One

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Will went to his SA meeting the other night and received his one year sobriety coin. One year. I guess they make a big deal out of it. Lots of congratulations and handshakes and hugs for being so strong and brave. He was told how much courage he had for coming forward and dealing with his addiction. For not living in secret anymore.

Hm…       image

I’m sorry. I know this is going to sound petty and ungrateful and sour. Maybe it is. Here’s what I think about all the hoopla about being faithful to your wife for one year out of the 37 you’ve been legally married to her…SO WHAT!?!?!  I get that this is progress and that I should be happy that he is at least in recovery…now. I understand that one year is a good start and that it is usually the hardest. I get that it is a major deal after being an asshole cheater for so long. But…Courageous? Brave? Strong? No…just no. It takes strength to withstand temptation and stay true to a promise you make before God. It takes a strong man to be honest and true and kind and faithful. It takes bravery to stand up the first time you lose your mind and do something unfaithful and confess and get help. A brave man seeks help immediately. A brave man is rigorously honest. It takes courage to admit you are a complete ass and have destroyed another human being….it is the coward who has to be caught red-handed and then be informed that it is hurtful. It takes courage to come forward and defend your wife, not cower behind her as she bears the brunt of spurned whores and sluts in your wake. So. Courage. Bravery. Strength. NOT attributes, really, of the one year sober sex addict in my opinion. My definition of theses attributes are as follows:

Real Strength=Living through disclosure after disclosure of disgusting escapades with a human element of the female gender so despicable that you shudder at the thought. Hearing “I’m sorry” until it has completely lost all meaning and you no longer recognize it as a true form of apology. Having your heart broken into so many tiny little pieces that it no longer feels like beating…yet it does. Enduring more emotional pain than any person should ever have to experience and doing it while raising kids or working, or maintaining a semblance of a “normal” life. Carrying on while the world throws trigger after trigger at you, day after day, and you look forward, and beyond, and just keep breathing.

Real Bravery=Walking into the doctors office and announcing that you are there for a full STD screening…then having to answer all the questions about your sexual activity to the kindly old physician who has been your family doctor for years. Facing the results and learning that your yeast infections over the past several years were likely HSV breakouts…but no worries…now you get to take Valtrex and your immunity system is compromised and isn’t knowing better than not knowing?  Standing next to your cheater and seeing the pity in the faces of those who know and think you should have left cause you can do better. Waking up every day and knowing that it will be hard work to get through your trauma…again.

Real Courage=Making decisions about your life now and your future knowing what your spouse was and is…and what you can only hope he will become. Knowingly taking on a journey which will bring more pain with only faith to sustain you in the hope for true happiness. Re-committing to someone who has yet to really prove any committment to you, going only on his word that he will…knowing that his word meant nothing. Trusting that regardless of all that has happened, God still loves you and will continue to sustain you. That He has always been there but you chose to believe your cheater instead of God’s still small voice…and knowing that you must always listen to Him going forward.

I believe that being sober for one year in any addiction is an accomplishment. I believe that it takes hard work. I believe that it takes commitment. I do not think it is particularly brave or strong or courageous. Maybe it does merit a coin.

I believe to be the partner of an addict and to live through the hell that they perpetrate  through their addiction is worthy of a far more than a coin. I believe that partners are the true heroes. They are…WE are…ALL brave and strong and courageous. We also have what the addict has lacked and is only now beginning to understand and acquire…honesty, integrity, values, morals, compassion and respect. Nobody ever gave me a coin for what I have endured and am still enduring because of Will’s addiction. That’s ok. I don’t need one. What I have is far more precious. I have the sureness that I already have sufficient strength, bravery and courage to get me through anything. To my arsenal I have added knowledge, insight, power and confidence. Because of others like me here, I have also strengthened my compassion and empathy, my kindness and my faith.  I don’t need a mere coin when I have learned to recognize my own self worth and my value. I don’t need anybody’s congratulations when I have the understanding, compassion and friendship of others who have walked and are walking my same path. We know, us partners, the value of authenticity and truth, the incredible worth of connection and caring. We have learned the gift of sharing and healing. And maybe above all, the simple yet profound treasure that gratitude is. I am grateful that I don’t need a coin, or a high five, or a pat on the back as an outward sign of my strength and progress. I am grateful that I am secure in who I am and who I am becoming.

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14 thoughts on “One

  1. You are brave, strong and courageous Leigh. You have walked through hell and have come out of it still true to yourself. Despite everything, you still continue to hope and believe there is good in your husband- and I believe there is! But I also know how hard it is to do that in the light of such devastation caused by his awful choices. I also strongly believe that he could never have gotten this far without you – so any accolades that he receives are just as much yours! Hugs to you my friend. I know the weariness and heaviness you feel but I also know each day you’re getting out from under it just a little bit more!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you sweet Kaye…we are all possessing of a strength we probably didn’t know we had…and maybe wish we never had to use! I am so grateful for you and others who buoy me up, encourage me and are such amazing examples of what true courage is. *hugs*

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  2. I am with you completely on this. What you have written here rings so true for me as well.
    Through all of this your character strengths will become even more awesome and amazing. You are the moral guide, the person with integrity that Will with have along side him to one day realise just what this gift from you is.
    We were strong faithful and honest women throughout all their years of disgusting behavior and now we just get to become even better.
    HUG xxxx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes! I may never get a coin but my hope is that Will will one day truly realize that I am his true reward and his treasure. I think that is beginning to dawn on him…when he finally fully understands, that will be my own reward. In the meantime, I have become so much…more. More courageous, more resilient, more insightful…I am doing more than surviving…I am thriving. As you are. As we all are. For that I am beyond grateful. ❤️

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      1. This is it. This is how some of us will heal. There is no greater reward for me when I catch husband looking at me and I ask him what is up. He says he has been given a gift. I allow myself to think…yep, you are right buddy. You have been given a gift alright. To have my awesomeness still in your life. He he.

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  3. Oh Leigh, this rings so true to me. I am so angered by having to applaud those who go for say one year in not cheating. I mean, is that for real?! I have NEVER cheated, what do I deserve then, a freaking gold mine?? My better part does applaud the recovering addicts, but my betrayed broken self just hates the idea that what comes so naturally for me is to be considered a massive achievement for some. Sigh. We are freaking strong and awesome indeed to stomach this, among so many others on the list of things to stomach. Sigh.

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    1. I know ,Shattered! I feel like so, here’s a coin for being a decent human being. Wait … What?! From my perspective, thats like getting rewarded for breathing, or smiling, or having thoughts…you know…normal everyday stuff. A stupid coin is such little compensation when compared to the love and joy their fidelity and committment would have brought them just for being normal, decent, real men. Fools!

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  4. The hardest thing for a spouse of a sex addict to understand is why. There is evidence that the male brain going through puberty is so susceptible to stimuli that it gets imprinted. With the advent of porno mags, and now the Internet, there have been places for the curious boy to go. Add that to a foo that has given him a poor sense of self worth, some genetics, and you have the recipe for addiction. It is nearly impossible to hide alcohol/drug and gambling addictions but a simple “I was checking my emails.” is so easy to fool the innocent spouse. Here is why this addiction needs constant checks. Just after the basic needs/drives of food, clothing and shelter comes the drive to procreat/sex. So, you have a real need for sex and an addiction to it so how do you know where one ends and the other begins? It is wonderful that he has made it a year. Now he needs to take a giant step into maturity and explain to your children what he has done to you. And he needs to tell them about all of it. Not the sex details but the thefts etc. Until he takes complete ownership of it he ain’t a grownup. Sorry. My Southern use of that shows up every now and then.
    (((Hugs)))

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know Moi, but I can’t make him WANT to do that. He is obviously a slow learner…very, very frustrating. And I am NOT very patient! I say the serenity prayer a lot theses days….😉

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  5. I have just found this post and completely agree with you about the congratulatory nature in the recovery world. I think it is important to acknowledge success but within reason. Agree that not cheating is something we should be able to take for granted after so many years, just like they have been able to do. We are truly the ones who are strong, brave, courageous.

    I am just returning from family week at the rehab where my husband is being treated. I was thrilled to leave there with my own coin in my pocket. Someone there gets it.

    Thank you for your blog. Appreciate knowing I am not alone and so grateful for your insight an expertise as I walk the road you have paved.

    Congratulations to you for all you have accomplished on your journey. I am inspired.

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    1. Hello Boomer…so glad to meet you! Getting a coin is a form of validation, a pat on the back, a “you go girl” that we don’t get. Even though we are also doing an incredible amount of work to recover. I am glad that I have this community of bloggers and groups of others who have traveled this path because they get it. Unlike the addict, our path is is focused on finding our own validation. It’s a much more difficult journey in my opinion. I’m sorry that you you are now on this torturous trip too but take heart that there are others who have come through it and not just survived but thrives. *hugs*

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