Detaching and letting go

As a raging love-aholic, if a dyson vacuum cleaner gave me a sweet smile and some attention, i’d probably become hopelessly attached to it. Nevermind what happens when that dyson vacuum cleaner sprouts arms, legs, and a face.

One of the joys of being married to a sex addict is that i have the opportunity to meet my needs and the needs of my inner children in a grownup, healthy way, since a sex addict (or any other human for that matter) is not capable of filling the gaping hole in my soul that only God can fill.

Well, that’s the theory.

Sometimes it’s easier to attach to the next best thing. Which isn’t always healthy. Or helpful. Or best for me. I’m proud of myself this time around for not getting mixed up in an emotional or physical affair. Been there done that. Grateful I do not have to confess that I fell into that trap, because I didn’t.

And yet.

I did find myself in a very emotionally dependent friendship with an extraordinarily unhealthy person. And I loved every second of it. The brain chemicals that produce happiness and euphoria would spike every time a text came through. Getting on the spinning record of repetitively going over past conversations over and over….and over…and over…and over.

So after 5 years of recovery, instead of letting this get totally out of hand, i chose to end the friendship before the friendship ended me. It was a very peaceful ending (probably because i never crossed any physical or emotional boundaries. The problem with this relationship existed solely in my broken brain and the way i chose to obsess and process through it). It was a very adult, non-dramatic, wish-each-other-the-best type of ending. I’m sure our paths will cross from time to time, and i’ll be there with a smile and a wave- but that’s all.

So healthy decision- check.

Investment in my well-being and the health of my marriage- check.

A raging tidal wave of feelings including shame, fear, sadness, grief, and loneliness that have now come roaring over me with the loss of this friendship- check.

This hurts.

He’s home…now what happens?

I don’t have an answer to that. I do have the flu. I think my body is in shock from the last 6 weeks flurry of activity. Moving, the holidays, now the husband is home. Trying to carve out my place in the house without falling back into old patterns. Sitting on my hands and gritting my teeth and not telling him what to do to get back into the recovery community here. Feeling like life is spinning WAY too fast and i’m not able to catch up. Need my body to heal first. Then maybe I’ll have the energy to wade through the chaos.

Just another typical day living in the land of sex addiction and recovery…..

I am a love addict

Just wanted to throw that out there…..realizing more and more what my own cycle looks like. And when I’m triggered “to use.” Like now, for example. And I don’t like this one bit.

It’s a scary place to be when my brain has all the information I need to recognize my behavior, understand it, and know what to do about it, yet the smaller parts of my insides are crying out for relief and my inner parent can’t/won’t soothe them and dry their tears.

I’m not well. But I will be…..

We’ve lost contact….

You know that scene in every space movie where the crew loses contact with mission control and there’s a total blackout and everyone on the ground is holding their breath waiting to see if the shuttle exploded or made it back safely?

Kind of like I feel now. I don’t like the ‘blackout’ period when hubs is in rehab and i’m on ‘the ground.’ Not that i ever really have control, but now i REALLY really don’t have control.

I don’t like this. Don’t like this at all. Current options in my funkily wired brain: Act out, overeat, overwork, undereat, underwork, sleep late, sleep deprive, sleep with someone, take drugs, smoke, drink….hmmm.

maybe i’ll just go to sleep, call it day, and reach out to some sane friends tomorrow.

Nite all. Grateful that I’m not alone on this crazy train of sex addiction and recovery!

October is relapse month apparently

Ironically, my last post was about triggers and trauma, and how october is trigger-y for me because it brings up memories of relapse. Well, a day after our anniversary- yet again- i found out my hubs had a really bad relapse that has continued for more than 4 months.

Sigh. I really hate sex addiction.

All I can though is I’m sticking to my guns- not giving up hope- ever. He is checking back into The Meadows on sunday, and i’m believing and praying that God is faithful to provide the same level of care and treatment that he received the first time.

He’s slated to come back in a week. his therapist thinks he needs more time. Will try to stay on my side of the street, take care of myself, not get lost in a swirl of acting out behaviors of my own, and continue to keep moving forward.

They say the average time it takes to recover from sex addiction is 5 years. This year is our fourth. Would have been nice to beat the system. Oh well.

My therapist told me that you can never really be “back in the same place you started.” Even though this feels awfully familiar, it is not the same situation as 2 years ago. We are not the same people as 2 years ago. We have more skills and tools than we did 2 years ago.

We can do this.

Triggers and trauma

There’s something about this time of year that totally appeals to me- the oppressive heat finally cools down, the colors of the trees are beautiful, and apples, squash, and pumpkins are in season.

BUT.

This time of year is also when I am most triggered and most aware of trauma. Maybe it’s the turning of the season. Maybe its the fact that 2 separate times our lives exploded in turmoil around this time of year. Maybe its the anxiety that comes with knowing we are well, and wondering when the next impact will hit. We’ve been back together almost 2 years now, and work very very VERY hard at our own sobriety and recovery.

BUT

It was on our wedding anniversary a few years ago that he disclosed the latest set of zingers. It was right around this time of year that i moved out- again. it was right around this time of year that “she” was in my house, with my husband, in my bed. I still wonder about “her”- what she looks like, what she likes, what would cause her to “fall” for my husband. It’s a tribute to my COSA work that I haven’t tried to find out- especially considering that I know where she works (5 doors down from where I work….and in the same building no less).

Maybe this year its time to let her go for good. The anonymous partners and random sex- those are easier to digest, as crazy as that sounds. For me, it’s the “relationships,” the “affairs”- those are the arrows that hurt the most. I was explaining to my SA that I felt this way, and he explained that though the “love interests” seem to have the illusion of fun, romance, and excitement, for a sex addict, its no different than meeting up with some nameless/faceless person from craigslist. Hard to believe. But being a witness to my husband’s trauma and pain, I see the truth in that statement. As a sex addict, the mind splinters, and lies become daily food. Affairs are not “real” love; they are another varietal of deception. Still hard to process and accept.

But letting resentment build up is like letting someone have free rent in your head- or so I’ve heard. I’m tired of giving “her” a freebie; the real estate market is tight, and space in my head is a prime location. So I choose to forgive her (though my stomach gurgles even as I type this).

To “X” (I know her first name and a few identifying details, but not much): I’m sorry that you were not given what you needed by the people that were supposed to love you the most. I’m sorry that your “X” died, leaving you with more questions than answers. Today I release you to the amazing and powerful and all-knowing Father God who loves you more than any man on this earth ever could or ever will. I ask God that you bless and heal “her” heart and I release her from any and all emotional debt she owes me. I pray you would bring her to people who would show her the way to You, and that you would remove all that hinders real love from her life and reveal yourself and your love to her.

I don’t really “feel” like doing this. I don’t really “feel” the peace of forgiveness. But forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling, and where you set your heart your mind will follow. So this October, on our 9 year anniversary, I will celebrate how far we have come, while being mindful of the recent past and careful to count my blessings.

Happy October :)

Sept. is National Recovery Month

In honor of National Recovery Month, I wanted to give a shout-out to the people/places/ things that have been instrumental in leading us here. 4 years ago our world exploded. Today, we work hard, but enjoy a peaceful and joyful marriage…

A BIG BIG HUGE THANK YOU to:

  1. Tracey Bickle: International House of Prayer, Living Waters
  2. Bethel Church- Redding. (they have trees and mountains to climb too) ibethel.org
  3. Random lady at Bethel who told me about Patrick Carnes when I needed to know I wasn’t crazy
  4. The people who let me couch crash with them the first year we were separated
  5. David Jones and the staff at Love in Action in Memphis, TN
  6. Every member of SA, SAA, SCA, COSA, ABA, and all the 12-step groups we attended cosa
  7. Toruno (sorry can’t spell his name), Ann, Doug Dodge, Maureen Canning, and the entire staff at the Meadows of Wickenburg
  8. Our first therapist (before she went off the deep end…gifts are irrevocable and she was still a good therapist)
  9. Our second, third, and fourth therapists
  10. Our friends who supported us along the way.
  11. Bob & Charlyne Steincamp. We never actually met them, but they had an indelible impression on our recovery and our marriage and our hearts
  12. God. Holy Spirit. Jesus.
  13. The strippers, prostitutes, and sex offenders who blazed the trail before us and showed that change is possible.
  14. All the amazing recovery warriors I’ve been blessed to know on Twitter. #sanetown
This morning I am drinking a steaming mug of coffee, my dogs are prowling around looking for trouble, and my husband is sleeping. It’s a beautiful day.
THANK YOU.

And we wonder why we have a culture of sex addicts….

I saw this, and felt so sad. The sexualization of little girls is contributing to the growing problem of sex addiction. I am NOT, repeat, NOT putting blame on women for men having sexual addiction. Sex addiction is about trauma and pain, NOT about sex, so “fault” isn’t even an accurate word to describe it. However, a culture of hyper sexuality certainly does not help matters, and for every male addict that seeks fuel for the addiction, there is a bevy of porn stars, strippers, prostitutes, and other sex workers. Again- I am NOT bashing these girls. They are not “bad” people nor are they the reason men act out. However, there is supply and there is demand. Perhaps if moms could raise their daughters to respect their bodies and view their sexuality as sacred and special, we’d have a little less supply….perhaps if dads could raise their “princesses” to feel loved and special, there would not be a generation of little girls in grown women’s bodies searching out that love and affection….and by “generation of little girls in grown women’s bodies” I include myself as #1 on that list….

This link is from Toddlers and Tiaras….moms putting padded boobs and butts on their little girls and parading them around….

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2032526/Toddlers-Tiaras-Maddy-Jacksons-mother-boosts-daughters-chest-bottom.html

 

side note: There are a lot of google searches for child pornography that lead people to this blog. If this is you, please use the resources on this site to find help. You are not without hope and there is real healing and real freedom. Perhaps God has brought you here for a moment to start that journey forward….God bless you and keep you and make His face shine upon you…..

 

Running on empty….

Living with active sex addiction is hell. Even active recovery can quickly become unmanageable without making sure self-care is actively planned for and carried out.

What are 30 (yes, 30) ways you can recharge your battery? It can be as simple as taking a breath or as elaborate as taking a trip overseas. The point is to put time and effort into a self-care plan, so when the shit hits the fan (so to speak) you are not scrambling around thinking, “Gee, how can I practice good self-care?”

In the middle of the revelation about the addiction, self-care was simply getting out of bed in the morning and taking a shower. A few months later I was able to add more to the list. Now, 1.5 years into a sexually sober relationship, I have identified 30 ways of filling up my tank (battery, tank, choose your metaphor). Have you written yours down and posted them somewhere to encourage you? No matter how crappy the day can (and will) sometimes get, it’s the little things that add up to the energy it takes to sustain a life, a relationship, and a hope that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

SELF-CARE (for me, the wife)

  1. Purge closets of anything I haven’t used in 6 months (this could be a side-effect of watching Hoarders, but nonetheless it makes me feel like I’m taking control of SOMETHING)
  2. Clean sheets and pillowcases on my bed that smell like lavender
  3. Taking the time to put makeup on and do my hair
  4. Cleaning and organizing (when I’m depressed I don’t do this, but when I’m stressed it helps)
  5. Listening to silly Disney music
  6. Listening to relaxing spa music
  7. Cuddling with my dogs
  8. Lighting candles
  9. Going to the gym
  10. Praying
  11. Journaling
  12. Playing violin
  13. Taking a shower
  14. Coloring with new markers
  15. Listening to good church teachings online
  16. Spending time with safe friends
  17. Taking care of my skin
  18. Puzzles and games
  19. Going for walks
  20. Eating really delicious food (like sushi..YUM)
  21. Singing in the car
  22. Listening to the rain
  23. Reading
  24. Hugs (from safe people!!!!)
  25. Cooking
  26. Taking a deep breath
  27. Buying new underwear (for the 6 months we were separated, I completely revamped my underwear drawer for ME, and for no one but ME. It was awesome.)
  28. Standing in the sun
  29. Watching old movies
  30. Staying OFF the forums online about sex addiction and relationships

Write ‘em down, post them nearby, and remember you are WORTH the time it takes to care for yourself. 

Lady Bubblegun

Hi everyone,

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted…life has gotten crazy and the volume in my head has been amped WAY up. I’ve been scurrying around in ‘go’ mode for a few weeks, which is a VERY dangerous place for me to be. SA has been in busy mode too, and we finally sat down this morning to assess where we are at. This is one of the first times we’ve stopped to take inventory BEFORE things hit the fan. Feels different, and scary, but at the same time I’m grateful that this transition does not involve active sex addiction, a separation, STD tests, or therapists gone rogue….

A few things that I wanted to share:

  • I start my MSW program next week. I’ve been out of school for 9 years, so this is a HUGE shift. I’m learning to accept that I am not perfect, that I will not be a perfect student, and I’m committed to not trying to be the “special” one in my classes. That just leads to co-dependent and seductive behavior, which will NOT be helpful
  • Part of a life transition involves a sense of powerlessness. I can take control of little things in healthy ways. I’ve overhauled my wardrobe, gotten rid of clothes that aren’t me, stopped buying things that I think I “should” wear, and am developing my own style based on what I like, not what I want to project.
  • I’m grateful for the small things. A cup of coffee in the morning with frou frou creamer and a bowl of organic cereal are luxuries that were absent for the many years of chaos and addiction. Breakfast in those days = 3 cigarettes and a diet coke
  • Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” changed my life, and when I do my morning pages, I feel grounded in reality and rooted in my body
  • Accessing creativity- even in silly ways- is good for the soul. I spent an hour with SA on one of his video games (which I generally despise) creating a character called “Lady Bubblegun.” Her superpower is boundary casting, which enables her to put a force field around herself to protect from other’s energy, and she can also cast force fields around other people when they try to come at her. Wouldn’t that be nice to have in real life??? I’m still working on that super power with my therapist…it gets stronger the more I work my program…

So anyway, thanks for letting me ramble about my own personal stuff…I am so appreciative of the people that are sharing this journey with me, sharing their own experience, strength, and hope, and I hope you all have an amazing day.

Much love,

Lady B

 

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