As we draw closer to the New Year, I’m still working on a hop that ended oh, eight months ago. Arlee seems like a laid back guy. I’m guessing he won’t mind.
Understanding. As a noun, it means having an agreement, an interpretation or belief. It’s also how we perceive things to be. As an adjective it means being sympathetic and kind. Thoughtful even. In the world of addiction, we need to lean heavily on both the adjective and the noun.
We need to understand how the addiction works and what it’s like being in a relationship with an addict. For many, myself included, my perception of recovery was warped. I felt that I didn’t need help because my substance abuse addiction was a thing of the past. Sigh. I was wrong. I was chemically sober, not emotionally sober.
I thought that because he was the one who was struggling with pornography, he was the only one who needed to be in recovery. Wrong again. Nearly a year after my second disclosure, I discovered why recovery and healing were important for me to dive into. An emotional breakdown tends to force a person to take an honest look at themselves and when I did, I realized I needed help. I understood I had trauma not just from the disclosures but from my childhood too. It had to be addressed or I’d never heal from the pain of my past or the pain in my present.
I also found I needed to understand about his addiction. Because when I was told, “I’m addicted to pornography,” I was like, “Um, no. That’s ridiculous. That’s not a real thing. You just need to stop looking because you know it hurts me.” Again I was wrong. Shocker, huh? Not only is it a real thing…it’s more prevalent than I realized. Men and women across the world are addicted to viewing pornography and much like other drugs, that viewing can be a gateway to other unwanted sexual behaviors. The struggle is real folks. Click here for some eye-opening facts from the folks at Fight The New Drug.
So while he focused on his recovery and I focused on my healing and recovery, the adjective of understanding kicked in. The anger began to subside the more I worked on putting my past hurts behind me. I found forgiveness for myself and for him.
This newfound understanding led to me being able to be sympathetic and kind when he slipped. Did that happen right away? Oh hell no. It took a tremendous amount of time and learning how to communicate with each other in a healthy way. We weren’t perfect. We still aren’t perfect. But we have a deep understanding for what each other has gone through and what we need to do to make sure we are each heard and understood.
Is there anything you didn’t understand but you do now? Is there something about you that you wish people understood?