How is it possible that some of my worst days of worrying are when he is and has been at his best? I don’t want to brag but I will tell you when my better half is clean our relationship feels almost unbelievable. What I found in “us” was a sense of partnership mixed with passion I didn’t believe truly existed. We share a sense of wonder and adventure that is balanced by how content we are in the moments of nothing. He reminds me without saying a word that I don’t have to face the world alone. I drive him while he calms me, just by being. We are best friends who just happen to be good at being in love.
Now that I have all of you rolling your eyes reading through my sappy bragging words I must admit it is sometimes hard for me to stop and truly appreciate these moments. The longer he is clean the easier it gets but I found that the happiest days were when my brain would start to worry the most. I’d be thinking “I don’t want this to end”, “I can’t go backwards again”, “I just want this with him, please let this last”. Then the heavy heart feeling would roll in, and my chest would tighten and shit… here I go. I’m planning for the worst. I’m creating an unnecessary moment of anxiety and I am going to ruin the time we are having.
This has happened to me more than once. I started to feel so guilty, I was planning on him relapsing. He was working so hard. He was putting in the effort to not just be clean, but to get healthy and to be the best damn partner I could ever hope for. And me? I’m over here over thinking, under appreciating and just plain old worrying about something that hadn’t even happened. It’s learning how to handle these emotions that gets us through. Its being able to appreciate where you are both at and what you are sharing. Finding what helps you stop your brain in its tracks. My go to is structured breathing. There are breathing exercises designed just for such anxiety reactions and I have found them to be really helpful. An example:
Breathe in for four seconds, hold for five seconds, breathe out for six. Repeat four times and then take a few moments to relax in your normal breaths. This causes an autonomic shift in your nervous system that will help you step out of this worried state and and help you feel at ease.
It’s important in any relationship to appreciate the good times, but be patient with yourself. The journey we are on loving a recovering addict makes it hard to not be scared that these good times could end. I will always hold out hope that there will be a last bad day.
“Worrying does not take away tomorrow’s troubles. It takes away today’s peace.”
― Randy Armstrong