by Keith B.
July 8th, 2016 is the date I consider as my sobriety date and the date I actually began recovery. That was the day my wife found out that I had contacted a former affair partner. One she knew about. The only one she knew about at the time. That day began my true entry into a life of sobriety and recovery from sex and relationship addiction or how ever you want to label it. But that wasn’t really the true beginning. The true beginning was nine months earlier.
In October of the previous year, I let my wife know via text message that I was leaving her. Awesome, right? I didn’t have the courage to call her. I was halfway around the world, on a business trip. I had arranged my business travel to enable meeting a co-worker and affair partner who lived overseas. My travel was a constant. I basically abandoned my wife and boys. My lies were catching up to me. I had no choice in my mind but to tell her I was having an affair and leaving her.
The woman I was with told me either I made a break from my wife and kids or she was going to do it for me. I took the coward’s way out. I justified my decision by stating something I had been repeating in my mind over and over…when my wife eventually finds out, she is just going to leave you. So, I left her first. And then she shattered my carefully crafted justification by telling me I could still come home. So I ran home.
I started visiting recovery meetings. Visiting the right word. I went sightseeing, never settling or revealing anything of myself. A guest, not a permanent resident. My secrets stayed that way. They stayed my secrets.
My marriage became my only focus. How could I make sure it didn’t end. I dated my wife. Courted her. We went to counseling and
I wish I could say that was it. I confessed, begged forgiveness, saw the error of my ways, and was able to change. I did change. For a while. Until I didn’t. I reached out to that woman again, and she sent my wife a note telling her that her husband was still lying to her. That point was when I thought my life was over. I mean really over. That was the first moment I realized I was powerless to stop. My actions put my whole life at risk…I could lose my wife, my kids, my job. Everything. And I wasn’t in control. My life had become unmanageable. I was powerless.
Truly accepting my powerlessness began recovery for me. With that acceptance came my understanding that keeping my sins secret only kept me powerless. I couldn’t change myself. I needed help. That help would come from my counselor, my groups, friends, my wife, my kids. And that required that I be open, admitting that my life was unmanageable. I was powerless.