I lie awake at night listening to my husband’s breathing. He is clearly asleep. I, on the other hand, am wide awake feeling sad and alone. Where did we go wrong? How did we end up here?
I look back fondly on those early days when we were madly in love. We couldn’t get enough of each other. It was like there was a magnet pulling us toward each other, insisting that our bodies connect. A caress under the table, a hand on the small of my back, there was always some part of us touching. I felt loved and wanted. I was happy.
Now we lie in bed with our backs to each other, our bodies as far apart as possible.
I fight back tears as my thoughts run through all the reasons we are struggling.
The truth is, we both made mistakes along the way. His struggle with addiction. My attempt to compensate. As if taking on more responsibility would somehow make him wake up and want to be more involved in our family. If only it worked that way. In reality, our behaviors fed off each other and catapulted us into this hideous place where we fight and we turn away from one another. A place where I find myself lying next to a man I deeply love, feeling like he is a million miles away, and my heart feels shattered.
We are both trying to change. He is working on his recovery, and I am working on mine, but years of damage are hard to repair.
At this moment, it feels impossible.
I begin to wonder if it would hurt less if I moved downstairs to sleep on the couch. Would feeling alone be more bearable if I was actually alone? Maybe.
I can’t imagine it would feel any worse, so I wad up my blanket and quietly leave the room. As I walk down the hall, the tears start to pour. I was wrong, it does hurt more. Or maybe being physically alone just allows the emotions I’ve been holding in for so long to spill out. I curl up on the couch, sobbing, finally allowing myself to grieve everything that’s been lost. Part of me is relieved to let it out. The weight of my reality feels like it will bury me, and the freedom to fall apart, even momentarily, makes that just a little bit lighter.
Eventually, my eyes close and sleep comes, but it doesn’t last long. Before I know it, it’s 4 a.m., and I find myself once again lying awake. This time, missing the warmth of my bed and the comfort of my husband sleeping next to me. I pull myself off the couch and begin to make my way back up the stairs. As I climb into bed, I look at my husband, still sleeping, and I wonder if we will get through this.
I wonder if our love is enough to withstand the devastation addiction leaves in its wake.
I drift off to sleep again, this time longing for better days and to feel the love we have for one another.
As morning brightens the sky, I wake to the sound of my husband getting ready for work and my children making themselves breakfast. It’s a new day. A fresh start to let go of the past and focus on the present.
I head downstairs in search of coffee. I fill my mug and pull out my recovery literature. I know the only way forward is to let go of the past and accept I can’t control the future. So today, I will focus on what I can do to heal and the actions that help me grow as a person. I will read something inspiring, make time for the activities that bring me joy, and strive to accept life as it is, with all its imperfections.
Every day is a new beginning, another chance to build the life I desire.
Today, I will make the most of that opportunity.