Swenny and I have been getting on about the business of life. Armed with more than five weeks of sobriety and emboldened by the possibility that the worst might very well be behind us, we are beginning to resemble the happy family central to our story.
Less often do I find myself in the darkest corners of our home searching for bottles. And while old habits die hard, I believe that someday soon, I might make true the promise I made to Swenny when he committed to his own plan for recovery that I will stop scavenging for evidence. And he will make true his promise to me and all who care for him that he is done drinking.
And eventually, as we move beyond the years that have been scripted by alcoholism, we will be able to appreciate our story for what it really is…a story about a marriage that is imperfect, but real. One in which the partners, when faced with decisions of increasingly heavy enormity, do not just reflect on their vows, but say them aloud when nobody is there to listen. Reminders of their commitment in the absence of simple solutions. A story in which the measures of friendship are taken in depth rather than vastness, necessary when invitations ceased. A story in which the children’s belief in their family is at times stronger than their parents’, beautifully illustrating what it means to have faith.
As I continue to turn the pages to what I hope is a happy ending, I become more and more acquainted with two important characters.
Patience and Fortitude.
When a chapter seems filled with more despair than hope, Patience brings tolerance that heightens our threshold of pain, enabling us to endure more. And when the letters on the page spell fear, Fortitude provides the courage we need to persist.
Without them, our story would have ended long ago. And while their presence doesn’t guarantee a happy ending , it does ensure another chapter. Another chance for us to write our story as it is, knowing that we have what we need to continue.