20 January 2016

Living in Recovery

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I'm not really sure of what draws me to this writing space and why, but I've been drawn here again lately and so I've come.

I've been thinking about what my life looks like these days, as it relates to the way I cope with Pete's addiction, and I've realized that "recovery" has become a way of life for me.  But it's so much bigger than Pete's addiction.

In the course of my life I accumulated a set of habits, behaviors, false beliefs and fears that stood as obstacles to living a life of contentment, happiness, gratitude and safety.  All these things were exacerbated by Pete's addiction, my trauma and my pain.  These "things" include my ideas about how other people's behavior effects me, my fears and shame about my marriage, my frustrations with other family relationships, my suffering self-esteem, my beliefs about feelings and boundaries- all combined with the behaviors I adopted to try to feel some sense of control and to protect myself from any kind of vulnerability.

Eventually, at the peak of Pete's addiction and my dysfunction it became too much to bear.  It's always been easy to blame Pete's addiction, and certainly the betrayal and hurt contributed to my despair, but these "things" have always been there, lurking under the surface, and the crisis of the addiction just opened the closet door for them to all come pouring out.

My life now consists of doing what I can to help me cope with these behaviors, beliefs and fears. This of course includes coping with Pete's ongoing addiction-related problems, but it's also so much broader.  So what does it look like for me?

It is having a therapist that I trust, that I can be honest with, that holds me accountable and that is gentle and compassionate with me.  It is participating in Al-Anon, because the 12 steps work for me. It is deliberately and consciously staying self-aware, despite how uncomfortable awareness can be at times.  It is self-care and boundaries and acceptance.  It is work.  Really.

The last 18 months have had some seriously intense moments where I've fallen off the wagon so to speak, and allowed myself to pretend and deny that I have any need for "recovery."  I'm just such a work in progress, never really feeling like I master anything, and even my therapist teases me that "we've talked about this before Jane..."  But that's just the reality of me, my life, and my "things."  And today, I'm mostly okay with it.

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I've been writing on this blog for a few years now and I have no idea if the any of the same people from the beginning still read it.  Are you still dealing with your husband's addiction? Have you "moved on"? Do you find that you have "things" that stand in your way of peace and self-confidence? What has recovery evolved into for you?

3 comments:

  1. I'm still reading :-)
    I was just sharing with someone the other day how I was happy to realized how much less led by fear and stress I am now vs. a few years ago. Not to say I don't slip back into fear and stress and worry ALL. THE. FREAKING. TIME. (I'm not claiming any kind of picture-of-mental-health status afterall), but I don't LIVE there anymore. I was really pleased to see that peace and serenity do come easier to me now. Not naturally, per se, but easier. I can get there. I'm more mindful, but not nearly as much as I want to be, and I'm too plugged in and distracted for my own good. There's so much more work to be done, but I can also see progress and believe I am in a better place than I was. I can also be more OK with where I'm at, with less shame about where I'm not yet. I'm still not as dedicated to, or as consistent in, recovery as I'd like to be, but I feel like there are recovery behaviors, habits, and attitudes that have found their way into my day to day life.
    I still worry too much about what others think, too much time worried about managing their perception of me -- too worried about fitting in and being well thought of -- but I also have more relationships where I am fully relaxed, myself, and feel loved and acceptable, which is totally healing and wonderful. I'm more aware, but still stubborn and slow to change, but once I realize I really, really need to work on something I feel armed with the tools to do something about it -- unless I get lazy and decide it's too hard and I'd rather just deal with the negative consequences of that action/belief/whatever -- but I do feel like I am a work in progress, and like overall I'm trending upwards :-)

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  2. Not sure if this will help but this is a great treatment program: bit.ly/1QmSZ6m.

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  3. I just discovered your blog :)
    My husband is a porn and sex addict of 40+ years; he and I have been married for only 5 years. In November 2015 I FINALLY realized what's going on with him, although his lying and sexual sneakiness had been grating my soul raw long before that. I have not found any support from my bishop, despite several visits with him because of my husband's addictions. But there's no doubt that Heavenly Father has been watching over and guiding me (a worthwhile story - let me know if you want to hear it.)
    I've benefitted immeasurably from the ARP spouse support program meetings and SA Lifeline group meetings. Working on my own recovery and intentionally moving my focus OFF of my loves-his-addiction addict has begun to break the stronghold of my reactive behaviors. I'm seeing more clearly and feeling more free - on a regular basis - than I have since I married my addicted husband.
    I also have a growing library of books and websites which have added to the insights I get from the meetings and from the Holy Ghost. All in all, I feel very blessed in spite of the trauma...but I still might divorce my husband. He's not serious about recovery, and that has consequences attached that his la-de-da attitude doesn't allow him to see. Agency opens windows or shuts them, exactly as we choose.

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