They recommend that addicts should’t have relationships for the first 1 year of recovery. I thought that didn’t apply to the people who were already married or in a serious relationship.
Harsh realization for me though, is that the recovering addict is not capable of dealing with all the expectations and emotional requirements that a marriage/ relationship involves. He just isn’t there at the moment. I have to work on me and have the focus on me (which also prevents me from being dragged down if ever the wheels fall again) and he has to focus on his recovery. Its a rocky road.
I know he loves me, he just isnt capable of loving me the way I think I need/want – because he is trying to find himself and learn to love himself. Every choice we make, has a consequence.
I’ve found that trying to support my husband in recovery is difficult because:
- We are so far away from each other and only see each other every 2/3 weeks for either a day only or if we lucky, a weekend. But he is busy doing recovery and I’m busy being MOM 24/7/365 (Don’t take this wrong, I love my son more than anything in this world, but this is about the woman in me, not the mother I am)
- My expectation of my part of his recovery is not realistic. I have a real knack for unrealistic expectations. I understand that recovery is first, but what they don’t tell you is recovery isnt only first but its EVERYTHING! They have to eat, breath and live recovery. Its a little harder to grasp for a muggle like me.
- Life commitments can be overlooked for recovery commitments, but recovery commitments can not be over looked for life commitments. Sounds weird but its the truth. A truth that brings a little disappointment but the bigger picture is where the rewards are.
A longing to be accepted can cause many unnecessary expectations and ultimately a whack load of disappointment. I don’t even know what acceptance I’m looking for ? Acceptance that I can be involved even though I’m not an addict? Acceptance that I am trusted enough to share his deepest, darkest fears? As a non addict, you tend to feel like such an outsider, you don’t know what it’s like to live with the disease of addiction. But if you have loved an addict (and I love more than 1) than you have an understanding of the disease. To watch someone self destruct and you aren’t able to save them, it changes you. It changed me. In some ways it made me stronger…..
Not many spouses stay, and its not hard to see why. Ive been close to the end a few times. It’s no easy task loving an addict. Active addiction can completely break down a person (no matter how strong) but the unfamiliar territory of sobriety is one that has left me feeling isolated. I know its not intentional, its just has to be this way in order for him not to return the hell of active addiction. I know the benefits of his recovery in our lives is priceless, perhaps I’m just jealous? ( I think i just hit the nail on my own head here?)
For the year that Chris was sober (the year we got married) he was not working a program, he was just sober. His attitude, his behaviors and his ability to handle difficult situations was still the same as active addiction; this is why relapses happened so suddenly and frequently. But during that year… Connor and I were priority, things were good but they didn’t last and I know its because Chris wasn’t working a program. But it gave me false expectation this time round.
Now he isnt only clean but living recovery, which comes with re-building a completely broken person, one step at a time. I cant re-build him, just like i couldn’t get him sober (even though i have many failed attempts). He has to do it on his own – in recovery, with the help of fellow addicts.
And he is really doing well and the few hiccups in his life, over these past few days – have shown his new way of thinking and that he is working his recovery daily. He has had a series of unfortunate events and instead of dwelling in it – he has looked to the positive. He has leaned on his recovery and not on his old familiar ways. Its amazing to hear. I just wonder where do I fit in to everything?
I made a commitment to my husband and that’s why I’m still trying to support him, besides the fact that I love him of course. I have always loved him, even when I hated him. But I took an oath for better or worse, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer. We have been faced with the downsides of all of those promises; It has not been smooth sailing, perhaps in time it will be, but for today.. its rough. Although given the chance, I will take sobriety over active addiction every time. There is just no comparison.
So I am grateful for a recovering husband that is alive, disappointed in my unrealistic expectation and hopeful that whatever may be, will be.
Disney Mom (An Addicts Wife)