by Jeff Hutchinson
We've all heard the term "defense wins championships." Well in football it does, in recovery it does not.
I can't tell you how many times I've heard a spouse say "He just doesn't get it." She's right, we don't get it, we can't understand the terrible pain we have inflicted. The trauma that torments her and the triggers that seem to be around every corner are foreign to us. Most of us can identify our triggers, character defects, resentments, and anything else recovery-based. We continue to live an addict-centric life. This is our biggest failure as addicts.
We seem to think that because we are in recovery and one month, six months, or maybe even a year has passed, that we never have to talk about the past, never have to answer questions about our acting out or recovery. We are appalled when our honesty is questioned and frustrated because she just can't see why all the work we put into recovery of the last month doesn't negate the ten or twenty years we acted out. Sound familiar?
Back to football.
On the offensive side of the ball you are probably doing great going to meetings, using your accountability partners, working the steps with a sponsor, prayer and meditation every morning. It's great to feel like a new man. That is, until you walk in the door and she asks you "Where did you take her to have sex?" Gut punched!
How could she? I just got out of a meeting, I'm doing everything I'm supposed to be doing!
Watch out coach, sounds like you're going on the defensive. A little advice if I may; Stop, breath, understand that while you have sprinted ahead in your recovery she may not be in the same place.
In the Army we have a saying, "Never leave a man behind." Why on earth would you leave your wife behind? Answering questions, getting grilled, or listening while she vents or unloads is part of your job now. You have a duty to support your wife - period. What would it look like if you answered the questions in a calm voice with empathy. Empathy, there's a new concept...
I know it's not easy to comfort someone who is bringing up all the stuff that makes you cringe or cursing you out at the top of her lungs, but in order to help her you cannot play defense. Defense will not win you anything here. Stick to offense, you'll score more points that way.
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