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One Year of Sobriety

It’s been a whole year now. A year since my amazing life was shattered like a vase dropped on concrete. The shards of glass went everywhere; some pieces may be gone forever and I am not sure yet if the vase will ever be like new again.

My husband knows better to approach me with a celebratory smile and say “I have a year of sobriety!” He did that at month 10 and it ruined my day and led to a fight. I told him that would be like me coming home and saying “I haven’t robbed a bank in year!” He would rightfully look at me and say, “You shouldn’t have been robbing them in the first place. This is no celebration, it’s a time for quiet reflection.”

So on the eve of my husband’s year of sobriety, here’s what I am “celebrating”.

1. It’s been a whole year of tears. Tears on my bathroom floor, tears in the shower where I can wail and my children won’t hear me, tears on my pillow, tears on my knees, tears of anger towards my husband’s lies. Tears at church, tears at the temple, tears as I told my parents, tears as I yelled at my Bishop for letting my husband off Scot-free.

2. It’s been a whole year of waking up and remembering, “Oh yea, this is my life now.”

3. It’s been a whole year of education and learning a whole new vocabulary to words like boundaries, triggers, betrayal trauma, etc.

4. It’s been a whole year of going to church and trying not to cry at all the lessons on sin, priesthood, and forever families.

5. It’s been a year on my knees pleading and begging God to please heal my heart now and wondering why healing is so very slow from one who is perfect and omniscient and omnipresent.

6. It’s been a year of making up excuses for the kids as to why dad is gone so much every Tuesday and Wednesday night now.

7. It’s been a year of mourning the loss of my marriage. The marriage I thought I had for 19 years has been replaced by a broken one.

8. It’s been a year of mistrusting my best friend.

9. It’s been a year of praying for the gift of discernment, telling God that obviously my liar meter is broken so I need discernment, I need a spiritual gift, if I am going to stay in this marriage.

10. It’s been a year of avoiding most friends and acquaintances and slowly deciding to confide in a few.

11. Its’ been a year of crying with my new friends, my fellow sisters whose hearts have been broken as well. The “sobbings of their hearts ascending up to God against (their husbands.)….hearts dead, pierced with deep wounds.” (Jacob 2:35)

12. It’s been a year of looking in the mirror and saying “I’m still standing, I am strong.”

13. It’s been a year of realizing that true peace comes from trust in God and in his timing and knowing that my future is bright, no matter my husband’s choices.

14. It’s been a year of counting my big and little blessings. From realizing I have amazing supportive parents and siblings to thanking God for a jacaranda tree in all its glorious purple blooms.

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14. It’s been a year of realizing that as humans we can sure mess up our lives and the lives of innocent and knowing that Jesus Christ is our only hope. Only he can fix the messes we make.

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his exit strategy

I made an appointment with a therapist at LDS Family Services. I’ll go see him next week. I think I need to make a list of all the crap that I’m having a hard time getting over. But the #1 thing I need to get over it this: why couldn’t my husband ever be honest with me about this problem? We were best friends. How does one keep a secret like this from his spouse and best friend? Why did he never have one tiny bit of clairvoyance  and clear thought and announce to me “I’ve had a problem since I was 12”.

I keep asking my husband what was his exit strategy, meaning, at what point was he going to fill me in on this double life he was leading? He said there was never a plan to tell me. Ever.

I asked him if like the man in this talk he was going to go to the grave with his secret or else tell me on his death bed like a coward trying to clear his conscience before he met his maker. Again, he said he never thought about it.

I asked him if he ever worried that he would get hit by a bus and die and be afraid of hell because of his sins? Again, he never thought about it.

I asked him, “So you were just going around like a zombie? Never having any thoughts or plans for the future? Never giving your addiction a second thought? Never acknowledging that I had a right to know who I was married to?” He acquiesced, saying that maybe once he licked this problem he thought he would tell me. I asked him, “And after 30 years you never once thought, ‘Gee I may not lick this, I better tell Lorena!'” Again, he never thought about it that way. I reminded him that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

Sin makes you stupid. It makes you as dumb as dirt. My husband is a brilliant man with a couple of college degrees yet he never acknowledged that a 30 year problem should be mentioned to me, to a therapist, to a parent, no one. Ever. And that’s what scares me about sin. If it makes you so stupid that you can never be touched by the Spirit again, never be touched by this talk, or this talk, or this one, or a hundred other talks or lessons he was in attendance at, then where is the hope in ever changing?

what betrayal feels like

watercolor shoes

I’m standing on an area rug in my house. We have beautiful hickory wood floors throughout our first floor and several area rugs are scattered throughout the various rooms. I’m standing on one of those rugs and watching my surroundings–my beautiful children, my adoring husband, my beautiful home. I’m grateful I can stand on that rug–grateful I can walk, grateful I am healthy, grateful for the goodness that surrounds me. Everything good I have is a gift from God. Life is good.

Then my husband walks over to the rug. He grabs the edges of the rug and yanks with all his might. I didn’t see this coming. He pulls the rug out from under me so quickly that I lose my balance. I just wasn’t expecting him to do that. I go flying through the air with the force of the pull. I land alone on the hard floor. I’ve hit my head, I’m bleeding, my head pounds, I’m dazed and confused. And then I begin to cry. I cry so hard like I’ve never cried before. Why would my sweetheart hurt me like this? He knew what would happen when he pulled out that rug yet he did it anyway. I thought he loved me, I thought he was kind. Oh my head hurts so badly. I can feel a lump forming. It hurts so badly. And why can’t I stop crying? Betrayal, you just never see it coming.