10 Years into Recovery: 3 Things I’m Grateful For
My husband struggled with sex addiction for the first 10 years of our marriage, but it has now been 10 years since he relapsed. Along this journey I have had bad days, really REALLY bad days, worse days than even that, moments of joy, peace, and now a profound gratitude for the journey. I admit that I used to hate women who said they felt grateful for the journey. I would shoot daggers at them with my eyes. How dare they use words like “grateful” when my life was falling apart? Yet, as I sit and reflect on this whole journey I have to admit that I have actually turned into one of those “grateful “sorts of women. Here are three things I learned on the journey that I am grateful for.
1. I am grateful for hope.
At times it seemed like my life was destined to include one disastrous event after another. However, over the past few weeks I have been stunned by how much life has changed in the past year alone. I don’t think I could have imagined 10 years ago the life I am living now. It would have been mind blowing. I couldn’t have imagined being almost two years into a graduate degree. I couldn’t have imagined that a struggling teenage son would turn his life around and start to thrive. I couldn’t have imagined how much better the relationship with my husband would become. Many of the things I despaired over have turned out much better than I could have ever foreseen. Knowing this gives me hope that no matter what happens, there is always hope for a brighter future.
2. I am grateful for my imperfections and the imperfections of my loved ones.
I haven’t always felt this way. There was once a time when I wanted everything in my world to be perfect. Perfection meant I was doing everything right and therefore could be lovable. Now I know that love isn’t earned through being perfect. It is about allowing my weaknesses to be seen, and in that process know that I am loved even with my weaknesses. I’m learning that one really doesn’t love fully until they love both the strengths and the weaknesses of another person. Imperfection doesn’t take away from our beauty; it is what makes us beautiful. We are all a wonderful combination of both strengths and weaknesses. Being aware of my own weaknesses has helped me to be more patient with the weaknesses of others. I’m not perfect at letting go of trying to be perfect, I still have my moments. Yet I see the beauty in all of my life’s landscape because I know that it makes me who I am and is making me into who I can be.
3. I am grateful that there are challenges in life.
I know it sounds crazy, but the very thing that I thought was destroying my life – was actually trying to give me my life. I definitely didn’t see it that way in the beginning. At first I believed that I must have done something horribly wrong to deserve a husband with this addiction. Having hard times meant that I was somehow not enough as a person. I had this belief that if I was good enough then life should be smooth sailing.
I don’t believe this is true anymore. Instead of wanting a life of smooth sailing, I want my life to be one of constant growth. Unfortunately, growth comes from unpleasant circumstances and lots of discomfort. Challenges are like a gift that gives us the chance to move to the next level, they are not a curse because we are not doing all the wrong things. It’s not that I like going through hard times- I don’t. But during these hard times I am learning to anchor myself in the knowledge that this is something I can learn from, and that someday I will be able to see the trial with a new perspective.