Grieving While Your Spouse is in Recovery

I was talking to a friend a few weeks ago…she’s kind of a new friend.  So, she doesn’t know what we have been through the past 2 years and thinks my Hubby is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G….which he is….Now!  🙂  She was explaining to me this situation that her grade school friend was dealing with.  Her Husband was a cheater and he keeps promising to change and he loves her, but he keeps getting caught with his pants down.  My friend was very vocal about how she would handle the situation had it been her getting the news of an unfaithful partner.  I think body parts were mentioned going missing in our little conversation.  So, I’m sitting there as she describes how she would “take care” of her Hubby to make darn sure he could never be with another woman again.  And I can’t help but think about my situation….how I was feeling at discovery.  Do you remember that moment?  I didn’t act like I had said I would many many times before.  I was just like my new friend….I knew I would “handle” business if he ever cheated on me.  But, when it actually happened it was different.  We have kids…a family…it was real, this wasn’t a Jerry Springer special!  I was forever changed and at the time I didn’t know what that really meant for me.

One of the things I had to go through was the Grieving Process.  Yes, grieving….it is a death in a way that you have to deal with.  The first stage is Denial and Isolation.
I remember feeling shock, disgust and shame.  I hardly left my bedroom and had thoughts of “if only I could go back in time to just before I found out”.  The pain hurt so much that I almost had to pretend it couldn’t have happened to just get through the day with the kids.  I hid in my room crying for hours and hours, 20lbs fell off of me those first few weeks.

Next is Anger….I flip flopped constantly with sadness and then anger….even rage!  I was so angry that he did this to me.  How could he keep me in the dark while sleeping with hundreds of women.  How could he come home to his family night after night after spending all our money and putting our lives in danger.  One of the many reasons why I was angry was because I’m a survivor from over 12 years of sexual abuse by various men in my life growing up in foster care.  How could he do something like this to bring up past hurt and pain…I felt vulnerable and violated?

They say Bargaining is next, but in this situation I really think it’s more like Blaming Yourself.  If I would have done this, or not done XYZ then he wouldn’t have slept with prostitutes.  Maybe if the house would have been cleaner he wouldn’t stay up in the room watching porn all night.  The Blame Game can be played for days…..but, we are all in control of only one thing in life.  And that’s Our Actions…..Our Own Actions.  It took me awhile to walk away from the fact that I had nothing to do with my Husband’s sex addiction.  He realized that long before I even did.  But, that was the only way I could make “Logic” out of what he did.  To me it didn’t make sense why he would do what he did when he had a Family that adored and loved him so much at home.  Now I know that there is no “Logic” in Sex Addiction.

The 4th stage in grieving is Depression and I will admit I went to a dark place that I hadn’t been in for 20 years.  I haven’t had a drop of alcohol in 10+ years and even before that I could count on 1 hand how many times I had.  I always felt like I had to be responsible…I was always worried I may need to take one of the kids to the hospital or something and how could I do that if I was drunk.  I also never enjoyed the feeling of being out of it while drinking….I like to be alert at all times.  Looking back on my life and you can see why. 🙂  But, during the beginning few months after discovery I did start drinking….I needed to not be present.  I had nobody to really talk to, because just a few weeks after I found out about my Husband my best friend died all of a sudden out of the blue.  So, life was pretty doom and gloom….I needed to check out.  One night I found myself in the back yard after everyone was asleep.  There I was 2am, in the freezing cold looking up at the sky and asked God if he really wanted all this.  All of this wrecked craziness….I had been forgotten by my own family as a child and now my Husband….was he sure he wanted me?  I told God I couldn’t fight anymore, I was giving up.  I couldn’t get through this on my own…..I sat in the moonlight for hours and I felt a peace.  I knew he Loved me, I’ve known that since I was a little girl.  He was with me when both of my parents died, he was with me when I walked the streets as a homeless 18-year-old single Mom, he was there when I cried and begged for my Husband to Love me and to protect him, he was there protecting him….to protect me. ( I’m still amazed all of his STD testing came back negative….Thank You Jesus!)  I walked back into the house, started gathering ingredients to make waffles and I made a decision to listen to that still voice calling my name.  I decided to control what I have control over….My Own Actions.  I was going to give the rest over to God.  And I did and because of that the Lord has been able to build our Marriage and Heal us.  Once I decided to Let God do what only He can do my Depression slowly went away.

The Last stage is of course Acceptance.  I think that in our case, Acceptance is about understanding what sex addiction is and what it’s not.  It’s about accepting responsibility for yourself and having a spouse that does the same thing.  I think it’s about You realizing that you can not control what your spouse does….only Your Own Actions.  So, what are You going to do with Your Own Actions?  What are you going to do to make a difference in Your World?  Accepting that you can’t change the past, what’s done is done is so important.  It’s not right that what happened happened, but how you deal with it greatly impacts your future.  And accepting that you can’t predict the future frees you up mentally so you can enjoy the present.

I know right now you may be all over the map, not just in one certain stage.  And that’s alright, I was like that too.  And sometimes I thought I was done with being Angry, but nope it would rear its ugly head and surprise us all.  Wherever you’re at right now and whatever you are feeling right now is ok, your where your supposed to be.  Don’t rush yourself to heal, you’re not supposed to just slap on a little band-aid and move on.  You may have done that all your life.  This time deal with it….all of it, turn over all the stones you need to look under so that you can completely heal!

You can do this!!!!

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