About this time, God planted a neighbor in my life who kept asking me to church, along with bringing the sermons on tape from her church each week. I had grown up going to church but I didn’t really know Jesus. I finally agreed to attend a weekly bible study. One word sums it up – life-changing. I wanted more of this Jesus; little did I know how much I would depend on Him in the coming storm.
Tom eventually admitted he might have a problem. I jumped right on that and found a treatment center for him. I anxiously asked the counselor each week “Is our life going to return to normal soon?” I thought once he admitted he needed help, he would be “cured” quickly. However, it was just the beginning of a long journey. Over the next few years Tom was in and out of 7 treatment centers. No amount of reasoning, crying, pleading, screaming, threatening would impact him.
Even though he was a brilliant businessman, the day came when he lost his job. During these years, God literally planted me in a group of godly women when we left our home state for a job in a new city. I began to grasp God’s perfect timing, as well as His protection, as He carefully orchestrated the love & support I would need during this hardship.
By the time Tom lost his job, I was actually grateful instead of upset. I was willing to endure the difficult consequences if it meant that Tom would finally embrace recovery. Sadly, Tom became sicker and sicker. I had to make some painful decisions, starting with separation, as the emotional turmoil in our home was too unhealthy. After agonizing for another year, I finally make the most difficult decision I’ve ever made – to divorce Tom. This was my first love, the father of our children. How could this be happening?
In these early years as a single mom I had never felt closer to Jesus. I had the best co-parent ever! Christ loved my baby girls more than I did!! And He was my Bridegroom! I consulted with Him on every little detail of the girls’ lives. It was like my Heavenly Father literally told me, “See my dear child, you don’t have to worry. I’ve got it all under control. I will give you & your daughters more than you could ask or imagine. I will be their Father.” (Ephesians 3:20, Matthew 6:25-27, 2 Corinthians 6:18).
God’s love also reminded me I was not alone. As I shared my situation with selected people, I was amazed at how many of their lives had been touched by alcoholism. And on the darker nights when sleep would not come, I would repeat, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you” (Isaiah 26:3).
I learned all I could about alcoholism, including counseling for my daughters and myself. I want to stop the cycle of addiction in my family. By partnering with the Lord, my daughters have grown into lovely young ladies with healthy boundaries.
Tom never embraced recovery, and took his life 2 years ago. It’s still very sad for me, and sometimes I still question God “why?” Tom was a good man with a terrible infliction. I believe his addiction was part of a mental imbalance in his brain, not unlike cancer. Some people heal here on earth, and some have healing in heaven. For those of us still here, we take comfort because “we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).