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April 01 • Foolish Progress

Day 632

One year ago today, my wife and I sat down in our counselor's office and heard the expected opening question, "Well, where do you want to start today?" My wife jumped all over it. We had been doing reasonably well for that stage of our re-building, and we believed our counselor felt we were progressing in good directions. But my wife changed all that, in a cool, calm voice.

"This will probably be our last session with you. It is definitely my last session. I just can't take it anymore; I cannot be with this man while remembering the things he's confessed to. I can no longer take his selfishness, and I need to take care of myself. I just thought you deserved to hear it from me directly, but I've made up my mind."

I was staring at the floor, shocked at the conviction with which she spoke, and pained by the hurts of which she spoke. I could hear the counselor squirming in her chair as she struggled for the next question, and I wondered if there would be a next question. My wife sat perfectly still, never taking her eyes off of this person in which we had entrusted our marriage and my recovery. It was an eerie moment. "Well... I didn't see that coming... are you sure... what brought you to this point...?" The counselor was trying hard to regroup, and was getting there pretty quickly. But her voice was quivering, and I thought I heard tears in her eyes. My bride responded, at least partially in an effort to help the counselor. "I just looked at the calendar on my way in here and thought the only day I could tell you this was today." I looked up to see a quizzical look on the counselor's face, then the beginnings of a smile held back by uncertainty as to the exact meaning. My wife put an end to the prank with a gentle "April Fools!" This story is not about giving the counselor a hard time. In fact, I'm reluctant to share it because this is a sacred relationship, and I don't want to make light of it or encourage anyone else to do such a thing. But the truth is, this was an amazing moment in my recovery, and my wife confirmed later that it felt really good to have the strength to create a humorous moment in the middle of such pain and angst. It did not fix everything; it might not have 'fixed' anything. But it opened the doors to putting my addiction into the context of our lives, instead of wrestling our lives in the context of my addiction. I hesitantly shared this story in a 12 Step meeting that week, and to my ears, it received the biggest laugh I'd heard there in more than a year of attending. One of the fellows told me just a few weeks ago that he couldn't wait to get home that night and share it with his wife, and that he continues to tell the story to others. There's no moral here, just a fun little story. It still makes me smile when I recall it, and we still laugh about it together. That makes it a good story, even if there is no other good reason for it.




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