Happy hopping and welcome! My theme for the Challenge is addiction because both my hubby and I are recovering addicts. No worries though. I like to keep things fairly light even when dealing with a heavy topic like this one. Want a glimpse into my world of cocaine addiction? Listen to Metallica’s, Master of Puppets. If that’s too heavy, you can try Staind, It's Been Awhile instead. Much more mellow.
“Do you have a minute?” The acid in my stomach churned and rolled after I asked Devin the question. I wished I could take it back. Maybe I’ll ask him about something else instead. No! A voice cried out in my head. Not again. Every time you try to ask him, you back down. Not this time!
His eyes didn’t leave the screen. His tone was flat. Dead. “What?”
I couldn’t help but try to see what other tabs were open on the screen. He’d been getting careless lately. I grabbed the second office chair hoping it would prompt him to look at me. It didn’t. “I, um, wanted to talk to you about the uh,” I left it unsaid. Maybe he’d fill in the blank?
Still staring at the computer screen, back to me, my husband said, “What?” No more flat tone. He was clearly irritated.
This made my anger level rise. My voice was icy. “Can you look at me?”
His office chair swung around. The set of his jaw showed me how angry he was. The bile in my stomach rose but I ignored it and pressed on. “You said you’d stop looking but you still are.”
“Jesus. Again? I hardly ever look and you know what, even if I do, so what? Who cares? It’s normal. I’ll bet you that every guy on this block looks at porn.”
“I think you’re looking at it too much. It’s getting out of control.”
“Out of control? What are you talking about? Too much? What does that even mean?”
“I think you have a problem or something. I think we need to talk to someone.”
“No. I’m not talking to anyone. I can stop anytime I want. It’s not out of control. This is normal guy behavior. It’s what we do. Besides, if you weren’t sick all the time, I wouldn’t have to look at porn. I’m stressed out, I’m the only one working, and it’s harmless. You're blowing this way out of proportion.” His chair swung back around. Eyes back to the computer.
Devin had gone for the jugular just as I was afraid he would. My anger dissipated. He was right. I was sick. So sick I had to quit my job leaving him with the financial burden of supporting me and the children. Defeated, I got up and left the room knowing full well the last three tabs on his screen were pornography. I saw it. I said nothing.
I went into the family room, gathered up the children and took them to the beach. I may not have been able to stand up for myself, but I could at least get them the hell out of the house.
Last week, I wrote about my justification. Today, I write about Devin’s. I wish I could say that that scenario only played out once. It didn’t. Sometimes I was the defeated wife. Sometimes I was completely gaslighted. Sometimes I was so pissed off it took everything I had in me not to call him every name under the sun. And sometimes I threatened to leave. Sometimes I said absolutely nothing.
Even now, he asks me why I stayed. I tell him because I saw the man I married in him. He had to still be in there somewhere fighting to get out. Had to be. As a recovering addict, I had people who stood by my side, I felt like I needed to see if there was some kind of chance. Some kind of hope. I knew, by the Grace of God, that it would be coming to a boiling a point. I was emotionally and physically exhausted and couldn't handle much more.It was when I was about to leave when God gave me the signs to stay.
He knew that his own justifications were ringing hollow in his own ears. The lies, the manipulating, the isolating, and the shame. This wasn't the man he wanted to be for me and our kids. He wanted to be my knight in shining armor. He wanted to be their role model. He wanted to be free of this addiction and to do so meant admitting that he wasn't just lying to me, he was lying to himself. It takes a big man to do that and I'm proud of him for that and for all the work he's done and continues to do.
I’m glad I stayed. Our journey was tough. Even brutal at times. There were days, even after he was in recovery, that I wanted to punch him in the face. (Don't worry, it's just a phrase, I'd never hit my husband). Still, I stuck it out. And I didn’t punch him…yet.
As the saying goes in AA, "Justify=Just-if-I would have/could have...!!!! Then I would have/could have."
Joke of the day:
Are there people you imagine punching in the face? Have you thought something was going to be bad but then it ended up great?
I look forward to seeing everyone during the Challenge! Click here to get to the master list sign up sheet. I'll see you this afternoon!