Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Nike: So excited to be here!

I just wanted to take a quick second to say that I'm so excited to be a part of this blog and this community! I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I'm nervous to share my story and my struggles, but at the same time I've learned that sharing and connecting with others in similar circumstances is what helps us all to heal.

Ashley is a gem in so many ways and I'm thankful to her for sharing her blog with us. She has been an inspiration to me and I only hope that I can return the favor.

Until next time, remember that we're in this together and, even though I don't know you, I love you already because you're a survivor and you're doing the work it takes to come out victorious in this battle!

- Nike

Ashley: Big Announcement:

As of today, July 28th 2015, I will be sharing my blog with other Goddesses in Training!! I am so excited. Each of them have chosen to be anonymous, and have chosen names of Goddesses as their screen names. I have chosen to keep my real name as it has been a journey getting to the point where I felt comfortable even sharing that.

Here is how it is going to work:  Before the title of the blog post, we will write our names so that you know who is talking! We will tag the post at the end with the name of the author so if you want to scroll through and read a certain person that you really relate to's posts!

I am so happy to add these ladies, and I admire each of them in their recovery and each of them are dear friends to me. 

Get excited and start watching for some amazing stuff coming from them! I will continue to write on here as well, I just have been super busy moving and have found a lot of solace in this little group of WoPA friends that I love... and now am excited to share that love with you guys! 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Just you wait!

Guys, I have some exciting news for the blog heading your way soon, get excited. I have been super super busy with work and school and moving and being a mommy that I haven't been able to write on here as much as I would like. But no fear, I have still been on a recovery journey, and have some exciting things to share with you. First of all is this: I have completely dumped my old bottom-lines and created new ones that are more fit for where I am in my recovery journey: Just head over to that tab if you want to take a gander.

So as of right now, right this minute, I am having a crisis with my husband. He is in a rough, transitional place, and unfortunately he has turned to porn to cope for the last couple weeks. Going from completely into recovery to an unlocked phone and multiple confessions... super, right? It's a scary place to be. I am really nervous because I feel like the next few hours are going to be pretty crucial to us... I refuse to go back to that place, but I want to stay married and don't know where to go, but I am letting the lord guide me, and I have been blessed with clarity during our last couple interactions. Please pray for me and my husband, friends. I love you all.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

I thought that one time was enough.

I have gone through therapy one time. I have all the tools that I need to take care of myself. But I don't use them. I have in a way forgotten why they are so important and why they work. 

The tools in therapy don't make sense if you are in trauma. In fact, they are a bit opposite of what you naturally want to do when you are getting hurt over and over. It's natural to want to try to control who and what is hurting you- especially when it's your husband. It is completely unnatural to talk to someone outside of your marriage about these really intimate things. It is so hard to do it when you A) don't know why it is important to use the tools you have and B) are NOT in the habit to do so.

The first time I went through therapy, I thought that I was learning these temporary tools while my husband was "getting over" his addiction. 

While there are a few different things that are wrong about that thinking- there is one thing that is squarely on my mind about this whole thing: 

"temporary." I sincerely thought that I would only need these tools while we were on this difficult mountain of life, and then once we were over the hill and down in the valley, I could ditch my tools and live a "normal" life. 

The fact of the matter is this: I will never live a normal life. 

It is something that I have had to learn and morn and accept. From the time that I found out about my then Fiance's porn addiction, I was changed. After we married, I was changed even more. I have lived through the hell of trauma, and still have flashbacks and panic episodes.  I will never be normal. (whatever normal is)

So here I am in therapy for the second time, and I'm going through the work and more memories and flashbacks that I hadn't addressed the first time are coming back to me, and I think it's because I am finally accepting that this is a lifelong process. I am finally accepting that I need these tools to be in my life even during the healthy times. 

I am finally accepting that being socially healthy is equally as important as being spiritually healthy, and being emotionally healthy is just as important as being physically healthy, and doing all of those things are equally as important as being mentally healthy. The are all equal. 

I used to kind of brush off the social health aspect, I would send off a text to somebody (one text), and check that off of my list as connecting socially. And I would wonder why my husband couldn't fill this unknown void of connection. I think even if he wasn't an addict and unable to fully connect because of it, connecting socially outside of the home is so incredibly important.

So. I guess I have more to learn this time around- and I'm pulling out the cement, because I'm finally ready to embrace the me that I am becoming, and I'm ready to make it permanent.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Let's chat

I am feeling so isolated right now- so can we chat dear internet friends? Can I vent to you like I would love to just vent to a real human being right now in person?...

I used to have really good friends- the kind where you plan on being friends and roommates in rest-homes when you're old and grumpy and grey. I still love them all to pieces, but none of them know about this- And I really don't even talk to them anymore. I met J and I became an awful AWFUL friend, blowing of lunches and bridal showers and baby showers, and eventually they just stopped inviting me. I don't know if it is all J, because I never really learned how to cope healthily with pain until therapy, so I blew off people I felt like I was losing... but it got REALLY bad after meeting him. I remember going to one wedding where all my friends were, and they were all so happy to see us and to meet J, but the whole time we were there (about 5 minutes) I was so worried about making J happy and that he just wanted to leave as soon as possible, that I was distracted and probably SOOOO awkward. But man. I miss them.

I keep telling myself that I'm living healthy. That I'm being mindful. That I don't really need help because I have all the tools that I need- I KNOW what to do. But it's a different thing actually living them, isn't it?

Let me tell you about my situation. I manage a storage unit facility that is surrounded by fields and factories. It is terrible isolating. I moved here 8 months ago- used to having my best friend living next door to me. When I started feeling isolated, It wasn't very hard to get out of that because she was right there. I didn't realize just how much I relied on her. We went on walks together. We were so close. But I moved here with this false idea that because I was moving near family, I could stay out of isolation. But there was something about living within a set of wrought ironed gates that made me feel caged at first- and it really kind of squashed my spirit- especially with my husband working as much as he was.

I DO do my recovery work still- the BIG work. You know, I reach out when I am really needing a pick me up- but as far as the day-to-day things that you think don't make such a difference, I have been lying to myself saying that I have been doing it when it is painfully missing from my life.

I work a one week on, one week off schedule- and honestly it is really hard on my little one and me. My school work is suffering. I feel like my little guy and I just start getting attached and then it's time for me to get back to work, and he detaches. It really isn't healthy for our relationship when we were so used to being the two musketeers (three when dad was in a healthy place)... I hate what it has done to our relationship.

So there. I laid it out. Vulnerability hangover much?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The different kinds of pain

So I caught J acting out today. It's been building, and it's not like I didn't see it coming- he had confessed to me yesterday and the day before that he had done some "addict stuff"- and because I have asked that he doesn't share details, I don't know how to categorize that. He said it was "addict stuff"- And this time was an "act out." Anyway. Because I have seen this one creep up on me, I have been given a gift of clarity, and I feel like I was able to describe to J how different behaviors feel to me.

There are two different kinds of emotional pain for me- a chronic kind of throbbing pain that has a life of it's own, and a sharp stabbing kind of pain. The chronic throbbing pain I attribute to addict behavior... I can live healthy and it gets a bit better, I can numb the pain through netflix or whatnot for a bit, but the pain comes back at unexpected times. Living with my husband when he is in addict mode is like this constant throbbing pain that to the outside world looks like it should be fine- I don't look like I am in pain. Chronic pain in the body rarely manifests itself on the outside. That's how it is living with an addict- everything from the outside looking in looks dandy... and sometimes it is! And then addict mode hits, and I feel like limping all over the place.

The second kind of pain is the sharp pain that I feel when I find out that he has acted out. Like a gun wound in my arm. Catching him acting out is like standing at close range. Having him lie about it is like him moving my arm around trying to show me that I didn't REALLY get shot in the first place. The fact that he has an addiction is the outside proof, it's what people on the outside could see- if I let them. It is what validates that I have pain in the first place- he acts out, and I have the right to be in pain according to everyone else.

Both equally suck- but both also in a twisted way have their perks- addict behavior - that numbing chronic pain- can be ignored when around "normal" people. No one feels uncomfortable, because on the outside you look like your life is in order, and in a way you can hide in the facade. The act of acting out gives you an out. Suddenly your husband can't twist your pain and say that you're crazy, because you have a tangible reason to be in pain.

A few months ago when my husband was working crazy weeks and didn't have time to act out- but was super stressed and therefore in addict behavior constantly, I dealt with the pain and lived in the facade until I took a look at my life one day and was like WHOA. Get away from there, you are in PAIN. So I made plans to leave.

And then J caught wind of that and quit his job and asked me to stay and give him a month... He did recovery work like crazy. But suddenly he had a lot of time on his hands.... and you add the shame of not having a job on top of it, and WHAM. Once-a-week I get a new disclosure. I have gotten relief from the chronic pain, and it felt good until I remembered the sharp pain of before.

I don't know if I want to keep switching back and forth between the two. I just want to live a pain-free life! Is that too much to ask? 

I do think it is fair for me to expect to not be hurt from the one person that I should be able to lean on and with whom I share my deepest thoughts and insights.

That being said, I drew a lot of comfort from this little snippet of a talk from president hinkley- if you need a smile, take a listen:

I love that man, he has the ability to help you understand deep things from the littlest situations. I'm thankful for the lord and his tender mercies he sends me daily. This is one of the ones from today.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

I'm getting all philosophical over here

A philosophy that was shared with me and a few other WoPAs by a therapist has stuck with me lately, and I can see truth behind the words, at least in my life:

Men and women addicts lose two main things because of the addiction:

Men lose the desire to protect.
Women lose their desire to nurture.

This same therapist also said something that I don't 100% agree with: That our addict husbands never loved us, and that they literally don't know how.

It just shows that sometimes you have to listen to everything you hear with a filter of what speaks truth to you at the time. I honestly believe that my husband loves me- but the addiction robs him of certain critical things that must come with that to ensure a healthy relationship. 

What's that saying? "you can't live on love alone?"

Anyway, I want to process why the first part spoke so deeply to me (because I know that this doesn't necessarily apply to everyone).

I guess I am a little lucky(?) because I have experience in both ends... But even the feminist in me believes that men and women were born with gifts specific to each individual- which includes our gender. I believe that men are given the gift of desire to protect, and women the gift of desire to nurture.

I also believe that like all gifts, there is the chance that the gifts might be temporarily unavailable- whether by our own doing, or the doing of someone else (such as abuse).

I say temporarily unavailable because every once in a while, we can see glimpses of it. I saw glimpses of my husband wanting to protect me before the shame of the addiction shut it down. Recently I've been seeing more of it- and it is incredibly confusing what my emotional response is to it (but that's another blog post). But despite the adversaries best efforts to snuff that gift, I don't believe it is possible to snuff it out entirely because it is a gift that is built into us- like a car stereo.

It's funny, because when you are in the midst of an addiction, you don't even know that it is missing.  I sincerely thought that I was just an oddball because the thought of children just "was never appealing to me."  And it doesn't necessarily mean just the nurturing of children per say,  I cold turkey quit, and after about six months of sobriety, I nurtured the heck out of my husband... problem was that he was consumed in his addiction and pushed me off so many times that I went into survival mode.

I believe that being in trauma robs me of my gift of nurturing. When I first had my son, I think heavenly father blessed me with a surge of nurturing, but after a few months of being a mom with a zoned-out husband who kept looking at porn, I tried to numb the pain- and I think that also numbed my ability to nurture.

Okay here is my point in all of this: 

It's impossible for me to selectively numb. I can't just numb pain and sadness. I can't avoid the trauma. I can't run from it. I not only hurt myself by doing so, I hurt those I love- like my little guy. The greatest gift I can give my son is to actually look at the hard issues. It's ignoring those issues that has numbed my ability to truly feel joy and happiness- and the desire to nurture.