I had seen a counselor before nine months ago. He really only had what I told him to go on, and I only went to humor my wife to keep our marriage together. I was able to manipulate him easily, and eventually I just quit going. I didn’t think this would be any different.
My wife’s counselor suggested that my wife only agree to continue in the marriage if I saw a counselor she recommended, one that worked in her practice. Someone that I actually knew at the church I used to attend. I had heard him tell his story before. He had a history in this kind of thing, admitting to being unfaithful.
I figured agreeing to see him would make me look good, so I set up the appointment for the next day. I went in his office looking sufficiently contrite and ashamed. He asked me to tell my story, so I did, as much as I was willing to tell. I told him I had been having an affair with a co-worker for the last few months. I told him I had told my wife I was leaving her, but had been overwhelmed and moved when she told me she loved me and wanted me to come home. I told him everything that my wife knew and was feeling great about myself. If this was counseling, I had this covered.
When I finished, he just looked at me. For a long time. An uncomfortably long time. Then he said, “Thank you for telling me that. But there is more, isn’t there?”
Dang. So, here I was at a decision point, a crossroads. This was not what I expected, but I had an opportunity. This was a chance for me to unburden and release the junk in my life that I have never let go of before. Was this God speaking to me? For one last time?
I was scared. I wanted to withdraw, to isolate. But instead, I sat there and prayed. And for the first time I listened. That this might be the only chance to save my marriage because I knew this guy had done some of the things I had, and he was still married. I saw sitting across from me someone who had been where I was and didn’t seem to be judging me based upon what he could already see.
So, for the first time in my life, I was honest. I started as far back as I could remember and let go of all the things that have weighed me down into despair and shame. I didn’t realize how much shame I had deep in my soul. I had been denying the impact that my years of acting out had on my psyche and especially on my self-worth.
I cried. I don’t know why, whether it was from the shame of verbalizing my actions, the relief from unburdening them, or the terror of having just let another person see who and what I was. What surprised me the most was that I didn’t die. The world didn’t end. Lightning didn’t strike me. I knew only one thing - I couldn’t go back to hiding. The only question for me now was … now what?
Next time: Meetings
K. LeVeq is a Christ-follower, husband, father, writer, sponsor, and corporate flunky living with his wife and two boys in a suburb of Houston, TX. Writing is an important part of his recovery from addiction as is counseling, accountability, sponsoring, and working the 12 steps. He is working on a new blog entitled IsolationSucks.com and is working on a book tentatively titled "Lazarus People."