Today is my 25th wedding anniversary. Just writing that blows my mind. About 27 years ago I walked into a marathon meeting at a 12 step convention being held for recovering addicts in Edmonton, Alberta (Canada) and a male voice from the corner of the room said “Hey, I know you.” I had about 3 weeks clean at the time and as many of you recovering types know, being recognized by people in your early recovery can be more than slightly freaking scary. I soon realized it was Allan, and although I had known him years earlier during the height of my addiction, I quickly calculated that we had no checkered past together or drug deals gone wrong between us, and that him recognizing me was probably okay. Turns out it was more than okay. For the next four months we hung out, went to meetings, and shared with each other how – no matter what – we were never going to get into a romantic relationship ever again, both of us having been scarred and damaged (and done damage) in our previous relationships. We were passionate about our recovery – but nothing else.
Eventually, our best-buddy approach gave way to something more. And although neither of us had the requisite “year free from relationships” thing, we decided when he had 8 months and I had just over 4 months that we would get together and see where things went. Our commitment to each other was to put our individual recovery efforts before the relationship. We swore that if the relationship should ever start taking more energy than our recovery, we would choose our recovery over said relationship. We were tested on this a few times in our early years but love and hard (step) work prevailed.
And here we are.
Twenty five years. I’m so proud of us. Here are the reasons that I think we are probably good for at least another 25.
- We have worked hard for our life and appreciate it too much to ever let it go away
- You accept that I collect people (mostly women) in my life and you love them as I do
- We both love little children who sing for coins at coffee shops in Mexico
- We both love the little children who call (or will soon learn to call) you Gramps (or Pic)
- You make the best beach lunches in the world
- You accept that all of your trips to Costco for the rest of your life entail shopping for our daughters too
- You accept that how we each choose to recover is our own business and that it can change (and it does)
- We both love the 12 steps but neither of us believe that 12 step programs need to be the entire enchilada for all people
- I know your heart and where it hurts, and you know mine
- Your faith has carried me through my own crises of faith in the past several decades
- We both survived cancer and addiction, and understand that the former was the easier of the two
- You take better care of me and our home than anyone ever could
- We understand the importance of being responsible for our own recovery
- We bond over ludicrous American politics
- You stand in post office line-ups for hours (those darned malas would never get mailed without you)
- You support my need to work too much but point out when my workaholism gets out of hand
- We feel the same way about Mexico – the real Mexico – not tourist Mexico
- You were there for me in the darkest days of my life, when I was losing and lost my mom
- You were there beside me supporting a couple of our kids when they were teens and almost lost their way
- You give up your favourite chair for our Dads when they visit
- You learned how to bake pies and banana bread in recent years – and nailed them both
- We both love quiet time, you especially like it in the morning and I’ve learned to stop talking so much in the morning
- I know when you are in a “feeling” mode when you share at meetings (you tug your ear)
- We both love our simple little apartment on 46th street in Playa del Carmen
- We are perfectly okay with each other’s imperfections, about 90% of the time
Thank you. For loving me. I love you too.