Mitzi agreed to share the story of how her husband’s addiction and recovery affected their relationship and family.
Mitzi is a strong woman. She identifies with that strength and you can hear the confidence in her voice when she speaks.
When Mitzi and Brad met and started dating, Brad was sober, but he shared with Mitzi that although he had a history of addiction, he had been sober for quite a while. He maintained his sobriety for their first five years together. She believed his using drugs and alcohol was over, that it was just a part of his history and had nothing to do with their loving relationship. Unfortunately, she was wrong.
Just after the birth of their first child, Brad went to Las Vegas to a bachelor’s party for one of his friends where he relapsed.
That relapse started an ongoing cycle of attempts to stop drinking, followed by relapse, going to AA repeatedly, followed by relapse, going to one of the best 12- step-based treatment centers in the country to a half-way house. After treatment, Brad maintained sobriety for a longer period of time, but then the cycle of relapses and sobriety started all over again.
By that time, their second daughter had been born. Mitzi wanted her marriage to work and knew that Brad was a good person inside, but she was getting weary of the ongoing relapses and his apparent inability to stay sober.
During Brad’s ongoing battle with addiction, Mitzi became involved with Al-Anon and participated for seven years. It was life-changing for her and she learned a lot about addiction. Mitzi also met some wonderful people who understood what she was experiencing, and she made lasting friendships with some of them.
Getting involved with Al-Anon was life-changing in many ways.
Mitzi came to understand that she couldn’t control Brad’s addiction, she couldn’t change him, and she didn’t cause his addiction. By understanding this, she says she was able to let go.
When the final relapse came, Mitzi had enough. She didn’t want her children raised in an environment where their father was constantly drinking. She asked Brad to leave and told him that she wanted a divorce. Mitzi knew she could be a single mom and raise her children on her own if that’s the way it had to be. Brad agreed and moved out and continued to drink.
A short while later, Brad made the decision to go to Gulf Breeze Recovery. While he was in the treatment, Mitzi met with her attorney to begin divorce proceedings. She still cared for Brad and knew that she would be divorcing her best friend. She also knew she would always respect him as the father of her children. After talking with Mitzi, the attorney questioned if she was really sure she wanted a divorce. She was sure. Then Mitzi found out that divorce papers could not be served on Brad while he was in a residential treatment program, so the divorce was put on hold.
Feeling the need for some self-care, Mitzi did a pilgrimage to Spain taking time for solitude and making peace with some of the anger she felt toward Brad. Within that space, she also developed a better understanding of her own life from a spiritual basis. “I came to the understanding,” she said, “that no matter what, God would walk with me through everything.”
After she returned from Spain, it was nearing time for Brad to finish the program at Gulf Breeze Recovery and return home. Brad’s therapist at Gulf Breeze Recovery scheduled and supervised a telephone call between Mitzi and Brad.
Mitzi remembers that when Brad started to speak, it was different than anything she had heard him say before. Words were pouring from him, but she remembers that it was almost as if he was channeling pure wisdom and it touched her in the deep, pure calmness she had found while in Spain. When, at the end of their session, the therapist asked if there was a chance of saving the marriage, Mitzi agreed that there was a chance.
When Brad left Gulf Breeze, he did not move back into the house with the family but instead moved into a halfway house.
Healing is needed for the whole family after recovery.
Together they began to explore how a new relationship between them would be. They started as friends and she remembers that Brad wouldn’t argue, he was more natural. He was secure in his beliefs. They began to rebuild their marriage on the foundation of the strong friendship they had developed.
Reflecting on how this entire experience had impacted their two children, Mitzi remembers that their younger daughter who was only 2 years old when Brad went to treatment, really didn’t understand a lot, and just kept wanting her daddy to come home. Their older daughter, Mitzi says, picked up on Mitzi’s anger. She was very aware and was naturally intuitive.
While interviewing her, Mitzi admitted that the interview was difficult; it is painful to go back through all those old memories and feelings. She says it makes her sad, sorry for what Brad has had to go through.
Mitzi's advice to other spouses:
When asked what advice she would give to the spouse of someone who is addicted, Mitzi says it is important to find a support group for yourself with people who understand; to realize that it’s the illness and not the real person; to understand that the person doesn’t want to be addicted; to find a way to work through the bitter poison pill of anger and to work on forgiveness.
Mitzi is grateful for the five good years that she and Brad have shared since he went to Gulf Breeze Recovery and said that she is no longer worried that he will drink again. She said they had major growth in their relationship for the first two years after he completed the program. As they face on-going challenges, as any couple does, they now face them together with confidence, peace, and wisdom.
If you or someone you love is fighting addiction or has relapsed one or many times, help is available. Recovery is possible. We offer a compassionate and holistic treatment program. Contact us at Gulf Breeze Recovery or call: (855) 433-4480 to speak to an addiction expert to learn more about our program that has helped so many people overcome their addiction, rediscover their dreams and embrace life.
We help people not just to survive, but to THRIVE®
About Gulf Breeze Recovery:
Gulf Breeze Recovery, unlike other treatment centers in Florida, is a non 12 step holistic drug and alcohol rehab that is changing the future of addiction treatment with their THRIVE® (Total Health Recovery) program focused on overcoming chronic relapse.
Gulf Breeze Recovery’s THRIVE® program is a non 12-step approach designed for those who are looking for a drug and alcohol treatment program to produce a different and positive result.
This non-12 step program allows you to drive beyond your addictions and promotes a new outlook on life.
We are licensed by the Florida Department of Children and Families, and our last audit scored 99.7! Also, we are gold certified by the Joint Commission.
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