My wife asked me to share my thoughts on the full disclosure process. Initially it scared the heck out of me. I had spent all my life lying and manipulating. Now I had to tell the truth and tell her everything.
This is not what the addict wants to do. I made the choice to do whatever I needed to do to get better and help her heal. My CSAT said that I would have to do one, but she didn’t push it right away. She said that I would do it from 3 to 6 months after starting therapy. I understand now that I couldn’t do one when I first started therapy. I was not capable of understanding the nature of my addiction and how it was connected to my childhood. As I progressed through my recovery I became more capable of doing it because I was able to resolve the shame.
My CSAT had me break it down in five year increments starting back from my childhood. It was not easy to look back at my past and put it down on paper. I found that journaling every evening helped me get it organized. I also included my wife in the process. This is not the standard way that a disclosure is written but it worked for us. I would journal and then talk about it with my wife. I included not only the way I acted out but what was going on in my life that triggered me into acting out. I had to dig deep to see what needs I was trying to meet with my poor coping skills. I promised my wife that I would not keep any secrets from her. This worked because I was able to process it and work through it with her.
I finally started typing it on the computer. I became focused on what was going on during a certain time frame and it slowed the process down. This was not helping my wife and she finally just asked me to get it out now. The conversation didn’t go that calmly, but I finished it.
Looking back I see now that it was part of the recovery process for both of us. It helped me face my past and resolve it. It helped my wife process the trauma that I had caused. I understand now that it didn’t magically make things better. Getting the truth out helped both of us. It wasn’t the finish line where all the work was done. It was a part of the recovery process and the recovery work still continues to this day.