“The opposite of addiction is not sobriety but connection.”
Robert Weiss LCSW-CSAT-S
How long will this take? That question is often on the minds of the sexually broken and their families as addiction is exposed and the person enters the rooms of recovery. The recovering addict’s warped thinking can often fail to comprehend that the old life cannot possibly work anymore. An entirely new life must begin. 2 Corinthians 5:17 However, the addict may think that a few weeks or months of meetings and counseling and voila….all fixed.
But it doesn’t work that way. The dragon scales of addiction take a long time to be shed. Over time, as we “keep coming back” and work our program from the inside out, positive change becomes ours. A willingness to go deeper in honesty and surrender, to face wrongs and character defects, to make amends, help other addicts, and seek a better relationship with God…all of these are essential building blocks of the new life that awaits. Real recovery happens when we “let go and let God,” are willing to “go to any length to stay sober,” and give ourselves completely to the program of recovery. Half-measures availed us nothing. The most miserable people in recovery are those still trying to engineer half-measures. Eventually they will go one way or the other. Why not surrender now? The goal of recovery is not simply to stop acting out. It is to replace the self-centered life with service to God and others. It results in being “part of” rather than a life “apart.”
Spouses and families often ask the same question.”How long will this take?” Behind the question often lies a spouse who may deeply love the addict but is unsure they can live with him or her while they remain in the clutches of addiction. Our advice is: give it some time. Everyone is different. The pace of recovery takes place “sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.” Your choice to stay or go another way will always be with you. Things tend to become clearer over time. Though the addict can believe “if I tell her or him, they will leave me,” the plain fact is that most spouses end up staying with the marriage.
So when should a spouse expect change? The answer is: over time. The first number of months, the addict should be working on his or her recovery first, not in making a desperate attempt to reel the spouse back in. Only after a period of sobriety and recovery does it make sense to focus on the marriage itself. The spouse should also be focusing on their own recovery issues during this time, rather than obsessively focusing on “How are you doing?”
Many spouses have given away their power by thinking they were somehow “not enough” or wondering “If only I had done so and so, maybe he wouldn’t be this way.” Remember, you didn’t cause it and you can’t cure it. Taking care of your own needs and, remembering that you always have choices are essential. Meetings are available for spouses (and teens) to focus on themselves. Whether or not your spouse chooses to recover, you can. And you can find a life that is richer and freer than you could ever imagine, with or without your spouse.
Remember God is the master repairer of broken things. The potter reshapes the clay according to his own design in his own time. He “never gives up on me,” as the song says. We addicts have spent most of our lives wanting something “now.” But God builds things to last. Never forget, He is “at work in you both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” Phil. 2:13.
In the meantime, if we can help, please contact us.