Image Source – Own work by Louis Waweru / CC-BY-SA-3.0
My heart is aching today for a fellow blogger and friend who is going through a really difficult time. I won’t share what has been happening specifically since it is her story to tell. She has shared some on her blog – Repairing Shattered Pieces. It is almost all I can think about today.
When she described how she felt last night, it made me think of being exposed and vulnerable in a very dangerous place, like laying in the middle of the road, powerless to keep from being run over. Again. Because at this point she has been hit hard. I can imagine the waves of debilitating pain and hurt washing over me again and again. The helplessness and despair. I feel all of this by proxy, so I’m sure it’s amplified a thousand fold for her.
The positive glimmer in all of this for me has been Mr. Mess. I have been sharing with him what is going on as she discovers more details. He has been incredibly supportive and insightful. He has offered his knowledge and assistance, if needed. More than almost anything else, the way he has been talking has caused me to realize how far he really has come.
The other night he started talking about his own journey and how that has given him so much perspective on what it takes to get well. He went through almost a year of denial over his sex addiction. During that time he wasn’t really addressing his issues. Sure, he went to therapy, he attended SA now and then, he said the things he thought I wanted to hear. But he didn’t really believe, deep down, that there was anything he needed to do. Some days when he felt down he could accept that there was a problem, but most of the time his denial, justification and rationalization were in full force. He did the things he did because he knew it was the only way to keep me. That’s it.
He said yesterday that if someone isn’t doing the all of the work they should be to correct their issues, then they don’t really believe they have them. It really is that simple. When he wasn’t going to SA it was because he believed he didn’t need to. When he skipped therapy and stopped going altogether it was because he wasn’t invested and didn’t trulybelieve he needed the help. He stuck with marriage counseling because he did want to repair our marriage. But he still couldn’t accept that there couldn’t be a stable marriage until his addiction problems were corrected. He wanted things to work out, but his motivations were largely exterior – the pain I was in, the tension in the house after a lie, the guilt he only felt afterwards, the shame of discovery and seeing my disappointment, the regret of a poor decision, and the list goes on. He was focusing on me – my pain, my desires, my boundaries.
The only internal motivation he had was fear: the fear of losing his lifestyle (house, car, dual incomes), the fear of losing love (acceptance, comfort, my presence), the fear of divorce, the fear of failure, the fear of who knows… The problem is that fear can only carry you so far. What he didn’t have was an internal desire to change for him. Because it would make him healthy and whole. Because it would make him happy. Because it would give him the marriage he wanted, the intimacy he wished for, the acceptance and love he deserves. Part of recovering from any addiction is coming to the full realization that you are worth it. For you alone. That you want to change. For you alone. That only you can fix you. That the motivation has to come from within.
I’m glad that he has learned that now. I am proud of where he has made it to in his recovery. I feel more secure knowing that he is working on recovery for himself. It also gives me reassurance that we are on the right path. I am working on my issues and he is dealing with his. Is this what an adult relationship feels like?
- A Word from the Sex Addict…. (thesexaddicts.wordpress.com)