“Out of the Woods”
“Remember when you hit the brakes too soon
Twenty stitches in a hospital room
When you started crying
Baby, I did too
But when the sun came up
I was looking at you
Remember when we couldn't take the heat
I walked out, I said, I'm setting you free
But the monsters turned out to be just trees
When the sun came up
You were looking at me”
Out of the Woods – Taylor Swift
It’s crazy to think that it’s been two years since Jeff went into a coma from an almost lethal mix of alcohol and medication. It was the darkest day of my life. But here we are, two years later, and looking back, I also still recognize it as the most pivotal moment in my life. It was the moment where everything changed.
Year one was like a set up episode of my favorite TV show – kind of slow, sometimes painful, but necessary to get the story arc pointed in the right direction. Don’t get me wrong, it was amazing. We had so many adventures, used a lot of Jeff’s time away from work to the best of our advantage, and really rediscovered who we are. But year one was also a lot of footwork, a great deal of learning, and at times, a real grind.
Year two was filled with action. Some of it good, most of it awful, but all of it necessary to get us where we need to be. Jeff started a job and school full-time. I had some truly bucket list highs with my running career, and then I got injured and experienced some of my all-time lows. We struggled with family relationships and fertility, as well as juggling our schedules and routines. We lost our dog, who was my best friend, and it was the most profound loss I have experienced in my life thus far. My nephew made his decision to move on and move out after 4 years together. And while all of these difficult things were truly-heartbreaking, they were also very necessary to help us move towards the most wonderful thing that has happened to us, our journey to becoming parents. It was very bittersweet, the lessons we learned and the experiences we shared. But, we did it all . . . sober.
The farther away we get, the harder it is for me to recognize my former self. The harder it is for me to recognize the former Jeff. It is an out of body experience to feel like I have lived two lives. I feel like it needs to be that way, though, or else I can get caught up in wishing that things could have been different, sooner. That life is over. If I want to revisit it, I certainly could. But there is no real need. That life was filled with a yearning to be something I wasn’t and discomfort with who I really am, and this life is about true contentment and peace. I have no desire to recreate a storm.
I feel like we are out of the woods. I want to believe we are out of the woods. But it is CRITICAL for me to remember that things could change in a split second. I don’t do this to live in fear, in fact, it is quite the opposite. Something I have realized in looking back over this past year is that the fear has left me. What has taken its place is a calm confidence that I can make it through whatever this life throws at me. I remember so I don't forget what I have made it through so far, and what I am capable of doing again. So yes, we might never be truly out of the woods of alcoholism, but I am not even sure that was the real forest I was ever lost in. My mind was my own greatest enemy and weapon, and it isn't that way anymore. On June 29th, 2014, Jeff didn't just wake up from his coma - we woke up to our lives. It was like walking out of the woods into a clearing for the first time. The light had finally made it's way through the darkness.
Year One: http://www.lifeimpaired.com/melissas-blog/to-build-a-home