I stopped asking my spouse personal questions about his whereabouts and the behavior I tried to cover up. I accepted that my spouse is an addict, liar, abuser, cheater, and I can’t fix him. I did whatever I could to protect myself and the kids from anxiety. I dealt with our relationship the wrong way. We’d fight whenever we tried to discuss our issues, so we stopped discussing them. I don’t condone his behavior, but I accept it. I accepted reality, came out of denial, and a burden lifted. I went from hopeless to hopeful. I have hope knowing there is a remedy for me.  Facing reality reduced some of my stress. I started weaning myself from obsessing over my spouse.  It was hard admitting the role I played in the dysfunction of our relationship. I cannot blame my spouse for everything. I regret the cruel, profane words I used against my spouse, and I am remorseful about my evil acts. I regret turning into a doormat. What I regret most are the lies. We lived in the House of Lies. Explaining to my kids why I was lying was often met by silence and poker faces. Coming out of denial demands honesty. Right or wrong, I protected my children and myself by lying; good intentions have dire consequences. Lying is wrong, and lying to yourself is worse, but teaching your kids to lie by example is the worst.

When I caught my kids lying, sometimes I yelled, and sometimes I punished them.  I was petrified at the thought of raising little liars who grow up to be chronic liars. Without sounding like a hypocrite, I asked them why they needed to lie. Sometimes it’s easier to lie than explain the problem. Sounds familiar. I suggested we all stop lying and be more open and honest. The children are older now; the good news is that they outgrew the pattern of lying they learned from us. I encouraged them to be honest and respectful when telling hurtful truths to anybody, including their parents. And that goes for me too. I want my family and I to recover from dysfunction, learn to accept what we cannot change, and stop denying reality.  I am done covering up my spouses’ hateful behavior and acting like everything is Ok. The truth is, my abusive marriage is not Ok; my spouse and I are not Ok. I can kick and scream until the cows come home, and I still can’t change anybody. Those are the facts that helped usher me out of denial. I regret that I didn’t look at those AA books years ago. I can’t change that, but I can start to put the focus on where it belongs and change myself.

Healing means focusing on self. For years, my spouse was my first thought in the morning and my last thought at night. I focused on my spouse and neglected myself. I did that. Me. Because I didn’t know any better. I have clarity and direction and take full responsibility for my behavior. I am so grateful the dark clouds are lifting. And the irony is not lost on me that one of my spouse’s forbidden AA books helped me accept reality, come out of denial, and move forward.