Recovering From My Husband's Sex Addiction

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On The Other Side of Sex Addiction

I haven’t posted in awhile. Funny it was easy to pour my heart out when I was in agony, suffering, alone and isolated. Now that life is improving I find that I really have nothing to say. I guess I have felt that sharing the good was not as important as sharing and eliminating the pain but someone just asked me how I was doing so I thought I would share the upside and a success story to recovery.

My husband has been sober since November 2010. I thought sobriety was all that was needed to get to recovery but I have found that the real work began after sobriety. My husband’s addiction was how he coped with life, his emotions, his stresses, his fears, his insecurities – basically how he functioned. Without his addiction he had to face and deal with his life, his emotions, his stress, his fears and his insecurity. Not something that he found pleasant or easy or wanted.

For the first more than a year of his sobriety it was hell on both of us. He kept finding other addictions to turn to cope. He took up smoking, he ate copious amounts of food that made him ill and he remained isolated. Whatever he used it was to cover the pain, help him avoid his feelings so the results in his and our life remained the same as when he was acting out.

Our fighting and destruction of our marriage continued to get worse. Life was basically horrible.

In hindsight I can see that all that was suppressed needed to come to the surface and he had suppressed many many years of pain so the emotional mess that was laid out of his and our feet was at times unbearable. We almost did not make it through.

We separated for a couple of months. It was agony for me for him it was a relief not to have to face any of the issues. It seems that I was a huge mirror for him to see the repressed pain, I was the one who was forcing him to look, to see, to heal and to recover by the very fact that I was in his life. He blamed me for almost everything that he was feeling. I was seen as the pain source and he pushed me away – really hard he pushed me away.

It almost worked. It was almost over for good. But I guess we were brought together for our mutual healing and we had to go through pain that we did not think we could survive from.

But we did survive.

First came sobriety and then my husband got medical and medicinal help. He found a psychiatrist who knew and understood sex addiction. He was diagnosed with ADHD and on the proper medications.  My husband began to find relief from his brain frying him from the inside out.

Then we could get down to the work of healing. That work continues.

We found a couples retreat, a couples therapist, individual therapists, individual healing retreats and self help from many sources. We learned to heal ourselves and our marriage. We learned conflict resolution. We learned compassion and understanding. We learned to communicate.

Now we are putting all of that into practice. We do not have the ideal relationship yet and I am not sure that is even possible. What exactly is ideal?

But life is quiet. We are at peace. We can discuss things. Life is falling into place. Things in our lives are miraculously aligning to make life simpler. We are no longer living in constant chaos.

We are beginning to dream and plan for a future that we never thought possible. We are becoming more responsible and practical instead of reactive to life and to each other.

2012 is set for our year of healing. We are throwing ourselves completely into recovery in whatever way God brings it to us. We are saying yes to all that presents itself to us. We are no longer living in the problem but are finding and living in solutions.

There are days that I forget and he forgets that sex addiction is part of our lives!

We are beginning to have a healthy sex life. It is a slow process but we are making headway. We are re-learning to connect to each other, to trust each other and to trust our own desires.

We are hopeful. We are beginning to fall in love again. Not that fall head over heals can do no wrong kind of love but instead a quiet, deep, respectful love that only comes from walking in the fires together. I much prefer this love to the excitement and passion of that early love. This love leaves me at peace where the other love left me breathless.

I am not sure how much I will continue to write. I am writing more personal journals lately – actually on paper again. I am doing creative writing. I am reading voraciously. I am in and a part of life. I am volunteering. I am finding friends. I am a part of life again where I was once so alone and isolated.

I will keep this blog open and up. I will monitor comments. I leave it now for those who are still in the fire. I hope that my  escape from sex addiction and finding a life on the otherside will provide hope to those who are still suffering. Know that I suffered as you may be and I have lived through until it stopped hurting so much.

I wish that for all of us. I will continue to pray for all those suffer from addiction and all those who love those who suffer from addiction. May we all rise above the pain of addiction and may we find peace and healing.

I love you all.

Mysa

Oprah’s Life Class, Tony Robbins and My HUGE Ah Ha Moment

I just finished watching Oprah’s Life Class online with Anthony Robbins. I have always been a fan of Tony Robbins. I  have read his books, watched him on everything that I could, saw him live. I have always loved his power but today he awoke in me an understanding that I had no idea I had.

He was talking to Gail, a mother who was feeling irrelevant after a failed business and not finding relevance as a mother and wife. The guilt, the pain, the insignificance that she felt, I felt in myself. As Tony worked with her, I decided to play along as if he was talking to me. That’s how it happened. I watched him talk to her, I used his words and translated it for me.

He asked her who’s love had she craved as a child.

I craved my mothers love. I was an unwanted child of a teenage pregnancy. I have always and I mean ALWAYS felt that I was not good enough. I have always known that my mother HAD to get married because of me. She was not in a healthy relationship with my father. They loved each dearly but they destroyed each other. Their dance of dysfunction allowed alcoholism to flourish in their lives, their hearts and their marriage. My mother shriveled before my eyes. I never felt that I was good enough for her. I never felt her love.

I knew she loved me but I never felt she loved me. There is a huge difference.

I would give up everything, anytime and I did constantly my entire life for her to love me. I would give up my time, my energy, my money, I would be there for her every need but I still never felt that she loved me. I knew she loved my sibling. I could see that love. She craved my siblings love like I craved hers. Neither of us ever really got what we needed or craved.

Anyway, back to Tony Robbins.

The next question he asked Gail was, Who did you have to be to get your fathers mothers love?

I had to be perfect. I had to get the best grades, I had to look right. I had to say the right things. I had to feel the right things. I had to not have needs and meet her needs. I had to be perfect.

Once I came home from school with a 97% on a test. I was so pleased. My mother said to me what did you do wrong? You were so close to perfect. You need to know what you did wrong so next time you can achieve it.

Another time I attempted to kill myself by drowning in our pool. It is impossible to drown yourself I found out. You pass out and roll over and breathe by instinct. Unless you are unable to reach air, you can not kill yourself by drowning. I told my mother when she came home that I had attempted it. Her reply was that would have been a nice thing to come home to find after a hard day’s work.

Next Tony Robbins asked her about her relationship with her husband. I realized that I felt I had to be perfect to earn my husband’s love. His disease took him from me, took him away, had him reject me daily and I never saw it as his disease. I saw it as proof that I was not perfect and that I was not good enough. I tried harder and harder to be perfect to earn his love and the more I tried, the more masculine and in control that I became in my attempts to be perfect, the more it pushed my husband away. The more I pushed him away, the more desperate I became to be perfect and loved, the more aggressive I became.

Now Tony talked to Gail about her always being the masculine role. She was in charge at work. She was in charge at home. She was always living in the masculine role and that was why she was feeling irrelevant. She was not living her authentic feminine self. She wanted her man to be her man so she could be a woman.

Tony told her to nurture the feminine in herself. Find beautiful music, dance naked, eat chocolate and have a bath. Find her feminine sensual self. Embrace her feminine power.

That is what I need!!!

I used to feel my most powerful when I was my most feminine. I realize that I mistook my feminine power as sexuality. I mistakenly used my sexuality to get the love I craved and when the love that I needed was taken from me, my feminine side died, my sexuality died, my soul died.

I have been trying to find my soul, my authentic self again. I have still been looking for it in my husband’s love and adoration. I have still been looking for it in my ability to be sexual and attractive. I have still been warping myself to be the perfect person, rid myself of my fears, have all the right answers, get my husband to love me, to desire me, to be sexual with me.

I need to feel relevant.  I need to feel that I matter and that I am worthy of love. But that is an inside out job. I have still been seeking it from outside sources.

Tony Robbins says I need to divorce my story. I am not sure how to do that. I know that awareness is where it starts but now what. If it is a part of every fiber of my being, in my thoughts and actions, how do I divorce myself?

The AfterMath of The Retreat

It has been 3 weeks since coming home from the retreat. What could have been thought of a quick fix retreat has so far proven to have been a pivotal momentous change in our lives and relationship. This was no quick fix. This was life altering.

The 12 step program has the steps laid out to create lasting change. The problem we found with the 12 step model and especially our sponsors was that they professed progress not perfection but the reality was that we both felt that we had not dug deep enough, had not poured enough of our souls into each step so we kept having to go deeper and deeper. That left us stuck in the pain, stuck in the resentments and stuck in our relationships.

The retreat did all the healing that the 12 steps offer but instead of keeping us stuck, this retreat allowed us to fall deep into the pain pool and have an immediate hand out of it. Once we were out of the pain, we were no longer stuck in it. We could shake off our wet, tired bodies that the swimming in the pain did and look back and feel cleaned by the swim instead of drowning in the muck of the pain.

I wish that our sponsors could have or had of known what we needed. I wish we could have dove in head first and swam out quickly into recovery. It could be that they didn’t know how because they were swimming themselves. It could be that we were not ready to take the plunge until we were ready. It could be a million reasons but the reality is that it didn’t happen that way for us.

Now in the aftermath of the retreat, my husband and I are still in love. We are still communicating daily and our communication is improving every day. Our intimacy and trust is growing each day that we talk through our day, our unresolved issues, our clinging leftover pain. Our trust in each other, in our relationship and in our futures is growing. We are each feeling safe with ourselves and safe within our marriage. We are now eager to continue to heal. We are eager to face our leftover unresolved issues. We have experienced the healing, the cleansing and the lightness of soul that comes with processing our pain. We want more. We want more for ourselves, for each other and for our relationship.

The aftermath is that we are now questioning our programs and our roles within each program. Has our program taken us as far as we can go, do we now have more to offer our program with our new healing and how do we incorporate healing into our program lives.

Our home groups are not healthy, growing and thriving groups. Many of the members of our group make us feel stuck, make us feel that we need to stay in rigid rules, swimming in the pain of the addiction. I know not all groups are like that. Some groups are healthy, thriving, growing, expanding.

So many we just need to question our home group choices instead of our program. But we are questioning so many things in our lives since the retreat.

We are doing book studies together every day that encourage communication, sharing and questioning of our thoughts and actions. We do this in a respectful and healthy way even though we are not using program material.

We are tired of the disease. We are tired of only having disease in our lives. We want healing. We want health. We want recovery.

Maybe this is our sign to move on and create a new home group. Maybe we are free to expand the movement and not be tied to the past. I am thinking that now we are free to see what is ahead of us without being tied to what is behind us.

In the aftermath of the retreat, we are recommitted to working with our therapists individually. We are welcoming looking at our past, our history, our family dynamics and seeing how we have been affected by it all. We are not afraid to look at what we were afraid of before.

In the aftermath of the retreat, I find I have a renewed, refreshed and safe relationship with my Higher Power. I am more trusting of guidance and inspiration that I find in my heart and soul. I know that I am connected to my God and he is leading me to my highest self.

In the aftermath of the retreat, I am being bombarded with my fears. They are coming out in my thoughts and dreams. I am able to see my fears for what they are. I see how they are tied to my past, my dysfunction and my pain. Each time I surrender my fears, each time I see the link, the connection of my fears to my dysfunction, I am feeling lighter and freer. I am slowly moving past my fears as I face each one of them.

My husband is bigger than his addiction and his sobriety is not the be all end all of recovery. I realize that his sobriety is just the first hurdle that he needed to overcome. Now I am watching him blossom and come awake. I am seeing him see himself clearly and freely. It is a thing of beauty to watch him wake up to who he is without the resentments, without the addiction and without the battle of obsession.

In the aftermath of the retreat, I am re-energized in my personal growth. I am reading again. I am exploring my faith, my beliefs and my passions.  I have booked each of us into personal retreats of healing and growth. We are making plans to attend a Hay House I Can Do It weekend convention. This is a year of growth, of healing and of setting a new course.

I am so grateful to my HP for guiding me to this retreat. I am so grateful for the teacher, leader of the retreat for her gifts, for her heart and soul and for her love of healing. I am so grateful for a new start at our lives together. I feel so free to love.

What a gift.

Retreat Did Rescue My Relationship Plus Me

I just returned from my relationship rescue, last chance attempt to save my marriage or I am out of here, retreat. It worked. It saved my marriage but it did WAY more than that.

The first day was really dicey. The tension was thick, the mistrust was measurable, the insecurities, the fears, the anxiety – it was all there but I had decided to give this all I had, I would trust the process, I would invest every single last cell of my body knowing that I could walk away from this knowing that I had left nothing on the table.

I know I had faults but seriously I thought this was to correct my husband and show him how to be better, to treat me better, to heal from his pain and his addiction. Once he got his shit together than we could fix what was wrong with our marriage and somewhere along the line I would deal with the small issues that were mine.

That was what I thought. Here is what happened.

First let me start at the beginning. I found my relationship with my God through Conversations with God. I knew nothing about these series of books. I did not go looking for them years ago but they jumped out of the bookshelf at me until I finally agreed to take it home and see what was grabbing my attention so severely.

I took the book home and then devoured everything that Neale Donald Walsh wrote. I began my journey about 6-7 years ago looking for me, my spirit, my connection, my place. Neale’s books seem to always be there for me when I am in a life moment. I finished reading Going Home about what happens when we die just before I lost both of my parents.

Then I joined S Anon, a 12 step program for spouses of sex addicts. My journey with my God deepened by introducing prayer for me. I began praying daily which was so foreign to me. I was not religious. I did not go to church. I did not know how to pray. Somehow I just began to pray. I used thoughts and guidance from A Course in Miracles, I used the materials from the 12 steps, I used other books on prayers and somehow I found my prayer.

In my daily prayer I ask God to guide me, to open my eyes to see, to open my ears to hear, to open my heart and fill it with God’s love so I can be a carrier of his love into the world. I ask God to guide my choices as I surrender to the process. I ask God to remove my fears, my self will and anything else that I may put in the way of true surrender. I ask God to keep me in the flow so I can stop swimming upstream and fighting an uphill battle.

Slowly I have begun to see God working in my life. I found a job that I love which has allowed me to blossom. It was EXACTLY what I did not want, would not choose and had rejected many years before but once this job found me and I accepted it, I found myself. That miracle has opened so many other doors for me.

This retreat was one of them. I had looked at retreats for sex addiction, recovering marriages through therapists of addiction and traditional therapy models of retreats. Nothing appealed me. I had this one stored in my favorites folder and it just sat there.

During one of my deep sobbing on the floor moments, I went to my computer and opened the file. I reread the website of this retreat and I knew that we had to be there. I begged, pleaded and guilted my husband into agreeing to go and once he agreed I paid a deposit that I could not afford. Then I tried to make the logistics of attending work out and I kept hitting brick walls.

In absolute panic of realizing that our marriage needed this, how could I make it work, how could I overcome these obstacles that were preventing us from attending when I had booked and wanted to, I surrendered. I truly surrendered. I prayed to God that if we were meant to be there please provide the way. And then I let it go. Really let it go. Peacefulness came over me immediately from where panic was.

I found myself drawn back to the retreat website and miraculously the next weekend a spot was opened where there was none. Logistically every single last detail worked quickly and perfectly. It was easy and effortless. It just happened.

So knowing that we were being led and that the Universe was truly providing for us, I knew that this retreat would either save our marriage or release us from the painful ties that bound us together. I knew that the outcome would be alright and I had to trust.

Our marriage did go through a miraculous reversal, an awe-inspiring healing and found us back to love and joy. The fact that it happened so effortlessly and methodically and so quickly is truly amazing. I am blessed that my husband and I have healed our past, let it go and truly surrendered it. Once we let it go, love just replaced all that pain. How it could happen that quickly is a true miracle. But it wasn’t only us. We witnessed it in others who were in the same place. We watched people transform. We saw love physically and electrically charged in people where there was nothing but complacency.  The coach is an angel and a true miracle worker.

But the fall out is that I saw myself. I saw how my patterns of fear are connected to my past. I saw how I was so fear based. I saw how I was controlling. I saw how I was manipulating. I saw so much inside of me and how I had been such a huge part of the destructive dance that I had blamed on my husband. How could I have such an impact when he was the sex addict?

But it was all me and in my hands. I drove this boat. I choose a sex addict who could be a partner in the dance. I was not a victim of him but I was programmed by my past, my fears, my insecurities to have found this man, joined this relationship and been an intricate part of the dysfunction of our marriage. It was not just his disease but it was my disease as well.

I have been overly critical and controlling. I have demanded perfection from everyone and resented when we got so close that we did not make it instead of rejoicing how close to absolute perfection we were.  Without spilling my baggage here because I don’t think that is the point, I freed myself and my husband by seeing my part. The revelations that I have had since leaving the retreat are astonishing to me.

Passion has been my word. It has been my soul. It has been my nemesis. And I have sucked the passion out of me, my life and my marriage.

I need to find my passion again. I need to find myself again and I vow to do that.

My marriage will be fine. We are on a true healing path. I am confident and free of the ties of pain from the addiction.

I am not all done. We are not all done. But for the first time in my life, the first time in my marriage, I know, I mean I KNOW that it is all spirit led, God driven and we have found the flow.

What an amazing, life altering change has occurred. Thank you God.

P.S. Neale Donald Walsh’s name came up at the end of the retreat. He had given a glowing recommendation for this retreat and coach. I knew when I saw that, that I was truly God led to this moment and if God is in charge, then I am fine.

PPS. If anyone wants the name of this retreat, this amazing coach please email me privately. One day I may post a link to the website directly but only far enough into the future that my anonymity of attending won’t be jeopardized by linking myself and my husband to this particular retreat. I highly recommend it and it was worth every single penny and actually priceless.

Is There Any Room In My Marriage For My Husband?

A friend just asked me that question. Is there any room in our marriage for my husband?

At first I was thrown back, what did she mean? I was just telling her we were getting ready to go to this last minute marriage retreat, which is a miracle how it all came together but I digress. I was telling her how I had booked the retreat, booked the hotel, made the financial arrangements and done my prerequisite homework. I had asked my husband to make the dinner reservations for our “date night”. He had asked that we do it together.

When I told her how I wanted him to take control, to be romantic and not make me do anything she suggested that he may be afraid to disappoint me, make a mistake or let me down. I realized that is exactly how he feels. He has told me so. I dismissed his concerns thinking feeling that they were just excuses to not put any effort into me or our relationship.

I remembered how our first anniversary dinner together was at Ponderosa and I made fun of him about it for years. I choose the restaurant because I was hungry and it was there and I had not been to one in years but yet it had become a running joke.

I remembered at the last SA SAnon retreat he had made dinner reservations for a Thai restaurant because he knows that I love Thai food but the one he picked was too far out of the way so I went online and looked for a better and closer one. I choose one that when we arrived at it, it was an empty dive that I refused to go into. He never said anything but I am sure he thought that he couldn’t please me because I am not pleasable.

When did I become such a tough task master trying to make everything so perfect that nothing became good enough? When did I become so controlling and afraid that every moment would not be perfect?

I realized that when my husband lost his mother, in grief and trauma he handed control over to me.

I took the control.

He never took it back.

I never gave it back.

I resented the fact that I had all the control, all the power and made all the decisions.

He resented the fact that I had all the control, all the power and made all the decisions.

I realized today in that moment when she asked me if there was any room in my marriage for my husband, that we had removed him from our marriage by our actions. We had made decisions, run away from problems, the addiction had invaded and pushed him away, my control and power grew, his diminished and in all of this, he was no longer a part of our marriage.

I missed my partner, my friend and my husband. I wanted him back. I resented him for being gone. I blamed him and his addiction for stealing my husband away. I was so lonely and so overwhelmed that my controlling nature grew bigger as my control and fear over our lives grew.

No there was no room in our marriage for my husband. We had locked him out and we both hated it.

He blamed me and I blamed him and his addiction.

I truly hope that this retreat will teach us how to break this destructive, dysfunctional pattern that we have created. I want to make room for my husband. I want him to take his power back. I want him to once again be my equal partner in life like he was when we got married.

I want him to make dinner reservations, pick me up, compliment me and tell me how pretty I look. I want him to open the door for me, guide me with his hand on the small of my back.

I want him to do all this knowing that I trust him, trust his judgement and will be thrilled with whatever he chooses. I will be thrilled with just the simple pleasure of being on a date with him. I will be thrilled to be spending quality time with him. I will be thrilled with his efforts, his taste and his attention. He can’t make a mistake. I will remember and cherish this moment forever.

And I will do my best to put the controlling, bitchy, insatiable part of my fear aside while I enjoy being a lady who is with her tall, handsome husband and is feeling totally blessed that he is willing to try to work this out with me.

Letting Go of Denial

Today’s daily meditation is about letting go of denial. It has me wondering if I am living in denial today or was I living in denial in the past and now I am living in reality.

Our day of disclosure was probably like so many. I found out about the porn use by finding it on the internet. When I confronted my husband I was initially met with lies of denial, lies that were so absurd that I could even see through them, until we got to the root of the problem – his childhood abuse.

Before disclosure day, I thought the problem was me or his religious background or anything. I would deny it wasn’t so bad and find a way to push through the pain that I was experiencing but not knowing where it was coming from. I would sink into depression but I had no cause for it, so I would try to deny it’s existence.

I wanted my life to be normal. I wanted my love to be healthy. I wanted to live the fairy tale that I thought I was marrying. My reality did not jive with my wants so I would try to find a way to control it. I guess that was living in denial.

After disclosure it took 2 more years for the full extent of the addiction to become known to both of us. We did not know about sex addiction. We did not know what it looked like and for me I didn’t know all the symptoms. He did but as an addict he lived his entire life in denial so he couldn’t see it.

Since learning about the addiction and spending the next more than 2 years trying to untangle the weave that it had woven through every fiber of our beings, every nuance of our marriage and every breath we took, we found that the addiction became every thing we were. I know he lived in denial and still does about the effects of the addiction and how pervasive it has been. But have I been still living in denial thinking that we could cure this and return back to the fairy tale of my dreams?

I have begged my husband to attend a last resort couples retreat. I need to know if there is any hope, if there is any love, if there is any way of breaking free from the damaging effects of this addiction and return to the place where we just loved each other. He has agreed but I think under duress. I hope he has agreed because he wants to see if there hope as well but only time will tell.

My husband emotionally abandoned me the last time because he said he felt he could not trust me. At first I felt indignant that how dare he not trust me, I had done nothing to break his trust, I had not lied to him, I had not betrayed him or our marriage.

But today I realized that I had. I had stopped trusting him. I had gone to the place that he has been living – self protection. When I closed up my  heart, protecting myself, waiting until it was safe from any pain from him, he must have known that it was not safe for him to be near me.

But if I remained open and loving, I got hurt. The hurt became overwhelming and I thought I could not live through anymore.

What a horrible dance we have created.

Am I currently living in denial thinking that a last resort retreat can in fact unravel the damage, remove the huge pile of pain we are living around and get back to the two lost, hurting souls that we are?

I love my husband more than I wish I did. I wish I could just walk away and feel nothing. I wish it wouldn’t hurt so bad this living separately or even living together. I wish I didn’t feel so tied to him, thinking there is unfinished business between us.

But the reality is that I do love him. I don’t want to walk away. I am tied to him.  I want to heal what is broken in us and learn the lesson that brought us together in the first place. I still see the beautiful man buried under all that pain and it breaks my heart the thought of leaving him for good.

Does that mean that I am facing reality and ready to face whatever is involved or am I living in denial not wanting to move forward without him?

I Can’t Stop Crying

My cries sound so different than I have ever heard before. It is a cross between a whimper, a deep sob and a wailing. I have never felt a pain so deep as this pain.

How do you recover a pain of giving your heart and soul away to someone who rejects you for an addiction?

How do you overcome the worthless feeling in your gut when an addiction has so much more importance than you are, your family is and your love is? I know in my mind that it is not about me but the pain my heart and soul beg to differ.

How could I love so deeply, so profoundly to someone who could be so careless and reckless with me and my love?

How much pain can any one person survive? This feels like it will cripple me forever.

I tell myself that this too shall pass, that one day I will feel love, that one day I will be appreciated and one day all this suffering will be worth it but in the moment of my deepest darkest pain, I don’t care. I want the pain to stop.

The only time the pain goes away is when anger sets in. I hate being angry because I can only get angry at myself. I know he is injured and lost and just a child, how could I fall so deeply in love with him?

I have lost so much. I have lost my family, my friends, my money and now my marriage. I am as empty as I could ever be.

Dear God it hurts so much. Please help me process this pain it feels too much for me.

Addiction Takes Another Marriage?

I used to feel that our marriage could withstand any issue, that our love was special, that my love could conquer all the pain and rejection that sex addiction could throw at me. I thought I was tough and learning all there was to know about sex addiction would give me the weapons that I would need to protect myself, defend myself and beat addiction at its game.

But sex addiction has won this battle. The only question is whether it will win the war.

We have separated. I have found the straw that broke the camel’s back. The camel is officially broken and I can no longer take anymore.

I feel beaten down and broken. I feel more pain than I did when I have lost loved ones to death. The death of a marriage, the death of a dream that you have given every single ounce of your soul and being into, is a pain too great for me to manage.

I can’t sleep. It takes total exhaustion and hours and hours of lying there until I finally fall asleep. When I do sleep I am up all night with nightmares. Night terrors about my marriage, what has happened, what could happen, what might happen. Terrible dreams of my deceased parents and how I continuously let them down. Dreams of how inadequate I am and I continually fail over and over again.

I wake up soaked in sweat and immediately go to every single horrible possible scenerio in my mind. I pray the thoughts away. I pray the dreams away. I sob uncontrollably. I shake and can’t breathe and fall into exhausted sleep again.

I wake up after only a couple of hours of sleep and am a walking zombie. I break down in total hysterical sobs anywhere and anytime. I am basically not functioning.

I am sitting here writing now, drinking a liquor hoping to numb myself enough to go to sleep, hoping to purge enough thoughts that I can rest, hoping that God will hear my pleas for help. I am so overwhelmed, exhausted and hurting more than I ever thought possible.

But it is the right thing to end my marriage. Addiction is winning his soul back. He is isolating, rejecting, blaming again. He treats me like the enemy. It takes nothing to set him off and when he returns somewhat, the damage that is done only causes enough stress to send him back.

No my staying with him is no longer an act of love, no longer an act of commitment and honoring my vows. No continuing to stay is only an act of defeat that will take me down this road with him. I know he can’t heal with me in his life. The last 4 years have proven that. We have a dance choreographed so well that the cycle can’t break while I am still in it.

I had hoped and prayed that we could break this cycle together, that the very act of healing his pain, healing our marriage and healing this addiction done as a loving, intimate act together would only strengthen our love and our marriage. I see that was a fantasy. I am part of the problem and unless I left this marriage, there was no hope for his pain to heal. Without him healing his pain, there could be no healing of our marriage, there could be no healing of our joint pain and there definitely could be no healing of us.

Now we are separated. There is more confusion and chaos. Neither us knows how to navigate a separation. He is in his dark zone and protecting himself from me, feeling like I am victimizing him that I am terrified of discussing how to navigate separation.

My children ask if this is final, are we divorcing or just taking a separation. I don’t have any answers. I used to think that if we ever separated that it would be final and no turning back. I thought that if I ever escaped from addiction that I could never go back knowingly into it, that I would not have the strength to trust again, that I would be so damaged that I could not risk intimacy again.

But here I sit, in more pain that I could imagine, hoping and praying that my husband dives into recovery, that he heals himself and his pain, that he looks his demons in the eye and shows them that he is not afraid. I hope and pray that the man that I fell in love with will rise to the occasion and not let everything and everyone that he loves disappear from his life.

I hope and pray that healing will bring us together even if we are apart. I hope and pray that we can get past this.

But I am so afraid that is not possible. I am so terrified that he will surrender completely, step by step to his addiction, that he will fall little by little back into its powerful grip and there will be no saving any of this.

He thinks he can safely manage his addiction. He thinks he use responsibly and that he is control. He thinks that he is safe in using his gateway drugs and that it will not lead to the loss of his sobriety. He thinks he is in control.

His addiction has cunningly and baffling made him believe that the love and honesty, and intimacy and security of my love is dangerous and the safety of isolation and addiction is his only safety.

I can’t battle that any longer.

I hope and pray with me out of the way, that the honesty of his addiction will surface, that God will find a way into his heart and help to true safety, out of the grips of addiction.

But I have truly come to accept that I am powerless over this, powerless over saving my husband, powerless over the future of my marriage, powerless over the safety of my family. I am truly powerless and I give up.

Did it have to get to the point of having no fight left in me to truly admit to total powerlessness? Did I have to be broken down completely to get to this point? My therapist says yes, it is a process, that I need to trust the process, that God has put me and him exactly where we need to be so we can move forward.

I hope she is right.

I hope this part of the process of healing and not the process of further destruction.

The hardest part is that I still love him with all my heart. I still pray for him daily. I still want what is best for him. I still want him in my life. I still want my partner in life to be him. I still want until death do us part with him.

But NOT his addiction. His addiction can rot in hell as far as I am concerned.

How do I live with this pull of my heart and my head. The torment is too great for me. This is all too much for me. I can’t take it.

I am so scared. I am terrified. I have never been this scared in my whole life. I have no idea where to go, what to do and I am so overcome with pain that I can’t think straight.

God please help me. I feel so alone. I feel so totally incredibly alone.

Recovery Is A Decision – Not A Negotiation

I just received the newsletter from Hazelden Recovery Center. I subscribe to their daily email called Today’s Gift which I read every single morning. It changes my day, enlightens me and lifts me up. I share it with my husband daily and we have some good conversations with these emails.

But this newsletter came at the EXACT moment that I needed it. I was trying to explain to my husband what it was like for me when I never knew when he would “check out” of me, our marriage or life. I couldn’t make him understand and then this email arrived.

The article was called Recovery is a Decision – Not a Negotiation. I read it twice and then I read it to my husband. I realized that was exactly what he was doing. He was negotiating the price that he was willing to pay for our marriage, for me, for recovery and for everything. When we talked about it he realized that he had only made a decision for sexual sobriety but not recovery. I wonder how long he could keep his decision to be sexually sober if he did not achieve recovery?

Recovery and the recovery of our marriage was always dependent upon how he was feeling, how well he could handle stress or a situation. If the price was too high, he would leave me emotionally. He just finished leaving me AGAIN for 5 days. When I say leave me, I mean that he has no contact me, he avoids me at all costs, he works longer hours, he goes to bed at different times, he wakes at different times, he does anything and everything to avoid having any interaction with me. If I was try to coerce or what he calls force him to interact with me, a fight would not be far away.  A fight is his other avoidance method and it also provides him an excuse to stay away, a justification for his behavior and his feelings.

I can’t trust him because I do not know what the price of him staying connected and committed to our marriage is. The price changes daily based on what else is going on around him and inside of him. These are variables that I can’t see, feel or anticipate. If he is feeling strong then the threshold of his staying is high and I am tricked into thinking that his commitment has increased. If he is feeling weak, then the his threshold is very very low and it will take anything to set him off.

The price changes like the stock market without a day’s closing. It can change minute by minute or hour by hour. If my life is smooth and I don’t need or require anything from him then the price can remain stable for even weeks on end. But if my life is chaotic, if I am stressed and there is too much on plate and I actually need a partner, a lover, a friend or anything from him then I know that it will not take much to set him off.

In my crazy making days, I would attempt to figure out what would set him off and try to control the environment to keep things stable. All that did was make him weaker and not be able to handle things when they did happen.

After reading this article and talking about it, pondering it, seeing how it applied to me, my life, my husband and our marriage, I took a break and sat down to watch Dr. Phil. Today’s show was about fears, phobias and fetishes. A man identified himself as having infantilism. He felt that he was a 18 month old baby and put on an act to be an adult. His preference was to live like a baby and be treated like a baby. He wore diapers, drooled and ate in a high chair. He had a girlfriend who would participate in this behavior feeding him, nurturing him and even changing his diapers. He refused to have sex with her and would prefer to have non interaction communication where he would baby talk as long as it did not involve a two way communication.

I judged this woman as crazy to be with this man. I wondered what kind of sickness in her allowed her to accept this kind of behavior. She said she wanted kids with him, to marry him and she wanted him to tone down his infantile life. He said he had no desire to change and would prefer to live like an 18 month old for 24 hours a day for the rest of his life, having someone else care for him and expect nothing from him.  She hoped that he would evolve past this part way for her to have the life she wanted with him.

I immediately saw the parallels of what I was living. My husband is emotionally stunted at the age of 12 where the trauma he experienced broke his ability to cope and evolve. While I understand why he is emotionally stunted since the disclosure of his addiction, his past, his trauma I have been patiently waiting, attempting to force him to grow up and become the grown man he actually is.

The only difference between me and this woman is that she is going into this relationship knowing what he is, what he wants and the emotional age her boyfriend is. I knew nothing about my husband’s past, his inability to cope until after we were married and the death of his mother forever changed him.

When my mother in law died, I thought my husband was in total grief. At that time, I took over control of our days, our lives and the decisions to be made. I thought once he passed through his grief that he would return to the partner and husband that I had married. It never happened. He grew more dependent and I lost my husband piece by piece.

Before the day of disclosure, I was preparing to leave my husband. I was making plans and finding an exit strategy. The loneliness and lack of an equal partner was too great of a burden for me to continue to take.

Once the day of disclosure came (always a traumatic event for everyone and truly a day of total destruction for me) at my weakest moment of total breakdown my husband confessed his childhood, the abuse he suffered and my heart broke for him. I agreed to stay with him only on the condition that he got professional help and healed himself.

While he has gotten professional help, in the almost 4 years since that day, there has been little to no recovery in our marriage. I still remain alone, in full and complete control of finances, decisions and life events. He asks me what he should do around the house, if he makes dinner I have to provide the groceries, the plan and the recipes and he will do as he is told.

We have a total complete parent child relationship. He rebels when he thinks he is being told what to do when he doesn’t want to do it but he prefers to do what he is told rather than take responsibility and control.

No wonder our sex life is abominable. Who wants to have sex with an unequal partner? If he feels that I have all the control and he doesn’t want to make me mad, than that would put a lot of pressure to preform on him.

No recovery and marriage is not a negotiation. It is a commitment, it is a decision to talk UNTIL an understand is made, UNTIL both parties are heard and acknowledged, UNTIL there is a partnership. Recovery and marriage is not a while I feel like it or until it gets too hard.

This is the year that my husband will grow up and become a man and a husband or this is the year that I will leave. I am tired of reading my blog entries for the last year repeating myself, repeating the patterns, waiting and praying for things to change, for him to grow up, for me to have a man not a child, to have a husband and a partner not a liability. I raised my children to become independent, capable human beings that can live without constant supervision. I can’t raise my husband now that he is an adult. Only  he can do that job now.

God, I pray to you, to give me the fortitude to keep this commitment to myself. Please help me grow into the person who can leave a marriage if it is never going to be a partnership. God help me please.

May your will not mine be done.

And so it is.

Amen.

I Am Not Playing Our Old Game Anymore

I don’t know what to say. I feel like I am so alone but I have also stopped.

No longer am I chasing my husband. He said this was too much for him – code that he needs to disconnect and isolate – and I let him go. Not that I could stop him but I didn’t try to stop him.

So I have gone about my life, my days and my plans and have not reached out to him, tried to engage with him or in anyway try to make our life better. If I can come home from work and he doesn’t even say hi to me, then fine I will live in my own home without engaging with my husband.

He tried to talk to me the other day after ignoring me. He wanted my assurances and my praise for a project that he was working on around the house. I couldn’t give it to him. I knew he needed it. He kept asking me if I had seen his work and what were my comments but I knew he needed me to congratulate him at best and make him feel better but I was sure after looking at him closely (dark eyes, shrunken into himself, color of his face was ashen and he was shriveled) that he was in fact looking for me to condemn him, berate him or give him a reason to start a fight.

I refused to engage.

So he wanted to talk about the new budget that I had created. That was more dangerous territory. I would not go there. The landmines around money are huge. Nope, I was not going to play the game of thinking he was normal and not isolating, when all signs, appearances and behaviors showed me that was exactly where he was and try to be a partner with him in finances.

The only interaction he has with our money is to spend it or earn it. He does not pay bills, or plan investments. He does not make mortgage, borrowing or budgeting decisions. He does not know what we owe, what we earn or what we pay.

I have tried repeatedly to get him involved. I have opened the bills in front of him. I have set weekly review meetings. I have tried to discuss what financial goals he wants. All I get is a body in front of me with interaction or no recall of these sit downs. It is like talking to a wall.

No I am not engaging anymore and so there is no interaction.

He is not talking to me, connecting with me or trying to be with me. Our lives are very busy and we have totally opposite work schedules. It takes effort and desire for us to connect, speak and communicate. The effort that has happened is my reaching out for him and he having the choice to accept or reject me. I don’t like that anymore. I never liked it. I thought I could change it by trying to be wonderful, funny, charming, intelligent, compassionate and caring. No I can’t change how he accepts me by how I behave.

So I have stopped. All the things that I used to do to try to make things better and failed miserably. I have stopped.

And there is a huge empty hole. There is a big nothing that I am forced to look at.

If I am not chasing him, if I am not connecting with him or if I refuse to play the role that seemed to have been pigeon holed into, then he does nothing. So there is no interaction nor any reaction. I am happy that we are not in a reaction mode of setting off each other but there is no repairing, no connection and no relationship.

If he can’t face feelings, if he can’t face difficult discussions, if he can’t face where we are, what has happened and where we are going and will disassociate and disconnect himself at his own discretion, where does that leave US?

I hate my life. Those are the words that keep coming into my head. I hate my life.

But I don’t hate my life. I love my job, I love my children. I am beginning to love and be proud of myself.

The part of my life that I hate is my marriage, the loneliness, the pretending that I live in a loving marriage, the games of back and forth and trying to figure out how to be with my husband, the exhaustion of trying to find peace and serenity and a sense of calmness in the midst of an ever changing world.

Does he hate this too enough to change it? He knows that I will no longer talk to him about me and my stress and my issues until he works through his step work and finds the patterns of destruction that he has brought. If I can’t fix his patterns, I will no longer play with them and think all is well.

I don’t know how long I will stay in a marriage that is not repairing and restoring sanity. I do not know why I am still here. I don’t know what it will take for things to change or me to leave.

I am just not playing anymore.

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