Our first D-Day was in 2011. I worked through the workshop, came out the other side and was doing well. I don't quite know when I stopped doing so well. There was complacency for sure; I stopped thinking of myself as an addict. I don't remember making the decision to stop doing weekly monitoring. We certainly didn't have a conversation about it.
What I should have done is - before the end of the course - put some alerts in my phone for some life assessment in 3, 6, 9 months time.
Sunshine and I had a deal that she would ask me "Is there anything you've omitted to tell me?" That was a mistake to make her responsible for checking in on my honesty. I should have been asking myself "What am I holding back from my marriage?"
At some point - away for work in a hotel, late night, a few drinks - I relapsed and failed to tell Sunshine about it. Then I lied at the next "Is there anything" question, the fear of being 'discovered' causing an automatic defence mechanism of concealment to kick in. And at that point the stakes are raised because I've not only got the thing itself to confess, but now the lie on top of that.
So once that first lie is made, the rest are sure to follow. And life ticks along, generally fine with these slips from time to time and I don't really worry about any of it, and before you know it, 4 years have passed. And now Sunshine is devastated again and feeling like the last 8 years have been a total waste of time. Trust not even back to square 1; well into the minus figures because this time I should have known better, I had the tools. It's a good job I was caught when I was, I can see now that I was starting to accelerate down a slippery slope. I had a long list of things to confess, Sunshine said it sounded just like the last time.
It was an interesting exercise though, I might recommend it. I started with the question "What do I most NOT want to tell Sunshine" and just kept writing until there was nothing left to write. It wasn't just SA stuff, any sort of deceit or failure in any part of my life. It's all relevant to this fiction, the façade of my ideal image of myself that I present to the world, and convince myself is the real me.
I forgot that the truth always comes out.
I can now see that a marriage that's not completely open is no real marriage, that the thing you hide away gets other things hidden with it, and that pile of hidden things just keeps growing and growing.
So now that we've - again - been through the pain of coming clean, I'm determined to not let that first thing gets hidden. And if I fail, I tell her. And if I fail, then lie, then I tell her that - as soon as possible. Regardless of whether or not she decides to stay with me.