06 September 2012

Rock Bottom


What IS rock bottom?  For me, a year ago,  it looked like this:

"I can't be this way anymore.  I'm desperate.  I acknowledge his problem.  I want to change.  I'm ready for a new, better way to live."

I remember clearly my rock bottom with Pete's addiction.  It was too heavy, I couldn't carry it anymore.  I didn't want to be pathetic and miserable.  I didn't want to be bitter and suspicious. I didn't want to be afraid of the future.  I didn't want to be full of hate and I didn't want to be depressed. 

I wasn't functioning as a proactive, positive mother. I withdrew.  I preferred isolation because social situations, particularly with family, were too difficult,  they required too much pretense and insincerity.   I was embarrassed.  I was lonely.  I was hypersensitive and felt like a victim. 

But I was ready for help.  I was a sponge.  I read and studied.  I prayed.  I reached out.  I found friends online and I started the blog. I discovered 12-step meetings and amazing women at support groups.  I cried at every meeting, but it felt wonderful.   I was cleaning up the crap.  From rock bottom, I could only go up.   I had hope. 

Now, I feel like I'm able to cope with Pete's addiction in more healthy ways.  There is much less of the fear, embarrassment, isolation, self-pity and bitterness associated with his problem. 

But after doing the Step 4 Inventory I'm no longer living in ignorant bliss of my own addictions.  Or compulsive behaviors if you prefer that term.  I prefer that term because my compulsive behaviors are much more socially acceptable than pornography addiction, and I like to make that distinction.

I digress...

Last week a friend of mine suffered a terrible tragedy.  In the midst of her crisis I found myself relapsing into a raging codependent.  

"I'm gonna fix it! I'm gonna fix her!" 

I called, visited, texted, arranged meals, babysat kids, sent flowers.  I did everything I could think of to manage the pain.  I took ownership of her trial.  And to make it worse- I wanted credit for it all.  I was constantly looking over my shoulder to see who was taking note of my good deeds.  I made her experience all about me, and put my happiness on the line.   Would I come through? Would she shower me with love and appreciation and tell me how everything I'd done had been just what she needed to get her through?

For once my actions were good, but my intentions were selfish. And in the light of my new-found knowledge  I could see through my own transparency.  All my efforts were good, and I know she appreciated them.  But I know I can't be so obsessed with "fixing" everything.  And realizing that I was exploiting her situation to make myself look good filled me with  horror at my true colors.  And I think I hit rock bottom again. 

"I can't be this way anymore. I'm desperate. I acknowledge my problems. I want to change. I'm ready for a new, better way to live."


  1. Jane,

    Your honesty is incredibly refreshing and I think it shows how hard you really are working out of YOUR rock bottom. And just for the record I think you are a bit hard on yourself :) You are amazing and your journey which you have so generously shared has truly helped me.

    It Gets Better

    1. Thanks IGB. A little validation goes a long way. :) I think you are equally amazing.

  2. This post was so how I feel right now. I was about to drop everything today. Im scared of the future, im wondering if it would be better to call it quits. I dont want to feel pathetic and suspicious all the time just like you said. Really i couldnt be able to thank you enough for this post, specially today. God bless you Jane. K.

  3. Like peeling layers of an onion. I think this is what God intended for us down here on earth.

  4. Thanks for the post:) I find myself doing the same thing, especially with my children. The incessant need to fix things is very hard to control at times. Sometimes I don't even realize I am doing it. Both my husband and I are that way. We are now just seeing it in us for the first time in 14 years of marriage. I am still not quite sure how to overcome it myself. Recognizing it is the first step I guess. OH Hum...so much to learn. It's taken me 12 years to finally get help and realize I need my own recovery. I can't believe I suffered for so long, trying to act normal, and fix my husband all while slowing falling apart inside.

    I didn't even know until a month ago that it's not supposed to be my job to fix him. Nobody told me that I was going about this all the wrong way, until I found the hope and healing forum. I really wish that Bishops could be better trained when it comes to members with porn addictions. They should come sit in at 12 steps meetings as part of their training.

    Sorry for the tangent. I am just feeling overwhelmed with all of this. My life has been consumed by it this past month and I haven't had a day without it lingering on my mind. Even with my husband in recovery, I feel like my life is abnormal and I am spending way to much time researching recovery. I really think I am addicted to addiction recovery.

    1. Tangents are ALWAYS welcome here. Especially when I couldn't agree more with everything you said. I am a middle child and was told all my life that I was the "peacemaker." I thought that as a loving supportive wife I was supposed to "fix" my husband. I figured he "married up" and it was my job to save his soul. Yikes- I've learned differently.

      Pace yourself, but I think it's great you are learning. I've been addicted to recovery for about nine months now. In the beginning it just feels soooo good. :)

    2. I know we can't save our husbands souls, or "fix" them, but I'm finding myself confused. As companions, aren't we supposed to encourage and help them? I'm so very very new to all of this, and I know SO little. How do I remain proactive in talking to him about it (not enabling him by staying silent), but at the same time not be trying to fix his problem? I feel like it's a catch 22 sometimes. And that gets a little discouraging.

    3. Thanks Supergirl- your questions are SO good I need to think about them. I'll write a post if I can think of anything intelligent to say.

      But you're right. Discouragement is a big part of this recovery bit.

  5. Jane, I love your heart and thoughts and insight and love and faith and honesty.

    p.s. Sometimes I wonder if socially acceptable compulsions might even be harder to recover from because there is no inherent sin in them.

    1. Super interesting thought Michelle. Thanks.