So how are things right now, you ask.
That’s a good question.
Everything you’ve read until today has been written for a while (except for last Friday’s post, obviously). I’ve been writing since it happened. I started writing specifically about this topic on May 7th, and I haven’t really stopped. I’ve written things and let them sit for weeks to make sure they actually needed to make their way to the internet. I’ve written things that won’t ever end up here. I’ve edited, changed, added, and taken away things for weeks.
You, the reader, got four months of thoughts, emotions, and hurt in two weeks.
I’m sorry about that. I know it’s overwhelming and a lot to process.
Believe me, I know.
One thing that kept me from writing publicly for a long time was the fear of burdening others.
It’s also what keeps me from sharing in conversation. After I acknowledged that thought–that I would cause others pain or anguish by sharing my life with them–I had to accept it and then decide if sharing was worth it or not.
Sharing is always worth it. Always.
Our human nature is to think we’re special, unique snowflakes. But we’re not. We’re more the same than different and my story, my marriage struggles, my husband’s addictions, they’re not really that unique. The Grahams are more common than I’d like to think.
So I’m sharing because I know I’m not alone, I don’t want to be alone, and I don’t want to pretend I am alone.
Thanks for listening and taking on our story in whatever way you did. I know it’s a lot.
This is the most immediate writing I’ve done. I saved this post for the last in the series (but not the last time I’ll address this topic) because I wanted it to be immediate and the most up-to-date. I wanted it to specifically address the comments, emails, and questions that arose from my posts. And I wanted to be able to tell you in the most real-time way, what my life looks like at this very moment.
Remember that acceptance is not condoning. To accept is not to say, “This is okay.” It is to say, “This is what is.” Notably, radical acceptance often drops us into a state of grief, as we come to terms with hard realities. –Robin Chancer
Right now, I am working toward radical acceptance which has plunged me into a state of absolute grief. I am in mourning for what I thought my marriage was, what I thought my life would be, and who I thought my husband was.
I am full of grief and mourning.
Probably with a good helping of anger on the side.
And then a sprinkling of completely inappropriate humor for fun.
My hard realities are I married an addict and he will always be an addict (recovering or not), my daughters are the children of an addict and the granddaughters of an addict, and my marriage is very, very broken.
I like to sit on my therapist’s couch and listen to her tell me I won’t stay angry and full of grief. At some point, I will be past anger and onto something new. Who knows what that will be (I haven’t asked…), but she is confident I won’t stay here forever.
So I just get to sit with my grief and anger for a while.
I am settled and comfortable here, but I know eventually I will want to move on.
I also know from past experience with this, if I move too quickly or have shame or guilt because of my feelings, I won’t heal correctly. I have to heal correctly this time. For myself. For Chris. For Ellie and Harper.
I don’t know what healing looks like. I don’t know what my life will look like in six months or a year from now. I make no promises of anything, no guarantees of a future I have very little control of.
I don’t know what my marriage will look like. I don’t know if I will be married.
I don’t know if Chris will be clean and sober. I don’t know if he will be a part of our lives.
I don’t know anything.
I could tell you what I hope, what I would do right now if pushed, what I wish, but I don’t have much energy for hopes and wishes. I’m working too hard for radical acceptance, and that’s it. Here is what my life is. Here is what I can do about it right now. Here is what I can not do about it right now.
BREATHE. BREATHE. BREATHE.
That and Jesus–that’s all I’ve got.
I have been an addict-alcoholic’s wife for almost eleven years. I have been mostly quiet about it. I have written about it occasionally, but not much. I have talked about it quietly to some friends, but not much.
I am done being quiet. I am done hiding.
I have heard from a few well-meaning people that maybe these posts weren’t helpful to my marriage or to Chris. And I’m sure it was thought by others.
Here’s my response to that: Being quiet and gentle and worrying about my husband’s fragile state has done no good. It has kept him from the full consequences of his actions. It has kept him safe and secure in ways that enabled him. It has kept things the same.
I am done with that.
Madness is continuing the same pattern but expecting different results.
We’re starting new patterns right now.
As of today, Friday, September 1st, I can tell you Chris and I are separated. He is not living with us. He is still continuing to make harmful choices for himself which means he is making harmful choices for our family. I will not allow that to take place in my home anymore.
Whether or not it will be his home again remains unknown.
I prayerfully considered and edited this series. Obsessively. When I say I’m just sharing a few things and leaving out the most horrible parts, I am not exaggerating. My stories this week and last were just a few, carefully selected highlights of a much longer movie reel of brokenness. This is the radio-edit version of the Graham marriage.
I am in no rush to make any permanent decisions about my marriage, but I also refuse to live in this unhealthy situation any longer. What that means exactly, I’m not sure.
I know the work ahead of us is overwhelming to think about.
I know that my God is more than capable.
I know that no matter what happens, I will be okay.
I am okay.
(Just joining this series? Start here.)
P.S. I haven’t decided if I’ll be quiet on the blog next week to take a little recovery period or not, but know that this topic, this stuff going on in my life, will be written about again, but not solely a focus. I have other posts, other things to say, and my blog will not and can not turn into a messy marriage blog. I’m a million things and my marriage is just one part. So whether you come back here or not, know that this place will go on as normal. I’ll share the good, the bad, and the in-between. And I really hope to find my sense of humor again. I miss writing to make myself laugh. The bittersweet part about tragedy is that the world keeps spinning. So I’m going to as well.)