I read this quote the other day on Facebook. I'm not sure who said it but it goes like this: "The master has failed more times then the beginner has even tried." How does that apply to me? How does it apply to my husband? In truth, finding that quote came at a really good time. My husband has begun to get discouraged that the battle to stay clean is sometimes just as hard today (20 months later) as it was on day one.
How many times does he get triggered in a 24 hour period? He no longer tells me because it makes me worry. I know he wishes that with repentace, this burden would have been removed from him. I know now that that may never happen. The truth is, this addiction may never fully go away...in fact, it probably won't. It has festered and grown for too many years to just be eliminated overnight. And that is where that quote comes in.
My husband has had several "slips" since his rebaptism. Some have been minor and some have been full blown, addict behavior slips. They have each been intensely painful to us both but for him, the slips have also been learning tools. He tells me that with each slip, he learns something new about himself and his weaknesses. Now, I'm not saying that slips are good and that they should be sought after...but if they are used as a learning tool, they can be helpful. In order to "master" something, we have to fail...numerous times.
That principle goes for me too. I still have moments when my thoughts get away from me. I ask myself..."Could I have done anything different?" or, "If I only would have followed my instincts sooner, perhaps the affairs wouldn't have gone on for as long as they did." I catch myself wanting to feel that pain again, to open up old wounds, to berate myself, to look in the mirror and call myself ugly. When the images that once tormented me pop into my mind, sometimes, I let them stay. When those images are allowed to stay, that old pain returns and instead of chasing it away, I wallow in it for a while. Those moments are slips for me. I become like Lot's wife...experiencing the damaging consequences of "looking back." But, just as my husband learns from his slips, I learn from mine.
By the time I am past this trial, I am truly going to be a "Master" at trauma..not because I am good at handling it..but because I have failed so many times, that I have learned what to do and what not to do. I hope that instead of having this addiction removed, the Lord will instead (through failure) help my husband become a "master" at recovery. Had my husband just decided on DDay that that was it...he was done and was never going to mess up again, what would he have learned? If I had decided after DDay that I was just going to forget about it, forgive and move on, what would I have learned? It is through the struggle, the failure, the low moments that we learn the most. The knowledge that I have gained through my bad days has so outweighed the knowledge that I have gained in my carefree ones.
May we all become "masters" at recovery...not because we have won every battle but because we have learned from the ones we have lost.