Friday, March 22, 2013

Finding Peace and Strength

I know I said I would start Step 5 today, but I had an experience that made me change my mind. Sorry. I'll start Step 5 tomorrow or Sunday. The reason I have taken a break between four and five anyway is because I bet that most of you, if you are working the steps, aren't even to four or past four yet. I've been writing about them faster than most people actually work through them.

I've had a lot of problems lately. Emotional problems. I can't go into too much detail on here, but I have been torn in many directions. I have a lot that I worry about: my job, my calling(s), family, and relationships (with God, Husband, family, friends, and self). I also stress out very easily. I worry a lot. I let things get to me. Even when I try to be at peace, I'm never fully at peace because I try to do too much. Too much? I think it's too much sometimes, but really, take it from me because I have experienced it and really tried hard to let go of some of this stuff, I can't let go of it. None of the stuff I worry about are things I can just let drop out of my life. I mean, I guess I could drop visiting teaching (just kidding. but seriously. . .), but I am so passionate about visiting teaching. I'm not even a great visiting teacher. I stress about it a lot, and half the time I don't do anything about it because I feel like I physically can't.

Long story short, I have had a lot of problems managing and balancing all the different parts of my life that seem to be falling apart around me. I have been depressed. I can't even describe it because I don't want to even think about the way I have been feeling lately.

I went to group last night. For the first time in five or six weeks. I had been looking forward to group all week, then when the time came to go, I didn't want to. I was so depressed and feeling so low that I didn't want to do anything. So, my loving husband told me we should go, and we went. It was exactly what I needed. Being there last night, feeling the Spirit, feeling God's love for me, was exactly what I needed. I needed to hear the testimony of others, too. I was reminded of how important the 12-step program is to me and why I used to go every single week and make everything else work around my group schedule just so I could attend. Since I started my new job, I haven't had time to go. I know that I won't be able to go every week, but going last night proved to be a gentle reminder that I should try to go more than I do right now.

My husband has been having a lot of relapses lately. I haven't really thought about it or written about it much because honestly it doesn't bother me a lot. And when it does get to me, I sometimes feel like I shouldn't be letting it bother me because I know that he will overcome it, and I know this is a process and a journey, and I know that we can both be healed through Christ. But you know what? It's okay to be sad. It's okay to feel like you have been let down. That doesn't make you a bad person. It's also okay to question God. He hears you. He knows you are hurting, and if you do question Him, look for His answer. Because He is showing you that He is there, that He cares, and that He does have his hand in this.

So the relapses have been getting to me, and I feel bad that I haven't been more there for my husband. He has been there for me so much the past few weeks helping me in so many ways to maintain my focus, resolve, and what little balance I have with everything. And then when he tells me about his lapses (well, he doesn't always have the best timing, but he is a guy), I don't know what to say. I tell him I love him, and that I support him. We pray together sometimes. I let him tell me everything he feels like he needs to say. I let him cry (yes, men, it's okay to cry), but then sometimes in my head, I'm like "f;aeilc;l kmaw;leickl I CAN'T DEAL WITH THIS RIGHT NOW!!"

Last night, my husband told me he realized that he doesn't fully want to be rid of his addiction. That's something I have been wondering lately, actually, so I was really glad he told me. I mean, it has to be so hard to say goodbye to the thing you have turned to in times of emotional need for the past 13ish years. It's become kind of like a best friend (minus the regret and pain that comes from the addiction). I'm actually proud of him for realizing that because now he knows what to pray for a little better. Now he has more direction on what he needs help with, and I think he can lean on Christ a little better.

So, amidst all this chaos that has been running my life, I have been studying my scriptures, talks, and the like. I have been trying to feel peace, but sometimes no matter how hard I try, I can't seem to find it. I pray. I do the things I'm supposed to do to feel peace, but can't find it. Then I get frustrated and cry. But peace is truly all around me. Sometimes I just have blinders on.

Today, I hit a pretty hard rock. Overall it was a good day until about 5 this afternoon, and then something happened that triggered some severe depression. I then was caught in my thoughts of despair and feeling so low that no one should love me when I just screamed in my head, "I can't do this! I can't do this! I need it taken away!" and just like that, I heard the whisper of the Holy Spirit saying ask for a priesthood blessing. So I fell on the floor, crying, and asked my husband to give me a blessing. Immediately, I felt lighter--just in the simple act of turning to God and saying I can't do this and asking for His power to be bestowed upon me. While I waited for him to change his clothes to give me a blessing, I was reminded of Step 1 (Honesty). "Admit that you, of yourself, are powerless to overcome your addictions and that your life has become unmanageable." That's exactly how I have felt.

I received the most amazing priesthood blessing, and it brought me so much peace and comfort. I no longer feel any trace of the despair and hopelessness I have been feeling. I was gently reminded of many things, some of which I feel like I should share because I believe everyone needs these reminders:

- remember your divine nature
- remember you have a loving Father in Heaven who loves you unconditionally (and also for me, my husband)
- I (you) will continue to face trials because I (you) am a choice child of God, and these trials will help me become stronger and grow to reach my (your) divine potential
- He blessed me to have gratitude and turn to gratitude and the Lord in times of need instead of stress
- He has felt my (your) pain. He completely understands my (your) pain. And I (you) am not alone.

Like I said above, it's okay to be sad, and it's okay to question God. You know how I know that He has heard me? Because through this blessing, He addressed many of my needs and questions, even things I hadn't voiced to my husband. But He still answered them. And He reminded me, firmly, that He is there and that there is a purpose in all of this. It truly was a beautiful blessing, and it gave me much needed strength and peace. 

Also, last night at group, we were talking about the new guidebook that is supposed to be coming out soon for family members or those who have loved ones who suffer from addiction (did that make sense? basically for you and me instead of the "addict"). I have never had a problem with this guidebook that we use now. In fact, I have had amazing experiences with it. But I guess some people struggle with the wording because it says addict and addiction, when those words don't really apply to you. This is what I felt prompted to say: this program, this guidebook, is to help us come closer to Christ, no matter who we are. The words addict and addiction may not apply specifically to you, but they represent other things that you may struggle with. For me, the point is that this helps us draw closer to Christ. And for me, as I draw closer to Christ, I am healed. It is through Christ that I am able to forgive, love, and be healed (and all the other stuff I am trying to be). I'm not perfect. I still struggle with things. Even though I have a lot stronger foundation and healing than I did two years about when I learned of my husband's addiction, I still have growing to do. And Satan still attacks me. But as I come closer to Christ, I am able to cope with my experiences better, be a better companion and "help-meet" to my husband, and ultimately, draw closer to and become like God and Christ.

So, I don't really have a great way to tie all of this together, other than saying this: I know that God lives. I know that Christ is my Savior. I know that life is hard, but it was meant to be hard. And, the harder it is, I think that means the more God trusts you  (maybe not, but that's what I think). I know that I can get through this. I know my husband can get through this. I still know he is the one for me! I know the Spirit is real and speaks to us today, and I know that we are loved by Heavenly Father. And I know that we can do all things through Jesus Christ. I am beyond grateful for this knowledge. And I am beyond grateful for the experiences I have had on this earth that have helped shape me and give me strength. I am so grateful for the peace I feel tonight. And I feel like I need to close this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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