Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Grounded in Paradise

"Rapunzel"
I'm missing you guys.
 
But I'm still here, and I'm still listening.
 I've just been a little -- uh -- otherwise occupied.
You see, I'm somewhat in heaven. But still grounded. It feels good.
I have a companion. I'm experiencing some sunshine in my soul. It's been so, so, so long. 
Ah, my man. Jack. I adore him. He's awesome. Things are not perfect, but they are great! He heals my soul. We have lived remarkably parallel lives, and he understands my pain in ways that no one else does. He is unbelievably patient, kind, and nurturing. When we first kissed, I burst into tears and began trembling and weeping. We had waited a long time before we took this step, and I was sure I was ready--even impatient--for it to happen, so even I was caught off guard by the intense panic I felt when our lips finally met for the first time. When I started crying and shaking, I was sure I'd ruined the moment and he would be disappointed. But instead he spoke softly to me, held me close and soothed me, stroking me hair and telling me it was going to be okay.  In that moment, he could have stormed off, he could have been frustrated with me, but he didn't react that way at all. Instead, he turned everything around and made the experience even more meaningful. Instead of being pulled apart, we have become stronger through moments like these. There have been many of them along the way, and I'm sure there will continue to be. It doesn't seem to matter to him that I'm broken. He is willing to be patient with me and help me heal. He says it is okay, that we will heal and grow together. He has tread the path ahead of me. He understands. 
But ... to you this is all very sudden! And I owe you some major backstory! And I would LOVE to write it all down, process it, make sense of it all. I have a busy couple of weeks, but I will be back, so stay tuned.
Once upon a time ... there was a handsome ninja warrior named Jack ... And when he saw his damsel in distress trapped in the top of the tallest tower, he said "Rather than strutting around down here like the knights, why don't I throw up my rope ladder and climb up to you instead?" (Hey, peeps! I didn't make this stuff up! We were flirting over text one night and he actually said this to me! Love this man.)  
to be continued ...

Friday, August 24, 2012

Back in the mix

worldrace
I'm starting my new life. I've been liberated. But now that the chains of abuse, neglect, and mistreatment are gone, at times I'm not quite sure what to do with myself. I'm unsure how to feel, how to love again. Am I doing it right? Maybe I don't want to feel at all. Sometimes I've considered turning it all off and never feeling again. It would be so much simpler that way. I am a prisoner set free, unsure where to go. My emotional prison is the only place I've known for so long. I feel lost, disoriented with my new surroundings, in my new status as a freeman. But deep down I know what I must do. And I push forward because I can't go back.

I'm back in the mix.

Old but young again. Single but a mother.

At least motherhood is familiar.

Dating is familiar. But not. I don't want to do it the way I did last time. I am different now: stronger, wiser. I refuse to repeat my mistakes. I will do a better job this time. I want to choose more wisely. No pity dates. No games. I've had ten years of games. And they left me shattered, bloody on the pavement.

It's all a whirlwind. Work. Motherhood. Migraines. Callings. Social life. Workouts. Sleep? Not really. Trying to eat right. Read. Write. Vent my feelings rather than bottling them up. Exploding. Regretting. Remembering to breathe.

And then something new in the mix ...

My man. A new one. A real man, who is present, compassionate, loving and attentive. I haven't had that in a long time.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Blogs of Note: Meet Jacy

I know, I know ... Everyone who's anyone in this underground fight against porn addiction knows JACY! We all adore her. She's beautiful, witty, self-confident, and has one of the biggest hearts of anyone I've ever met. (And yes, I actually did have the opportunity of meeting here live and in person. And yes, she is even cooler in person than online, if that is possible! Just goes to show that you can make this online support system as real as you want it to be, if you catch  my drift!) For any of you who might not have met her yet, take a minute and hop on over to the Hope & Healing website. We are spotlighting her during August under "Blogs of Note."

Need a friend? Want to get to know someone who has been there? Meet Jacy!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Reborn

photo credit
"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."

~Galatians 2:20


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Bare

I took off my ring today after more than ten years. All day, I kept brushing the inside of my fourth finger with my thumb and panicking that I had left my band somewhere ... dropped it ... lost it. It's a strange sensation. A void. I thought I had already let go completely and that this was just an exercise. I didn't expect to feel such an emptiness in that space, where something has been for so long.
photo credit




Tuesday, July 24, 2012

News!


by Vladimir Kush

My divorce decree arrived. Signed, stamped, and sealed. It's finally over.

But at the same time, it's really just a new beginning.

I can breathe again. 

In fact, I may or may not have run squealing and singing through the house waving my papers in the air like a flag. :) :) :)

I made it.

I did it.

I made it through.

Now, onward to my new, fresh slate. Life can only get better from here. I feel like one of the children of Israel walking past the Egyptians on the way out of town!



Sunday, July 22, 2012

Starting to remember

"I am satisfied that the more unkindly a wife is treated, the less attractive she becomes. She loses pride in herself. She develops a feeling of worthlessness. Of course it shows." 
~Gordon B. Hinckley, "Our Solemn Responsibilities," Ensign, Nov. 1991

photo credit
I have been thinking about this quotation a lot since I left my husband six months ago. I think it is safe to say that by that time, my self-esteem was in the toilet and had been flushed several times. I have often commented to close friends that when I arrived at my parents' I was the "fat girl with glasses." And it wasn't situational. That was my life. That was who I had become -- a dejected, unkempt, homely second-grader. That is how I was living my life.

As the divorce proceedings are drawing to a close, I am in transition again -- thrust into the world as a single woman in her early thirties. I didn't think I was ready, but I am getting there. I have spent so long in survival mode that I had forgotten what it felt like to live and breathe. I am remembering. Slowly.

I just spent more than a month away from my children. To say I missed them is the understatement of the century. Most days I felt as though two appendages had been torn from my body. But in the midst of my personal hell, something happened that I did not expect. I started to remember who I am ... who I was before all the trauma. Under all the layers of agony, mental anguish, depression, anxiety, panic, turmoil, and paranoia, there was a person. Me. I hadn't seen her in a while. She came out to visit during those few weeks. I like her. I think maybe I'll keep her around from now on.

During my "me" time, something else unexpected happened. I started getting a little bit of male attention. Weird, right? It seems as though I am not utterly repulsive to the male gender after all! Could it be? I just might have a little bit of appeal left. And confidence? Maybe a smidgen. And as much as I hate to admit it, a wink from a cute guy at the grocery store made me walk a little taller one day. Getting asked out a couple times didn't hurt either. Why do I hate to admit this? Because I was hoping I could fix my self-esteem issues on my own. I wish I didn't need a handsome man to fill that need. But let's be honest: having a couple guys show interest has made a big difference for me.

I feel like I'm digging out these aspects of myself like an archaeologist excavating dinosaur bones. The self-worth, confidence, and social skills are in there somewhere; I just have to dust them off. It sounds strange, but I really am having to talk myself into being okay with being a person and a woman again now that I've lost my definitive role as "wife." At least I still have the ever-familiar and beloved title of "mother." Now I just need to get to work digging out all the shattered fragments of my "self" from the wreckage.

Forever


Waiting ... waiting ... waiting ... waiting ... waiting ... for the divorce ... papers ... to be final ...

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Twelve steps to recovery

I was browsing around the LDS Combating Pornography website today and found this in the Video Gallery. If you haven't peeked at the site in a while, you should! They have made quite a few changes, and it is looking pretty slick.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The best is yet to be

photo credit
"We look back to claim the embers from glowing experiences but not the ashes. And when we have learned what we need to learn and have brought with us the best that we have experienced, then we look ahead and remember that faith is always pointed toward the future." -Jeffrey R. Holland,
("The Best is Yet to Be," Ensign, January 2010)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Dancing in the rain

photobucket
It rained tonight. In fact, it was a torrential downpour. My friend had scooped me up to take me out for a much-needed girls' night, and as we drove through sheets of water, the gutters began to overflow and mini-rivers gurgled down the drains around us. Enormous bursts of lightning blazed across the sky like natural fireworks. Undaunted, she popped in some music and beamed at me: "This is a perfect time for me to play you this song," she said. "I is so you! Every time I hear it I think of you."

Thank you to my sweet friend for believing in me and for reminding me to dance in the rain rather than drowning in it...

All I need now is a polka-dot umbrella. :)

"Dancing in the Rain" Lyrics 

by Hilary Weeks

It clouded over on Monday morning
And I'd hoped to wake up to sunshine
Come Tuesday I think I felt it
A little raindrop on top of my head 
On Wednesday no mistakin' it
By Thursday no escaping it 
The storm had rolled in

I thought about going back to bed
Or reading the book on my nightstand
I considered calling the weather man
Just to ask when it might end

I did something you would not have thought
I grabbed my polka-dot umbrella
And I opened the door... 

And I danced in the rain 
I let my dreams know I hadn't forgotten them 
I let my heart take the lead and 
I told my hopes to get themselves up again
And I danced, I looked, yes I danced in the rain
[ Lyrics from: http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/h/hilary_weeks/dancing_in_the_rain.html ]
I invited my worries to step aside
I needed room to see in front of me
As the raindrops fell on my overcoat
I let 'em roll right off of my back

And I waited for the rainbow
Cause Heaven and me we both know
This storm's gonna pass... 

And I danced in the rain 
I let my dreams know I hadn't forgotten them 
I let my heart take the lead and 
I told my hopes to get themselves up again
And I danced, I looked, yes I danced... 

I danced till my fears washed away
Then I thanked the rain for coming... today
So I could dance in the rain 
And let my dreams know I hadn't forgotten them

I danced in the rain 
I let my dreams know I hadn't forgotten them 
I let my heart take the lead and 
I told my hopes to get themselves up again
And I danced, I looked, yes I danced in the rain

I'm dancing in the rain

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Drowning

photo credit
I signed the papers
yesterday.
Every time I take another step forward,
another part of my dies.
Why?
Isn't this what I wanted?
To break free?
To find independence?
Happy independence day
to all the perfect happy families around me
celebrating together
while I drown
in my tears
alone.

A picnic
or a firework
does little to brighten
my countenance today as I muffle
the soft whimpers of shattered dreams
and cradle empty arms from which my screaming, straining baby was ripped
only hours ago.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Hope & Healing Spotlight!

Hello, my friends. Do you remember weeks and weeks ago when I was seriously giddy and posted a tease about how I would tell you why later. (If you missed it, the post was, "Part of something bigger." Well ... here's why: I hooked up with Michelle, the amazing lady who started up the Hope & Healing forum, and I'm now an administrator on the public side, the Hope & Healing Blog. (*applause, applause, applause*) YES! I'm so psyched! I mean, really!!! The purpose of the H&H blog is exactly the same as the goal of my own blog -- to gather and organize resources for addicts and loved ones. And now I have a whole legitimate playground to do it on. A legitimate domain! And a real, live organization to help out! It's what I've been praying for from the very beginning: the power to make a BIG difference! 

Annnnnd ... Here's the latest: I've recently started a new feature on the site called "Blogs of Note." So, scoot on over to the Hope & Healing Blog, and see what it's all about! And keep your eyes peeled! If you're a blogger in the S.A. network, YOU could be next!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

God must be busy

pbworks.com
"After I'm dead, can I come back and fly around inside a tornado?!" My little boy's blue eyes sparkle, blinking up at my father. I can almost see his little wheels turning as he considers the possibilities of what a 'spirit' can do that a body can't. "Well, you could," Grandpa replies, squinting at the horizon over the steering wheel of his truck, "but you probably won't. After we die, we'll have the ability to do things like that, but we'll have so much work to do, we won't want to spend our time doing foolish things like that."

As I drive through the small suburb where I used to live, alone in my car, I smile as I reflect on that conversation from weeks ago. Time is a funny thing. Wise old Grandpa. Why would we fill our time with such foolish things? Of course we wouldn't.

I have a lot of time right now. Time and solitude. I wished for it. Now I have it.

Be careful what you wish for.

It's the first 'visitation.' I've handed over the boys to their father for the next several weeks. The youngest just learned to walk. He's so little. I'm close-by, available ... but unwanted by the powers that be.

What would you do if you had the gift of time? It's bittersweet now. But a gift nonetheless. And I am trying to savor it in spite of the aftertaste.

One evening I left to go shopping all by myself. (You know you are a mother when you consider that to be luxurious.) But as I drove west, the setting sun seemed to beckon me as it began its descent behind the sleepy mountains. And as no one was expecting me home to make dinner, do dishes, feed the dog, or put the children to bed ... I drove right by the market and followed the siren's song instead.

In front of city hall in our small suburb, there is a miniature city park of sorts--an island of emerald grass and a fountain draw people there to laugh, picnic, and sit together in the middle of the concrete jungle. That's where I was drawn to, so that's where I went. A perfect parking space, right on the perimeter, waited just for me. After climbing out of my car and strolling onto the lawn, I hesitated, then leaned over to unbuckle my sandals and wiggled my toes in the cool grass. I scanned the mini-park to find a spot. Small clusters of people huddled in bunches talking, smiling, and texting. A sullen pair of tween-age girls sitting on a bench. A mother reading a book with her children playing nearby. A group of beautiful women gathering on a blanket in full garb with their faces veiled--only their eyes showing. Eventually I opted for a section of soft grass. I made my way slowly across the deep green carpet, swinging my sandals in my hand, drinking in the evening breeze and letting it tousle my hair. As I sat and gazed at the squealing children in the fountain, I chuckled to myself. Why is it that even in my hour of 'independence,' I tend to migrate toward places where there are children? For a moment, I closed my eyes and took it all in--the splash of the fountain, the squeals of laughter, the murmuring of the women on the blanket nearby, the rowdy music from a bar across the street, the coming and going of the trains at the nearby station. And for that moment I marveled.

How does He keep track of it all? How is it that He is aware of me? But He is. I know it.

In that moment, I thought about God watching down on us from up in heaven. I know he's busy. Like my father says, there is so much work to be done. But can't you just see him stopping for a moment and listening to us, being aware of us? Just like I did in that moment, times a buh-zillion-cuh-trillion? I can. And it's miraculous to me.

And in that moment, I thought for the millionth time, Please, Lord, protect my little children. Be with them. Because right now, I can't. And I know he heard me. For the millionth time.

As I opened my eyes, they were all still there: the book lady, the children, the women, the tweens. I watched the shadows grow longer. Eventually, mommies with towels came scooping their scoundrels out of the fountain. An ebony angel came scampering, grinning, giggling through the grass toward me. Her tiny brown foot brushed close to my hand. Not far behind came a very voluptuous, very winded woman smiling from ear to ear. "She's beautiful," I said. "Thank you," she laughed.

As the last rays of sunshine tucked themselves into a bed of soft purple clouds, I buckled my shoes and retreated to my car for a late-night shopping trip. I arrived home later than planned, but in the end it didn't matter to anyone. It's a strange reality.

Time is a funny thing.

Monday, June 11, 2012

An experiment: The Time Machine

Let's face it. Addiction recovery is a slow, painful, arduous process. It is so easy to get wrapped up in the mundane, everyday struggles and to feel like we are moving at a whopping speed of 0.000000000000000000000000000000001 miles per hour, as the snails and Galapagos tortoises whiz by us. Frustrating, isn't it?

So ... what if I gave you a time machine and told you, "Press this magic button, and you will be able to see where you (and/or your addict) will be one year from now!" Awesome, right?

Unfortunately, I have no such magic button. But ... I do have a wicked cool picture of a time machine. See?

photo credit
And I have figured out a method to make it work the other way. It's going to take a little more waiting on our part, though. Like, say, maybe a year ... haha

Here is how my Time Machine works:

Stop for a minute. Write down where you/your addict are now. (There is no time limit on this. Do it today, tomorrow, sometime in the next couple weeks ...) It doesn't have to be anything big. If you have a blog, sweet! Blog it! If you do it that way, let me know, and I'll link to your post right HERE. If you don't have a blog, no worries, just write it down in a journal or Word document where you know you can find it a year from now. Next summer, when all the kiddos start getting out of school, I'll post again and direct everyone back here to my spectacular "Time Machine." I think we will all be surprised at the changes that will have taken place a year from now. But we need a marker to start from. And this is it. Sometimes it's so hard to see what we've accomplished in this crazy battle against porn and sex addiction, and this will be a great way to get some perspective!

Here are the participants so far. (Great job, you guys!):

Do You Feel Any Hope? - Mrs A. (Kill Your Own Buffalo)

Does It Ever Really Get Better For Anyone? - Mac (Be Strong, Be Confident)

My Here And Now - S (I Will Find Healing)

My Time Machine Entry - HX (Working Towards Healing)

I'm Getting Stronger - Jaded (Faithfully Jaded)

When you've written your post or entry, leave your link (or if you don't have a blog, just write 'journal') in the "Comments" section, and I'll add you to the list. 

HELP ME SPREAD THE WORD! Link to this post and/or write a brief summary of what you're doing on your blog. Encourage your readers to participate too. Remember to have them head back here and give me their link too, so we can all link together for next year's big reveal. C'mon y'all! Join in the fun. :)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

I have to trust

mvcalvary

Note to self: 
Walk by faith, not by sight.
(2 Cor 5:7) 

I'm trying.

Solemn responsibilities


Sometimes I get bummed out that people won't just come out and say it when it comes to porn, infidelity and other nasty stuff: It's wrong! It hurts people! Stop doing it! And then I come across a talk like this from President Hinckley, who, I just have to say, is THE MAN! We sisters never heard this talk because it was given in the Priesthood Session, the men's meeting of LDS General Conference. But now that it's in print, we can read it. And ladies, let me tell you, I highly recommend that you do ... and pass it along to men and women as you see fit. Thank you, President Hinckley, for just coming out and saying it. 


lds.org
"Altogether too many men, leaving their wives at home in the morning and going to work, where they find attractively dressed and attractively made-up young women, regard themselves as young and handsome, and as an irresistible catch. 

They complain that their wives do not look the same as they did twenty years ago when they married them. To which I say, Who would, after living with you for twenty years?

The tragedy is that some men are ensnared by their own foolishness and their own weakness. They throw to the wind the most sacred and solemn of covenants, entered into in the house of the Lord and sealed under the authority of the holy priesthood. They set aside their wives who have been faithful, who have loved and cared for them, who have struggled with them in times of poverty only to be discarded in times of affluence. They have left their children fatherless. They have avoided with every kind of artifice the payment of court-mandated alimony and child support.

Do I sound harsh and negative? Yes, I feel that way as I deal with case after case and have done so over a period of time. Wrote Paul: 'But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those in his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.' (Tim. 5:8.) In that same epistle, he said to Timothy: 'Keep thyself pure.' (Tim. 5:22.)"

To access the whole talk, click here. And don't forget, I'm continually updating my "Talks & Articles" tab. :)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Hairless

Did you know...

In a lot of pornography, there is no pubic hair. Everything is bare, clean-shaven for the world to see ... or so my sources tell me. Why do I feel the need to share this, you might wonder? Among some of the loved ones of addicts I've spoken to, excessive shaving was a dead give-away in their marriage--right in front of their faces! And they totally missed it. Because they didn't know. For those who are in tuned in to this cue, it can set off an alarm. It's a warning sign that something fishy might be going on. Not a guarantee, but maybe a little red flag. So, if your spouse/partner/addict is shaving things totally clean at what you think might be a random time (or if he/she requests that you start doing it out of the blue), maybe stop. Have a chat. Ask about porn.


Things like these are not pleasant to think about, but it is important to be educated and to know your enemy. Look it in the eye, and defeat it! So much of what happens on the pornography and sex addiction front happens in a dark, secretive manner. So, help me shine a spotlight on it! Let the world know it is NOT okay.

Because knowledge is power.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

New ARP website

Did anyone else see this article? I found the link on the lds.org homepage.

"Addiction Recovery Program Site Added to LDS.orgBy Melissa Merrill, Church News and Events, 16 MAY 2012


A new website for the Addiction Recovery Program is helping members become aware of—and access—meetings and other helpful tools that can help lead to recovery through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
"Throughout the world, members of the Church and others have found hope and healing through the Addiction Recovery Program (ARP), sponsored by LDS Family Services. Now, with the advent of http://arp.lds.org, the 12-step program’s message of recovery through the Atonement of Jesus Christ is accessible to more people than ever before...."

To read more of the article, click here.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A dark place

Where I live, solitude is rarely a feasible option. I am never alone. Someone always knows where I am. I don't have time to cry. The children need me. After a night ridden with half-sleep and panic, sweating and thrashing and night terrors, I long to stay curled up in the covers. But I can hear my angel baby whimpering in the next room. Gray light steals through the blinds beckoning me to start the day. My eyes burn. Sometimes I long for a dark place. A quiet place where I can regroup. Where I can be alone with my thoughts and sort it all out. But life keeps happening around me, pushing, pulling, yanking me forward, and I am swept up in the river and must keep going. So I do. I have no other choice.

Other times I carry my dark place with me. And it is not the kind of dark that is pleasant and peaceful. It is not the kind of solitude that is quiet and comforting. It is stabbing and suffocating. I am everywhere but I am nowhere. I leave the house but I am not engaged with anyone I meet. They see me, but they don't know me. They speak to me, but they don't understand me. No one can. I am traumatized. 

I've lost everything familiar, and my life as I knew it is over. As my children and I have started a new life from scratch, I have turned to my music. It's one thing that I know won't change. It helps me cope. How I have missed my music. I love to play it and to listen to it and to create it. For so long, I have neglected it, and in all this trauma, it has become a lifeline for me. Medicinal. I can take it with me. I have my own personal soundtrack. My soundtrack is messy and disorganized. It's eclectic. It's unpredictable, like my life now. 

A few hours ago I ran, dripping, soaked through, salty sweat pouring like tears streaming down my face as the soles of my feet pounded the elliptical into submission. For the hundredth time, I drank in this song: "My Heart is Broken." It reaches me in places I can't explain. It is not something I would typically post, and it likely it will not reach some of my readers. But like I said, my taste is eclectic. (For something a little softer, try "My Immortal," below -- same artist, different tone, also on my playlist today.) 



I love other happier, more uplifting music too. But let's be honest, not every day is sunshine and rainbows. Evanescence is soul music for me, and there have been days where I really crave it lately. It stirs me in deep places. Very therapeutic. Sometimes I just need an outlet. She gives me that. Her hard and soft sounds and images set against each other intrigue me and reflect the thoughts and feelings swirling in my heart and mind. Light and dark. Hope and despair. Open fields and prison walls. I am experiencing all of these in abundance. Both sides. Often it depends on the day, the hour, the minute.


What about you? Do you have songs or artists that help you cope? What is your "soul music" and why?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Was it there before?

lds.org

A few short weeks after I left my husband, I was sitting in a Relief Society lesson about the "The Family: A Proclamation to the World." I wept silently over my shattered dreams. Over simple phrases like "... the family is central to the Creator's plan ..." and "... husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other ..." I thought of my little children -- one sitting in the primary room next-door and one pitter-pattering through the hallway with grandpa in tow -- and about their father, hundreds of miles across the country from us. And my heart broke for the millionth time. As the lesson stretched on, I stared absently at the blue confetti carpet, fighting the urge to rise from my seat and burst out the door. And then suddenly, my ears perked up as one of the sisters began reading the second-to-last paragraph:

"We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets."

Wow! Holy moly, I thought, was that really in there before? I can tell you, I've never heard it like that before. It just goes to show, the word of God really is eternal. It's such a miracle really. Because the words of the prophets can mean something different to each individual -- to you or to me. But they can also mean something different just to me depending on what phase of life I am in. For instance, when President Hinckley first read the Family Proclamation in 1995, I was only 15 years old. Now, 17 years later, as (an almost) single mother of two, I hear the words so differently.

As I've pondered my experience in that lesson that day, I no longer feel as much despair as I did months ago. Instead, as I've moved forward a little bit on my path, I have a bit more perspective. I've gathered a little more courage, and I have more hope. Sure, I have sad days. I even cry sometimes. And I am often weary. But I know I will not be in this phase of life forever. My children will grow, and so will I. At the very least, I am a mother in Zion, and I have an important work to do. Besides ... Who knows what the Family Proclamation will be saying to me 15 years from now?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The roller coaster

amazingtibettravel.com
On the other side of the world stands a monster, looming against the sky. Majestic and mysterious, its ominous peaks taunt adventurers, beckoning them, challenging them to cross thousands of miles and travel across oceans only to begin the climb. The summit, at 29 thousand feet, is the highest place on earth. 

Everest.

Sounds like a great place for a roller coaster track, doesn't it? I mean, check out that setup! It's perfect! Think I'm kidding? What about your life? What about mine? We've all heard the cliche: "Life is like a roller coaster." Ups, downs, quick turns, sometimes it's fun, sometimes you scream and get turned upside-down, sometimes you barf your guts out, blah, blah, blah. Yeah, I get that. But living with addiction? Living with addiction is like a roller coaster on steroids. To me, it feels exactly like I would imagine a roller coaster ride on the slopes of Mt. Everest might feel.

Don't get me wrong! I love coasters. In my younger days, before I felt old and boring and spent more time in theme parks than real parks, I used to be a real roller-coaster junkie. But when you're riding a roller coaster with a 29 thousand foot drop and you're sure you're going to die at any moment, it kind of takes the fun out of it. And you know what else? When there's a malfunction, I'm a little sick of being the one jumping off the car, freezing my buns off on the mountain, and trying to fix the track all by myself.

Recently I heard an amazing piece of advice from Nora, who is one of the most amazing women I know. She said something to this effect: "We live with our addicts for so long and love them so much that we end up riding their roller coaster. But you have the power to get off the ride!" 

I have really taken this piece of wisdom to heart. In fact, I was talking to my family about it this past weekend, and it has made an enormous difference for me this week. The timing was impeccable. It has been a very trying few days, to say the least, and with all that has happened, I really needed that kind of perspective. 

You know, I have my own roller coaster. It's crazy. I love it ... mostly. And he has his roller coaster too. If he wants to continue to ride Mt. Everest, that's his choice. But I don't have to do it anymore.

Now, some of you may be thinking that "riding my own roller coaster" refers to my divorce, but that's not necessarily true. I think it's deeper than that. I'm not talking about physical or marital separation. I'm talking about a re-assignment of guilt, responsibility, and work. I'm speaking as a wife of an addict here, not as an addict, so my perspective may be different from some of my readers, but ... I think it's important for us -- victims of abuse, neglect, or the fallout from pornography usage or sexual addiction -- to remember that we don't have to inseparably link our emotions and/or actions to the behavior of our addict. In fact, it's just not healthy, and it doesn't help anything. At least it never has in my 10-year relationship. I really feel like Mrs. A nailed it with her post a while ago, "Killing My Own Buffalo." She put it so simply and so clearly when she said: "I am responsible for my own salvation and my own life." And then she went out that day and got everything done that she needed to do instead of wallowing in misery and feeling incapacitated by what addiction had done to her family life. Such a great example! Such a perfect instance of what I'm talking about. So, when I talk about riding your own roller coaster, I don't mean run away -- I just mean find your own way. You can. You must. You will be better for it. And I'm not saying it is wrong to have feelings. It's good to be authentic. Just have your own feelings on your own timeline. You can do this. 

And by the way ... addicts can get off the roller coaster too. It is not impossible to rebuild that track in a more sane location. It's a lot of work. And it will take time. But if you let us, we will probably even pitch in and help. ;)