Hearing everyone's stories was both beautiful and triggering. Rehashing my own story was also both beautiful and triggering. I am not fully recovered, nor do I know if I ever will be. The pain I have felt will always be a part of me. Thus, feeling pain through empathy with others' stories along with my own is, well, painful. It serves as a reminder of what we've gone through--the lies and betrayal that have made up our marriage--and it causes me to question things right now. I have so many fears about the present and the future. And if I think too hard, those things totally bring me down.
When Camp Scabs ended, I was terrified to come home. Ben hadn't confessed anything, but I had this paralyzing fear he was omitting details. When I finally straight-up asked him if he acted out while I was gone, he said no. That means this was the first time in a long time, possibly ever, that we had been apart and he hadn't acted out. Another proof of the progress being made (or the lies being told, but really, I believe in his progress. My doubts, however, are a sign of the trauma and pain I have suffered).
I'm trying to think/process/deal with the emotions and fears that I'm experiencing. Things are not perfect. We are broken, but that is a consequence of living this life. We are all a little broken. Learning to live while broken, along with learning how to mend the pieces, are blessings I am discovering. I know pushing away the hard emotions only causes them to build up and explode. I'm coming out of a darkness and numbing period and finally learning how to live again. I occasionally numb again. But overall, I'm dealing and living, which is huge progress on my part.
It's kind of amazing to think about where we are now versus six months ago, nine months ago, a year ago, two years ago, or three years ago. I have grown up a lot since we were married four years ago and since learning of the addiction three and a half years ago. So has Ben.
Because of the changes I have seen, I have true hope for our futures. I also love him in a way I never have before. We have laid everything on the line in our relationship. We know pretty much everything there is to know about one another (of course, we are still learning and discovering things, as one does in marriage). I know there are still trials ahead, although I secretly believe God could maybe take into consideration that we have possibly met our trial quota for life. Okay, just kidding. But seriously.
We are both a little broken. We both experience negative emotions and triggers. But we talk about those things. We are learning to be transparent with each other. We are learning how to support each other and be on the same team--a marriage--rather than fighting addict vs. non-addict.
I see the fears I experience and try to remember they are not of God. The hope and light I feel--those are from God. Of course, the fears and insecurities I feel are natural results of choices made by my husband in our marriage. However, he is currently making big changes, and I can't ignore those in the name of fear. The primary thing I see in our marriage right now is hope and light. THAT is from God. Balancing the fears and hope is tricky. But I'm trying to do it. I have some better days than other, but holy cow, we are making progress. I am so grateful for that.
I was given the book Carry On, Warrior for my birthday. I'm only 38 pages in, but I'm in love. Glennon's story validates me. The things she writes validate me. Starting it this week, after the vulnerability of last weekend and the pain of Ben's most recent relapse, has helped me see a little more clearly. While we are both broken, together, and with God, we can make this work. It's hard work, but doable. And isn't that what life is about? It wasn't meant to be easy. If it were easy, it wouldn't be worth it. We wouldn't grow. We wouldn't feel. We wouldn't learn. We would just be, with none of the greatness of being.
Life is an adventure. With God, there is more peace to be found and guidance along the way, but life is still hard. We can do hard things. We are warriors. And now we have each other. Working together is beautiful. Seriously. I'm grateful Ben and I are now working together rather than against each other as we have in the past. That's one thing I am not taking for granted and feel incredibly blessed to have.