There are days, weeks, months and even years in our history that are still difficult to talk about. Even last night, enjoying a lovely and rare meal out, discussing the blog — we both have a hard time talking about certain memories. It’s so unlike our life today. Sometimes it seems like a foggy nightmare.
But even at this moment. As I recall those days, there is physical pain in my gut. And my chest is tight. And there’s a lump in my throat.
It may take us a while before we can “go there” on this blog. But we will eventually. Because telling people about it reminds us it was real and keeps us from going back there. And maybe there’s something in those days that will help a reader through dark times.
One of those years, was the year of Oprah.
After I got over the shock, I confronted Dave about being an addict. He freely admitted to it.
And then I made plans to help him get out of it.
I truly believed that if Dave just studied scripture more, prayed more and denied himself, he would “get over” his addictions.
Dave was in seminary studying to be a pastor. And my journals are full of me trying really hard to measure up to being a good pastor’s wife.
If I was just a better wife . . . a more organized and disciplined homemaker, a better mother to our children, if I gave him more quiet time alone, prayed more regularly, didn’t nag so much, was patient when he was sick and in pain . . . if, if, if . . he wouldn’t have to take pills. He wouldn’t need to because he wouldn’t have headaches. Caused by stress. Caused by me.
I still didn’t understand how tight a hold addiction had and how it had changed Dave.
I did think something was terribly wrong with him. . .
Or else it was just me . . .
“I think sometimes that it is all my fault,” I wrote in my journal, “that he has made this pattern of lies and deception because I am such a horrible person.”
And then, there were the painful realizations. Like hard kicks to my gut. His confessions about dropping classes, spending money we didn’t have on pills while we were struggling to feed four children, pay rent and utility bills. . .
Sleepless nights. Endless self deprecation. If I was just a better person . . .
Being hard on myself was nothing new. For years I’d been my own “Job’s comforter.” There must be something I’m doing wrong to make my life be this way.
Oh, I’m not a martyr. I may have convinced myself at times that I was. And, to be honest, sometimes imagining myself to be a martyr got me through. But many, many times, I was just as hard on Dave.
This was a spin cycle I had been on almost all of our married life. And it would be several more years until I would understand that my conflict had a name and that a lot of people shared my struggle.
But I know now.
And I think that’s part of the pain of remembering those times . . .
There was so much I didn’t know.
Like wandering through a dust storm, tiny pieces of sand scratching your face, causing pain while you step fearfully and blindly toward a refuge.