Sifting through the shock, emotion, and numbness has been hard.
It took months to not be knocked over fresh every time I remembered the lies Chris had been living, the actions that now made sense, the horrible choices he made, and the destruction he has brought to our life.
And it wasn’t until after his 90-day sober chip arrived on my desk silently one morning that I realized how absolutely lonely this whole thing.
Being married to an addict is so so lonely.
The one person who is supposed to be your support when life hits the fan is the person who is actually causing all the pain and suffering. The person you’re supposed to trust, respect, and rely on more than anyone else is the exact opposite of those traits.
Being married to an addict is lonely.
I’m not lacking people. That’s not what is lonely. I have friends. I have family. I have social engagements, parties, dinners, invitations. I have texts to respond to, emails to read, phone calls to return.
But my existence right now is still very isolating.
I am surrounded by people and noise, but I am alone.
This would be the part–if I were a shiny Christian–where I would insert encouraging scriptures and promises from God. This would be the part of my story where I find solace and completeness and comfort in my Creator.
That would be such a sweet story change.
But I’m not a shiny Christian. I’m more of a sharp-edges, mostly black-and-blue, covered-in-bruises Jesus follower. I believe with my whole heart the scripture and promise parts, but DAMN IT, TAKE THIS AWAY PLEASE.
I would just like a break, and I’m pretty angry that I can’t get one.
When Chris went through rehab seven years ago, one night a week was family night. The addict’s kids, spouse, parents, or significant other would sit in a circle with the group and we’d do group family counseling. I refused to talk because I’m an introvert and also because I was insanely angry at every person in that room.
As they told stories, answered questions, and shared encouragement, all I could scream in my head was, “SO YOU KNEW YOU WERE LIVING WITH AN ADDICT?! GOOD FOR YOU.”
Because I didn’t and that felt worse than the addiction part. The betrayal is the worst part. Every single time. I was betrayed and betrayed and betrayed.
In one of the first few appointments with my new counselor, I tried to explain the humiliation and shame I felt in not realizing what Chris was doing all these years. Why couldn’t I put all the pieces together? Why couldn’t I connect the dots of slurred speech, erratic driving, and inability to recall conversations? What was wrong with me? How dumb was I? How dumb am I?
I’d already had this conversation with multiple friends who had tried to convince me it wasn’t my fault, and I hadn’t done anything wrong. They too were there–moments that sometimes felt off, conversations that didn’t make complete sense–and didn’t realize it either. But for them it was just a moment here and there, for me it was enough to be on high-alert all the time but I never put all the puzzle pieces together.
I was just so so dumb.
When I shared this with my counselor, she said that somewhere in my subconscious I probably knew. The answer was probably inside somewhere but my brain–which is made to protect me–wouldn’t ever let me process through it all and come to a logical conclusion. My brain was literally keeping me from the truth because its job is to keep me safe. These dangerous thoughts, the chaos that would have ensued, the destruction to my world was being put off because my brain’s purpose is to keep me safe.
I can’t even trust my brain.
Is this what crazy feels like? I can’t even rely on my own thoughts and reasoning because they fail me.
That’s why I feel so alone. That’s why it’s so lonely here. I can’t trust my husband. I can’t trust my brain. I can’t trust the things my eyes see because what if my brain isn’t letting me see all the parts?
Being married to an addict is lonely.
Being married to a liar is lonely.