I haven’t written in a while. It was for a good reason.
It seems that my ex-husband did not understand that he could get his family back anytime he wanted. All he had to do was to get himself into recovery and show us that he was changing and overcoming his addiction by providing safety and connection to me and his children. He understands that now. I am not sure it makes any difference.
Through out the last 3 years I told him this over and over. So did our grown children. All he had to do was to show he was serious about overcoming his addiction. We don’t think he is a monster. We love him. We want him in our family. But his behaviors over the past several years have made it impossible to have him in our lives. He absolutely had to stop cheating on me, gain some sobriety, and show he was serious about recovering from his addiction. These are all reasonable boundaries and expectations, but, for whatever reason, he refused to recognize the simplicity of them. Or he just didn’t understand. Both are normal responses. Addicts often cannot see what is plainly in front of their faces. The reasoning and logic space in their pre-frontal cortex is swiss cheese, full of holes, and disconnected from reality, which makes even the simplest cognition impossible to process. The frustrating part for our family was that until he “wakes up to his awful situation” there was nothing we could do to make him understand. No matter how many times we said it to him – he would not believe it. He just cannot see what is plainly in front of him. He only saw whatever pieces supported the twisted narrative being carried out in his own mind.
Like Dorothy, in the Wizard of Oz, he has always had the power to come home. He just had to see and use his power. I told him before, during, and after I filed for a divorce, and even after the divorce was final, that I was willing to put our family back together as soon as his actions showed he was serious about recovery. Actions, not words, was what we were all looking for. But he just convinced himself that his family did not want him. No amount of reasoning, begging, or cajoling would get through to him. If you have ever had to reason with an addict you will know exactly what I am talking about.
Recently, he has awakened just enough for us to show him what we have been saying all along – He could come home anytime he wants. With conditions. It’s puzzling to us that he seems to really not know that, given the countless emails and texts the children and I have sent to him telling him just that. So I haven’t written for a few weeks because I was trying to give him the time, space, and privacy to figure out what he wants to do. He says he wants his family back, but he doesn’t actually DO anything to back up his words. He has had plenty of time to think it over, more than enough time. Almost 3 years.
I can’t really blame him. His choices have put him between a rock and a hard place. He is married for one thing. However, it’s debatable that he will stay that way. Who knows? The question for me is if he cannot choose me and the kids and he keeps doing everything BUT choose his family, will we want him back when he finally decided that is what he really wants?
I don’t know for sure now. That mostly depends on him I suppose.
Two months ago I asked him to tell me that he loves his wife and his life the way it is now and to tell me that he thinks there is no chance he could come back so that I could put these thoughts to rest and just move on with my life. To my surprise, he refused to say – one way or the other. It’s enough to cause me wonder if he is having second thoughts. For two months I asked him nearly everyday. He could not answer these questions in any difinative way. The kids even reached out to tell him he could come home if he wanted. He would not answer them or me. This much I know, he can’t or won’t let go of the possibility of recovering his family. I can’t imagine that he would be able to let us go. He had the best family that Heavenly Father could have ever given him, and he has given us and his birthright away for a mess of porridge. That can’t be something he is willing to easily live with. It sucks to be an addict. Seriously sucks.
This is what happens to addicts who give up their families! I know of 4-5 other women, personally, in this exact situation! I am not the only one! I can imagine that this scenario plays out over and over again. Addicts give up their families, regret it, have 2nd thoughts and want to come back, but they have tangled themselves up in another relationship. I was shocked to learn from my therapist that it is more common than I could imagine. What is even more shocking is that most wives are like me, they would take their husband’s back if they would truly begin to make the changes to become whole again! This speaks to the resiliency of women to forgive, nurture, and heal their marriages. Men just have to accept that their wives really did marry them for better or for worse. Addicts really do have the power to come home. They refuse to believe it. Their injured brains cannot believe it. They cannot even grasp that forgiveness can be offered to them.
This is why I am talking about it now. I am not the only one this happens to! Maybe if you hear it from me you will believe it. Maybe I can help save just one other family. Maybe. One family would be worth it to me.
Addicts make wrong choices over and over. They complicate everything by not taking a time out to figure themselves out before they involve another innocent bystander. They live with nothing but regret, regret, regret and more regret. So this really isn’t about my ex-husband. It’s about all ex-husbands with an addiction. Listen up guys! TAKE A BREAK! GET INTO RECOVERY! Figure out your crap BEFORE you dive into another relationship! Just KNOW your brain is messed up and give it a rest to recover! You might be able to salvage your life if you are just smart enough to listen to the people around you and take a breather. This should be a given for most people. It just makes sense to not make rash or serious decisions after destroying a family. What is it going to hurt you to take a year and figure yourself out? Time and space. Give it time and space.
Who knows, you might find out that have always had the power to go home…you just didn’t know it. Addicts should run home as soon as they can, before there is no home left. You just have to believe it’s possible.
Stay Strong, Be Sweet!