She was everything. She was exactly what he needed. A loving woman of Christ, who cherished the man in front of her, free of judgment and full of hope. When others couldn’t, she could see the beautiful man inside. He looked into the future and saw her by his side, his heart tugged at him, she’s the one.

“I love you, I want you in my life, for the long haul,” he said. At that, she pointed to the beer bottle in his hand. She knew his love was bound by alcoholism, and he couldn’t fully give himself to a relationship.

At the young age of 18, Larry ventured into his parents’ homemade wine. He took his first sip of alcohol. What followed was a series of social drinking and partying with friends. At 25, he was desperately seeking the bottle. Diving deep to find salvation at the bottom. He was looking through the narrow neck and dismissing the world around him. That’s the moment social drinking turned problematic.

One toxic marriage after another contributed greatly to his addiction.

These marriages were fueled by alcohol and perpetual partying, intoxicated-induced arguing, and heartbreak. This caused failed marriage upon failed marriage, he spiraled further into self-neglect. He would stop at a liquor store right after work and by the time he got home, he was drunk. He kept a cooler in his car at all times.  

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At 40, he found himself in a two-bedroom apartment with a roommate, seeing his children every other weekend. This left ample time for alcohol. He was a functioning alcoholic, able to hold onto a job while drinking all day. However, this did not free him from the consequence of an alcohol-induced state. He wound up in the ICU after totaling his car while under the influence.

While this wasn’t a wake-up call, it was a start.

Drinking buddies completed his social circle. Between drunken states, the friends would lightly talk about their drinking. Never admitting to the problem, but tossing around conversations that would later raise flags. One friend, who traveled a good bit, was fearful that his 600-pound alcoholic roommate would die and rot in the apartment, his only concern, how would his apartment smell? Larry got quiet and pondered his fate. If I died, would anyone mourn my death, or would they only worry about my insignificant corpse?

While this thought wasn’t a wake-up call, it was another start.

He and his friends would hold down the front stoops of the apartment, with a cooler of beer between them. Drinking the days away and pondering life.

Every Saturday, a hardworking single mother would walk past them on her way to the grocery store. She was juggling her son, her busy schedule, and a life that made her bones weary. Every Saturday the two men with a cooler between them were there. She would say her hellos and step around them. Over time, her hellos were stalled by conversation. She felt a connection with Larry, through each conversation she was able to see who he truly was.

She discovered that he had a beautiful heart. While he made her nervous with his drinking, she was drawn to him. She was different from the others, stable and strong in her faith. She was guided by God, not alcohol—a concept unfamiliar to Larry. He fell for this woman.

“I love you, I want you in my life, for the long haul,” he said. At that, she pointed to the beer bottle in his hand. And on the evening of January 21st in 1991, he poured the bottle down her kitchen sink and chose her.

This was a wake-up call, and this was his fresh start.

Outside the neck of that bottle was a day made just for him. A day for him to be free of his liquid-ridden prison. At 43, he married the love of his life, they blended their families and remain married to this day.

His recovery journey wasn’t without challenges. Shortly after he poured his last drink down the sink, their 12-year-old daughter was tragically killed in a car accident. His wife worried for his sobriety, worried for his sanity, and waited for him to reach for alcohol. Instead, he clung tightly to her and leaned greatly on the community given to him by church. When he quit drinking he needed to fill that void. He did so with his wife, with his church, and with the support of God.

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The day he dropped the cases and freed his hands of the bottle, he consciously chose to fill them with that of his wife and children. They walked towards the sun, paving a new path for generations to come.

Addiction took over all aspects of his previous life.

Today, he is 73. He and his wife pour their love into their adult children and grandchildren. He is their hero who is celebrating 30-years of sobriety. She is their hero for saving their father those many years ago.

She never gave up on him. Even through her weary days as a single mother, she was able to see through the alcoholism and into this man’s heart. With the strength given to her by God, through prayer and her love for him, she was able to show the world who he truly was. A funny, charming, and loving person.

Jackie Boeheim

Jacqueline Leigh holds a BA in Journalism from Valdosta State University. She’s successfully published articles in multiple lifestyle magazines and online publications. She is passionate about entertaining both parents and children through her writing. Jacqueline's first picture book, Time For Bed With Ford And Red, is set to release in June 2017. She makes her home in North Carolina with her husband and two spirited children. You can follow her on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/authorjacquelineleigh/?ref=bookmarks