Success tip #1: I practiced Step 1. I'm sure the other steps in the 12-step program are wonderful and all, but really, I can't even tell you what they are. I can, however, tell you what Step 1 is: admitting I'm powerless over the actions of others and letting go of control. How do you do this? You just start. Even if you don't believe it yet. Start with small things. Do you have the urge to check the history on the computer every other day? Stop. Let go. Do you ask your husband what he did every day in order to point out all the ways he could have better spent his time to maximize recovery? Stop. Put it in his hands. It's not your addiction. Let go. Does your mind race and race and race thinking about his addiction or what you'll say to him the next time it comes up? Stop. Clear your mind. Stop the racing thoughts. Let go.
Success tip #2: I will not let it ruin my day. Oh, this takes so much practice. SOOOO much practice! I loved this post by Faithfully Jaded in which she talks about breathing slowly and forcing herself to not become despondent when hard things hit. When my mind starts racing and my heart starts pounding and I want to become a raging codependent, I sit back and think, "What did my day look like before I started having these thoughts? What was I hoping to do today? What kind of a mood did I plan to have?" Chances are I was going to have a good day. I was going to do something fun. I was going to be happy. So I make a very deliberate decision that this will not ruin my day. I will not let one more day of my life be ruined by this. I want to look back on my life and see good memories. I do not want to look back and see that my life revolved around this ONE thing. My husband is so much more than this one thing. Our relationship is more than this one thing. My life is amazing and I will not let the rest be overshadowed by this one thing.
Success tip #3: I trusted my gut. No, I don't mean that I trusted my gut and knew he was lying to me. I was never sure if he was lying or telling the truth. I wish I could tell you how to know if he is lying or how to trust again. I don't have those answers. I'd like to know them myself. However, I trusted my gut when it came to reacting. You see, when I found out he had been lying, my gut told me not to freak out. My gut told me that things were okay. My gut told me to roll my eyes and have a little heart to heart talk with my husband. My gut told me to reassure my husband that I will support him if he will just come to me in honesty. From what I can tell, my husband really is doing much better, and my gut confirmed that quite clearly. He is making progress. I never expected him to stop cold turkey. I knew he would have relapses (and that always drove him crazy--like I didn't believe in him). My gut told me not to freak out over this. So I didn't. And I'm fine.
Success tip #4: Support. Oh, friends, this is such a huge player in my progress and well being. Are you still silent and doing this alone? Are you still lurking in the shadows here on the blogs? Come out of the shadows. Say Hi. We don't need to know your real name. Pick a name for yourself and start commenting. Connecting to others who know exactly how you feel helps more than I think any of us every realized. I can tell you with everything in me that having a support group has made me all the difference.
I really am doing well. I did not get to this point over night, and it may change in the future. But for now, I am happy. I am proud of how far I've come and hope that many of you are on this journey with me.