Bill of Rights

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Togetherness Project Conference

I know my circle of influence here is small, but it only takes one person talking to another to move the word along.

Last October I finally got my brave on and my resources together to attend my first Togetherness Conference.  I was so scared to go. I wanted to tell everyone so that I could make those connections.  I was also afraid something would happen at home with H that would prevent me from taking the trip to Utah to attend the conference.  I decided not to tell a soul, but when I got there, people came up to me and introduced themselves. It was like meeting family.  I loved it.  The presentations were amazing.  I wish I could have attended everyone.

If you haven't attended one of these conferences -- you need to.

They are amazing!

Here's the details.

The latest Togetherness Conference is rapidly approaching -- last time it was in Utah it sold out and had to turn people away, so make sure to register today for this life changing event!

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OCTOBER 17, 2015 • SLC, UT

  • A day of healing and connection with other women who, just like you, have found themselves searching for empathy and understanding
  • Six breakout sessions led by an amazing lineup of presenters and therapists
  • Inspiring keynote speakers
  • Lunch and dinner

Please consider sharing this on Facebook or Instagram, to help spread the word to women who are dealing with betrayal trauma that they are NOT ALONE:

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Law of Chastity - A Lesson in Relief Society

For the past month, I have been stressing and stewing over a presentation I gave in my local women's meeting at church.  I stressed over how to present the topic. I stew over an applicable and non-shaming object lesson.  I invited the bishop (the pastor of my congregation) even to share his thoughts.  I prayed -- countless times. I read as much supportive material as I could get my hands on. No  matter how prepared I was, there was no ease in the worry that topic of this lesson would cause those in the room to squirm in their seats, or even one or two to escape to the hallway in avoidance.  

Why is a discussion on chastity and morality so difficult to engage in? 

Why can't we talk to one another without the embarrassment or shame that comes with a discussion on this topic?

Today, I am grateful to be on this side of that stress. I'm relieved to have that lesson behind me.  Most importantly, I am grateful for that the Spirit of the Lord attended me and touched hearts.  I am still receiving texts or email from women in the congregation thanking me for the lesson.  I know it wasn't me that delivered the message to their hearts. I know the impressions they act on today because of what was discussed happened only because they were willing to invite the Spirit into their hearts to be teachable. did help some that I had some pretty incredible statistics to read to them..

Here are a few of the points I want to remember and have to refer to:

From President Ezra Taft Benson:
 1. Traveling widely as a religious and political leader, President Ezra Taft Benson was keenly aware of the steady moral decline throughout the world, especially with regard to the law of chastity. He took a strong stand against this decline, teaching that “the law of chastity is a principle of eternal significance.” He declared that “in the Church and kingdom of God, chastity will never be out-of-date, regardless of what the world may do or say.” He further taught: “We must be in the amoral and immoral world, … but not of it. We must be able to drop off to sleep at night without having to first sing lullabies to our conscience.

The plaguing sin of this generation is sexual immorality. This, the Prophet Joseph said, would be the source of more temptations, more buffetings, and more difficulties for the elders of Israel than any other.
Sexual immorality is a viper that is striking not only in the world, but in the Church today. Not to admit it is to be dangerously complacent or is like putting one’s head in the sand. In the category of crimes, only murder and denying the Holy Ghost come ahead of illicit sexual relations, which we call fornication when it involves an unmarried person, or the graver sin of adultery when it involves one who is married. I know the laws of the land do not consider unchastity as serious as God does, nor punish as severely as God does, but that does not change its abominableness. In the eyes of God there is but one moral standard for men and women. In the eyes of God chastity will never be out of date. …
No sin is causing the loss of the Spirit of the Lord among our people more today than sexual promiscuity. It is causing our people to stumble, damning their growth, darkening their spiritual powers, and making them subject to other sins.

3. Most people fall into sexual sin in a misguided attempt to fulfill basic human needs. We all have a need to feel loved and worthwhile. We all seek to have joy and happiness in our lives. Knowing this, Satan often lures people into immorality by playing on their basic needs. He promises pleasure, happiness, and fulfillment.

From President Gordon B. Hinckley:

"I recently read that pornography has become a $57 billion industry worldwide. Twelve billion of this is derived in the United States by evil and “conspiring men” (see D&C 89:4 ) who seek riches at the expense of the gullible. It is reported that it produces more revenue in the United States than the “combined revenues of all professional football, baseball and basketball franchises or the combined revenues of ABC, CBS, and NBC” (“Internet Pornography Statistics: 2003,” Internet,

It robs the workplace of the time and talents of employees. “20% of men admit accessing pornography at work. 13% of women [do so]. … 10% of adults admit having internet sexual addiction” (“Internet Pornography Statistics: 2003”). That is their admission, but actually the number may be much higher." (Gordon B. Hinckley, October 2004 General Conference)


In the great battle for the city of Cumeni, Helaman tells of his 2,060 stripling warriors who “fought most desperately” against their enemies (Alma 57:19). While “there was not one soul of them who did perish” in that battle, “neither was there one soul among them who had not received many wounds” (Alma 57:25). Many of these teenage soldiers were so terribly wounded that they fainted from the loss of blood.
These young warriors fought a battle that their parents could not fight for them, and they fought it because their society had been attacked. A similarly disastrous war rages among modern teenagers, for similar reasons. Today’s parents can no more fight the spiritual battles for their youth than the people of Ammon could. But they can learn to recognize the spiritual wounds this war inflicts and arm their children with the knowledge and resources they will need to survive.
Some studies show that close to one hundred percent of today’s teenagers will be exposed to pornography by the time they graduate from high school, and most of those exposures occur on the Internet while the child is doing homework.1 As of 2008, an estimated 9 out of 10 young men and nearly one-third of young women reported using pornography.2 The average age of exposure and addiction are the same: 11 years old.

These are just a few of the ones I used for this class.  One of the motivating factors in this opportunity for me comes from the instructions given in step 12 of most 12-step programs.  That of, sharing this message.  It isn't always a voice of hope that is needed. Sometimes the warning needs shouted. When a voice of warning is needed and the opportunity presents itself -- I raise the red flag. 
Yesterday I had the chance to open a door in my church circles to talk openly and honestly about this plague. I talked about my 12-step groups for support for family members.  I talked about resources for children and what to do in homes so that children have a safe place to go when they confront pornography.  I didn't tell my story or say a single word about my husband.  I didn't have to.  It is, unfortunately, touching too many lives for it to be hidden any more.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Trauma Vs. Serenity

The truth about betrayal trauma is that at least 86% of wives of addicts are suffering symptoms of PTSD. This number was given to me this week at my support meeting.  It's on the rise. The last time I look at a number from Dr. Keven Skinner of Addo Recovery the number was in the 70 percentile.

Regardless of those numbers, trauma feels exactly like all those words in that graphic at the top of this post.  Fear is a huge driving emotion in my personal trauma.  No matter how much I try to talk myself down off the fear ledge, it is huge, it is real and often comes uninvited.

In the beginning of all of this, I thought, 'if I could only just be more _____________" then he wouldn't need this addiction. Right?  I thought is was my fault in a lot of ways.  I thought I just wasn't enough for him.  


Then I found the 12-step program for family members of addicts and the answers to why I'm triggered, or why I was sick to my stomach and shaking all the time, why I numbed all my feelings and felt so lost in my own marriage.  

In 12-step I found the tools to help me recover.  

The new support group I attend has their own approach to the 12-step model which includes the use of the Serenity Prayer.   As we discussed the topic the week, this reference to serenity came up a lot. Along with a process model for dealing with trauma -- that I'm sure is familiar.  It wasn't part of the Healing Through Christ program, so it was new to me.   

Here is the process:

    1.  On your knees
    2.  On the phone
    3.  In the box

What is this ' in the box?' 

What I learned is:  It's a surrender box. A box where you write down what you are going to surrender to God.  It is the do-able portion of the first three steps of the 12-step program.

1.  We admitted we were powerless over sexual addiction - that our lives had become unmanageable.
2.  Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God.

Healing Through Christ:
1.  Come to understand and accept that we are powerless over the addiction of a loved one and recognize that our lives have become unmanageable.
2.  Come to believe that the power of God can restore us to spiritual and emotional health.
3.  Decide to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God the Eternal Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.

Surrender = Sanity = Serrenity

Today I surrender my husband, my marriage, and my inability to fix what is broken on my own.

Here's a link to more information on the surrender box if you are interested. A jar works, a journal works too.  Surrender in a way that works for you.  

Boundaries Continued -- and an Analogy

I really appreciate all of the feedback I received on my recent boundary changes.  I first learned the concept of boundaries when I took the first betrayal trauma program with Addo Recovery

At that time, H was deep into acting out.  My first reaction was something like; 'Great! This will go over like a lead balloon.'   It did.

What the heck, right? I wrote up the boundaries, thinking it will help me define what I need to feel safe.  It did somewhat. Today, those same initial boundaries are right here at the top of my blog.  

H never saw them.

It took me about three years or more before I finally printed them off to show him.

He was angry.
He said they are punishment.
And left the room.

I felt stuck.  I felt like I had no control or power even thou H accused me of being controlling.  With some flip retort to the effect of; 'If you get to make boundaries, I get to make boundaries."  For the next few weeks, when I made a request of him or needed something, he'd holler on his way out of the room, "That is against my boundary.'

Epic fail!

Until I realized what I needed was rules for my safety that have a pre-determined action I complete.  No matter how ugly H gets when we talk, he is not going to leave the house.  Either I have to go, or I need a response that I will follow through with; like walking away.  

This is exactly what that new set of boundaries is for --- permission to walk away from the crazy-ness.

Wish me luck! 

Now for the story.  This is from a friend's therapist, shared with permission, in her words (minus personal information - of course.)

BOUNDARIES: Just wanted to share an analogy my therapist gave me when explaining boundaries. He (her therapist) grew up on a cattle ranch and he told me that when you move cows to a new pen, the first thing they do is walk, single file, along the wall of the pen. It doesn't matter if all the hay is in the middle of the pen. The will do this in a 10ft x 10ft pen or in a 10 mile grazing area. As they walk along, they push against the fence, testing the boundary around them. They are cows so they are likely to graze along the way, but overall, they stick to their survey of the fence. Once they find the area is secure, they will go to the middle, or where ever they want.

If, they find a weak spot in the fence, they will push until they break it and then all the cows will leave the pen. So you repair the fence and put the cows back in. You might expect them to go around the pen again, not this time. Now, all the cows will make a beeline to where they got out the last time and they will push with all their might against that fence. So your repairs need to be stronger than even the rest of the fence. The new fence has to be double strong. Once the cows realize they can't break through here again, they will resume their pen testing and then graze. However, no matter how long they are in the pen, if they find themselves over by that area, they will randomly test it again. 

So it is with people and boundaries we put up. Once we establish a boundary, the people around us will test it, looking for weak places. If they find a weak place, they will exploit it. And then, when we repair the fence, they will try even harder to break it where it was once broken. As has been mentioned here before, the right boundaries often cause anger and frustration in people around us because they are used to exploiting our weakness in these particular areas or it simply means they have to change how they interact with us. But that doesn't mean we should back down. Rather, we should prepare ourselves for the push back, and don't waiver. And if we do break once, make sure we double our barrier in that area the next time. 

And in reality, boundaries are healthy for everyone. They create safety for us and for those around us. Just like how fences create safety for cows. Sometimes the good they do is hard to see and we push and want to escape them. Respecting each other's boundaries is important in any relationship: work, kids, marriage, friends etc. 

This is a great story, but then maybe it is just because I like cows.
In one of the comments in my last post, there is a link to an amazing essay written by that commenter.  I recommend reading it.  If your boundaries are working for you - I take my hat off to you.  I know many women whose boundaries are working. Some because their loved one is in good recovery, others because the spouse is more willing to comply.  

Likely, I will be adjusting mine as time goes by.  
It's a learning process, right?

***Additional resources on boundaries can be found in  Dr. Adam Moore's presentation at this year's SLC UCAP:

What boundaries are:
  * Used to define limits of relationships
  * Healthy responses to violations of self
  * In place as trust is rebuilt
  * Protection against repeated harm

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

New Boundary Time

For the past several weeks, I have been in a long, drawn out conversation with my sponsor. We've hashed out and re-hashed my situation and the boundaries I had in place for my safety when H initially re-entered the family home to live.

Unfortunately, the boundaries I wrote up landed on a hard heart, deaf ears,  and a retaliatory spouse. When a good recovery idea backfires, my only known response is to hunker down and numb out.

I can't compel H to honor my boundaries.  I can't reason with him to see the sense in them instead he sees punishment.

H's way is to sweep issues under the rug and pretend they are not there.

Something along this line...


It is just deception.

You can walk on it.  You can smash it flat and unrecognizable.  You just can not heal it or fix it.

After a really great 12-Step meeting at SA Lifeline today, I realize that all the negotiating and reasoning is making it worse.  As long as H is not in real recovery, he will not be humble enough to talk out problems.  They need to go away fast in order for him to survive.  

My end goal is my serenity.  I need to feel safe in my unsafe situation.   The following is my attempt to protect me.  I'm open to any feedback.


1.  Personal Safety Boundary -
    A. I won't engage in conversations where there is cruelty, compelling, manipulation or yelling
    B. I won't be in a vehicle or store with you when you carry your weapon when I do not feel safe in the relationship

2.  Spiritual Safety Boundary -
     A.  I will not engage in conversations that chase the spirit out of the home
     B.  I will leave the room when the spirit is driven out by yelling, or discord.

3  Recovery Boundary -
    A.  I will evaluate my safety regarding your recovery work based on the following:
          1. Humility
          2. Honesty
          3. Accountability
          4. Willingness to surrender to God