I read many stories of marriages breaking down when the wife (or husband, or both) stops drinking.
Some of these women were drinking too much because their marriage was already toxic. As soon as they stop drinking they can't hide from the truth any more, and can find the strength and courage to leave.
Sometimes they stop drinking too late. Years of alcohol abuse has taken such a toll on the marriage that it can't be repaired. Which is a fabulous reason not to wait until you get to 'rock bottom' to quit. Rock bottom can be a very lonely place.
Then there are the co-dependant marriages. The husbands that really don't want their wives to stop. They'll pour her glasses of wine and wave them under her nose saying "go on, just the one. You deserve it!" She has to leave if she really wants to quit.
Well, I married Mr SM fourteen years ago today. I cannot tell you how grateful I am that I quit before I drove him away.
Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love) writes To be fully seen by somebody, then, and beloved anyhow - this is a human offering that can border on miraculous.
There is no doubt that over the last fourteen years Mr SM has 'fully seen' me, through all my ups and downs, tempers and sulks, in richer in poorer, in sickness and in health.
(Especially now that he reads my blog posts).
And, miraculously, he seems to love me anyhow. Wonky left boob and all.
To be fair, he's not perfect either. He has a terrible habit of leaving wet towels on floors, and dirty plates on top of the dishwasher rather than in it.
There is more tummy to love than there was fourteen years ago, and a little less hair. He's Scottish, so very 'careful' with money, and has been known to put gaffer tape over the central heating controls.
But I wouldn't have him any other way.
I loved him the minute I met him, twenty years ago on New Year's Eve.
He was wearing a kilt, and I've always had a weakness for men in skirts. He made me laugh - a lot, and he was one of the kindest people I've ever met.
We became best friends, but, back then, I was still in thrall to the bad, arrogant boys. The ones who'd make you feel grateful for their time and attention, however begrudging.
So it was four years before we kissed. I felt my foundations morph from sand to rock, and wondered why on earth I'd taken so long.
Since then, Mr SM has loved me patiently through thirteen years of over-indulgence and bad behaviour, and supported me quietly when I threw in the towel nine months ago.
(See Secret Drinker Hits the High Bottom)
Only he could make me laugh through a cancer diagnosis and treatment.
I think marriage is like a piggy bank. Every time you do something thoughtful for the other person you put a token in the bank. When you treat them carelessly you take one out.
In a strong marriage, the piggy bank gets really full - there's plenty there to see you through the bad times.
I ran my piggy bank right down to the bottom.
This morning Mr SM bought me wedding anniversary scrambled eggs on toast in bed. I started sobbing into the egg. He looked alarmed, assuming he'd done something terrible.
But I was crying because I'm just so terribly grateful. Not just for the egg. For everything.
Quit drinking, and top up that piggy bank before it's too late.
Love SM x