I spent 15 years in a marriage with an alcoholic spouse who used marijuana on a daily basis as well as cocaine and other pills and substances at levels I was never able to determine. While I did drink socially on the weekends, I never had a desire to use or even experiment with drugs and this became a huge chasm in our marriage that kept us in ongoing conflict and spending most of our time apart in opposite circles of friends. I came to understand that all of his addiction was an attempt to medicate and numb the pain of his past, but while I was sympathetic, I knew that neither of us as individuals or as a couple could thrive in this environment.
For years I felt completely abandoned and insecure, never knowing when or if he was coming home on any given night, and became increasingly hurt and resentful that he continued to choose his “mistress” of addiction over choosing me. After our son was born, the problem just became more magnified because I felt the added concern of how his behavior would influence and impact our child.
One day while I was sitting in Starbucks waiting for a friend to meet me, a gentleman I had never seen before came over to my table and handed me this book called Boundaries, saying it was a really good book and that I could have it. I can only attribute this to a divine intervention from God because there was no way this stranger could have known what I was dealing with. That book gave me the Biblical clarity about what being “loving” actually meant and helped me make some decisions about behavior I would and would not accept, even from my husband.
Still, after multiple separations and failed attempts to enforce boundaries I had set, I was at a place of utter desperation and hopelessness. It was at this point that I realized how powerless I was on my own and fully surrendered my life to Jesus. Not long after, God again intervened and literally rescued me through a dramatic situation where my husband got heavily intoxicated, engaged in a shooting standoff with police at our home, and was taken to jail on charges of attempted murder. This resulted in our permanent separation and ultimately, divorce.
Through these trials, I came to understand that boundaries are healthy and loving and wise, even if the other person doesn’t receive them that way. I also learned how to forgive apart from reconciliation, and how to stop trying to control my spouse and his choices and trust God with whatever outcome he chose. Finally, I understood that Jesus didn’t die on the cross so I could stay in bondage as a victim or an enabler, he died so I could be set free.