Friday, February 26

7 years on....

Well technically it will be 11 years this summer, but it's our 7th wedding anniversary on Sunday. It set me to thinking how far we have come as a couple and as a family in these 7 (11) years.

Mark and I met on the internet (yes, shock horror!) about 13 years ago and became best friends, even though he lived almost 5 hours away from where I lived. We 'talked' online all the time and we'd speak on the phone every day for anywhere between 2 and 6 hours, although I think our record phone call was 8 hours non stop. Thank god it was on his phone bill LOL. Of course, the first time we met I was told by my Mum, that he was a mad axe murderer and all that jazz, but we met in Chester City centre in full daylight in full public view. We remained friends for two years before we crossed that line. It was a bit weird tbh going from best friends who told each other everything to actually being in a relationship and then living together. But it worked. My (then 9 year old son) got on with him and we were all happy. We'd go out into town, have a good drink and a dance and crawl home at 3am.

We got married in Gretna Green on the 28th February with snow on the ground. My mum was horrified that underneath my lovely ivory wedding dress, I had my knee length black boots on. It was snowy! I wasn't going to have cold feet! LOL

Then his drinking started to get heavier and heavier. 6 tins of beer on a Friday night became 8. Then on a Saturday he'd have a bottle of wine. I know it's only a bottle of wine, but he rationalised it by saying, at least it's not more beer. But on the whole, life was challenging, but good. It wasn't long before I started to dread the weekends. The 8 tins of beer turned into 12 tins of beer and the bottle of wine became the biggest bottle of wine he could find (2 litre sometimes) plus a smaller bottle aswell (in case he wanted more when the first bottle was gone). Then came the arguments and the violent temper. He went into a drunken blackout and could never remember anything. I tried to go to bed early so that I avoided his drunken arguments but he'd come and wake me up. I couldn't talk to him about it  the next morning because he denied it all. He couldn't remember so it obviously didn't happen. He came downstairs one morning to find the patio door laid on the floor outside. He looked at it in horror. I told him he'd pushed me into it and it had fallen out. He didn't believe me. 

It all came to a head one Mother's Day when Isabelle was only a few months old. He kicked off about something and went ballistic. He was already at the drunken blackout stage, and to this day cannot remember what happened, but I can. He was verbally and physically abusive and his parting gesture as he was 'leaving for good' was to headbutt me in the face and broke my nose. I was holding Isabelle at the time, and we were both sprayed with blood from my nose as we watched him get into the car and drive off after drinking 9 tins of beer. I had no idea where he was going, when he'd be back, IF he'd be back, but I did know that I wasn't prepared to spend my life like this any longer. If he can do that to me (especially whilst holding a baby) then I didn't want him around.

My Father in Law sent me a message to let me know that he was at their house. He'd driven 5 hours up to Scotland after all that beer at 1.30 in the morning in the pitch black. A couple of days later we spoke on the phone. He said he'd like to come back to talk. I agreed to talk but told him he'd have to stay somewhere else. I wasn't prepared to have him in the house. And there was to be absolutely no drink involved. 

When he arrived home I was still so angry and wasn't happy to see him. We started to talk. Well, I started to talk. I asked him to listen. I told him everything that had happened over the years, what he'd done physically and verbally, and that I wasn't going to take it any longer. If he wanted to try and make a go of the relationship he had to stop drinking. Until he did, we had no relationship. He had chance to talk and say how he felt, and admitted he was hiding behind the drink at the weekend. he hated the fact that his weekends were lost. He got up anywhere between midday and 2 in the afternoon and was drinking again a few hours later. He couldn't remember Friday night to Monday morning. He was either drunk or hungover. He didn't like it and asked for help and support to fix it. We talked for 2 and a half days. He slept on the sofa during that time and then he admitted he is an alcoholic.

That was 4 years ago this Mother's Day coming. He hasn't had a drink since. I am so proud of him for it. He just stopped. The first few months were hard for him on Friday and Saturday nights, they were very hard, but now he is happy that he's stopped drinking. In fact, he also stopped smoking and went on a health kick. He lost 3 stone in weight by working out, watching what he ate, and generally being more active. He started cycling and running. 2 years ago he did his first organised run. He did the Manchester 10K. He was proud of what he'd done and so was I. Last year he ran the Chester half marathon. This year he has already run a 10K up the Great Orme (bloody big hill in Llandudno) and in May will be running his first Marathon. 

We no longer have huge arguments as if it's the end of the world. He's not a talker by nature, but will now address an issue if he really has to. Our relationship is so much nicer. Yes he still has his faults as you will see if you read back over my blog posts, but so do I and I'm sure I drive him as insane as he drives me from time to time. But on the whole, we work well as a couple, but he has changed so much, particularly in the last couple of years. His general personality and the entertainer in him that I loved from the start is still there, the main changes have been his awareness around him and others that are in his life. He said a couple of days ago, 'it's our wedding anniversary on Sunday, what do you fancy doing? Do you want to go anywhere in particular?' This wouldn't have happened before, even last year. 

Maybe we should buy matching anorak's and trainers now? LOL

I haven't said anything here that would bother me if my hubby were to read it. And I do love him, warts n' all now that we don't have the drink to contend with.