I will not heal overnight. Baby steps. The knowledge of knowing I can only change myself was a revelation. But could I apply the remedies from the AA pamphlet in real-time, under the same roof as my spouse, while I’m still messed up.  How do I shed my anger, fear, anxiety, pain, and other emotions I can’t even name. How do I respond rationally instead of overreacting and acting like a fool.  Will I ever be able to listen to my spouse the right way or communicate properly.  Our communication was horrible; we talked at each other, not to each other. There was a time when I gave only three non-responses: said what he wanted to hear, the silent treatment, or completely went off the rails. I want the pain to stop and move forward. But could I let it go, and was I mentally and emotionally ready to let it go.

I could forgive but not forget. I dwelled on the past and got mad instead of dealing with it. I kept the past in the present with no future.  I don’t want to be triggered by painful past episodes and revert to the person I don’t want to be. I don’t trust myself. To test myself, I thought back to a few ugly episodes, like when my spouse would leave in one outfit and come home in another. This happened twice before I confronted him. He couldn’t claim he was at the gym because his gym bag was at home. How sloppy, thinking he got away with it right in my face. I knew he would lie if confronted, so I took pictures, showed him, and all hell broke loose. What I remembered most was what I did and the lengths I took to expose him. It was a waste of time; he still cheated but was more careful next time.

Or when he agreed to go half on overdue property taxes, I paid my share, but he reneged and left me holding the bag. Paying the entire amount left me broke and beyond mad. He had no remorse and no shame. I trashed his mancave/bedroom/living room, knocked over his stuff, marked up the walls, and splattered ketchup on the carpet. He didn’t care, but it cost me more time, energy, and money because I was the one who bought heavy-duty cleaning supplies and cleaned up the mess.

Or when he displayed his cheap AA trinkets, suggestive mugs, and plaques in his unique place in his mancave/bedroom/living room. I could tell which ones were from women; he no longer tried to hide them, he brazenly showcased his gifts like notches on his belt.  So I accidentally-on-purpose broke the cup. The look on his face was priceless, he confronted me, and I denied going near his stuff. I remembered how easily, gleefully, and repeatedly I lied with no shame or remorse.

Reliving my past was an indictment on me and what I did. I got in the gutter with him. Remembering put the spotlight on my rachet behavior. I was being vindictive and exhibiting the beginnings of a hardened heart. I was the one who needed to look in the mirror. I was the one who needed help. I was the one who needed to forgive and try hard to forget.  In order for me to move forward, I have to let it go. I reflect on the quote from the AA pamphlet: it works if you work it. The book diagnosed my problems and provided remedies. If I want to get healthy, I have to put in the work. There is no easy way around it. I know I’m too weak to do it alone, so I let it go and let God.