One day, my spouse seemed especially irritable. I asked if he was O.K., and he responded by handing me a stack of papers. I immediately read the papers and discovered they were a new disclosure about his sexaholism. Today I know that when faced with a sweeping disclosure from the sexaholic I can say, “That’s too much information for me today.” I now know that hearing too many details about his story damages my serenity. Yet I didn’t see that choice on that particular day – I read the papers even after realizing what they were.
Before recovery, this would have triggered a downward spiral. I would have obsessed about the disclosure, allowing my mind to create even more details. I would have questioned him and demanded answers, taking up the familiar victim role. I would have considered forcing some immediate action about the relationship.
That day I chose to respond, rather than react, to the upsetting news. I chose to be gentle with myself and stayed with my feelings, not carrying around shame about his behavior. I surrendered the information to my Higher Power. I chose to live in that day only, not making major decisions about my marriage until I was in a clear frame of mind. I chose to focus on doing the next right thing: I took a walk, I went to a meeting, and I talked with my sponsor. I trusted God to guide me when the time was right. I still had serenity that day because I chose to respond, rather than react.
Reprinted from S-Anon’s Reflections of Hope, page 140.