Living with an addict, is hard. Living with an unrecovered addict is a bitch and half. I have done that and I don’t want to ever do it again. Blue Eyes is a recovering addict. He wants to be a better man. He wants to change what is broken. He wants to heal. He wants to recover. I believe it, and because I believe it, I stay.
When I hear others’ stories, I may be blown away by the details, or the abuse, but I try never to question, if they stay, why they stay. That is their decision and their decision alone. I know my parent’s story, intimately. I did not understand it when they started to really fall apart. I was five years old. I knew my father was a bully. He argued, he yelled, he hit, rarely back then, but he did it. He was more than twice my mother’s size. He never hit me or my sister.
By the time I was six, it was all out war with my mother being the country with no army and my father holding all the artillery. He had begged her to stay, and she believed he would work on himself. While she thought he was becoming that better man, that better husband, he was in fact replacing her. He was a coward. He never worked on himself. Both my parents had less than stellar childhoods. My father was abandoned when he was five months old and was adopted by a 70 year old woman who was poor. My mother’s family struggled with the death of her younger sibling, from pneumonia at the age of five. My grandmother never fully recovered. The surviving brother became a raging alcoholic and now that their parents are gone, he blames my mother for all his pain. My mother has no contact. My mother is the strongest person I know, hands down. She walked away from a broken marriage with her head held high. She created a nurturing environment for me and my sister. She then married the most wonderful man who has been in our lives for 46 years. We feel lucky to know him. My step mother, well, that’s a different story, but she has, in fact, been in our lives for 47 years. That would be my sister’s entire life, minus one year. My sister is not as forgiving as I am. She holds grudges. She lives with a lot of pain. My sister refuses to tackle her own demons, borderline personality disorder does not help.
I’ve done a lot of research on addiction. My sister was born with mental illness and addiction. She exhibited her vulnerability from a very young age. She started medicating with any number of drugs from adolescence. Blue Eyes also started self medicating when he was an adolescent. My sister reached for anything she could find. Blue Eyes’ drug was exclusively sex. It has not been difficult for me to understand Blue Eyes’ sex addiction. Sure, I fought it at first because my trauma wouldn’t allow me to believe that I was so unimportant compared to his drug. That other human feelings were less important than his own addiction. But that is sadly true, and that truth I have absorbed into every fiber of my being. It is still incredibly difficult to accept, but it is real.
There is one particular website that I think spells it out pretty clearly, easyread.drugabuse.gov.
What is Addiction?
When a drug user can’t stop taking a drug even if he wants to, it’s called addiction. The urge is too strong to control, even if you know the drug is causing harm.
When people start taking drugs, they don’t plan to get addicted. They like how the drug makes them feel. They believe they can control how much and how often they take the drug. However, drugs change the brain. Drug users start to need the drug just to feel normal. That is addiction, and it can quickly take over a person’s life.
Addiction can become more important than the need to eat or sleep. The urge to get and use the drug can fill every moment of a person’s life. The addiction replaces all the things the person used to enjoy. A person who is addicted might do almost anything—lying, stealing, or hurting people—to keep taking the drug. This could get the person arrested.
Addiction is a brain disease.
Drugs change how the brain works.
These brain changes can last for a long time.
They can cause problems like mood swings, memory loss, even trouble thinking and making decisions.
Addiction is a disease, just as diabetes and cancer are diseases. Addiction is not simply a weakness. People from all backgrounds, rich or poor, can get an addiction. Addiction can happen at any age, but it usually starts when a person is young.
Sex addiction is an addiction. Sex is the drug. It is the same as any other drug be it alcohol, heroine, prescriptions, food, gambling, shopping… addiction is not easy to overcome, but it is possible. Acknowledging the problem is part of the battle, as is providing yourself with an environment that believes in helping versus denying and ignoring addicts.
In my mind, the key to life is understanding yourself. Not giving yourself a pass for those things you may do that hurt yourself or others. Be it addiction, or the disease of being self absorbed, or the affliction of just refusing to face your own demons… it all leads to pain.
I know there will be commenters on my blog who will continue to question my choices. For all those people, I hope there are a thousand more who understand why I stay. The people in my life who know about Blue Eyes’ addiction, are proud of me for staying. They believe in him as much as I do. The happiest part of all of this mess, for me, is that Blue Eyes has been able to confirm that people do, in fact, love him. They love him for who he is and who he is becoming.
You better believe that the most influential person in my life, my mother, never ever told me life was easy, quite the opposite really. Truth is, I had to find it out for myself. That is the way life is.
8 thoughts on “Nobody said it was easy”
I like how your posts make us think about issues and see things from different perspectives. We are all betrayed but there are different stories and different behaviours involved and no one ….no one person knows what it is really like for anyone else here. So why judge? We don’t know them. We just read their stories and all we can do is offer advice and support and empathy. I think those that state their opinions and judge us are hurting and broken and just want to hurt and upset other people. Think about the life of a troll. It makes them feel better to hurt others. They don’t care they just want to feel good. How sad is that? No better than the other women and maybe they are the other women. Hard to ignore but they have no place in our journey. They are just trash.
Life certainly is not easy but if we can endure and still have our integrity and optimism we are going well. As are you Kat!!!!! 👩❤️👩
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I think the most obvious and immediate reaction is to project and I think that is normal. But then, we have to take a step back and realize that although we have some experience with a potentially similar situation in terms of the betrayed spouses, we don’t have all the facts and the respectful thing to do is to give support and try to be understanding during what will most likely be the most difficult time in many of our lives. Stay or go, it is an individual journey. The thing I cannot tolerate is un-remorseful bullies who want to hurt people for whatever reason, most likely to somehow make themselves feel better. Regardless of their situation, I actually don’t think they are all OW but in fact spiteful people who have been hurt and for some reason want to hurt others. People who say mean and hateful things are the scariest kind of people to me. I don’t get it and I don’t want to get it. But I love you and your kind and thoughtful spirit, CF, and your integrity and your optimism. ❤
Your decision to stay took great courage and a strength that many people don’t and could never have. I didn’t have it. I was just too heartbroken, so I froze and have remained frozen for the last ten years.
Never let anyone judge you until they walk a mile in YOUR shoes.
Yes, agreed, and we were married to different men. If only Loser had been remorseful and loving all along… and willing to give up his alcohol. I think you might have given him another chance. It was never really about the other women after all. C’est la vie. We each have a path and we do the best we can! I wish you much healing going forward.
I continue to marvel at your strength, and your mindset. It can be just as hard to walk away as it is to stay, and only the betrayed spouse knows the full scope of the state of their marriage both before and during the betrayal (regardless of what they actually share in their blog). I hope readers will be respectful and understanding of each situation as unique. I love your posts and your perspective, I admire your strength, and am cheering you and your husband on to much happiness ahead.
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Thank you so much, lady. I know it is incredibly difficult to leave and even more difficult when you are given no choice at all. It may take less time to heal, theoretically, or not. Who knows if it is more or less lonely because many days I feel incredibly alone with people all around me. As you say, each situation is incredibly unique. I hate to feel like I am giving advice when I am leaving comments on others’ blogs and I never say, “hey, you should leave him.” Although people do that to me regularly. Often I can see the blogger/spouse struggling to figure out how to handle a situation and I share maybe how my situation went or something that worked for me, or I just share my experience… but I never want to come across like I know how it feels to literally be someone else. All of this is so painful to bear. I know we write intimate details about our lives and our husbands on these blogs, but if someone spent two hours with my husband, they would say, “surely this is not Blue Eyes.” All of what I write here comes from a whole lot of hindsight and pain and nearly two years now of dealing with his addiction and his recovery every day. It is so easy to project our own feelings and experiences onto others, but the truth is, it is all so incredibly painful. Thank you for cheering us on. We all deserve happiness and I keep grasping at mine every day and every day I am getting a little bigger piece of it. ❤
It may surprise you (maybe not) but from the blogs I’ve been reading, most people do decide to try and work things out. And yes, there are good points and bad points, just like there are good points and bad points to end things. There is no right way to do things. You just have to go with your heart, stumble along, everyday putting one foot in front of the other. I think you are doing an amazing job.
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You know, C, I have often wondered why The Chump Lady’s blog is so popular. I honestly think part of it is because a lot of people, given the choice, do decide to stay and try and work it out. For those that are not given a choice, or who choose to leave, they are seeking an outlet for their pain, for their confusion, for validation… enter CL. She has that in spades, if you like a negative and sarcastic bent. I wish there wasn’t all the other mumbo jumbo where she tries to exert her limited knowledge and experience onto things she knows little about, but it is what it is and I don’t go there, for obvious reasons. I am more of an optimist. Even if I was divorced, I would still want to look for the positive, to live in a positive place, like you. Sure, we have our days, days of questioning ourselves, or just needing to vent, but really we want happiness and burgers, and cookies and rose water and love. Not hate and bitterness. Thank you so much for always giving me encouragement and praise. These posts are prompted by comments and because it’s my blog, I get to take all the space I need to talk out my life, my decisions. I do totally understand why people leave, but I have chosen to stay. I am so glad I have people like you who understand. ❤