The first time my husband was arrested for voyeurism I was frightened for myself and my family. I lied to the police and attempted to provide an alibi for him. I chose to lie because I did not have the courage to face my fears. I was afraid of what everyone would think if they knew I was married to a “peeping tom.” I was afraid of financial problems if he were to go to jail and lose his business. I was afraid he would be angry with me. The depth of shame I felt was immense. I constantly obsessed about him, his behavior, what he would do next and how hurt and angry I felt. I vigilantly sought more and more ways to protect my family from future catastrophe. I was angry, afraid and exhausted. Then I discovered S-Anon. I came to meetings and learned about boundaries and detachment: how to love someone without losing myself. I learned how to live in God’s grace and I opened myself to experiencing my Higher Power’s guidance. I got a sponsor, began working the Steps, used the telephone, talked with program members, and most importantly, listened to my Higher Power through the wisdom of others. The Serenity prayer… became my guide for living each day.
Later, my husband was arrested again. This time I drew on the strength of my S-Anon recovery and my response was much different. I spoke honestly with the police and did not bail him out. While I often was afraid, I trusted that consequences to our family for my choice not to enable him would be manageable for us if we asked God for help. I separated from my husband, a consequence of further arrests. While following through with my boundary on this was very uncomfortable, I felt my Higher Power’s presence and remembered the other difficult times when God had carried me through. I relied on Step Eleven and did as much as I could to be open to receiving God’s help. I prayed and listened avidly for the voice of my Higher Power speaking to me through my S-Anon support network. I asked for God’s will to be made plain to me, and I followed that to the best of my ability. I prayed for the best possible outcome for all of us, and I did not dictate what I thought that should be. I meditated, visualizing and feeling God giving me strength. I also connected with my Higher Power through everyday things like singing, noticing nature while walking and being emotionally present while blowing bubbles with my young son. All of this helped me feel the embrace of God. The discomfort of following through with the boundary passed. Today, even though some things are not resolved with my husband, I am clear that everything is as it should be and that all will be well. I know that when I consciously seek my Higher Power I am at peace and unashamed.
Reprinted from S-Anon Twelve Steps, pages 132-133.