Jeff, you wrote:
"Where is my happiness? I cannot help but feel that abuse and addiction have forever robbed me of any chance of knowing it. All the therapy and good intentions in the world cannot change what is at the core of who I am."
In my opinion, the key words are: core of who I am.
Because of the abuse Jeff, you have developed a set of beliefs that, deep down, you are somehow not what you should be. And the fact is: you aren't. Had the abuse never taken place, you would have been a very different human being.
The son you adore, you would never have met. The wife you love, you would never have dated, let alone married and held so tightly. The sensitivity you have in such abundance may not have been so apparent or developed. Yup, you would have been very different. SA changes us Jeff. We can't do anything about that. Perhaps it makes us feel things more deeply in some respects. But that has a wonderful side to it as well. I'm not saying we should be grateful for the collateral gifts SA has brought us, but I do say we need to accept the fact it happened and move on, not allowing ourselves to be robbed of anything more.
Remember something: It took every experience, every bit of knowledge, every joy, every disappointment, every hurt, every moment to make
the Jeff we know in this forum. Celebrate what you are Jeff, core and all ... afterall, you had a big part in making that son of yours...the one you described so beautifully, with the clear eyes. And it took all of what you are to write so eloquently, directly and touchingly in this thread. Peace, Andrew