Tuesday, October 14, 2014

From This Day Forward

Disclosure: I received complimentary products to facilitate this post. All opinions are my own. 

From This Day Forward is Amy Baumgardner's honest account of her experiences with addiction and the toll it took on her marriage - as well as the danger it put her daughter in. I don't have experience in that area, and I can imagine it took a great deal of courage and honesty with herself to share her story with her husband. I had a chance to interview her to learn more about her story.

1) Why did you decide to write this book?
One of the main reasons I decided to write this book initially, was for me. When I was new in recovery and unsure about my future and my marriage. I seemed to gravitate towards stories like me own.  Mother's who found themselves stuck...depressed and no spouse to talk to. I wanted to read the stories of other women who were suffering also with addiction, a bad marriage or who had made the ultimate wrong...put the children in harms way as I did. My guilt was relentless but so was my compulsion. What started out as a need to have my questions answered turned into a way for me to release my shame.
I intended the book to initially just be my perception of what happened. The alcoholic view point. But when my husband, Matt, and I started to forgive and work on our marriage, it was clear that our story needed to be shared in both voices. We wanted people to hear what each of us were thinking and feeling during that time and how we were working through it. Our idea on this book shifted and we viewed it as a way to help other couples struggling.
2) Why do you think it took this particular situation (the accident) for you to make changes?
I quote Eckhart Tolle in "There is something in everybody that longs that awakening to be more true to yourself."  I love this and cite it often. The accident was my awakening to be more true, more authentic with myself. I am an alcoholic who was arguing against my reality. I was suffering without a way to fix my brokenness. Everything around me suffered because I could not tell the truth about me addiction.
But once I did, my life had flourished. I have never been happier. The accident forced me to examine some pretty dark corners of my soul and be accountable. If I had never had the accident, I could never have experienced such growth spiritually, emotionally and mentally.
3) What advice do you have for other parents who may find themselves trapped in an addiction?
Number ONE--talk to someone, anyone. Have that conversation with a therapist, a pastor, a friend, a stranger. What's important to know is you're not alone. Sure it feels that way and Fear will with out a doubt make you feel like a failure, unimportant and leave you without purpose. That was me. I wish that I had talked to someone about how I was feeling or how bad my life was going. I wish I didn't fear what others would say or think of me if I didn't perpetuate that I had it all together. Because the truth was...I didn't. I was a mess. My advice is to talk to someone, let someone know that you are suffering in any way that you can. Call a hotline anonymously if you have to. 
What's important to remember is that I am just like you and just like you I was scared, ashamed and lost hope.  I turned my life around and if I can do, trust me any one can do it.
4) What advice would you give to spouses/partners of those who are in addiction?
My husband Matt talks about this in our book, From This Day Forward, A Love Story of Faith, Hope and Forgiveness, when he says one of his biggest regrets is thinking that he could somehow manage my drinking. Relationships are hard enough without addiction. Matt needed to educate himself on what it means to be an addict and how to love one. Once he understood addiction for what it was, then he understood how to help me manage my addiction. One of the mistake we made as a couple is not learning and understanding what we were battling. Because we never took the time to research solutions we kept fighting the same battle...and what is the definition of insanity?

So, we both firmly believe that your best defenses against a beast like addiction is knowledge, open communication, and accountability. We each needed to learn to respect what the other's needs are, be accountable for how we made the other one feel and be united in our approach against this disease.

This is the number one reason we started the 4Give Foundation - to help other families, like ours, cover the cost of substance abuse inpatient treatment once their primary funding sources have been exhausted. One of the most disheartening aspect of treatment is it's cost. 

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