Friday, April 4, 2014

"D" is for Divorce (or not): A-Z Challenge

D is for Divorce

illustrated by Rob Z Tobor

 A year and a half after I discovered my husband was a sex addict, I was ready to kick him to the curb. I’m grateful I didn’t.  I would have lost so much if I hadn’t struggled forward.

You’d think I would have been ready to dump him the moment I found out about the affairs.  Yet, as hurt as I was, I understood he has an addiction.  (That’s not to say I didn’t use the word divorce at least once a week those first few months.)  Eventually I was able to separate what he had done during his active addiction from who he truly is, a great man.

After a year in recovery, he grew stagnant and I struggled with my patience.  He wouldn’t face his shifted addictions - food and buying. He bought small things off eBay to fill a void.  He purchased new releases on DVD then returned them unused. He constantly snacked.  It was maddening.  I saw he shifted addictions, why couldn’t he?

from Bing
Even though he agreed he needed help managing his feelings of isolation and loneliness, he did nothing.  He entered into that frustrating world of denial.  After a few months, I had enough.

I threw down the divorce card and said, “I can’t do this with you anymore. I want a divorce.”

“I understand.  I won’t stop you from leaving. I’ll help you any way I can,” he answered.

A part of me was devastated he didn’t fight for our marriage. Then I realized he was ashamed.  He relapsed and was afraid to tell me.  It wasn’t until I had plans in place to move out of state, that he finally made his confession to me.

We saw my rockin’ counselor together and she gently told him he may have ADD and OCD.  It wasn’t an easy thing for him to hear but I think he already had suspicions.

Together, we learned about emotional sobriety. It never dawned on me that getting sober, for either one of us, included managing our feelings.  It meant feeling all of our emotions without letting them define us.  What others take for granted, we had to learn.

Divorce was taken off the table. 

Instead, we focused on the progress we made in our marriage rather than the moments of chaos.  We promised to work harder on communicating, especially the difficult things.
The topic of divorce hasn't come up in a long time.  

I’m so grateful I didn’t throw in the towel.

Have you been close to throwing in the towel, only to change your mind?




50 comments:

  1. That's wonderful he was finally able to admit it. Never realized controlling one addiction would lead to another.
    No relationship is perfect, but I'm grateful divorce has never come up in my marriage.

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    1. I am too. If he hadn't I would have had to leave for my own sanity. From my experience, I found it best not to just toss it out there. It just made things more complicated and seemed like an easy escape.

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  2. I'm glad you didn't get a divorce too, and that you were both able to see how things really were. That counsellor of yours is indeed pretty rocking. I don't know if I've come that close to giving up, only to not to. There were a few times I wish I had given up, and generally when I feel like giving up I just go for it and give up.

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    1. Yeah, I'm glad I kept him around. I need someone to change the oil in my car. No, I'm kidding. I love him, even with the complications of addiction. We are so blessed to have our counselor. Fingers crossed she doesn't retire soon. Not giving up shows you have a lot of determination, Mark. Go You!

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  3. I do believe that divorce was averted because Devin WANTED to change and save the marriage. It takes both parties to salvage the relationship. I was close to throwing in the towel many times but I kept falling for Brian's empty promises and apologies. When I finally told him it was over and I was truly done, he wept and asked me why I hadn't said something!!!! I was like, 'really? REALLY?!?!?!?!'

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    1. 100% correct, JoJo. Devin had to want that change. If he hadn't, we would still be going in circles. It's hard when your partner continues to make promises than falls short. It leads to so much disappointment and heartache. I'm glad you finally had enough. You deserved so much more than Brian could ever give you. So, you went sent Russell =)

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  4. that is a tough road to walk. Well done on persevering.

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    1. Thank you, Cecilia. I'm glad I stuck it through the rough road because now the travel is much smoother.

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  5. My first thought would have been divorce indeed. But a lot can be learned and made stronger from sticking with it too.

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    1. Lord knows I've learned a ton from this experience and have grown stronger in myself, Pat!

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  6. What a strong and supportive woman you are!

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    1. Thanks, Charity! You forgot to mention gorgeous too =P

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  7. I'm so glad you didn't give in. It seems like everyone does, but I see divorce like a death. The struggle back may be difficult, but it's worth it. In 14 years of marriage, I've had moments, but I would never have gone far. I just love him too much, imperfections and all.

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    1. I'm so glad too, Crystal. Just like your hubby, mine has too many good qualities to let his addiction stop me from loving him. Fourteen years, that's fantastic! Not to mention, a long time nowadays.

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  8. Very brave of you to post about it - but cathartic too, I expect.
    Jemima
    #TeamDamyanti
    Blogging from Alpha to Zulu in April

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    1. It's so cathartic to write about anything I went through. I also hope to help others in the process. *crosses fingers*

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  9. I have to say you are a very brave and amazing person. I am glad you found the strength to see this through.

    Brandon Ax: Writer's Storm

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    1. Thank you for the compliments, Brandon. I'm glad I found that strength too. He was worth it.

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  10. good on you for sticking with it...divorce is often an easy way out...and you will carry with you what you are going through because you have not faced it....

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    1. Absolutely. As miserable as I was, I had to face my inner stuff too otherwise, we'd never had made it this far.

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  11. That's an amazing amount of forgiveness. I always enjoy reading about your (and Devin's) struggle with overcoming addiction and how you've moved forward.

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    1. Thanks, Lu. I hope I can help someone out there who may be going through the same thing while I continue to help myself with writing.

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  12. What an honest, courageous, moving post. I'm new to your blog, and I'm very glad I came by. Thank you for sharing this!

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    1. I'm thankful you stopped by, Liz. I appreciate your visit over to this blog =)

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  13. I am not a towel thrower; I am a towel burner!
    Or, actually, no, I need to keep my towel, because it is the most useful thing in the universe.

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    1. Burn, baby, burn! No, you're right. I love my towel - my BEACH towel! C'mon hot weather!!

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  14. I wonder if he knows how fortunate he is to have you. Or how close he came to never getting the help he needed.

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    1. He knows both. I think that's why he stays on course with his recovery and meetings. He understands it's a constant work in progress.

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  15. Thanks for the personal share Elsie ~ I love the meaning of emotional sobriety and giving each other and your marriage another chance ~ Divorce should be the last last resort ~

    Cheers on your writing so far, smiles ~ Happy weekend ~

    Grace

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    1. Thanks for reading, Grace. I'd never heard of emotional sobriety until I started my 12 steps. I think it's probably something all of us can benefit from. I agree on divorce being a last resort. Sometimes I think we live in a throw away society. Have a beautiful weekend!

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  16. Good you didnt give up. It is the first time I hear the term emotinal sobriety. Sounds interesting. Shall read more about it.

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    1. Thanks, Al, me too. He's worth it. I wasn't familiar with the term emotional sobriety either until I started working my 12 step program. It's a really interesting concept.

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  17. I'm pleased that you persevered, Elsie. This must have been such a traumatic time for you. Marriage certainly isn't easy with lots of ups-and-downs. There have been many times I've felt like giving up, but there's always a way round things.

    Sex addiction must be worst of all to deal with since we live in an age when sex is believed to be the top priority of any relationship, yet this is a minor part of being human. Everything starts in the mind, and I believe fresh air, exercise and several interests are necessary.

    I wish you both happiness and a long marriage.

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    1. That was a beautiful and touching comment, Fanny. Thank you so much! Marriage isn't as easy as many people are led to believe. I think all marriages take work. Those of us with addictions have a bit more work in making things work. Yes, it was extremely traumatic and painful, but, by the grace of God, I made through beside him rather than leaving him. Sex is everywhere and being addicted to porn is rough. It's such a mental addiction and has nothing to do with sex. It's all about emotional intimacy. I'm with you - I love the beach, writing and of course, my kids!

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  18. It couldn't have been easy for you, especially with society telling women that if a man cheats she has to leave him. I'm glad you hung in there, you seem so much happier than those first few months I knew you.

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    1. You've been here from almost the beginning, Frank. You've seen me at my lowest and now, when things are so much better. I'm glad I stuck around too. It was hard to ignore those basic instincts to just up and leave him. I was that chick that said if my man cheats, I'm outta here. Well, we see how that turned out. We never know what life is going to hand us.

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  19. I admire you both for your bravery in dealing with the problem, and I'm glad you've made progress. Addiction is tough to deal with, especially when it leads to looking for something new to fill the void, and forgiveness is sometimes just as hard. Deep down you both must be strong people.

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    1. Thank you, Skye. The shifted addiction is difficult to watch at times. It reminds me that he's still in the process of working his steps and learning from them just like me.

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  20. "For better or for worse" is exactly what it means. We'll easily take the "for better" but it is difficult to remember the "for worse" promise. So glad you are working through the "worse"!
    Donna Smith
    The A-to-Z Challenge
    http://mainelywrite.blogspot.com
    Mainely Write

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    1. So true, Donna. It's especially difficult to stick to the "for worse" part when it happens so early in the marriage. I'm so grateful we worked together on it.

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  21. At church on Sunday the topic was Transformation. We had a Minute for Missions speaker talking about the transformation that occurs in 12 step programs. One of the many things that stuck in my head was when she said, "An addiction is not the disease, it is the symptom of disease. Disease or a Dis-Ease of the brain. You do not process things normally and you use the actions of the addictions to relieve that dis-ease that is present." I realized then that we all have some form of dis-ease. Some have more obvious issues, some are more covert. Inappropriate sarcasm or humor, gossiping, shopping, eating, whatever it is to make ourselves feel better rather than facing whatever issues are causing us to not be at ease within our own bodies.

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    1. We definitely do not process things the way "normal" people do. Thoughts about insecurities and doubts can get trapped in our brain and just circle round and round. We have a tough time just letting things go. We feel like we need to examine the feelings of all of those around us. It's a hard thought process to break but it can be done. I love, love, love, that your church did a sermon about it. Especially, the transformation we go through in our programs. It's amazing to experience and to witness.

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  22. You've been such a supportive wife, and it is so brave of you talk about a personal situation.
    Damyanti Co-host, A to Z Challenge 2014, Latest post on Daily (w)rite
    Twitter: @damyantig
    #atozchallenge

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    1. Thanks, D. I'm not really all brave. I write under an alias =P

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  23. I know blogging is therapeutic, but with posts like yours, I can also see how it can provide a service towards helping and healing others. I hope your message reaches those who need it. Addictions come in many forms and we can all use a little help and understanding. Kudos.

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    1. Thank you, Zooey. I'm hopeful I have reached at least one person and helped them on their journey with this kind of addiction. There aren't many positive places on line about it. It's such a rough addiction.

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  24. My hubby and I have gone through some struggles similar to yours, although I'm not sure mine has an addiction, and there have been times when the "d" word has gone through my brain. It's difficult to continue to persevere, but I'm also glad I did.

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    1. I'm sorry you share anything even remotely similar to my own experiences. I'm glad you have pushed through though and stuck it out together. Wonderful strength and perseverance!

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  25. The hardest thing to face is ourselves and our emotions. People who are addicted to something are that way because they don't want to face the painful stuff. In a strange way, I have come to understand that I am addicted to migraines. The pain of the chronic migraines allows me to avoid emotional truths I would rather not face. That is a tough revelation right there. What kind of an idiot chooses a migraine over dealing with their crap? No one consciously. But we usually don't work on that level. We make our decisions on the unconscious level.

    And even when we start to face the addiction and sort through the emotional garbage... we can change addictions and go back into the same old loop. As my migraines improve, I am now eating too much. Snacking constantly. My clothes are getting tighter. Am I trading one addiction for another one? Probably. Okay. Yes.

    That just means it is time to figure out what is eating me instead of just eating.

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  26. I thought that if I quit using cocaine I was sober. I've since learned through emotional sobriety how it really and truly works. I had to face all my emotions, process them, feel them and move on. I was used to either shoving my emotions down or allowing them to control me - usually in anger and frustration. I'm hopeful you'll figure out what is bothering you. Hugs

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Thank you for taking the time to comment. I'm here to help any way I can.