Friday, April 28, 2017

Surrendering



Each week at SA Lifeline meetings, the long version of the Serenity Prayer is read.  I did not know these other verses of this prayer until I attended my first SAL meeting.

Right now I am focusing on this one main point:

"Living one day at a time - enjoying one moment at a  time"

This is the idea behind my surrender.


The truth is, after 30 years of this life, I know that hoping for, or wanting something that requiring the cooperation of another human being (think addict here) to make it happen, is not what this is all about. This is about letting go of needing anyone but me and God. This isn't about finally knowing the path forward, rather it is realizing that I am not helping myself by trying to make this happen my way. I need to surrender my life,  trusting that God knows what is best for me.

I have been trying to force myself and H down a life path for 30 years, without success. It isn't working. I'm not achieving what I need and want from doing things my way. I'm sure H isn't either. I do not believe my expectations have been excessive. My ideas of honesty, fidelity, and love are what most people look for -- and even expect in a marriage.

Most -- but not everyone.

I am surrendering...
   Love
   Marriage
   Companionship
   Trust
   Fidelity
   Friendship
   Someone to talk to
   Someone to know -- and who knows me
   Someone to laugh with
   Someone to cry with
   Someone who deals with the struggles of day to day with me
   Someone who even takes some of those troubles from me
   Someone to mow the lawn and take out the trash
   Someone to help warm the bed up on cold winter nights
   Someone to go exploring with
   Someone who gets my music and dances in the kitchen with me
   Someone to sit next to on the pew at church
   Someone to fight with
   Someone to dream with
   Someone to grow old with

Surrendering is painful.
Surrendering evokes a longing for that which one cannot have but longs for anyway.



Surrender is choosing another direction -- 
when the current path is not taking you where you need to go. 






Surrender is letting go
so both can live


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Back to Bloggin' and Movin' On!





It has been way too long since I stopped by here long enought to add to the story of my life. Many things have happend. Some good and some not so good. 

Life is like that -- both happy and sad. 

After trying to do this on my own, I have finally come to realize there is value for me in visiting these pages, in telling these stories, both the good ones and the sad ones. Writing them down validates the struggles and successes. It paints the picture of how hard I tried and where I need to try harder. 

It was almost a year ago I came here to talk about being stuck. 

Stuck - unable to move. Unable to change. Unable to progress. Unable to....

Stuck for nearly a year.

Stuck trying.  Is that even a thing?

I tried. 
I tried counseling.
I tried moving.
I tried hiding in my room with the door locked tight.
I tried letting H in my room.
I tried.

There is a truth about trying that has to be told -- it takes two to make a try work. 







A month ago today -- I asked H to leave. 

Did you know leaving is not a complete event? 







leaving
noun
1.
something that is leftresidue.

Something that is left leaves a residue. 
It isn't complete. 
Something remains to be felt or seen or to be dealt with.
Residue sticks where you don't want it to. 
It sticks even when you ask them to leave.



residue
noun

1.
something that remains after a part is removed, disposed of, or used;remainder; rest; remnant.





There is the residue of the porn he used in my home.
The residue of the lies.
The residue of pain.
The residue of a broken marriage.
It all sticks and it is difficult to remove. 




For the past year my life has looked something like this detour. 
Wandering into dead ends.
Starting and stoping and changing directions until everything inside me is in knots 
  and I feel lost.

It is time to stop this nonsense.
Stop ignoring the warning signs. 

It is time for a change of direction







So today I am changing direction.
I am finding a straigh path to recovery.
My recovery.

I am going to keep walking.
Out of the crazy-making.
Away from the lies.
Away from the betrayal.
Away from the pain.
Toward me.
Toward Christ -- for he is the only one who can heal this hurt and locate the lost me inside it all. 




Off I go..
Wish me luck!!!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Stuck

Stuck!

It's a word my therapist and I discuss all the time.
It's full of lies.
Mine.
H's.

and sometimes I think God's....but only because I don't understand and know what he knows.



For the past 7 weeks I have been buried in a class that has buried me emotionally. At the same time, I am in conflict with this class and my real life. 

Thanks Marriage 300.  

I'm reading this book:


Product Details 


It is amazing!  unless your husband is an addict.


And this book:

Product Details 

 This is amazing times.10  unless your husband doesn't want to be married to you.



 
 How long has it been since I started writing here about divorce and separation?
 It's kind of a theme, huh?

Please, know, it is far from desire. 
I hate the idea.
I hate what a divorce will mean for me at this point in my life.
I hate what it will do for generations of my family yet to be.
I hate that it conflicts with every doctrine and principle of marriage that I hold true.


It is as I said to H recently, I cannot heal a marriage by myself.  A marriage is by nature a party of two. Repairing, restoring, healing, fixing, all the broken pieces of addiction and deception cannot be accomplished solely by me.




 


 To read about my puzzle follow this link. It is a blog post I wrote for my marriage class. then if you'd like, come back and tell me what you think.


My blog post
 

I'm still trying to make sense of where I am -- and my therapist is out of town for another week.

Hence....

STUCK! 
 

 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Prone to Wander -- Through Recovery


   





I have been thinking a lot about the recovery path I have walked the past 4 years. I like to think of it now in terms of a favorite hymn of mine, "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing". 

Come, thou Fount of every blessing,
tune my heart to sing thy grace;
streams of mercy, never ceasing,
call for songs of loudest praise. 
~~~


I remember well the day I fell to my knees in utter despair, my heart was a shattered mess. I had yet again, unearthed H's despicable acts. The only place I could go -- was to the Savior. In Him, I knew I would find the grace I needed to extend mercy to the one I believed (then) would never deserve it after everything he has done (and kept doing) to me. 

I would have to find the way to tune myself toward recovery -- toward my Father in Heaven and the redeeming grace of the Savior.









Teach me some melodious sonnet,
sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it,
mount of thy redeeming love. 
~~~







Those days were constant prayers. Prayers for comfort. Prayers for peace. Prayers to just get through the next moment. Prayers to take my heart and fix it upon the only place I felt hope would come. And yes...a prayer for a melodious sonnet. Music has an amazing balm to it. In the days that would follow, there would be many songs that helped heal me.








Here I raise mine Ebenezer;
hither by thy help I'm come;
and I hope, by thy good pleasure,
safely to arrive at home. 
~~~

An Ebenezer is a "stone of help". The reference is from 1 Samuel 7:12
     "Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpeh and Shen, and called the name of it Eben-ezer, saying, Hitherto hath the Lord helped us."

For me, that stone of help was my recovery groups, the Healing Through Christ program, SA Lifeline
and even this brave, brave move....Filming my story with Addo Recovery.


These were the beginning days. Days of great pain  (oh how my body always wears the weight of this betrayal and makes it even harder to bear the rejection of H's acts) and confusion. Recovery was the only way through all of that hurt, anger, and hopelessness. It was the only way for me to find myself. It was the only way to find hope and healing.










Jesus sought me when a stranger,
wandering from the fold of God;
he, to rescue me from danger,
interposed his precious blood. 
~ ~ ~
O to grace how great a debtor
daily I'm constrained to be!
Let thy goodness, like a fetter,
bind my wandering heart to thee. 
~~~



 <b>Jesus</b> <b>at the door</b>

The more I worked my recovery, the more I saw my Savior in every part of my pain. The more I opened my heart to him -- the stronger I became. The more I worked to "Let go and let God" as we say in the surrender process --- the greater the ability I found to walk this path.

A path I walk alone.

Even as I write this post,  H is faltering in his addiction and the anger of disclosing to me -- yet again -- shame filled behaviors. There is no one but the Savior to hold my pain (and H's) as we both walk our own paths.

No one wants this kind of adversity in their life. No one says, "Hey Lord, pick me! I'm strong. I can handle a husband with a sexual addiction."  Most of us that have walked this path would tell anyone to run.  Run as fast and as far as you can away from any one with this addiction.

In bold statement by Sister Julie B. Beck in 2011, she said the following, "Please remember that there are no righteous daughters of God who will willingly tolerate a pornography habit in the young men they date and marry. In fact, if a young woman has any hint that a young man she is interested in is involved in pornography in any of its forms, I would tell her to consider it as a flashing red light, which means 'stop this relationship'."  (Disclaimer: I'll post a link to this full address in the comments. She mentioned the same thing to the young men. My point is not to say that all addicts are not worthy of a healthy relationship, only that it will be a very difficult road to travel.)









Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
prone to leave the God I love;
here's my heart, O take and seal it,
seal it for thy courts above.  
~~~

Recovery was full of dark days in the beginning. Days when I have asked God why he is silent, or why does he leave me here to suffer in this agony. An addict husband is not a empathic companion. He cannot sit with my pain when his is so consuming. There have been many church leaders who have not understood my pain and needs either (Some have even made it worse with the thoughtless comments.).




 Here I am now --
a work in progress. What I have learned in this journey is how to be brave. I've learned how resilient I am. I'm careful -- and wise. I'm authentic, real, and more courageous that I ever thought I could be. I'm intentional, faithful and patient. Qualities that have taken a lot of work (and still require fine tuning from time to time) to develop. I am powerful; not in my ability to control others, but in my ability to surrender and to allow the Master to mold me into who He wants me to be. I am worthy and enough!  Something I didn't believe when this journey with a sex addict first began. In fact, I believed quite the opposite for so long. 

I am INDESTRUCTIBLE!!!!


No matter what happens. No matter what H decides as he processes what is required of him from God, from the Church and even from me (should marriage be something he even wants with me)....I will not break.

I used to think I was broken.  A hot mess, as my friend used to refer to me. Life is messy. Life is hard and dirty and painful and all of those things that make us think we are not equipped to be anything but messy and broken.

Lies! All lies.  








  I Believe -




(a verse missing from this hymn)


O that Day when freed from sinning,
I shall see thy lovely Face;
Clothed then in blood-washed Linnen 
 How I’ll sing thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransom’d Soul away;
Send thine Angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless Day. 














Thursday, April 7, 2016

Love, Attachment, and Connection

I used to think I knew what all these terms meant. I've felt that crazy kind of love in the beginning of a romance; that feeling you get when you can't stop thinking about him.  I've felt that kind of heart wrenching love looking into the face of my child for the first time. In my small human way and because of the great love I have for my children, I have a sense of how much Father loves each of us. He created this beautiful world, he sent His son to suffer, die, and atone for us. He provided a way for all of us to return to His presence.

After addiction, love takes on a whole new meaning.

I used to think people made love with someone they loved -- that was supposed to be special.
I used to think that if you told someone you loved them -- you wouldn't ever hurt them.
I used to think that if you loved someone -- you respected their own individual worth and value.
I used to think love was the impetus for that deep connection that happens between two married people.

I used to think a lot of things before I realized I was married to a sex addict.

Including....that the problems in my marriage were because I was too _______________ or not enough___________________.

Lies!
All lies!

Except for the part about babies, moms, Heavenly Father and the Savior.

H and I have known each other some 30 years. Except for my siblings and extended family members, I have no other relationship with that kind of time invested.  While there may have been bumps and bruises along the way of growing up with siblings, no one has hurt me to the great extent H has.

Now I am wondering, is this love or just a long-term attachment?

Does love get mixed up with need?

I need someone to open jars I can't open.
I need someone to help me carry things that I can't manage on my own.

I can't think of other needs.
I'm a pretty independent soul.

I have long since separated need from wants or like to haves:
  * I like to have someone I can really talk to
  * I want a husband I can trust enough to talk to
Neither of these are love or attachment

 Dr. Sue Johnson says, "Bonding with a trusted other is a compelling drive wired into the mammalian brain by millions of years of evolution. This is all about survival."  Johnson goes on to say that when we lose that, we panic, and we are lonely or hurting.


How do you trust enough to give or accept love or connection when there is betrayal?

As important as the need for connection is for us as human beings, I'm beginning to see that safety has a primary place on the need ladder.



 According to Maslow, safety comes only after basic life needs of food and water are met.


As I was studying these concepts, trying to make sense of what comes first, I read somewhere (I'll try to find the source) that the deep emotional connection happens only when that person is truly open, and 100% responsible for their own feelings and needs. I took that to mean that safety happens inside first, before it happens with another person.

When I try to connect all of this to my present situation and the intense amount of PTSD I am experiencing, I feel like all I am doing is spinning my wheels. I'm not getting a bit of traction to push myself from my stuck place to the starting point of change.

I have embarked on a new introspective course to find me. I have started to study principles of self-deception and self-betrayal. As I do this self-reflection, I am not expecting to change my H. I'm not expecting to see his betrayal as anything less that it is. I am absolutely NOT taking responsibility for anything H has done. All I am trying to do is take this trauma and this emotional dis-ease with a lack of safety and see what I am doing to contribute to it.

Wish me luck.

Seriously, the PTSD around H has been horrible lately. I can't stand him to even touch me. I need to get to the bottom of this because it is just as bad around my kids too.  There are times when I just cannot have another human body in my personal space.

That is no way to live.

I can't keep all of my associations at arms length....even though right now...it feels the safest to me.






















Thursday, March 3, 2016

A Plan for Healing

I was going back through my "Recovery Binder" last night, looking at the materials I've collected from my classes and journal notes. On one hand, it felt good to see how well I was doing. On the other, I see the stuffing and the numbing are still my go-to.

27 years of behavior is hard to change.

Then I remembered a book a friend recently talked about. Something she said prompted me to investigate the book a little more. (I like any excuse to buy another recovery book.)  It was something in the way she described what she was reading that connected wih some other thoughts I've been having on healing. I wondered if it would help me with some stuck things I am trying to work through.

I ordered it -- and then downloaded the kindle version because I couldn't wait.  On one of the first few pages it said, "It takes tremendous energy to keep functioning while carrying the memory of terror".

I almost shouted YES!!! out loud in my bed last night as I was reading those words.

I read them again, and again.

(Disclaimer, I'll be referencing this book a little more later in some other posts and will link back to this with the proper credits.)



I thought about all the energy it takes a body, my body, to hold in all the trauma, the lies, the losses, the blaming, the gaslighting and every other crazy thing that an addict wife lives with every day -- sometimes multiple times a day.

It takes energy every Sunday to get up and put on my "church face" and pretend everything is ok. It takes energy to just go to the store some days because hiding from the world means I don't really know what I am missing out there too. It takes energy to just breathe some days. Doing lanudry or sweeping floors can also be the catalist for some flood of undesireable memory.

Because it is trauma.

Trauma has that affect on the mind and on the body. The brain is wired to help the body survive. All these trauma reactions that happen are just the brain doing it job.

I want to teach my brain a different response. I want to teach it peace. I want to re-wire my brain to relax instead of spool up every time these thoughts and fears come flying in unwanted and uninvited.

I remember studying last semester in my psych class how the brain responds to repatitive thought. As I was studying it, I kept thinking, "Yes! This is exaclty what happens after a trauma." I remember feeling relieved as I realized, "Hey, you're normal! Your brain is supposed to work this way."  Trauma has a way of making me feel anything but normal. 



Several years ago a dear friend broke her leg. The break was horrible. It required several pins, a rod down through the femor and tremendous physical therapy sessions.  It was her right leg. So she learned to drive with her left (Odd -- but she's a very independent woman..much like many of us who learn to deal with trauma alone.) I remember going to the hospital to see her and the response I had as I visually saw the effect of the break and the pain she was in. I had to excuse myself for a moment and catch my breath before I could go back in the hospital room to sit with her.

from the case femoral shaft fracture femoral shaft fracture with ...

What I really remember about this experience with this friend, was the amount of effort it took to heal from that break. Physical energy, emotional energy. There was trauma to the leg and bone and to my friend.  Once all the exterior evidence of the trauma was removed, there was still internal pain. Trauma the eye could not see. The bone took over a year to heal. Then the rod was surgically removed and more healing was required. Years later, she still talks about the sensations and struggles she continues to experience because of that break.




What helps this (My brain isn't broken like my addict husband, but it is damaged from trauma)
Broken Brain | Listen and Stream Free Music, Albums, New Releases ...







and this....











                                                                                   (my heart is definitely broken)




Therapy helps, 12-step groups help, reading recovery books help, and even removing yourself from the situation (if necessary) helps, getting a contact circle or a sponsor also helps.

Time helps.

Work helps.

In one of  the 12-step groups I attend,  there is a line in the script that reads, "Keep coming back -- it works when we work it!"

I've heard that line countless times, but this week, as I am pondering the next direction on my healing path, I'm seeing this differently.

Work it!


Besides that list above, I'm taking charge of my losses in my mind.  My head is going to take me a bit longer -- its more work to get through all the muck lodged up in that head of mine. I'm doing what I can physically while I work on what I can mentally and emotionally. Aside from focused therapy (starting EDMR) --

I am taking charge of my losses. It is going to be a while before I can make the physical move from this marriage. In preparation for that, I am working on my emotional move. I am making plans for the things I want to take into my new life. I'm making lasting and final memories with the current possessions I have that I won't take with me. I'm making plans for things I know I will have to say goodbye to, or changing them so that I can take them with me.  (Like my piano...story pending here)



Officially "Out of Control"

Most of my life has felt like this plan spinning out of control.  I've attempted multiple responses to level set and re-direct the spin -- most to no avail. (Because we all know living with addiction is not controllable.) 

I can control how I choose to see and respond to this divorce. I can choose whether this is going to tear me up or open up a door that for 27 years I could not get open. 

Someone once said, " It's not what happened to us but the belief we created that hurts."  (credit unknown)  I don't know where I am with this thought now. What I do know, is I can feed the pain and let it fester and even destory me. Or I sit with it, be with it, even love it for how it is shaping the new me. 




Thursday, February 11, 2016

Paradigm Shift

In 1962, Thomas Kuhn wrote The Structure of Scientific Revolution, popularizing the concept of "paradigm shift" (p.10). Kuhn argues scientific advancement is not evolutionary, rather it is a "series of peaceful interludes punctuated by intellectually violent revolutions", and in those revolutions "one conceptual world view is replaced by another". 


The past couple of posts have included a bit of hurt and pain. It is understandable in the face of disclosures.  The truth is, I don't want to fight over things. There is only one thing worth fighting for -- and that is something I wouldn't have to fight for.

My faith in my Father in Heaven and my testimony in his restored gospel. 

As I walk around my home looking at the pieces of me, I have to ask myself, can I live without that? I have a piano that is barely movable without the assistance of one strong dude. Can I live without that?  It is part of my inheritance. I was gifted my grandmother's baby grand piano in 1997. I hauled in from my home in Utah to Virginia. I paid to have it professionally packaged and secured. When I got to Norfolk, it was obvious it was going to have to stay in storage for a while longer. I couldn't bear it under the humid circumstances that it was stored it. I called an antique piano refinisher and struck a deal.  I traded my antique baby grand in for a brand new upright. It wasn't the best deal, but it was better than what I was currently dealing with.  That piano has been 4 different homes since that deal was finalized. 

There are other pieces of furniture from various family members, a brand new dining room table. There are books and knicknacks that make up a life I've lived now many years. There are several sets of china that came from Japan when my father was stationed there that I also inherited. 

As I look around though, I can't see a single thing that is worth fighting over to the point of losing myself in the process.  I can't see where I would gain destroying the man I have spent more of my life with than my childhood family.

Where does this leave me?





I don't know. The limbo between filing for divorce is difficult. 
I want to leave next week, but I know I can't.
I want to never see H's face again, but I know I will. 



  

I wish it was as easy as a click on my keyboard 

or 

 


making a directional turn down a different road.


The truth is...

It's more like this.....

And a huge change it attitude




which is easily upset by one little text from H
....or H bringing D home later than expected
....or a bad night's sleep complete with horrible dream of what my future could look like
....or a comment from someone that wasn't mean to throw me smack dab back in trauma
....or breathing in and out just trying to get through the next moment
....