I got to step 10. Practiced it. Wrote about it. Looked at step 11, and just could not go on. Part of me felt like I wasn't quite ready for it, and I wasn't sure why.
Well, now I know why. I was being prepared. I stayed in this funk of "daily accountability" while pondering and meditating on the idea of "personal revelation" and fully giving up my will [can you say scary?]. I've read through step 11 a few times this round, but I haven't been ready or able, or something, to write about it on here. I just couldn't. I felt something stopping me. It just didn't feel right yet.
So I've let it sit on the back burner while I studied the life of Christ in the scriptures and have been writing in my personal journal about the qualities in Him I want to emulate and become better with practicing in my life. I've studied humility and pride a little bit too. I've just been waiting for whenever my body, emotions, and spirit feel ready to hit up step 11.
And here I am. I've gone through a whirlwind of trauma, and personal revelation has carried me through.
This is the gist of my week: Ben's parents are in town. Ahem. We almost separated while they were here [wouldn't that have been fun?]. We didn't separate and are now working on some things in our marriage [and yes, they don't know about any of this. Crazy, huh?].
I keep writing and erasing the story of the almost-separation. But I decided if you have questions or would like some insight on the personal revelation that went into this whole thing, you can email me. It's too much, emotionally, to rehash it and try to get the wording right so you understand what I'm trying to say. Plus, it would make this post way too long, and you might get bored before I really got to the point.
This is what I'm trying to say: the ability to receive personal revelation is one of the greatest gifts God has given us. Were it not for my ability to follow the Spirit, we would be right where we were last week. I would be trying to fight the addiction and trying to figure out what we could do to actually make changes for good in our lives. I would be dealing with crap and accepting his behavior because I didn't know what else to do. I would be feeling frustrated and irritable while playing nice and acting happy when people ask me how it's goin'.
Instead, I had the courage to listen to a prompting. I addressed all the reasons why we needed a separation. I told him the things I would not be standing for in our marriage. He almost had to pack up and move back to Utah for an indefinite amount of time while he put some things in his life back in order. We were so close to a separation, you guys. So many things could have happened. It was unbearably scary.
As we (really, I, because I had the final say in the matter) tried to figure out what to do, I felt like we both needed to pray. He needed to find for himself whether or not quitting his job and moving to Utah, facing the shame of the situation to a great number of people, would be the best thing for him in regards to real recovery.
Personally, I felt like that could be a good option. It was horribly terrifying, but it had the potential to work out. He could take the time he needed to improve his relationship with God, overcome some pride, sort out some priorities, and get reset in the right direction. Or it could not work out and then I would know his heart was not truly set on recovery, which gave this plan the potential to completely destroy our marriage.
When we realized this plan would be the only option for separation (he couldn't live here if we separated. Literally the only place for him to go would be back to Utah), I instructed him to pray while I went into a separate area to also pray.
The whole day was a series of following personal revelation and relying on God. In the end, the revelation changed, but I think that was because Ben had a soft heart and some other things came into play that were game-changing. After I made the final, final decision to separate (after the late-night prayer), I also had the feeling that I needed to really listen to whatever he had to say after his prayer.
His answer to his prayer was overwhelming. He had committed to some things and great personal sacrifices that completely touched my heart. As he cried and poured out his heart, agreeing that he hadn't been trying very hard to overcome the addiction and that he had not been spending the proper time or doing the things necessary for a change of heart, he made commitments that I've longed to hear. And he did it all on his own (well, through the help of personal revelation and a softened heart). It wasn't through me pushing or nagging him to make these changes: that has never worked. It was simply through me following my prompting that we needed a separation. I was so serious, and he knew it. The very idea pushed him to evaluate what he wanted in this life and in our marriage. He could have chosen to be done with me (and don't think for a second that the idea has never crossed his mind. He has entertained the thought of leaving me to live the life of his sex-addict brain more than once). Or he could have chosen to agree with the separation and then felt too weak and depressed to make any changes, and then chose to live in addiction sin. But he didn't. He chose to follow his own promptings of the Spirit, and in that moment, I followed the prompting of the Spirit to hear him out.
As he talked, I felt complete peace and a final stamp of this is right. Let him try to keep these commitments. As he talked, I saw the picture of Christ on His knees in the Garden of Gethsemane. I had the distinct question come to mind: what would Christ do with a man begging forgiveness, promising change, and asking for another chance before cutting him out of his life, even if only temporarily? The answer was strong: Christ would give him another chance. God wanted me to give him another chance.
In the past 24 hours, I've seen a changed man. I'm still a little uncomfortable around him, and I'm still feeling awkwardness due to the trauma of everything, but I'm seeing change. And I know, because I can feel it in my heart, that it's honest change. I'm trying not to doubt what I feel in my heart, and I'm trying to trust. Satan keeps filing me with fear, that little bugger.
I have hope. Ben has made commitments, and I've made boundaries. We have a long way to go for our marriage to become what we've dreamed of, but I can see the potential of that a little clearer. I have a stronger hope.
Today I studied the section on personal revelation in my 12-step book (step 11). My spirit finally feels ready for this. The experience I had this week taught me that I can follow God and do His will. I can give up my will and do hard and scary things. I know that I have the ability to discern the Spirit. And I've learning that revelation can change when new circumstances arise. If Ben hadn't used his agency to turn to God and allow his heart to be softened, we would be separated or planning for separation.
I have a renewed longing to follow God. I know that His way is the best way. He may ask me to do hard things, and those things may seem impossible. That's because they are impossible--without the Atonement. But I can do all things when I rely on the Atonement, and I know that right now, there is hope for our marriage. When things get tough, I can rely on my Savior, and He will help get me through.
I've made a new commitment to stay close to the Spirit so I can always have the ability to receive guidance.
Things are going to be okay.
|Cheers to another year together! I love him.|