My Happy Marriage

February 6, 2016

It took nearly 18 years together to learn to be truly happy. Perhaps we are slow learners; I’m pretty sure I am. For one thing, I had to learn to choose recovery instead of addiction. That was 13 years ago. I don’t think a truly happy marriage can exist if one partner is pursuing an active addiction. Even being an intermittent, functional alcoholic–as I once was–is a barrier to the kind of relationship which is authentic and includes profound bonding and deep communication.

Saying goodbye to addiction:

Perhaps I should define my terms. “Intermittent” alcoholics have periods of time when they drink normally or not at all. In my case, when I went on diets several times a year, I would not drink at all for weeks or months. “Obviously, I don’t have an alcohol problem,” I’d say to myself, because denial is not just a river in Egypt. When the diet was over though, I’d have one glass of wine at dinner, and within a few weeks I’d be drinking every day and too much. “Functional alcoholic” means I had a job, I never drank while working, and very few people knew that I had a drinking problem–only those who had seen me ruin a special occasion because sometimes I could not control how much I drank or my behavior after the first glass of wine. Sadly, it was primarily those who were nearest and dearest to me who witnessed or were hurt by those occasions; recalling this brings back the regrets I will always have.

By grace, the day my younger son’s first child was born, everything changed. Holding that precious baby, and overcome with love for him and for my children and their children, I knew that continuing to drink would fatally compromise those relationships. I stopped drinking that day, and never looked back. 90 AA meetings in 90 days, working the steps, making amends–through grace I did it all. The results have been profoundly positive. The classic alcoholic’s fear that I would never again have fun was the opposite of the facts.

“I love you just as you are.”

Just as important, on the road to a truly happy marriage, I had to become totally willing to accept and affirm my husband just as he is. I think it was a turning point when I began to feel and say, “Not only do I love you, but I am 100% satisfied with you.”

Having a deeply joyful and committed marriage is grace, it’s joy, it’s one of the greatest sources of gratitude in my life. In future posts, I will have more to say about this path and how it can be your path as well.

Blessings to you and yours, dear reader! Please visit me at http://www.coupleswisdom.com.


The Joy of Waking Up

November 6, 2015

Dear Visitor,

Reviewing the statistics for this blog, I’ve found that more than 94,000 have visited since I began it. You–visitors from many states and countries–are my community, my fellow travelers on this journey of developing our spiritual lives as deeply as we can, and of trying to make a difference on this planet through our compassion and commitment to service.

On this early November night, I want to share some of the grace that has been showered on me along with a major health challenge. This confrontation with my mortality woke me up. I began to see–really see–the beauty all around me. So much beauty in the human faces in my life–such kindness, compassion, humor, sweetness. That human beauty is everywhere, not just in the faces of those I dearly love, but in the eyes of the grocery store clerk, the bank teller, the neighbor across the street.

Since I became a vegetarian, I find such enchantment in animals. My little dog makes me smile first thing every morning. Waiting patiently for me to open my eyes, his tail starts to wag as soon as my eyes meet his. “Wake up and live! he says, “and let’s play now!”

And then there are the children in my life–the grown ones and the little ones and the medium size ones. I adore them all. Not least or last, my true love smiles at me across the table while we feast on a meal centered on organic vegetables. My past loves linger always in my heart as well, not with longing, but with appreciation.

Outside my door, red and yellow roses bloom still, competing with the deep magenta of the bougainvillea. Rumi says there’s beauty in every rock and flower, and so it is.

I start and end my day with music–songwriting, singing, playing guitar. I am blessed–overwhelmed with grace.

I do not take this grace lightly. The suffering of Syrians and others in war zones, of the often innocent young men sent to fight in these wars, refugees with no homes, prisoners of war, and of conscience, the bereaved and the lonely and the depressed–none of this escapes me. Some form of this suffering comes to all. If you are reading these words by accident right now, please take heart. There are those who care and will help. Call Suicide Prevention, call a rabbi, priest, minister or therapist. Call a friend who cares. “Ask and you shall receive,” say the holy words. But you must ask!

Rumi says:

Lo, I am with you always.

You promised that, and when I realized it was true,

my soul flared up. Remember, and be back with the Friend.

Blessings to you dear visitor!

–Dr. Victoria Lee