On Staying


Why did I stay?  The simple answer would be love, but the honest answers are never simple, are they?  No, honesty is usually a bit more complex. Not to mention, love wasn’t enough, not this time.

I stay because I was able to love my husband despite his addiction.  I was able to remove the addiction from the equation of his character, as I had always known him, as the man he was when we met and love him.  Then, I added the addiction back into the equation and added all of the things the addiction included.  The setbacks, the lies, the required patience from me, the meetings, the counselors, and I still found I loved him for the man he was and still is today.

I stand by his side because as a 20 year sober cocaine addict, I have a unique understanding of walking his path.  My path was not as difficult and that’s okay, it was mine. I don’t judge him for his struggles because it’s not my place to judge, I am not God.  I do understand the desire to want to be sober and the disappointment when there is an inner struggle between want and ability.  I have faith.  Faith in him and Faith it will be okay.

I’m here because I am finally healthy enough mentally to know without a shadow of a doubt that it’s because I want to be.  I always knew I was able to walk away if I had to, and I still will if need be. Devin knows if he cheats again or recovery is not ongoing, I’m leaving.  I will live in a cardboard box before I would put myself through that mental anguish again.  However, I am finally confidant enough in my recovery to know I am not codependent anymore and I have exorcised all my demons.  I don’t need the confirmation of my rockin’ counselor to confirm it this time.

I was once asked how I could respect my husband after all he had done to our marriage and me.  For me, it’s quite easy.  He is more than his addiction, and his actions were a result of his addiction.  I’m more than my addiction too.  My addiction does not define me any more than his defines him. The thing I respect the most; he is remorseful and has been since Disclosure Day.  It has helped me heal, move forward and get past my triggers.

Another question asked of me was how could I allow him to touch me again?  How could we be intimate?  This was trial by fire.  We went through hysterical bonding (nookie all the time).  It’s common; if you’re new to the disclosure world, don’t be surprised, you’re not alone.  When that phase wore off, I found I would cringe at his touch.  I would cry if we tried to be intimate, or even in the middle of being intimate.  I had to set boundaries and often times those boundaries changed on a day-to-day basis.  We took it slow.  We held hands, then hugged, then progressed from there and made a game of it until I was comfortable again, always knowing I could trigger at anytime and that was okay.  After over three years, I can't even recall the last time I triggered while being intimate. Another common phase to drift in and out of (at least for us) is sexual anorexia - no sex at all. This happens when Devin is struggling with something he's working on in his recovery. It's a mental disease for sure and it's not about sex, it's about emotional intimacy.

A word of advice that I wish was imparted on me:  It is normal to want to surround yourself with people in your situation.  People who understand your pain, and who also think your husband is a prick for cheating on you.  Please allow me to caution you, if you truly want your marriage to work, try your best to stay away from those people who are full of hatred and rage.  They are bitter and you may become bitter too.  The same holds true for anyone who is stuck in the loop of hyper vigilance.  It is normal to behave this way for a little while, it’s a natural response, but it has to come to an end. If you’re surrounding yourself with people who thrive on that behavior, you will too.  It’s unhealthy and will bring you down and cause further damage to your healing process.  Please trust me on this.  It happened to me. I got stuck there for months!

No, I am not a doctor…I only play one on Blogger.

You can read more about my recovery and learn tips I used on how to heal from Relational Trauma in my book:


2 comments:

  1. You are so amazing. I don't think I could ever ever do what you did. Forgive and work hard on healing. I'm so glad you both have been able to walk the recovery road together. If he hadn't been willing to change and get well, this never would've worked. Kudos to both of you!

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    1. Thank you, JoJo. It was worth it. I'm better for it and so is he. You're so right, if he hadn't been willing to do the hard work in his recovery, our marriage never would have made it. We still had our own work to do on ourselves, but lots of it fell on him too. Thank you.

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