I can’t tell you how many self-help books I read over the years I was married. Most of them addressed ways to fix a fledgling marriage or how to build self-esteem. A few addressed ways to control anxiety. Man, I suffered from panic attacks that literally left me gasping for air. A few addressed the best way to handle being the partner of an alcoholic and/or drug addict. I read some that I thought would teach me how to be more lady-like. Here’s the skinny on how some of them worked for me.
Fighting A Losing Battle
What I didn’t know while I was reading all those books to fix my marriage was that the unbeatable forces of my ex-husband’s alcoholism and addiction to cocaine would always win because he saw no issue with his addictions or the effects they had on us a couple. Under normal circumstances, he could be hateful. I mean HATEFUL! When he was drunk and high, I was terrified. He cheated numerous times and just like many other women, I would put up a good fight (not physical because that’s stupid) for my man. What I came to realize, though, is that the philandering combined with the drugs and alcohol was an opponent I would never, ever be able to defeat.
The Little Girl Who Didn’t Know
I was raised in a very sheltered environment and while I was exposed to one of my brother’s marijuana use, I was unfamiliar with just how cruel addiction is. Once I came into the realization that the pull of addiction is relentless, I told one of my girlfriends that I wish it was just another woman that I was up against. Back then, I felt like if another woman was my only opponent, I could win him back. I knew I had no chance again beer and coke. The self-help books didn’t address what I supposed to do when he would stay out all hours of the night getting drunk and high, messing with any woman who would give him attention, then coming home to give me hell. That’s why I turned to the books that I thought would help be more lady-like, ergo I would magically turn into the kind of woman he would want enough to stop with the drugs and alcohol. Y’all know that didn’t work. It took me A LOT of years to be thrilled with the woman I am.
They Help. Yes, They Do
Don’t misunderstand, I think some self-help books are absolutely amazing. Books by Iyanla Vanzant, Deepak Chopra, and Dr. Phil have helped me in ways I couldn’t imagine. They’ve been a vital part of my recovery. One of my favorites is In the Meantime by Iyanla. It spoke to my soul. My advice is that you address the issues at the base of your problem. My self-esteem and self-worth were at rock-bottom. Those are the things I should have been looking at. I was addressing issues that in truth, were not my own. I was attempting to fix things that were not mine to fix. I’m all for supporting your man, but be sure that he wants to be helped. My ex-husband continued to use drugs off and on during the 19 years we were married and I can’t tell you the number of times he told me that he only turned back to those things because he had to deal with me. Sound familiar? If it does, trust me when I tell you, you are not the problem. Believe that. Find that book, girl, that will help you do better in your business, one that will help you become better organized or will help you fix your plumbing. Just make sure, though, that it’s your issue and not one that’s out of your control. Happy reading!