This is the image I sent to Ellie, the founder of the Crying Out Now blog, for her three-and-a-half year Anniversary video. Ellie promised that she was going to use it in her video and did. I am honored beyond belief.
The Crying Out Now blog is an amazing resource, written by women for women. The stories of these amazing women in their journey from alcoholism and addiction to recovery and their struggles to stay clean and sober inspire me.
Reading the stories the brave women have written there gives me hope that my beloved Lauren Elizabeth Kelley, who I nicknamed Ellie Kay years ago based on her initials, will eventually be able to fight her addictions and once again become the incredible woman I love and that loves me.
If you haven’t seen either of the Crying Out Now Anniversary videos, you can see them at:
Three-and-a-half year Anniversary
First Year Anniversary Video
Ellie is right—Addiction is a disease that lives in the dark. It is rooted in shame and thrives on silence. Ellie and the brave women on Crying Out Now know that only by telling the truth about it through the their stories brings it out into the light.
From what I have learned in dealing with alcoholism and addiction is that neither disease fundamentally changes who a person is. Being an alcoholic or drug-addict doesn’t change who they love, what they believe, their ability to know right from wrong, good from evil, the truth, their morals or who they are fundamentally.
Lauren Elizabeth Kelley is still the smart, funny, compassionate, gracious, honest, strong, lovable, devout Catholic woman that I have known for years and loved all of her life.
What addictions and alcoholism does do is fundamentally alter the way the alcoholic or drug addict behaves. Their addictions can make them do many things that they would never consider doing if they were healthy. A fundamentally good and honest person like my beloved will lie because of her addictions. She will deny the years of love, caring, and devotion we have shared—love, caring and devotion that is clearly visible in the photos of us together.
I think one reason that alcoholics and addicts push away the people they love most is simple—shame—they are ashamed of the things that the drugs and alcohol make them do. They think that if the people who love them saw what their addictions/alcoholism have made them do—it would cause their loved ones to stop loving them.
I want Lauren Elizabeth Kelley to know that I do not hold what her addictions and alcoholism has made her do and say against her. I can no more blame my beautiful Irish lass for these actions than I could have blamed Gee for the complications her cancer caused.
I still love Lauren Elizabeth Kelley. Lauren Elizabeth Kelley is still the person I want to marry and share my life with. I just wish she would be able to see herself through my eyes for a day.
If she could see what I see when I look at her—what an amazingly beautiful, smart, funny, strong, brave, and lovable person she really is—I am sure that she would not give the doubts, insecurities and fears that Ian’s betrayal of her awoke the strength they have.
If she could see what I see in her, I am sure that my strong, smart and brave Lauren Elizabeth Kelley would be able to get past the damage the years of emotional abuse her father subjected her to have left.
To the people who have criticized me for trying to help Lauren Elizabeth Kelley and the people who don’t understand why I would still care about her—it is simple. When you have loved someone all of their life, cared about them all of their life, and the friendship you have had with them for years has grown into the kind of love where you want to be with them for the rest of your life and they with you…you do not simply give up on them—not if you really love them—not if you believe in keeping the commitments and vows that you make to the person you love most.
That is who Lauren Elizabeth Kelley is to me. She is my friend, She is my love. I made a commitment to her on June 22, 2011, when I asked her to marry me and she told me she loved me. That commitment was the right thing to do since Lauren Elizabeth Kelley and I discussed all that was involved in starting a life together during the next week.
I will not break that commitment because of her illness—I can not, no more than I could have broken my commitment to Gee because of her cancer. It isn’t something I am capable of doing. Until I speak to my beloved Lauren Elizabeth Kelley—and not her addictions, not the drug-addicted alcoholic that has been occupying her body for the past sixteen months—I will hold to the promises I’ve made her, her mother Sue, and her sister Bridget.
That is who I am…it is my honor, my privilege and my duty to stand by the amazing woman that loves me. It is my promise to her mother that I made years ago to protect, guide and befriend Lauren Elizabeth Kelley. It is part of my responsibility to my friend Lauren Elizabeth Kelley, one of the very few I love and trust completely.
God Bless you Lauren Elizabeth.
May God watch over you and protect you from all harm—even that you cause yourself.
I hope God gives you the strength to fight your addictions and the wisdom to see the truth about what the alcohol and drugs are doing to you.
I pray that God grants you the serenity and peace you will need to love yourself once again and to forgive yourself for the things your addictions have made you do.
I ask that God helps you find your way back to being the amazing, beautiful, intelligent, feisty, stubborn, strong, and devout woman He wants you to be.
Finally, may He grant you the ability to see yourself as I do and let you remember who we are to each other; let you remember the years of friendship, love and devotion we once shared; and give you the strength to make amends so we can start the future together we talked about last June.
All this in Jesus’s name I pray.