Saturday, January 30, 2016

D Day #3

What is D Day?
Disclosure Day.
Discovery Day.
The Day the Devil Delights in because of the misery that is present.

In July of 2015 my husband partially disclosed to me a relapse in pornography addiction for the third time.  I didn't even realize that he was trying to confess at the time because it was truly the farthest thing from my mind.  He always told me he was doing well when it came to the temptation of pornography.  He was over that part of his life.
It was a terribly painful morning.  I felt so blindsided.  I couldn't believe that this was happening to me again!  I couldn't believe that I had been so deceived again.
It just so happens (in other words: not a coincidence and definitely a tender mercy) that my sister and brother in law had come to California to visit us and had arrived the night before.  It was Sunday morning and I asked my brother in law if I could talk to him privately after sacrament meeting.  I got ready for church and sat through sacrament meeting in absolute torture.  I was trying to act like everything was normal but inside I wanted to die.
My brother in law Landon is amazing.  He has a master's degree in social work and has been my go-to-therapist as long as I've known him... poor guy.  Landon knew about Brandon's past because I am very open with my immediate family.  So after sacrament meeting, Landon and I got in the car and drove back to my house to put his little girl, my niece, down for a nap.  No sooner did we get into the car before I began to sob.  I think I shocked him a little.  I told him Brandon had relapsed and I had just found out.  He really didn't need to hear more than that. He told me he was so sorry.  He talked to me for a while before the others came home from church, then he talked to me, Brandon, my mom, and my sister while all of the kids went to the park down the street.
Landon told us some important things right off the bat.  First, he told us that this is an addiction of relapses, and we began to understand that Brandon kept relapsing because he truly had an addiction- not just a little problem or a bad habit. Second, Landon told us that if Brandon really wanted to recover, then recovery had to be his #1 priority each and every day.  Overcoming would require no less.  He then told us that the people who attend addiction recovery programs and have been sober for 30 years are asked why they attend the programs when they've been sober for so long. The answer is:  The very reason they are sober is because they are attending those programs week after week, year after year.  And so we realized that this is a battle that we must face every day.  It isn't going away any time soon.  My husband will not just get over it and be "normal" again.  Our lives would need to look and be very different. We would now have a new normal, and it would include fighting relentlessly.  Landon then counseled Brandon to do something that I am most grateful for.  Landon told my husband that I needed to know how his recovery was going, and that I deserved to know as his wife.  He explained that when I have to always wonder how my husband is doing, it is very stressful.  Also, when I have to ask how Brandon is doing all of the time, it makes me feel like his mother and it makes Brandon feel nagged and controlled.  It would be important for Brandon to regularly be accountable to me and tell me how he was doing.  Later, when I learned about boundaries (that's a whole new post subject), I made a boundary that I deserve to know how my husband is doing and so I would like nightly disclosure of his feelings and what he has done towards recovery that day. I can say that for 7 months my husband has told me his feelings every single night, with the exception of two nights in the beginning.  As a consequence, he left our room and slept elsewhere per my boundary and he learned that I was serious.  He now tells me what recovery work he did each day. Sometimes it is a lot, other times it is listening to a conference talk on the way home from work.  He tells me how he feels about his recovery.  He shares with me his stresses and his victories (learning how to connect emotionally and develop healthy coping strategies in dealing with stress).  If I am gone or at work, my boundary doesn't go away.  He calls me or texts me.  This nightly disclosure and sharing of feelings has brought Brandon and I much closer, and helped us to connect emotionally. It has been such a blessing to our marriage that I think I'll keep that boundary forever!
Landon got us started off in the right direction.  It was the beginning of many changes and a lot of work for both Brandon and for me.  This was the beginning of real recovery for both of us.

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