29 February 2012

Embrace this day... no matter how it looks

I first saw this video when Mara posted it on her birthday.  It spoke to my soul.  It is so full of truth that I'll probably refer back to it again.  But today I want to talk about his last words. 

* And finally, when you are compelled to give up something or when things that are dear to you are withdrawn from you, know that this is your lesson to be learned right now. But know also that, as you are learning this lesson, God wants to give you something better.

What was withdrawn from me?  My ideas about the life I was going to lead, the marriage I was going to have, and the husband I chose.  My golden expectations about what my future held were withdrawn from me. 

I'm blessed to already recognize the better life God wants to give me.  I have been given a greater undrestanding of love, forgiveness and peace.  I have been given a stronger marriage that testifies of its strength through its survival of difficult trials.  And I have seen my husband stretch to reach a new potential I was not aware he had. 

In addition to those blessings, my heart has been transformed.  I have found out that to be a better me I was "compelled to give up" the stubborn and self-pitying me.

As I look back at my dark days and remember the anguish of disappointment, hurt and frustration I feel gratitude for the progress I've made.  But I also have a heart full of love for those who are still in the midst of the darkness.  While I am aware that my future still holds disappointment, hurt and frustration whether regarding addiction or other trials, I feel hope and I pray that you might find hope as well. 

23 February 2012

Why do I stay?

To Anonymous from Step One:

Thank you so much for your comment.  Thank you! I really can not express adequately in words the gratitude I feel for the things you said.  You were so honest, but so kind and encouraging and through your words I could feel a sincere love and concern.

I thought Mac gave a great response to your comment, and I appreciate you asking because sometimes our own perspective seems so clear, that until we ask, we have no idea what it looks like from another perspective.  One of my favorite quotes is "Our view of reality is only a view, not reality itself."  [Francesca Farr.]  I admire YOU for being open-minded and inquisitive. 

Now I'll adress your question because it deserves to be considered. 

It has been absolutely encouraged by both the 12-step program and my counselor to put myself first.  Here is a quote from the manual. 

"Taking care of ourselves is not selfish; it is essential to our well-being and our ability to learn from this life experience.  Applying Step One gives us permission to rest, give needed time and love to children, return to other interests and rejoice in all aspects of our lives."

I will wholeheartedly acknowledge that for some women this means leaving the relationship.  I liked your word "toxic."  There is absolutely a point at which a woman can not feel happiness in the situation or love for her addicted husband.  I judge no woman for leaving, and furthermore she need not justify to the world around her why she chose to do so.

Having said that, I plan to stay, indefinitely, and this is why.

Because this blog is dedicated entirely to dealing with my husband's addiction, it seems as if this issue dominates my life.  I rarely/never take time to discuss Pete's good qualities here, or the wonderful life we enjoy together 85% of the time.  I am not a bragger/boaster either, it is not in my nature to give compliments freely.  But let it be known; Pete is a wonderful man.  He believes in Jesus Christ and desires to follow him. He is ambitious and successful in his career.  He is a gentleman to me and especially lately takes time to let me know I am appreciated.  He is not a perfect father, but he strives to improve and is aware of his short-comings.  He makes me laugh, and he finds ways to execute even my most outrageous plans.  This is only a small part of why I married him and why I remain with him, and says nothing of the memories and life we have built together.  I am quite certain that should I be the one with the addiction, perhaps to pain-killers or over-eating, he would stay by my side. 

Above and beyond that, there are other reasons such as our children.  As you mentioned, the issues that come with divorce are many.  Also, it has been said that divorce is often just an exchange of one set of problems for another set.  All men have faults. 

Lastly, in my heading I mention the promises I made across the altar.  You may or may not be able to relate to this, but when Pete and I were married we made covenants with each other and with God.  They didn't exactly say "Through richer or poorer, sickness or health, etc" but the effect was the same.  I have thought about this many times.  Deep in my soul I believe that God took me seriously when I made those promises, and I am accountable to him.  Do I believe that God expects me to stay should the circumstances become dire? No.  But do I believe that God will reward both my husband and myself eternally if we endure this together? Absolutely. 

But I do not consider myself some saintly martyr who will endlessly suffer for the noble cause of her marriage.  I am not endlessly suffering.  Nor am I perfect, and Pete could probably write a blog about the bad habits/attitudes I have that contribute to frustrations in our relationship. 

In short, I would not stay with my husband if I did not believe I could, or even presently feel happiness with him.  In fact, I do not only feel happiness in spite of my husband, I feel happiness because of my husband. 

God bless you dear reader friend.  I hope this made some sense.

22 February 2012

Step One

I've been attending support group meetings for five months now and I'm still on Step One.  What does that mean exactly? It means that even though I've read through many of the steps at group meeting, in my personal study at home I've never gone past Step One.  That isn't because I don't understand it, it is because I've been terrible about making "step work" a priority.  What does it mean to "work" a step? For me it means to study it, read about it, ponder about it and then of course apply it to my life in a way that changes my attitudes AND behaviors.  Anyway, I think I've had a break-through with Step One but I want to share my thoughts here before I move on to Step Two.

I'm in a good place right now.  I'm full of peace and hope.  But occasionally I am reminded that this problem isn't gone forever, and that it will likely continue to re-surface in my future.  This can be a depressing thought, and just the thought itself often robs me of my peace.  Then fears and doubts creep in and I find myself thinking "Is this going to be my life forever?"  "Do I have more misery and hurt awaiting me?" 

This is no way to live.  I don't want those feelings anymore.  Enter:  STEP ONE  (Choruses of angelic voices sing it.)

My favorite quote from  Step One:

 "We begin to discover the freedom and the power we do possess- the power to define and live our own lives."

There are two roads ahead:

1. My husband will not relapse, and we will continue to enjoy the blessings of his good choices.
2. My husband will relapse, and I will be tempted to feel anger and self-pity.

Ultimately I want the end of the roads to be the same place, a place of peace.  So I am determining right now that which ever road becomes the way, either way I am going to get there, to my place of peace.  I've said this in comments on forums and blogs but it is my new mantra. 

"No matter what happens.  [Relapse or no relapse.]  I am going to be okay. 

I really am.  And suddenly the burden and anxiety  I mentioned before about the future is lifted.  My peace is not robbed from me, because I've let go of my fear and doubt.   I am powerless over Pete's addiction.  I can not control which road will unwind before me.  I will not waste another minute trying to do so.  And furthermore, should the road be bumpy and unpleasant, I will be okay.  I will feel God's peace again, as I have before.

Elder Richard G. Scott [one of my favorites]

"Rest the burden in the hands of the Lord... and worry no more."

**I am referring to Step One of the Healing Through Christ Family Support Guide which includes a 12-step program for those who have loved ones in addiction.  There is actually a new and updated manual, which I will post a link to when I get it. 

14 February 2012


Disclaimer: What I describe here is an ideal.  I do not claim to live this way, I only claim that it is possible, and that I'm striving to do so.

It is easy, natural really, to label myself as a victim.  I am the victim of Pete's behavior.  I even looked up the definition of victim and it said "one who is made to suffer."  And boy have I suffered.  But the trouble with feeling this way is that it takes away my power.  The only power I really have.  No one can make me suffer, I choose to suffer.  Although I can not control the behavior of another, I DO have control over my response.  And victimizing myself puts a handicap on my control, making me feel helpless and pathetic. 

I am only a victim to the extent I allow myself to be influenced by the actions of others.

I am only "made to suffer" to the extent I allow myself to suffer.  Sometimes it feels impossible to be uninfluenced.  How could I possibly hear the confessions I've heard from Pete, and not suffer?  Two weeks ago I wouldn't have thought it possible, but I've been given a gift of self-discovery and I'm realizing that I can.

I'm learning that I've always been good at self-pity, but going through this difficult time has given me the perfect justification for it.  In the last few months especially, whenever I get sad I allow myself to wallow in misery because my life is hard, and I've been hurt.  But these laments are hampering my recovery and hindering my search for peace. 

Self-pity fosters misery and lonliness.  It is the seed of bitterness.  It feeds the wrong wolf

Self-pity or victimization justifies us in mistreating others.  But no matter how we've been treated, we are never justified in mistreating others.  No one "deserves" to be treated poorly, and self-pity can make this difficult to see. 

Self-pity is the opposite of gratitude.  I would venture to say that the two can not co-exist.  This has been my tool.  As I've become aware of my propensity toward self-pity I've come up with a strategy for dismissing it right away.  It is simply gratitude.  When I my thoughts start to spiral into chaotic negative chatter "Nothing is going right... he/she was picking on me... no one understands..." I willfully and deliberately stop them and begin counting my blessings. 

But ultimately I've discovered that like all other negative emotions, self-pity keeps us from feeling love and peace from God.  To quote Danny, from A BLOG ABOUT LOVE:

"How can you expect to feel love, peace, and joy, when you refuse to give up the emotions of anger, fear, doubt, [self-pity] etc?  When our faith is real, to the point that we willfully abandon those negative emotions as we approach God, He cannot possibly withhold peace from us...primarily because He never was withholding it in the first place.  We just couldn't notice it, we weren't in tune with God.

God doesn't take away our fears and doubts and anger [and self-pity], we must choose to give them up.   And in the process we make room for the peace we were after all along...the Peace that was already there."

(In case it isn't obvious, I added self-pity to his list.) I have observed this past week the happiness and peace that are available to me when I can dismiss self-pity.  It is remarkable.  It brings a smile to my face each time I successfully avoid the trap that has made me miserable time and again. 

I feel free.  I feel hopeful.

10 February 2012


I just wanted to remind everyone if you haven't had the chance to donate, and you are able to do so, time is running out.  They are close but not close enough and I'm really hoping this comes together for them. 

They have a new website, with a new trailer.  Whether or not you donated already, want to donate, or can't donate go check out the new trailer- it's powerful. 

Here is the website: http://shamedthemovie.com/

There is also a link on the new website to the donation site.  There are only four days to go- tell your hubby that your Valentine to him is your financial contribution in his honor.

Thanks everyone. 

09 February 2012

About time!

I haven't been this excited since Christmas as a child.  It FEELS like Christmas.  I just spent the last two hours on this new forum

Here is the description of the forum from the homepage:

This forum is a private, moderated forum for LDS women who have been personally affected by the pornography / sex addiction of a husband, boyfriend, or other loved one. (For simplicity’s sake, most content is directed to wives but is applicable to other loved one as well.) The forum is part of a cooperative effort of non-profit leaders, professional therapists, individual women in recovery wanting to help, and website managers who have seen a need for support for LDS wives of porn addicts.

The goal of this forum is to provide a safe, positive, faith-based place for women to talk about the process of healing and recovery, and to provide resources and information about pornography/sex addiction and principles of recovery. Please note that there is a variety of information shared here, and not all principles shared may be right for you right now. We don’t necessarily endorse every facet of every perspective, but hope as you read through various resources, you’ll be able to see patterns of truth and principles of healing that, with the validation of the Spirit, can help you in your journey.

You don't need to be LDS to participate, but just be sensitive and aware that the purpose is for women to unite and share with an LDS perspective.


Just about every question I've ever had is addressed there, and it is addressed by science, professionals, and women like me.  If you have a question that hasn't been addressed, just ask.

Register now and join us!  

08 February 2012

waiting for my miracle - Part II

Last week at group meeting I asked again.  It was mostly different women this time, and I wanted more perspective.  This time the answer was almost unanimous.  You don't need to. 

No one said it was the wrong choice.  All spoke from experience, some had shared and some had not.  But they all agreed that it was not what I needed to heal.  That isn't to say that for some it didn't help, but for some it didn't.  And for those who had managed to keep their secret hidden, they had survived and did so without resenting their husband in the process.

It is often said to the new-comers at our group meeting "Keep coming back until you get your miracle."  All the seasoned women have had individual experiences where they felt the healing power of the atonement mend their broken hearts.  As they described to me their various experiences, they reassured me that this moment would come for me, in some way, regardless of whether or not I decided to tell my brother.

As I thought about this over the past week I realized the truth of what they said.  After questioning my motives over and over I finally got to the bottom of it. And ultimately I realized that what I wanted from sharing my struggle with someone who loves me, is pity.  I want someone to feel sorry for me because I'm darn good at feeling sorry for myself, and it's starting to get lonely at these pity parties.

I don't think that pity is necessarily bad.  I think the results are support and compassion and we all know that those are extremely helpful for us along our journey.  But I know that I will be okay without my brother's support and compassion.  It might not seem fair for Pete to deny me this request.  I've asked him and myself many times "You've thrust this burden upon me, after all I've done to forgive you and support you, who are you to refuse me this opportunity?"

But whether or not his answer to me is reasonable, I know I must respect it for the sake of our relationship.  I'm also coming to understand that I can't heal from this until I am willing to lay it ALL at the altar.  Seeing myself as the victim, and portraying myself as such to my family members might even hinder my progress.  Having said that, I hope for the day when Pete and I are comfortable sharing.  I hope for the opportunity to involve at least some members of my family in my recovery. 

For now I'm seeking my miracle.  I'm waiting for the quiet whisper that says "I'm here. I understand your suffering.  I love you." 

06 February 2012

waiting for my miracle - Part I

Aside from my counselor, women in group meeting and those I've met anonymously online, I haven't shared this with anyone.  After typing that, it seems like a lot of people, but to put it in other words that better express the point I'm trying to make- I haven't discussed this with anyone who knew me before it happened.  My husband has talked with our bishop and his dad, but otherwise the same is true for him.

I've desperately longed to reach out to a friend or family member. I've spent a significant amount of time pondering who I could trust with this information, to be understanding and supportive.  The obvious answer for me was my older brother, who having endured trials of his own has been transformed into a more compassionate and non-judgemental person. 

I approached Pete about talking with my brother and he was adamantly opposed to it.  He suggested I ask my fellow group members what they thought, and perhaps ask my counselor her opinion.  The first time I asked the women at group how they had handled this issue, I got mixed responses.  Some said they had a trusted friend they shared with, others a sibling or parent.  Some had kept the secret to themselves, loyal to their husband's requests for privacy. 

My counselor gave me a vague and mixed response that suggested that doing so could be both harmful and helpful.  Talk about confusing.  She said "We discourage that, because often something called 'triangulation' takes place, where the involvement of a third party hampers the communication of the husband and wife... BUT we also believe it is important to find a long-term source of support and it is often difficult for the husband to fulfill this role because of his guilt and involvement."

I continued to pray and ponder.  I finally decided on a compromise - and wrote out an email that was vague but explained to my brother that my marriage had been suffering, but we were seeking help.  I didn't mention pornography, just that this last year had been extremely difficult for me and although I am optimistic and hopeful, I have suffered.  Without posting the entire message here I feel I can not do it justice.  But it was good.  I did not send it to my brother but sent it to Pete instead.

He still refused.

I was devastated.

The longing I feel to share this burden with someone who knows and loves me is intense. 

When he denied my request again I couldn't imagine the longing would ever go away until I could finally release this secret. 

01 February 2012

the nitty gritty

One of my biggest frustrations about blogs is that they leave so much out.  I am always left wanting for more details.  Even at group meetings I am dying to ask everyone-

"So what is your day to day like? How do you live?"

I appreciate everyone's optimism at the meetings, and especially their tears during the rough times. But no one ever says how things go from day to day.

Since this blog is anonymous I can share this information freely.  If it bores you- certainly don't waste your time. But an average day for Pete and I might look something like this:

Pete wakes up - he gets up early enough to read his scriptures before work.  He's much better at scripture study than I am.  You might say he needs to be, but I need it too. He usually gives me a kiss on the forehead before he leaves if I'm still in bed.  Otherwise a "See ya."  When things aren't going well it's nothing- and that gets me all worried.

I'm busy enough with small children that during the morning hours I don't think much about what he's doing or how he's doing.  In the afternoon I wonder, but I don't worry much unless I know he's in the middle of a tempting time period.  Those time periods come every 2-3 months and last about a week, sometimes two or three. 

He goes to lunch with his dad, almost once a week and I'm always dying to know what they talk about, and Pete is mostly willing to share, but sometimes neither of us make it a priority to talk about it.

When he gets home from work I try to meet him at the door, but unfortunately it's still a bit awkward for me to initiate affection.  (Enter: Counselor, she is helping me with this.) Our hugs are sometimes a little forced, but not always, and again- I think this is improving. 

Before the last couple weeks (since my counseling appt) we were mediocre at best at making time for conversation.  We would both usually prefer to watch a tv show or read a book.  We try to go to bed at the same time- but that was tough for me. 

Bedtime gave me anxiety.  Once again, with the help of counseling this is getting better- but often I get into bed and wonder "Is he wanting/expecting sex?" I won't go into that right here- I'll save it for another post.  But bedtime has been a common battleground because when he gets disappointed I get resentful and arguments ensue.  Then we fall asleep with an iceberg between us.  Sometimes it's better in the morning, sometimes not. 

We still laugh together, we are still irritable sometimes.  We rarely pray together, I know we should but even when I remember, something stops me from speaking up about it.  He is very honest about what's going on in his head- when he's having trouble with his thoughts and when he's okay.  I still ask him occasionally, especially if I see warning signs (laziness, laying in bed longer than usual, general grumpiness.)

Naturally, each day is different depending on stress at work, the children's behavior, various evening activities.  Sometimes I long for a little more consistancy in my behavior and his.  I feel like he can be unpredictable, and sometimes I'm walking on eggshells to make sure I don't upset him.  But I've noticed recently that I'm a bit emotionally fragile myself, and I suppose he feels the same way, worrying that one wrong move will set me off into tears. 

But it also needs to be said that there are periods of time when he is thoughtful, kind and helpful.  Days will go by when we don't discuss problems because we don't feel them.  We are reminded the joy we feel when we make unselfish efforts and the ugliness of addiction is absent.

So I guess what I'm trying to say here is that right now we are living on a roller-coaster, each day is different.  And if you've ever really cleaned out your house, deep cleaned and purged it, you know that it sometimes gets messier before it gets better.  That's our day to day.