Thursday, October 31, 2013

My Secret Life

Even though I've known about the addiction for 2.5 years, it's still hard for me to digest. Sometimes I go back and think about things as they once were (or as I thought they were) and I just miss it. I miss the mornings that we didn't get out of bed for hours because we just wanted to be together. I miss the feelings of bliss. I miss the innocent joy. Didn't we all get married with some different fairy tale than what we got in mind?

It's not like we are doing horribly or that our lives are awful. They aren't. We're actually doing pretty well, all things considered. Plus, he is 33 days sober! Don't let that fool you, though. One thing I've learned is that the length of sobriety time does not determine my happiness. If I'm still grieving or depressed or whatever, I'm still there. I have to work through it and come to terms with things on my own time. So, even with that awesome sobriety (great job, Ben!), we are still facing consequences of the addiction. And that is okay. It's just sad too.

I'm stuck in the grief cycle. I don't really know where I am. It changes from day to day, and it all fluctuates between denial, anger, and depression. And, I know it to be possible to experience all three of those in the same day. When that happens, well, we'll just call it one heck of a day.

I actually wonder why I'm still in denial (or maybe it's not that I'm still in denial, but I am again. There have been times when I felt like I accepted things. But then more addiction happens and I sometimes hit denial again). I mean, HELLOOOOOO, do I need to repeat what I said in my first sentence? I've known about the addiction for 2.5 YEARS. That should be long enough to come to terms and accept that this is my life. Except for the fact that I haven't finished grieving what I thought we had--what I thought we had many times and then discovered lies. And I'm still grieving what might or might not be. I'm grieving the changes that have happened that cause me to fear the future (a little bit). I still can't believe this is happening to ME, to US. The marriage that I worked so hard for is not what I thought it was. My plan is on the floor around me, broken.

I'm learning to not rely on plans. I'm learning to just live, and that's how I'm able to face all of this head on. Well, that is through the grace of God. I'm definitely not doing this on my own.

I realized I'm still in denial and trying too hard to fight depression last night. Last night I did a couples satisfaction survey on ADDO. Apparently, I am currently dissatisfied with my marriage. The results of that survey came partially as a shock (because I was in denial of how messy and dissatisfied I feel), and partially as a relief--like a deep breath of truth and honesty with myself. I'm dissatisfied. That's okay. We are working. He is working on recovery. Things can get better. If I said I was satisfied, I would be lying to myself. That's what I've been doing. So, now, I'm just trying to embrace.

I hate denial. I hate anger. I hate depression. I'm glad I'm facing them head on, and I'm really trying not to shove these feelings off. I'm trying to pick myself up every day and get a move on.

Okay, enough rambling. Here is the main thing I want you to get from this post. Ready?

If you are suffering because someone you love has an addiction (any addiction), and you are in silence, stop the silence. Now. Open up to someone. Let it out. Cry to someone you trust to not be judgmental of the situation.

Allow yourself to feel. Step out of denial.

Maybe this is just me, but I feel like I have been in denial for too long. I think that is because I have kept this part of my life a big secret for so long. Because, seriously, how hard is it to accept something when that part of your life is a complete secret from the rest of the world? I didn't tell anyone. For a long time. When I did finally tell someone, I rarely brought it up after that.

And now? Now, I have a circle of support. I have friends I can talk to. I have friends who I can cry to, who won't judge me or my husband. I'm allowing myself to live in this mess, and I'm starting to be okay with it. I'm not quite yet in the acceptance part of the grief cycle. I'm still fighting it. I don't do change well. And I don't want this to be happening. But I'll get there one day. I'll accept it better. That's what I'm working on right now.

If you don't know who you can talk to, talk to me. I'd love to get to know you :)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Salt and Light


Matthew 5:13--"Ye are the salt of the earth."
Matthew 5:14--"Ye are the light of the world."
Matthew 5:16--"Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father, which is in heaven." 

There are similar verses in the Book of Mormon when Jesus comes to the Americas. I quoted the verses from the New Testament, though, for you non-LDS folk :)

When I read these verses, they punched my gut. Do you know what the purpose of salt is? Salt is a spice that is used to inhibit bacterial growth and spoilage of food. Do you already see where I'm going with this? Is your heart thumping like mine is?

I am the salt of the earth. We are the salt of the earth. We, the lovely people who have been chosen to face and battle pornography and sex-addiction head on, are the salt of the earth. Why? Because we are strong. We are powerful. We have voice. And we are amazing!

God trusts us.

While talking to friends at the Togetherness Project, we all pretty much agreed that pornography and the misuse of sex is going to be the plague of the last days. In case you haven't noticed, it's getting bad, folks. Pornography is so easily attainable. Sex is tossed around like a rag doll. Trust me, I teach high school. This stuff is totally normal to the young generation. Actually, being disengaged from the sexual phenomenon is completely abnormal. 

Pornography and sex-addiction is bacterial growth. It's causing our beautiful world to spoil, to rot. We need people to be the salt. We need people to inhibit, or at least slow, the plague. We need people to fight hard and take a stand.

Do you know what else is significant about salt? Well, at the time these scriptures were written, salt was a highly valued spice. That brings to light some further significance of us being salt.

I am the salt of the earth: I am valuable. You are the salt of the earth: you are valuable. While we are fighting this addiction, sometimes we see things through the wrong lenses. We might only see ourselves through the my-husband/loved one-looks-at-porn-that-must-mean-I'm-not-valuable-to-him/her-lens. We might get so depressed that we think we are nothing. We might try to compete with porn for attention.

Don't be fooled!

We are the salt of the earth. We have divine purpose. We have divine power. We can help fight this fight. We can help slow the rotting that is happening to the world. We can see our value and power and make this fight something Satan wished he had never started.

We can do it.

We are also the light. We are disciples of Christ. As members of His church, we are asked to act as He acts. He is light. If we take His name upon us, that also makes us a light. We can help lead people out of darkness.

There is much to be done. Right now, my focus as a light is to aid in fighting pornography. In doing that, I want to help other people see what I see. I want other people to feel what I feel. I want women (or men) who feel lost, alone, and helpless to realize that they have a circle of love and friendship among us, the others who have been hurt by sex-addiction. I want both addicts and spouses/loved ones of addicts to step out of the darkness and shame. I want us to be brave and show the world who we are. I want us to rally together to thwart Satan--to be the light, to be the salt!

Seriously. We can do it.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Christ is.

Today I studied 3 Nephi 11. This is one of my favorite chapters because it is Christ talking to the people in the Americas after He was crucified. I love reading His teachings.

In verse 11, He says, "And behold, I am the light and the life of the world." I've read that verse dozens of times. I've never really focused on the meaning, though, because it usually just seems so simple, so duh.

What does it mean that Christ is the light? What does it mean that He is the life? What does that mean to me, right now, while trapped in depression?

I've been depressed. It comes and goes, and some days are worse than others. My depression isn't all due to the addiction: there are many factors that have led to this. To put it shortly, it stems from trauma, responsibility, and being stretched too thin in too many directions, which all adds up to equal STRESS. It boils down to stress.

This is what light means to me:
     -The absence of darkness
     -The stimulation of sight
     -The ability to make things visible
     -An aid in the understanding of mysteries
     -The way to peace and overcoming fear

Christ is my light. He overpowers darkness (Satan). He helps me find healing in the darkest of despair. When I stay close to Him, he helps me conquer my fears and find peace. He stimulates my sight--meaning He helps me see things as they are and as they have the potential to be. He helps me view my life through the correct lenses with the proper attitude and perspective. He makes things visible: He helps me see my tender mercies and find things to be grateful for at all times. He helps me understand the gospel and gain the desire to keep understanding life.

He helps me live a better life.

Christ is my life. I've learned through experience that Christ is the way. I've tried being angry at Him...and all that did was cause me to slip farther into a dark depression. I've tried doing things my way, but I always find that His way is the best way (even if it seems impossibly hard in the moment).

Christ is the reason I live and breathe. 

He is the reason I find joy and grace. 

With Him in my life, life is full of beauty, harmony, and love.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Owning my Story

One of the big takeaways I had from the TogethernessProject is that I need to be more open. I need to own my story. It’s my story. Yes, it’s also my husband’s. But this side, the spouse side of things, is mine. I own this side, and it’s my story to tell.

I’ve actually been wanting to be more open. I didn’t ever want to write an anonymous blog. I didn’t want this to be a big, huge, hairy scary secret. I have always just wanted to be me. I’ve wanted to tell friends and family. I’ve wanted it to be something we’re not ashamed of. I was once ashamed—back when being married to a porn addict was a fresh idea and definitely not one I was fond of. I’m still not in love with that fact, but I am in love with my husband. And honestly? I’m more proud of the ground we have covered and the growth we have experienced than ashamed. Really. We are AWESOME!

When I originally felt prompted to start my blog, my husband was afraid. Out of respect for him, I kept the secret. I also kept the secret a little out of fear because my bishop told me that the addiction was between us, and if I blabbed to the world, it might put our marriage in even more turmoil. Well, when you’re in turmoil, more does not. sound. like. fun.

Want to know the reason I started my blog? I had no resources. None. Zip. Zero. Nada! I wanted to be a voice. I wanted to take action, so I prayed to ask how and what I could do. This was my answer. I knew I was not alone. I knew I was not the only wife of a sex addict. I started blogging to help others, to be a resource. I hoped that if people found my blog, they would see that they weren’t alone, and I hoped it could give them strength.

My blog has probably served me more than anyone else. I wrote for about three or four months before I found the LDS Addiction Recovery Blogs website. And then? I started connecting with other women. I started learning from other’s experiences—I was seeing the other end of exactly what I had created my own blog for. I made friends. I felt love. I saw how not crazy I am. I put pieces together, and things started making more sense.

I learned about the Togetherness Project through my blog, and for that I will be eternally grateful. Seriously, I can’t even contain the happiness bursting out of me! I am grinning just thinking about this weekend! :D See? :D I made friends there. I felt loved and secure. I realized even more how beautiful and strong I am becoming because of this trial.

The Togetherness Project helped me gain the courage I needed to tell my husband that this part of the story is mine, and I want to own it. I believe experiences are to be learned from and shared so others can learn from them too. I stood up to my fears to tell him that. Believe me, it was scary. I had so much anxiety about it that I thought I might pass out while I was waiting for him to pick me up from the airport. The Togetherness Project also helped me gain the courage to tell him that I want to give firesides in our stake and actually follow through with that (we have talked about that in the past…but you can’t publicly speak about something that is a big, huge secret).

I’m reaching out.

I feel Satan pushing against me, mainly through fear. I’m not letting him win.

I agreed to be in a picture that will be on someone else’s blog. My face. On a WoPA blog.

I reached out to Jacy and told her of my dream to help the women living down in my area. Being a voice against porn/sex addiction is a passion of mine. I have ideas. But I can’t fulfill any of my dreams or ideas if this is a secret part of my life.

The secret’s out. I’m being brave. People might talk. People might judge the situation. I might feel more alone at times, but I don’t care because it is worth it to me if I can help other women realize they are not alone in this. I felt alone for too long, and I know many women have felt alone for even longer. So. On that note…

Hi, I’m Kilee. 

This was taken at the Togetherness Project. That's me on the right.
On the left is my friend Alicia. She is awesome!

My middle name is Marie (hence my previous pen-name. Using my middle name seemed less anonymous. Still me). I’m married to a sex-addict, and I love him. Once upon a time, I entertained the thought of divorce. It was a thought that scared the heck out of me because I had only been married a wee six months. Right now, I’m planning on never divorcing him. We are working through our problems, and he is trying to recover from his addiction. But, you know, I guess we will see.

I write about my journey through this trial. However, my life isn’t all about sex addiction. That’s a part of it, yes, a big part, but it’s definitely not all. My life is just life. It's beautiful. It's amazing. It's a gift. I see beauty and joy in every day.

I'm the wife of a sex-addict, but I'm also so much more.

I like to learn. I try to make every moment a learning opportunity. I learn from my students, the youth I work with at church, experiences, books, friends, and family. I don't want any opportunity that could better myself to be missed.

I love to laugh. I love it when I make myself laugh (usually because I’m so weird). I love dancing! I am by no means a good dancer. I just love it, and I love being goofy. I especially love dancing in the car.

I love music! I love to sing and play the piano. Once again, I’m not a great singer, but I totally don’t care! I belt out songs when I am happy or angry. I sing to my husband to cheer him up. I sing to myself to cheer me up. Music is a big part of my life (if you couldn’t tell from the many songs I have posted). Music makes me happy and calms me.

I love to exercise. I love the feeling of being completely exhausted but knowing I’m a beast. I think that comes down to my love for accomplishing hard things. I played sports in high school, which I think has helped me manage tough things in my life. I want to start yoga when I feel like my body is up to it. I also want to run a marathon some day.

I’m one of the most injury/accident-prone people you will ever meet. My life is a series of unfortunate injuries—one after another. My exercising/sports-playing has been put on hold many times due to things I physically can’t do. I did develop a love for swimming, though, which can be done during most of my injuries.

I love creating things. I love to sew, and I especially love to experiment with creating my own patterns. I love to paint and draw. It’s therapeutic for me, but it’s also a passion. I love to cook/bake. I love making people happy with my creations—whatever they may be. I think my love for creation stems from my love for God and what He has given me.

I love watching movies and snuggling under a blanket. Especially on a rainy day.

Speaking of rainy days, I love puddle jumping! Or dancing in the rain.

I also love to read. I love stories—the creation of stories and living through stories. I love imagination and writing. I once wanted to be an author.

I love teenagers. I teach high school, and I work with my church’s youth group (for you LDS-folk, I’m the miamaid adviser). I seriously love it! Teenagers are fun!

I want to have a family more than anything. I’ve been told that maybe I haven’t been able to get pregnant yet because I need to work on my relationship with my husband more. Well, we’re trying. Being infertile is incredibly painful, but it definitely increases my desire for a family. I know I’ll appreciate it more when I do have children. Right now, I just consider my students and youth-group my children. I love and care about them so much. All of the hard things I’m doing are helping prepare me to be a mother. I know that is my divine purpose.

Making myself known is a big step for me. I know it isn’t necessary for everyone, but it just feels right for me. I’ve learned from experience that when God tells me to do something, I need to do it. Putting my name and face on my blog was the biggest prompting I received at the Togetherness Project—I think because it’s the next step toward serving others who are in this situation. It’s right. It’s time for me to be brave. So here I am, putting myself out there. I am a little afraid. Okay, a lot afraid. Now people I know might actually find me (gasp!) and get personal details about my life. That is a scary thought because I tend to keep the details between me and my close peeps. I'm totally okay with being open; it's just the fear of what people might think about me and my life that keeps me closed. I'm stepping out there now because what I want most is to spread the hope and joy I feel.

I'm the wife of a sex-addict. I'm also a woman of many talents and passions. 

Welcome to my corner of the world.

Here’s to hope and joy! Hurrah!

Monday, October 21, 2013



I was flooded with memories this weekend—things I had shoved back over the past few years. These memories are all related to my betrayal trauma, and it actually felt good to remember. It felt good because I was embracing, not shoving away. It was validating, and facing these memories was an important step to helping me heal. I was reminded that the things I am feeling right now are natural consequences of the trauma I have experienced.

I remember feeling crazy—literally insane—during the months after the car accident, which happened three weeks after we were married. I had back and neck injuries. I probably had post-traumatic stress disorder. Because of the physical and emotional injuries I suffered, it was hard for me to be intimate. It was hard for me to open up to him because I felt like he didn’t truly care. Something was off. It seemed like he was frustrated with me constantly, which made me feel all the more crazy. I felt pressured into sex because he needed it. I gave in, despite the pain in my back. We had problems. We had just gotten married, and we had some serious issues. It scared me, and I took all the blame. I thought I was a terrible wife. I thought all of our problems were my fault.

I remember the pain I felt when he told me about his addiction. I felt betrayed because, well, that is the natural consequence of discovering your husband watches disgusting things and looks at disgusting pictures. I felt betrayed because that is the natural consequence a woman would feel upon learning her husband had sexual fantasies about other women. But I also felt betrayed because of all the time I thought I was crazy, when in fact, he was the one with the problem.

I remember the blame I felt when he told me about his addiction. I thought I drove him to it because I couldn’t be intimate after the car accident. I felt like all of my crazy had taken its toll, and he was just done with me. I felt blame because the car accident was, in a way, my fault. If I hadn’t driven down that road at that time, the lady wouldn’t have hit me. She would have run the stop sign and hit no one because I wouldn’t have been there. It wasn’t a road I normally drove down. I went a back way home from where I was coming from that morning. So, naturally, everything was my fault.

I remember him telling me about the “porn problem” and thinking it was an addiction. I remember doing research, but to no avail. I remember finding out about the 12-step meetings and wanting to go, but he told me no. He told me he could conquer it: after all, he had conquered it before. I remember feeling so much trauma that I didn’t know I could disagree. I thought I had to do everything he said to save my marriage.

I remember considering divorce. We had only been married six months.

I remember the lies.

I remember the hurt.

I remember the forgiveness. Then more lies. More hurt.

I remember the times I wanted to trust. I even put myself out there, only to have the trust broken. Again. And again.

I remember feeling alone and not understanding why I couldn’t tell people. I remember being frustrated because my bishop even told me that if my husband didn’t want me to tell, I shouldn’t because it is deeply personal and could cause more problems in our relationship. This is something most people don’t talk about openly, and if my husband didn’t feel comfortable with it, it needed to stay between us. I didn’t want more damage to our relationship, so of course I kept it hidden between us.

I also remember my bishop basically just giving him a pat on the back because “he had confessed” and that was a good start. It didn’t seem right, but he was the bishop, so I went along with it.

I remember feeling like a babysitter, using filters and passwords to keep him clean. I didn’t think that was my responsibility, but, as my bishop pointed out, taking it away was the first step to him being clean. Not that he didn’t find it in other places anyway…

I remember broken promises.

I remember getting rid of movies, but not being able to explain to friends and family why we couldn’t watch certain things.

I remember moving into a new ward. When we told our new bishop about the problem or addiction or whatever we called it at that time, he let me know it was not my fault. He let me know it had nothing to do with me. He let my husband know it was sinful and wrong. He let my husband know he was not fulfilling his duty as my husband or keeping his covenants. It was a very different change in counsel, and it made for a great change in our lives.

I remember when we moved to our current ward, and our bishop told us he had hope for us. We came in to our first meeting with him holding hands, and he said that meant we had something that could make it through the damage that had been done.

So much damage has been done. I’m finally realizing that it is totally, 100%, okay for me to withdraw. It’s okay for me to need my time. It’s okay for me not to trust. It’s okay for me to be impatient and emotional. It’s okay for me to feel betrayed. It’s okay for me to open up. It’s okay for me to cry. It’s okay for me to live in the present.

It’s also okay for me to love and trust. It’s okay to have hope that we will be healed. I have hope that my love will one day be perfect. I have hope that I will trust again.

The journey has been long and painful. But I wouldn’t change this for the world. We are learning and growing, and our marriage will be more precious later on because of this trial, the beautiful heartbreak.

PS, I have good memories too. My favorite is the look I see in his eyes when he really sees me and his heart is full of tender love. Just thinking about that look makes my heart skip a beat. My other favorite is the times he has broken out of his comfort zone to dance with me and be a goober. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Togetherness Project Report

I’m in the Denver airport, on a layover, awaiting my next flight to get home. I’m kind of sad to be going home. I don’t hate my life by any means, but being surrounded by fellow WoPAs—beautiful, strong women who understand me, who are open, and who know most of the deep, dark, personal secrets about each other, which creates an amazing bond of love and friendship—was incredible. Every single one of them, and you, are incredible. I admire all of the new friends I made (and old friends I actually met in real live person!!). Being a part of it reminded me that I, too, am incredible. It's an amazing feeling to be part of such a powerful group of women. 

The Togetherness Project was beautiful. There is no other way to describe it. It was a gathering of 160 women in all walks of life, who have suffered various degrees of trauma due to someone they love having a sex-addiction. I felt secure and loved there. I felt strength, kindness, and compassion there. I’m so grateful to have been a part of it, and I can’t wait until the next event so I can be surrounded by all of that again.

I learned so much, but my experience was mainly full of validation and hope. I gained answers to things I have been praying about. I gained tools to help my recovery. I gained validation in the things I have struggled with and realized on an even bigger scale that I am not alone. I am not crazy. These things I feel and experience are all over the place. I think there are so many women who are hiding because they think they are alone. Or maybe they are ashamed or afraid to own what is going on in their lives. I have felt that: I married a sex-addict. Oops. He fantasizes about having sex with other women. He lusts after women on a BIG level. It’s not what was in my plan, and I have felt that shame of not wanting to admit to anyone that I screwed up and married a porn addict (Disclaimer: I didn’t screw up. This was out of my control. Also, I do love him, and he is really a fantastic guy). Maybe women are hiding because their husbands have manipulated and shamed them so much that they don’t think their stories will be taken seriously. I have felt that too on some levels, although that type of shame was more from myself through fears of being judged and comparing myself to others.

This weekend, I learned to take myself--my needs, my wants, my fears, my emotions, my healing--seriously.

I also learned more about my own trauma. I admitted more things to myself. I reflected back on memories I had blocked out. I pondered on my life and things going on right now. I found answers. I found paths. I made discoveries and plans. I have goals. I have vision. I have hope.


The past few weeks have been really hard. After my husband’s last dive into his addiction (which started on my birthday), I started shutting down. First, I pushed it away. I ignored it because of the crazy busyness that has taken over my life. I shoved emotions back because I didn’t want them to carry over to work and mess things up there. I started hiding behind my work. I started becoming fearful of going home and being with my husband. After some time, I realized what I was doing and tried to own my emotions. I talked friends. I cried. I wrote.

I felt guilt and shame. I felt guilty because I, for some reason, felt like since a couple of weeks had passed and he hadn’t relapsed in that time, I owed it to him to not be in pain. If he wasn’t relapsing, I shouldn’t show my pain. I should forgive and forget, be happy and loving, be kissy and huggy, and want sex.

Um, excuse me? That’s not the way it works. I tried to force myself to have sex (no, he did not try to force me) because I thought, “Well, he must feel like he earned it, and I want him to be happy,” and I wanted to reward him for his efforts for the past two weeks. No, we did not have sex that night I tried to force myself into it. I realized I couldn’t. I could NOT. It made me sick, and his touch made me feel pain.

I felt the shame (and guilt) because of a lack of love I was feeling for my husband. I had a mini-crisis because of that, actually. It terrified me, and I was ashamed of my feelings for him.

A few days before I left for the conference, I realized I needed some space. I needed to take time for me and just heal. For the past two and a half years, I have been strong. Yes, I have had angry episodes that have made us both a little afraid of me. But I’ve always, always, tried to be strong. I’ve been strong for him because I didn’t want to trigger him. I’ve been strong for him because I wanted to help him. I’ve been strong for him because I wanted to do everything I could to make things work. I’ve been strong for me because I was afraid of what might happen if I was not strong. I haven’t allowed myself to feel and heal. I haven’t allowed myself to really dwell in the sad and get the space I need for my health. And I’m not talking in-house separation or anything. I’m talking simple space. Space where I don’t feel pressured (from either him or myself) to kiss/hug/cuddle/have sex. Space where I don’t feel pressured to say I love you. I’m just talking about gaining trust and having the space I need to observe, heal, and trust. And guess what? The Togetherness Project validated that need for space to heal.

I mean, seriously. He has broken my heart. Many times. It’s only natural to need time to repair. I don’t want a divorce. I just want to recover. I want to do things for me. Yes, we are a team. And together, we can help me heal. Together, we can help him heal. We both need space to heal.

I wrote in my journal for an hour on my way to the Togetherness Project. I poured out my heart and wrote about what I wanted to gain from this conference. I prayed. I found inner peace.

While at the conference, my prayers were answered. Answers to my questions were found. Plans and goals were made. I found me. I found what I need to heal. I found friends. I found strength and power in numbers. I found how good it feels to truly be open. I learned about vulnerability, boundaries, love, and bravery.

Being brave has been my mantra this year. I gained strength and learned from other brave women at the Togetherness Project. I’m going to be brave. I can’t tell you what my plans are yet, but you will find out eventually. My first step to being brave is to open up to more people. I could write a whole post about being open about our real lives. Maybe I will. So many people hide behind facades, and I hate it. I hate that our world expects everyone to just be hunky-dory. I hate it when people ask me how I’m doing but don’t really mean it. Yes, that is definitely another post for different day.

I feel good. I feel peace with where I am right now. I’m excited for him to pick me up from the airport so we can start talking about all of the stuff I learned and want to do.

Friday, October 18, 2013

I'm off!

It's been one heck of a week. And month. 

I'm off to The Togetherness Project (in due time)! I can't believe it's already here. When I signed up and booked my flight, it felt like this weekend would never come. I also thought we wouldn't be able to afford it. However, we have been incredibly blessed, and I am on my way!! 

See you there? 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Soul-Searching Through Step 10


Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching. I’ve been dealing with a lot of stuff, and I've needed to look inside myself and dig deep to find answers and solutions. And to stop being lazy and fearful.

My husband is 17 days sober. And counting.

That’s good.

That’s great!

But, I still feel weird.

When the addiction was hitting rather heavy, it was hard for me to face it. It was difficult for me to cope, so I turned to my easiest coping method: to pretend like it’s not happening. Not that I do that…But seriously, it’s much easier to let it be addressed (his confession/my questions) and then just move on without letting it ruin things. I hate it when the addiction ruins things! The problem is, I tend to move on too quickly--before I’ve allowed the emotions to run their course. And that ruins things. Like right now how I'm still feeling weird. I am trying to let my emotions run their course because 17 days ago when we had our last d-day, I ignored it. Actually I was strong for him, and then strong for me, and that is how I ignored it. Anyway, now it's just bottled up pain that has become more fermented with time.

I don’t want to feel pain. I don’t want this to be hurting our relationship. I don’t want to not want to have sex because that is a critical step in the baby-making process. And I certainly don’t want any months to go by with a chosen lack of fetus because I chose not to have sex (already a few chosen months have passed by, which is why I'm so emotional about it right now). My body is infertile enough without the addiction in the equation to add more un-pregnant months.

I don’t want these problems.

When he tells me he slips up, I feel sad. I feel hurt. But I also know he feels bad, and I don’t want him to feel worse and slip up again, so I shove it all down. Sometimes, I just don’t even have the time to deal with my emotions, so I shove it down and play pretend-happy. Or at least pretend-survival. The past few weeks have been crazy at school and we just moved. I don’t have time to deal with addiction problems. So, naturally, I let the emotions sit. I think I’ve dealt with them because I have acknowledged the emotions, but I haven’t dealt with them at all. They fester . They boil. They explode. I get depressed. And then I don’t know what to do.

I need to take my own emotion advice. That post I wrote about emotions? That was me processing. I was coaching myself on how to deal with things. And then, after I wrote it, I had to move on because things were so crazy busy.

It’s a horrible cycle. I totally know I’m doing it to myself, but I just keep on doing it because I’m getting so maxed out in every aspect of my life that I don’t know what else to do.

I need a vacation from life. I don’t even need to go anywhere special. I just need a break.

I’ve been stuck on step 10 for a little while. Because I haven’t had time or motivation to do daily accountability. So, I know I’m on step 10, and I don’t hold myself accountable. I just don’t. It’s too hard and depressing. I’ve seen myself slowly falling into old, bad habits. I’ve started being a little judgmental and saying kind of harsh things. I’m seeing the old me that didn’t cope with things well. I know that’s okay because I know I’m not perfect and I don’t have to be. But, it’s rather depressing to see the things I’ve tried to ditch resurfacing.

I hit a sort of breaking point this past week, though. By the end of the week at school, I wanted to kill everyone (not literally…sheesh!). I cried. A lot. I even cried at the stinkin' airport. In public. I didn’t even care anymore. I was just embracing my emotions.

I finally read through step 10 again. I have been pushing it off because I’m afraid to start holding myself accountable for anything—my actions, acknowledging my emotions, my thoughts, my motivations, my intents, my desires. I’m afraid to hold myself accountable because I’m a perfectionist. And because it’s kind nice to fall into Satan’s traps and feel like there is no hope? Yeah, right. That’s why I decided to get back into the swing of things. I chose depression (kind of), so I chose to un-choose depression.

Picking up my manual and reading through step 10 was one of the best things I could have done for myself right now.

I was reminded I need self-care. Self-care is important. I need to meet my needs. Yes, my students are important. My job is important. My family (as in mom/dad/siblings) is important. My husband is important. But you know what? I’M IMPORTANT TOO! My needs must be met just as much as anyone else’s. Maybe even more. You know how when you’re on an airplane, they go through the safety-demo and make sure everyone knows that if there is an emergency, YOU should put on your oxygen mask before helping anyone else? If you die, who is going to help all of them? That’s the way I see it. I have to meet my needs because if I die/fall apart/have a nervous breakdown, there will be no me to meet all of those needs that are currently being met by me.

I do a lot. I am stretched thin in so many directions. Sometimes I wonder how the world would revolve without me (although, to be honest, it would totally revolve without me). I give of myself constantly. I try to serve and make everyone happy. I give so much that I should be made up of negative matter—my body should warp into some other dimension or something.

I need self-care. My daily accountability? To check and make sure that I’m taking care of myself. That does include things like watching for pride and asking God to replace my negative thoughts with His peace.
I was also reminded in my study of step 10 that I will make mistakes. But that’s okay because it is normal, it’s a part of life, and my Savior has taken my mistakes upon Himself. I can turn them over to Him. I’ve done it before.

Isn’t it funny how this is so cyclical? I know with each cycle, I am growing. My growth is becoming deeper. But still. It’s such a cycle. I love/hate it. At least the fact that it’s a cycle means I’ve already gone through this, on some level, and I can give myself advice on how to get through it.

But you can also interject and give me advice if necessary.

Remember, self-care. Don’t stop taking care of yourself like I did. Read your scriptures. Pray. And do some crafts or something! (but seriously.)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

General Conference Takeaway #1: I Can Love

While unpacking tonight, I found some old journals. One was from when Jack and I were dating. I found some important entries that I knew he wanted to read (long story there). They were about the decision to marry him. I had always kept this from him because I felt the decision and process I took to decide to marry him was deeply spiritual and personal. So much so, that I didn't want him to read about it in my journals. However, for some reason, that didn't matter tonight.

I passed my journal over to him to let him read, and he got uncomfortably quiet. I didn't proof-read first, so I wasn't sure if he had read something offensive (our relationship at the time was rocky...and I was deciding whether or not to marry him or another guy). The thing that got him, though, was a statement at the end of an entry describing why he was perfect: "No red flags." It made him depressed because it reminded him of how much I had trusted him and how much that trust had been broken by something that would have been nice to see red flags for.

I did think he was perfect when we were dating. I know now he was too perfect, but at the time, I had specific things I was looking for in my future spouse. He did a very good job at keeping the addiction from me, and he filled everything I wanted. Like I said, deciding to marry him was deeply spiritual. I included God very much in that decision, and I knew it was right.

Sometimes, that inclusion of God and knowing marrying Jack was the right decision haunts me. It haunts me when I get depressed about how the addiction has the power to destroy what we have. It makes me ask God why? Why me? Why should we be together? Why would this be in the plan for me?

Now, keep in mind that I am deeply grateful for the growth we have experienced. I really and truly am. But, you know, sometimes it's just hard. And I have the right to question. It's good for the soul. Haha.

Anyway, President Eyring said something in his General Conference talk this morning that answered that question perfectly. For those of you who are not LDS, every six months, the authorities of our church speak in a conference over the weekend. There are five two-hour sessions. It's beautiful. No other words describe it other than beautiful and sacred. I LOVE General Conference. This one was especially good and gave me some direct inspiration and answers I've been seeking.

President Eyring told this story about a grandma going to visit her grandson in jail. On the way, she was praying and asked God why, after everything she had done to live a good life, He would give her this grandson who ruined his own life and caused her so much pain. The answer that came to her was, "I gave him to you because I knew you could and would love him no matter what he did."

That statement completely resonated with me. It rang in my heart and pierced my soul. I knew, in that instant, that even though the story was different, God was speaking to me. He wanted me to marry Jack because he knew that I could handle this. He knew I could and would love him. No matter what.

That's the first time I've heard/felt it put like that. Whenever I've wondered why I'm with him, why God wanted me to be with him, I've always had a similar feeling. But that feeling was more along the lines of me being special and being the best person to help him overcome his addiction, repent, and fulfill his divine potential as a son of God. This is the first time I've felt/heard it said that the reason was my ability to love him.

I do love him. I love him on a very deep level, which is why the addiction is so painful. Sometimes, I feel like I don't love him on the surface, when I'm struggling, but there is always that deep love that lies beneath. And I'm always dedicated to helping him. I mean, that's why I do the things I do. That's why I try to enforce certain boundaries and why I am blunt at times and have high expectations for him.

I can love him. I do love him.

Now, that doesn't mean that our marriage isn't at risk. It is. There is still the possibility that at some point down the road, he will have majorly crossed a line, and our marriage will be over. BUT this gives me hope. It gives me a little bit more courage and strength to know that God wants me to keep loving. At least for right now.

AND... I'm excited for the Togetherness Project!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Coping With Those Rough Emotions


Emotion is a ginormous part of this journey of dealing with addiction. The negative emotions are real. They are big. They are raw. They cut deep. They hurt.

Sometimes I wonder how to deal with them. 

I've learned a lot about dealing with emotion and stress. In the past three years, I have felt unimaginable amounts of emotion, specifically negative emotion, and stress. When I look back and reflect, sometimes I surprise myself at how much I have really learned. 

Emotions have been on my brain all week. Ummm, that's because I have gone through a lot of them (this week especially). Most have been negative, but then there is that conflict of emotion that is hard to deal with: angry, but longing for love; exhausted, but desperate to get through; sad, but full of those darn happy memories; scared, but full of peace. It all builds up and creates stress, especially when added on top of the other life stuff, which for me includes responsibilities at home, school, and church. 

How do we deal with it all? It's so much. It seems like every normal stressor is made worse by the stress and emotional battlefield of the addiction. 

This is what I've learned: 

1) Allow yourself to feel emotion. Too many times I have tried to shove the emotions down. They are painful. They are scary, and quite honestly, it just plain seems easier to not feel, to just push it back and put on the brave face. That doesn't work. That has never worked for me. It's like putting a band-aid over an open, gaping wound. It may cover the wound for a short time, but it will fall off. When you need stitches, covering it with a small band-aid only temporarily helps. Then you run the risk of infection and a much worse wound. The temporary solution of ignoring emotions that are hard to deal with is just that: temporary. It feeds the wound so it becomes "infected" and basically bursts open. Worse. When you don't allow yourself to feel emotion, for whatever reason (fear, manipulation, etc.), you are asking for an explosion later on. And my explosions usually include a lot of exhausting tears and much worse negative emotion. So let yourself feel. Let the emotion play its course. And eat some brownies if you have to.

2) Find a good outlet for your emotions. There are many options here. First, I'll say don't be afraid to talk to a trusted friend. I have been afraid of that in the past. Sometimes it's fear of Jack, and sometimes it's because I'm afraid of what that person might think or do. If you pray, God will help you find the right people to confide in. My friend Harriet helped me realize it's okay, even necessary, to share this burden with others. One of my friends in whom I confided, upon hearing my fears (after we had talked a long time) reminded me of our baptismal covenant to bear one another's burdens that they may be light, to comfort others, and to mourn with those that mourn. How can we do that if we don't share our burdens? 

Another outlet for me is writing. A missionary at my group in Utah encouraged me to have a separate journal for anger and recovery. So I have an angry journal. I use it for when I feel like my head will explode with all my stress and pain. And I will burn it when it is filled up. NO ONE, not even me, reads my angry journal. It's personal. It's simply an outlet for pain. It's my journal that I never re-read because it's only full of pain. It's all useless venting to release emotion. And it has worked. It has helped me feel and express my emotions in a non-destructive manner.

I also have other hobbies that help me deal with emotion: painting, and exercising. Those aren't my only hobbies, but they are my best stress-relievers. I try not to emotionally eat because it usually makes me feel worse afterwards, but, hey, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. Sometimes only brownies and ice cream can handle me and my emotions. ;)

3) Try to see the bigger picture. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. I know there is an eternal purpose for my experiences here. I also know I have a Father in Heaven who sent His Son to die for me. He can succor me. He can lift me up. And as I turn to Him, I am drawing closer to His glory. He is my source of strength and power, and I know through Him that there is an end to my pains, and something beautiful in store for me. 

4) Pray. We can obtain divine powers through prayer. It is through prayer that I have gained strength and courage to face my emotions and stress head on. Through prayer, I've felt and kept my eyes open to see what God had blessed me with. 

5) Express your emotions. Be open and communicate with your spouse about your needs. If your emotions and stress stem from the addiction, express to your spouse what you feel. That is really hard and scary. But you have to be open for a few reasons. If you're not open, your spouse actually may not have a clue how you really feel. I feel like that happens to me a lot because I try to be brave and supportive. He has to know how I feel and what my boundaries are or else I get taken advantage of (even if he is not intentionally taking advantage of me). For my emotional safety, I have established a norm of open communication about emotion in our relationship. It has really helped me so I don't feel that stupid guilt when I feel certain emotions but he doesn't know. Seriously you guys, I used to feel so guilty when I would feel the negative emotions that are totally NORMAL for our situation. I always tried to be supportive and loving and focus on meeting his needs and fixing his emotions so he would be happy. I thought if he was happy, I was happy. Not so. I have to focus on me and my emotional needs. Expressing it to him has to be done for my healing. 

6) Reach outside yourself. Giving service is healing. I've been given multiple priesthood blessings where I was told that my sensitivity because of my experiences will prove to be something that allows me to recognize and acknowledge pain in others. It's true, and I think that's true for all of us. When you have suffered to a certain degree, you can see the suffering in recognize it because you've been there. So, use that gift to help others heal. Give service. Find ways you can reach out to others and make a difference. I promise looking outside your own difficult emotions will prove to be a healing balm for those very emotions that are so hard to deal with.

Emotions are tough. Even if it's not about addiction, emotions are tough. We all have our trials. Some are trials through fire, and they are HARD. But thankfully, we can all help each other. And we have a Father and Christ to lean on, who give us courage and strength. 

I'm praying for you beautiful readers. I know many of us are hitting hard times together. We can do this. YOU can do this. 

I love you :) 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

I am not a failure.

Satan is a trickster. A master trickster.

I've been feeling down lately. I'm supposed to be working on step 10, but let's be honest here, I barely have time to read my scriptures and pray. My strength feels like it's waning. I am working on step 10, in my own way. Every day, I try to hold myself accountable to the things I've learned and know I should be doing. I try to check myself for anger and impatience and all the little things that result. The problem is I don't like what I'm seeing in myself every day.

Things have just been hard. My life isn't bad, by any means, but Satan would like me to think that. With the move, stresses and responsibilities at school, and a few other factors, my life is hectic. It's becoming a little too much to bear. Slowly, I've started spending less and less time studying my scriptures and pondering the words of prophets--thinking God will understand. After all, everything I do is because I'm trying to do His will. I am a servant in many aspects of my life. However, I'm not fully taking care of me and my physical and spiritual needs, which is clearly having a negative impact.

The less I have studied my scriptures, the more angry I have become. The past few weeks my scripture reading has been daily, but very minimal. During the summer, I joyfully studied approximately an hour every day, wrote in my blog, and did other things for my healing. Now, I study five to ten minutes a day if I'm lucky. Sometimes it's joyful, and sometimes it's totally forced. Sometimes it's a very quick verse, a short pick-me-up that is needed, but I'm finding that's not enough.

With all the crazy happening in my life, I've been angry and irritable. Impatient and unkind. It's not me. I know it's not me. It's not who I'm meant to be. Then I get depressed, and there is a downward spiral.
Last night, I almost didn't read my five minutes of scriptures because I felt unworthy. I felt so crazy, so bombarded with life, and so angry, that I felt UNWORTHY to open up my scriptures and turn to God for help. I felt unworthy to pray. I felt like a failure because I haven't been able to control my anger and impatience lately. I think I cried myself to sleep.

I. Am. Not. A. Failure. I'm just not. I'm not unworthy to turn to God. Why? Because I'm His daughter, a princess preparing to become a queen. Because He loves me. And, guess what? I don't have to control my anger and impatience. I do have some control, but I also know when Satan is pressuring me so much that things are beyond my control. This is one of those times.

I can turn this over to God. I have no need to be ashamed for the things I have said and done this week anymore. I simply need to repent and move on. I need to forgive my husband and try to trust again. I need to enforce my boundaries in a loving, caring way--not in a scared, angry, out of control way.

I want to be ready to do this. I kind of don't know if I can, but I want to be me again. So many pieces of me are missing--lost under the dark abyss of anger and impatience. I'm going to find those pieces of me. I'm going to live and be beautiful.

I am NOT a failure.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013


Brave. I love songs about being brave. I want to be brave.

Being brave is hard. It takes more than courage and strength.

I just wanted to share this song. It's a recent discovery, and I listen to it almost every day. It soothes my soul. Look it up because her voice is just beautiful. But I especially love the lyrics, of course. Her prayer--it's just so perfect. I feel like I have a very similar prayer in my heart on a daily basis.

 And, in case you didn't know, daisies are my favorite flower. Perfect song? Yes.

She painted her ceiling baby blue
With fluffy white clouds
Just in case she needed
A way to get out.
And when the pain 
Was just too much to bear
She sent up a prayer:

Father on high
God of my light
Send me daisies 
That bloom all night
Come what may,
This I pray,
Lord, let me 
Be brave.

Sometimes I lay
Alone here in the dark
So afraid there's not
Quite enough faith in my heart.

Father on high
God of my light
Send me daisies 
That bloom all night
Come what may,
This I pray,
Lord, let me 
Be brave.

Be still my soul.
We might have a long way to go.

Father on high
God of my light
Send me daisies 
That bloom all night
Come what may,
This I pray,
Lord, let me 
Be brave.

Lord, let me
Be brave.

I have included a lot of music in my posts lately. That's because I LOVE music. It is one of my favorite forms of expression and healing. I hope the songs I share are as lovely to you as they are to me.