How did you rebuild trust? someone recently asked me.
How did you make it from the lies to now.
I thought I could give a one post answer. But it’s not that simple.
So I write. And I think. And I pray.
And I ask God to give me words to say to people who feel as though their hearts have been ripped from their bodies. Who are hollow and broken, limping cautiously across a minefield knowing that no matter how lightly they step, eventually there will be an explosion.
I remember how it was to plead with God for an answer.
Should I stay, God? Should I leave? Should I trust him? Should I make rules?
* * * * *
It took me a long time to really understand that Dave had to own his recovery.
As much as I wanted to help, as much as our future was dependent on the outcome and as much as I felt like I deserved to have answers, ultimately my determination had nothing to do with it.
I had to let go of this. This control.
Every time Dave was caught in lies, I had a meltdown. And then I made a plan. Steps Dave could follow to regain my trust.
He’d do them for a while. But too often he was doing it just to please me.
And he really needed to be doing it for himself.
There was nothing. Nothing I could do to fix Dave. Nothing.
No agreement. No counseling. No contracts. No threats. No intervention. No violence.
God had to get ME to a place where I would let HIM work on Dave.
I had to decide if I was willing for God to do the fixing.
* * * * *
I heard it on the radio yesterday — this dilemma.
“You can’t fix someone who doesn’t want to be fixed,” I heard one preacher say yesterday. And I know it’s true.
Addicts have to get to that horrible place we try so hard to shield them from. For them, but mostly for us.
And you can’t rebuild trust with someone who doesn’t really intend to be honest.
Then another preacher says, “The love that forgives and restores . . . there is something precious in that Christ-like love.”
And I know this hard, hard thing is true.
That a love that endures involves suffering.
False starts. Relapse. Repentance. Fights. Being lied to.
So my answer to the hard questions is a thing I don’t want to say.
* * * * *
We won’t know, until we look back, where the healing really began.
From the day Dave first confessed his addiction to the day he really did hit “rock bottom” more than three and a half years passed.
It took years for God to pry my fingers off Dave’s recovery. And God did not always do things the way I wanted Him to do them.
If you are married to an addict, ask yourself these questions:
Do I really want restoration? Or do I just want out?
Listen to what God is telling you about your marriage.
It is not for me to say if you should walk away. I can only say what we did.
* * * * *
For us, restoring trust took time. Years.
I haven’t just been learning to trust Dave. I am learning to trust God.
Over the next posts Dave is going to join me. Because he had to earn trust from everyone in his life — not just me — and only he can tell you how hard that was.
Because when he looks back, he sees the day he began telling me the truth. Being accountable. Living honestly.
But it was a very long time before I really did trust him.
And even now, I am reminded that it isn’t about me trusting Dave. Because in moments of weakness, the years come back.
And I’m reminded: It’s about me trusting God to make Dave the man He wants him to be. With or without my trust.
Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; Yes, our God is compassionate.
The Lord preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me.
Return to your rest, O my soul, For the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.
For You have rescued my soul from death,
My eyes from tears, My feet from stumbling.
I shall walk before the Lord In the land of the living.
I believed when I said, “I am greatly afflicted.”
I said in my alarm, “ All men are liars.”