So…Yeah….Life Goes On…

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It again has been many, many months since I have felt compelled to write anything. Because, honestly, my life is so ridiculously normal. I mean, aside from riots, fires, pestilence, plagues…you know…real every day life. Maybe it is because the world is in such turmoil and my American life seems to be on the  brink of destruction that maybe my own personal, intimate, hell of living with a sex addict seems minuscule in comparison. Or it could be that I am finally to a place where, despite all the external chaos, things are finally, truly in a place of serenity and peace in my life. I don’t feel the need to think about what Will has done in the past. I don’t feel the urge to litigate all of the indiscretions and pure evil he perpetrated on us. I have no desire to feel the pain of betrayal. I certainly don’t have a need to continue to dwell on what happened or why. It is, quite simply, in our past. It is not who we, as a couple, are anymore. It is not how we identify or choose to live our lives. Yes, Will still attends meetings and continues his outreach to help others. Yes. I still read healing information and practice mindfulness and meditation. But, no, we are just not immersed in the world of recovery/healing much at all anymore. We see the Therapist infrequently now,  preferring to spend that time together doing something we both love to do. Sometimes, that is simply sitting quietly together reading under our pergola with music playing along with the crickets. We spend time with one another, with family and with friends. We spend a lot of time at home and we have finally broken down the barrier to lovemaking. That is still a work in progress, but it is lovely and intimate and emotional in a good way.  Life is so, so beautiful and fulfilling and wonderful. We are blessed and grateful to be living it together. I continue to pray for our world, for those in so much pain and for all who have been my sounding board, my support and my virtual friends for so long. I have a deep abiding love for all of you and a gratitude for the constant understanding, compassion and guidance with which you have been so generous. Simply put…I would not have been able to heal and even survive without you all. Thank you is such an inadequate phrase for how I feel about you all. But, life goes on. I will be writing even less but I still read and comment and reply and I am not discontinuing this blog. I want each of you to know that being in that place of pain is not forever. There is healing, there is hope, there is complete recovery. It is possible to move out of that place of betrayal and there is a great amount of love and life yet to experience. I am in that phase of my life now and it is beyond my ability to describe the peace and joy that is in my heart. Life is amazing and I am excited everyday to live it. God is so, so good. I love you all and I will still be here, living, loving and not just surviving, but thriving.
Leigh ❤️

Barefoot in the Chapel

Baptism of Christ

This past couple of months has been so busy…and so beautiful. Since our trip to Hawaii, Will has met with our church leaders and it has been determined that his heart, from a spiritual standpoint, has been changed and softened considerably. Enough so that he was confirmed to be worthy and redeemed through the repentance process to be re-baptized as a member of our church. During this time, I took 10 days to go and visit our daughter and mother of four of our grandchildren in another state. My son-in-law had been deployed with the military leaving them for six months. Needless to say, she is a bit overwhelmed on her own. After a week and a half, we drove home together with the kids and prepared for the onslaught of out of state family who wished to attend Will’s baptism. My son flew in to perform the ordinance. And it was amazing and powerful and so faith-affirming. Time with all three of my grown children was precious and so fulfilling. They are all such incredible human beings! Every one of them is accomplished and happy and such wonderful parents to my grandchildren. My heart is full of love and gratitude for them all.

Prior to Will’s actual baptism, there was a short program in the chapel of the church building. Will and my son were dressed in white and were prepared to enter the baptismal font. As I sat next to them both, I noted that they were both barefooted and it struck me that in the Lord’s house, instead of Sunday finery, they were in the most basic dress they could be in. No adornment, no embellishments, no shirt and tie, no shoes. Simple, clean, pure, white. This is how we will come before God. No pretention, nothing hidden, no distraction from our most pure selves. Barefoot. Vulnerable. Honest. For He knows all and sees all without the filters we use to live this human life.

I contemplated how much simpler life would have been had Will been this open and vulnerable and honest throughout our lives together. How much pain and shame and sadness and hurt would have been avoided had he only been able to be “barefoot” with me and those who have loved him no matter what? I had come across a C.S. Lewis quote a few days prior to this which suddenly popped back into my head.

“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.”

This. This is why we go through pain and sorrow and hardship. Because we all have the potential for greatness and to be extraordinary. Because we come into the world barefoot and vulnerable but life teaches us to be guarded and clothe ourselves in a facade of what is deemed acceptable by society. We cannot let go of all the trappings of our humanity, but we can re-learn how to become as a child again. This is done through heartbreak and loss and trial. God sees us as he created us…as His children…open and teachable and meek and humble. Hardship teaches us these things again and we become again as a child and dependent on His mercy and love. We are again willing to be barefoot.

Leigh ❤️

 

Four.

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Today is May 17, 2019. Four years since D-day. Four years since my world was shattered. Four years since the day I became irrevocably changed. Four years since life, as I knew it, was over.

And four long, difficult, heart-breaking years of grueling recovery and healing.

And it’s not enough.

I don’t know where I am on my journey. I don’t know where my road is leading. All I know is that there are horrible memories that still overshadow the good memories. That balance has not been restored. I know, also, that it is hard, hard work to make those good memories that used to come so effortlessly. But, I still try.

Maybe in another four years, or eight…or twelve, the memories will shift and the bad will fade and be less painful. Maybe the good memories will be overwhelming and wonderful and crush the bad from my recollection. Maybe rain isn’t wet. 😏

I came across a numerology chart the other day which describes the characteristics of numbers, and while I don’t subscribe to numerology or really even understand it, I thought the associated description of the number four was interesting and perhaps apropos to my current state:

Those who walk a life path with the number four have an almost unbreakable spirit and astounding capabilities of self-control. 4 reminds us that equality of all sides created the strongest structures. It’s energy is that of stability.

Hmmm…Can’t really count on all of that.

What I can count on is myself. What I know for certainty is that I will keep working on healing. I will keep doing the best I can with what I have. And I will keep looking for more. More happiness, more contentment, more gratitude, more grace.

I think I’m getting there. Slowly.

Leigh ❤️

Winter Won’t Win

 

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What a long cold winter this is turning out to be! I am not a big fan of the first few months of the year. I always feel a little depressed after the New Year. It’s a mix of the cold, the after-holiday slump and lethargy of my self imposed human hibernation. I have to make such an effort to get out of the house, and being completely honest, even get dressed,  on these cold dark days. It is easy to stay warm and comfy inside as days drag by, waiting for spring. But it is also detrimental to my own recovery. Depression can get the best of me during this time of the year if I don’t force myself to be an active participant in my life. Fortunately, Will has come to realize what a struggle it is for me and, unlike past years, makes a huge effort to plan date nights, plays, weekend trips etc., to help me through this difficult part of the year.

Last week, we met some of our kids and grandkids up in the mountains at Breckenridge. They skied and snowboarded and Will and I spent some down time in the beautiful lodge and condo. (I don’t ski anymore after a nasty accident and knee reconstruction 😏) It was lovely and peaceful and we celebrated my birthday there. I was reminded time after time as we went through the week, of how much, yet how little our lives have changed in the last three and a half years since D-day.  We tend to be careful, albeit subconsciously, of speaking of Will’s addictions and the impact on all of our lives. Yet, if something comes up in conversation, we are able to simply address it as a matter of fact and move on. There are still triggers and there are still times of reminders and rumination, but they are brief and completely manageable.  But we still play games with family, we still have lovely family dinners and we still have a deep and abiding love and friendship with one another. We still think we are all hilarious and crack each other up. My kids and grandkids are amazing and resilient. I have much to be grateful for.

And that is one of the biggest drivers in recovery. Gratitude. I have to continually remind myself of all the good in my life (and there is SO much!) so that I don’t slide into a self-pitying depressive state which is certainly the easy way out. Years ago, I heard the founder of Mothers Without Borders, Kathy Headlee-Miner, give a seminar. She has had an incredible life and definitely her share of trials. It would have been easy for her to wallow in her adversity and lead a persecuted life. She chose differently. She chose to be happy. She chose to serve others. She chose to be grateful for her blessings. Every morning, no matter where she finds herself in the world, before she opens her eyes to the day ahead, she quietly reflects on her blessings. She mentally reminds herself of three things that she is grateful for. She has practiced this little ritual for decades and she believes that it has a huge impact on her outlook on life. She challenged all who were there to try it to see if it made a difference to them. I must admit, it does. Taking a few short minutes every morning to be thankful and humble has a profound impact on how I approach my day. As this dreary winter has dragged on, I have found that I am more able to get out of my doldrums and it is easier for me to shrug off the doom and gloom that can so quickly turn me into a weepy mess.  I am not at 100% at doing this.  I have days when I am just cranky and dissatisfied with everyone and everything. But, what a difference when I take that few minutes in the morning and adjust my attitude before I even open my eyes! I am more able to focus on all the good things in life. Laughter comes more easily. Patience (not my strong suit) is enhanced. Love for Will is more present. Life is more beautiful.

This is such a huge part of complete recovery! And, for me, my triumph over Winter!

It has taken me a long time to get here. A loooonnnggg time. But, the point is that I feel myself changing and I see the difference. So do others around me. I am closer to the happy, content part of me that was missing for so long. I will never be the same person I was for most of my life, but maybe, just maybe, I can be a better or even the best version of myself. What more can one ask?

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Meet the New Year, Same as the Old Year…or something…

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I have been remiss in blogging for a few months and I think it is because nothing of great impact or import has occurred lately. I tend to be quiet when I have nothing thoughtful or helpful to say. I’m not good at small talk or superficial chatter. You can imagine my awkwardness at social functions. 😏

The New Year came in with Will falling asleep in the sofa watching Netflix and me falling asleep in bed reading.  Yeah…we’re definitely not the “It” couple. We did celebrate on New Year’s Day as we have for many years. We had family over and grilled steaks despite the 7 degree weather and played games. It was really lovely. Lots of love and laughter. And connection. Will has continued to be present and connects now in a way that he (and I) have never experienced. This is true with our kids and grandkids as well. It is comforting and feels like true conversion from “addict Will” to “real Will.”

But, I continue to be on my guard and trust is still an issue. I think it may always be something that will be there…this lack of complete trust. I can never go back to my pre-D-day unconditional love and trust. I honestly don’t remember what that was like. I am no longer that vulnerable or malleable. And the honest truth is that I no longer want to be. I have been told that this is not the goal of full recovery…but that doesn’t make sense to me. Why would I open my heart and mind completely to the possibility of such devastating betrayal again? I may be recovering but I’m not stupid. I prefer to protect myself now, which is something I never even considered previously. This is not to say that I don’t love and trust…just not unconditionally and enthusiastically. I am more cautious, more aware, more reserved in how I approach relationships now. With Will, my family, friends…everyone. This is what profound betrayal does to a person’s psyche. This is what it does to a person’s core being, personality, and perspective. It is unfair and I am trying to let go of the resentment towards Will because of this forced change from who I was and who I am now. It is a hard row to hoe.

There are many good things, however, and I don’t want to seem ungrateful for the blessings that recovery has revealed. One of the many things that I have realized is that I genuinely like Will. He is truly my best friend. He still makes me laugh and cry happy tears. We enjoy spending time together and doing things together. He is still attractive to me and I appreciate his intellect and tenderness. Desire is slow in returning, but I am hopeful that too will make its presence known when we are both ready. I am trying to be patient.

So…nothing too earth shattering in my life these days. I’m just learning and growing and getting through this life and it’s challenges as best I can. Doing what I can to be better at it. It is, at times,  more difficult than other times…and sometimes relatively easy. But it is a constant effort to emerge and change and evolve. To discover who I am while holding on to the essence of who I was. Anyway, as I was writing this post, I kept thinking of the old The Who song, “We Won’t Be Fooled Again.” The lyrics are fitting for me right now.

“The change, it had to come
We knew it all along
We were liberated from the fold, that’s all
And the world looks just the same
And history ain’t changed
‘Cause the banners, they are flown in the next war
I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I’ll get on my knees and pray
We don’t get fooled again, no, no”
This is how I am feeling. I have been liberated from the old life of secrets and infidelity, but history ain’t changed. I smile and grin at the change all around me in my life…because there is so much good! But then, I get on my knees and I pray (fervently!) that I don’t get fooled again.
Happy New Year’s 🥳
Leigh ❤️

 

 

Still Skanky After All These Years

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Today Will went to work as usual. But, mid-morning he showed up at home. I was a bit alarmed. I thought maybe someone died or he got fired or…worst of all…he had some relapse or was about to disclose something new.  He came and sat beside me and said simply, “Skank is in town.”  If you remember, Skank is the slut that Will worked with at a branch of his company in another state. She was one of three whores at work with which he had affairs. She was, by far, the longest at about four months. At that time, Will traveled “for work” a lot. 🙄 She is also the one who had several posts in the online shaming site, Homewreckers dot com. One was from me. She is the one who attacked me and blamed me for her own slutty behavior and cyber bullied me when she found out I knew about her.

So, when Will says she is in town, well, that’s a pretty big trigger. He was unaware that she was coming here for work and only caught sight of her in the office out of the corner of his eye. He did not take a second look, he did not engage.  What he did do, was go to his office, get his keys, duck out of the building and drive home. To tell me. In person. And to sit with me as I absorbed the information and begin to process. We discussed what he would do if she approached him. We discussed what he would do if she was in any meetings he was required to attend. We discussed what he felt when he caught that sight of her.  I asked him to go back to work and let me process. This post is part of my processing.

Of the many women Will has been with, this particular person disgusts me more than I have words for. I generally don’t hate anyone, but Skank is the one person I feel rage for whenever the thought of her or discussion about her comes up. Maybe it is because she was the one who dared to come into my home and into my bed and screw my husband. Maybe because she demanded that Will tell her he had feelings for her…which he did because he didn’t want to lose his free and easy access to sex. Maybe it’s the very fact that he is forced to refer any work related emails or phone calls from her to his tech to handle because she is too stupid to realize he can’t stand even the sight of her name coming across his computer screen.  Maybe it is simply the fact that she stole what is mine. My husbands time, his body, his interest, his attention.  Particularly at a time when I was in need of his support and help in our lives.

Will no longer visits prostitutes or massage parlors. He does not have any contact whatsoever with any former affair partners. But, Skank? She just keeps intruding in our lives. She will have a problem that she can’t resolve and will try to call Will directly. She shows up from out of town on Will’s floor where she has no need to be. I don’t want her to be a part of our lives and I have such anger at Will for bringing her into our marriage. I just want her to disappear from our memories. I don’t want her to have the power to trigger me. I am tired of letting her have that power.

Turning the page, the positives are obvious. Will did not engage and came home because he wanted to be with me when I got the information that she was here. He was concerned for me and knew it was a trigger so stepped up to tell me himself…in person. He said his initial reaction to seeing her was disgust. And shame. He now questions himself like I questioned him years ago… How could he lower himself to have sex with someone like that? He posted on Facebook this afternoon about gratitude. He had a paragraph about me:

“ I’m grateful for Leigh. Words can’t properly express my feelings towards her. She is loving, persistent, caring, protective, kind, humble, beautiful, witty, resourceful, intelligent, authentic, passionate, and courageous. I am learning that marriage and love are action words, and I’m grateful she is also patient as I continue to learn how to effectively and lovingly provide, protect, and pursue her heart.”

I am choosing to put this day behind me, where it belongs. I am choosing to see Skank for what she is…a sad, pathetic, needy person who is “less than” in every way. I am refusing to give her any more power in my thoughts, in my life or in my marriage.  I am choosing to be grateful that I am not the type of person she is. I am grateful that Will has progressed enough to see her for what she is and to appreciate all that I am. I am grateful that, after all this time, Will and I are different people…better people. And Skank? She’s still Skanky after all these years and that’s her problem.

Leigh ❤️

The Physical Legacy of Betrayal

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As I write this, I am sitting in bed past my bedtime because I cannot seem to sleep. I can’t sleep because I am in some pain. I am in some pain because I just had a major surgery. I just had a major surgery, because my emotional trauma literally “broke” my body’s ability to function normally.

I have learned more than I ever cared to in the last three years about CPTSD, fight or flight, Stockholm Syndrome, gaslighting, meditation, emotional support systems, etc…etc…etc… What took some deep diving and demand for answers was information about the physical aspects of severe betrayal trauma.

Like most partners of cheaters or SA’s, when I discovered Will’s secret life, I went into a sort of shock and could not make sense of my world any longer. I involuntarily lost over 50 lbs. in less than 3 weeks. My heart rate was erratic, I began having anxiety attacks, I would get lost in a fog and “lose time” for hours or even days. I had instances of waking blackouts where I would go places, do things, meet people…and have no recollection of whatsoever. Some of that time is still inextricably lost in my memories. I am hoping that’s a tender mercy. About a year after D-day, my physical symptoms began to dissipate little by little. I was able to gain a little weight back, the anxiety virtually stopped, my heart rate stabilized and the blackouts stopped. I was under medication that kept my HSV under control and my doctor was diligent in treating my HPV with constant screenings and biopsies.  But then, I realized, I was NOT “returning to normal” as I thought. New, more dangerous and insidious health issues began to arise. Which brings me to this point in my journey.

As I began to gain some weight back, I became increasing fatigued. I began having pain in my joints and in my back. The eczema that infrequently showed up on my palms, was becoming impossible to manage and I would often have multiple cracks all over my hands and fingers which would bleed and were so painful. I began a medication for that which controlled it somewhat, but did not stop it. I was given a bone scan and found to have osteoporosis and osteopenia. I was put on yet another medication for that. No matter what I did for that next year, I gained weight. My cholesterol shot up dangerously and I was put on a statin medication. My hair began to thin dramatically and my feet, ankles and hips began to hurt so badly that even walking was difficult. I had to begin yet another medication for high blood pressure and was living on Motrin to get through the pain of each day.

Tests were done. Then more testing. I had more blood drawn during this time than a Red Cross drive. And peeing in cups. And X-rays and CAT scans and stress tests. My thyroid was broken and they couldn’t fix it. My adrenal glands stopped functioning properly and they didn’t know why. The weight kept coming, the pain increased, my hormones got so out of whack that I will be working with an endocrinologist for a long time to come. I had a minor surgery on my wrist to remove a cyst and have my carpel tunnel released. Because of the breakdown of my body and a compromised immune system due to the STDs, of course my incision site got infected and then infected my blood. A second surgery, an implanted drain and a pic line for IV antibiotics followed. That was in December of last year. I had a whole medical team to include a gynecologist, dietician, nutritionist, wellness coach, bariatric specialist, cardiologist, endocrinologist, and trauma doctors working on my health issues.

After nearly 18 months of rapidly deteriorating health, with no solutions, it was discovered that severity of trauma I had gone through, had worn down then broken my body’s ability to physically regulate normal function. The most dangerous was my endocrine systems inability to produce necessary hormones to facilitate any type of regulated metabolism. The hormones in my gut had gone rogue and there is no medicine that can repair them. I became pre-diabetic, high risk for heart disease, stroke and heart attack. Even thyroid medication was too dangerous for me to take because the way my systems were reacting to “normal” remedies was erratic and unstable. I was nearly 100 lbs. overweight, couldn’t sleep, had shortness of breath and my quality of life was degraded.

The bariatric docs referred me to a surgeon. My team believed that a surgery like bariatric bypass would be the best option. The thinking was not that I had an eating problem (the closely monitored 650-700 calorie diet produced a 10 lb weight gain in 8 days) nor did I have an exercise problem. I walked everywhere, albeit painfully, and kept as active as I could. The problem, they believed, was one of irreversible shock to my physical body. How to fix it? Shock the body again…in reverse. Instead of traumatizing my endocrine system by tapping into the hormones that were broken beyond repair, they instead decided to eliminate the home of those by removing the part of my stomach which was feeding the out of control hormones into the rest of my body.

Thus, here I sit, late at night, one day released from the hospital and unable to sleep because I have staple stitches in my belly and an open wound. The surgery was laparoscopic and successful and after three days, I went home. After a day and a half at home, my wound became red and hot and I could not stand. Although they had done everything they could to compensate for my weak immune system, a large abscess had formed and I had to have a second procedure to drain it. Another few days of IV antibiotics and blessed, merciful pain meds, and I am again home.

I have great hope, because even with the pain and discomfort and annoying-ness of a clear liquid diet, I feel better. My joints don’t hurt when I stand up from sitting. My back is pain-free. My outlook is optimistic.

I should clarify something. I didn’t post this to whine or bemoan my circumstances. I posted this, really, for two reasons.

1) I know others have had the same trauma and may be experiencing some of the same physical difficulties. Sometimes we neglect to remember that our emotional, mental and physical health are enmeshed and intertwined. It sounds like a long road from betrayal trauma to major surgery, but it is not. I assure you, that road is clear and unobstructed.

2) Although the psychology community has made great strides in recognizing the damage of betrayal trauma due to sex addiction, they are no experts when it comes to physical manifestations of that trauma. It is so important to be aware of all that is going on with one’s body and to be an advocate for one’s own health. I would have never found answers and would never have known how ravaged my body had become had I not pushed and persisted. Indeed, the weight would have killed me had I continued to try to diet and exercise and believe that I could fix me. I would have gained weight until my heart gave out.

Lastly, I am eternally grateful to a couple of compassionate Air Force doctors and a slew of battle hardened Army medical specialists and surgeons who understand PTSD and depression and the physical effects of emotional/mental health. In my opinion, heroes don’t wear capes. They wear scrubs and lab coats and surgical masks. They wear concerned faces, compassionate smiles and combat boots. I am blessed and humbled and grateful to know such heroes. ❤️

 

 

Thirty-Nine YEARS

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June 30th was our anniversary. Our 39th anniversary. It’s a long time to be married. It’s an even longer time to be married to a sex addict. 😏

When we were married in 1979 (yikes!), the world was a different place. Men were different and women were different. All I wanted was to be married to someone who loved me like crazy and would be my friend, my lover, my protector and the father of my children. I was committed and meant every word of our wedding vows…to love, honor and cherish. Thru thick and thin, in sickness and in health. I MEANT those words. I think those words were completely foreign to Will. He did not comprehend, let alone mean any of them. And, let’s face it, he’s not a quick study.

Many, many times in the past 39 years, we have come close to calling it quits. When he cheated, when he lied, when he ruined us financially (over and over), when he was demoted in the military (twice), when they courts martialled him, when he confessed “everything” in 1996 and pretended to turn over a new leaf…and then of course, D-day. Never in that time, was I truly happy. Never in that time did I feel loved and protected. As puzzled by the words love, honor and cherish Will was, I was equally puzzled as to why my marriage was always so difficult and why was there something missing? I did not know what it meant to be loved, honored or cherished. I thought what we had, was as good as I deserved. Will often told me, in so many ways, that I was not good enough, I was difficult, I was the cause of everything that HE had done. And I believed it. Only really special women were loved and cherished…and I was not special. When D-day and the aftermath of slow mini disclosures came about, I had complete confirmation that I was not special…not to Will, not to my girls, not to my mother or sister. I had always felt alone…after D-day, I realized I had always been alone. It was the hardest time of my life. And I tried to end it. I thank God that I failed. That was three years ago when we had been “married” for a mere 36 years. Times have changed.

Looking back, I can’t honestly say why we are still together. We don’t have an epic, overwhelming love story. We aren’t the beautiful, wealthy, accomplished people who seem to have it all together. Currently, we don’t have the passion for one another that we hope to have when we get to that point in our recovery. But, I think there is much to be said for commitment. But, like I said, 39 years ago, men and women were different. When you married, you stayed married.  Even through all of Will’s infidelities, when his addiction was at its peak times, the thought of divorce never crossed his mind. When we married, I committed to Will…heart and soul. I took our vows seriously and I lived them. Will took what he understood, seriously…it’s just that he never understood them. He just knew that somewhere within him, he didn’t want to be without me. It has taken him 39 long years to start figuring it all out. But, we both look back now, and understand commitment differently. We treasure our history, our shared memories, our family, our experiences, our laughter and our sorrows. I think this is all why we are still together and willing to keep working for our marriage.

Today I can say that I am not alone. I do still get lonely and I am working on that. I am no longer puzzled by the past because I have my eyes wide open now and the confusing signals I got then, make sense knowing what I now know. I have discovered that Will is not the key to me feeling special or “enough.” I now know that his addictions were born largely out of his own feelings that he was not special or enough. I am still learning what it is to feel loved. Will is still learning how to love. We still have much to learn…but the difference now is that we are learning together. Finally, after nearly four decades, we are on the same path. We are living our lives differently now and it feels so much better and healthier. We see little changes in one another that are making big differences. Life is good. I am blessed and grateful.

Leigh ❤️

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.

 

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.