I lied a lot during my addiction. Some were blatant and some were those “lies of omission” where I figured that by shutting everyone out I wasn’t actually hurting anyone. I lied during my childhood because I realized that it was easier to ask permission for something I knew would be allowed than to take the risk of being told “no” (sorry mom). Basically, I became pretty good at manipulating and putting on a good show.
That’s what I’ve been doing for the past couple months. I haven’t been deceitful with you, but I definitely haven’t give you the full picture of what’s going on in my life. I’ve struggled with how much to talk about and have compared myself to other people with an online presence who can easily separate their personal and professional lives.
So here’s the scoop: Through carefully worded and revised writing, I’ve alluded to the fact that marriage is hard. I’m definitely not lying about that, but what I’ve left out is that through that work Neil and I have confronted issues that may not be able to be overcome and right now the fate of our marriage is up in the air.
It just hit me the other day that the reason I started this blog was because I felt like I had a message to share. I wanted to break the stigma surrounding addiction and what an addict looks like and I wanted to share my journey with others in hopes that someone could identify with something I said.
What I found is that in trying to help others I also helped myself. By being transparent in my communications, there was no more lying. There was no more fear of being found out or trying to remember who knew what. By laying everything on the table, I was able to be myself and if people liked it, great. If people didn’t, that’s ok too. I felt confident in myself and the messages I was putting out.
So for the past few months, I would write posts for you guys about knowing your self worth and living your best life, but I kept feeling unsettled. It felt like you weren’t getting the whole picture. It felt like I was telling you all the things that I wasn’t able to hear. It felt like lying.
Neil and I are working through a lot of things. I want to try and focus this on my own thoughts and feelings because as much as I want to be transparent, there is another person involved and I can only write about my reactions to the situation. He did give me the thumbs up on posting about this, but that doesn’t mean that I can disrespect his autonomy by forcing transparency from him too.
I wanted to wait to write until we made a decision on separation because that’s an option on the table, but what that would do is give me enough time to box up a poignant message and share it with all of you. I wanted to get to a “perfect” place with “perfect” words before sharing, but in this situation I think I need to ask for help sooner than later.
I have a lot of fear around the future because I don’t know the outcome. For me, the process is the most important part and I haven’t been sharing any of that with you. I know that there are some of you who have gone through similar situations and it’s unfair of me to present myself as someone to offer hope about addiction but not allow myself to be vulnerable and accept any help or hope from any of you who may be able to help me.
Last Friday was our two year wedding anniversary. I could have posted a glorious recap of our wedding and professed my love for Neil for the whole internet to see, but it would have painted a picture that felt too reminiscent of living those double lives during my addiction.
So instead of doing that, I wrote this. And it feels like a huge weight off my shoulders. I love you guys so much and you have always been there to support me day after day. So I want you to know that there are times when I am not ok. There are days when I think we have things figured out and it’s a good day. Then there are days when I wake up and I just can’t see the hope. By letting you know what’s going on with me I’ve made it possible to tell you when I have those days in the future.
Neil and I love each other very much. We are both working on this. We are both each other’s best friend. This is hard for both of us. Know that when you see smiling pictures of us on here or Instagram, those are real smiles. It’s real love, but there’s an equal number of tears on both sides. We’re figuring it all out (and sometimes dancing).
Thank you so much for being here and for letting me do scary things like tell you that right now my life feels a little out of control. I’d love to end this with words of wisdom or a motivating call-to-action, but I’m in the middle. I’m on the road and I don’t know where it leads. I can’t tell you all that I’ve learned because I’m still walking the path.
Thank you for walking it with me.
Thanks to Amanda for letting me think out loud.