I don't want him to win.
This is a war I've been a part of since birth (before birth). The battles have gotten heavier in the past few years. Sometimes, I have days that I feel like Satan is beating me down. He will never win, though. Not if I fortify myself. My fortifications consist of prayer, scripture/gospel study, and meditation (along with spending time doing other things important to me and giving service).
Some days, he plants thoughts that make me question why I'm even doing the 12 steps. Or right now, why am I doing the Love Dare? He is the one who has done the serious wrongs. He is the one who needs the serious recovery. He should be love dare-ing me.
Lies. Lies lies lies! Satan wants me to think I'm not important. He wants me to think I have no role in this. He wants me to think that my healing doesn't matter, that I don't need healing because I haven't done anything wrong. We've gotten past the part where he wanted me to think this had everything to do with me: everything to do with my failures as a woman and as a wife. Now, he wants me to think this has nothing to do with. And nothing I can do will help. Nothing I can do will save our marriage. He wants me to think there is no hope. LIES! I'm important. My healing is important. And how I act has a huge impact on our marriage and the love and commitment level for us both. And there IS hope. With Christ, there is always hope.
The 12-step program is amazing. Without it guiding me to Christ, I would probably still not know how to manage my anger. I would probably still lash out irrationally. I wouldn't forgive. I would get sucked into the darkness and only see all the bad things going on in my life. Peace? It would be nonexistent.
The addiction causes trauma on the spouse. I've learned that anger is a masking emotion for that trauma. My anger happens because of all the emotions boiling up and not having an appropriate way to release them, or even a knowledge of what is happening. All the traumatic emotions have led to anger (they still lead to anger until I can evaluate and dig deep into the issue). When I've been angry, I haven't just been angry--I've been hostile, judgmental, and irrational. Underneath the anger is sadness, confusion, feelings of betrayal, and crazy (I just decided to make crazy an emotion).
There was a time when I did not know what to do. I studied my scriptures and prayed because I had the faith that I could be made whole. Other than that, I had no clue what to do. I was angry. I was inconsiderate. I was not understanding or compassionate towards Jack. Sometimes I was angry at God...
Eventually, Jack was okay with us going to the 12-step meetings, and through those meetings and my personal studies through the book, I've figured a lot of things out.
This is all in God's hands. Really. I'm drawing closer to Him and letting Him guide me. Right now, Jack and I are doing pretty awesome. That is because we have both used our agency to stay close to the Spirit and follow promptings. I know that if Jack chose to stop recovery and stop following the Spirit, things could go sour. I feel like there is always the potential of divorce in our future if there comes the time when he quits trying (if I felt like divorce was what was necessary and received that revelation, I would follow it). I also know that NO MATTER WHAT, I will be okay if I keep doing the right things: scriptures, prayer, following the Spirit. I have the capacity to receive promptings. Doing the Love Dare was a prompting, and following that prompting has really increased the love and intimacy in our marriage. There have been other promptings I have followed that have led to positive things in our marriage, and if I hadn't followed them, we would still be stuck in the same old rut.
I used to think this addiction was just his problem. And, in some ways, it totally is. But it's a part of our marriage, and I feel like I have the responsibility to do what I can to help him, to love and support him. I'm finding a balance between taking responsibility and not being unhealthily co-dependent.
Because of what I've learned through the 12 steps, I've found ways to make my weaknesses strong(er). Where I was impatient, I've discovered the ability and strength to be patient. When my anger caused me to do not-so-good things before thinking, I've been able to see clearly, think, say a silent prayer, and have the strength of the Lord to guide me to do something more healthy. Where I used to be so focused and wrapped up in myself and my pain, I've been able to look at the bigger picture and understand a little better what he is going through and his pain.
Because of these weaknesses being strengthened, I've learned how I can take responsibility. I've learned that I can't control him, but I most certainly can control me. I've learned that if I think his bad choices warrant bad choices on my part, things go very downhill. When I exercise patience, when I show him love, when I think before irrationally acting, it does us both good. It helps him feel more safe. It softens his heart, and he is better able to meet my needs too.
I don't take responsibility in the sense that I constantly spy on him and check up on him (believe me, it's always a temptation). I take responsibility in the sense that I try to nurture the good things. I hold him accountable to his responsibilities to me as his wife and as the patriarch of our family. I am responsible for myself--my actions, my thoughts, my intents.
I've taken responsibility of me. And because of that, I am healing.
Satan doesn't want me to heal. He doesn't want me to learn and grow. The closer I get to God, the more Satan pushes. Sometimes, he even lets off and then comes on really strong when I think I feel secure. He plants tiny seeds to cause doubt: doubt in myself, doubt in my God, doubt in my husband, doubt in the gospel. He tries to flip things around in my head and make me confused and give up.
I'm getting pretty good at deciphering Satan's attempts to destroy me. I'm learning to read him.
I will not let him win. I have a cause to fight for!
"In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our [husbands], and our [future] children" (Alma 46:12).
|This is my serious battle face|
|This is my crazed battle face :)|
Image credits: 1, 2