I don't really know what to write; I just feel the need to write.
I've been struggling lately with feeling stretched way too thin. I'm being pulled in so many directions, and lately whenever I study the scriptures I keep feeling like I am not enough. That's not what I'm supposed to be feeling. I know God loves me. I have no doubt about that. But quite often, I just don't feel like I measure up. I think I'm doing the best I can in the circumstances I'm in, but I constantly feel like I don't do enough: I don't serve enough, I don't clean enough, I don't try hard enough, I don't study my scriptures or pray enough, I don't listen enough, I don't keep the Sabbath holy enough, I don't work recovery enough, I'm not patient enough. This list could go on, but I already feel so exhausted from writing it.
I recently had a close friend (who lives out of state but I saw briefly at UCAP last weekend) ask me if I was doing okay because from talking to me on a regular basis, I sound fine, but when she saw me in person last weekend, I did not seem fine. She said I seemed like I felt heavy, and that I wasn't myself.
And the thing is, I do feel heavy. And it was such a tender mercy to have someone see that and reach out in love. We had a really good chat about it, but it hasn't left my mind.
I feel heavy because of the addiction. We are trying to get pregnant, but the addiction isn't too far from my mind. My husband can't partake of the sacrament, attend the temple, or exercise the priesthood even at home (in the past, bishops have had him exercise the priesthood at home but not at church, so this is totally new and heavy to me because whenever I feel like I or the baby could use a blessing, I can't ask him and I just feel like a burden asking anyone else). We are both seeing counselors regularly, and talk of the addiction and recovery is very present. That's not an entirely bad thing except for the time and attention it has to take from other things I feel are important. Then there is the time spent working recovery and attending meetings (...if we attended meetings, but time).
I also feel heavy because both my husband and I are suffering physical back problems. If you have never experienced a chronic physical issue, just know it takes a huge toll. Physically, mentally, emotionally. It beats you down. And because we are both suffering these physical problems at the same time, it's kind of hard to share parenting and home responsibilities when we are both in pain.
I feel heavy because I don't get nearly enough time for myself. I don't even know how to spend quality time doing things for myself because by the end of the day, I am completely exhausted and pretty much just want to watch Netflix.
I feel heavy because of fears that stop me from producing or practicing art.
This list could go on too, but it's too much effort.
I know I have much to be grateful for, and I think sometimes I at least myself because I feel guilty for feeling heavy from all these things. I feel like my life is constantly trying to figure out how to balance everything, failing, and trying again tomorrow. I do take time every day to be grateful (there really is so much beauty and joy in every day. Don't get me wrong. But right now I just need to focus on the hard stuff), but sometimes (or quite often) the heaviness just weighs everything else down and it's hard to get up.
I go through phases where I try really hard in my life. I try to be grateful, I try to serve, I try to clean and love my child and love my husband and love God and love everyone... And then I just get exhausted and I'm like uhhhh I don't know what to do except lay on the couch and watch Netflix and eat cookies and ice cream (which I do try to do sparingly).
Whoa. My head hurts and I'm ready to be done, but I don't really know how to end this. Just keeping it real.
The end. Ha.
Sunday, March 6, 2016
There are so many things that are hard about being married to an addict. One of those things is figuring out what to do with your family. We are young and have one small child, but I've always dreamed of so much for our family. It took us a long time to get pregnant because of personal health issues but also consequences of addiction. This month marks five years of knowing about this other side to my husband. Five years of trying to figure out what to do. Five years of prayers, tears, heartbreak, and peace. Five years ago today, I had no idea what was in store. If I had to guess what my family would be like at this point, I would have guessed wrong.
It's a tough balancing act to figure out how to manage the addiction in our lives as well as our marital and family relationships. Whether or not to have more kids has been weighing on my mind for months. I have so many fears and insecurities, but at the same time, I don't want to live with regrets. I would definitely regret not having more kids because I was waiting on him to find "solid recovery." I feel like we would miss out on a crucial part of our relationship, as well as spirits that could be in our family.
People have asked me why I'm still here. Still married. Still waiting on him to get into full recovery. The simplest answer I can give to that is that God wants me here. The more complicated version is that 1) I still love him. 2) I still have hope for his recovery and the recovery of our family. 3) There is more good than bad, and I'm not willing to give up the good. 4) We have a child, and I want to do everything possible to make this work. 5) I have received my answer, and that answer is to stay.
I know my choices don't make sense to a lot of people. But they make sense to me. I know I was led to this relationship. We had a difficult courtship, but I chose him. I chose to marry him for eternity, not knowing everything about him. Being married to an addict isn't pretty, but I'm not just married to an addict. I'm married to a man who loves me and loves our son. He is funny, smart, and helpful. We don't have the best communication, but we are working on it. He tries to be better every day, and he helps me be better too. We have come a long way with this one, but he is honest (yes, about his addiction). I can't see him as just an addict because he is so much more than that, and everything else about him is the person love.
My life is a roller coaster, and there are definitely lows. Things are hard. But that's life. No one has the perfect marriage or family. We are just doing our best with what we are given.
I mentioned in an earlier post that we have been trying to decide when is the right time to start trying to bring another child into our family. It's a tough decision. There are so many variables. And, honestly, I feel pressured by many people to not take that step until Ben is in full recovery and has a good bout of sobriety under his belt. That is important to me, but what is also important to me is having faith in God. Because things have been so difficult through our marriage, however, sometimes it's hard to have faith and trust in what I have received as personal revelation. I question everything.
Today I studied this talk about choosing light. A couple of quotes stood out to me.
"The adversary...will try to convince us that we have never felt the influence of the Spirit and that it will be easier just to stop trying."
"To ignore and discount past spiritual experiences will distance us from God. "
I really struggle with doubting my revelation. Especially my revelation to marry my husband--and everything that went along with that. So many times, I have doubted and discounted past spiritual experiences because I don't understand why I have been led to where I am. I let my fears take over, and I draw a wedge between God and myself. Reading this talk really helped open my eyes and pinpoint exactly what some of my problems are when it comes to revelation and fear.
This week, we made the decision to start trying to bring another child into our family. It's been months in the making, and all along, I've just prayed and asked God to help me know when it is the right time. I've resisted thinking too much about this decision because I've been afraid. But this week, I really felt like the time is now.
As I spoke to a friend about all of my fears regarding this decision (namely, am I being an enabler if he is still acting out but we are trying to have another child? or am I completely stupid to make this decision?), she told me that receiving revelation and pressing forward in faith is the most courageous thing I could do.
All I really want is to have faith and courage. I know God sees all and comprehends way more than I can imagine in this life. The fears I have are valid, but so is my faith.
So here I go, pressing forward and trusting God. I feel so much more peace than I have in months because I am no longer resisting or dwelling on fear. I am just trying to press forward doing His work and trying to keep to the path that goes back to Him.