Building Wealth Isn’t Always What It Seems

Building an Inflation-Proof  Marriage after Addiction

I remember the first day I became aware that I’d finally achieved wealth and success in my life.

It was in the fall of 2014 and I had just returned from a road trip that covered all 48 lower states. I’d been gone for 3 months, trying to figure out whether I wanted to live or die after discovering that everything I worked my ass off for,  didn’t deliver on its promise of “happily ever after” for me.

My wife, Kristin seemed very content with our nice home in the New Hampshire woods and all the other benefits that came from the successful business we had built together. I, on the other hand felt empty and miserable and I couldn’t understand why. We both worked extremely hard to dig ourselves out of a hole and climb the ladder of success together and I was about to drop a bomb that would seemingly destroy it all.

I’d been home for a few days and I remember spending two or three sleepless nights, preparing for the conversation. I was determined to break the news to her that day and after stalling for the better part of it, I went into the back yard, lit a campfire, and asked her to join me. (There’s something about a campfire that seems to make all the tough life moments a little easier).

I could tell she was nervous too, which made it that much more difficult but, I knew I couldn’t put it off any longer.

As we sat there, next to the warm glow of the fire, I remember thinking that the crackling sounds of the green firewood never sounded louder. I then interrupted it and in one fell swoop dropped the news that I was certain would crush her and probably destroy our marriage. I explained how empty I felt and that all of the material success we had once enjoyed was now just a heavy burden on me that I needed to unload.

I told her of my desire to just walk away from everything and live a minimalist lifestyle while I pursued my life’s purpose of helping others who still suffered from addiction. I braced myself as I  prepared for her response. I figured it would go one of two ways…either she was going to console this pitiful man going through a midlife crisis or she was going to tell me to fuck off and tell it to her attorney (My delicate flower is a Sicilian girl from Boston, by the way); Either way, I was certain that the words I had just spoken would be the straw that finally broke the camel’s back and my marriage was about to be yet another sad story to add to my extensive collection.

I didn’t have to wait long because her response was immediate.

OK, let’s do it! 

Those were not even close to the words I was expecting but, that’s exactly what she said…WITHOUT EVEN FLINCHING.

I was so caught off guard that I was speechless. Then I began to weep uncontrollably.

I think she enjoys watching me cry because the next words out of her mouth were:

I’ll live in a cardboard box as long as we do it together.

No matter how many times I tell that story I cry. In fact, I’m crying like a fucking baby right now, dammit.

Somehow, “happily ever after” had snuck in the back door while I was out chasing rainbows for the pot of gold. Within a couple weeks we had given away all our household stuff, signed our business over to one of our former loyal employees and hit the road. Today, Kristin and I live in a single wide mobile home in Florida as we fulfill our life missions.

In our culture, health, wealth, and happiness have been defined in more ways than anywhere else in the world. I’ve come to realize that whatever it is for me, it always includes strong, healthy relationships.

As a married man, I always know which one to start with.

Rock On!

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