I had a client recently who was going through a similar situation as me. I could hear the struggle in his voice as he relayed the difficulty of recovery and how hard it's been to work through the shame. He admitted feeling very hopeless for most of his first year but had finally started feeling better and gaining confidence and hope. I can remember feeling very similar. It's a rough journey and process and often feels like you are wading through six feet of mud.
It was exciting to see this guy moving out of the shame, though slower than he preferred. As we talked, I told him something that Amy and I found to be crucial to our recovery journey. I said that I have found that the harder your recovery is in the first two years DUE TO WALKING THROUGH THE PAIN, the better your chances are for long-term healing and improved outcomes.
Walking through “hell” to get full healing, or as close to it you can this side of Heaven, in the early years will make your life way better later on. The opposite holds true as well – the easier you make your recovery in the early phases by skipping steps and “sweeping it under the rug,” the harder things become later on. “Time will either expose you or promote you.”
I believe this is where most of us get hung up in our lives, whether it's adultery recovery, career, money, etc. We get tempted to try to easy path or skip steps. We refuse to do the painfully, hard work in the beginning that will later reap a harvest. Couples do this all too often when they come see me for adultery recovery. Instead of walking through the mud and muck and trudging through the pain, they are too quick to sweep it under the rug and not face it, thinking they will "someday." I have found that it gets harder and harder to bring up the pain the longer it sits idle. I plead with them to not sacrifice long term healing for short term relief. Some head the advice; many don't.
Thankfully Amy and I went through the gut wrenching, pruning process in the beginning. Those first two and a half years had many great moments, BUT we also had tons of pain and struggle. We are forever grateful for our friendship, closeness, partnership, trust, and growth now that would not have happened most likely had we not done the hard work early on. God has been huge in our lives. We went from an "earthquake" story to a "miracle" story!!!!
"You can’t outrun your past, so you might as well stop trying to. Instead, turn around, face it, learn from it, pray for new insights and healing, and then move on - stronger, better, wiser."
Matthew 19:27-30 (NASB)
The Disciples’ Reward
27 Then Peter said to Him, “Behold, we have left everything and followed You; what then will there be for us?” 28 And Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on [k]His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother [l]or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive [m]many times as much, and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last; and the last, first.