A Funny Thing Happened on the Way To Recovery. . .

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A couple of weeks ago, on my way to my twice monthly appointment with Ron the Therapist, I stopped to get gas. I had been shopping on the East side of town and stopped at a place I have never been. I had plenty of time before I had to meet Will at the therapist’s office so planned on running my car through the car wash after filling up.  My car never got that wash. As I was only a couple of gallons in, I heard a voice, with a little chuckle in it, calling my name. I turned and there he was. I hadn’t seen or spoken to him in many, many, many months. Not gonna lie…I HAD thought of him. He was the first man with whom I realized sex was more than just something to be endured because the man enjoyed it. He was THAT guy. The man with whom I had had my PTSD fog-filled affair.  Then why, oh why, did seeing him there, unexpected, make my heart flip-flop and my knees turn to jelly? All of the sudden, things occurred in the ‘ole nether regions, that had long been asleep. Against all recovery advice, I did not politely extricate myself from his presence and leave. I couldn’t. I. Physically. Could. Not. We talked. We both kept smiling. He asked if we could pull over and get coffee. My brain said NO! OF COURSE NOT! But I heard my voice say, “sure.” Now, before anyone out there thinks I completely lost my mind…NO! Absolutely nothing happened. Zero. We talked. He bought me a soda. We caught up. He kept saying how great I looked. And kept asking if I was happy. I kept thanking him and assuring him I was working hard. He left for work (night shifts), I headed to my marriage counseling appointment.

So, here is my problem. I have kept this whole thing to myself. Not a word to Ron the Therapist. And worse-not a word to Will. And I have no idea why!  It isn’t that I feel guilt. For whatever reason I don’t. Nothing happened and after all is said and done, I know that I will always care for this man. Love? No. Affection? Absolutely. Why, you ask? Simply because he was kind, compassionate, sensual, thoughtful and loving when I was at my most needy and vulnerable. And, because despite everything, he gave me something I have never had before. Fulfillment. That is not easily forgotten.

I am struggling with this because I feel that I need to be honest with Will and with Ron the Therapist, but there is a perverse need in me to keep this to myself. It’s almost as if I am savoring it and holding it close.  I don’t know what to do with this. I don’t want to share it, or give it away, or make it an issue. I want to be selfish and keep it for myself. In just seeing and talking to him, I felt beautiful and sexy and desired and funny, and smart and loved. Why doesn’t Will make me feel that?  What is wrong with me?

There Are Still Days…

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Sometimes, I am going along in my life, doing the things that I do, and I am fine. Really. I mean, I feel (almost) like any other woman, married, with kids and grandkids, pursuing hobbies, living life. Sometimes. But, not always. Still, too often, I am weighed down by the knowledge that the one person in my life that I gave my heart and soul, my hopes and dreams, my trust and love to…betrayed me. So many times and with so many women, that even he is not sure of the number. And it still hurts. Just as deeply and indescribably raw as when I discovered his deceit. And then I have one of “those” days.

I struggle to rise from bed, and when I do, it seems a monumental task to get dressed or open the blinds to the glaring sunlight. Leaving the house…going “out there” among normal people…is unthinkable. It is safer here. Within the walls of this new home, where no other woman has bared herself for my husband’s use. Where pornography has never been viewed and phone sex with some desperate whore has never been had. It is safe to withdraw to my computer, to my writing, to my art, to my books. Although, sometimes, even those things don’t interest me. That is when I know my depression has taken over and that is my scary place.

So, I pray. I call other partners. I work my program. I try to engage in something…anything…to occupy my thoughts. I use all the tools in my toolbox to pull myself back to me. Sometimes it works, sometimes it takes a lot of work. But, I am still here. Day in, day out. Fighting for me, for who I want to be, for who I know I can become. It’s exhausting. And there is still part of me that hates Will for doing this to me…to us. I don’t know if that will ever go away. The hate is scary too.

Today is one of those days and I am praying hard and begging God to take this from me. I welcome your prayers today. ❤

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.

 

Sex Addiction Kills

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A friend from my recovery group I attend sent a group text to us all this morning. It stopped me in my tracks and an old, bitter, stomach churning, feeling washed over me. She was informing us that another woman in our group just told her that her sex addict husband, who was struggling so hard to stay sober, could not handle the pain and failure any longer and took his own life. They had two small children.

I had to sit down and fight tears as I read the words and fight back the emotion, not because I knew this man and I am not close at all to this woman who attended so infrequently. It was the enormity of the problem. The Addiction. The destruction and devastation it brings to lives…the addicts, their spouses, their families, their friends. It is an evil, disgusting life sucking addiction that destroys one not only physically, but because of its nature, disintegrates the very soul of its victim. Tearing down every last feeling of self-worth,  any hope of redemption, any grasp of living without shame or embarrassment. Addicts truly believe at some point that they are probably better off dead and most wish that God would just take them to stop the pain. This man did not wait for God. He stopped his pain himself. He could not stop the pain of his constant guilt or the pain of hurting his sweet wife any more. He couldn’t stop anything except his own heart beating.

I thought back to my first few weeks, even months after D-Day and my horrific dreams/nightmares wherein Will would die or be violently killed. Sometimes it would be at my own hand in a hate-filled rage and I would awaken struggling to breathe with a severe anxiety attack. Indeed, there were times, when I was in the midst of my deepest trauma and hate, that I truly wished he was dead. And then, of course, as most of you know, I truly wished that I was. That is what this addiction does. It is unlike every other addiction in that respect. In a relationship, this addiction changes both people…whether they know it or not…and eventually, they both will know because they are always found out. But one’s brain is either altered by the addiction and the lying and the porn and the secrecy, or one’s brain is altered by being lied to, and gaslighted, and ignored, and withdrawn from, or neglected. And at some point, for either one, it can seem too big, too ugly, too terrible, too powerful a hold on us to escape from. It can seem bigger than even God.

That is how this man felt. And now his sweet wife and their two children do not have him in their lives anymore. There will never be a chance to watch him become a new man. A strong, confident, connected husband and father. A man truly and deeply committed in word and deed to his family and filled with a depth of love for them that he was never able to show before. And that is the biggest tragedy. The biggest loss.

The loss of what could have been, what should have been and what likely would have been. Recovery is hard, grueling, painful work. Marriage through recovery is sometimes ugly and very messy. But truly recovering addicts are human miracles and amazing testimonies of God’s grace and love. And marriages, recovering thru the hell of this addiction, are even greater miracles of Christ’s Atonement and His sacrifice for us.

My heart is breaking for anyone in that darkest of places because of addiction, the fallout of someone’s addiction, or for any reason. I pray for those souls whomever and wherever they may be. I ask that as you read this, you pray for them too. God blesses those who need Him the most. ❤

New Starts

 

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Wow….I can’t believe that today is the first of February. February! I flew through January seemingly without noticing. It has been a whirlwind of a month to say the least. We moved into our new home and while that has been largely a positive thing, an unexpected mix of emotions has assailed me. As we had a new sofa delivered, I found myself praying that Will would never defile it by screwing some slut on it like he did our old one. As I unpacked boxes, some of our old photos triggered memories of times when I thought we had a good marriage…only now I know those were times when Will was living a secret life. Ironically, we bought a new bedroom set which is solid and beautiful. However, the wrong size bed frame was delivered. So, although it was ordered three months before we moved in, we are now sleeping downstairs in our new guest room while we await the new bed. Maybe this is God’s gentle reminder that the marital  bed is sacred and should not be considered “just another piece of furniture.” So hopefully, next week, we will finally be fully moved in. And maybe, just maybe, I will feel settled. Because I feel very unsettled right now.

I have pondered this feeling and tried to pinpoint why, exactly, I should feel this way and am struggling to understand. Will and I are still progressing in our therapy together and we are still going to our respective individual meetings. We are communicating more and better than ever. Yet….I feel a distance. I truly believe it is not Will. It is something within me. I am missing something and I can’t seem to put my finger on it. It is disconcerting and confusing and part of me wants to push it aside, like in the old days, and just chalk it up to silly wandering of my mind. But I don’t do that anymore. I refuse to do that anymore as that is a practice which too easily becomes a habit, which too easily becomes a devastating path to pain. So, I will continue to ponder and pray and try to figure these confusing thoughts and feelings out, maybe with the help of our therapist, and will continue to try to settle into this new start. This does beg the question though: Is this what we do? Continually start and re-start? Is this how we grow and learn in life?  Maybe this is yet another layer of progress, another level of healing and I am just stumbling a little. I will let you know….as soon as I figure it out. 😉

 

The Weight of Our Words

I am sharing this post by Lorana Hoopes because it applies not only to politics which is the subject she writes about, but to life in general. And specifically to relationship…to marriage.

~by Lorana Hoopes. As a teacher I often tell students it’s not always what you say, but how you say it that matters. Today I was reminded of how powerful that statement is. At the end of my wor…

Source: The Weight of Our Words

The Trouble With Triggers

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Triggers are a funny thing. After awhile, one might think they know what their triggers are…and may even be fairly sure what the resulting reaction to it might be. Someone that has been handling triggers that seem to be everywhere for awhile, may even assume that new triggers are not likely to be earth-shattering or devastating or necessarily even surprising.

One would be wrong in that assumption.

The trouble with triggers is this:

  • They are sneaky and can pop up unannounced, anytime and anywhere
  • They are inconsistent and unreliable. What was a trigger one day may cease to be a trigger, but, based on new information, something else may take its place.
  • They vary in their intensity depending on a multitude of factors; mood, hormones, present company, the weather, the time of day. . .
  • They are completely out of our control

I found a couple of definitions for “trigger” rather appropriate as it applies to my current circumstance.

1. Anything, as an act or event, that serves as a stimulus and initiates or precipitates a reaction or series of reactions.

      2. To fire or explode (a gun, missile, etc.) by pulling a trigger or releasing a triggering device.

Maybe it’s just my trauma brain, but I find that number 2 is generally the reaction or series of reactions described in number 1. That is to say, when I am triggered by “an act or event” the reaction it initiates is to “explode”. That is what happened with Will’s latest leak of information in our therapists office. I did not see it coming.

And I erupted.

Not physically. I didn’t scream at him. I didn’t hit him. I did resort to some snarkiness (grrr…I had really been doing so much better), and a few choice words escaped that I honestly tried to bite back. No, this time, the actual explosion was in my head. I went all the way back to step one in the grieving process…denial..then anger, rage, really…then bargaining….well, you know. There was an absolute violent avalanche of angry, hateful thoughts and feeling towards Will, his skanky OWs, the massage parlors here in town…towards every degenerate, perverted, sex selling advertiser or magazine or media producer…you name it and I was pissed at them. Then I settled in and sat with my main feeling which was disgust. I was so disgusted (all over again) that I could not be near Will. I asked him to leave for a couple of days to let me process. He did. I found out he slept in his truck. He also jumped right over that requested boundary and was right back the next morning. Ummmm. . . Really?!

I initiated a 24 hour NO contact. He went to work. He slept in his truck again. He left me alone to process. He called his sponsor and group members and worked on himself.

So, here are my takeaways from this last incident as I sit in the dark tonight, blogging as Will snoozes peacefully next to me.

In the past, I would have raged, thrown stuff, degraded Will, gotten drunk, cried my face off, ruminated for days, worked myself into a full-blown PTSD episode, maybe lost time or dissociated and run away.

I didn’t do that this time. I was angry and upset, yes. But I looked down and noticed that I was wearing my big girl panties. I didn’t run away but I needed space. I showed Will that I was not the one causing the hurt…therefore, I stayed warm and comfortable and let him fend for himself. When Will refused to take my hurt seriously and crossed the boundary, I was firm in my resolve and my need for time. I stuck to my no contact until I was comfortable with my emotions.  Tonight as we went to bed, I told him open and honestly that I preferred he allow me space as I am still uncomfortable with his touch. He nodded, and said he understood, that he loved me and goodnight.

I am not so naive to think that I will always be wise-minded when new information pops up and I am triggered. I won’t. But, for now, for this time, I am accepting myself and my reaction for what it is. I am a woman surviving through betrayal trauma and I am doing the best I can with what I have. I am taking the moments, the setbacks, and the sweet victories over this devastating shitstorm as they come. As I tell my therapist, every time I am triggered and Will lives through it? Well. . .That counts as a win.