30 April 2012

Another Relapse

The trouble with telling the world all the amazing truths you are discovering is this:

Then you feel obligated to live them.

I feel like I've created an ideal for myself, a way of being that I know is possible but yet feels impossible.

I feel like I shouldn't be sad anymore, because I know I can choose happiness. 

But sometimes I feel exhausted, and incapable of making that choice.  Sometimes it just still hurts.

So I had a good cry last night, and listened to this until I could fall asleep. 

Tomorrow I'll blog about Step 3, because it's what I need.

 Be still, my soul; the Lord is on thy side;
Bear patiently thy cross of grief or pain;
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul; thy best, thy heavenly, Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

 Be still, my soul; thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence, let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul; the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.

 Be still, my soul; the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul; when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

**These aren't Leigh's lyrics, but the most commonly accepted version of the hymn.

27 April 2012

I ♥ the addict

     To my sisters whose addicts caused unbearable anguish- I hope you don't think this post means I am insensitive to your sorrow.  No addict is blameless, all began and continued their path by making bad choices.   And as it has been said before, finding forgiveness and developing a Christlike love for the sinner is totally different than the romantic and trusting love of a marriage, and distinguishing the two is essential.

A friend of ours was recently studying at a local library when he noticed the two LDS missionaries at nearby computers.  From a distance it appeared that one of the elders was looking at something inappropriate on the computer.  In disbelief he walked closer and saw in fact, the young man was viewing hard-core pornography on a public computer with all who walked past to see.

When I heard about this my initial reacion was the me of years past, months past, full of self-rightous judgment and disgust with anyone who viewed pornography.  I was mad at him for compromising the reputation of the church and for being so careless.

Our friend is an incredibly loving and kind guy.  He approached the other elder and suggested he remove his companion from the library ASAP.  He later found the elders and kindly visited with them, while firmly rebuking the behavior. 

Before I understood addiction, and even now that I do, I get so frustrated with the behavior of these guys.  I want to scream and shake them

"REALLY?! You couldn't stop yourself?" 

But I've learned that all reason and logic go out the window.  And inevitably exquisite remorse follows.  Men all cope with that remorse in a different way, some become vulnerable and let their sorrow and shame show.  Others close off, put up walls and blame shift.

I chose the name "Pete" for my husband's alias on this blog because of Peter from the New Testament.  In the Bible Dictionary it says this about Peter:

"Peter was one of the greatest of men.  It is true that the N.T. recounts some mortal weaknesses, but it also illustrates that he overcame them and was made strong by his faith in Jesus Christ."

Peter probably felt that exquisite remorse after three times denying the Savior.  He probably felt sick, and thought

"Did I really just do that? What overcame me? What changed? How could I do that?"

and then again:

"I did it again! How did I do it again? I felt so awful the first time? What is wrong with me?"

and then again.

Matt 26:75  "And he went out, and wept bitterly."

I love Peter, he overcame his shame, he made resititution, he sought the Savior's forgiveness. 

I love all addicts, but I admire the ones that can follow the example of Peter.  Who can put their mortal weakness in the hands of the Savior and partake of his atonement. 

This is my wish for my husband, for the young missionary, and all the addicts in your lives.

24 April 2012


I'm really not a raging feminist.  I believe that women are strong, that they are equal(but different) to men, and that we are capable of great things professionally,  in the home, and just as individuals.  But I hesitate to jump on the "GIRL POWER" bandwagon too often because I don't want to foster any feelings of superiority over men in my heart. 

But once in awhile I like to nurture my own "girl power" and remind myself that I am strong. "I am woman, hear me roar" type of thing. I do this driving around in my minivan, in my kitchen, in the shower, singing at the top of my lungs.  Totally shameless.  What do I sing? I sing Alicia Keys- Superwoman.



Here are the lyrics, bust it out on your bad days,  Empowerment guaranteed.

Everywhere I'm turning
Nothing seems complete
I stand up and I'm searching
For the better part of me
I hang my head from sorrow
state of humanity
I wear it on my shoulders
Gotta find the strength in me

Cause I am a Superwoman
Yes I am
Yes she is
Even when I'm a mess
I still put on a vest
With an S on my chest
Oh yes
I'm a Superwoman

For all the mothers fighting
For better days to come
And all my women, all my women sitting here trying
To come home before the sun
And all my sisters
Coming together
Say yes I will
Yes I can

When I'm breaking down
And I can't be found
And I start to get weak
Cause no one knows
Me underneath these clothes
But I can fly
We can fly, Oh

Cause I am a Superwoman
Yes I am
Yes she is
Even when I'm a mess
I still put on a vest
With an S on my chest
Oh yes
I'm a Superwoman

21 April 2012

Lust: The Deadliest of the Seven Sins

Months ago when I first turned to the internet for help and support, I came across Andrew at Row Boat and Marbles.  He was so helpful to me those first few weeks, and was the first to introduce me to the idea that before it was a porn addiction, it was an addiction to lust.  And even abstinence from pornography doesn't resolve the insatiable desire for lust.  I didn't understand this at first.  But I've learned a lot about lust since.

Lust is so ugly.  I have a scowl on my face just writing the word.  For more eloquent, experienced, and inspired words on the subject read Elder Holland's talk here or watch it here

Lust is to me the most carnal of man's desires.  It is arousing, it is exciting.  It produces adrenaline, and causes the blood to pump. It is both the parent and the offspring of fantasies.  In the beginning it is appeased by said fantasies, then it demands more.  The addict of lust turns to self-gratification and pornography, but the lust grows and demands more. 

It has been said that "sex sells", in commercials, video games and movies.  It is because lust buys.  Lust is subtle, it is easily justified because at first it exhibits no outward behaviors.  A man and his lustful thoughts are seen by no one.  But lust becomes a master and the slave makes his soul for payment. 

I hate lust.  Lust is the shadow I see behind Pete's eyes.  It makes me nervous and nauseous.  I'm learning to recognize it in his behavior and his mood, and when I see it I want no part of it.  Sex to satisfy lust is hallow and empty.  It feeds the beast but provides no lasting satisfaction. 

I do not want to confuse lust and passion.  Passion is healthy, and good.  Intimate relationships with passion are fun and meaningful.  But lust is greedy, forceful and self-serving.  Passion is giving, emotional and mutual. 

Learning to recognize and eliminate lust is fundamental to recovery.  I can't say personally but I can suppose that this is extremely difficult because lust is a thrill, and a man might be sorry to destroy his relationship with it.  Many men embrace lust, rationalize that it is "natural" or even "helpful".  But overcoming lust is why Mrs. A's husband chose left, and why the Nephite Warrior doesn't watch tv, and why I will not let it be the third wheel in my relationship with Pete. 

I am done now. I hope you can check out the links, and here's one more. (Some more insightful words from an essay on Row Boat.)

14 April 2012


At times in our lives we have the spiritual capacity to focus on the programs of the church and the details of the gospel.  I'm referring to things like magnifying our calling, attending the temple, doing our visiting teaching.  These things are important to our salvation, of course, and I'm not suggesting we stop doing them.  When we do these things we are blessed, and blessings from God are invaluable in coping with our challenges.

Being in this circumstance is wonderful, it is a blessing in and of itself.  This way of living isn't spiritually exhausting (unless perhaps you are the bishop) and we are left with some energy and efforts, that unfortunately we often devote to concern for the salvation of those around us.  I lived the majority of my life this way, and I foolishly spent my "spiritual resources" as it were, on judging and worrying about the way other people were clearly falling short in these areas.  I was self-righteous and constantly concerned with how to make others better. 


Then something happens and our world as we know it vaporizes around us. All of our spiritual strength goes to focusing on the essentials of the gospel.  We are so depleted of "spritual resources" that it is all we can do to have meaningful prayer with our Father in heaven, try to understand the atonement, and develop a relationship with Jesus Christ. 

It is in these moments that we really appreciate the gospel for what it really is.  We are too consumed with grasping for so much as a seed of faith, that things that we used to be so concerned with fall by the wayside.  Is my invitation to the relief society activity cute enough? What did I wear to church last Sunday?  Can you believe the remark Sister Jones made in Sunday School?  I'm so glad my children never behave that way during Sacrament meeting! Oh my goodness is she really bearing her testimony AGAIN? It's really too bad other people aren't making it a priority to be at the ward activities. 

During some of my darkest days, and at times more recently, I find myself sitting in church trying to hold back tears, appreciating any kind gestures, and occasionally trying to make a kind gesture myself.  I am thirsty for the promptings and the peace of the spirit and when I feel them my heart sings.  I go to church because I'm desperate to feel close to my Heavenly Father and not because it is the hub of my social life.  I am so focused on resisting the urge to stand in relief society and shout "I'm hurting! Someone love me!"  that I am hardly aware of what anyone else is wearing or saying. 

What seemed so important before, now seems so trivial.  And the people I need to forgive now aren't the ones who previously seemed inadequate, but the ones who naively seem totally adequate. 

I'm always looking for the silver lining to this grisly problem, and I'm so grateful for an opportunity to see the gospel for what it really is, and to try to extend some leniency toward the people who are doing their best to sprititually survive as well as the people who have been blessed to avoid such devastating trials and therefore lack the empathy and forgivenss that comes with such trials.

Quick Note

I just want to clarify a quick thing.  I look forward to exchanging correspondence with anyone who is lonely and looking for support.  But I hope no one feels like you have to have a blog to be part of our "support network." 

Blogs are great for expressing feelings, sharing, and finding support.  But if you don't consider yourself a "blogger" don't be discouraged, I am still here and appreciate your comments, emails and the support you offer just by being here. 

To those who have started blogs, thanks for sharing and I hope they are helpful to you and others.  I look forward to reading your experience, strength and hope. 

12 April 2012

Double Whammy

Another relapse yesterday.  A one-two punch that nailed me in the gut.  I started to cry, but I didn't want to cry.  So I went for a drive and called a friend. 

This morning I felt better.  But I was worried that I was just suppressing my feelings, and not allowing them to serve their purpose. 

I went for a run.  It was a blue-sky morning, quiet and still.  The sun on my face felt so good I closed my eyes but when I opened them a few seconds later I was in the middle of the road.  I guess I'm no good at running in a straight line.  But light dispels darkness and the rays of sunshine dispelled my gloom.  I listened to this.  These words are my lifeline to the divine. 

" Embrace this day with an enthusiastic welcome, no matter how it looks. The covenant with God to which you are true enables you to become enlightened by him, and nothing is impossible for you.

 When you are physically sick, tired, or in despair, steer your thoughts away from yourself and direct them, in gratitude and love, toward God.
 In your life there have to be challenges. They will either bring you closer to God and therefore make you stronger, or they can destroy you. But you make the decision of which road you take."

I will not be destroyed by these challenges.  I am so grateful for the blessings in my life and in this difficulty.  I know I am entitled to help from powers beyond my own.

If someone hurts you so much that your feelings seem to choke you, forgive and you will be free again.
Avoid at all cost any pessimistic, negative, or criticizing thoughts. If you cannot cut them out, they will do you harm. "

As I caught my breath I realized that I wasn't avoiding the anger, self-pity and sorrow, they were there.  But they weren't debilitating me like they used to.  I'm stronger.  All the things I've been learning and discovering and receiving from God are working for me.  I'm still hurt, and painfully disappointed.  But by golly I'm still functioning, and even forgiving. 

 I really am stronger.

10 April 2012

Virtual Friends

You know that Brad Paisley song "Online?" It's a little dated, he refers to his MySpace account, and well, MySpace is SOOO five years ago.   But he talks about how in real life he's a geek who lives in his parent's basement but online he's handsome and successful.  I feel like that's me- but backwards. 

Online I'm just the wife of a porn addict.  In reality, I'm so much cooler!

Okay- but that's not really the reason for this post.  Fortunately the awesome women I've met online have the benefit of being totally real online.  We can use our anonymity to discuss our true selves. Therefore, they have accepted and loved me without even knowing my actual coolness.

But I do feel like I live two lives.  I have two blogs, and Pete and I refer to this blog as the "other" blog and my non-anonymous blog as the "original" blog. 

But I'm distracted again, perhaps that is subject for another day...

What I really want to say here is how much I appreciate my virtual friends.  They are so far from virtual now, but in the beginning that is exactly what they were.  Strangers, no faces and not even actual names. 

I said this as a comment on another blog once, but I want the world to know that even in the ugly and dark garden of porn addiction, beautiful friendships grow and blossom.  I also have said in emails and comments that someday I am going to plan a retreat for my WoPA and [former]WoPA friends where we can laugh and cry, free of judgement.  And as one friend added, eat lots of chocolate. 

If you read this blog, and you still feel lonely, I encourage you to reach out.  Read through the other blogs I link to, and the blogs they link to, get on the forum, find someone you can relate to and reach out.  Eventually you can share real names, exchange texts, and read eachother's "original" blogs.  And your life will be enriched and your heart will increase in love and gratitude for the individuals on this earth that God gave you to help and inspire you.  That is how I feel anyway. 


08 April 2012

amazing grace

I big THANK-YOU to the Anonymous commenter who gave this link!

In between the two sessions of conference there was a segment on the 12-step recovery program, Jacy told us about it but many of us missed it. (It is in four segments, about 30min total.)

I just finished watching it and want to add my testimony that it is an inspired program and it can change hearts, not just habits.

Watch it here:

Additonally our anonymous hero linked to this video: The link she left didn't work for me, but I think I found the right video by going here:


And watching the video on the sidebar titled "Healing the Broken-Hearted." (This video is 40min long.)

Both of these videos take a little time, but the investment provides immeasureable returns. I felt validated, inspired, hopeful, thankful and many other things as I watched them. 

If you remember, come back here and let me know what you thought of them.

02 April 2012

What the heck are "boundaries"?!

I mentioned in my last post that Pete was sleeping on the couch.  That is part of the boundaries we set together.  I remember being really confused about boundaries in the beginning.  What the heck are they? The 12-step manual defines them like this:

"Personal boundaries are guidelines or limits that we choose to establish for ourselves that are reasonable, safe and permissable ways for interaction with others.  Boundaries can empower us to decide how we will allow others to treat us and how we will treat and respond to others."

I'm still trying to figure out some of these things, but I'm going to give some specific examples of boundaries Pete and I have agreed on.  I'm going to be specific not because I think our way is the right way, but because I think it might be helpful in planting seeds of ideas for others.  I don't think there is much that is more personal than one's boundaries. 

In the 12-step program we learn that we can not set boundaries for others, only for ourselves.  Pete and I discussed this together, but if your spouse is non-cooperative I encourage you to prayerfully consider your limits and make them clear to your husband.  But be prepared to follow through and stand your ground when your limits are violated.

When Pete has a slip, for him that is defined as an episode of self-gratification or pornography, he sleeps on the couch.  (Our idea for this came from this post by Maurice, it's an awesome post, I highly recommend it.)  While this might seem very strict, each man is in a different place with his addiction and this was how Pete decided it would be best to manage his recovery.  First slip= one night on the couch,  second slip= two nights on the couch, etc.  12 weeks of sobriety cleans the slate and he starts over.  Additionally, after a slip, we do not have sex for a week. 

Why these boundaries?  They give me safety.  I never thought I wasn't "safe" with Pete.  I never thought he was going to hurt me, kill me or that my general well-being was at risk.  For some women, these issues of safety are real.  But I learned that my safety that was on the line was emotional safety.  If you've never felt this way it is hard to explain, but I suspect that most reading this will be able to relate.  Not being emotionally safe is when just looking at your husband makes your heart break.  Being in the same bed as him makes you feel almost ill.  Your strength to avoid codependency becomes threatened when you are emotionally unsafe.

When Pete tells me he's "lost a battle", we both know what is going to happen, we both know the plan, and it empowers me.  I can't speak for him, but it might remove some of his fear about my reaction.  It's no longer my responsibility to come up with a consequence, the boundaries are set.

Not having sex for one week after an episode gives me emotional safety and freedom to work on forgiveness.  It used to be that in the days following his rough times I worried that he was coming to me just to satisfy his lusts, and I felt like an object.  If I relented, and gave him what he sought after, I resented him and intimacy.  If I didn't give in, if I withheld sex, I felt guilty and worried that I was going to contribute to further problems. 

I mentioned that follow-through is so imporant with boundaries.  For example, if you decide that infidelity is your limit, rather than threatening divorce if your husband cheats, carefully consider a more define-able boundary.  Perhaps say "If you ever confess to infidelity, or should I discover it, I will ask you to leave the house." Then when the moment arrives you can both be prepared for the predetermined response, and it will give you the safe space you need to cope. 

Sometimes I am so angry the couch doesn't seem far enough away.  Sometimes I am so compassionate I want to say "It's okay, sleep here by me." But both are rooted in codependency by either punishing or enabling.

Learning about this can be so helpful, I can't say enough about Maurice's understanding of the subject.  But it takes courage to do this, and although it isn't the case for me, many addicts are power-hungry and controlling and make it extremely difficult to put boundaries in place.  Best of luck as you sort it out and please share if you have come up with some effective boundaries of your own.

I thought of a few more examples of boundaries that I thought I should share.

1.  "I will not be your babysitter.  I will not sacrifice my well-being to protect you from yourself."  (I've done that.
2.  "I will not tolerate pornography in this home. If I discover it, I will throw the computer out the window."  I'm mostly kidding, but for the spiritual well-being of myself and my children I take this very seriously.  Perhaps a more realistic response would be a password on the computers.  Just make sure this is done after making clear in advance that it would be, and that it is not retaliation or done out of anger.
3.  "I will not view pornography with you, nor will I be in your presence while you participate."  This seemed obvious to me until I talked with a woman who is still struggling to set/enforce this limit.

Like I said before, once you determine what your limits are, pray for strength to enforce them, boundaries are meant to help you recover from codependent and unproductive behaviors, and to give you a safe "place" for recovery to occur.