I started ADDO shortly after coming home from the Togetherness Project last fall [shout out to the Spring Togetherness Project Conference in Phoenix! Only one day left to register for the cheaper early registration fee!]. I think ADDO is really great, but sometimes I feel like it's not quite for me. The way I work my recovery, including things like boundaries, is a little different from most people. So I've gone through phases with ADDO with sometimes a little love, and sometimes a little not as much love, depending on the situation of my life at the time.
I finally did my Bill of Rights, Non-Negotiables, and Boundaries today. When I got to this point a few months ago, I stopped doing ADDO, partially because of a lack of time and partially because (I'll admit it) I was afraid. I was afraid of changing the way I work my recovery. I was afraid of setting boundaries and things completely changing in my relationship with Ben. I was afraid of feeling too controlling or something. I honestly don't completely know what I was afraid of, just that I was afraid.
Writing my Bill of Rights, Non-Negotiables, and Boundaries was indeed different than my usual plan of action. I mean, I've always had certain rights, non-negotiables, and boundaries in my head. And I've just kind of gone by the Spirit to enforce them. I've enforced things when it's just felt right or let things slide when I've felt like I needed to. So I guess what I'm afraid of is actually having to enforce things because I've written it out. Especially because overall, things are doing much better with us. BUT, writing it all out was empowering, and I'm glad I did it. It gives me something to go back to when I lost my strength or courage to keep myself safe. And it serves as a reminder that I do deserve certain things to keep me safe in my relationship.
I wrote this all out with a lot of thought and consideration. I did it prayerfully, and it feels right. And I did leave some of the consequences loose (ie. "until I feel safe." You'll see it in just a second) so I have the freedom to choose when I feel safe enough to re-engage in our relationship.
So, here goes.
My Bill of Rights:
1. I have the right to have a husband who is faithful to me in mind, body, and spirit.
2. I have the right to have a worthy priesthood leader in my home.
3. I have the right to ask questions and receive honest answers.
4. I have the right to say yes or no to sex.
5. I have the right to receive inspiration as to what is best for me.
7. I have the right to confide in whomever I deem to be a safe person.
8. I have the right to my opinions and preferences.
9. I have the right to be trusted in the decisions I make.
10. I have the right to self care: time off, time-outs, art, sewing/crafting, cooking, playing piano, watching movies, exercising, and
11. I have the right to a life free of the fear and anxiety this sex-addiction causes.
12. I have the right to say "I love you" when I feel comfortable and safe saying it.
1. I need you to not pressure me to have sex.
2. I need you to tell me when you have a "slip".
3. I need you to study your scriptures for an hour every day.
4. I need you to have a sponsor.
5. I need you to go to a 12-step group when you move to Texas.
If you pressure me to have sex, then I will not have sex until I feel safe, comfortable, and confident.
If my intuition tells me you have slipped or are lying, then I will disconnect from you until I feel safe.
If you are not working active recovery (scripture study, 12-step), then I will disconnect from you until I see you are making efforts to work recovery and reach your potential.
If you do not find a sponsor within two months of moving to Texas, then I will not move in with you until you find a sponsor.
A lot of these things are things that have already been taken care of or things he already knows as boundaries or non-negotiables. But still, writing it out and having it firm was really good for me. Like I said, it gives me something to go back on, and it's a good outline of what I expect. Taking the time to do this, especially prayerfully and thoughtfully, showed me that I really do know what it takes to feel safe in my relationship and that I've been on the right track of recovery, even if I didn't necessarily know what I was doing earlier in recovery (just following my gut).