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.

 

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Gratitude Ain’t Just An Attitude, It’s a Way Of Life

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We made it through Thanksgiving…no, no…actually, Thanksgiving was really wonderful. Will came out and joined me and we had a lovely time. I picked him up from the airport and it was GOOD to see him. I actually MISSED him! And I didn’t have that weird uh-oh-something-isn’t-quite-right feeling. It wasn’t even a passing thought. Does this mean that all is fine and dandy in sobriety land? Oh, no. Not by a long shot.

You see, a year ago, I was visiting this same son and daughter-in-law when Will came out to visit as well. Only, we were in a completely different place in our relationship. He was still big time into the manipulation and gas lighting although he was not acting out in his addiction. While there, he snuck my journal and read it, hacked my phone and read my texts to friends, and lied continued to lie/conceal things he had done. It was during this time last year, when my doctor’s office called to tell me my test results for an STD were positive. So…there were definitely triggers. A LOT of triggers.  But, oh, what a difference in how they affected me. And my reaction. And my behavior. And my emotion! I was able to instantly recognize a trigger when I took the grandkids to the pond to feed the ducks, just as I did on my last visit. As I approached the same bench on which I sat listening to my doctor tell me my test results last year, I felt a cold sadness coming over me. I clearly heard the words and felt the pain of that moment. I took a deep breath. And in the next moment, it was gone. I quickly realized that I was healthy, I had become stronger than that bad moment and could deal with the aftermath. I was grateful for where I am now and the people in my life that I love. AND THAT WAS IT!  In the next moment we were throwing bread crumbs to the ducks and making silly duck calls and then continued our walk home. I did not even think about it again until I said my prayers and gave thanks for the healing I had been blessed with.  The many other triggers in the three weeks I was there were so fleeting that I scarcely remember what they were. Something Will did caused a panic in me and I lashed out with a snarky remark…and very quickly apologized for it. He, also, realized what he had done to trigger my panic and apologized. Then he held me.and he kissed me. And he told me, as he does so much now, how very much he loves me and is grateful for me.

We have our moments. Believe me, when we got “home”to our tiny little trailer to find it without heat or hot water in 36 degree weather, it was not a good moment. But it was also not a moment where either of us got upset with one another, or engaged in any blame. We simply turned the electric blanket on high and tried to stay warm enough to sleep til morning  so we could find and fix the problem in the daylight. Trust me when I say, this is a completely different dynamic in our relationship. It feels healthy, and loving and like a true team effort. We are now two people in this marriage, both equally committed and both giving 100%.  I would not have believed it possible a year ago in sometimes have to remind myself that we are just 18-months post D-day. I know there is So. Much. More to do to get where we want to be…and NEED to be. But I am happy and grateful that we have come this far. I know we both still have a lot to learn about ourselves and each other and our relationship, but I have so much hope for our future.

I really have a true spirit of Thanksgiving and appreciate all that I have been blessed with. I pray that, no matter what our circumstance, or where we are in our recovery process, we can take the time to be truly, deeply thankful for all that we have. I pray that through this Christmas season, we can focus on the love and peace of the season and find joy in our circumstances, no matter what they may be. I love each of you and the amazing healing and support that this amazing community has provided me. I would not be here…as many of you know…without your outpouring of love, friendship, guidance and wisdom. Happiest of Holidays to everyone. I will check back in before Christmas! 🎄

 

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 ❤️

 

What’s Important

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I haven’t written in awhile. . . Not since I returned from my week on campus (which was incredible! I will post about that later) because in life there are priorities. Upon returning, my sweet little 3-year-old granddaughter developed an eye infection. Not a big deal, one would think. Neither did any of us. My daughter treated it with a salt water compress and since there was no accompanying fever or other symptoms, assumed it would run its course and her body would process the bug and her immunity system would fight and win. After a couple of days, however, her eye became swollen and she refused to open it. She also stopped moving her other eye, choosing instead to move her whole head to change her view. A trip to the doctor provided some eye drops and advice to keep using the salt water compress and to watch for fever.  The next day, our poor little girl was irritable and complaining of pain. As her mama was able to force the eye open for just a peek, it was clear there was more than just an infection going on. A trip to the ER resulted in an ambulance ride an hour north to the Denver Children’s Hospital for a sedated MRI. This was last Friday. . . My daughter and granddaughter have been there since then. I have been living part-time at her house as my son-in-law manages work and the drive back and forth to the hospital and I wrangle the other three children. Will and I went to see her yesterday and her cheery little self is much improved and her eye is healing. We are hoping she (and my daughter) can come home today. Her condition is called orbital cellulitis and hers was severe enough that they were concerned about it morphing into something which would cause a loss of vision or worse. We have prayed so hard for this little one. We are relieved and grateful she is healing.

I have shared this because I sometimes get so wrapped up in my own bubble of recovery, trauma, healing, forgiveness, resentment, repentance, gratitude. . .the whole cycle of emotion and experience that is my little world, that I can lose my own vision of the larger world. The important things. The life and death issues that are ongoing everyday and don’t just stop because I, LeighKay, happened to have married an abusive sex addict. I have been reminded that the really important things in life are  the ones that ensure our happiness. I endeavored to blog throughout August about my “happy” in life and I had quite a few entries although not as many as I had aimed for. While it is true that many things, many people and many situations or ideals can bring on the happy in life, I believe that true happiness comes from our connection. When we are connected, at a real, authentic level, we find purpose and meaning. We participate in each other’s joy and sorrow, we feel and empathize one with another. We share all that is beautiful and good and noble with each other but accept all that is flawed and imperfect as well. We appreciate the value of another just for being one of God’s children and are grateful for the opportunity we have to live our lives come what may.

I am grateful my little granddaughter is on the mend with no long-term damage to her sight. I am grateful for the opportunity I have had to be available and helpful when needed. I am particularly grateful that throughout this family crisis, my focus has been on this crisis without having to wonder what Will was up to, where he was, if he was where he said he was and doing what he said he was doing. Not because I trust Will.  But because I trust God. And because I have gotten to that place when I realize that THAT was the most important thing all along.

Higher Education…

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Day 12

Live to Learn

I have a love of learning. I am always interested in how, or why. I love to read and travel, to see new places and try new things. I love, love, love to have good solid conversations with people from whom I can learn and grow. Wise people are fascinating to me and I am always striving for more knowledge.

Now, I will tell you that in the case of Will’s addictions, this has been a bit problematic. There is no rule book, no betrayed wife manual, no one size fits all for how much knowledge is too much knowledge. The amount of info about this whore or that skank which is enough for one betrayed,  is likely too much or not enough for another. For me, since I always want to know as much about something new in my life as possible, I have had to determine where the top of my bucket is. It is sometimes a fine line for me to know when the “ugly Will with the skanky whores” bucket has been filled.  It’s a work in progress. 🙄

Anyway, back to my initial point which is the thirst for knowledge. As I learned more and more about sex addictions, childhood abuse, betrayal trauma and  complex PTSD, the less daunting and scary it all became. Such is the case with most things in life. The not knowing of something is what is frightening, painful or emotionally devastating. Thus, my continual quest for more…more information…not necessarily about the shitstorm brought into my life by Will, but more now just my regular search for  knowing. Again,  I have to say that I love to learn. Unlike a lot of kids, I always loved school. I have several professional designations and a degree because I always felt a need to keep on top of my game. Now, I am more interested in just learning about, well, whatever interests me. This brings me to this coming week and my break from my attempt to blog everyday about what is happy for me. Learning is a happy thing for me. I get excited to learn something new, to try out a new concept or think of something in a different light. Thus, I am spending this coming week at a University that offers “Adult Education Week.” This is an opportunity to go to as many offered classes on as many subjects as one chooses for five days. Classes are taught so by professors, authors, experts in a variety of fields of study. I went last year, even in the midst of my trauma, and although several of the courses were triggering (some on sex addiction, marital fidelity, pornography etc.) I still garnered so much insight and felt I gained some valuable perspectives. I am so looking forward to this coming week and am poring over the course offerings trying to determine which classes I will attend. I will not be blogging this coming week and will return home and back to my happy commitment next Monday the 22nd. Until then, think happy! I am certainly in my happy place. 😊😄😊