As you might imagine, with the volume of revelation and disclosure that I have been enduring, I am battling a lot of demons. I have so many of them right now I can't hardly juggle them all. I have over the past few months had the ability to defeat a few of them in very creative ways. I wanted to share that with you here!
1. My husband's addiction lasted 25 years, 17 of which occurred during our marriage. How, you might ask, did he get away with it for that long without me knowing? The answer is simple. He works for himself. We have our own business and for the most part, he is at his office alone all day long. I rarely found myself coming out to work because I had children to take care of. That office was where most of his addiction progressed and finally manifested in the form of affairs. As you might imagine, I feel like a great evil exists in that space. Whenever I now come into his office, I feel that darkness, and the anxiety, hurt and grief automatically trigger. Because we can't move workplaces right now, and because I am now much more active in helping to run the business, I needed to CHANGE that office completely. So, we took his desk, his couch, all of his other furniture and we got rid of it! That's right...we took it to the dump! It was a perfectly good desk but watching it fall into the garbage pit and smash to bits was so therapeutic! We went out and bought him a whole new desk set, 2 new couches and lots of family pictures. The office looks completely different so that neither he nor I "trigger" when we are there.
2. When my husband was deep in the middle of the worst parts of his addiction, he would meet up with his latest "drug" (i.e. his affair parther) at a local park before she went to work. He would only do it when he knew that I was picking kids up from school so I had no idea. They would just sit in his truck and "chat." I hated the idea of that mystery park. I needed to create a new memory around it. So, I demanded that he take me there. He was SO nervous. I was a little nervous. But, he dutifully drove right to the spot where they parked and we sat and talked. By doing this, he was introducing me to that mysterious world that had caused me so much pain. He was finally including me in it. We talked and laughed and held hands and now that park has a totally different meaning for me. I now remember that lovely memory and not the sinister comings and goings of my husband and his "other woman."
3. We have done this a few more times with other events. As you read in his story, he met with his first affair partner in a hotel an hour away. Well, guess what? I made him take me there. (It helps that the only 12 step group that we can access is in that same town) I even surprised myself by insisting that we get out of the car and visit the door of the room that they were in. Talk about scary! He was terrified. But, it turned out good. Again, we were open and loving about it and he once more expressed his deep sorrow and shame. So, he has again included me in his dark world...something that he was never able to do before. It was good for both of us.
4. Just as a junkie would do anything to secure his drug of choice, an escalated sex addict will do anything to gain access to his drug...the realization of fantasy. With the last and longest affair, he had a willing "drug" that was always available. Feeling bad about using this person for his selfish needs, he gave her a few gifts at Christmastime. (Those gifts were the ones I found on the note in his garbage can). I have always hurt about those gifts. Well, call it fate, inspiration or who knows what...but, SHE happened to drop a bag of stuff at our doorstep last week. That's right...after FOUR months of no contact, she picks now to drop these "gifts" off at my feet. Surprisingly, I was elated to get them back because it did two things for me. It confirmed to me that there was indeed nothing still brewing between this woman and my husband. Second, those items that really should have always been mine, had found their way home to be used in the way that I desired. Guess what we did with them? Late after returning from our 12 step class, we doused them with gasoline and torched them in our firepit. I didn't leave that pit until there was nothing left but ashes. It was AWESOME! We laughed and talked and I rejoiced seeing them burn into nothing. It was almost like I could finally burn her out of my life. For Jason, these gifts brought intense embarrassment. I am pretty sure he was not in his right mind during those months and now he just shakes his head and says, "what was I thinking?"
So, those are a few of the things I have been doing to tackle my demons. I just can't let them fester. I have to face them and make a better memory with them. Now, when I think of those silly gifts that my husband gave to another women, instead of bursting into tears, I can smile at the silly night we had burning them. Instead of wondering about the locations that he met others, I have the memory of him humbly showing them to me while facing his own demons. I have no idea if this is a recommended treatment for what we are going through or if my therapist would frown upon it but it's working for me and that is all that matters.