I was recently reminded just how horrible no information is for a partner who is praying and pleading for information from the addicted partner who he or she hopes is fighting the addiction.
Well I am here to share the most likely news. No info from your addicted husband probably means he is still acting out and trying to avoid the conversation where he has to divulge his actions.
A good friend has been connecting with my wife and worrying about her husband who is in the throes of his own addiction. He is a busy guy and has told his wife that he has too much to do to enter into a recovery program. All the while, his updates to her are irregular, vague and any subsequent probing for more information by her typically results in him becoming the victim who retorts to accusations and table turning which are techniques to put the blame on his wife for “ruining his night” or “making it hard to live together” or “not giving him the support he needs.”
The truth is these are all excuses. These are all tactics that we all use to deflect responsibility to something or someone else. We often do this because of embarrassment, shame and selfishness. All of us behavior changers may get stuck in these cycles one time or another.
In my own life as I was fighting my own behavior challenges, my wife would often ask me why I couldn’t be more honest and responsible for my actions. Why couldn’t I open up and confide in her? My answers were incomplete and messy but the longer I have been working on making positive change, the more I realize that my brain was messed up and irrational. I would do things that were insane and that put my family at risk.
How could I throw away so much physical, tangible, wholesome goodness for virtual highs. The behavior I was fighting against was powerful and I filled my head with lies to avoid having to give up my behavior. But the negative behavior was stealing the best of my mental capacity and in those moments when pressed by my wife to be more transparent, I simply didn’t feel like I could take the grilling that she deserved to give me.
You see it takes months of daily, hard work before an addict is able to look in the rear view mirror and see the stupidity of his or her decisions.
So, back to my friend and her addicted husband. It turns out that the four months of mediocre information her husband was providing her had led her on a most horrific mental journey where she was left to fill the void that he had created with a thousand worries about what, with whom and how often he was acting out. In her conversation with my wife, she explained that she now thought her husband might have found a partner with whom he was having an affair. Could it be true? Maybe but my guess after knowing this couple for some time was that the addict husband probably had not fallen that far off the cliff. Was I right? Probably, but the trauma become so much more serious as the wife tried to fill the void with these thoughts that sent her to a deep, dark, lonely place.
To my addict friends who are in a good place mentally, I remind us that we need to proactively share information with our partners to let them know we are complying with our recovery plan. That might mean we speak in basic terms or that may mean we give very specific details. The difference depends on what our partners need and they should be the ones to decide. Either way, with few updates from an addict what is a partner left to do? Worry!