Carving a new path, when you want the old way so much to be like it was, was my Achilles heel.

I battled to let go. I fought to make it the life it used to be. But it was never mine to battle. There was a new trail for me- I just had to be willing to look in the new direction, have faith, and walk. It wasn’t until then was my new story created.

The path I had to redesign was not the one I originally signed on for 20 years ago in our marriage ceremony, and it was not the direction I expected. It’s also a path I often wonder if given a window view of it before I walked down the aisle, would I have walked so quickly and optimistically- but no one is given that opportunity. 

We make our choices based on a variety of factors- hope, faith, and trust- being my guides.

I remember walking down that aisle feeling in my gut that there would be inevitable pain at some point, because life is tough, but the person I married was so worth it. Nothing could scar my love for him. It would be unconditional. It ended up having to be genuinely just that. 

Fifteen years later, chaos did ensue. My husband battled alcoholism and is now in recovery. As I experienced this disease next to him as his wife, the number of people watching me maneuver through this had plenty of opinions and views, mainly done out of love for me.

The hardest part was carving a path out of something I never wanted- being the wife of an alcoholic. 

Along my path I first enjoyed joy, love, happiness, and fulfillment. Over time these were replaced with an unexpected, unfathomable, and unbearable pain. 

Pain, sorrow, despair and trauma appeared as alcoholism overcame my husband. 

Life changed forever, and it would never be the same. I soon found every aspiration, dream, and expectation was shattered. At the same time, inside I had hope that it would someday get better. 

There was no road map. Getting lost and stumbling was frequent and often. I also lost my faith, which was gifted back to me by my ten year old daughter at the time. That’s a story for another chapter. 

I was so determined and sure the old joyful path was meant to be mine, if I just “fixed it.” The joke was on me. This wasn’t mine to fix. 

In fact, I had to find a whole new path. It is when I was willing to let go of the old life, embrace and feel the pain and joy of memories, and have the courage to keep going and hope for something better, did things begin to change. 

The fallen branches on the new path that looked to the naked eye to be the effects of a storm, actually ended up paving my way to a new life. Some things came with me. Others were let go.

One of the greatest blessings I have found today is to know that I am no longer walking that path alone. Sharing stories, being authentic, and meeting others who have similar experiences allow us all to keep moving, and have the courage to create the life we were meant to lead.