At the beginning, I remember being in my crisis state of the initial disclosures and seeing group and the 12 step process as my saviour—perhaps even more than God at the time. Healing couldn’t happen fast enough for me and being able to complete workbooks and make progress gave me that sense of accomplishment but even more so—that sense of control I desperately needed. I remember telling my husband that I would make a decision about staying married to him once I finished my 12th step—as though that would be a profoundly pivotal day and would miraculously be healed from all the pain that day.
There were times where the workbooks and steps proved to be more than I could bear because it was too triggering. But that was my will, not God’s. I soon realized I needed to go back to step 1.
As I progressed through the steps, I certainly had awakenings as I’ve already described but at times I became more confused. I was confused because I wasn’t angrier; confused about whether or not I’m codependent; confused about the trauma I feel but wasn’t allowed to share that for fear of looking like a victim, confused about boundaries and what a healthy relationship looks like with a man early in his own recovery….
One of the most unexpected outcomes was my new found love, respect and admiration for women. I realize that I’ve often lived intimated by women—exercising my own version of intimacy anorexia when in these situations for fear of being rejected. Every woman I’ve encountered through this healing process is incredibly brave, beautiful and brilliant. Each one of us deserves to be cherished and celebrated!
So as I rounded the corner towards step 12, I became more peaceful. That’s when I decided this was a choice, a lifestyle I wanted as opposed to something I have to do to get better from what my addict husband did to me. I’ve changed my calendar from recovery work to personal growth—because that’s what it feels like to me now.
I’m grateful for this process for showing me my own defects, how to relate to others and how to relate to God. I learned much about boundaries, timely apologies, my codependent tendencies, how to let go of control. And when I struggle with these in the future, I have a place to go and remind me of how far I’ve come and how to ask for forgiveness.
God’s timing is perfect and He’s only given me what I could handle. This season was all about my inward reflections, growing with Him as a daughter of God, learning forgiveness, etc. Now as I move forward I will use these valuable lessons to sustain this new way of being, but also focus on healing from the post-traumatic stress. I’m more ready now than I’ve ever been. All that I’ve learned will help me communicate my needs in a triggering situation, how to advocate for myself when I need help, how to pinpoint the emotions behind it and overall become the healthiest, most fulfilled and peaceful person I never imagined I could be.