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.