Intensive #3 – Tennessee Blues

When Handsome was caught at the beer distributor in December and blatantly lied about it, I turned to my boundary work. Both drinking alcohol and lying are inner circle activities for Handsome, so the consequences needed to fit the severe violations. Frankly, had it not been the week before Christmas, I would have asked him to move out and find an apartment. I just wasn’t up for dealing with that drama, ruining the holiday for our kids, and all of the crap that would entail which was bound to waterfall forward into the new year.

The best alternate consequences that I could come up with were for Handsome to find and attend another week-long intensive program, and either to attend a meeting or call an SA contact every single day until the intensive started (whether it was one month or three away). Due to his intimacy issues and preference for isolation, the second part of that consequence is much more challenging for Handsome than the first part.

Handsome found a 7-day program in Tennessee with a special emphasis on getting at the root causes of addiction, addressing ones’ family of origin and trauma, and learning to live a centered, healthy life in spite of those circumstances. He leaves on Sunday. The program is for all people with addiction issues, not just sex addicts. I believe this is a good thing for him now. He’s not acting out sexually, but he keeps breaking his sobriety from alcohol and acting out in other ways (anger, pouting, etc.). He needs to address that. The program is co-ed which, frankly, freaks me out a little. Handsome acted out with broken women and he’s going to be off with no contact with his family, sponsor, or SA friends, surrounded by a bunch of them. He’s going to have to police himself and rely on everything he has learned thus far. Mind you, there were huge warnings in the materials about how relationships between attendees are verboten and must be reported immediately. They also mandate that two people cannot be alone and that there must be a minimum of three people in any group. That’s great, but if it wasn’t an ongoing and constant issue I assume they wouldn’t have the warnings in the first place.

Handsome missed a day or two of calls at the holidays, but he has otherwise reached out to his contacts, attended an in person meeting, or participated in a phone meeting every day. I know that’s hard for him, and it’s good to see the follow through even if he’s not exactly enthusiastic about it. He freely admits that he feels better after the calls, so I hope he’ll keep up with them even after his intensive.

And what am I going to do while he’s gone? Absolutely nothing. I want to live like a normal person for a week. No discussions about boundaries or acting out, no SA or betrayal podcasts, no workbooks… nothing. (I am going to keep our regular CSAT appointment, just to get her to myself for an hour.) I hope to enjoy my kids and bask in the absence of crazy.  While he is off getting his head straight, I want to get mine straight too. I want, even for a few days, to try to be unburdened by the fallout of my betrayal trauma and my husband’s sex addiction. That’s my only goal for the week.

I cannot wait.