*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.
I was so embarrassed when my groom's mother told my parents about his drug addiction moments before we said, "I do."
My husband was in and out of rehab for drug and alcohol addiction twice before he turned sixteen. Or was it three times?
He was fifteen years old when we met, and I was seventeen.
Although he should have been in high school by then, he had stayed back several grades and was still a junior high school student. He would drop out of junior high school at sixteen; he was so hopelessly behind that he had no chance of catching up with his peers.
Despite the turbulence of his early teens, he was clean and sober when I met him. He wouldn't drink coffee or cola because he didn't want to consume caffeine.
I loved coffee and cola, and I thought his aversion to caffeine seemed strange.
I can understand someone not liking coffee or caffeine. What I couldn't understand was someone liking it and abstaining anyhow. I didn't mention it to him because I knew it was his decision to make; I just found it odd.
He only drank fruit juice, and I learned the rehab facility had taught him to avoid things like coffee and soda because they could trigger his addiction. It didn't take long before his avoidance of caffeinated beverages became irrelevant as he resumed drinking alcohol and taking drugs with his friends.
We had been dating for a couple of months before he started drinking and taking drugs again. To a teenager, two months seems like a long time. I felt like I had invested too much time to break up with him, and I became too deeply entangled in his mess of a life to leave him.
The longer we stayed together, the worst things got. Leaving him would have been a perfectly reasonable decision to make. Instead, I married him, which brings us to our ill-fated wedding day when my parents learned for the first time that I was marrying a drug addict.
Our wedding was disorganized and scattered. The justice of the peace was late, but so was the groom. In the last minutes before he and I said our vows, I saw a dark cloud pass over my mother's face. With less than a minute to go, I asked her what was wrong.
That's when my mother told me that my future mother-in-law had spilled the beans to my parents about the groom's past and present history with drug and alcohol addiction, including his multiple stints in rehab.
"Why didn't you tell me?" my mother asked.
I had no answer, and I had no time to plan one. It was time to say my vows, and I did. Our vows were the only part of our wedding day that went off without a hitch, which is a shame. I would have been better if they hadn't.