About this time a year ago my husband slipped. He was approaching one year clean. I felt like the slip came out of nowhere. I had a bad feeling and expressed my anxiety to him. He denied it first, then days later admitted he used. Instead of panic, I found peace. I was grateful for his honesty, his quick bounce back into recovery. We were getting better.
These one-year marks are big triggers for me. The same sights and sounds and events and routines are cycling through again, reminding me of the pain the last time I was here. My mind and my body responds to every suspicious behavior. I begin to question everything. The location on his phone stops working temporarily – in the past, a sure sign he was hiding his whereabouts, his trips into the city to get more drugs. I sit in my office cubicle, refreshing the location app over and over, knowing full well that this behavior of mine is not helpful. I’m the one slipping.
The anxiety and fear just reminds me that I still have so much healing to do. I am so afraid of going back to that place of not knowing whether he’s using or not. I fear the unknown and the feelings that come along with it. But what if I do find out the truth – what then? Maybe I feel like I will have some clarity, some control over the next steps, a relief from these feelings of being stuck in the unknown, the what ifs. But I still have no control.
And will these feelings never fully go away? Will they keep cycling through as long as I’m married to a recovering addict? Just feel them and let go but it really sucks. This too shall pass….
How do I heal from past trauma? Stay grounded in the present.
Right now: A summer day. Blue sky, sun shining. None of the gray clouds or rain or oppressive heat that we’ve had earlier this month. The sharp buzz of cicadas fills the air. Outside, my husband makes “crazy snow” with our son, going over the instructions with him and teaching him to follow the steps, measure, count. I am grateful for a husband who is also a teacher, able to talk to children with such ease, to see learning opportunities in everything they do, with the patience of a saint. I am inside, working from home, grateful for the ability to take my work anywhere with an internet connection, and a flexible manager that trusts me. We are heading to the lake house today for an annual family reunion. The bad feelings may come back. I will think if these good feelings instead, and pray for courage.