Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Addiction is Hell

This is something that has been in the back of my mind for several months. Addiction is hell for everyone who is touched by it. Those who are in the addiction are suffering physical, emotional, mental and spiritual trauma that cannot be understood until you start to try to find a way out. The loved ones of those in addiction suffer trauma in the same areas. They have experienced and do experience pain and heartache that I can't even begin to imagine.

As humans, we all want to feel like we are in control of our lives. Addiction brings our lives completely out of control. When we are in this state, we sometimes like to point out the faults in others to help us feel better about ourselves. I see it sometimes in the comments on the addiction recovery blogs. "I don't think it's appropriate for ..." "You should have ..." "You shouldn't ...". I'm sure I have done this myself, but I'm starting to realize that everyone affected by addiction needs support and encouragement more than critiques of their choices or circumstances.

With that being said, I would like to use the rest of this post to offer what I hope to be words of support and appreciation.

To those who have been fighting addiction for a long time and have now achieved great periods of sobriety, I say thank you for your example of what is possible. I know it is not easy and takes a consistent day-by-day effort, but because of your example, I know it is possible for me to achieve a level of awareness that will allow me to manage my thoughts and actions in way that will help become the person I was meant to be.

To those who are in the midst of the struggle, I admire you for picking yourselves back up every time you fall. It is not easy to admit when we have made mistakes, but you are willing to do that and then get back to work to make sure it doesn't happen again. You inspire me to want to continue on when I feel like all hope is lost and I can't go on.

To the wives of addicts, I admire your ability to love someone even when they have and continue to hurt you tremendously. I am working to develop this attribute for myself. I am also amazed at your determination to do what you believe is right even when you don't see how it is all going to work out.

I think you all are wonderful people for the things you do despite the challenges and struggles.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Supporting a loved one after a slip

Recently, Haydee has been conversion with a friend who is a former wife of an addict. This friend has had some questions relating to her healing. One of her questions was how can someone best support a loved one who is recovering from a pornography addiction when they have a slip? Haydee passed this question on to me, and I thought I would post my answer here.

The first thing I need to make clear is that each person is different. The answers for how to show support for me will not be the same as how to show support for someone else, but there may be some similarities and that is why I am posting this.

Just like each addict is different, each loved one is also different and will have their own needs and things they are comfortable with. If something that would be helpful to me would make Haydee uncomfortable, I don't expect her to do it. I'm just stating that it would be nice if that happened.

Another thing to understand is that no one can help me recover except for the Savior. Giving support to a loved one with an addiction is not the same thing as trying to "fix" them or make their issues go away.

Now that all of the caveats are out of the way, how can a loved one best support me when I have a slip?

First, don't try to belittle or punish me. Nothing you can say is going to make me feel worse than I already do, but it may trigger my fight or flight mechanism. This leaves me in a more vulnerable state as I have spent many years turning to pornography when that is triggered.

Second, let me know that you still love me. I need to see this in actions as well as words. For me to feel love, I need physical intimacy. This does not mean sexual intimacy, but a hug or a touch on the arm can do amazing things to help me feel that I am OK even if my behavior has been less than what I would desire.

Finally, let me know that you appreciate the efforts I have been making. This will help me to see the progress I have made. Sometimes when I slip, I fail to look back and see how far I have come. It is important for me to remember that the person I am today is not the person I was before. The difference is in the efforts I have made. Help me remember this when I am feeling down after a slip.

I also want to mention that these suggestions are for supporting someone who is actively working on recovery. Someone who is actively pursuing the addiction will probably take these as license to continue in the destructive behavior. In that situation, please do whatever you need to protect yourself and your family.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Still Here and Still Working

It has been several months since I last posted. I just wanted to post a quick note to say that I am still here, and I am still working on my recovery. There are good days, and there are bad days. Thanks to the Lord, there are many more good days than bad.

I would like to share a thought from my recent scripture study. I have been studying in Isaiah. In Chapter 43, the Lord says to the House of Israel, "Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine." At this time, the Israelites have turned away from the Lord and are worshiping other gods. Still, the Lord calls them by name and calls them His. We have all turned away from the Lord in some way in our lives. I turned away from the Lord in a big way, but He still comforts me. I am still His. I have been redeemed by Him, and I have no need to fear.

You also have no need to fear. The Lord is there for you. He will help you and comfort you.

Monday, November 10, 2014

All My Heart, Might, Mind And Strength

It has been a while since either Edmond or I have posted.  Life has been good- and bad and all the things that life generally is.  We have fantastic days and horrific days and busy days and lazy days.  I haven't felt much inspiration for writing.   Nothing until last week.

I was at a YW training meeting and the speaker was discussing the theme from this year and how it ties into next year's theme.  In case you're not familiar with the themes here they are.

This year's focus was to come unto Christ and be perfected in him.
Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.
--Moroni 10:32
In 2015 we will focus on serving:
Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.
--D&C 4:2 
We must come unto Christ and allow his atoning sacrifice to become real in our life before we will be able to serve and love as He did.  This has been my focus recently.  Recognizing when Christ's power and love has enabled me to do more and be more than I am or could ever hope to be on my own.  I have seen those little moments, feeling calm when I would naturally want to yell;  finding that my loooong to do list is done, and I still have time to relax before kids get home from school; the moment of peace as I stand in the sun and let its rays warm my skin and feel joy, peace, and love.  All gifts of the Atonement in my life.

Another beautiful truth I found in these scriptures was the injunction to first "love God" then "serve him [God]" with all your heart, might, mind, and strength.

I tend to be a doer.  My tongue in cheek motto is: If a task is worth doing it is worth over doing.  Thus I tend to do (fill in the blank with primary, YW service, recipe creation, cleaning, exercise, or whatever my fancy is at the moment) with ALL my heart might mind and strength--sometimes to the detriment of other things in my life.

But the command is clear.  We are to love and serve GOD only with all of our heart, might, mind, and strength (H.M.M.S.).  There is no benefit to God when I serve the YW with all my H.M.M.S. to the detriment of my family.  Interesting point for me to ponder on.

As the wife of an addict, this phrase gave me so much comfort too.  Just as the Lord asks us to Trust Him-- and doesn't command me to trust anyone else, he asks me to give my H.M.M.S. to the most trustworthy and loving source of strength known to man or woman-- Himself.

The words of a primary song echo the feelings of my heart today.

I know He lives!
I will follow faithfully.
My heart I give to Him.
I know that my Savior loves me.