The Miracle Morning, Courtesy of Hal Elrod

When I was first introduced to Hal Elrod’s book The Miracle Morning last November by one of my wife’s friend’s boyfriend (whom I am now very pleased to call my friend), I was skeptical at best. I’ve had a difficult few months, however, and I’ve been drinking heavily which has also probably affected my medications…so yeah – pretty much not great all around. I started trying to sober up about two weeks ago with little success and became almost desperate to find my way out of the hole I had created. I bought the Miracle Morning book, read it pretty quickly and thought that it might not be a terrible thing to try. So this morning I did!

I meditated, wrote in my journal, exercised, prayed and I will spend my time in the shower verbally telling affirmations to myself. Because, the truth is, I can do it. I can do anything that I set my mind to. Yesterday my brother called me and relatively forcibly told me that I need to continue my path as a plumber. He said that I need to finally start a career, I haven’t really done anything yet despite the fact that I’m almost thirty-three, etc. Well, I have extenuating circumstances between having mental illness and addiction issues. That doesn’t mean I need to limit myself to a career that, frankly, I’m not terribly interested in.

Anyway, I started making my mornings a Miracle today and I will do my best to do so tomorrow. This is also my second day of sobriety. It’s supposed to take somewhere along the lines of an hour and when I start working at Amazon next Monday I’ll need to trim my current time down. It was a good start, however, and I look forward to the rest of my day. I’m going to go to my church for coffee at ten o’clock and then clean the apartment – which I really don’t want to do but I need to learn how to do those things which I don’t want to do.

Climbing the Ladder

A fortnight ago, Dave and I went back to our home town. We walked the trail behind our high school, where we met. For 18 years we’ve walked the same path. At times: happy, heartbroken, content, angry, energized, exhausted. We’ve had so many conversations along the James River. It’s the place where Dave proposed.

There has always been a rope swing, hanging from a tree, dangling over the river. While we’ve been gone, someone’s added planks to make a ladder.

Living with an alcoholic is like watching someone climb a ladder, and holding your breath, hoping he does not fall as he struggles to the top. Falling is dangerous. It could hurt you, or someone else. There’s nothing I can do for you. A person climbs a ladder alone. I can cheer for you, pray for you, but there’s little I can actually do. 

And you fall. 

I hope you can swim. I know you can swim. I hope that you will choose to swim.

Our goals are upstream, not downstream. It’s more of a challenge. Swim, swim, swim! Floating will not get you there. You’ll drown if you do nothing.

Moreover, our goals are upstream, not at the top of the ladder. While you’re trying to get to the top of the ladder, I’m already on my journey upstream. However, I’d rather be on the same river as you then go alone.

I have accepted that you have to get to the top of the ladder. And that you may have to climb the ladder everyday. Our routes may be different but the destination is where we’ll meet.

Because I love you.

Dave: Why have you staid with me all this time?

Me: Because I love you.

This may seem like a simplistic answer, but love is hard. We’ve weathered a number of storms. I could write a novel filled with grievances, as well as mistakes as we’ve tried to re-chart our course, but I’d rather continue our journey together.  Every day we have an opportunity to succeed.

I do not want to belittle our struggle, so I will only say this: Alcoholism is a kind of vampirism. It’s not the cool, new-age vampires that are sparkly, independently wealthy, looking for centuries for that one true soulmate to grant immortality. Alcoholism sucks the soul, energy, and sanity of all of those that love you.

I believe that there is only one constant: love. Despite all that is happened, I love you. I have loved you. I always have and I always will. We met when we were children. Fell in love when we were children. You are and have always been my one true love. We’ve been together for 17 years. When we were young it seemed as though we could conquer anything. I had such faith that we would be fine, but we are not fine. Alcoholism is a disease. We are treating it as a disease. Yes, there have been relapses. You get up. You start another day. You find an AA meeting. You go to therapy. You go to work. You see the doctors. You listen to the criticism. That takes strength. And with every day, we are stronger then yesterday.

When I was young, I thought I knew everything. I thought I could handle anything. Hubris. Pride made me not ask for help. Pride kept me quiet. Pride was my only companion. I recognize now that I know very little. There is a certain kind of wisdom in that.

I cannot fix you. The only person in the wide world that I can change is myself. That is hard enough. I cannot make you get out of bed today. The loss of the job hurt us both. I worked all week. Now I am cleaning and doing laundry. You went to the treatment program last night. You got out of bed early in the wee hours of the morning to attend an AA meeting. Came home. Went to bed. You started smoking cigarettes again. The group said it was fine if it kept you from drinking. I will trust in the knowledge of others. I don’t know what I’m doing. All I can truly offer is myself. You will never be alone. Because I love you.

I also recognize that in some relationships, love is not enough. Only you can make that decision in your heart of hearts. Marriage takes hard work and commitment by both parties or it will fail. Marriage involves compromise and understanding. One has to do what is best for him or her: mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually, financially. I do not believe in divorce, nor do I judge other’s choices. This is our story. These are our choices.