Sunday, December 6, 2015

So many questions

Baby boy is ten months old.

For a long time, we had pretty much decided that discussion of the next child would not happen until he was at least nine months old. But I thought we were pretty much planning on discussing around nine months, but that we wouldn't actually even think about trying till he was at least a year old.

Then, about two months ago, Ben came to me and said he was ready. Which was shocking because he seemed to have a hard adjustment to parenthood and I figured that conversation would be a while away. I was not expecting to have to address the idea of future children for a while, and all the sudden it was here.

So, I've had a lot on my mind for the past little while.

The main question is whether or not it is irresponsible for us to bring another child into this world while my husband is not able to maintain solid recovery or sobriety.

But then that question is tough  because I know sobriety does not equal recovery. So the other question bugging me is can he be in recovery, or trying to be in recovery, while not maintaining very strong sobriety? And if he is trying to be in recovery but doesn't seem to be maintaining sobriety, does that make the answer to the first question different?

And then there is the fact that ever since Ben brought up the idea that he is ready to start trying for another child, IT WON'T LEAVE MY MIND. For the first while after he brought it up, I was like nope nope nope. I was not ready. But now that I've been dwelling on it a lot, I feel like I could be ready. Maybe not quite yet, but I can feel it coming. I can feel myself being prepared. But I don't know that our relationship is ready.

The biggest issue I have is that I don't want to bring any more children into this world and then end up a single mom, either because Ben left me or I left him because the addiction got out of hand. That is a very real possibility and fear. Right now, he is trying to maintain recovery and I know his heart is in the right place. But things have been so up and down for so long that I'm just terrified of making the wrong choice here.

I don't know if it's more selfish of me to not want to bring more kids into the world for fear that I might become a single mom in the future (although that really isn't the most likely outcome of our marriage), or if it's more selfish of me to bring more children into this world because I have always planned on having more than one. I want more kids. And I want to raise more children with Ben. And I want Baby to have siblings.

I've been reflecting on our dating process, mainly the thought and prayer I put into deciding to marry him. It was a big deal. I spent a lot of time on my knees begging for help because I wanted to make sure I made the right decision. And I chose him. I was led to him, and I chose him. That thought won't leave me. I feel like God keeps reminding me of that experience and telling me not to give up the faith.

I don't want to ever give that up. I don't want to give Ben up. I've committed my life to him, and I've made covenants with God regarding my marriage as well. I've always felt that my mission in this life is to be the best mother (and wife) I can possibly be. And now that my baby is ten months old, and I've had all these signs pointing me toward preparation for more children, I'm feeling so many things.

Actually, as I've been writing this, I feel like I've received my answer. Before I came downstairs to write this post, I poured out my heart to God describing all of this and more and asking for guidance on what to do here. And then I felt like I needed to come down and write. As I've been writing, I've felt that I definitely can't just not have more children.

When Christ called out to Peter to come to Him across the water, Peter walked on water. "But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, saying, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?"

I know I'm supposed to have more kids. I've always known that. It's just that the addiction scares me. I don't want to be irresponsible. I want my kids to be safe. I want to be able to be present with my kids (and when I'm in trauma, it's so hard to be present).

Regarding our relationship, I've been trying to be more present and live in the moment. Be merciful when I need to be, and be strict with my boundaries when I need to be. But the process of bringing more children into this world is so vulnerable and sacred, that we both individually and our relationship has to be in a good place.

I feel impatient waiting for that to happen and fearful of the future. But I'm trying to just have faith and wait on the Lord's plan and timing.

The last thing that has been on my mind is questioning how to balance the question of bringing another child into this world with the addiction. Actually, it's kind of how to balance life with the addiction, you know? I don't like living in a way where the addiction consumes all of our life. I guess sometimes it has to, but maybe there are times when it's okay to put it on the backburner. I don't want to put my entire life on hold while I await this miraculous recovery. I think if I feel safe enough to take certain steps in my marriage, then that is good enough. But some days are just harder than others. So it's really hard to know what to do.


I know I need to pray and keep a spiritual mind and eternal perspective. But sometimes it's just hard and the natural man in me wants to take charge of everything. Finding balance and perspective while living this life is tricky.

**I'm not asking for advice with this post. Just processing my thoughts. Feel free to comment but please don't tell me what to do regarding our family decisions. Thanks <3

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Christ knows what I need

I met with my bishop on Sunday. It was a breath of relief to have such a positive experience after experiencing so much trauma with my last bishop.

During our conversation, we talked about the Atonement, and he said something that gave me a new perspective on what Christ went through.

He said to the effect of, "Many people don't really think about it this way, but when we talk of Christ coming to earth as a man, he truly came as a man. A human, just like you and me. He experienced the full range of emotions that you and I can feel. He was tempted and felt the powers of evil and darkness of Satan, just like you and me. He experienced everything a human can experience in this life because he came here as a man." And He had a mission. He came here with purpose, and part of that purpose was to experience everything that could be experienced in this life.

Not only did Christ experience the whole range of human experience, but He also suffered for each of us individually. He felt the pain of betrayal during His life, but He felt my pain of betrayal in the Garden. He knows how to comfort and succor us from His mortal life AND from his sacrifice in the Garden and on the cross.

I read this scripture today, and it solidified my understanding of what I have been pondering all week.

"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." John 16:33

We are not alone. Christ knows exactly what we need because He has felt it all. And He has overcome it all. Through Him, we can find peace.

Thursday, October 22, 2015


Last weekend, I had the blessed opportunity to attend the Togetherness Project! I love this organization so much. Much of my healing has been through classes I've attended and people I've met. I will be forever grateful to the people who put this together and sacrifice so much of their time and energy to help strengthen those of us suffering from the effects of sex addiction.

I haven't been able to stop thinking about one of the classes I attended. Rhyll Croshaw spoke about living recovery one day at a time.

I've been in a kind of pit where I have been so focused on my baby and my family and not spending enough time on ME. I've been working on that and trying to find balance, but it's hard. My needs change on a daily basis depending on different triggers and trauma or whether or not I feel like I can even handle thinking about having this addiction as part of my life (and besides, I have a baby now, so I really can't spend so much time focusing on me. That makes the balancing act more tricky.). Most of the time, my recovery work simply looks like self-care. But if I'm only doing self-care, that leaves out a lot of other things that are necessary for my recovery.

It's like I'm only going halfway to recovery because I know I need some aspect of recovery, but I don't want to think about it. I've let recovery books, programs, blogs, and support groups fall to the wayside because I just don't want to think about it. Not to mention I might be spending way too much time and energy focusing on healing my relationship with Ben. I'm the kind of person that likes to do things myself so I can make sure they are done right. I'm afraid (from fear but also from experience) that if I leave our relationship recovery too much up to Ben, nothing will happen or things will be made worse. So even though I try to be hands off about his recovery and letting things heal as they heal, I really do try to take matters into my own hands way too often. It's exhausting. Because when things don't work as I think they should, I get put in another place of trauma or just feel disappointed or angry or upset.

I have not done a good job at surrendering this to God. Like, at all. I try. I give but take back. I can't commit to fully just letting Him handle it because I'm not really a fan of His timeline.

So during Rhyll's class (which I didn't initially want to go to anyway because I thought, "I don't need this, I know all about recovery and taking it one day at a time... haha), she said something that struck me, and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. She said something like, "I had to turn to God and say 'Take him. I can't do this anymore.'" She had done everything she felt like she could to help their marriage and family, and she realized she just couldn't do it. She had to focus on herself, and let herself heal. She had to stop taking so much of the weight of their marriage and his addiction and let God handle that part.

I feel like that was the piece I have been missing! I did this life coaching program with Jacy which was incredible and eye-opening and life changing (and if you can afford to do it, do it! Do it do it do it! Because, like I said, LIFE CHANGING, powerful stuff). I learned so much incredible stuff about taking charge of my life and seeing what I can do for me. But I applied it all to my relationship with Ben, and while that is good and all (because there is much in my relationship with him that I DO need to work on because I am kind of mean and blame everything on him all the time because "he is an addict and has ruined my life"...), I still can't do everything on my own. I'm trying to micromanage too much instead of letting things happen on God's timeline. I'm trying to rush my healing, his healing, and our marriage's healing because I want our family to be "perfect", and I want to start thinking about and planning for more kids. I keep going in circles with myself between accepting my life as it is and hating everything and yearning for what I imagined my life to be at this point.

So, while I'm focusing on my self-care and balancing act, I am also working on surrender. I don't really know how to surrender all of this to God, but I am going to figure it out. In the mean time, I am trying to let go of fretting over his recovery so I can focus on my recovery. I am working a program, I'm reading Rhyll's book, I'm doing self-care, and maybe one of these days I will make it to a group meeting so I can have some in-person support.

I reviewed my safety plan and boundaries again, adding some things that needed to be added. And I am going to work on keeping myself safe. Sometimes I just don't. I don't know why, I just don't stick to my boundaries very well. Probably because I'm afraid of change and push-back from Ben. But I know to keep our home a safe place to keep myself on track with my recovery and healing, I need to stick to my boundaries.

So. Deep breaths. Here I go, jumping back into my recovery.

Thursday, October 8, 2015


Wow, I can't believe it's been a month since I last wrote. And what a month it has been!

I'm celebrating a small victory today. I've been really working on myself--learning how to accept my life as it is, find who I truly am, and honor myself in my choices. I'm not perfect at it yet (I still spend way too much time on facebook during down when I could be doing much more meaningful things), but I am becoming better at honoring myself.

I did this life-coaching program with Jacy, and it was seriously the best decision I could have made for myself right now. Through this program, I learned how to take charge of my life. This is especially crucial regarding my relationship with Ben because I tend to sit back and make sure he is able to do his thing and work his recovery while not getting much done for myself. I'm figuring out how to prioritize the things in my life, and I'm learning that really each day is different and sometimes things take a higher priority on certain days.

Anyway, because of this work I've been doing for myself, I was able to write this in my journal today:
My recovery isn't dependent on whether or not Ben maintains recovery. My healing is about me and my ability to live true to myself no matter what.  
Ben had a recent relapse. And it kind of didn't affect me. Not that I don't care that he relapsed, but I was able to see beyond the relapse. I was able to really see him and not focus on the porn, masturbation, or fantasies (although writing that out puts me into a bit of a spiral... but I'm letting it work through me instead of staying with me). I could empathize with his frustrations at himself and the things that led to his relapse. I could recognize and appreciate his honesty and desire to become better and shake off this relapse.

I have a lot of fear for our future. He is working on his recovery right now, and he is doing a lot of great things with his recovery, but because of circumstances in the past, I fear the future. However, I am not living by that fear. It's there, and I can embrace it and feel it, but I am learning how to let it flow through me and keep moving.

Little victories. I'm finding myself emerging from the darkness and actually being able to stay in the light. I'm doing my best to take care of myself, while also meeting the demands of life and motherhood. I love what I'm seeing taking place right now!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Light Peeking Through the Cracks


I recently decided to study the LDS church's family support program on my own. Getting to meetings is hard. I like to go when I can, but sometimes life just gets in the way, and attending in-person meetings is just not a priority for my recovery right now.

I love this program. I LOVE it.

The first principle is called "God Will Console Us in Our Afflictions." As I've studied this principle, I've felt a lot of peace come to me. It's been perfectly timed because I'm really triggered by an upcoming trip Ben is taking for work.

Today I studied this talk.

It solidified in me this feeling that Ben's addiction is not my fault. It is not related to me in any way. I've struggled with this idea because the first time he acted out in our marriage was some kind of twisted revenge against me. Yeah. So when people say the addiction isn't related to me, sometimes in my head I'm like "Well, how can you be so sure? Because actually, it is about me."

That line of thinking comes and goes. But lately, I've been realizing just how much I have carried a victim mentality through this and how that mentality has affected me in every aspect of my life. I am working hard to rid myself of that mentality and live my life with a free spirit.

I'm finding myself again, and it's beautiful.

This talk I studied was a good reminder of what addiction is and how it impacts agency. It helped me feel a little less mad at my 29-year old husband for what he has *done* to us and feel a bit more empathy for the child who was deceived by Satan, the child who had some major things he was dealing with and numbed through addiction. That empathy has been lost in my anger.

We are on a rough road. But as I've been trying to demolish my victim mentality, something has come alive in me that I've been yearning for but haven't figured out how to attain: LOVE. Love for everyone, really. But most importantly, a love for Ben. When I'm not super angry at him all the time, or more accurately, when I'm not looking for reasons to be super angry at him all the time, it's much easier to see the good things in our relationship and in his spirit. That is important because he is not defined by his addiction. But sometimes I define him by his addiction.

Obviously we still have a long way to go, and it would be much easier if he could get into solid recovery. I still have hope that he can and will, and I still have hope for our family. But right now, I am finding light that I haven't seen in a long while, and it feels good.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


I can't remember if I've talked about it on this blog as we have planned this big step in our lives, but we just moved back to Utah. This is huge. A leap of faith.

Through the entire process of preparing to move, moving, and now settling in, things have been pretty crazy. But for the most part, I've been at peace (Except, of course, for a few freak-out moments. But they have to come, right? I just ride the wave.). I'm feeling really good about how I am currently handling things in my life. Some things have had to drop (for example, unpacking is going much slower than normal) down on my priority list to make room for the most important things.

These are my most important things:
-spending time with my baby
-allowing my relationship with Ben to have mobility
-healing myself
-my relationship with God

I'm really trying to listen to my heart and body to find joy in every day. I'm trying to have a sense of joy and wholeness no matter where I am or what I am doing.

Other things that are important right now:
-getting out of my comfort zone to make new friends
-love and support my existing friends, whether from up close or from a distance

I think life is really hard to balance. There are so many things. All. The. Time. So I'm just trying to focus on each moment and do what makes me feel whole on any given day.

Friday, August 14, 2015



Last night while I was studying my scriptures, I came across this verse:

3 Nephi 12:22But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother shall be in danger of his judgment. And whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council, and whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

This really hit me. Jesus is in the Americas teaching the Nephites. I've read a verse recently that talked about contention being of the devil. And now there is this verse talking about anger and calling people a fool. 

The reason it hit me so hard is because I have been incredibly angry lately. Along with my anger, I call Ben names in my head. A lot. Calling him a "fool" would be a nicer way of saying what I say in my head quite often.

A lot of the time, I feel justified in my anger. sometimes I actually choose to remain angry because I'm not ready to move on, or I want to prove a point to Ben, or I want make him suffer or something. But sometimes the simple fact that I'm hurt and upset translates into anger because it's a pretty easy emotion to feel and portray. 

This was a good reminder from the scriptures that anger is not of God. Anger is a masking emotion. It's also very addictive. When I feel angry, I need to process through it rather than let it sit and fester for days. I need to ask myself what the real, underlying emotions I'm feeling are. And then I need to process those emotions. I think it's okay to feel righteous anger, and, especially with the things I'm dealing with, it would be silly to tell myself I'm not allowed to feel any anger whatsoever. Anger is natural. But I have to work through it, and that's where the problem is. I'm getting to comfortable sitting in my anger and doing nothing about it, and I think the biggest reason I do that is because I want my anger to call out and make Ben miserable right along with me (Satan, anyone? Ha. Ha. Ha...). I know from experience anger is addictive, and I know the place my brain and heart can travel when I'm living in anger. 

So I need to work on processing my anger in healthy ways. 

Right now I'm trying to learn how to be happy and joyful on a regular basis. I'm working on feeling joy as my default in life, whereas right now anger tends to be my default. 

I'm trying to learn how to be free of the damage the addiction has wrought on me. I'm focusing on healing. And I can't heal when I'm fastened to the tether of anger. I have to work through the actual emotions I'm feeling and let go of the anger--give it to God. 

The healing I desire can't take place when I'm fastened to the anger (or when I'm constantly bashing Ben in my head--"Thou fool"... or worse). 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


I started writing a blog post, a letter to my husband, but then it got way too personal for here. Apparently I do have boundaries about what I share on here. [haha]

Part of my heartache is that while there is so much negative, there is also so much positive. My husband is a good person. And he would be even better without the addiction. I can see so much potential, and it just hurts that I saw his potential and knew all the good when we got married but have been hit with so much bad since. I hate the feelings I have towards him and feeling like I'm in limbo, wishing I loved him like I used to or think I should.

We are preparing to move to Utah. This has the potential to make or break our family. I am excited for all the good that can happen. But I'm also nervous for the bad that could happen. I'm hoping for the good. But I guess it just doesn't help that he isn't living in solid recovery and while he wishes he had the motivation to do so, he doesn't. So that isn't very hopeful right now.

There is good in our relationship. And that is what keeps me here. But romantically and emotionally, he isn't all the way here. He is too distracted by too many things.

Today while I was praying, I felt this strong urge to figure out how to live without him. I don't mean divorce [but maybe one day... ugh] but just emotionally live my life without him. I'm afraid to, though. I'm afraid if I do that, if he ever comes around and does get into real recovery, maybe I will be too used to doing things solo that I won't be ready or willing to let him back in.

I have one foot here ready to go and willing to work on things and love him with all my might. But I have one foot out the door wondering when it's time to split. Being half-in/half-out isn't a good way to live.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Humble Pie

In my last post, I talked about an experience through prayer that I think will help me finally move past the anger.

Here is what happened:

After my amazing experience at group on Sunday, I came home and Ben acted like a complete jerk because I got home later than he expected and the little man really wanted his mama to help get him to bed. So, he was screaming, and Ben was stressed and maxed out and couldn't handle it anymore. We've since talked about it and things are okay now, but Sunday night and Monday morning "Ben is a jerk" was in my head. So I was, um, really mad. To put it nicely.

I had a really good Monday, though. I went out with a friend from my group. We went to Babies R Us and Joann's. By the time I got home, I was feeling much better about life. My back was achy though (remember how my back completely went out about a week and a half ago?). But I took a nap with the little man, and by the time we were done with that, Ben was done with work. Awesome. I had big plans to clean and start getting things ready for our trip to Utah.

Ben said he had a headache. Not too long later, he said his whole body was achy. Then it escalated from achy to "I really don't feel good at all. Everything hurts." And I kind of flipped.

I've been really angry for the past five months. I've been struggling to love him and feel dedication to making things work in our marriage. I've kind of just been passively floating. So I did NOT feel like I had it in me to take care of him. Or do anything without him, for that matter. I was angry that he felt sick because that meant I had to do dinner, clean, and keep the little man entertained (he gets pretty fussy at night) ALL BY MYSELF.

It wasn't Ben's fault. He felt sick. I knew he wasn't faking it, but I was still just SO MAD that I really wasn't very nice to him. Then I felt guilty because when I get sick, or like when my back went out, he has always taken very good care of me. Why couldn't I return the favor? Because I have been mad at him for basically five months.

I was so irritated at myself for feeling so mad about Ben feeling sick. But also irritated at God that He let Ben get sick. So I put the little man in his bouncer and went into another room to pray. I started sobbing uncontrollably and just repeated over and over that I couldn't do this, that everything had been so heavy for so long, and I just couldn't handle Ben being sick and me having to be nice and compassionate to him.

My prayer went like this:

"Please, God, make him better! I can't do this!" *cries*

God: "Yes you can. I'm right here, it will be okay."

"No it won't! I can't do this! Please don't make me do this tonight!"

God: "You can. You just don't want to."

"You're right. I don't want to! Please don't make meeee!"

He told me during my prayer that He was helping more than I realized, that He was answering my prayers to help me love Ben more. Love is developed through charity. And He was giving me the opportunity to selflessly love and serve Ben, just as He has always served me.

You can't really argue with that. So I gave up arguing with Him and just accepted His embrace. Then I got up and got to work. Thankfully, the little man was pretty happy in his bouncer for a while, so I did some major cleaning. When he started getting fussy, we went for a walk, and that helped hold him over for a bit more so I could keep cleaning after we got back. Ben had taken a nap, and when he woke up, I was able to humbly apologize for being such a stink about him being sick, and we had a really good evening together.

I had a real change of heart last night. I went from irrationally angry to peaceful and loving because of my communication with God. I felt Him by my side the whole night, just like He promised. I felt my love increase a lot as a result of my prayer and understanding from my communion with God.

Lately, I've had this thought about our relationship: Ben is the one ruining things. He has to be the one to make it better. It's not up to me. I've done all I can do. Remember that time I did the Love Dare? I did the Love Dare even though I'm not the one destroying our marriage. It's his. effing. turn.

That's not very Christlike. Obviously, I'm not going to do anything stupid, and I'm really going to make efforts to have boundaries and stuff so I'm not enabling his addiction. But I've been begging God for help, and He told me that the answer is Christlike love. Service. Charity. 

So I'll take a little slice of that humble pie and press onward.

And I do feel way less angry than I did last week.

Satan is already attacking me. So I'm working on keeping an eternal perspective and keeping Satan's attempts at destroying us at bay.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Memory Lane, Anger, and Now

Sometimes when things are hard and it feels like everything is piling on, I start living in the past. Asking myself how I got here and wondering what life would be like if I had made different choices.

This happened on Sunday. I can't remember what happened Sunday that put me down that road of thinking. Maybe it was the fact that this time of year has been triggery for me because I'm living where we were engaged. And we were engaged this time of year five years ago. And I just attended a wedding reception for a friend, and her theme of her engagement and wedding has been "happily ever after." Not to be rude, but *gag me*. It's triggering to me because when I was younger, I loved princesses, fairy tales, and happily ever afters (still do). But sometimes I don't feel like I have a happily ever after...and that trigger is not the point of this post. Moving on.

On Sunday, I was reflecting on our initial friendship, dating, and engagement. He really pursued me. I had no interest in dating him for mostly superficial reasons, but he kept pursuing me. Eventually, I told him I would not date him and if that meant we couldn't even be friends, then he needed to move on. And it was when he was completely removed from my life that I realized I couldn't live without him. That was when I started thinking about dating him, and shortly after we started dating I knew I was supposed to marry him.

But here's the thing. Our friendship and dating experiences were a roller coaster. Major ups and downs. It was crazy. I remember how completely broken and alone I felt during the point where we cut each other out of our lives completely. I remember feeling so confused and asking God what the heck was going on. I remember being on my knees, sobbing, because I didn't understand why I felt such a powerful connection to Ben when I also didn't really want to date him. And then I remember saying, "Heavenly Father, I don't know what is happening here. But I do know you see all. I refuse to date Ben unless it is to marry him one day because the roller coaster is ridiculous. So if I'm supposed to marry him, help me to develop the romantic feelings I need and the strength to bring him back into my life."

I asked God to help me love Ben. And He did.

So as I thought about this on Sunday, I asked myself WHYYYYY I did that. Why didn't I just let him move on with his life without me? Why didn't I just be grateful that he finally left me alone and move on?

It's kind of confusing to me because when I think about all of this, sometimes I think, "I didn't really love him. So why the hell did I marry him?"

But then I start writing about it in my journal or here, and as I write, so many flashbacks hit me and I remember HOW MUCH I loved him. And even though our story is confusing and had so many ups and downs, I can reflect back on everything and see exactly how God prepared me.

I wanted to marry someone else. By the time I started dating Ben, the ex was supposed to come home from his mission in four months. FOUR. But I felt very strongly (and trust me when I say that I was so confused that I leaned on God for every single decision I made at the time) that I was supposed to date and then marry Ben. And I can't deny that.

I went to my local LDS PASG group Sunday night. After all the things I had been feeling (and have been feeling for months now, because let's be honest, I've been in a pit), being at group Sunday was exactly what I needed. Every single woman there said something in the discussion or their shares that I needed to hear.

I volunteered to share first, and I shared all my conflicting feelings about dating and marrying Ben and how I had been questioning everything. Two other women then shared very similar experiences, which was incredibly validating. Then, one woman talked about her dating and marriage experience. She said she didn't know why at the time, but she took the matter to God multiple times, asking His guidance on marrying her husband. She said, "It brings me great comfort now to know how many times God gave me guidance and approval to marry Husband. I didn't know why I kept asking for reassurance at the time, but I can look back now and know I didn't make a mistake. I didn't know about the addiction, but God did. My husband is the same as he was when I married him, I just didn't know all of who he was. But God did. And I know that things will be okay. Whether or not we divorce one day, things will be okay."

That really hit me. I felt so many parallels to my own life.

Life with an addict is HARD. So hard. Sometimes I think really violent thoughts towards him. Sometimes I wish I had never met him. BUT there has been so much good in our relationship. And I can't deny the good.

I think the thing that is the scariest for me is that after everything we have been through, what if we don't actually end up together for eternity because of his choices? I didn't marry him to end up not together. And I don't want to waste my time on this earth trying to make peace in our relationship and dedicate so much of my life to him here only to end up alone there.

I really do love him. Sometimes I block myself from feeling because feeling is too hard. But last night, in my prayer, God reminded me of everything. And as I've been writing this post, so many memories have hit me. I'm looking at all the pictures on the wall of our living room, and I see so much light and happiness in our past, and I see the hope for our future.

Sometimes I just get really mad at God and Ben for being in this situation. Anger is addictive and hard to move past. But I had an experience last night in prayer (that I will share in another post)  and Sunday night in group that I think will help me to finally move past the anger I've been feeling for the past five months.

When I left group on Sunday, I had a renewed dedication to my marriage. I felt a sense of strength towards sticking to my Safety Plan so I and our Little Man are safe. But I also felt a sense of commitment to my marriage and specifically dating each other. We did the whole "starting over" thing last summer and it was great for us. Granted, he was doing really well in recovery and not acting out like he is now. But as I rethink my boundaries and discuss things with him, I'm hoping that SOON, he will reach a point in his recovery where he is sober. He does have to prove his recovery to me. And then we can rebuild.

I'm terrified he will never have sobriety. But I'm trying to have faith, not fear. I know what God wants me to do with my life right now. So I'm taking the reins and doing what needs to be done for MY recovery and healing right now, and I'll let him figure out his.

I CAN heal, even if he is still active in addiction. His acting out should not determine my happiness.
I CAN heal. So I'm going to.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Meeting with Stake President

I met with my stake president on Sunday.

So. Many. Emotions.

I was really nervous. I felt that I needed to reach out to him at this point in my life, but how awful would it have been if I left there feeling invalidated and uncared for? That was a real fear because I didn't have a good experience with my bishop. And I didn't have a good experience with my LDS counselor who had stellar reviews from what I could tell (and the referrals I was given to him). So I was very nervous to meet with my stake president, but it exceeded expectations by far.

The meeting was exactly what I needed. I was heard. The things I was struggling with were not taken lightly, and he did not use them to make me feel foolish for not having some kind of blind faith in things I was struggling to understand. He listened. He heard. He taught. He spoke with love, kindness, and empathy. I could feel from him something I've been yearning to feel for a long time now in my current ward. The spirit and light I felt in that room with the stake president were simply undeniable, and I was reminded of the love my Heavenly Father has for me, for all of us.

At one point, he told me, "You have been dealt a very unfair hand." And he mourned with me. How validating is that?!

I'm so grateful I had this opportunity, and I'm even more grateful I didn't chicken out of my meeting. I gained so much, and it gave me strength. We had a really beautiful discussion about the Atonement, and reflecting back on this meeting has made some of my other trials this week that much easier.

So many of us have had poor run-ins with church leaders. I pray that we can all have an experience like this where you leave feeling understood, edified, and light.

Saturday, July 11, 2015



Two days ago, I was doing my Jillian Michaels workout and had all these positive thoughts about my life. I was feeling a little sore and achy, so I was trying to listen to my body and not push too much. At the end of the workout, she says something like "It's not about the crunch, it's about being strong physically so you can be strong in every aspect of your life." That rings so true to me. When I can't/don't exercise, or when my body doesn't feel physically capable of life's challenges, it seems that all the emotional challenges are that much more tough (and this element of my life will make more sense a couple of paragraphs down).

As I stretched, I thought about her statement, along with some metaphors relating to knowing how to push my body without pushing past its abilities, and I thought, "I want to write a blog post about this. There is so much depth here to write about and the parallels with dealing with the addiction trauma."

But alas, somewhere during that workout, I injured my back and in a fit of rage, I thought, "Screw this. Screw everything. Apparently nothing I think or do is right or good because God keeps letting this crap happen to me."

A week ago, I was pretty deep in some depression related to the addiction trauma. I finally, FINALLY worked through it on Monday and the week went way up. One of my friends said something to me about not remaining a victim and finding a way to be happy despite the addiction rearing its head in my home. I took that to heart and thought, "You know what? I have been in victim mode." I think I sometimes like being in victim mode because I want to bring my husband down. I want him to realize what he is doing to our family, so I pout and remain a victim, hoping his eyes will be open to see what is happening. But there is a time and place for hurting and working through the pain, and then there is a time for it to be done and for me to stand up and keep pushing onward.

Once I realized I had it in me to step out of victim mode and re-engage in my "real" life, everything seemed so good (except my relationship with Ben--that was still suffering, but that's okay). A lot of things started clicking and I felt really happy. I was listening to my body and mind and doing what felt right every second.

Then this back thing happened.

Thursday night, I really struggled. I mean, I couldn't walk very well at all, and I couldn't even hold my baby. I had some moments where I felt completely abandoned by God because I've been trying to do everything right, and He let this happen to me. I struggled for a lot of reasons that I'm not going to get into because it would make this post a lot longer than it needs to be. The main thing I struggled with, though, was feeling so incredibly dependent on Ben AND not being able to care for my baby. Because we were trying to avoid an ER bill, I took some strong medicine that made it so I couldn't breastfeed (not that I could hold my baby anyway...but still...I couldn't try even if I wanted to), and the poor child had a rough 24 hours. I was also worried about Ben being able to care for the little guy without me because of some past impatience he has demonstrated that has left a lot of unresolved feelings in me.

I've had a lot of time to think and pray over the past 48 hours. And here is what I have learned:

Sometimes things just happen that are completely out of our control. When things like that happen, we have two choices. We can either mourn it and live in the past (what could have been done so this didn't happen to me?), or we can accept it and move on to the best of our abilities. I think it's healthy to have a little bit of both in there. I think it's normal to go through a period of anger or mourning when a major trial hits. But there is a point where you have to be able to accept it and move on if you want to remain emotionally healthy and not let the trial totally drown you. I've spent a lot of time in the anger and mourning period when it comes to this trial of addiction in my marriage. A LOT of time. But I can't change it. No amount of pleading with or anger at God changes it. I have to just grasp what is in my control and move forward.

I have a lot of theories about how/why this back injury happened. I also had a lot of anger about it happening. But none of that matters. What matters is what I see now.

I'm grateful for a husband who has majorly stepped up his game and not emotionally abused me to make me feel like this is somehow my fault or that I am a financial burden to this family (this is the second time I've gone to the ER this year...and because of various health issues I have, I've gone to the ER on average about once a year since we have been married. So...yeah.). I'm also grateful that he understands and has empathy for my frustrations regarding this injury and all that comes with it.

I feel like I've had a good perspective on this whole thing. It sucks, but I can't do anything about it. All I can do is the little things that can help me recover. Walk when I feel up to it. Rest when I feel like my body has had all it can handle. Practice doing things on my own (sometimes Ben still has to help support me as I sit down or stand back up). Study my scriptures (every day this week I have read the EXACT verses I needed, as if God is speaking straight to ME from the Book of Mormon). Pray. Call on the Atonement.

For as hard as I've worked to maintain a balance between being married and keeping distance over the past few months, I've had to let go of all of that and depend on Ben for so many things. And as much as this trial sucks, it's been really good for our marriage.

Every once in a while, I still get a twinge of anger. But I'm letting myself feel it and let it pass through me. It's okay to be angry, but it's not okay (for me right now) to let it fester and become ugly. The best thing for me is to allow myself to feel, accept the situation, recognize the good, and keep moving forward. And really, I'm making efforts to use the Atonement every day. Sometimes every moment. It helps keep the crazy in check. I love the Atonement. But that's another post for another day.

But don't get me wrong. Sometimes A lot of times, this is how I really feel...

And that's okay. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Giving thanks

A few weeks ago, Ben and I started setting goals with each other on Sundays. We strive to achieve the goal, and if he makes his goal, I get to give him some kind of reward (ex: I gave him a jar of salsa for the first goal he made... "You're on fire!"). It's a fun little thing we are doing that helps us with communication, among other things.

Last week my goal was to give Ben sincere thanks for something at least twice per day.

Some days were really hard. Because I've been really struggling with anger lately. I've been holding grudges about little things that really aren't that important. I didn't know how to stop it, though. My anger has been starting to hold on to me like an addiction. So, needless to say, it was difficult to give thanks every day when my mind started hooking on the little things that have been irritating me. Sometimes it seems so much easier to just be angry.

However, keeping my eyes peeled for something I could sincerely thank Ben for every day was a good exercise for me. Since that was my goal (and I'm motivated by goals), I wanted to achieve it. I looked hard for those things to thank him for every day. All day. The little things that bothered me were still there, but I could let go of them easier because I needed to find something to thank him for, and I needed to be sincere about it.

Some days I couldn't find my second item of thanks until pretty late in the day. But that's okay.

Now that it's not my goal for the week, I can feel myself going back inside myself with the potential for the anger to sit and fester again. I'm going to try to not let that happen. I want our relationship to be okay, and I know not everything is his fault. I'm not perfect either. It's important to try to move past the little things and give thanks for the good things that do positively impact me.

I felt a slight change of heart last week as I did this exercise. I felt more light and more receptive to Spirit. I don't want to let go of that, so I'm still going to try to focus on gratitude this week.

Sometimes I feel like my heart is hard and tiny these days. But as I give thanks, my heart seems to grow a bit bigger, and the door opens to an abundance of positive light, emotions, and energy. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Hard times and hope

I've been struggling lately. Like really struggling. The kind of struggling where you tell your husband that you don't really like him and struggle to love him. I've been here before. We have rebuilt before. I have held on to hope for so long, but lately it's just seemed so much harder. It's been hard to have hope. Hard to hold on. Hard to lean on the Savior. Hard to trust in anyone. Hard to give. Hard to love. Hard. Just hard. I'm exhausted. Emotional. Afraid.

I've become kind of hardened. There was a time when I placed full faith in my Savior, in the Atonement, in living the gospel and giving my all to life. During that time, everything that was hard was balanced out by my Savior. But over the past couple of years, things have been so rocky and it's been hard to hold on. Living with an active addict wears you down.

It's really easy to just not study my scriptures, not have a companionship study, and not give service or fulfill my callings. I'm struggling and no one sees it. I've been buried alive and it's just easy to say, "Ok. I give up. These things aren't changing things anyway. My husband still acts out. He still hides things. I still hurt, so why keep trying?" It's easy to give up an withdraw into myself.

I've spent the better part of the past year and a half depressed. I mean, I try to some extent. I haven't given up completely, but my trying has at times been very mediocre. Because I'm hurting and the "spiritual" things I've been doing haven't seemed to make changes anyway so why do all I could do when I feel like I'm barely floating? I've tried to rely on myself. At times, I've kind of taken God almost completely out of the picture.

I know this is kind of rambly, but what I'm trying to say is right now I'm reflecting back on the four very long years that I've known about this addiction. I can see the times when the Savior has lifted me up. And I can see the times when, in my anger and stubbornness, I've withdrawn from Him and counted only on myself. Guess which time brought me more peace and strength?

I'm trying to rebuild. Right now my relationship with my husband is kind of like two friends sharing an apartment and taking care of a baby together. And watching lots of Netflix. It's not really a terrible gig. But it's not a marriage, and it doesn't feel right.

As I have evaluated things, I've come to some conclusions and set goals for myself. The main thing I'm focusing on right now is bringing the Spirit into my home every day. For the first time in our marriage, we have studied the scriptures together every day for three weeks. We haven't missed a day in three weeks. And I get excited to do companionship study. That hasn't happened since we were dating or very newlyweds. I've also rededicated myself to studying the gospel on my own every day. I miss the occasional day, but rarely. Last week, I committed myself to studying during Baby's first nap of the day, and since I have started doing that, it's been really great. I've also committed myself to following promptings. I'm sure I miss some, but as I have started making an effort to recognize and follow my promptings, I'm discovering more and more promptings from the Spirit.

I've been really struggling lately. But through all my struggles, I've learned an important thing. No matter what, I can't do this without the Savior. I need Him. And even when I've left Him behind a bit and stubbornly tried to do this on my own, He has always been right here lifting me up and waiting on me to come back to Him.

I don't know when Ben will get into "real" recovery. I don't know when we will ever have a solid period of sobriety and recovery and be able to feel what life feels like without the addiction raging its massive head on us. I don't know if he will ever recover, and that scares me. I have so much fear of the future.


I do know that there is hope. There is. And I know that God is giving me little promptings every day to show me that hope. For example, today as I partook of the sacrament, He showed me a little bit of His love for Ben. He showed me that He has forgiven Him and that I will eventually be able to as well.

There is hope.

I said I've become hardened. I have. I feel jaded by the addiction, and it's been hard to feel any hope lately. But I know I've been distancing myself from God. So I'm working on becoming softer and more moldable. I'm bringing the Spirit into my life and heart, and I'm trying to follow what God wants me to do and allow Him to change me.

That's really all I can do right now. I can't control the addiction. But I can draw closer to the Savior and hold on to the peace and hope He can bring me.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Dating an Addict?

We live in a society that is highly sexualized, and porn use and/or sex addiction is probably a lot more common that you think. Click here for some stats. If you are in the dating scene, it's overwhelming enough. Throw sex addiction into the picture, and dating is even more of a mess.

Over the past year, I've had a number of people message me about dating an addict. Either they are dating and want to know how to approach the porn discussion, or they know they are dating someone who views porn and don't know what steps to take next. I've discussed this with fellow wives of addicts, and we have come up with these tips for dating!

First of all, to approach the subject of pornography. Some basic questions to ask include:

  • When was the last time you saw pornography?
  • What were the circumstances surrounding that last time you viewed pornography?
  • How often do you view pornography?
You can learn a lot from their answers. The first question is pretty crucial because, let's be honest, every adult has seen pornography in some form. If you ask someone you're dating when the last time was that he (or she) saw pornography, hopefully they will be shocked into honesty. [haha.] I made the mistake of asking Ben if he had a problem with pornography. He was in denial about his addiction, and at that point in his life, he thought he was "cured" of his porn problem anyway. So he told me he didn't have a problem with porn. We laughed at the uncomfortableness I felt in even asking the question, and I was reminded that I had found one of the "good" guys. 

I really believe not all men are addicts. I know there are guys out there who have accidentally found porn and done nothing to pursue it further. However, I do firmly believe all men have seen porn at some point. And having a discussion about it and the circumstances surrounding their porn viewing is a definite must when dating. 

If the guy is an addict, he could still lie. That's hard to grasp. But by asking questions and developing a transparent relationship, I hope honesty would be strong in the relationship and the necessary steps could be taken.

Next, what if the person you are dating has acknowledged that he (or she) has a problem with pornography (and hopefully acknowledges that it's more than a problem, but an addiction)?

When dating, people put their best selves forward. I know it's not easy for addicts to tell others they are an addict, but from what I've experienced and seen, even if an addict is coming forward and being honest about the fact that they have an addiction, the truth could still be hugely minimized. Or they could be deceiving themselves into believing that everything is fine. When you're dating and preparing for marriage, you're putting forth the best version of yourself. We all do that. So it's important to dig deep and learn certain things about a person (especially knowing that person is an addict) before making the final commitment (and in the LDS culture, marriage is ultimately what we are looking for as we date).

Example: A woman is dating a man who has come out and said he has struggled with porn addiction in the past. He has been sober for x-amount of time, and he wanted to inform her of the addiction so it's out in the open. While it's really great that he told her, simply knowing of the addiction is not enough. What are questions she should ask and things she should watch for in their relationship?

Good questions to ask/topics of discussion:

  • His relationship with the Savior and the gospel
  • What kind of recovery programs he has been a part of
  • What recovery programs he is currently a part of (an important part of addiction recovery is maintenance of that recovery)
  • What kind of therapy he has done/is doing
  • What types of education/research he has done about sex addiction/pornography and how it affects the brain
  • Ask him about masturbation. Porn use and masturbation go together. Trust me, you don't just want to know if he views pornography. You want to know about his lust habits and masturbation as well. 
  • Discover who he is when he is not on his best behavior. Especially learn about him under high stress. How does he react in anger? How does he react in impatience? 
    • See how he reacts when you have arguments or disagreements. If he doesn't get angry or refuses to engage in the discussion, that can be a big red flag. 
  • Ask about his recovery plan for the rest of his life (like I said, recovery must always be in maintenance).
  • Ask about past relationships and breakups. What were the circumstances. How did he feel about it? 
Things you should do for yourself:
  • Research and learn about porn and sex addiction. Learn about how it impacts the brain. Read accounts of couples who have struggled with addiction in their marriage. Learn as much as you can about pornography and sex addiction. It will be greatly beneficial to you to make the most informed decision you can in the future.
    • Learn about denial, recovery, relapses. Learn about addiction patterns and red flags to watch for regarding relapses and addiction behavior.
    • Learn about betrayal trauma.
  • If you are dating seriously, you have the right to know about his addiction. You can ask for a full disclosure if you want (which may be most relevant if you are engaged/preparing for marriage). You could even have him do a polygraph so you have everything in the open (we have never done a polygraph, but I know people who have and swear by it for healing on both sides).
  • Create boundaries and a check-in system. A basic rule of thumb for myself is a check-in every night, and I must be informed of a relapse within 24 hours (preferably after he has processed it with a sponsor or support person. The discussion about his relapse will happen much more smoothly if he has processed it himself). 
  • Know that marriage DOES NOT solve sex addiction or lust. Marrying someone with a sex-addiction will not make the addiction go away. And you will lose yourself if you believe that. There is so much more to the addiction than a desire for sex. 
  • Consider going to a spouse/family support group (there are online and phone options if you live in a remote area--my personal opinion is groups with 5-10 attendees are the best size).
  • Work a spouse/family support recovery program. 
  • Help establish open communication in the relationship.
Here are some resources to help learn about and understand the addiction. 
Here is information about boundaries. 
Here is a good emotional check-in worksheet. 
Here is an example of a check-in dialogue.
Here is a glossary of recovery terms to help you understand some of the facets of the addiction and living with an addict.

Just a couple more things. Some people's first instinct when they hear that someone is dating an addict is simply RUN. I thought I would throw that out there because it's valid. Sometimes that's my first instinct, as I know it is with many of us who are suffering this trial in our marriages. However, I would never deny someone the opportunity to use the Atonement and move on in life. I wouldn't actually say "don't date a man who is an addict" because of my hope in the Atonement. I would say arm yourself with knowledge and the Spirit. That is how you can make the best decision for yourself.

Don't forget to keep the Spirit near. Your relationship with God is your best protection. He will not forsake you.  

I hope this arms you with knowledge and resources you need to make the best decision.
Some addicts are complete jerk-wads.
Some addicts are really good men who are in a true battle against Satan and this addiction.

If you are dating an addict, I hope you know of your worth. You deserve the very best. Hopefully this will arm you to be able to sift through the crazies and find what you are looking for.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Add it to the pile

I've been struggling lately.

Usually, I'm pretty good about talking to Ben. But things have been way off lately. Partially because we have a baby who takes up so much time and emotional energy. Partially because Ben works a lot, and in his spare time he has to do all his "dailies" and dedicate x amount of time to addiction recovery. And then I feel bad when I try to demand any of his time. Partially because of the way I've been struggling, I just don't feel comfortable or confident talking to Ben about it.

There have been times in our marriage that have certainly been worse than now--times when the addiction has been much worse. But ever since his big relapse back in September, the addiction has been ever-present. And it's really hard for me. It's just added to the pile of hard and hurt that he has given me over the past five years.

I know some people don't think porn and masturbation are a big deal. Sometimes I rationalize those behaviors too. The addiction is just so confusing, and I simply don't want to be in this mess. Sometimes my thoughts go the route of "Maybe if I just accepted it, things would be fine..." and I guess that means I take some of the blame and responsibility for the way things are.

Sometimes I just get plain ol' confused because "it's an addiction" and I obviously can't expect the recovery to happen overnight. So I rationalize some behaviors because "it's an addiction" and just try to accept what is happening and know (hope/pray/wish) that he is in recovery and will overcome it eventually.

So when Ben acts out, I just don't know what to do anymore. If we put the acts of viewing pornography and masturbating aside, the addiction still takes a huge toll because of the emotional energy it drains from us both. And then there are the consequences of "addict mode", which are so pleasant (not). But then when I really think about his actions--the lust, the physical manifestation of the lust, the desires working in his brain--it just hurts. And sometimes I force myself to not think about the fact that he is envisioning another woman while he fantasizes and masturbates to that image and just think "it's an addiction" and hope it just won't hurt. Because apparently I'm supposed to understand that it's an addiction. And with an addiction, how much of his actions are by choice or desire anyway? You know? It's just all so confusing.

I've sacrificed so much in our marriage. I'm not perfect, but I do my best. Does he do his best? Is he doing his best at working recovery? Is he really as dedicated to our marriage as he says he is?

Lately, all the lies have kept coming back to my mind. So many lies. So many f-ing lies. It hurts to think about. And it hurts to think about all the negative that could happen in the future.

Ben thinks I'm pessimistic because sometimes I lean towards the worst case scenario and focus on that. I'm so afraid of what could happen to our family because of the addiction. I'm trying to live in the present and focus on what is happening now. But right now it's so hard. I don't know why, but my thoughts keep dwelling on the past. And I keep mourning the loss of my marriage. Over and over again. It keeps happening. I think it's because I keep having so much hope, and maybe I try to trust too soon because I desperately want things to be okay again. And then my heart just keeps breaking.

I can't keep living in fear of the future. And I can't keep dwelling on the past. I don't want my marriage to end, but I am having a really hard time accepting things as they are. I'm having a hard time sacrificing certain things for him to work recovery. It just feels hard right now. And all of this just makes me really annoyed at every little thing he does, which isn't a way to live.

I'm afraid for him to read this post because I'm afraid for how he will feel. That's not a good sign. It means I'm still using my emotional energy to control parts of his addiction. I keep working through that, but then things happen that bring me back down to that aspect of control.

Earlier today, I prayed about all of this. And I just expressed to God how I don't know how to forgive Ben and move on. And I don't know how to turn this over to the Savior, and sometimes I don't know how to love Ben because he feels unlovable through the blinders of my pain. But during that prayer, I was told that Ben is lovable. Through that same sacrifice the Savior made that allows me to turn my burdens over to Him, Ben was shown mercy and love. Because the Savior died so Ben could be forgiven. And if Ben can be forgiven and loved by God, then he certainly can be loved and forgiven by me. There is no timeline on forgiveness. I'm not perfect at loving and forgiving like Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are, but through them, I can achieve perfect love and forgiveness some day. So for now I'll hold on to that.

I want to enjoy today because it's Mother's Day. And I feel like I'm ruining it. I love being a mom. I'm really grateful for that.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

I have hope

I've been itching to write but not really sure what to write about. Plus, it's really hard to find the time to write these days.

I'm just going to write whatever comes to my mind and heart right now.

Having a child puts a whole new spin on being married to an addict. His decisions no longer just impact us. They impact our child (and future children) too. I knew that before I got pregnant, but I didn't understand it like I do now.

For a long time, I have held on to this hope that he will get better. I've stayed in this and worked with everything I have because of that hope. His recovery was doing really well last year when I got pregnant, and I had so much hope for our family life after the baby was born. But ever since a major relapse last September, things have not been the same. His recovery has been very up and down. I've seen addict mode like I've never seen before, and there was a brief period where he went into hiding things from me again.

There are days when I really question everything. I don't have answers, but as I study the scriptures and talks from General Conference, I just keep feeling peace. As hard as some days are, I know I'm supposed to be with Ben. I don't know if that will ever change, but I'm holding on to what I know to be true right now and doing my best to stay close to God (and that precious time I used to spend studying my scriptures and praying every day is much harder to come by now that I have a child who is very needy and clingy).

We are preparing for some new life changes that we hope will have a very positive impact on the addiction and his recovery. It's hard to make big decisions, but through prayer, we can find the answer that is right for us.

As for me and my own recovery? I feel like I'm in a pretty good place right now. I feel so busy and engaged with our son, that it's much easier for me to detach from the addiction and let Ben make the choices to do what he needs to do (or not do--and that's not on me). I'm trying to be present for myself, my son, and Ben while maintaining boundaries and being strong for myself and my son. I'm trying to have faith, hope, and peace.

One thing that has really struck me recently is the fact that I AM OKAY. He still acts out in his addiction, but I am okay. I can see the addiction for what it is. I can see Ben for who he is. I can see when the addiction is rearing it's head (most of the time...), and I can maintain boundaries and not lose sight of who I am.

Most of the time (I say most because I'm certainly not perfect in this area), I can see my value and beauty. I know who I am and I strive to live up to my potential and not let the addiction bring me down.

I don't know what lies ahead, but I do know we are in God's hands. He will guide us to safety, but we have to follow Him. For our family to stay together, we both have to follow Him. So I really hope that Ben continues on his path to recovery and that it becomes less rocky with time. I have hope.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

"Advice to My Younger Self"

In December, I had the opportunity to participate in a video project put on by the LDS Church. I flew to Salt Lake City, and with other amazing, strong women, I was recorded reading a letter with "Advice to My Younger Self"--what I wish I knew when I first found out about the addiction, my perspective now.

Being there with these amazing women was incredible. I felt so blessed in numerous ways to have this opportunity. The Spirit was strong, and I knew I was a part of something special.

The videos are posted on the Church's addiction recovery website.

Here is the link to my letter in print.

Here is the link to my video.

Here is the compiled video (snippets from everyone's videos). It's simply beautiful.

I'd encourage you to check out all the videos. Each person has unique perspective because of their own situations. There are even videos for parents of addicts.

This project was to provide another resource for people just finding out about the addiction. It's helped strengthen me, and I've been on this road for four years. I KNOW it will be a strength to those new to this. Please share

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The addict is out of town for three weeks...

Ben started a new job and is out of town for orientation and training for three weeks. He was issued a new computer through his company, and he has a lot of internet access on his phone right now [for work purposes].

Anyway, we've got triggers galore right here.

First of all, there is him being gone for three weeks. He doesn't have a great track record when it comes to sobriety and traveling.

Then there is all the internet access...

Meanwhile, I'm left to care for a one-month old without my husband. It's been difficult, but it's getting easier. [And I went to stay with my family so I have help.]

I didn't know how to set a boundary with this trip. Well, other than the usual let-me-know-within-24-hours boundary. But a couple days into his trip, I realized what I needed. It's very hard to communicate because of time zones, conflicting schedules, and a baby who seems to know when to cry to disturb phone calls. So, I asked him to email me a check-in every night. He knows what to write and what things I expect him to discuss in his check in. This has been really helpful because I can see his process throughout the day, and it allows transparency at a time that has been very difficult to have good communication anyway [and I'll assume that is normal when you are in the newborn survival-mode stage].

Things have been really good with us. I feel overall peaceful and happy.

I'm grateful for a husband who respects my boundaries and is trying to be in recovery. He has been making great progress. In fact, I've seen him making progress towards recovery in a situation where he would normally fall back into the addictive behaviors. That is HUGE. He wrote this blog post today, and as I read it, my heart was full. I love seeing his processing, and I love seeing him take steps towards recovery that are HIS steps, not things I have asked him to do. I love being surprised by discovering he is doing something new for his recovery. In that past, I've had to kick him into recovery. Now, his recovery is very much his own.

Even if he weren't respectful of my boundaries, I'm grateful for the things I have learned on this journey. I am strong enough to set boundaries and hold to them. That is huge too. By asking him to email me a check-in every night, it has eased a lot of my anxiety and triggers because I know he isn't hiding anything. That's what boundaries are for. To bring us peace and keep us safe.

Here's too hoping for the best on the rest of his trip!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Baby boy

Hello to this corner of the world! I'm taking a little blogging break.

Baby boy came a bit earlier than expected (Sunday). He is beautiful, and we are so happy!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

He understands

I realized today that I'm not including God enough in my recovery and healing.

I've had a lot of emotions swirling through me in the past 15 hours. This morning, as I have been riding out the wave, I've wondered who to talk to and what to do. The pull to talk to my usual support people isn't very strong right now because I fear that  I will be told enough is enough. I'm afraid people won't support me in some of my decisions right now. And I just can't deal with that.

But I need guidance. And the thing is, no one can give me guidance. My friends and support people can tell me what they think based on their own experiences and limited knowledge of my relationship with my husband, but no one can really tell me what to do. I can't even tell me where to go from here because I honestly have no clue.

As I mulled this over and started feeling a little helpless, I remembered that God is there. He always listens, and He can see all. He knows what to do.

He understands the intense love I feel for Ben, even when he messes up. Along with that, He understands the inner conflict of emotions I have when Ben messes up.
He understands the pain I feel from the addiction.
He understands the heartache I feel to watch Ben struggle to overcome this beast that has been with him for over half his life.
He understands the fears I have regarding the addiction and our future family.
And He understands that I just can't deal with the addiction right now. I'm too pregnant. It's too hard.

So He can lift me up and hold me. And He can help me get through each moment.

I'm sad that I forgot how amazing God is. I've been doing the checklist of things to turn to Him every day, but it takes more effort to really include Him in my life. So that's what I'm working on--and I know I'll be okay.

My doctor says the baby can come any time. I'm hoping for sooner rather than later. But I'll trust God's timing on bringing this child to my arms as well as the other things I'm working on turning over to Him.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Togetherness needs a booth at UCAP!

If you haven't heard of the Togetherness Project, you need to check it out! I went to the first two conferences, and they were both amazing. Unfortunately, I was not able to attend the one last October, nor will I be able to attend the one in March (but hooray for a newborn in February!!). But if I could, I would go to every. single. one.

I have a very soft spot in my heart for Togetherness. I have gained so much from the support and friendships I have gained from this organization.

That is why I am sharing this: the Togetherness Project is trying to get a booth at the Utah Coalition Against Pornography (UCAP) Conference in April. If they can get a booth, they will be able to reach so many more people than they are already. However, they need some help getting there. Please check out this page to see what they need and how their presence at UCAP will have an impact on the world!

Pass it on, if you can. Social media is a great way to spread the word!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Honoring my Heart

I recently reached out to a support group to share a journal entry I had written about my most recent counseling session.

I'm having a love-hate relationship with counseling right now. Mostly on the side of hate.

Too many things have happened that make me feel squeamish and uncomfortable. I feel my heart yelling, "THIS IS NOT SAFE!" because of things he has said and opinions he has shared that differ from my core beliefs.

As my wonderful sisters reached out to me to offer love and support, one of them pointed out that my description of my counselor and things he said (specifically yesterday) made her uncomfortable. She said she is learning to honor that in herself.

I need to honor that in myself as well. I am the type of person who always looks for the benefit of the doubt. So, even though I feel unsafe being vulnerable with my counselor, I keep telling myself things like, "He is a good guy," or "He was recommended to me by people who swear by him," or "He is a well sought-after LDS counselor in this area," or "Ben really likes him, though, and he is helping Ben a lot," and giving him the benefit of the doubt that somehow, eventually, I will feel safe and it will be a great counseling experience. I mean, in reality, he has done a lot of good for me. He has helped me see some things with more clarity. But that isn't outweighing the additional pains I am suffering because of things he has said to me.

My heart is screaming at me to get out and find someone else. Or just stop going to counseling altogether (because I can handle this on my own...which I know is probably not true and I know with a baby there will be all kinds of added stress that I will probably need help with anyway).

So, my goal for myself is to honor the feelings my heart is telling me. Not just with this situation, but in all things. God whispers. I need to focus on His whispers to my heart and allow myself to be open to what He is saying to me. Maybe this counselor was great for certain things. And maybe he is great for certain people. But not me. Not right now. So I think I need to listen to the red flags my heart is signaling.

Friday, January 2, 2015


It's crazy to think about where I was a year ago versus now.

A year ago, I was not sure I had the hope or the love that could help make our marriage work. I was contemplating separation with the possibility of divorce. I was in so much pain that I was starting to lose hope in my ability to be healed.

I had no idea what 2014 would bring us.

Last year was so incredibly healing. I found strength and courage. I found hope and light. And while many things happened that took me back to dark places, I've relied more on my Savior and found resiliency through Him. I did hard things, brave things, that showed me I can do anything.

I'm not really big on new year resolutions or new beginnings. I believe we should be setting goals and beginning again every day. However, I am grateful to be able to reflect on the past year and see the growth and changes that have taken place.

I can't really say this year will be so much better or that anything will really be that different. But I can say I look forward to the changes that can take place for the better. That's not because it's a new year, but it's because we have been striving to make changes for a long time, and it our reflections and check-ins together happen frequently.

A lot of bad happened last year. But so did a lot of good. I am grateful for both the bad and the good because I can see me emerging. I am finding myself again. I am being shaped by my experiences, and I am trying to be better with each thing that comes my way.

I have no idea what 2015 will bring us. But I know both hard and great things will happen because that is life. I pray that I can take the opportunities one at a time and grow better with each one, no matter how hard or debilitating they seem. If I can do that, 2015 will be a success no matter what.