We made it through that first, long year of sobriety. There have been ups and downs and lots a new challenges. Did we fix our marriage? Are we back where we started? Ummm, no, that’s far from the truth. I thought that my husband getting sober would give us the chance to work on our marriage. That didn’t happen.
What I never knew was that when a person who struggles with MDD (Major Depression Disorder) suddenly gets sober, their depression doesn’t go away. It does not magically get better. They finally have to come face to face with it. They can no longer bury their problems in a bottle. They are sitting right there on a shelf. They are waiting for them to be unwrapped and explored. They can’t be ignored. They are big and overwhelming. These are packages you can’t put away neatly. (Click here to read about my packages.)
What I learned was when someone wants to get sober and stay sober, it takes every ounce of their energy to do just that. They need to focus on this day and this minute. Not tonight, not tomorrow, not last week or next month. Today. Anything else and their sobriety is risk. It takes a lot of effort and energy to stay sober. And when they accomplish that for the day, they are spent. They are exhausted. There is nothing left to work on anything else. There is nothing left for anyone else.
So where does that leave me? Where does that leave us? On the same path we started down 5 long, hard years ago. We had a relationship that had a lot of issues. I am still over here floundering between I love this man and I hate what he did to me. I have forgiven him but I have not forgotten and the trust is still missing. I still haven’t recovered it from the wreckage of the water landing. If only he’d given me that parachute. Maybe, it wouldn’t be floating somewhere in the crash site.
He was doing good. He was thriving. He had the sobriety under control. He seemed to be managing his depression. He was deepening his relationship with God. He was discovering who he really was. He was changing so fast that my head was spinning. He was a different man. And me? I was holding on to my new parachute so tightly that my hands were numb. I was so afraid that he would relapse and I needed that parachute.
This new man was so different than the one I thought I married. He was quieter. He was less social. He was changing. I looked at this man that I fell in love with years ago and I loved him. He was the father of my child. He was the man I married but somewhere along the way, I fell out of love with him and I was coming to terms with this. Could I fall in love this new man? I wanted to go back to that place but I could not find the way. My sparkle was flickering, my shine was lost and I couldn’t find the batteries to my flashlight, I even looked in my dad’s tackle box but he must have used them on a late night fishing trip. (Click here to read more about my Dad.) And so I pushed forward down this dark, lonely path with my heavy parachute in tow.
Everyone was so proud of my husband. They were so happy for us. We fought the battle and won. But man, those wounds were still there and for some reason they were healing really slow. I put a smile on my face and played the part of the proud, happy wife. I smile and touted his accomplishments. If I walked the walk and I talked the talk, maybe, I would get there to. Maybe, I would believe myself. But, I would fall asleep at night and wonder if I made the right decision when I stayed. I wondered if the hurt would ever go away. I wondered if we could go back. I wondered why I couldn’t find my sparkle. Everything was moving in the right direction and I was not happy.
How could I not be happy? This man was doing everything that he could to make amends but I questioned whether or not he was doing it because he needed me or because he wanted me. I never needed my husband. I wanted him. And there is a big difference. And I was struggling to find the answer. And so I stayed.
This was our time to fix things. This was where we begin to work on us. I had to give this my best shot. I owed it to myself. I owed it to my child. I owed it to my husband who had worked so hard. But, what I needed to figure out was if these were really the reason or was my reason the belief in the fairytale? My belief in the for better or for worse? My belief in the happily ever after fairytale? I just didn’t know. I didn’t have the answers to these question so I needed to figure them out. Did I want the fairytale so bad that I was willing to sacrifice myself to get it? I didn’t know. So, I stayed and I tried to find out.
Have you been here? Do you know how your fairytale ends? Did you find Prince Charming? Or did you, accidentally, eat the poison apple? I am still working on finding my ending and I sure hope that I make it there with my parachute intact. (Click here to read what comes next.) Thanks for sitting on the typing couch with me. Blog therapy is good for my soul. I hope we chat soon. In the meantime, remember, in the midst of chaos, sparkle. Don’t let life dull your shine.
The Manicured Mom