Here We Are
It is Friday. I have spent days mentally preparing for my husband’s return. I pick him up from the airport. Today is his first day back from rehab in Florida. He is tan, his eyes are clear, and the scars on his hands and arms have faded. We talk the whole way home from the airport, chatting about his experiences, his plans, and updates from my life since he left. The energy is high and life feels exciting. That night he gets to a meeting. He tells me this is imperative for continuing in his recovery and there can’t be any lapses in meetings. He will go to 90 meetings in 90 days along with therapy and Vivitrol. I am proud of him. Things feel different. In a good way.
Here We Are Not
It is Sunday. His rehab bags, filled with Florida weather clothes, remain unpacked in our hallway. Life resumes and restarts, tying a dichotomous knot of new and old, familiar and unfamiliar. He is in the living room watching football and I am in the bedroom writing in my blog. Inside our apartment the soup simmers on the stove top while the cold city and her vices shimmer outside, illuminated by the crescent moon that hangs haphazard in a black sky. Since he got back, the sparkle of his return has faded into dullness. This is not necessarily bad, this is life. Errands, food shopping, cooking, football. And meetings for him. There is less conversation and more silence. I imagine that the scars on his heart have not faded like those on his arms and hands. We are still living with these wounds, but we aren’t talking about them and I don’t want to push. At some points the silence becomes deafening. I speak to him and he does not always respond to me. He is “watching the game.” When I ask him what he wants for dinner, he responds “whatever, it doesn’t matter”. There is not much initiation from him either. It is like an awkward first date coupled with a stale marriage that needs some spark. I have spent so much time alone since he left for rehab, even before he left, that I am craving interaction and reciprocity. This silence is difficult for me to swallow and I have no idea what he is experiencing, what the return home is doing to him. Yup, this is hard. It’s better than using, it’s better than detoxing, but it is still hard. My therapist said that when he got back we would probably have to learn to communicate again, get to know each other again. This is not picking up where we left off before addiction, it is more like starting over. This is recovery. Things feel different. In an unfamiliar way.
Here We Are Not-Again
I have to admit that I am disappointed. I am disappointed that I am disappointed. All I wanted was rehab and sobriety. Now here I go again, dealing with expectations and unfulfilled wishes. I think my husband is dealing with this as well, however I wouldn’t know because he is so damn quiet. Before he came back I reminded myself that recovery is developmental. That the most important thing right now is his sobriety. The rest will follow. But the distance between us is unexpected. And it also scares me. Is this anti-climactic? Does he feel that way? And then the worry seeps in, if his return home is anti-climactic, I fear he will be triggered to use. While this may not be active addiction, the fear still resides in recovery.
Here We Are-Again
But I can’t live in fear and I have to keep taking care of myself. This part is easier knowing that he is sober. RIGHT NOW HE IS SOBER. I KNOW HE IS SOBER. THAT IS ENOUGH. So I will go back to my affirmations, I will let go, and I will trust this recovery process. This uphill process seems akin to climbing a steep and rocky mountain. Using…to surrender… to detox…to treatment was the jagged journey up to the first of many peaks. Perhaps this is an impasse, but I suspect we are probably still climbing. At least we aren’t falling.
He left for a meeting and I am going to go down to the gym. He texted me his location so I know he is at a meeting. He offered this, I didn’t ask him to. This is different. It is not perfect and that is okay. Before he would have been out using or on the couch obliterated. I take some deep breaths…this is different. In a healthy way. This is recovery.
Yesterday. We just got back from dinner. I am reveling in the little things, like dinner at a restaurant with my husband. He did not “go to the bathroom” once. He didn’t rush us out. My husband just found out a young man in his 20s that he was in rehab with overdosed and died. I asked what his poison of choice was. My husband replied “dope”. He was quiet after that. I am grateful for recovery. We are reminded that this fight is life or death. I am reminded how lucky we are at a chance at sobriety. I am infuriated because many are not getting the help they need. I am sad. This is recovery.
Here I Am
Today. We made it through the week and today marks 60 days sober for my husband. I think I am going to take a hip hop dance class. Or maybe join a writers group. Because there is no way in hell I am abandoning myself. My husband will have to take care of his recovery, and for the first time in a long time, I feel like he will.
Peace out there.