99.9% of people think that you send your loved one to rehab and they come back ‘fixed’.
Life will just be sunshine and rainbows….right? If they stop ____ then life will be _____ – I don’t blame them – I did too!
See, when he was using, he was never home. But when he came home it was 90 meetings in 90 days, and as a newly law-abiding citizen I would be the transportation… to the meetings and the outpatient treatment, and I was quite frankly done with being supportive. I wanted to say Yo – where’s MY rehab?
I couldn’t figure out why I was still bitter. Why was I still pissed off? Why was I still stuck doing everything?
What about me?
I put up with stealing, lies, picking up the pieces, all of the things in active addiction, and now I’m doing all the things because now you’re 100% involved in your recovery. (Resentments much?) I didn’t feel like I had a voice. I still felt like I had to be the responsible one while he got to do what he “wanted”.
I’ll tell you a secret – I don’t know what it’s like to have a ‘normal’ marriage- both my marriages included addiction. The first one I left – mainly out of fear. The second I’ve stayed, also out of fear. I was afraid to leave, until I hit my bottom (that’s another story though). I’m not here now out of fear – it’s absolutely a choice, but I digress…
Firstly – let’s be honest –
it’s hard to be in any kind of relationship –at work you’ll have difficult people. Or you go to the gas station and the lady working the counter is being a bitch. But when you’re married to and committed to loving and staying with someone with a brain disease, it compounds the hard-ness.
I know what it was I was searching for when I was in that situation – I wanted someone to tell me what to do – do I stay, or do I go? Shit – I’d married 2 addicts, I certainly wasn’t going to trust my own judgement to make that choice. My best thinking got me where I was. I couldn’t trust myself to make good choices. (btw – that’s what I do as a coach. I’ll help you sort out your options, based on the facts – and help YOU decide what is best for YOU on your journey – but I digress – again).
Looking back, I realize that my husband is a mirror to me.
I’m a classic codependent enabler –
I would go without to make sure someone else had, but then be pissed off that someone else had it. I realized only recently (with him having over 6 years clean and sober) that my role in our marriage is for me to show him how to be others focused, and his role is to show me that it’s ok to speak up for your needs. That’s not an easy dynamic to shift. And yes – we’re still working on finding that balance.
It was honestly 3 years into his recovery that i thought – hold on a second. He’s doing all this stuff to get better – step work – meetings, got a sponsor, doing service work, and I’m still pissed off
– and it was like a kick in the teeth –
I was the common denominator – and I wasn’t changing.
When I looked at my relationships – from my first boyfriend through adulthood – and really looked at my part, there were some pretty significant patterns. (Don’t get me wrong – it’s not easy looking at your own stuff – it’s the hardest work I’ve ever done – and I’m still doing it. Just a little further along.)
When I started looking at things with some curiosity and wondering how I could learn from these experiences and be better because of them, major shifts happened. When I started being grateful for the opportunity to be better versus focusing on being better THAN – that was the change.
I’d hired a life coach as a form of self-care. I was ready to change. She taught me “things don’t happen to me they happen for me” = that I am not a victim. And that shift changed my life. When you look at things as a lesson, and not a punishment, that’s where the gold is. If you’re trying to figure out why you’re still bitter, or angry, or keep choosing men who have other priorities – look at that with some curiosity. Ask yourself how you can shift the balance and do your inner work so you can be happy.
I wish there was a rehab for me, but there wasn’t.
And let’s be honest – I wouldn’t have been able to let go of control for 3 weeks anyway. So that’s my goal now. Creating the things that I wanted and needed back then and weren’t available. Join me for my Monthly Workshop – August 22 – Boundaries, or EMpowerME – a 10 week group program on boundaries, consequences, and speaking your truth. And if you wish there was a rehab for wives,
Now there is.
#wivesrehab2018 – follow the hashtag and get updates! Event will be October 19-21, 2018