And the journey to recovery continues. I have never lived with a recovering addict, but I am pretty intuitive. I knew it wasn’t going to be as easy as acknowledging his addiction and just saying no to his drug. That is called white knuckling it, and not getting to the root of the problem. They say it takes two to five years to reach any kind of viable recovery from sex addiction. Blue Eyes is approaching month 19. Each day of sobriety, however, does not seem to be bringing him closer to recovery. The path is not a straight one. From my perspective, I feel like I am watching someone with a blindfold on and for every two or three steps he takes unencumbered, free of obstacles, his next step is right into a brick wall that knocks him on his ass. It is not fun to watch.
Friday, Blue Eyes went out of town on a business trip with one of our sales guys. They didn’t stay overnight, however it was a lot of driving and meetings and a generally long day. Blue Eyes was ungrounded before that day and has been in a funk since. He completed the first version of his fourth step but has been unable to wrangle his sponsor for enough time to share it with him, which is actually the fifth step. His sponsor called a couple nights ago and suggested Blue Eyes share his fourth step at the sponsor’s cabin at the mountain on Monday. They had already been scheduled to meet Monday afternoon for the fifth step. At first Blue Eyes thought going to the cabin was a great idea as it could be a nice quiet tranquil spot. Sharing the fourth step will be a grueling experience for Blue Eyes. He put his fourth step down in spread sheet form, it’s something like 50 pages long and includes all the negative behaviors associated with his addiction and how those behaviors affected him, and basically affected everyone around him. It is very detailed and could elicit shame and humiliation as well as, hopefully, healing. When Blue Eyes mentioned completing his fifth step at the cabin, I thought that would be special. They could drive up together, perform the step, then return home. Blue Eyes wouldn’t have to drive alone and he would have a safe companion with him that knew exactly what this process felt like, having done it himself and then as a sponsor, having helped other SA’s through it. Unfortunately, the reason the sponsor wanted to switch to the cabin is because he and his wife will already be at their cabin and even though he had committed to Blue Eyes for Monday afternoon, he and his wife had decided to extend their trip. So in effect, the switch to the cabin was for the convenience of the sponsor. Blue Eyes would need to drive the approx. 1-1.5 hours up there, go through the grueling fifth step, then make the drive home alone. Plus, the step is long and they were planning on doing it Monday afternoon so Blue Eyes could go straight home in case he was feeling depleted. The cabin idea didn’t sound so great anymore, the more Blue Eyes thought about it. Plus, you know, the whole world revolves around the addict, so that is why Blue Eyes wasn’t so happy that his sponsor was changing things up to suit his own needs… and the reason he is, changing it up to suit his own needs, of course, is because the sponsor is also an addict. I know how important all this step work is to Blue Eyes and his recovery, but I have to be honest. It is tiring to me even thinking about it and knowing that strangers to me are intimately familiar with my partner of 30+ years and knowing they know everything Blue Eyes has done to me. The fifth is supposed to be shared with “the person who knows you best, and who you trust the most.” Well fuck me that now that person is some guy I have never met and who Blue Eyes met at a twelve step meeting. Some guy Blue Eyes has known for little over a year and who has pushed off his fifth step about three times now. It’s just another way this process makes me feel worthless some days. I have always been there, but I am just not enough. I want to shout “so I am assuming these are the guys that will be standing by your side for the next few decades during every twist and turn of life, and these are the guys that will be sitting by your deathbed holding your hand.” After everything the spouse goes through, the 12 step process does not exactly make us feel needed or wanted as we sit not so idly by watching. I know this process is vital to Blue Eyes actually recovering from his addiction, and I am not an addict and therefore not expected to understand, but the whole thing sucks.
This morning I woke to a vivid dream where I was standing outside Blue Eyes’ office and he was his same old happy, excited, frenetic self, from pre-dday. He was talking to Camilla about her latest dildo. From Blue Eyes’ side of the conversation, I could tell she was describing it’s shape, size, and what she was doing with it. Blue Eyes was clearly “in his addiction.” He was so thrilled to be talking with her and he was showing more energy than he has since dday. He was laughing as if he didn’t have a care in the world and there was no such thing as recovery. He was talking in what I can only assume is my dream’s version of what a sex addict sounds like when getting their drug. It scared me how normal he seemed in the dream. I haven’t seen THAT Blue Eyes for a very, very long time. In some ways this is good, but in many ways, Blue Eyes is a shadow of his former self and I wonder if he will ever be more than that.
I have been trying to find my own calm place and maintain my happiness during all this. On Friday, even though I began the day triggered by Blue Eyes leaving early to go on a business road trip (like many he had taken in the past) I decided I really needed to engage in something artistic. I focused on doing a smaller version of my succulents painting as it was a little less intimidating than the large canvas I had pulled out. I do want to end up with a very large version, but it was too much to start with. I am a total novice after all. I am nearly done with the small one and I really like it… it is so bright and happy. I’ll post the finished product this week. I am also going to go replenish my oil paints as I do prefer the oils. Having both will allow me to not feel confined by the medium.
As Blue Eyes’ mood declined over the weekend, I felt mine doing the same. We talked about him needing to engage in more of his outer circle activities, the healthy behaviors that enhance life and recovery versus staying mired in anger, resentment, and negative feelings. As unfortunate as this sounds, I know he misses his addiction. It was like a friend who was a bad influence, but it had always been there and it was comfortable and familiar. A bad old habit. Even though we thought the second half of the first year of recovery was tough, as he flounders through the second half of the second year, things actually seem more challenging. I have faith in him, but I can feel myself pulling away, disconnecting. I guess that’s a good thing as I think I am disconnecting from his addiction, not necessarily from him. As he releases more of his negative addictive traits, I am pretty sure I will feel the connection grow. For now, I have my own outer circle of healthy behaviors and I need to focus on those.