We’ve been in our new house in Pinehurst for almost 2 weeks now. Moving and unpacking is the worst – I feel like things are under control and then stumble across another couple of boxes which unearths stuff I have to find a home for and pretty soon the whole house is in shambles again. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle that never ends!
But other than that, we are settling in nicely. The kids and I love the house, we love the area, and I can’t wait to get involved in things once I have this baby.
This is a tough post for me to write, mostly because I don’t know what to say or how to say it or even if I’m ready to talk about it. But with Harper coming soon, it feels like I should address it.
With his permission to share everything below, I think most people know Todd and I have been separated. Some really hard things led to our separation and while I have battled hurt, sadness, betrayal and fear he has been battling an addiction.
For the last 9 mos, as I’ve prayed for direction, I’ve heard a lot of “be still.” I knew that separation was the right choice, without a doubt. I knew that Todd needed to get healthy, and that in small ways I was enabling him to stay sick. I am not, by nature, codependent – but it’s almost impossible not to adapt codependent tendencies when you are married to an addict.
The good news is that Todd has completed an inpatient treatment stay and moved on to a recovery program where he’s been since April. He’s pursuing sobriety hard and with intention and commitment and I’ve seen him change significantly. I’ve seen the Todd I knew when we dated, the one I married and committed my life to. I’ve seen a vibrance in him that has been missing for a long time.
His recovery program is in the Sandhills area, not far from where we are now living. It was a hard decision for me, but one guided by the most loving and caring Heavenly Father who has taught me so much during this process. He has taught me about unconditional love, forgiveness, grace and even empathy.
I am a work in progress on all of those fronts by the way – I am also battling a lot of other feelings: fear, anger, resentment, betrayal, abandonment, embarrassment, sadness…
And I’ve had to let myself sit right there in those feelings occasionally, because they show up when I least expect it. They’re real and they’re valid feelings and I have learned at this point in my life that stuffing them does no one any good. And you know? It sucks. It sucks to be looking back over the last year at pictures and have them trigger memories or moments that are hard and painful. I want to delete everything about the past year and fast forward to the better stuff. I hold on to hope that there will be better stuff.
So what does this all mean, really?
I don’t know.
My personal experience with shared custody of my oldest son has been a painful one in its own right. It’s a painful situation to share your child across state lines and over holidays and summers. When Todd began to take the correct steps to get well, and continued to maintain his sobriety I felt the gentle nudge that reminded me my children need to be near their father, as long as he was healthy. And I knew that with a newborn coming, I would not only need help, but that I deserved help.
So the slow process began – one of starting the healing process as a family. A process of understanding, forgiveness, grace and learning – really learning – about addiction. It hasn’t been easy. But it’s been so good to see the boys happy and excited and truly enjoying things they have missed out on for a long time.
I don’t know what this means for my marriage just yet. Todd and I are living in separate residences still. He is spending a lot of time with the family, helping out, just being with the kids, and we are slowly seeing where things go. It’s been a time of rest for me, just having him healthy and well and here to help. I know that as long as he works on sobriety, our family has a chance at surviving this. I am hopeful for him and for my children.
But I am scared. Addiction is…almost impossible to describe. It’s hell. It’s insanity. It’s indescribable. It’s baffling and mind boggling and twisted and just really, really sad.
There are parts of our story that will be painful for a long time to come. Things that will take me probably years to get over. But in all my time on my knees, searching for the peace to officially leave my marriage, I never got it. All I ever felt was that my job was to be still. To continue on the path I was on, but to wait. And I got angry many, many times. I had so many reasons to be angry, and I knew that I had every biblical reason in my back pocket to sign divorce papers and move on.
But God’s message to me was to be still. So I am practicing that as often as I can, and learning the
very complicated art of grace. For a long time, I thought grace meant blindly accepting and forgiving and ignoring what my inner self was screaming, but I have learned that sometimes before we can extend true grace, we have to be able to put up boundaries.
I hope to dig into the topic of addiction more on this blog. It’s an extraordinarily confusing issue which is often misdiagnosed as a host of other mental illnesses or problems and statistics tell us that twenty-three million Americans age 12 or older suffer from alcohol and drug addiction. 23 million is a staggering number. It’s a prevalent problem but one that very few truly understand. A problem that has directly affected my life, my marriage and my family and one that I am still working hard to understand every day.
I remain cautious and unsure on this journey. How could I not? I know that a happy outcome is not guaranteed. I know that recovery statistics are grim. But I also know that I follow and trust an amazing God who wants healing and recovery and wholeness. And for Him, I take a giant step forward.