This is a month of milestones. Two specific milestones, in fact. When I think of milestones, I think of achievements, accomplishments. Hitting a goal, moving forward. I am learning to think of milestones in another way as well. Recognizing the impact that past events can have and still have on my spouse.
I reach three months of sobriety this month. I have probably gone longer periods without acting out during my lifetime. I have never actively pursued sobriety and sanctification. In my Castimonia 12-step group, milestones are celebrated, recognized by awarding chips, tokens to show length of sobriety. I have my one and two month chips, I carry my two month chip daily. My three month is something I am thankful of achieving. I am humbled. I know my grasp on sobriety is tenuous this early in my recovery. I am thankful for the tools, the support from my counselor and accountability partners, and for my sponsor.
I recognize another milestone this month. One year. One year since I sent my wife a text message to tell her that I was leaving her. That I had found someone else. I unknowingly opened the door to future total discovery from that one text message. I thought I was ending my marriage. That wasn’t God’s plan. I caused my wife immense and overwhelming pain and hurt. The fact that she was able to reach out to me two days later to tell me she still loved me and wanted me to come home is incomprehensible to me, even now. She doesn’t understand it either and says she is not sure she could do that again knowing what she knows now.
I recognized three months of sobriety in a Saturday meeting. The guys all clapped for me, the facilitator hugged me and presented me with a 3 month chip.
I struggled to determine how to recognize one year. I sought out counsel from several guys, my sponsor, my counselor. The wise guidance I got from an accountability partner was to make sure to tell my wife I remembered the date, I knew what she had done for me and our marriage, and that I would not forget. I decided on a card for her. I didn’t want to overdo it. I spent a whole week deciding what to say. This is what I ended up with:
One year ago, I sent you a text that would destroy your faith in me and our marriage. I am thankful you chose to still love me despite the hurt I have caused you and our kids.
I have no doubt this day is full of painful memories. I am sorry for being the source of that pain. I will not forget this date and the damage my actions caused you.
Thank you for loving me and for remaining in our marriage.
At our weekly check in, my wife and I were talking about where I was in recovery, what I had been doing for the week, how I had been following my path of sanctification. I asked if I could get something for her. I got the card and before I gave it to her, I told her that I didn’t know how she could have let me come home. Not after what I did to her. I hadn’t and wouldn’t forget. I gave her the card and thanked her for being with me. I know it wasn’t enough. I know I can never tell her enough how thankful I am that she didn’t give up, even when I did.