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.
Are any of you old enough to remember the PSAs, “The More You Know?” Just pretend that you are, please. Thank you. I feel better. Actually, I grew up with, “Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.” Go, Joe! Maybe some of you are even old enough to remember those cartoons?
The point GI Joe was making back then was that knowledge is power. And despite the hundreds of memes that there have been about my buddy, Joe, it’s true, being informed is great. But too much knowledge can also be harmful. At least it was for me.
For example, when it came to disclosure I felt I needed to know everything. Trauma does that. It makes us unable to wrap our heads around what happened to our world, so we try to fit the puzzle pieces together by asking eleventy thousand questions, some of them over and over again, even minutes apart, in an effort to reconcile the irreconcilable. Those details returned to haunt me. Not only were they in my nightmares, they found a way to invade my thoughts during the day too. I couldn’t shake them no matter how hard I tried.
It took a conscious effort to learn how to overcome my triggers and keep my anxiety from freezing me in place. Perhaps having every single fact, down to most minute details, wasn’t the best idea in the world, but I didn’t know any better at the time. I wish I did, but I didn’t. Hindsight has given me that gift and it’s one I try to share with as many people in my position as possible.
The same held true about my husband’s addiction. I feel it’s important to educate yourself about your loved one’s disease much like we would if they were diagnosed with high blood pressure. We’d want them to stay away from things containing a boatload of salt, right? But hopping on WebMD and plugging in the symptoms can sometimes lead us to think the worst case scenario: black plague, elephantiasis, death…all because we started the search as a way to help our loved one and somehow got led down the rabbit hole of misinformation. I learned the hard way that it was better for me to listen to the experts than being a keyboard commando.
Because I trusted the wrong sites, the wrong people, and because my brain was still reeling from betrayal trauma, my husband became guilty by association. If I read it on the Internet, he had to have it. It didn’t matter that it had nothing to do with his particular struggles he got lumped in there anyway. It would be like him saying I was addicted to heroin because he read a story about an addict who did heroin and cocaine. I never did heroin. I did cocaine. It made no sense, but all that information I had needed to go somewhere, didn’t it? Might as well blame my hubby. I was mad at him anyway. This made good ammo to lob in his direction. Especially when I was at him. Which was a lot back then.
You’d think I would’ve learned my lesson, but I didn’t. I was bullheaded. I know, hard to believe, isn’t it? I’m not as bad as I used to be, so that’s good. Still, I wanted that control over his addiction. As I’ve said before, I was addicted to his addiction. That need to know what his triggers were was overwhelming for me. I felt like if I knew then maybe I could get in his head somehow and understand what was going on in there. Make sense of why he did what he did. The lies, the pornography, the affairs.
Yeah, not so much. As shocking as this may be for you to read, it backfired on me. Oh, you guys knew it would? Well, I didn’t. I didn’t see it coming at all. Again, betrayal trauma. It’s like the ability to connect the rational dots escaped me. I could tell myself, “Elsie, this is ridiculous. It’s not going to change a thing. It’s not going to help.” Then, poof, that thought was replaced by a completely irrational one that seemed to make way better sense so I went with that one because it suited my needs.
potential trigger warning
One of the more difficult things to manage were slips in his recovery. Again, I felt I had the right to know every detail. The where, the what, the in’s and outs of it all. Information baby, give me the nitty-gritty. I can handle it. I’m strong. And I ain’t gonna tell you that now I’m picturing you on the site you told me about all. Nope. Not gonna tell you I"m picturing you in your office chair, typing...gah!!
trigger warning over
Liar! I totally was. Once again, too much information had proven to be more than I could handle. When I finally faced the fact that I wasn’t an unfeeling, unemotional robot, and really needed to start caring for myself, we talked about how we were going to handle any future slips. Through trial and error, we found what works best for us and I’ll talk about that…you guessed it, in letter “S”. You guys are so smart!
So Joe, you’re right, knowledge is power. Too much knowledge almost destroyed this tough as nails New Yorker.
Laugh of the Day:
Do you remember GI Joe or The More You Know? Have you been misled by the Internet too? Are you bullheaded?
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!