Snowed in

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It’s January 11, 2017 here in the U.S. and we are covered in snow, and it’s snowing again. We rarely get a lot of snow in Portland. We’re in a funny weather pocket. Our winters are usually fairly temperate, above freezing at least. We generally get one cold weather front per season. It might bring a little snow, but often brings freezing rain or a cold snap with no moisture. Generally a 1-2 day affair, sometimes the below freezing patterns last for up to a week, but with no moisture, no problem (except for the rather large homeless population). This winter we are being slammed. It started in Autumn actually. It seems we are having snow and ice events weekly. Yesterday afternoon it started snowing and didn’t stop all night. We are sitting with a foot and a half of snow in our yard. That’s A LOT for a city with very little winter weather infrastructure. We have limited snow plows (those we do have mainly focus on the highways, and their ability to keep up with any winter weather event is a joke), some de-icing capabilities, we don’t salt the roads here, so generally, we are on our own. Most people don’t have chains because it just doesn’t seem worth it for the one short-lived snow event per year. Turns out, this is weather event #4 and it’s not even mid-January and it looks like the snow is here to stay for at least four more days. Thankfully we have nowhere to go, so we can enjoy the winter wonderland, for now.

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Our little Aussie loves the snow.

It’s also anniversary #3 of the day I received a phone call from a woman claiming to be my husband’s mistress. It still, even three years later, feels so strange typing that. It doesn’t seem real. Ironically it almost feels less real now than it did three years ago. Does that make sense? So much has changed in our lives. The shock of that phone call and the aftermath now feel much more like an awakening, than a trauma event.

The exact time of the call has come and gone, another year has passed. The phone call itself holds very little trauma or trigger points for me anymore. It is, however, the only real point in time that I can remember where time seemed to stand still. Other major events in my life, high school graduation for example, or the moment we were married, or our first child being born, feel more like events on a continuum, not moments in time. Just regular old life experiences as part of a long, somewhat planned out, bigger picture. I barely remember our wedding day kiss. That event was one big blur of activity. I remember standing with my parents at the end of the aisle, a long white clothed walkway covering the grass of the 10th tee at my in-laws country club, thinking… I hope I don’t trip over my dress…  When our first son was born, it was a long drawn out process and I was so exhausted from the ordeal and so anxious that he would be okay, so worried when he was life flighted from one hospital to another while I was still stuck in bed, paralyzed from the waist down. Although it was traumatic, pregnancy and childbirth are often fraught with unknowns, and we know this going in. I remember all these moments in my life as part of a process of living a life I wanted. I was equipped to deal with a certain amount of uncertainty in the certainty of the life I planned for myself.

The moment of the phone call from the other woman, however, was unlike any other moment in my life. It was not expected or even contemplated as part of my life plan. The concept that my husband would have an affair, or that he was an addict, well those thoughts never crossed my mind. That is why I was blown away. I was not prepared. It would never happen, so why would I prepare for it? I chose my husband because he was loving, kind, quirky, compassionate, devoted, caring, and he loved me with every part of his being.  I knew that for sure, and nothing could change my mind. In my world, a person like that is a great choice for a life partner. That person would never hurt me…

I have been incommunicado on my blog for three weeks now. First it was the holidays, and a visit from Princess Leila (she’s a real trip, that one), and then, on our drive home from the beach house two weeks ago, I started getting sick, again, but this time it was worse. It started with a cough and the telltale feeling that someone was standing on my chest… breathing became difficult. Then the fever, and more substantial coughing, body aches and pains… the flu with a dose of walking pneumonia thrown in for good measure. I am still not completely healthy. I thought I was doing pretty well until I spent a little time out in the snow last night with my boys and my fur babies. Sleeping was rough and this morning the cough was back along with the crackling sounds coming from my chest. I’m back to resting again. It just takes time.

This morning when I woke up, I rolled over to Blue Eyes and said, “it’s that day,” and he said, “I know.” The thing about “that day” now though, is that it is now a day to look back over what we have both accomplished in three years time, and that’s a lot. I no longer care about what prompted this particular anniversary date. What I really care about is that when I sat down on that day and my life seemed to stop, at least the life I knew, the life I had planned for and carefully nurtured, it stopped. I now have a different life than the one I thought I had or the one I thought I wanted… or more importantly the one I thought I NEEDED. What I had was not completely real. Now, I have a life I believe is more real, it’s more authentic, but more importantly, I have learned that no matter what is handed to me, and no matter who does the handing, I am prepared. I can do this life, no matter what. Bring it!

This morning Blue Eyes and I shared authentically, openly, honestly… both of us, about where we have been, and where we are. No tears. No trauma. Being snowed in has its advantages. Blue Eyes is still an addict. He doesn’t use a drug to cope anymore, but he is still an addict. Denying his addiction would stop his recovery dead in it’s tracks. Denying he still has a lot of work to do, would be living a false reality. When he feels shame, when he feels anxiety, when he feels exhausted, when he feels beat down, he knows what he needs to do to pick himself back up. And me, I get to be the same person I always was… just a little more scarred, but a little wiser, a little more sturdy, and a whole lot stronger. I still have my family. I still have a great life full of love and joy, forgiveness and compassion, full of travel and beach houses, but most of all, full of peace and happiness.

For sure this is not a path I ever dreamed for myself, and I certainly didn’t plan for it, but I was handed it anyway and I’m doing my best. Each day since discovery is a gift. I know that now. I have no bitterness in my heart on this day and it feels good. Flipping the channels on the television yesterday, I came across the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2. I was sketching in preparation for some paintings I want to do in my new beach house painting loft and so I figured, why not. Sequels are never as good as the original, so I kept my expectations low. I was surprised Blue Eyes and I hadn’t already watched the movie. It fits his criteria, silly, potentially funny, not triggering. So I watched it by myself yesterday afternoon and during the closing scenes they play the John Legend Song, ‘All of Me’ and I cried. I sat there and cried. I haven’t done that in a long time. The nice thing though about yesterday is that I was crying happy tears, not sad, hurt or angry tears. I was crying because I love Blue Eyes that much, with all of me. I love him despite everything, and I know he loves me in that same way, all my curves and all my edges, my smart mouth, and my very own perfect imperfections.

 

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Glad we kept the lights up! It’s a beautiful night. ❤

18 thoughts on “Snowed in

  1. I love your bushes and the tiny white lights showing through the snow. This would make a beautiful painting 🙂 We are currently awaiting an ice storm. We too have had odd weather ie 60 degrees and thunderstorms in January is NOT normal. Um, yeah, there’s nothing going on climatically!!! I am happy to hear how well you are doing and you are very inspiring. One thing this event does is either destroys you or makes you stronger—hey I should write a song, rats it’s already been done– we are indeed stronger and yes I too would be just fine. Take care of your maladies and spring is right around the corner right?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, ha, crazy wacky weather has nothing to do with global warming. It’s okay, let’s stick our heads in the sand, I mean snow, a little longer. My hope is that going through this makes us all stronger. It’s important that we see that opportunity and grab it. I hope spring is right around the corner!!! In the meantime, I might make a little trip to Florida (the only state, apparently, with zero snow)… I have friends there now. 🙂 Also, we are gearing up to leave in late February for our trip to New Zealand and Australia. Not sure I could be any more excited! xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

        • I’m actually going to take my “good” camera too, not just the little iPhone camera. I could actually start packing now as the clothes I will be taking certainly won’t see the light of day here in Portland between now and the end of February! 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Question for you….have you met with other couples that have had the success you and BE have? I left my addicted spouse and haven’t looked back (absolutely the right decision for me. My ex was no BE!!). I read your blog with curiosity. It seems like you are maybe the exception rather than the rule but I base that purely on my own experiences and opinions. Wondering what you think.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, I have not found any other stories in blogland of long term success stories, but I think that is partially because once the bulk of the trauma has passed, people stop writing, regardless of marital status. I don’t find a lot of encouragement on the “support” sites, actually I have found no healing through websites like Chump Lady (betrayal) or SOS (specifically for spouses of sex addicts). I do totally understand that depending on the circumstances and the experiences of both spouses, some marriages are not salvageable. I also saw firsthand how some members of the “sisterhood of support” site did everything in their power (mainly with their words because the wife never met a single one of them in person, nor even talked with them on the phone) to encourage a wife to leave her husband while he was away in treatment. Her husband was with my husband and I did speak with her on the phone. She had already made up her mind that she could not stay, so while he was away she took their newborn and toddler sons and moved across the country and home to her parents. Soon after, they divorced. The reason we spoke on the phone was because she wanted to convince me to leave my husband. The sisterhood had convinced her that no sex addict ever healed because basically they were just creepy men who couldn’t remain monogamous. Some addicts are not equipped at the time of discovery to recover, and some spouses are too traumatized, humiliated, etc… to continue working on the marriage. Society does not treat us well, wives of sex addicts. I do totally get that. Each person, each marriage, and each experience is unique.

      I have stuck with this blog because I wanted to keep telling our story and from the beginning I had no idea whether we would be together, or separate. It hasn’t been easy and the betrayal was monstrous and I truly did not recognize myself. I know a lot of other couples through this blog and Facebook that are in the same basic 2-4 year range of recovery. Some are together, some have separated. However, the space where we (both Blue Eyes and I) see the greatest inspiration is through his 12 step group. For him, it has proved to be the greatest asset in healing. He really shopped around to find the right one. One where he felt connected to the men, where they had life experiences in common. He also made it his own. He is not a religious man, so he focused the spiritual component on mindfulness practices and that has worked well for him, but as we all are, he is a work in progress. There are other men BE’s age and older who have been able to remain sober and married. Actually, most of the men in his group who were married at the time of discovery are still married. Some of the stories are far more complicated than ours. Many of these men were older (50+) when discovered. They hated their lives and they really wanted to change. They were given the tools through therapy, 12 step, etc… and they took them. I guess when talking about exceptions and the rule, I would hope that each couple evaluates their individual situation uniquely and throws rules out the window. Just like in any marriage, we and the others still struggle on some days. Some of the guys really fight with their instinct to medicate through grooming, porn, strip clubs, etc… this all takes hard work. I say this all the time, but I really had to understand sex addiction before I could even begin to heal myself. My self esteem took a huge hit and I am a really confident and strong personality. I was literally knocked on my ass, dumbfounded, blown away, confused, and broken. I had to find my weak spot and strengthen it. My husband on the other hand still has miles and miles to go on his journey just to say he is recovered. I’m not sure it is ever appropriate to say they are recovered. They are addicts, forever and always. The thing is though, I have accepted the fact and I am very happy that my husband decided he wanted that better life for himself. He is far from perfect and he stumbles a lot, but he is present and introspective on most days and is working on himself while remaining present in our marriage. It is not easy and I can only assume many addicts choose the easier route… deflection, rationalization, indulgence, selfishness, and ultimately to remain broken. Unfortunately those characteristics don’t work well in relationships. I also think resentment is a very divisive emotion. Both me and BE abandoned any feelings of resentment towards each other and that has played a crucial part in our healing and acceptance of each other. Thanks for commenting. xx

      Liked by 3 people

        • Definitely a conscious choice. I’ve never been a resentful person and I accept BE’s behavior as addiction. I can’t carry on with him if I resent him for his choices or his actions. On the other hand, taking responsibility for all his choices has been a huge adjustment for BE. He knows I will not be used as a scapegoat for his bad behavior. He managed to rationalize for the better part of 40 years. He knows giving up those feelings and taking responsibility is a crucial part of his recovery. To me resentment builds on itself creating anger and drives a wedge between people eventually destroying healthy honest communication. ♥

          Liked by 1 person

          • So it is probably partly a personality thing? I worked hard to let it go and try not to resent him for his choices. But in the end my natural tendencies to feel belittled by other people’s shit overpowered my mindful and exhausting attempts to move forward with him. I do resent him for blowing up my life without my knowledge or communicating anything to me. Pisses me off and makes me feel like an unkind person who isn’t very forgiving.

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            • I do think it is a personality thing, BUT, sometimes it is also a self preservation thing. We make choices that work for each of us. Those choices must be made based on being true to our ourselves and our unique individual needs. None of us should be compromising on what feels right. I do think anger and resentment prohibit a healthy relationship, and no one gets to tell you what’s right for you. Just like I didn’t want some stranger telling me I should leave my husband because he could never be monogamous, you should make your choices based on your feelings, instincts, and mental and emotional health. No one else’s input or opinions really matter. Rog did everything he could to make amends, but unfortunately nothing he does now can change what he broke. Sad, yes. Reality, unfortunately yes. ♥♥♥

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