Evolution Series: There Was Before and then There Was After

There Was Before and then There Was After

We lie to ourselves and others about minor things, major things, and all the things in between. There was before, then there was after, and again, everything in between.


The things we wished we had said and the things we ended up saying that weren’t quite right and didn’t land the way we wished they would, and possibly their feelings wouldn’t have been so hurt, or there wouldn’t have been such a misunderstanding if only the words had been right.


But the right words are for the right situations, and when things are messy, and misunderstandings are already the tapestry that has been laid, that encloses and surrounds a relationship, it doesn’t seem to matter how one says anything.


Kind words turn into daggers, if only unintentionally, and misinterpretation is just what happens when the threads of connection have been worn thin by excuses, lies, and mistrust.


“I didn’t mean it like that,” she says defensively. She did, kind of; she was exhausted and felt like she was holding this relationship together with hopes, prayers, wishes, and deep breaths. She wasn’t lying, but she wasn’t sure she was telling the truth either.


The truth about what, though? That she was disappointed that she stayed? That she was more invested than he?


He said all the right things; he was good at lying. And she was great at being lied to. She watched them, this dance they did, from outside herself and marveled at how much she had changed and he hadn’t. She was exhausted, and he was the same.


She stayed because she felt she had to. She didn’t understand or wasn’t familiar with the concept of sunk cost fallacy. She poured her sweat, tears, and sometimes blood into 20 years of this exhausting, neverending merry-go-round of broken promises and future faking.


It has to get better, she would tell herself in the beginning when she was sad and confused after their last fight.


There were a lot of last fights.


He never broke furniture or plates or put holes in the wall, but she was full of holes and brokenness.


She became adept at making excuses for him, his shitty childhood, his anger issues, his inability to connect. And looking back at the last 20 years, she’s curious about why she tried so hard to force him to connect, to bond with her, to really see her. To care.


It was this game of cat and mouse, and she wasn’t sure their roles weren’t interchangeable. They fed off of each other; intentionally or not, this was where they were.


There was before, and then there was after, and all the things in between, and now she is here, and she has choices to make, but choosing is hard, and she’s never really chosen herself, not fully, not without considering how her choices will make someone else feel.


She’s good at staying stuck in the past and or the future; it makes it easier not to have to be present, and at the end of a long day, after another long fight, she can say to herself, I’ll decide tomorrow, I’ll do what’s best for me next time, but right now I am tired and just want to go to bed.


And so there is before, and there will always be after, but what happens in the in-between?


If you love or loved and alcoholic, and Karli’s words resonate, we hope you’ll consider joining us in Echoes of Recovery as we navigate the before, the after and the in-between.

Echoes of Recovery

The Myth of Unconditional Romantic Love
February 1, 2023
Evolution Series: Waves of Grief and Connection
January 25, 2023
I could only wait so long…
October 20, 2020

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