So, I Have This Friend…

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Wow…where does the time go? March already and I feel sometimes like I am still stuck in the cold dead winter. Oh wait…it was 37 degrees today..that was the high, so yeah…spring isn’t in any hurry. 😫

I began writing for another blog sometime ago and have met (virtually) many new people online because of it. The blog I write for is not like this one. It is not at all personal and has a theme which is far from sex addition. Which I gotta say, is really a great way to get away from the subject and move forward. It has been a really positive thing for me as far as moving out of my comfort zone and it has provided another outlet creatively as well. I have joined several groups where discussions can be had regarding politics, writing…well anything and everything really. I have met some really amazing people and made some amazing friends. I have a few with whom I have grown close and one in particular who, for whatever reason, seemed to be almost a twin to me in his thinking and world view. We have discussed many things: religion, family, politics, marriage…and sex addiction. I had not opened up and shared my story with anyone who “knew” me other than people I have known and who were very close to me. And of course,  to all of you who have been there for me and with me from the beginning. It was scary.

And here is why I did it. My friend is struggling with his own addiction. He is nearly to that darkest place where his “life has become unmanageable” and he understands how he has hurt his wife. I want so much to help him and his wife. I want so much for him to call Will and hear what healing can be like. I want so much for him to know of God’s love for him and the strength he will receive once he commits himself to recovery. I think he knows that he can trust me. I think he knows I will help him. I think he knows how much I love and care for him and that this does not change that.

So, I also have this other friend. I wrote about someone whose sex addict husband took his life a few weeks ago. I had the opportunity to bring her and her children dinner last night. Will drove with me but as we pulled up, I asked him to stay in the car. I had a feeling he would somehow trigger her. Will did not get his feelings hurt…he immediately understood. I entered her home and walked into the kitchen to put dinner down on her counter. I asked if there was anything she needed? She did what I have seen women do time and time again when they are in trauma. She smiled a fake smile, said no thank you and then burst into tears. I held her as she cried. I whispered to her and helped her breathe as she started to experience an anxiety attack. I pinned my name and cell phone onto her fridge in big letters. She will call me when she needs me. That is how we roll. This is what we do. This is how we survive and then thrive. With the help and understanding and kindness of one another.

My other friend doesn’t understand this yet. He doesn’t know that he is loved and understood and supported. He doesn’t know that there are men and women who have fought this fight, are still fighting this fight, and are winning. They are putting aside those things which once controlled them and are now in control of their own lives. Because they have let go and let God truly be in control. Because they have realized, He always was. But I think this friend will know this. I hope so much for him that he will. He is a good, decent man who loves his wife and loves God. He wants to be free. I believe he will be.

I wanted to write about friends because here is what I am finding in  my life. I never wanted to know about sex addiction. I never wanted any betrayal trauma terms like gaslighting, and PTSD, and triggers, and … oh, too many to name, to be in my life let alone experience them all. But I have, and I do, and I will. But I also have hope, and recovery, and a strength I never knew, and a brightness of spirit that I thought I had lost. And I am finding myself, more and more, put into places and situations where I have been able to be of use to someone who is struggling because of this addiction. And they are friends, and become like family. And every time I reach out to help, I am lifted up. I am strengthened yet more. I have a brighter hope and spirit and my own recovery is renewed.

My heart is full and my cup runneth over in gratitude for the life I now live. It is not perfect. But it is so much better than it could have been. And will be even better than it is now. Because I am not striving for perfection, but for progress. And that is happening in leaps and bounds.

 

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Musings from the Trailer Park

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Life in a travel trailer….in a Colorado winter….in freezing temperatures, is….interesting. We have been without heat a couple of times due to running out of propane once and a bad regulator on another occasion. But, we have electric blankets and hot cocoa. We have had frozen pipes so no water a couple of times but we have a space heater which thaws things out fairly quickly and a daughter who lives only a couple of miles away in a true “I gotta shower right now!” emergency.  All in all, though, it isn’t fun. Not like camping in a travel trailer in the mountains or on the beach is fun. It’s not even fun like staying at a KOA because you are heading to somewhere fun. No. It’s just not fun. At all.

You know what is also not fun? It’s not fun to want to have a few minutes (or a few hours) to yourself to take a leisurely bubble bath and process something your sex addict husband has done…only you can’t. Because, well, you don’t have any privacy in a 30 foot trailer, or any bubble bath…or a tub. So, that’s not fun either. The closeness is really, really close. All. The. Time. There is no bedroom door to close to isolate for awhile. In fact, there isn’t really any door. There is a privacy curtain…but it’s just not the same. I know that recovery, for both of us, is all about finding the closeness and emotional intimacy that he has been incapable of for so long, and I completely get that. But, may I just point out, that there is such a thing as overdoing it?!  When winter weather set in, our outdoor space was no longer available so our actual living space is literally 30 feet by 8 feet. Which we share with our 70 pound Collie. And in that space there is a sofa, a dining table and a queen size bed. And a kitchen and a bathroom. So….small. Puny. Tiny.

In case you haven’t guessed, I am completely over this trailer park life and am counting the days now until we can move into our new home (23!!). But I will say this: throughout all of this ridiculous adversity, I have grown into someone I respect. I did not have a meltdown when we had no water. I did not rage when the heat went out (although, I may have made a crack about it being a cold, cruel world 😜), and Will has not become the victim of a murderous insane spouse, pushed beyond all limits….so that’s a win. I have been able to maintain my sanity and dignity (except for the pooper scooper incident which I will not go into here).  And even more satisfying for me is that I feel like this was a major hurdle or challenge that we have conquered. Living in a confining space for an extended time, over 6 months for us, is difficult for anyone. For a couple who is trying to recover from addiction and trauma..well, most folks would say that it was a death wish. But, we are doing it..have nearly done it…and not only survived, but grown in our recovery and in our marriage. We are going to be okay I think.

And, for the record, I don’t ever want to go camping again. Like, ever.

 

I’m OK…Really!

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I’ve been apart from Will for a full week. And…meh…I’m good. Really. I have not once had that urge to try to check up on him, grill him about his day to see if I could catch him in a lie, or even ask him how he’s doing, ya know, with his *whispers behind hand* R.e.c.o.v.e.r.y…..

Of course, I have been busy chasing a couple of the cutest little grand babies around while mommy and daddy are at school and work. So, I’m a little too busy to dwell on what Will may or may not be doing. Plus, I have been writing for another blog, as a contributor, and that has been a great outlet for me. I am finding that I can miss him but not yearn for him in a co-dependent way. I am really perfectly fine on my own. How liberating is that?!?! I don’t just survive without Will anymore, I continue to thrive. I continue to grow and learn and strengthen myself in heart and mind and I feel closer every day to being a full person again.

Will is coming to join me, the kids and these two littles for Thanksgiving and it will be good to be all together. Our house will be completed in January and it is beginning already to feel like a home…a real home. Our forever home. I will be thrilled next year at this time when hopefully my whole gang will join Will and I for the holidays. Together, really together, for the first time in two years. I look forward to that. I look forward to a lot of things these days, and I gotta say, after the devastation of the last year and a half, looking forward with joy and not dread feels pretty good.

I hope you all are finding joy with the upcoming holidays. I hope that with Thanksgiving being next week, we can all be thankful for the blessings we have. Grateful for who we are becoming and even the trials that have made us so strong. I am particularly grateful for this community and for the amazing, inspiring women I have met here who I am honored to call friends. I thank you all for your compassion, your trailblazing, your advice and your love. May God Bless and keep you this Thanksgiving. Hugs to All!

Leigh ❤️

 

100 Things

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I am following this trend because I think it’s an amazing way to remember gratitude. If you are not up on this latest blogging phenom started by Totally Caroline, the idea is to list 100 things you love. When you have had a year like I have or like many of us in this little community, this might be considered a challenge. So….here we go:

  1. Summer Rainstorms
  2. New Furniture.
  3. Will (shhh…don’t tell him, I’m keeping him guessing)
  4. Grandkids
  5. Colorado
  6. God
  7. Purple
  8. Losing weight
  9. Marriott Hotels
  10. Laying by the pool with a good book
  11. My flower garden
  12. Making something ugly into something beautiful, old furniture, old clothes, old memories…
  13. My Front porch swing
  14. Christmas
  15. The Atonement
  16. My Sons and Daughter in law…they call me mom 😍
  17. My Dog
  18. My Neato vacuum..his name is Bob.
  19. My Realtor
  20. Crisp clean cool sheets on a warm summer night
  21. The way Will tears up now when he says he loves me.
  22. Chantilly Cake from Whole Foods.
  23. The way my grandchildren love each other..cousin time is always so fun!
  24. Cuddling and watching movies on snowy winter nights
  25. Adam Levine…I could totally learn to be a cougar for that man 😊
  26. The way my kids and their spouses are all best friends
  27. My Therapist
  28. Friends I’ve met through recovery..they are the best, most authentic, funniest, most compassionate, interesting people I know!
  29. Foot massages….(ahhhhh)
  30. The way Will kisses me now…not with the expectation of sex. Just because he loves to kiss me.
  31. Music…almost any genre.
  32. Art…almost any medium.
  33. Yoga
  34. Sketching at Garden of the Gods.
  35. Sketching at RockLedge Ranch.
  36. Sketching at Breckenridge.
  37. Sketching anywhere.
  38. Getting voicemail messages from my grandkids (I save them forever)
  39. Getting a clear mammogram and pap smear
  40. Vacations
  41. Traveling
  42. Road Trips
  43. Learning something new
  44. Lavendar
  45. Playing Wordbrain and Words With Friends
  46. Family game nights
  47. Thanksgiving
  48. Waking up with Will kissing my face.
  49. Sleeping in and cuddling.
  50. Going out to eat.
  51. Grilling dinner at home.
  52. Hugs…real, heartfelt, I love you hugs.
  53. Gut busting, snort inducing, painful ribs laughing.
  54. Driving fast in a high performance vehicle.
  55. Hiking on a clear summer day.
  56. The changing view of Pikes Peak every day.
  57. Twisty cones
  58. Brian Regan
  59. Museums
  60. Disneyland, Disneyworld
  61. Flip Flops
  62. Bare feet
  63. The beach…any beach.
  64. Mexico
  65. Lettuce Wrapped Fish Tacos at the Hacienda
  66. Soft thick squishy carpeting
  67. Shopping
  68. Girls days with my daughters and grand-daughters
  69. The Temple
  70. My Stake President
  71. The Broncos
  72. 16th Street Mall in Denver
  73. Old Colorado City
  74. Chocolate
  75. New cars
  76. Skiing … Ok, these days, watching my kids and grandkids ski.
  77. Date Night
  78. A full nights sleep
  79. The Rocky Mountains
  80. The phrase, “I love you Grandma”
  81. Text messages that make me laugh out loud
  82. Blogging and reading blogs
  83. Crafting, painting, sewing
  84. England
  85. San Pelligrino water
  86. Fresh berries and cream
  87. HGTV
  88. Getting my nails done
  89. Mexican food
  90. Italian food
  91. Chinese food
  92. Food
  93. A clean house
  94. Healing
  95. Finding a forgotten $20 in a jeans pocket
  96. My new found sense of self…I’m a badass 😎
  97. Brene Brown
  98. The Serenity Prayer
  99. Pajamas
  100. My life

What an amazing, fulfilling, hopeful, fun exercise this is! I am so very, very blessed and grateful for all the joy in my life!

Goodbye, Sweet “D”

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Addiction, in its many manifestations, is brutal, powerful, heartless and deadly. It ruins families, destroys friendships and takes lives….Every.Single.Day.

When I went to Arizona to my inpatient, I met addicts of all types…narcotics, alcohol, sex and love, even gaming…and they were completely powerless over their addiction of choice. Completely powerless. It is heartbreaking. Meeting so many people with out-of-control lives due to their addictions, changed my view of addicts..including Will. It changed me, my perspective, my heart and yes, my life.  Among the many people I met, were a few very special people with whom I became close…indeed, I love them. We text, call and keep in touch now and I believe they will always be in my life. I relied on them and they relied on me. That, too, is powerful…sometimes shared stories and understanding is more powerful than the addiction which holds one hostage.

Yesterday, one of my sweet, funny, strong, struggling friends made the choice to end her fight with alcohol. “D” had been in crisis and lost her sobriety soon after returning home from Arizona. She tried…so hard…to regain her soberness. She called me and the rest of our little group of warriors as she fought her demons, her depression and her pain. We talked to her, we texted…we loved her the best we could. I even found her father’s phone number and called him to enlist his help for our precious “D,” but he, too, felt so helpless against this destructive enemy. She was, in the end, not able to withstand the pain. She ended her life yesterday morning and I am profoundly sad. I am also more aware than ever of the incredible strength addictions hold over their prey. Yes, it is true that addicts choose to take that drink, or pop that pill or give in to their lust, but that choice is made with minds that are already imprisoned by the promise of release from the pain, confusion and desperation that one’s life has become. It can be a hopeless and helpless feeling, with no light at the end of the tunnel….except medicating the pain more and more. The cycle is ruthless and vicious.

This, I believe, is where “D” was yesterday morning when she took enough prescription pills to stop her pain and torment permanently. She leaves behind two kids, a fiancee, a mom, dad and brother. All of whom loved her so very much. She also left behind a host of others who watched her struggles to get sober, celebrated her small victories, shared in her pain with understanding and compassion, and prayed fervently for her victory over her disease. We loved her. I loved her. She will remain in my memory as a smiling, laughing, free spirit.

I’m sorry you are gone “D” but I understand. I just wish you could have held on just one day at a time. I love you and I miss you. Rest in Peace, my sweet girl.

Be at peace now. ❤️