A very unlikely, very random breach of trust:

2 or 3 months ago H did an overnight camp with our son.  At this camp he was offered a chew and took it.  Background: he chewed since childhood and quit 2 years ago.  He has been very proud of having quit but did admit to always missing it, though committed to staying away from it.

So, he used tobacco again at this camp a few months ago.  He came home and was super awkward.  He told me all about all the camp stuff and there was something weird.  I asked…. um, what else?  I was nervous.  I get nervous every time he gets into the weird posture and has the weird tone and acts withdrawn like that.  Sometimes it’s nothing, it’s work stress.  Other times it’s something.

So he said, Oh, there is something else- I had a chew.

Hm.

Ok, I say.  Ok, why are you being so weird about it?  He says, I thought you’d be mad.  I tell him I’m not the least bit mad, that it doesn’t bother me at all, but I did find it odd that he got that weird awkward withdrawn usual tone about it.

He was a little put off that I wasn’t more upset.  I think he felt un-cared for that I wasn’t more disappointed in his chewing.  I talked to my sponsor about it and asked her if it was unkind of me to NOT care more, to not portray more disappointment or to be upset with him.  She said of course not!  It’s his body and his choice.  Like if I were to drink again, maybe he would be mad at me and maybe not, but ultimately it is MY choice, my doing, my actions and my body.  And it’s the same with him and chewing.  I don’t need to mother him, I don’t need to lecture him or tell him how bad that is or he is or all the risks- he’s an adult, so if that is what he wanted to do in that moment and he did it, then that’s just what he did.  End of story.

Not talked about it again.  I don’t ask if he’s chewing more, he doesn’t tell me he’s chewing more.  I’m not thinking about it.

So a few months goes by– let’s go to 2 weeks ago.  He seems off.  Slightly withdrawn.  I start casually asking every few days-

What’s wrong?

Is something wrong?

Hey what’s going on?  Are you stressed at work?

No… no, no… everything’s fine.

We go to a weekend birthday party for a friend’s daughter and he was totally not nearly normal.  We would have looked normal on the surface but I knew something was very off.  Our laughter wasn’t there, our love wasn’t the same, we weren’t connecting.

Another day goes by: Honey, it really seems like something has been weird lately…?

Nope, not at all.

Finally last Thursday I couldn’t take it any more and I broke down and badgered him.  I am not proud of this behavior- I don’t want to badger him like a nagging mother.  If he has something to say to me, he can man up and say it.  Except………. that this time, he didn’t.

After badgering and finally crying and pleading for him to tell me, getting myself all worked up to think it was something bigger— he tells me HE HAS BEEN CHEWING FOR 2 WEEKS.

I had no words for my anger.  I was ANGRY.  I COULDN’T CARE LESS if he chooses to use tobacco.  It is not my preference.  I’d prefer not to increases any of our family’s cancer risk, I don’t love wasting money- but for the love of all things—- he had been withholding this tiny slice of truth from me- and the problem was that it was not a tiny slice of truth to him.  TO HIM, it was a shameful disappointment.  He felt disappointed in himself so very heavily.  This was a big-ish deal to him.  He says not nearly as big as if he were to use porn again or masturbate again, but he felt genuine disappointment that he could not resist his urge to buy more chew.  It had been going on for 2 weeks and he kept wanting to be done but then would buy more, etc etc etc.  I certainly know the cycle of addiction.  He convinced himself that he didn’t want to tell me because he 1. would quit again so soon surely that I didn’t need to know (?!!!! what kind of angering logic is this.  Concerning.)  and 2. he was disappointed and 3. didn’t want me to be mad.

None of these things are ok.  I felt betrayed and hurt.  This is SUCH a dumb little thing, yet it says more than what it’s saying.  It says that he was able to rationalize for 2 weeks to keep something from me that he felt shameful about.  It says that he felt disappointed in himself and kept that honesty from me.  It also says that YES, I do indeed know and I can clearly tell when he is withholding something from me.  I give myself credit where it is due and trust my instinct that God gave to me.

We had lots of tears over this and ultimately, he had a polygraph because I felt like this “meant” so much more than what lied on the surface.  He apologetically and tearfully agreed and felt very bad that his *dumb* situation (which was not at all dumb to him- which makes it even worse to me….) brought me this hurtful shift in trust.  It was hard.  And it hung over us for a few days and hurt my heart.

We moved past it.

We really got past it the next day, but it lingered until Saturday- when we made a conscious choice to get over it.  I got over it first but being who he is, he held onto his guilt and continued to act weird.  Forced.  Withdrawn.  Pained.  I told him to let it go.  Take the polygraph this week when he could and for now, move on and enjoy the days.  And he was able to, and I was able to………. and that was that.

It hurts me and I see what it signifies and it makes me nervous but for today, I choose to trust him and let it go.  The polygraph of course was fine.  My sponsor said to have some grace and allow it to be ONLY what it really was: a 2 week lie about chew.  To try not to read into it more deeply and get into all the deeper meanings.  And that is valuable insight to me.  I know it does mean more but I don’t have to let those things scare me and steal my joy that is real TODAY.

And, I must say, that in almost 3 years … wait…

I found out Dec of 12, we moved to this house in July of 13… it’s now July of 15.  Wait!  It’s not been almost three years, it’s barely been more than 2 years.  Well, 2 1/2.  I told someone recently it was 3.  Anyways- if this is the worst lapse in judgement / lie / deception since then, then, well- I think I can thank God for the progress we have made in this journey.  With that, I will be grateful and hold the goodness close to my heart.

We have sex now 3-5 times a week.  He initiates it 99.9% of the time.  He looks me in the eye.  He SMILES.  HE LAUGHS so hard he gets tears in his eyes.  I LAUGH so hard I get tears down my cheeks!  He touches me, holds me, loves me and I FEEL HIS LOVE.  I feel it in my body.  Not just a sexual desire.  Not a desire for more, but a wholeness with him and through him.  Not just in sex but in hugging and holding each other in the kitchen.  We smile.  He shares his days with me.  We have 900000 inside jokes.  We are tender with each other’s hearts and he is tender with my body.  He doesn’t sweat the small stuff any more.  He leads of family in prayer at night before bed- all 6 of us together every night.  We say grace before dinner.  We prioritize family dinner together.  He plays softball with our church team.  All these things don’t mean much on their own but together they paint a picture of a relationship that is meaningful.  I don’t worry (too much!) any more.  (Hey, it’s big progress.)  Between sobriety and connection in love, I feel blessed.  I feel God’s presence in my life and in my heart every day and I know H does too.  :)  I choose joy today.

It is a gift to be sober, a gift to have real love, a second chance at love.  Despite it never being perfect- it never will be on this earth, but it is darn good.

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