It’s a pretty universal feeling that when we see a great movie, read a moving book or hear an exceptional song we can’t wait to share it with friends and colleagues. Multiply that feeling by 100…that is how much I want to share the experience of growth, forgiveness, hope and recovery with those around me.
The day I found out about my husband’s betrayals was one of the worst days of my life. His being disloyal was unfathomable to me because I believed that we were so in love – I adored him, I admired him, we spent all of our free time together and I felt completely safe and cared for. In one horrible moment I went from feeling that I lived in a big beautiful world filled with trust and love to trying to survive in a tiny dark cage with no one to protect me from the pain another caused me….or from my own mind. It was my imagination that convinced me that I was unworthy, unlovable & unattractive. In my mind’s eye his affairs were romantic, intimate moments filled with passion, love and (worst of all) laughing at me and my stupidity. None of this was true – but my mind could be very convincing. I have come so far in the past years. I am now more in love with my husband than I ever was before – it’s a truer and more powerful love – one that I didn’t believe could exist after such trauma.
My desire to provide some sort of relief or comfort to other women who have just lost their footing in a similar way (and to enlighten those who have no concept that the twelve step principles could apply to them) became very pressing over the past few months. Of course, my own insecurities temporarily stopped me from acting on this desire. I told myself that I am such a novice in the ‘program world’ that I don’t have the authority to be sharing my limited knowledge and I should wait until I can prove that I am qualified to offer some sort of help. I certainly didn’t want to invade another’s privacy, overstep my boundaries or intrude on their personal lives without an invitation to do so.
This is exactly the reason why I started this blog. It’s an unobtrusive way to (hopefully) help others who are suffering through the pain and confusion of betrayal. After all, isn’t the biggest qualifier to being able to help others the fact that I have lived through it, I can relate, and I care? It’s not about giving unwanted advice – it’s simply about sharing what this experience has been like for me in hopes that my example can help another. It is incredibly satisfying to have a dialog with people who are already on this journey…it’s a give and take of profound importance. But to offer solace to someone who has just had their world turned upside down, that is the true service I would like to offer.
The 12th step specifically says “…we tried to carry this message to others.”. If you have ever read the big book you may have noticed that the majority of the book is spent on step 12. I am guessing that means it’s a really important part of the process! When I first discovered the devastating betrayals in my marriage I went into a cave of my own making – with no one to turn to and an unwillingness to reach out I isolated from my friends and family. How I wish someone (anyone) had approached me with an extended hand.
I understand logically that it is simply not possible to carry any message to someone who can’t yet hear it, so perhaps it is through the power of example that I will most have the ability to help. By living within the principles of service I will be available to others, so when they ask for help, I will be there.
I think there is a space in time in which people become ready to learn. Those of us who have already walked this path have a special capacity to empathize with them. I believe it is our duty and privilege to do so.I will continue to work my own program and to be available in S-Anon, in life and through this blog.