Monday, February 2, 2015

Plot Twist - Separation

I've been avoiding blogging.

I'm actually scared to, a bit, because to do so requires me to talk about scary, vulnerable things. But as I lay in bed this morning, a feeling kept coming to me that it's just time.

::: sigh :::

So here I am, my husband and I currently separated and living in separate bedrooms.

But, strangely, I am not sad about it. In fact, I haven't felt happier in quite a long time. Not the kind of happiness that one feels at Disneyland, or because of the birth of a child. It's a much deeper happiness than that.

I'm happy because I realized I am valuable enough to stand up for myself.
I'm happy because my Father in Heaven backed me up, showing that He valued me, too.
I'm happy because I have a safe space to call my own and I truly feel safe.
I'm happy because I no longer cringe when my husband walks by me.
I'm happy because I no longer feel lustful energy rolling off of him.
I'm happy because.... well, because I'm happy.

Who knew that separation could bring actual happiness? But it's true. And honestly, I feel like my husband and I have been happier together due to the separation as well. Seems completely backward when I actually type it out, but we are spending some much needed time just getting to know one another. 

Most will read this post and wonder; 'What the heck happened? Why are they separated?' I'll get to that eventually, I promise. I'm just sort of getting my feet wet with the idea of actually opening up about it. It's scary. It's easy for me to talk about my own addiction, but much more difficult for me to talk about how my husband's addiction as affected me. 

But I'm going to. Because I need to.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Versions of Violence

I've been thinking about this song lately, and how it can apply to each of us. We often don't recognize that abuse, whether on the offending or receiving end, can manifest in the most subtlest of forms.

Versions of Violence
Alanis Morissette


Coercing or leaving
Shutting down and punishing
Running from rooms, defending
Withholding, justifying

These versions of violence
Sometimes subtle sometimes clear
And the ones that go unnoticed
Still leave their mark once disappeared

Diagnosing, analyzing
Unsolicited advice
Explaining and controlling
Judging, opining and meddling

These versions of violence
Sometimes subtle sometimes clear
And the ones that go unnoticed
Still leave their mark once disappeared

This labeling
This pointing
This sensitive's unraveling
This sting I've been ignoring
I feel it way down way down

These versions of violence
Sometimes subtle sometimes clear
And the ones that go unnoticed
Still leave their mark once disappeared

Monday, December 30, 2013

Some Thoughts on Boundaries...

A question was recently posed by my uncle-in-law, Scott Hammond, author of a most excellent book called Lessons of the Lost.
How can I find someone who is lost but does not want to be found?
I want to record my thoughts on the matter here, in regards to those of our loved ones lost in addiction, but who do not want to give it up . . .

The tool that I have seen most effective is to set boundaries that disallow us, as loved ones, to enable the addict. Often times, it is our enabling that supports their habit.  A common saying that describes the turning point in an addict's life is when "the pain of the addiction finally comes to outweigh the reward"...

We have to make sure our behavior is not contributing to the addict's reward.

We must work our own recovery program along with those bound in addiction. Everyone has to work to break the chains of the roles they are playing. 

The Drama Triangle identifies a victim, rescuer and persecutor in unhealthy families. 

The key to breaking the cycle is simply to stop playing whatever role we are in. The triangle cannot function without one of its' legs. We must create clear emotional boundaries around us, in order to break the cycle of our own role; which in turn, will disallow others to play their drama triangle roles.  

Each role is a hamster wheel of dysfunction.  We simply need to stop running.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

"... If My Wife Denied Me Sex, I'd Probably Divorce Her..."

I feel an immense desire to journal an experience I had with my former doctor.  The experience, at the time, left me feeling as if I were defective and broken.

Early in our marriage my husband and I did not have the best sex life.  In fact, we hardly had one at all.  Even though I don't currently blame myself for our former circumstance, I very much did so at the time.

I struggled with opening myself up and connecting, but mostly, sex physically hurt. I also had (and continue to have) a real strong aversion to pelvic exams.

I thought there was something physically wrong with me; that I was defective in some way.  Seeking help, I made an appointment with my OBGYN to talk things over with him.

I went into the appointment hopeful.  I really liked my doctor.  He had recently delivered my first child and my husband and I both had established quite a bond with him.  He was nice, encouraging and gave freely of his time.  He even took phone calls at home, which is pretty much a dead tradition.

I felt nervous as I sat in his office, but I really wanted to get better.  I was ready to talk about my problem, seek answers and get help.

He finally entered the room and I spent a few minutes describing my symptoms.  He listened carefully and asked me some questions.  He didn't need to physically exam me because he had recently delivered my baby and based on that, determined everything physical was in working order.

Then something completely unexpected happened; as if the energy switched in the room and my once advocate suddenly became my enemy.

He began to tell me that God placed us here on the earth to procreate, and in order to do that we have to have sex.  He told me that by denying my husband sex I was, in essence, disobeying God and sinning.  He told me that the pain was all in my head and that my mental problems were getting in the way of me doing the Lord's will.

And then he capped it off with "... if my wife denied me sex, I would probably divorce her."

I sat there quietly as tears streamed down my face.  I felt horrible.  Wretched.  Broken.  Worthless.

... because I believed him.

All that I had felt about myself, that men just want me for my body, was confirmed in the space of three to five minutes.  And by someone I completely trusted.

I mean, why would he lie?  He's supposed to have my best interest at heart.

I left his office feeling beaten.

I don't remember much about the following months.  I did seek out therapy which was somewhat helpful.  But I still felt a deeply embedded shame; resigned to being broken.

It wasn't until recently that I found out I wasn't crazy.

Even though I no longer struggle with it as I once did, my condition was very real.  It's called vaginismus and it effects about 10% of women nationwide.

Imagine the relief I felt when I realized that not only was I not defective, but I wasn't alone either.  What I struggled with was real and not imagined.

My doctor was wrong.  Literally and ethically. (This is the same doctor that told me I peed my pants when my water broke and just recently finished a stint in Federal prison for smuggling phentermine into the US from Mexico and selling them on the internet).

I have also come to learn that I was not created so that people can touch me, or use me how they want.  I am my own person and I still govern what I do with my body.  I am not obligated nor required to have sex.  Yes, sex is a beautiful gift, but it is very fragile and when any level of darkness comes into play, the beauty of it completely disappears.

I would rather never have sex again than have tainted sex.  How can I lovingly attach to my wonderful husband if I continue to feel used when we come together in unison?  I'm not placing blame.  I am just as accountable for the darkness that sometimes invades as anyone.

I have really noticed a difference in me since I've started recovery.  Boundaries are never easy to set, but I can set them now.  And for the most part I can uphold them.

I'm grateful for this space in which I can place my pain.  It helps me release and let go.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Homage for the Suffering

I love music.

Music has been an absolute essential part of my recovery, on this side of the street and on the other side of the street.

There is an amazing genre of music that I have found to be very healing for my soul...
Music that validates me in the here and in the now.
Music that helps me own and stand true to the pain and suffering that I feel in the very moment I am feeling it.

I want to share one of those such songs with you.

This song is for you - my beautiful sisters who are hurting and lonely and scared right now in this very moment.

I love you.
Keep your chin up.
You can do hard things!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Codependent Tug

One thing I have always struggled with is control.  Actually, let me rephrase that.  I am a master at control.  It it surrendering control that I struggle with.

A picture came to my mind recently, though, of what control looks like to the person I may be attempting to control.  It fits right along with my haircut post.

I actually experimented the scenario on multiple women this past weekend at The Togetherness Project.

I took the role of the desperate wife that wants her addicted loved one to work recovery while the other woman played the part of the addicted loved one.

I asked each of them to imagine I was trying to get them to physically go to a recovery group meeting.  I then grabbed their sleeve and physically began pulling them toward the place I wanted them to go.

As their brows began to furrow I asked them what had stolen their attention.

Each woman responded the same.

Their attention had been captured by the strong tug on their shirt.  Their focus had been stolen by the pressure and control I was striving to exert over them and by my will trying to control their will.

It didn't matter that what I so desperately wanted them to do or move toward was good and healthy - my grip had completely stolen their attention so that they were no longer able to concentrate on where I was trying to get them to go.

The moral of the story?

If we are trying to control our addicted loved one's behavior, we are robbing them of their agency to choose recovery for themselves.  Their sole goal becomes pleasing us rather than seeking that which will help them heal.  In their minds, their success becomes hinged on contributing to our happiness.

We, in essence, get in the way of their relationship with the Lord.
We get in the way of the necessary bumps and bruises that help strengthen their resolve.
We get in the way of the necessary consequences that enable them to grow.

We must remember that our loved one's are God's children too, and just because we detach does not mean that the Lord will detach.

He won't.  The Lord never detaches.

It is we that detach from Him.  If we are exerting our control over our loved one's it disallows them from reestablishing that personal relationship with the Lord necessary for healing.

On the flip side, if our focus is on our addicted loved ones, it is not on the Lord.

None of us can serve two masters.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Mother Earth

We were recently challenged by Dr. Skinner at Addo Recovery to walk barefoot in the grass.  He said it to be therapeutic and healing.  

I do love walking barefoot in the grass but I find myself lacking the time to do so.  I am surrounded by perpetual homework, dishes, laundry, work, dirty diapers and any other everyday fiasco that happens to manifest itself.

But yesterday was different.  I got home from work and my little 3 year old greeted me outside.  He asked me if he could ride his "big bike" that he recently received for his birthday.  Normally I'd be in a rush.  A rush to get inside and get the house clean or more likely just to sit and veg after a long day.  But instead, I decided that it was a great idea to let him ride his bike.  An even better idea was to relax in my lounge chair, take my shoes off and let my feet rest in the cool grass.

And that I did....

I sat silently with the creak of the pedals in the background while I concentrated on connecting with the earth.  

Mother Earth 
Beautiful mother Earth 
Who has sacrificed herself to horrible torture and destruction that
We can have a firm and solid place to work our way back to Father  
She is living  
She willingly submits because she loves us 
...but more so 
Because she loves Father  
She is perfect in her faith and humility 
She willingly submits to whatever God asks of her  
She will have her redemption  
She will be cleansed and take her rightful place next to Kolob
She knows her purpose,
Her worth 
Her value  
She doesn't resist 
but stands steadfast 

I am full of gratitude for her, and feel privileged to be gravitated to her, to touch her, walk on her and partake of her beauty.  

I am committed to walk barefoot more often, to be closer to her, for in doing so, I am closer to God.