I Wanted to Relapse

I was talking to a gentleman the other day and sharing some experiences from the past, and I remembered a time I wanted to share with you all. It’s a bit of a difficult one, and will be controversial to some I’m quite sure, but I never said I wouldn’t be honest here. My hope is that my story and my pain may explain your spouse’s behavior, or give credence to what you may be fighting today.

Years into recovery, WE had relapsed and I was not happy with the way things were going. I felt like Samantha was retreating away from what she had agreed to work on, and I felt as though we were going backwards, fast. It was as though the new found dedication Samantha had to our marriage was nowhere to be found, and I had worked harder and harder to change and let the focus be on me. Add some financial pressure, the struggle to raise kids and everyday life complications and you’ve got a perfect recipe for relapse and a repeat of disaster.

Regardless of what I would do or say, things were getting worse not better. It was as if we had hit a new level of difficulty and I was wrestling with things I was overpowered by. To say I was disoriented would be an understatement. It was remarkable how similar my emotions were to what I was feeling before my affair took shape. The justification, the temptation and the self-absorption seemed altogether too familiar.

To say I was scared was an understatement.

The biggest mistake was not talking to Samantha about it, and trying to hold steady on my own.

The best thing I did was talk to my three best friends who are my accountability partners for help, perspective and transparency.

I was sliding backwards at a dangerous speed and began to want an illicit night with someone. My eyes were wandering, my frustration was serving as justification, and circumstantially my life was in upheaval. Rick says “Relapse is always about pride” and I was in a dark place which fostered a narcissistic sense of “fine, if you won’t care about me and my needs, then I’ll find someone who will.”

I then spent a good amount of time praying, meditating and re reading Rick’s writings and as many devotions and articles as I could.

I’ll never forget the moment it hit me. Maybe, just maybe, the struggle I was wrestling with would pave the way to Samantha’s own breakthrough. Maybe the resistance I was coming up against, and the difficulty I was encountering, was actually not just for me but also for us.  That perhaps as I was able to break free and as I was able to gain ground in my own journey, Samantha too would gain ground in her own awareness and recovery story.

I was right. As I began to get back to basics, and as I began to get back to the many principles of recovery I had grown tired of, a personal resurgence emerged. My perspective changed literally overnight and I had renewed courage to get back to what had produced the initial change and euphoria and quickly departed from the destructive new behaviors I was allowing back in my life.

Yes, friends, Samantha was “missing it” on some levels. I was missing it on more. As is true many times in marriage, it starts with the party who is willing to do whatever it takes to see the marriage restored and healthy and whoever has the courage to change current response patterns. Samantha was strong enough to not let me get away with many of the same old behaviors which created the pressure within me to do some needed self-analysis of where I was at.

This new year, it may be time to get back to some of the basics of recovery. 

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Just waiting

I'm just waiting for the first relapse to happen. I know it is going to..... Or maybe it already has...or maybe he never really ended it. I have no way of knowing because he only communicates with her on his work phone and I cannot monitor what he does at work and I cannot see his work phone records. He hides his phone or leaves it at work. He told her not to call or text on his personal cell or our landline, which I CAN monitor. We have separated due to the abuse I endured from "nagging" him ( his words) for answers about his affair. I am afraid to go back home and be in the same position --- with him in his 3rd emotional affair and abusing me because he did it. I can't go through this again. This is the most brutal pain I have ever endured and it has ruined our 35 year marriage. I am fully expecting a relapse, so I continue to put a cast around my heart like one would put a cast on a broken arm. After counseling, an EMS weekend, both of us in separate therapies, and my taking Harboring Hope, I still feel pretty hopeless. I feel his relapse is only a matter of time.

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