The title is rather a joke. You don’t really power through addiction. You work on it one day at a time, for the rest of your life. That is, if you want a life at all, you do.
I have completed steps 1 and 2, and will do step 3 this Saturday with my sponsor. My therapist is also an addiction specialist. He saw my wife and me a couple of weeks ago when she was still red hot mad. And she deserved to be. I’m hoping she will go again with me. Interestingly enough, he uses the 12 step program for couples therapy. How ironic.
This was so out of control, yet I ignored the obvious signs that it was. I spent every free moment online. I could hear the stairs creak when she was coming downstairs to where the computer was. At work, I’d turn off the WiFi so that my employers could not in whatever way, see what was going through the server.
There were so many shameful things. But I have committed to working on this forever. My wife sees that, but mostly I see that. And it has profoundly changed me already. The selfishness, the guilt, the anger aimed at my lovely wife when my frustration was with myself and my disease. I harmed her. I embarrassed her, I made her feel insufficient. I am deeply ashamed of that. And part of step 3 of my program is about higher power which for me is God. I’m not terribly religious, don’t attend any church, but I do pray every day. No idea who or what God is, but my prayers over the years have been answered. Anyway, I was taking advantage of the 12 step program for my own selfish, yes again, advantage. I was blaming addiction for everything. Well, I have to take responsibility. I had choices. So while I am an addict, I don’t get to get away with just pointing at addicted Bruce and act like he’s another person. I am the one who did this.
So my wife saw a lawyer and filed for divorce. All our friends and adult children knew this was the end. I hired a lawyer too. And then we reached a moment when we stopped being so sure that we wanted to live apart. We aren’t there yet, but we are taking baby steps. We speak peacefully now. We smile and I can even make her laugh. I’m still living somewhere else, but it is improving. Two nights in a row, we played together in a group sport. Tonight we had dinner. I drove her to our home, we smiled. I said “I love you”. She said “I love you too”.
So I feel better than I have in a long time, but I have tremendous work to do. I have to go to battle with this addiction, keep the porn blockers on computers and phones, attend meetings, work steps, see my therapist and on and on. Forever. But I am working at it, and must never back off of those tools.
My journey has just begun. I have many many miles ahead of me. Step 3 on Saturday from 2:30-3:30pm, then on to step 4.
I am humbled for the grace that my wife and any readers of this journal should choose to offer me. I sinned, I screwed up, I hurt the people I love most. I don’t deserve forgiveness but it appears that I will in fact be forgiven.
Next journal…. honestly.