31 March 2014

New Digs

I just noticed that it's been a long time since I posted anything...oops.

The Spousal Unit completed his 30 days of rehab and has since moved to a sister facility for aftercare.  Insurance has okayed at least 30 days which will take him to the middle of April.  We are praying for another 30 days to give him a full 90.  When I talk to him, he sounds like a completely different person than the man I have been living with for the past seven years.  He talks about a renewed optimism and hope and being focused 100% on his recovery.  He also said in a letter I received Saturday that he wants to demonstrate the ability to live sober so he can regain my faith and trust and affection in him.

The only thing we kind of have words about is the separation.  I finished moving out of our old apartment into a one-bedroom this weekend.  It's a little scary and I'm praying I can be a good steward of my funds but there is a sense of peace in coming home to something completely different that is totally my own.  There are no memories.  It's a clean slate and this place will become what I make it rather than be a reminder of what happened before.  I woke up Sunday morning and felt relaxed which is a new feeling for me.

His contention (and I'm not sure how much he's truly holding on to it and how much is his sadness over taking this step) is that he would have liked to have tried living together when he gets back.  I asked him if he truly thought that would be possible to live together, tripping over each other's triggers while trying to become healthy.  He admitted he didn't know but insisted he would have liked to try.  I finally just told him that wasn't possible for me and that was kind of the end of our phone call that night.  It made me feel bad and I found myself questioning if I was doing the right thing.  I put the question to several people I trusted and got a resounding "yes" from them so...

I do agree but, emotionally, it's a hard thing and it's not helped by my good old friend, codependence.  You know, I swore for the longest time I was not codependent and then my new therapist, Cortana, made a few, er, astute observations and my response was "Dammit, Jim!  I *am* codependent."  So now I get to separate what is a healthy emotional response from me wanting to fix things for him - which I did a lot of.  I get that now.  But I think I'm learning to make dividing lines.  For example, the SU asked if I would check with our previous therapist, Master Chief, to see if he could recommend some therapists - preferably ones in recovery themselves.  I asked, got the answer, and told him I would send him the info but that he was responsible for making the appointment.  Before, I would have done it or else asked him a bizillion times if he had.  So, yeah...therapy and Al-anon once a week are hopefully a healthier person making...

I would be remiss if I didn't point to how much and how awesome God has been in my life.  He continues to absolutely amaze me with specific answers to prayer, with support and encouragement from so many people.  Heck, *eleven* people from the church showed up to help me move.  People have asked for the SU's address to write him notes and send him things.  People have stopped me before and after church to ask how each of us is doing and what they can pray for.  Resources to help pay bills have shown up or been offered.  It's truly been amazing and something I never would have even dreamed would be poured out over me.  God has been such a wonderful, gracious God and I cannot thank Him enough for all He has done and continues to do.

I guess the only thing to say is that the process continues with reconciliation still the goal for both of us.  In speaking to his counselor, she says that is what the SU is working towards also - is a stated goal of his - and she believes that if both of us continue on the path we are on that we will be able to do it.

Here's hoping.

04 March 2014

A Different Lens

(My journal entry from yesterday, March 3rd)

Something so simple hit me like kind of a "duh" moment in my reading.  Brennan Manning points out that Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy burdened" because He KNEW there would be times of being tired and discouraged.  It wasn't just an exhortation to the emotionally downtrodden or the poor.  It was a reminder, a signpost for all of us to come to Him every time we are discouraged and weary.  No one can walk through it with us the way Jesus can.  My own journey has been living, solid proof of that.

"Come to me."  Not because He will make it all better or because He will always reveal some miraculous plan for you to follow.  You may still have to walk through every last thing.  But come to Him because He will sustain you.  He will give you strength and comfort.  He will give you a peace that is beyond your comprehension and is even a little but puzzling.  You're in the midst of craptasticness!  Why should you feel peace?  Because you've gone to Jesus as he asked and said, "Lord, I cannot carry this burden alone.  I need help."  And he does.

Henri Nouwen calls us to embrace all of our past - good and bad - because all of it has brought us to where we are now.  Nothing happened outside of God's notice or His love.  Even the things we are not grateful for having experienced need to be looked at - and looked at with God's eyes and NOT ours.  Through the good and bad events in our lives, we can be brought to "a deeper recognition of God's mercy, a stronger conviction of God's guidance, and a more radical commitment to a life in God's service."  But to do so, I think we have to let go of the fear, shame and anger that comes from the bad experiences.  It is easy to thank or praise God for good experiences, for the ones we perceive as blessings or gifts.  To embrace the bad, I think we have to give up the "why?".  Why did this happen to me?  Why do I have to deal with this?  That is in no way an easy thing to do but getting stuck on "why" narrows my field of vision to me and only me.  There is no larger context because I have made myself the center of my universe.  By going to Jesus ("come to me...") and laying my need to know why, to understand what is happening to me at His feet (again and again if necessary and I know it has been for me at times), I gain a larger perspective.

It doesn't happen all at once.  It may be slowly and over time.  But I realize that I am in this alone.  God has provided not only Himself and His Son but resources to help me, His Word and fellow Christians being chief among them.  I may never know "why" but "why" has become less important as I seek God's guidance and rely on His strength to go through whatever is in front of me.

Rom 12:12 - "Be glad for all God is planning for you.  Be patient in trouble, and always be prayerful."