30 August 2013

Vulnerability Hangover

Cliché Zero

Last night I stood in a room of 30-40 men in suits.  I felt a bizarre combination of total intimidation and quiet confidence.  Last week my stake president invited me (and then Pete agreed as well) to speak at the bishopric training meeting.  [This is a meeting for local church leaders and their assistants.] 

It sounds totally cliché but I really did envision all of you in the room with me.  I wanted to have my moment to represent us, to share the hope of recovery and to encourage these men to better understand what more they can do.  I would like to post what I said, but honestly right now I feel so exposed I feel like crawling in a cave and isolating. 

After such a bold personal confession it's hard for me to not feel insatiable for validation.  Did my words help? Did these men approve of my message? Was I effective? Do they admire my courage? Friends, I'm so hooked on validation my life is unmanagable.

Later in the evening Pete got a text from a member of our own ward who is also a good friend.  He thanked us and said he still admired us as much as he had before he knew our deepest secret.  (Not his words exactly.)

Go ahead and laugh out loud, but I felt like he was the one leper. 


So ridiculous right? 

There were several men in the room who know us personally and I find myself wondering where are they? Why haven't they texted/emailed/called to support us? 

So I'm working on that. And when I can be sure that I'm not sharing just to appease my validation appetite, I'll talk about what I said last night. 

But thanks to you all who were with me in my heart.  Thanks to Pete for his gesture of courage.  It felt really good to be united with him in something. 

Have a fantastic Labor Day Weekend friends. 


  1. I'm so impressed! That took A LOT of courage! Kudos to you!

  2. You are awesome. Did you know?! You are.

  3. I want to hear what you said. So awesome! One wonderful thing one of our Bishops did was request a meeting with me. Me, all alone and Bishop. His first question was, "how are YOU?" I burst into tears. He nodded and listened. I asked about forgiveness, and he told me it would take time to forgive and trust again, "but make room in your heart for forgiveness, and when it comes, let it in." I hung onto those words! I'm still hanging onto them. So often we are the silent, shamed, partner, who sits anonymously in the back while the spouse gets all the support, help, encouragement and love. No Bishop has done that since, but I sure did appreciate it.

  4. Go Jane. You seriously rock. And I am dying to hear what you said. Like really.

    And for reals- where are those other dudes?!?! How can they not know that you puked before you opened up. Sorry.

    But, yay!

  5. You are amazing. I hope you will hear more feedback...because after all, isn't the greatest armor against this thing honesty and openness and vulnerability? It's gonna take time, I'm afraid, but in the meantime, I applaud you and your man for your courage. Woot.

  6. Jane, I don't think it's a bad thing to want to make a difference, especially when you did something at great personal risk. You came out of hiding to people you know personally, and I admire your courage. As a wife of an addict, I still feel lots of shame by association. Thanks for sharing your experience. I want to be able to do that someday.

  7. wow!!! amazing!! I do admit that just reading this post made me sweat! Way to go!!

  8. I love you for doing this. I totally get that need. What ARE they thinking? WHY aren't they talking to you? Where are they?!?! *sigh*

  9. I think you should call them and say, "So.... what did ya think?" ha, ha, not really, but it does put you in a sticky situation. The first two Bishops my husband confessed to I never talked to personally. It made church so awkward. I would see them in the hall and think, "What does he think of me now? Does his pity me? He knows. He knows! And yet, he can't say anything to me about it." It was so much better when we started in a new ward and I went and sat down with the Bishop and heard him say the words out loud, "You are courageous. I admire you for staying with your husband. Heavenly Father loves you. I am here to talk if you need me."
    Those men are probably at a loss of how or when to bring up such a conversation. Kudos to your friend who did. Give those guys some time, or if you are daring, give them an opportunity. I'm sure their hearts are in the right place and they are impressed with your strength too. I know I am!
    PS how did you know it was my birthday? And the party went great!

  10. Oh my goodness, I read this a couple days ago and thought, "I so get that! Jane and I are long lost twins!" (Well, I didn't think that exactly, but kinda.) Then today I totally told our story to our entire Sunday School class -- then J told his story in Elders Quorum for the last 15 minutes. And it was good, it was what we were led to do, it was the right call. And now I'm sitting here trying NOT to focus on, "How have more people not reached out and told me what I did was amazing/great/brave/courageous/helpful/right?" Hi, my name is HX, and I am a validation addict.
    Sigh. :-)


  11. Jane, I read this and all I want to do is give you the biggest hug and tell you how much I admire you. I am so grateful for you for doing the hard thing... it would take ALL MY COURAGE and then some to do this... and you didn't do it for you, you did it for us, all of US. Because we are the pioneers and our leaders and priesthood holders aren't perfect, and they aren't women. Although they are trying their hardest, I believe that most of them have a lot to learn, and if we don't try to teach them and share with them and help them understand things from our point of view, the WoPa's point of view, then who will? You are such a hero to me, and I will keep this close to my heart if ever there comes a time when I'm put in a very scary very vulnerable place. I love you friend.