When Treatment Separates

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This past week has been extremely unrelenting for me.  I am looking at admitting myself to a treatment program in Arizona for 8 weeks.  I have already attended this treatment program, but that was ten years ago.  I was a teen and my parents sent me.  Things will be different this time.

When I attended ANASAZI Foundation ten years ago, my parents drove me 16 hours to Arizona and dropped me off.  I literally stepped out of our car and was escorted away from them.  I cannot imagine the courage and faith it would take to drop your child off at “some desert treatment program.”

I was separated from my family for six weeks and our only communication was through letters. We didn’t really understand how being apart would help us, but we moved forward with faith that somehow it would help.  It did.

Looking back, I’m sure that my parents felt that they were abandoning me.  I’m sure that there were family members or friends who expressed their disappointment or skepticism to my parents about leaving their child at a wilderness therapy program for six weeks.  I’m sure they felt guilty every night for not being able to help me and they probably wondered if I would ever forgive them.  I did.

ANASAZI was the most challenging, most grueling, and most meaningful experience in my life.  Yes, I was separated from my family, but I was able to make room for forgiveness and grace and eventually turn my heart back toward them.  ANASAZI is not the cure-all, just like medication is not the cure-all.  It’s just one piece of the self-care puzzle.

My hands.  ANASAZI, 2007.

So, this past week, I told my husband that I need to go back.  He is devastated.  Perhaps he feels that he is stuck between a rock and a hard place.  Of course, he is.  We both are.  In his eyes, I am choosing to leave him.  This means that he has to say good-bye to me for 8 weeks. This means that he has to admit to himself that he cannot fix everything for me or give me the help that I need.  I understand that, but it’s not his responsibility to fix everything for me.  Besides, he can’t.  Some things can only be done on our own.

And so he has to give up control.  Of me.  Of our relationship.  Of his needs and desires.

How do I explain to him that yes, I will be physically leaving him for that time, but that, in leaving, I am also turning toward him?  I am choosing to depend on him to go through this with me.  It’s too much to ask of anyone, really.  Especially of those that you love.  It’s not fair and it hurts. A lot.  But something has to give.

Something has to change or I will lose myself forever.

I don’t want to leave him.  I don’t want to put myself in the Arizona desert for 8 weeks in the middle of summer.  I don’t want to sleep with the tarantulas and the snakes and the unrelenting mosquitoes. I don’t want to stay up all night wondering if he will be okay or if my worst nightmares would perhaps come true.

I want to live. I mean really live.  I want to be able to connect with my husband.  I want to laugh again.  I want to enjoy the sunshine. I want to be a good friend.  I just want to feel something.

My feet. ANASAZI, 2007.

How do I explain that I have to be selfish in this decision?  I know it will hurt him and it will be very difficult for him, but this isn’t a vacation, it’s a matter of survival for me.  I have lived my whole life trying not to hurt others, but I am learning that pain is inevitable in this life.

Sometimes treatment separates us from those that we love.  Nevertheless, sometimes we have to confront ourselves and walk alone.  It’s not easy and I don’t think it was meant to be.  No matter what the next few weeks bring, I know that the pain will be worth it.  Somehow.

Have you ever had to leave your spouse, children or loved ones to receive treatment?  How did you cope with that decision?

I will keep you updated on my journey. Thank you for your unconditional support.


*To learn more about ANASAZI Foundation, please visit www.anasazi.org/



3 thoughts on “When Treatment Separates

  1. my wife and i have been separated for a week or so a few times in our 26 years. it will happen again this summer when she goes to hawaii without me. for at least a coupe of reasons i don’t want to go.. i guess it’s a little sad that when it happens, it’s not a huge tear for me.

    now to you. if your husband feels like you’re leaving him make a commitment to prove you’re not. if letters are still your only form of communication, commit to a letter a day. make them good. show that you’re that you’re there for yourself and him. if the facility has come to the modern age and allows phone calls, commit to multiple phones calls a day. either way, talk about what’s going on with you and what it means for him.

    no matter the commitment, stick to it. if you make a commitment to prove you’re not leaving and then don’t follow through, it looks like you’ve weakens your resolve.

    read him your 7 things. that’s speaks your daily trip in trying to get better. show him how he fits in that picture.

    to summarize, if your husband feels like your leaving, find ways to show you’re not and stick to them. hopefully through the process instead of feeling distance, he will discover a new closeness.


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