Chasing Alison

Trauma, Truth, and Praying to Trust Again

Surviving betrayal. My husband and my best friend, is this really happening?

photo of woman Sitting in the window reflection during trauma and divorce Edinburgh Scotland
Weeks after my then-husband left, I packed a bag and headed to Edinburgh, Scotland.

The year was 2017, and the year my life came to a screeching halt.

I hope my vulnerability helps you feel even a little less alone. I pray you feel less invalidated, but most importantly, less humiliated.

March 2018, the year I took over 20 years of handwritten journals to my new home in the UK.

Packed in a carry on, my journals were decisively chosen for a specific timeline.

The years, 2000- 2017, when I met my then soon-to-be ex-husband at the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Academy.

I was looking for answers on those pages. What had I missed? Surely there would be clues, right?

I’ve been documenting my days on pen and paper since I was a little girl. It’s my therapy.

As I sat on my couch I laughed and cried, sometimes uncontrollably.

Three, yes three days later when I came upon the last two years of my life, I froze.

I sat in debilitating humiliation.

I said to myself, ‘What in the actual fuck!’

Who is this woman vomiting on these pages? Tears fell onto my 2017 journal like a Montana stream.

You see, at this time, the ink was still not dry on my divorce.

All I knew was that I desperately needed to leave California. I needed to think. I needed to breathe. I needed to not feel like I was insane.

I believed 6000 miles away would do the trick.

While Back home in California, I was just willing myself to get out of bed.

I was in the middle of opening up an excruciatingly enormous business project with my father. Barely sleeping. Barely eating. Avoiding friends with the excuse of being so busy. 

If I could get out of bed, make it to the shower, then into my car and proceed to make it to my office, I knew I would be busy enough to get through ANOTHER day.

And when I got there, I could bury myself in 12-16-hour workdays.

“One day at a time Alison. Dad needs you, and the kids need you, just get through the day.”

Wash. Rinse. Repeat. 

Putting on “that face” we do as women, so no one asks questions, having to conduct media interviews, smile for the cameras, and bury the internal hell I was living in.

I was on repeat for months.

I was telling everyone around me that I was fine, “everything happens for a reason.” 

But in truth at my core, I was still intensely suffering the loss of my marriage.

I was humiliated and embarrassed.

You see, he had made a lethal choice. A decision that nearly killed me.

My husband had turned to another woman, and that woman was my best friend.

Daily I wondered.

I wondered if he knew what “this” would do to the kids he raised. Most importantly to Alex, the daughter who so proudly called him “step-daddy.”

Though the kids were adults and out of the house, their pain was so fucking hard to watch.

They wanted answers as much as I did.

I will never forget our daughter, always so calm, yelling at me in my kitchen, “Why is he doing this Mom? He is supposed to walk me down the aisle! What the hell is happening?”

But I had no answers.

Did they even have that conversation? I doubt it.

Watching the woman who I loved and trusted, with every fiber of my being, live a life I had built; I was still angry. And she did so with pride, with no remorse, with no accountability of the marriage she helped destroy.

I was angry at him for being so weak.

I was angry at her for infiltrating my marriage when we were at our most vulnerable.

I was angry I trusted her with details of our marriage struggles.

I was angry she sat on my couch while I physically shook with anxiety because I couldn’t find my husband.

I remember the last time I saw her, when she came to my house:

“Where IS HE Brennda!? What the hell is going on? I don’t believe he is at his parents house.” I said.

“He treats you like shit! – You should be put on a pedestal, just leave him already!” she passionately said that night.

She cried with me, held me. And yet, he was down the road. In her house. 

I never heard from her again after that night, my best friend and confidant, literally disappeared.

A few weeks later we returned to marriage counseling, and I knew he was lying.

I know him better than he knows himself.

Still being told he was living with his parents, I came to the realization the lies would never stop.

Then it happened, again.

They had been seen together again, with my in-laws.

2017, Thanksgiving weekend we had agreed to “start over,” and try again.

Beginning with a movie date.

He walked into “our” home to pick me up.

Then I asked, again.

“Were you with her on Wednesday? With Mom and Bill? STOP lying to me PLEASE!”

He said tearfully, “I am not having an affair, but yes, I am renting a room from her. That is all I promise you Aliee!”

I stared at him.

I looked longingly for the man I committed my life to in a chapel on Hanalei Bay.

I looked for the man who wrote vows to my kids.

Then it hit me, he is gone.

6 or so months later he finally admitted it, “we’re together.”

Then, within weeks, she was gloating on social media.

All I could think was, ‘Is this really happening?’

Only a fucking insane person would post that she is in love with (who was) her BEST FRIENDS HUSBAND, right?

With hashtag “thinbluelinefamily,” “airopsfamily” wearing glitter ball-caps with the Thin Blue Line logo.

WHAT. THE. FUCK?

As I sat on my couch in Edinburgh, the combination of sadness, anger, and humiliation was overwhelming.

But I knew, it was mine and mine alone to overcome.

I had two adult kids out of the house and desperately trying to live a very intentional committed relationship with myself.

I had to get my shit together.

I had this beautiful new home I had just bought in Scotland at the time.

And there I sat, reading that entry on Page 192 of my 2017 journal.

I put it down, stared out my window, and told myself ‘it’s time.’

Time to finally pull out a blank canvas and start painting what I, Alison, wanted for my life.

I said to myself on repeat, “I can’t be that woman to anyone, ever again.”

I’d been everything to my husband, to everyone, except myself, and that needed to change.

Reading those pages from early 2017, when I was so close to leaving the marriage, was so eye-opening. Why didn’t I just leave?

“Don’t leave me, Alison, I promise it will get better, we are so close to all of our goals!” He would say.

In the meantime, I’m hiding my anxiety, I’m hiding my stress behind a bottle of wine, anti-depressants, and a treadmill.

I’m shouldering it all keeping our marriage together and not upset him. 

This is what I signed up for, I would tell myself. I cried myself to sleep almost nightly lying next to him.

We’ve been through so much, I said vows, you cannot leave him.

Again, him before me. His goals are my goals.

Alison M Cameron Wellness Coach Photo

Every journal entry from the last 3 years of my marriage reminded me that the only person I failed was myself.

I failed Alison.

I was his “Wifey,” a mother, sister, Tia, and friend to anyone who needed me. I was accessible, all the time, to everyone but myself. 

But when I’m finished with this first post and hit that “publish” button, know this: I am so grateful, yes, GRATEFUL to be sitting where I am today.

To be able to sit on this computer sharing parts of my past, remembering that hellacious pain, well, I embrace it.

I am no longer that woman. I am the warrior version of who she used to be.

So, protect your peace, and cleanse your space of toxicity.

That is not selfish, that is self-love. If you believe repressing emotions is a strength, I’m here to tell you it’s not.

I have done it my entire life. Let it hurt, then let it heal. 

THAT Black Gown” -2017

Kevin Fiscus Photography

 

I wore this gown for a photo shoot just last year in my boardroom.

I needed to make new memories in it. Why is this the photo I’m choosing for my first post? This dress defined a big moment for me in my marriage, and a reminder I will never doubt my intuition again.

Ms. Insecurity and Ms. Intuition were side by side, working in tandem the first few months of 2017, the year we separated.

I told them daily to “shut the fuck up!”

But still, their whispers in my ear proceeded.

So unbeknownst to my then-husband, I hired a personal trainer, then proceeded to get into the best shape of my life. I wanted to be absolute perfection for him, I wanted him to want me again.

We were going to a black-tie gala, and we desperately needed this night together.

At the time I hadn’t received a compliment for probably 6 months, and he was usually overflowing with them. Clearly, Ms. Insecurity was winning this battle, and I was not used to that. 

I remember the exact moment when I finally put the dress on and walked into our living room with my head held so proudly high. As he sat on the couch, looking insanely handsome in the blue and black tuxedo we had just bought, he looked up from his phone and said in a flat voice, “You look nice. Is BC on her way?”

This is also the moment I should have left him.

Instead, I walked to my vanity, sat down, and with shaking hands reapplied the mascara that he had just ruined. 

The 3 of us went to the Gala together. Her on one arm, me on the other. 

This gown is now my cape. 

I am not sure I will share more stories like this, maybe if they serve a purpose to a lesson. But the trash has been taken out both figuratively and literally from my home.

I’m excited, nervous, and a bit anxious to share how and what I did right, but more importantly what I did wrong, and of course what still needs to be done.

Have I still spoken to him? At the time of this writing, indeed have.

Why? I honestly do not know.

What I do know is I did not allow him to make me his mistress after making me his wife.

Growth right? {READ UPDATE}

This is why Chasing Alison was born. I realized that the true journey in life is for YOURSELF, not your partner, friends, or even your family.

You can and must be everything to yourself first and always. Only then can you decide how to delegate all of the love you have to give to others. 

Nothing is off-limits. And there is no better way to live than to live in self-love and constant discovery. 

Alison M Cameron Wellness blog

©2020 All Rights Reserved, Alison M Cameron

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