April 25, 2010 A day of redemption

The afternoon of April 25th 2010 I woke up in the middle of the afternoon. Before my sluggish feet hit the floor, I buried my weary face in my lifeless hands. I was defeated. I was a 29 year old boy without a clue. A husband and a father of four with zero direction. I was never known as Sam the dad, Sam the husband, or even Sam the friend. I was Sam, the guy with a drinking problem. I was Sam the alcoholic. That afternoon I became Sam.

For the 10’s of people that read what I “write” should know 2 things for certain. 1: I’m a recovering alcoholic. I’ve got 4 years sober and am incredibly proud of that. 2: I’m married to my best friend. She is the most inspirational woman in my life. I write about her often. This post she asked if she could write about me. Who am I to tell her no?

My bride makes a huge, HUGE, deal out of April 25th. She goes all out and I find it to be a very emotional day for me. Below are her words. For some reason she still loves me and I’m forever grateful to her. She’s the love of my life. There’s no doubt in my mind, without her, I’d be dead. Thank you Audrey. 4 years sober doesn’t make up for the years of drinking, and all the hurt I caused. It’s a start though and I thank you for making it a big day for all of us!!

April 25th is not JUST another day in the Mooney household. April 25th is a day we celebrate like a birthday, Christmas, anniversary, etc. April 25, 2010 changed our lives. It’s kind of a big deal!

On April 25, 2010 Sam woke up and gave us the best news ever. No he didn’t win the lottery, he didn’t get a raise at work and he didn’t do something so amazing that he was noticed by anyone but his family and friends. That morning he woke up and came to the kitchen to let me- his bride, and his 4 wonderful kids know that he was done. DONE. Done drinking. Now I have heard this before so yes, I was skeptical. He cried, I cried and the kids cried. There was something different this time. I just didn’t know what yet.

I was used to lies, deceit. The ups and downs of an alcoholic in the home. I grew up this way. This was nothing different. I knew that the only emotion an alcoholic had was drunk. Drunk as an emotion? Yes. He’s crying, why? He’s drunk. He’s so mad he punches a hole in the wall, why? He’s drunk. He’s so happy over the smallest little thing, he’s laughing uncontrollably at at something not so funny, why? He’s drunk. I’m an eye-roller and I know this. I have gotten better though because now I don’t have to roll my eyes at all of these aforementioned things.

Now there are emotions I never thought I would see. True happiness, true sadness, an anger that isn’t so scary. When he feels, I feel. There were emotions we hadn’t seen for years. As a mother, seeing your children play around with their father is both joyful and sexy as hell. Knowing that they love their daddy so much and that that love is reciprocated is pure joy. Playing catch with a softball or football is normal now – outside and yes, even inside. It’s the small things! The girls painting dads toenails, doing his hair, having dance offs with him. These are all things that I can’t wait to get home from work to see. Bonds with the kids that will last a lifetime!

3 Months go by and still holding onto hope but knowing that this is a “One day at a time” disease is playing with me. Do I trust him? Do I want what is to come? What if this is just a short lived fairytale? He asked me to renew our vows. I couldn’t. I wasn’t there yet. Fast forward a few more months and I knew. I knew my husband was everything he said he was going to be. He is my best friend, he is a father, a dad, he is my companion in life.

Many people asked me why I stayed, asked me why I didn’t leave him. Honestly, I tried. We barely made it to our 1st anniversay and then again our 10th. I’ve made mistakes. He made mistakes. We were young when we married and started having kids. A relationship is hard. Factor in alcohol and kids and a it got a whole lot harder. I’m glad I stayed. I’m glad we fought for us. Whether we did it at the same time or not – end result is still the same. We are happily married and parenting together! I’m not proud of our fights, Of our kids crying and seeing us at our worst, Of our family fighting. What I am proud of is him.

For some family and friends they decided Sam’s new life wasn’t for them. And as much as it makes me sad and wonder what the hell they are thinking, I come to the realization that some only liked/loved drunk Sam. They aren’t giving sober Sam a chance. Let me tell you that Sam being sober is beyond awesome. He’s still the same Sam. He’s still smart and loves a good sports trivia question, loves football and baseball, lives for softball in the summer. He’s still that guy that can sit down and play a video game for hours. He’s still a son, a brother, a friend, a husband, a father, an ump, a player, a coach, a human who has turned his life around. He just loves more, fights less, thinks things through and would rather stay home with his family versus going to a party/bar.

Do I wish this would have happened earlier in our marriage? Absolutely but it didn’t. I hold no more anger. No more throwing this or that in his face. No more bringing up the past unless in good fun. I let go. I let God. What I have today is what I have always wanted, prayed for. What I have today is a love for my husband that runs through every vein in my body.

Sam not only takes it one day at a time, he has been reached out to, to help others do this as well. He is amazing at it too. Spending time on the phone with friends in need. Listening to bits and pieces of other’s stories do tug at my heart because I know all to well but there is more to this. In the end, they will have won their lives back. They will gain control.

He has taken to blogging and if you haven’t read any of his writings, YOU SHOULD!! The way he paints a picture with his words is truly amazing! I’ve cried, I’ve laughed and I’ve been extremely happy to be by his side when he puts out a challenge, when he relives some of our past, when he is on top of the world due to the experiences he’s had at a football or baseball game.

Sam, you make me so happy. You make me so proud. You make me….ME. You are my better half. You are my till death do us part. I am happy we renewed our vows last year with our friends and family there. I am happy. I am in love. I’m enjoying every minute of everyday with the one I chose to live out the rest of my days with. You give me crazy butterflies. Everyday I wake up next to you, every time I hear your voice on the phone, every “Hey Momma” I hear, every text, everything about you, us makes my heart skip a beat.

So there you have it! For some reason, after the Ramen Noodle incident, the Super Bowl of 2004, and even the tots in the kitchen, she stuck it out. The plan is to bottle up whatever happened that afternoon and sell it. I’ll turn all alcoholics into loving husbands and wives across the country. I’ll make my bride proud and those that quit on me realize they gave up too soon.

I guess this is where I end this with a clever metaphor or a sappy thought. For this particular post I think I’ll keep it simple. Today I’ve been sober for four years and I’m damn proud of that!!

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