“It was the time when they loved each other best, without hurry or excess, when both were most conscious of and grateful for their incredible victories over adversity.” — Love in the Time of Cholera Warning: this post is about love and it could get sappy! Having just celebrated my soberversary, I have been reflecting on a lot of things in my life, not just my sobriety. One of the most beautiful things about my life is the ability I have gained to love and be loved.
Although we don't have a particular day or even month that we declare our official anniversary, Fernando and I say it was around May 2012, that we became romantic, and so we celebrate sometime in May each year. Last Saturday we dined out for date night to celebrate 3 years together. 3 years!
This has been my longest relationship, quite a feat for me. Almost every romantic relationship I've had since I was 16 was toxic and unhealthy in some way. I was always drawn to the drama. Or I was creating it. Just like with drinking, abusive and argumentative relationships were my norm. When Fer and I started out, it seemed to be going down that same road. We broke up a few times and got back together within the first few months. I started fights. I tried my best to push him away. I put my addiction before him and our relationship.
The day I took my last drink I knew something had to change. Not just for me, but for us. I couldn't keep going on this merry-go-round of relationships that were so hot and cold. The gig was up. I had to stop self-sabotaging or I would lose this relationship. I had already lost myself. When I returned to Cancun after my last party in Punta Cana, Fer had already moved his stuff out of our apartment. I was devastated. I told him I decided to stop drinking. Of course he didn't believe me. I had made so many empty promises. I told him many times before I would control my drinking and I never could. The trip I had just returned from proved that.
In the beginning I was a mess, but I stayed sober. After a few days, Fer came back to the apartment and we decided to work things out. I realize that most people who get sober must deal with the awkward and anxious realm of dating. Luckily, I've never had to date someone new in sobriety, but I have had to completely adjust to being in a different kind of relationship. Many relationships do not survive addiction, but ours has. We've had to overcome some unique challenges along the way, but the outcome has been amazing.
First there was the issue of trust. I had to stick to my word and truly leave behind the drugs and alcohol. I had to commit to self-care - figure out why I drank, navigate the sober life, and overcome feelings of shame, guilt, and self-hate. During this transformation, Fer and I had to see if there was still a relationship left to be saved. Did we still have common interests? Would he like who I was when I was sober? Would I like him while sober?
I discovered we had a wonderful relationship to save and that I liked him more sober than drunk. He 1000% loved me sober (not surprising since I was such an obnoxious drunk!) And so our relationship sustained this rocky period in my life. Fer has been the most supportive and understanding partner. I can't tell you how grateful I am that he lit the spark of change inside me and stayed to watch me heal.
Watching the progression of our love has been incredible. I guess it's normal for couples who are together for long periods of time to watch the ebb and flow of their love. Each year getting older and seeing how things have changed and evolved. This is a first time thing for me. I also think it's unique considering I got sober during this 3 year relationship.
Our love has changed from a desperate, toxic relationship based on lust and partying, to a mature, loving, and healthy partnership. Our trust has been restored. In fact, he is the one person in my life I can tell absolutely everything to without fear of judgement. Even on days when I'm crying for no reason or I feel like the world is out to get me. He has a way of validating these feelings and embracing me and all my worries. He truly makes me feel like everything will be alright, no matter what is happening.
The progression of our love has shown want, instead of need; pleasure instead of pain; personal growth instead of destruction. In essence we have gotten to know each other all over again without drugs and alcohol. We have accepted each other for who we really are. I am an alcoholic and he is PROUD of that. To see him beaming with pride at everything I have accomplished in my sobriety is so humbling. I am able to be there for him too. I am finally a good girlfriend. Our love requires patience, support, and understanding not just on his part, but on my part as well.
I finally understand the meaning of "I love you more today than I did yesterday." We constantly talk about how we both feel that the love we felt at the beginning is nothing in comparison to the love we feel now. I am more in love with this man today than last week, last month, and most certainly, 3 years ago. A partnership is a constantly evolving thing. Every day I learn something new about Fer, whether it's that he doesn't like the texture of frosted mini wheats, or the way his laugh changes depending on what type of silly YouTube video he's watching. I love it. I revel in this. I have never been this present in a romantic relationship before.
I guess I owe this new found awareness to my sobriety. Maybe it's why he is happy I changed my life. It's not lost on me how lucky I am to be in this loving, evolving partnership where my partner makes me feel like I'm a teenager again, but has all the qualities of an honest, intelligent, hardworking man.
My experience with love and sobriety has been absolutely phenomenal, if you haven't already noticed. Sobriety has been the key to excluding the drama, false expectations, and dependence that had previously tainted my love life.
Today, and every day, it is an absolute pleasure to love you Fernando Junco Diaz. You are my best friend, my biggest fan, my support system, and you know me better than I know myself. Thank you for showing me what unconditional love in a romantic relationship looks like. Happy 3 Year Anniversary Poposarus! Eres lo mejor que me ha pasado. Here is to many, many more years by your side in this adventure we call life. Te amo!!