With the upcoming move and B’s retirement, I’m just beginning to work in a new website called Recovery Nation. Here’s what I wrote in response to the first question in the first lesson.
Where am I in terms of actively committing myself to change? I think I’m there, all the way there. I can’t prove it. I can’t disprove it. But, my motivation is genuine, and my commitment to “doing the work” is proven. My motivation is to stop being a liar and cheater, to start and continue feeling the quiet confidence that comes from integrity and a moral compass, and to start and continue the relatively calm contentment that comes from having healthy priorities, as opposed to the harried existence of trying to live a double life.
I often write the list of practical measures I’ve taken. I’ll reiterate it here, only to put it into the context of this question. My wife and I have taken Rick Reynolds’s Affair Recovery class; I’ve seen three counselors; I regularly practice introspection and writing in the context of recovery; I’ve passed four polygraphs, had a vasectomy, given my wife all my passwords and accounts, and signed a post-nuptial agreement to give my wife safety; and studied for months to complete a religious conversion.
Where am I in terms of not allowing guilt and shame to sabotage my commitment to change? My wife and I explored this topic recently. We identified what we call the “shame shield” that some self-described sex addicts seem to use. We see this in the blogosphere. Betrayed spouses talk about how their betrayers spend so much time and energy being ashamed that they don’t have time and energy to be supportive. Disloyal spouses talk about how ashamed they are as though they’re saying to their spouses, “Don’t bother criticizing my behavior. I’m doing plenty by criticizing my own behavior.” Sure, I’m ashamed of how I lied and cheated. But, I also see that it’s imperative that I don’t let that stop me from talking openly about everything with my wife or counselors.
Where am I on allowing myself time to change? D-day was July 2012. I’ve been working on recovery consistently since then. My wife and I consider this a lifelong journey, with no expiration date. This is definitely a marathon, not a sprint.