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choices

What started off as a relaxing Thursday night, ended in total frustration.  You see, the trackball on my Blackberry broke off several days prior and I decided to order a new phone to replace the old one. After discussing my options with the sales representative, I was quoted a decent price for a new Blackberry phone with a $100 mail in rebate and a new two year agreement.  I decided to go for it and purchase the new phone.  When I received the new phone and called to activate it, I was informed that my mail in rebate would not be eligible.  So after being quoted a certain price, I was expected to either pay the additional $100 or return the phone.  After speaking with a regular representative, a supervisor and the supervisor’s supervisor, my options were limited.  Either activate the new phone and lose $100 or return the phone and wait for a reimbursement on my credit card that takes up to two billing cycles.  This had me livid!  So, either way, I was being screwed over – either spending the additional $100 or having to wait 60 days for my money back once the company got their phone. 

I was completely frustrated to the point of tears. After explaining the situation to my husband and going on and on about “my crappy options”, I decided to take a breather for the night and watch some TV with wine as I originally planned to do.  ML had shut himself off in the other room.  Again, this upset me.  Here we go again with him isolating.  I wanted to share a little TV time with him, and he’s off in la la land in the next room.  After an hour of waiting for him, he comes out with my old blackberry with the trackball attached. Granted, the phone looked like a child’s science experiment, but it was functional.  Instead of being thankful, I was annoyed. “I don’t want that ugly phone!  What am I suppose to do with that?”  He said: “Well, you wanted options, this is an option.”  I decided I didn’t like this option and promised myself to continue in my search for the right answer.

After ML had left to work in the morning, I decided to take a closer look at the phone. The phone was actually a little over a year old.  I actually got it the day before I was leaving on my destination wedding trip.  I remembered being so excited to get my new Blackberry and playing with it the entire time at the airport as we waited for our flights.  However, like my marriage, the phone had a very rough first year.  During my beach getaway with my sister, I left the phone out in the sun too long and it acquired some screen damage. When ML came to pack up his stuff after we had separated, I flung the phone at him out of anger and frustration causing it to get all scuffed up.   Not to mention my own “klutzy” nature, dropping the cell phone on numerous occasions.  I thought a new phone – like leaving the relationship with my husband – was the magic solution to my problems. But what is a new phone if I’m still a hopeless klutz? Or a new relationship if I’m still a crazy codependent? I immediately called ML to thank him for fixing my phone and to apologize for my bratty behavior the night before. He seemed really happy that his efforts did not go unnoticed and accepted my apology. At the end of the day, I decided to choose my eyesore of a phone instead of keeping the new one, like I choose this less-than perfect marriage. The phone (like my marriage) may no longer be shiny and new, but it’s still works – and that’s all that matters!!

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Walking in New Shoes

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After moving back in with my husband, I’m coming to realize how much I’ve missed him during our time apart.  I especially missed the person I knew before his addiction spiraled out of control. I missed the great couple we were when it was just the two of us.  Every night feels like I’m coming home to my best friend.  We’re a great team around the house – he cleans & I cook.  We’ve been going out for date nights and enjoying as much quality time as possible.  We stay up together watching late night TV.  And sometimes, he wakes up extra early to make me one of his “famous” breakfast sandwiches I love so much or surprises me with dinner when I’m late in coming home from work.  He’s being kind and sensitive to my feelings.  We go to meetings together and meet up beforehand for a quick bite and conversation. We  talk, talk, talk.  Talk about our feelings. Talk about recovery. Talk about our future.  I’m happy to say I’m really enjoying his company again.  This is the man I grew to love over the years.

All that being said…Part of me still struggles with feeling a sense of ownership over this new relationship status – like it’s not really my life I’m living. Part of me doesn’t want to get  too attached to these good feelings because I’m afraid a crisis is waiting for us around the corner.  Part of me is afraid to try on this relationship. Like being afraid to try on a beautiful pair of shoes at the store, because if you actually try them on, it’s so much harder to walk away from them when it’s ultimately the time to leave. My prayer every day is to stay in the present. Enjoy this time in my life. But how do you live in the moment whenyou can’t forget the past?  I know there’s no answer, so I’m just taking it a day at a time. There’s nothing else to do but to enjoy these pretty shoes while I still can…

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walking-away-abused

I’m starting to feel lonely on this side of the road – the staying in the relationship side of the road.  A lot of my blog friends  and S-Anon friends are either separated from their partners or in the process of divorce.  So where does that leave me?  Is it not possible to be working a healthy recovery program and still be in the relationship with my SA husband?  The message I’ve been getting for the past few weeks is that “real recovery” starts when you start focusing on yourself. I get that.  But if you’re in a relationship, at times, your focus has to be divided.  Of course, that doesn’t mean that now that I’m back in the relationship,  I’ll lose focus of self care and my own recovery plan.  But, it means that whatever I do – or my husband does – will ultimately affect the relationship. So yes, his recovery does affect me because I live, eat and sleep next to him on a day-to-day basis.  Yet sometimes, I feel like there’s something wrong with me for feeling this way OR that I’m not working my program correctly.

Is the moral of the story (the purpose of recovery) to ultimately leave your spouse?  This can’t be the case.  I know of strong, healthy relationships that are better than ever post addiction.    And yet, I still fight the desire to feel accepted, even in our  group of codies.  I’m starting to feel like I don’t belong because I’m no longer separated from my husband.  I also fear that posting about the leaps and bounds we are making in our relationship will be viewed as “denial” by others.  But,  I don’t see why it has to be so.   Recovery is different for everyone.  My road may not resemble that of others, but it’s not any less authentic or genuine.  It is real and it is mine.  And yet, maybe actually caring what others think of me – and my recovery-  is evidence enough that I still have a long way to go.  And I have no problem admitting that.  I’m no guru or expert on this stuff – I’m just living my life, one day at a time.

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This morning I awoke to an unpleasant reminder from the beginning of my journey in recovery. It came in the form of an old thread I posted on the JWC titled, “Husband is a SA/Voyeur….Feeling so Helpless”. The thread was revived a few days ago by a new JWC member going through a similar situation (though not voyeurism). Today, another member decided to comment on what I wrote back in February in a very negative manner. Though I did not get offended by her comment (as she clearly has no knowledge of the road I’ve traveled since the beginning of this mess), I couldn’t help but cry like I did at the time I wrote the post several months ago. But unlike the first time, these were tears of joy. After reading my post, I was able to see how far I’ve come since that dreadful day in January and how much everything has changed in my life post-discovery.

As the title of my first post on JWC mentioned, I was feeling helpless. Before recovery, my favorite roles in life were victim (things happened to me, people did things to me) and martyr (the self-imposed obligation to tackle on the world – and all its problems – on my shoulders). Since joining an active recovery/therapy program, I am able to rejoice in the reality that I do have choices surrounding my actions and the course of my life. I’ve learned to replace the word “helpless” from my vocabulary in exchange for the word “powerless”. I am powerless over my husband’s disease (or anyone else for that matter), but I am no longer helpless or hopeless. I’ve discovered the tools to break free from the hell I was living in and came to realize that the only person holding the key to my freedom is me. I am willing and ready to take charge of my own happiness. If anyone out there is feeling hopeless, helpless and downtrodden, please know that there is a light at the end of this very bleak tunnel. Keep working an active recovery program (refer to my sidebar for some links to resources for partners of sex addicts), reach out to recovery friends and remember to be gentle with yourself. I promise you’ll soon begin to feel the difference.

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During our months of separation, it was very easy to focus on working my program. However as ML and I are working towards a partnership, I am finding it more difficult to establish what really falls in the realm of “my” recovery. For example, I find myself anticipating his triggers – avoiding certain situations that *I* assume will be triggering for him (i.e. the beach, parties, movies). Though this isn’t a blatant form of control, I am still holding myself responsible for identifying ML’s triggers – something that he needs to take responsibility for. Another area I am having trouble with is establishing my boundary around his active participation (which is a MUST for me) in a recovery program, without dictating what “active” participation entails. For instance, does working an active program consist of attending 2 or 3 meetings a week? Do you reach out to your sponsor once, twice or three times a week? Do you go to therapy every week or every other week? I don’t want to dictate these things, but I am not foolish in believing that he can be in recovery without them. It’s important that he work his programs, but the who, what, when, where and how’s are for him to decide.

I have been working my program long enough to know that I am powerless over my husband. However, I realize that if this relationship is to ever work, we will both need to maintain our stability in our own recovery programs. If one individual is wobbly in recovery, the relationship as a whole will be less likely to succeed. The best I can do is make sure that I am stable in recovery and pray that my husband is doing the same. A fellow S-Anoner said in our meeting that our relationship with our spouse can be best represented by a triangle shape, where God is at the top of the triangle, and where we are at opposite corners from our spouse. We both have our own separate paths to recovery; but the closer we get to God, the closer we grow together as a couple. As long as I keep relying on my HP and working my program, I can rest assured that his, mine and our recovery will be headed in the same direction – to closer a relationship with our Higher Power and ultimately, with each other.


Check out the Cirque Du Soleil – Couple Balancing Act. It’s truly magical! (**Warning: This clip can be potentially triggering for sex addicts and their partners**)

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There’s not much going on at the moment. Actually, more like a lot of “nothingness”. Or at least that’s how I feel. ML and I decided to continue with our plans to move back in together in August. The trip was clearly a rude awakening for the both of us. Though ML clearly crossed a boundary during said trip, I also found myself slipping into some very dangerous waters in his absence. There has been a vast disconnect between us, and the rift keeps getting wider with each passing day. At this point, I don’t believe prolonging the separation will do either of us any good. It is definitely not making the heart grow fonder. So, we continue with our plans for reconciling in the hopes that things will eventually clear up, and we may finally see what God has in store for us. Because we’ve decided to move forward with our plans, we are also in the search for a new apartment. Our current apartment is way too triggering to allow for a proper fresh start. I hope a geographical cure will help lessen the emotional baggage. We need as many positive things working in our favor as possible.

As far as my personal life goes, work is a big ball of BLAH! I haven’t been happy with my job for a very long time. I initially came to work at this firm as part of a team transition. My boss and I took a leap of faith into these unfamiliar waters. Now, I’m getting the sense that she will be leaving the company (on her own) to pursue other business endeavors. And though she has informed me of possible opportunities with the new company, it would not be a “team transition” like it was the last time. So there is the very big possibility that she will be leaving without me and moving on to bigger and better things. Though I understand her motives in moving (she’s not closing enough sales to sustain her family), this feels very reminiscent of the time ML left our home (our joint venture) – leaving me behind with the bulk of the load and an overwhelming sense of abandonment.

Still, I refuse to let these changes drag me down. I believe I’ve been left behind in these murky waters so that I may find my own path ashore. I realize that these new developments are probably for the best – for me and the others around me. Things have been on hold in my life for quite some time – first with my sister’s arrival and then with the sex addiction discovery. Life has been going on without me, and that was appropriate at the time; I needed to put the brakes on everything and untangle the mess in my life. However, I’m finally prepared to step in line with the rest of the world and start exploring my full potential – in my career, relationships and within myself – to see what God has in store for me next.

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It came as no surprise that the topic of our S-Anon meeting on Monday night was “Detaching with Love”. In order to illustrate this process, a woman shared the visual of a passed out alcoholic. Her sponsor had asked her what detachment with love would mean in this situation. The woman responded that detaching would be walking over his sprawled body on the floor without cleaning up his mess. Her sponsor explained that her explanation did not demonstrate detaching with love; it represented detaching with resentment and anger. She went on to say that detaching with love would mean covering her husband with a blanket, so that he may sleep warm, then walking away.

Later that evening, ML called me from South America. I haven’t heard from him since the day he left, when I had my codie meltdown. He tried to engage me in conversation, asking about my week and telling me about his flight and trip itinerary. At the time, I was still very upset with him. I became very passive aggressive on the phone, giving him short, one word answers. I even became nasty, saying spiteful things to him. He didn’t fight back. When it was time to end the conversation, he said he loved me. I didn’t reply and just hung up the phone. Though I was trying to punish him with my “detached” behavior, I felt rotten after our conversation. In the heat of the moment, I did not practice what I learned earlier that evening at the meting.

After a pretty restless night, I awoke the following morning with the realization that I need to start detaching with love from this situation. I see myself focusing on trying to hurt my husband for hurting my feelings. I even concocted plans for a lengthy silent treatment upon his arrival (I know…not very mature) and other passive aggressive schemes to get back at him for going on this trip. However, being passive aggressive after the fact is not going to resolve anything except create toxicity and resentment in me. Unfortunately, I can’t change the past (or his decision to ultimately take this trip), but I am able to plan for the future. In the next few weeks, I want to focus (with the help of my therapist and sponsor) on defining and enforcing my boundaries. And if after establishing said boundaries, ML decides to cross them, I need to wrap my husband in a metaphorical blanket and hand him over to my Higher Power so that I can begin the process of detaching with love from the relationship.

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