So I think it would be fair to assume that most of you know the ever-so-sweet Kelly (well, I can only assume she's sweet. I don't know her in real life, but she seems like one of those people that everyone loves! :) And her daughter is too cute for words! :) But anywho, back to my point...Kelly over at Kelly's Korner posted today about her friend Amy who is "hosting" a link up and the soul purpose is to encourage one another with stories of hope, faith, and ultimately putting your trust in God that everything will be okay. People struggle with infertility, hopes of finding a hubby, ill children, ill spouses, financial difficulites, marriage difficulites, and anything else you can possibly imagine. At first glance I thought, "Hmmm, this really doesn't sound like something I should link up to" and then it dawned on me, my marriage (and it's survival) is a true testament to God's power. This is going to be lengthy, so feel free to not read this post today. My feelings won't be hurt, I promise! :) And maybe, just maybe someone who is struggling with something similar to me, can find hope in my/our story!
Manny and I had know of each other for a year or so starting back in 2004, we shared mutual friends. In November 2004 I ran in to him at a party. We spent some time catching up and drinking, and drinking some more. What were we catching up on? He had just gotten out of prison. He had spent a huge chunk of time there (not sure of the exact length) for drug charges. My heart hurt as I listened to his story (as my heart has always had a soft spot for those battling with addiction). He clearly needed a friend, and I was there to listen. The party ended, we said our goodbyes, and that was that. Through the grapevine I had heard that Manny was interested in me, and most people might think, "Of course she wouldn't go for the guy that just got out of PRISON!" (not your local detention center folks. I mean prison!) I wasn't raised that way. I was a "good girl" (who got in to partying pretty hard, but a good girl at heart!) But my heart was so longing for a boyfriend (sad to admit, as this point in my life, at the age of 23, I had never had a real boyfriend). So instead of being turned off by this bad boy, I was just so excited that someone was even interested in me!!!! (Sooo sad! As I type this now, looking back, that makes me sad that I lacked such self worth!) But back to my point...Manny and I started dating in March 2005. Our entire relationship was about drinking, doing drugs and partying! We both had jobs, but when we weren't working we were doing those 3 things. We said, "I love you" after a few weeks. We just enjoyed the partying lifestyle and lived our evenings drunk and/or and our days feeling like crap and hungover! My family had NO idea what my life had become! Or perhaps they did, but were in denial. Either way, I had become "that person" that I thought I NEVER would become, but I was "in love" and that's all that mattered!
Then came June 9, 2005 when I took the test, and sure enough...I WAS PREGNANT!!!! I called Manny at work, and said, "I don't know how to tell you this, but I'm pregnant. You don't have to stick around. You can turn around and leave and never look back, but I'm keeping the baby. I can't get rid of it." He said he wasn't going to leave, and we would get a place together and raise this baby. Great? Um, NO!
The very second I found out I was pregnant the drugs/alcohol/cigarettes/EVERYTHING, stopped! But for Manny, it did not. Grant it, the street drugs stopped, but the prescription pills did not. It wasn't anything that stopped him from functioning (he worked every day, provided for us, helped prepare for the baby, etc.) but still, he was drug addict and we had a baby on the way! January 31, 2006 comes and Manuel enters the world. Our firstborn, our son. I thought for sure this would change Manny. But again, I was wrong. That November, we started going to church, and basically just went through the motions of that. We went to make us look good, I suppose, but still, our homelife was less then perfect and Manny was still a drug addict!
Years continue to pass, we continued to go to church (Manny even taught Sunday school!!!) and finally Manny decides that the drugs will stop. YAY! I don't consider myself a nieve person AT ALL and I TRULY thought he had stopped. Until the day I checked my bank account on line (which I seldom ever did) and saw a random check written to my husband's brother (who is also a drug addict), and that's when it was all over. Manny was still using drugs (street and prescription), HAD NEVER STOPPED! He cried and cried, begged for forgiveness and I was heart broken! My family advised me to leave, but I just couldn't. In April 2009 Manny checked himself in to rehab. I think this is the answer to our prayers. But again, I was wrong. Manny came out after 2 weeks (CLEARLY not long enough, but we couldn't afford for him to be out any longer!) and his counselor was SOOO hopeful for him! Then came May 11, 2009 Manny relapsed and lost his job (because the job that worked with him when he went to rehab wasn't going to give him another chance.) With nothing else to lose (except for his wife and son) Manny went back to rehab. May 15, 2009 while Manny was away, my dad died unexpectedly. Here I was at home, having to lie to my friends (only my family knew Manny was in rehab), I just lost my dad, I had to lie to my 3 year old that Daddy was at work :( and life really couldn't get much worst. UNTIL May 23, 2009 came and I found out I was pregnant. Husbands in rehab and jobless, 3 year old at home clueless as to what is going on, and NOW I'M PREGNANT!!!WHAT?!?!? WHAT HAVE I DONE TO MY CHILD? WHO BRINGS A CHILD IN TO THIS!?!?!?! UGH!!!!!! But guess what, this was in God's plan. I can say that now. GOD'S PLAN!!!!
Manny gets out of rehab, turns his life around, gives himself to God again (this time with all of his heart and soul and being!), stops EVERYTHING (even smoking and drinking which never were an "issue" for him) admits to our pastor EVERYTHING that had happened, openly asks for prayers from our church family for his addiction, etc. We welcomed Mia into our lives a short 8.5 months ago and I TRULY can not imagine our lives without her. What if I had given in to Satan and given up on my marriage? What if I had given in to Satan and given up on this child who I found out I was pregnat with at the most "unopportune" time? What if my husband had continued to choose the drugs over us? What if? What if? What if? We don't have to ever answer those questions because although life was HARD, SOO SOOO hard at times, God was there. He was ALWAYS there! And although I didn't always remember that in my darkest days, He was!
May 12, 2010 Manny celebrated a year free of drugs and alcohol. October 3, 2010 Manny celebrated a year free of cigarettes. March 30, 2011 we will be celebrating 5 years of marriage. That's A LOT in 5 years, right?? Yes, it is, but we got through it because we finally gave our lives to God fully and completely. Manny is now "that guy" that gets made fun at work for not going to Happy Hours or for talking about God openly. And that's okay by Manny! :) My children will never know Manny as a drug addict (or that is my prayer. That Manny is one of the few that over comes addiction FOREVER!)
This is the longest post EVER and I apologize, but hopefully if you took the time to read it then it spoke to your heart for one reason or another!