- Joshua Sherman Productions
- Benjamin Lerner
I was grateful that I had been able to balance my work assignments with my romantic relationship and my recovery program, but I was still plagued by doubtful ruminations. I had improved my interpersonal skills over the years I had spent in recovery, but I had never shared my space with another person. Although our interactions had been mostly harmonious, I was still afraid that I would not be able to handle a confrontational situation with a person whom I was living with.
As I handed off the final dish, my worst fears were realized when it fell to the ground and shattered. I had failed to notice that my girlfriend had been busy drying off another plate, and it was clear from the angry look on her face that I had made a grave mistake.
Over the following several minutes, an argument ensued that caused us both to become trapped in a state of frenzied irritation. She insulted my inability to properly communicate during household chores, and I countered with a series of self-defensive exclamations that were deeply rooted in insecurity and fear. As the argument escalated, feelings of anger and frustration welled up inside of me that were hard to contain. After a particularly heated series of exchanges, I stormed out of the room. As I sat on the bed in a pensive funk, I realized that there was only one way to move past the argument and find a peaceful solution: I had to admit my faults and come to terms with my weaknesses.
After taking a moment to reflect, I understood that I had been too proud to admit my mistake, because I didn’t want my girlfriend to think that I wasn’t perfect. I knew that it was time to take responsibility for my side of the issue.
I walked out of the bedroom, approached her in the kitchen, cleared my throat and spoke from the heart.
“I’m sorry that I got angry at you for pointing out my flaws. The truth is … I’m scared that I’m not ready to live with someone. I still have a lot of growing to do, but I want to make this work. Is there any way that we can sit down and talk about this?”
I expected her to greet my admission in a standoffish and indignant manner, but she didn’t. She walked towards me, gave me a big hug and began crying on my shoulder. She then told me that she had also been unwilling to admit her faults, because she felt the same fears that I did.
As we stood in the kitchen and cried together, I felt a sense of closeness with my partner that I had never felt with anyone before. I might not have been able to put our broken dish back together, but I was able to help mend our relationship by drawing on the lessons that I had learned in recovery.
Keep moving forward.
Run towards the truth.
Don’t quit before the miracle happens.