Mrs. Bgddy and I will celebrate Seventeen years of marriage tomorrow, this year having been the best of all of them (Including the initial honeymoon year). This is a big deal to me… Not only is seventeen years of marriage something to celebrate, to have the latest one be the best is exceedingly cool.
Now, I’m not going to gush poetically about my wife, I’ll keep our celebration private, but I did want to make a couple of points about our marriage:
First, if you’ve followed my blog for any length of time you’ll notice that I celebrate a lot. I celebrate my sobriety date, the entire month of November. I celebrate birthdays, my cycling anniversary, my wife’s special days, my kid’s special days, our anniversary, successes at work… and when I’m not celebrating special days I’m celebrating life in general. Sure I have down times and times when I’m struggling, I’m not perfect (I’m very much human) but I have one specific advantage that helps me to celebrate life in a manner that’s tough to grasp for many people: My alcoholism, or more specifically, my recovery from it. Alcoholism was killing me. It isn’t like cancer, a disease that destroys the body. Alcoholism is in some ways much better and in others, much worse. Alcoholism isn’t just a disease that kills the body, it destroys the soul. It has the host give up everything the person loves in life, everything that is good, before it kills you. Some say that the disease strips all that is good from a person, and while I understand that take, I choose to look at it a little differently: That I gave everything away for a drink (or several as the case was). Looking at it this way puts the onus on me, where it belongs. Viewed this way, I am not a victim of alcoholism, I was a willing participant. While it can suck to give up the ability to be a victim, it is also freeing simply because taking ownership of my choices means I can do something to correct it. With the help of other recovering drunks who were made whole before me, I was able to reverse the destruction. Put simply, recovery from the disease that could have destroyed me became the very thing that makes life so sweet. It became a fantastic reason to enjoy life.
Second, my wife and I work very hard at our marriage. Things weren’t always so good and cheery – there was a time where we were very close to divorce. My two biggest faults here were that I wanted to enjoy the married life while still maintaining the freedoms accorded only the single. To put it simply, I wanted to have the best of both a married and single life. This is a selfish way to look at marriage and I continuously have to maintain vigilance so I don’t slide back to that behavior. The other is a little more complex. My wife had her faults and as a reaction to those faults I held back (rather than celebrating them because were it not for her faults, she’d have chosen a better man). I never invested myself fully in the marriage for fear it would end up like so many others, in divorce. While this may not seem like such a big deal, holding back is like purposely introducing cancer to a marriage. A few years ago, with all of our faults on the table, we decided to stop the finger-pointing we had one simple choice to make: Stay together or divorce. We both chose to stay together, which meant quitting those practices that kept a wedge between us. We both chose to work on walking the right path every single day, to the best of our ability and it is paying off.
Life is, indeed, good.