Today I would like to write about the horrible nightmare of realizing exactly what your addiction is doing: to your spouse, your family, your God and yourself. Like my wife has written in previous posts, the trust cycle has been a vicious one for us, something that is most likely the same for every couple going through this.
Being the one who suffers from the addiction, I don't get to feel how my wife feels. I can't even begin to understand her pain. But I have pain of my own, and it's equally as difficult to help anyone understand it.
When I give in to my addiction, especially after a long string of "good" days, it's as if I have chosen my own nightmare, one that I can't escape or wake up from. You see, Satan is very good at disguising the addiction, especially in the moment of temptation. He's good at hiding what is behind that door once you open it. And even though you know exactly what is behind the door, he is so good at distracting you that your knowledge either becomes unimportant or is easily rationalized.
But once you open that door, it's a tidal wave of negative emotions that most of us can't handle simultaneously: Shame. Disappointment. Shock. Disgust. Self-loathing. Anger. Sorrow. Stupidity. Fear. Depression. Anguish. And what makes it even worse is that you chose this door. You're not a victim of someone else's agency. You're creating victims of your own.
Can you see why addictions are so hard to break? You're using your addiction to try to cope with or escape from the very feelings your addiction has caused. It's like a never-ending nightmare, and unfortunately it's very difficult to share that with others. You feel like you've hurt them enough, so you want to shield them from more pain. You can tell that the nightmare is starting to present itself again, that your "lust balloon" is filling up again, looking to pop. But you keep it to yourself, not just because all of the above-listed feelings start creeping back in, but because you are trying to spare the feelings of those you love. The problem is, that's a paradox. By doing so, you only hurt them all the more.
It's horrible. Thoughts of suicide aren't abnormal among people who suffer from addictions. They think they are being selfless. They think of it not necessarily as a way out, but as a way to stop making others suffer. But, like I said before, something like that only hurts the people you love all the more. So there you are. Stuck in a nightmare that you have little hope to escape.
But even if you don't identify it as hope, there is a whole lot of it. Jesus Christ, our beloved Savior and Redeemer, came to earth to give us that hope. He suffered unimaginable pain, anguish, fear, depression, disappointment, shock, etc. All of that so He might give us hope.
Isn't it wonderful?
But sometimes it's so hard to forget when you're deep in the mire of your addiction. Sometimes you feel like Abraham, who was promised countless posterity, but whose wife was unable to bear children. Romans 4:16-21 talks about this:
16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,
17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.
18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.
19 And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb:
20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;
21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.
The saying I love is that he "against hope believed in hope." Can you imagine? God makes this amazing promise and then turns around and gives them that? Sometimes it seems that way with an addiction. No matter how hard you try, you can't seem to figure out how the miracle could even take place. But no matter how long you've suffered, no matter how deep in the mire you are, there is always hope. And just like the only way Abraham could receive the promised blessings was through a miracle of God, that is how recovery is done.
So please help your loved one see that. Live that hope in your own life. Let him or her see it. My wife has had an amazing influence on my recovery simply because of the changes that have happened in her life. She's living that hope, and because she is, I have strength to. If you need to hope against hope, do it. Abraham had to do it to receive his blessing, so we can too.