10 December 2013

Progress Not Perfection And those Damn Meetings!

The Sobriety Chip

Pete just finished his second 90 in 90.  That makes 180 meetings in 180 days.  During round one he had trouble maintaining sobriety.  He was dealing with my emotional withdrawal, he hadn’t found a good therapist, and he was probably overwhelmed by the SA program.  He did a lot of phone meetings, and I could tell that many times he was just going through the motions.  When he started seeing his new therapist (sex addiction specialist) they put together a recovery plan, which included the second 90 in 90.   I had mixed feelings, our emotional distance made it so that I wasn’t exactly missing his company while he was at meetings, and I felt strong and independent taking care of everything on my own.  (Can you say martyr?)  But that was getting old.  He was stretched to his limits with his work and church responsibilities and a meeting every day which left me a little worn out with parenting.

But the second round was different.  He had good relationships with his SA friends. He loved the meetings. I don’t think he ever did a phone meeting, they were all actual butt-in-seat meetings. Sometimes he would miss one, so he would do two in one day, or do a fellowship.  (Or in the case of the SA retreat, like 6-8 meetings a day for two days.) 

The weekend of Thanksgiving he went four days without a meeting.  On Sunday night we were talking about it and he said

“I can’t do that. I can’t go four days without a meeting yet.” 

“But you didn’t act out, did you?” I asked.

“Yeah, but that’s not the point.”

I wish he could write this post and explain it better than I can.  But it was a big moment for me.  A trust building moment.  Something to the effect of this.  (These are MY words to his message.)

“Acting out starts long before I open the browser or pull my pants down.  It starts when I get mad at the guy who cut me off on my way to work.  It starts when I’m stressed out and I mistreat a coworker.  It starts when I snap at the kids.  It starts when I lay in bed in the mornings long after I should.  It starts when I’m bored, hurt or restless.  I need meetings to keep me accountable for all those things.  I need to own them and surrender them.  I need to ‘get current’ with my guys.  I need to be honest and I need to reach out. “

Now that Pete’s 90 in 90 is over he’s had to make a long-term plan for meetings.  I have moments where I resent recovery meetings.  They are so much time.  This isn’t the life I planned at all.  Combined with meetings, appointments with his therapist and time spent reading recovery materials; sometimes this feels like a part-time job.  That he’s not getting paid for.  That if he had done the right thing in the first place he would never need to have. 

But the reward is that I’m living with a guy who rarely gets mad at the guy who cuts him off on the road.  Or who tries really hard not to snap at the kids, and apologizes when he does.  A guy who is learning not to take responsibility for my bad days, but offer me compassion. 


I was reading back over my blog and realized that it’s been three years since Pete and I used the word addiction.  First he got a therapist.  Then he reached out to his dad.  Two years ago he started attending 12-step meetings.  Then he quit going to his therapist.  And he quit going to his meetings.  In January of 2013 I packed the kids and left town in the middle of a snow storm because I’d had it.  I thought that would be rock bottom but it got worse.  2013 has been the unluckiest of years.  I’ll never forget it, and I’ll probably hate it for a long time.  I’m so ready to be done with it.  But it has been a year of change, and I feel so much new hope going into 2014.  Sex addiction sucks.  It feels so consuming and devastating and hopeless.  Just when I thought it couldn’t get worse it would.  And just when I think I’m doing better I melt down again.

But I don't need to let tomorrow's despair ruin today's happiness. And I don't have to let today's despair destroy my hope for tomorrow's happiness.


  1. I commend Pete for his dedication in attending the meetings and working his recovery. That's awesome. I love to watch my hubby progress. It's a thing of beauty to me.

  2. I hear you in this post. I can relate to so much of what you said. My husband is an SAer too and all that it involves. But it works when you work it. That's for sure!

  3. I heard, or read, somewhere "Dont work recovery around your life, work your life around recovery." As a spouse, I resented that quote..... until I didn't.