“Time moves in one direction, memory in another.” William Gibson
In any relationship there are at least two timelines. Our personal development, career and happiness, or the lack of it, peaks and troughs and is rarely in-sync with anybody else’s. As an addict you are a lifetime away from the rest of humanity’s chronology of passing days and years. Life is lived in the moment. Your only plans are about your next high and whatever lengths you will have to go to achieve it.
Recovery from addiction sets its own agenda and writes its own timeline. There came a point in my litany of attempts and relapses when I knew I had turned a page. I was finally moving forward. I was free. I found this liberty to be exhilarating. I found myself brimming with unbridled enthusiasm. In the Inclusion groups I attended, by simply sharing our stories and experiences, I discovered the novel experience of support from fellow addicts. Attending these groups filled my life with new hope. The pace of change was dizzying.
The partners or the people sharing their lives with a recovering addict cannot be expected to adapt as easily or as quickly to this new burst of life and sobriety. They still inhabit a world of anger, betrayal and fear of what must seem to be inevitable relapse. When you have been let down so many times by the addict’s destructive patterns of behaviour, the fear and inability to trust is completely understandable. They too have adjustments to make. Audrey Moonbeam commented my blog-post Bravery, “But now the work begins. Your wife will probably need to work hard too as she will have created ways to cope that may not be applicable anymore.”
My wife’s support of my recovery was total. However undeserved, it was absolute and unswerving. With her help, and that of Inclusion, I had been striving to put the lid on my bottle for over five months before my epiphany. I would reach a few weeks of abstinence and then without knowing why, I would find myself drinking harder than ever. With every slip I could feel the sand of my marriage’s hour glass draining away. I had no expectation that my wife could even begin to accept that this time was different. I found that concept fairly abstract myself. It has been a true pleasure to wait for her to catch up with my recovery timeline. Watching her begin to believe is more beautiful than I have words to describe.
It has now been nearly ten months since I last drank alcohol. I still experience emotional peaks and troughs. This is the human condition. Previously when unhappiness or depression hit, I would have escaped down the neck of a bottle. I now look life in the eye. An old friend of mine, who is also now in recovery, said to me recently, “I never thought I’d say this but I have moments of joy that sit right next to the all the usual frustrations of life. What do they say? The worst thing is, you get your feelings back. And the best thing.” Take it from me, coming from him this is a massive statement.
My trust in myself kicked in many months ago and I now believe that my family are beginning to trust me. It would have been unrealistic, not to say completely unfair and idiotic to expect my loved ones to trust in these changes any sooner or to keep up with the pace of my transformation. Someone in group said that my wife must love getting the old me back but I have never been this free of addiction. This is a new me … and I love it.
“A successful marriage is an edifice that must be rebuilt every day” André Maurois