The Relapse


Waiting for it to happen. Wondering when. Not if. It will happen. There is no doubt. Only the anxiety of not knowing when. Looking for signs. Not wanting to see them. Seeing signs that you think are indicators. Being wrong. Sometimes being right. Painfully right.

There is no trust. There is hope…occassionally. Not always…not usually. The constant worry. The sound in his voice when I’m out of town that makes me sure it’s happened. The self flogging when I find out it hasn’t. Constantly berating myself for my doubts. Simultaneously convincing myself I need to remain alert and realistic so I’m not caught off guard again. Like the last time.

The devastating time. The broken time. The I can’t do this again time.

Sadness. A sadness I can’t explain. A sadness so deep and complete. I want to go to my bed and not get up. I want to take my girls and run away to a safe place. I want to shield them from knowing. I want to tell them so they don’t live this life when they grow up. I want to yell. At him. At people…pastors…leaders in our church.

I don’t want to hear anymore that God has a plan and a reason for this. I have a story…a testimony…a journey…already. I’ve lived it. I don’t need to live it longer. I get there was a reason for it. But this. This is not God’s plan. This relapse. This is a man’s selfishness, living in his will, making his own selfish decisions. Don’t tell me there’s a reason for it. I don’t need to hear that right now. I need permission to be angry. To be hurt. To feel like he is doing this to hurt me. Don’t tell me that’s irrational. Don’t tell me he’s only hurting himself. Don’t tell him he’s only hurting himself. Don’t say anything I don’t want you to say.

Someone should have stopped it. Someone should have known it was going to happen. Why am I the only one who expected it. I see your looks. The pity. The disgust. The superior look on your face. Because you wouldn’t put up with it. You wouldn’t put your kids through it. You would do this. You wouldn’t do that. You would do better. Different. You would do what’s right.

You, who don’t know. You, who know what I let you know. You, who think you know.

You don’t know. You don’t live this life. You hear about it. I live it. I live the pain. Brokenness. Devastation. Humiliation. Guilt. Anger. Hatred. Fear. Sadness. Debilitating pain.

I get to a point when I don’t fear it anymore. I convince myself there will be no more relapses. We are good. He is good. Our marriage is good. Everything is good. And I get comfortable. I don’t worry every time I go out of town that this will be the time. I don’t worry when he goes camping. I’m not afraid. Life is better. Happy. Peaceful.

Then the smallest thing. The things you can’t put your finger on. The knot that suddenly drops in to your stomach. The fear is back. It’s paralyzing this time. I’m not home, so I don’t know. I know it in my head, but my heart says, he wouldn’t do that. Not this time. But I let the worry, the doubt, the fear consume me.

I don’t ask him. I don’t speak it out loud. My words, my actions, my looks…they have to say, I trust you. I don’t have permission to say, I trust you…but I worry. Not from him, not from myself.

I’ve been wrong. I’ve been right. Neither one is easy. Obviously, one is harder.

I hear them say, if you worry, you don’t have enough faith. I don’t need to hear them say it. I tell myself that every day. And I see women with the faith I want, long for, need. I used to say, I want their faith. I say now, I want my faith. I want it to look different than it does now, but I want it to be mine.

If you pray for your husband more, this wouldn’t happen. If he’s happy at home, he won’t relapse. If you were a better wife.

I promise you, you cannot judge me any more harshly than I judge myself. I do pray to not have these thoughts. I do pray for my husband. My faith.

I have lived through relapse after relapse. Sober months after sober months. Both sprinkled throughout the years. Intermingling with each other, no rhyme or reason to the timing of one or the other. I have lived through them.

Tense shoulders. Distracted thoughts. My mind racing while I carefully keep my face clear. Praying that I’m wrong. The worry never stopping.

Someday, I think, it will have been long enough…Enough time will have lapsed that I won’t have these fears. My trust will be restored. My silly, irrational worries will not invade my every moment.

I’m not there yet. I don’t know when I will be. I tell myself my husband deserves my trust. It’s been long enough. I tell myself to stop being so hard on myself, it hasn’t been that long.

So I worry. In my head. In my heart. To myself. I don’t bother him with it. I don’t whine to him about how I worry. I don’t say, you have conditioned me to look for the signs, you have to understand it will take time for the trust to be complete. I don’t say anything. I keep it all.

I count days, weeks, months…soon it will be a year. Then more years. Soon I will stop counting. And worrying. And waiting.

Soon. It has to be soon.


About angelastricklin

Thanks for stopping by! If you're on FB, follow me: Instagram @angelastricklin Twitter @angelastricklin Pinterest @Angela Stricklin I'm a wife, mom of three girls and one fur baby. By day, I'm an HR manager to pay for all things girly girl and occasional fur baby treats. I add things to my Amazon wish list instead of my cart because my girls cost All. The. Money. Instead of sleeping, you can find me writing about faith, marriage, parenting and my favorite things on Facebook , Twitter , Instagram , and Pinterest.
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2 Responses to The Relapse

  1. clementinegoesusa says:

    What a beautiful and pure outpour of terribly sincere thoughts and emotions. Truly wonderful and admirable! I hope it helped you to write this all out. x

  2. Thank you clementinegoesusa for the kind words! I hope it helps someone else!!!

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