A woman I met a few weeks ago asked to buy one of my books after she'd heard me speak about my experience with my sex addict husband. Then I promptly forgot about it...
Today when I saw her again, she threw her arms around me and with tears ready to spill over, she told me how much my book had already helped her. She'd only read a few chapters, but it had already given her some much-needed validation that she was not crazy. The fact that someone else understood her anger, her fear, and feelings of hopelessness was enough evidence to bolster her flailing self-esteem that had been so badly damaged by living with an addict.
Nearly in tears, myself, I sighed. This was precisely the reason I wrote my book. When I was going through the god-awful shock and mind-blowing disbelief, I had very few resources to draw from and turn to. I felt crazy because he told me I was. It took a long time to understand that I was not a lunatic, but I had been reacting to the craziness my gut had been trying to alert me to, just as this sweet, powerful woman standing in front of me--nearly buckling from relief that someone else finally understood her--had been doing.
The sad part is that she does not yet know how powerful and wonderful she is. She is not yet aware that her tenacity for having endured this experience makes her strong and courageous. She has no clue yet that because of this event, she will never be the same, but that, my friends, is cause for celebration.
So until you discover that you are not crazy, and that YOU are valuable and courageous and kick-ass powerful, I will hold that thought and reality for you. Because I believe. I remember. And I know that one day you will also look back at your life and wonder who that other woman was, now staring back at you in gratitude. She will thank you for having the courage to stand up to your addict and seek help, for finding it within yourself to change, and for having the persistence and guts to become your new, awesome self.