This project is for April 2017 but we’re working on it now and you’ll see why in a second. A month ago I got a call from my friend George who is a pastor at my church. He told me that he knew this couple who, after 10 years and many struggles, is ready to get married; however, they aren’t in a financial position to do so. He wanted me to meet with them because maybe he felt we at Gethrr could help them . After meeting Esther & Mike and hearing their story, I knew we’d want to be part of this. And here we are, ready to help give this couple a beautiful wedding. Instead of hearing their story from me let me share with you their story in Esther’s words.
“We met in the summer of 2005. There was an immediate chemistry between us and I soon knew I was in love with this woman. We had a blast together – every day was full of joy, fun and laughter. We were living life to the fullest. About a year later, I got the courage to ask Esther’s parents for her hand in marriage. They gave me their permission and I set out to propose while we were at the shore for a weekend with friends. I asked and she said yes! I’d never experienced happiness like I did in that moment.
But, as the days went on I started to feel consumed with fear that I wouldn’t be able to sufficiently provide for us and a future family. As the fear continued to grow, so did my need to seek comfort and escape in alcohol. I used alcohol to numb what I was feeling. Though I was still completely in love and very happy, I really didn’t know what to do with the way I was feeling. For awhile, I hid it well. I was still working and making a living, I was pretending that everything was ok and I had things under control. The drinking started getting worse and I hit rock bottom. I was a broken man- emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. We remained engaged, but the stress of the situation really put a strain on our relationship and in July of 2008, three months before we were supposed to get married, we broke off our engagement.
After months of procrastination, I realized rehab was the only option. I thought rehab would teach me how to control my drinking. However, the only solution was to stop drinking entirely. I spent the next seven months in rehab and intensive therapy – learning what effects alcohol had had on not only me, but also what my drinking had done to everyone around me. I learned the reasons I drank and I learned about feeling. Prior to this I thought I only had two feelings: happy or mad.
Through it all, Esther and I tried to support each other through this as friends. We attended family programs at the treatment center together. But as time wore on we began to drift apart. As the depths of my drinking were brought to light, Esther lost the trust she had in me. My decision to put alcohol first left her to cope alone. The reality of hitting bottom and figuring a way out had taken its toll on our friendship. We stopped speaking and we tried our best to move on.
Of course, if our story ended there then this wouldn’t be a love story at all! We could never quite completely cut off ties and spoke occasionally here and there. I knew that I still loved her and that she was the only woman I could ever marry. But, she was nowhere near the same emotional place as me.
Finally, this past February we got into a really good place as friends. It felt like the initial first days that we had met. I summoned up a lot of courage and kissed my beautiful best friend. But, this time we were two completely different people falling in love. Me, emotionally healthy and almost 8 years sober. Her, growing in her career and knowing exactly what she wanted out of life. So, May 29, 2016, I got down on one knee in Valley Forge Park, and as a new man, I asked the woman of my dreams to marry me. She said yes!
We are both healthier, stronger, more resilient people. I know that because of what we’ve been through and how we’ve grown, we will be happier and healthier in our marriage than we could’ve ever been back in 2008. There is no other explanation for our story other than God needed to write it himself. He took us where we were and molded us into what he knew we could be. I am thankful that God is the best storyteller and the author of our lives. He has brought us both back from the depths of sadness and destruction and restored us into the people he meant us to be all along.”