Bill of Rights

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. 


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___________________.

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 feels the safest to me.