I had a fairly disturbed Saturday, followed by a horrible argument with my wife on Sunday morning. After a really good month that we hadn’t experienced in some time, the shit hit the fan. We both said hurtful things, yelled, and basically acted juvenile. Based on my general disturbance on Saturday, I saw it coming, went to 2 meetings, but couldn’t escape the eventual conclusion. It would have been very easy to be discouraged about this, nothing’s working, back to square one. While we were in that mindset for a bit, things didn’t turn out quite so bad, and I owe it all to things I have learned in recovery.
Here is what was different:
1) I talked. I found the courage to interrupt a man who was enjoying his Sunday morning and tell him I needed help. We met, talked, shared our truths, built on a friendship, and it helped tremendously. In the past I would have never been able to do this.
2) I left that with a peace that I didn’t have to go and immediately and obsessively “solve” my issue with my wife. I didn’t need to go back and prove my point, or immediately decide whether I wanted to take up my friends offer of using his couch last night. I found some faith that wherever the day took me would be the right thing. I have learned to sit with things a bit. I could never do this either.
3) Due to the fact that I was free from my obsession to immediately “solve” the situation with my wife. I found the strength to attend my son’s soccer team meeting – he is on a very high level team and some issues with that were the source of our argument. In the past I would never have been able to do this, I would have been hell-bent on bringing the argument with my wife to a “conclusion” and would have not been able to function in any other event.
4) While there I discussed, with another father that I trusted, some of the struggles my wife was having with the team and how this was creating conflict with us because I didn’t agree. It was tremendously helpful, and he even opened my mind to the fact that my wife might not be wrong about some of her beliefs. I also spoke to the coach. In the past I would have never been able to share with another father, or the coach, that I did not have it all figured out.
5) I returned home, and without trying to resolve our earlier problem to my satisfaction, I passed on the coach’s message without my opinion, trying to disconnect myself from her reaction. I mentioned that she needed to talk to the coach when she felt it was a good time and that I could be removed from the middle.
6) I apologized for my bad behavior in our argument. I focused on my behavior, ignoring the fact that her behavior was not good. This requires me letting go of fear that my apology will (in her mind) completely excuse her behavior. I found some faith that she would find her errors on her own. I got some apology, not as much as I would have liked, but I was OK with that. I was never able to do this before.
7) I got on with my day, went to Costco with a buddy so wife didn’t have to, ran into another guy from meetings there. Previous Costco trip I ran into my sponsor – I think my Higher Power has a thing for Costco.
I consider all of this to be a more than minor miracle. When I was drinking I would have isolated and fueled my anger. My anger would have lasted for days, feeding into the next argument and continuing the cycle. When I say “When I was drinking” I don’t necessarily mean because I would have been drunk. I mean before I had learned some tools for achieving emotional sobriety, and my only solution would have been anger, resentment, and booze. I never thought I could change. I need to say that again – I never thought I could change.
This morning my wife said “Good recovery yesterday” – she meant recovery from the situation, not “recovery” – but it was more than freudian. She noticed my new ability to get past things, and the acknowledgement was special. Today I have forgiveness, for the both of us. I am not resentful at her, or overly shameful and punishing of my behavior. There is much to improve, but I feel progress and hope abounds – recovery is beautiful.