8: The Dry Truth

8: The Dry Truth

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Reboot Your Life

The Dry Truth

Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything.

~Napoleon Hill

At twenty years old I married my husband, Bill. We were young and as compatible as rum and Coke, which was my drink of choice, one I began abusing on a regular basis. I began to notice that, while other friends would have a few drinks on the weekend, we were imbibing on an almost nightly basis.

One night I remember walking through our apartment complex, noticing how other apartments were decorated so comfy and cozy. Through opened blinds I could see walls adorned with family photos and knickknacks on shelves that gave a warm, homey feel.

This was in sharp contrast to our meagerly decorated apartment where a lone poster of Rocky Balboa hung on the front room wall. This was the late 1970s.

Between the drinking and the hangovers I’d try to convince myself that someday I too would have a beautiful home and a family — which is really all I ever wanted. Then one night in the shadow of my buzzed behavior a small voice whispered: “Nothing changes if nothing changes.”

Although I wasn’t fully heeding the message I knew that for things to change it would have to start with me.

Nothing changes if nothing changes. That concept literally changed my life.

I was twenty-three years old and into the third day of my sobriety when I woke up in the wee hours of that September morning. I hadn’t slept well and woke up feeling an anxiety attack about to strike.

Walking over to the kitchen sink I looked out the window as the sun began to rise above the darkened sky. I stood there taking in the quiet and tranquil sight, and with the serenity came the self-assurance that I was going to be all right.

Another amazing outcome was that my husband also quit drinking completely — cold turkey like me. The only thing that stayed the same was the love we felt for each other.

Recently Bill and I celebrated thirty-seven years of marriage — thirty-four of those years happily sober. We are the proud grandparents of four grandchildren, with our fifth due on Bill’s birthday.

As I write this I am sitting in the new home Bill and I built ten years ago. The walls are covered with framed photos that tell the history of our family.

In my home office the lettered sentiment above the doorway reads our truth: “Love Is All That Matters.”

In the dining room hangs a framed collage of wedding photos from both our daughters’ weddings. The sentiment: “Family Is A Gift That Lasts Forever” is etched above the happy smiles and it speaks to the thoughts of my heart, the meaning more precious than gold to me.

Our beautiful home and all its inspiration is a far cry from that lifetime ago when we lived in that apartment with a Rocky poster on the wall.

As a woman of faith I strongly believe that it was God’s nudging that put me on a different road. Me listening was the key to my success. I doubt if I would have reached the destination on my own. Only when I quit drowning my feelings did I allow my inner light to shine — just as God intended.

Thirty-four years ago I gave up an addiction to alcohol and have never looked back.

For more than twenty years now I have been blessed to share my writings in a public way. Writing from the heart is what fuels my soul, it is the reason I put pen to paper every day. I’m writing about what I know, focusing on the joys of family life, a life that I once thought was out of reach for me.

And that is the story of my dawn of new beginnings.

“Nothing changes if nothing changes.” Those five words are a powerful truth. I know. I’ve put them into action.

~Kathy Whirity

More stories from our partners