It was five years ago today my husband Ben came home from rehab, after six months in a residential program being treated for alcoholism and depression.
The first three months he was in there we didn't see each other or speak, as we were separated for quite some time before I drove him to the rehab to be admitted, shook his hand and wished him a nice rest of his life.
I didn't know if I'd ever see him again, and went home to start filling in divorce papers.
I was talking to someone today about codependency, enabling and boundaries, and how hard it can be when somebody in a relationship, household or friendship has to be the bad guy, and start living for themselves.
I remember the day I made the choice to keep living the life Ben and I had started, and finish what we'd begun in my own. I remember deciding to leave him behind, because we could not both go down. I remember when I stopped begging him to change, to see, to hear, to want it like I did, and just let him go. The day when I finally saw him as a human being who needed help, help I could not give him, instead of seeing him as the husband who let me down, and could've done differently, if only.
When I stepped up and said, I can't change this, or him, but I can change, and I am willing to. Willing to make those choices. Willing to be the bad guy, if I have to, to be happy and finish what I started.
I don't now and will never understand how it came to be my man was given back to me, and me to him. It really is a miracle. But then, me not dying of cancer a few years before that was one too. There is not a day goes by now I am not grateful to not be alone right now, to have my man beside me. And I know he feels the same about me. God is good.
For all you honeys who are doing it really tough right now, who have had to be the bad guy, who have had to break something to fix it, who have had to keep going and finish what you started alone, can I just say, I stand back right now and give you the slow clap. I know it's hard. I know you cry. I know you think you can't. But you do anyway, unseen, unnoticed. Unthanked and unhelped. You're doing it. And you can be so proud. You need to know you're not invisible, and what you're doing isn't a waste of time. Hang in there, honey, it's going to work, and it's going to work out. You're doing a great job, and everything is going to be okay.
Christmas is a shit of a time. For those of us who have had to make those very, very hard choices, Christmas can be like one of those times you want to drop off the face of the earth. I just wanted to tell you, I know, me too. I believe in you. It's going to be okay.
And you're doing an awesome job, honey. Really, you are.
Love you lots,
Guest Post: Jo Hilder
Jo is an Australian writer, coach and speaker: website.
She shepherds a highly-interactive & nourishing FB group: Free-range Christians