Sunday, October 28, 2012

Reminder of Being Powerless


As I sit and listen to the rain fall and wind howl outside my windows and wonder if, or more likely when, will my power go out as a result of Hurricane Sandy, I realize just how powerless a person can truly be at times.  I am reminded of the step work I have completed and the things we say at our S-Anon meetings and how they apply not just to our SA worlds but also to our everyday lives world too.

I have done all of the preparation work I can think of to ready for this storm.  I bought bottled water, canned goods, gasoline for the generator and made sure we had enough kerosene for the grill.  Yet, all the preparation won’t stop the storm, it will only make life a bit easier if we lose power or God forbid have some structural damage like we did last year when we had to replace the roof.

It made me realize, all of the preparation work I have done to ready myself for the storm of any slips or relapse.  I’m working the program, attending S-Anon, reaching out to my contacts, writing, trying to figure out a safety net for my daughter and me and always working on improving myself.  Yet, all the preparation won’t stop the slip or relapse, it will only make it easier for me to deal with if it happens.

I’m grateful I decided to stop being such a bullheaded, stubborn woman and admitted I couldn’t do it alone. I needed help.  I cannot believe how much I’ve gotten back from my S-Anon group, which is growing a little each week and it’s beautiful to watch.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Is Forgiveness Really Possible?



“Excuse me, I didn’t mean to bump into you.” Says the random stranger.

“No problem.” We answer, their clumsiness easy for us to understand because we’ve done it ourselves.

“I’m not able to give you that day off, I’m sorry.”  Your supervisor says.

“I understand.” You respond, and, you do understand because sometimes these things happen at work.

“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you mom and dad.  I thought you’d be mad so I lied.  I didn’t want to disappoint you.  I knew what I did was wrong but I didn’t think you’d find out.  I’m sorry.”  Says your teenage child who you raised to know the difference between right and wrong and still chose the wrong path.

Disappointed you answer, “We forgive you but you need to understand the lies hurt us more than what you did.  You’re grounded.”  You hope they’ve learned from their mistake.
 no source-got this from Facebook forever ago
“I’m sorry I betrayed you, Elsie.  I’m sorry I lied.  I’m sorry I broke our marriage vows.  Please forgive me.” Devin said months after Disclosure Week.

“I’m working on it.” Was all I could promise him at the time.

It took me over a year to feel a full and complete forgiveness for what Devin had done during the course of our marriage because I had yet to forgive myself for what I had done so how could I forgive him?  It took my rockin’ counselor to point that out.

When she did, the seed was planted and I eventually cultivated it enough to realize I truly had to stop feeling shame, guilt and anger for what I had done during our marriage; i.e. not leaving when I said I would, participating in things that made me uncomfortable. 

Ultimately, I forgave myself.  I came to realize I was a product of my environment.  I had been thrown into a situation I had not been prepared for and did what I had to do, one that came shrouded in many labels, none of which I wanted to hear; co-dependent, co-addict, enabler.  I prefer the one I dubbed myself: survivor.  I shrug off the rest.

After picking myself apart piece by broken piece during my fourth step, it was then that I found I had truly forgiven my husband along the way.  It was during that difficult process of self-examination I found myself, my true self, flaws and all.  It’s what helped me understand my husband is no different than me.  He simply encountered his addiction later in life.  Mine occurred in my teens and I got sober over twenty years ago.  His occurred in his thirties and he’s sober, struggling at times, but sober.  He’s remorseful, he’s empathic, he’s working his program, he’s learning communication and stopping protective responses. 

So, what made it so hard to forgive him in the beginning?  The addiction itself is personal.  It’s something that comes up at our S-Anon meetings from time to time.  How personally devastating this particular disease is to the partners of the addicts.  We have a hard time remembering “It’s not about us.”, “It’s not our fault.”, “It’s not about sex.”, “The women/men are just objects.”; because we’ve had our self-esteem trampled upon. We’ve been personally and usually sexually betrayed.

After forgiving myself, seeing my own personal flaws and imperfections I was truly able to forgive him too.  I could once and for all say with honesty, “I forgive you now.  I know your addiction made you cheat.  You didn’t wake wondering how to hurt me.  Your disease caused you to do it.”  I finally understood.

From there, I was also able to release my anger at the women he cheated on me with and replace it with a sense of compassion instead.  Imagine the pain they have inside them too?  Much like Devin, they too are hurting inside.  

Once the forgiveness happened, the trust also began to build too.  Will I ever have 100% trust in him?  No.  He promises me his addiction will never go to that depth again, porn and masturbation he can’t promise, but cheating of any sort he can because he knows the consequence – loss of me.  Yet, I still withhold my full trust because the damage was too severe. 

Yet, I trust him more now than I ever thought possible.  Enough to not laugh in disbelief when he speaks of renewing our vows on our tenth anniversary and lighting a sky candle to begin anew again.
 This is written to let you know, yes, you can forgive. You know who you are.

This is not about me being strong; it's to help someone else.  I hope you're reading today.  Love you hard!

~~~

To update on a post from last week about communication for those of you interested:  Devin is back to his old “new” self again.  He had a great counseling session and was even able to come to terms with the issue was having with religion.  I’m so happy for him.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Almost Famous - Thanks ABFTS

This video and it's lyrics are offensive
Many of you know I have an ongoing "feud" with WorkingDan and the evil Cat from Rhymetime.  They have both taken to referring to me as "one-eye" (the cat even throws in "old" since he's wretchedly evil) because when I first began blogging a year and a half ago, I had the below avatar:
source: unknown

My dear friend, Anne, came to my rescue and created an Elven Princess which proved I have two eyes but that wasn't enough to keep the "one-eye" comments at bay.  Still, they happen post after post, comment after comment. Each went so far to draw a caricature of me with one eye.
Evil cat's drawing of me
Dan's drawing of me with my turtle that he has since turned to soup!

It was time to call in the big guns.  I have no skills at drawing myself but I know a gentleman who does, Bryan over at A Beer For The Shower.  I sent him an encrypted file with my picture and he promised never to reveal my identity. Never.  We did a secret handshake, complete with blood exchange and promise of his first born in case of a breach (which he may not be aware of) and my only request was that he emphasized my two beautiful, brown eyes.  Two.

I'd say Bryan fulfilled my request, he even added my turtle.  I'm traveling at G-Force he said.  I was laughing so hard when I received this in my email, tears were running out of my two beautiful, brown eyes.  He promised no one would be able identify me...I think he's right.

Thank you, Bryan!!
~~~~
I will be on and off Blogger today.  I have been lucky enough to have to replace my entire HVAC unit (yea!) and the power will be cut off at some point today.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Communication Derailment


It’s no wonder I love to blog.  I’m a talker.  Look at the length of my posts.  It’s rare you’ll find one under six hundred words.  Communication is vital to me.  It’s why I created family meetings when the kids were younger.  They needed to know they had a safe place to talk when things were on their mind.  This past weekend was one of communication.

No, wait, allow me to rephrase that.  It was one of heartbreak.  It was one of constant derailment.  It was one of teaching and one of learning.

My husband fails at communication.  This is of no surprise to me.  It is also no surprise to him.  It is something he is working on and he has made significant progress but something he needs constant improvement upon.  No, it’s not because he’s a man.  It’s because of how he was raised.  FOO issues.  “Children should be seen and not heard.” – That’s what he was taught. 

Over the last couple of months I’ve noticed he’s begun to withdraw inside himself.  I thought it was stress from school; his term lasts five weeks and the classes he was taking were difficult but the last term wasn’t as stressful and the term he’s in now isn’t causing as much stress as the previous term.  I married a very smart man.

Of course the doubt and fear set in for me.  The withdrawal equated to the old days.  My increase in Migraines, my inability to work, led me to wonder if he was slipping again.  I counted the months since his last relapse with porn and knew he was at a crucial point in his sobriety; I worried about his problem with his step work and it kept leading me to believe a slip must have occurred or was about to happen.

I decided to dig my heels in and really talk to him after he came home from his meeting the other night.  It began as it always does between the two of us.  Me letting him know “reason for the talk”.  Him “denying any problems”. I do my best to remain patient but it’s hard because of the nagging fear he’s had a relapse and hasn’t told me.

We derail from our point of conversation by discussing my own withdrawal away from him when he comes home.  I admit he’s right and tell him why; because when this topic came up a week ago we agreed to touch base every night before sitting in front of the television, opening up laptops or even getting involved with the kids’ day.  We agreed to spend just fifteen minutes of “us” time.  The very next day after we had that talk, he came home and turned on the television and ignored me.  I was pissed and withdrew.  I let him know I was tired of being the one to make the effort of communicating all the time.

In that same conversation last week, we agreed to get back to FANOS two or three times a week.  We didn’t FANOS one time.  He blamed me because I didn’t initiate it.  He explained he is afraid to initiate FANOS because he lied to me during it and it pissed me off.  Fair enough, I can see how this would cause him to hesitate beginning the conversation.

However, we were still diverting away from the original topic at hand – his withdrawal and his lack of communication.

I tried again.  He blamed school.  I tried again.  He blamed something else.  Until finally, after derailing half a dozen times, we got to the heart of the matter:

Self esteem.

The man I am so proud of lacks self esteem and there is not a damn thing I can do about it.  To hear the things he said about himself broke my heart.  As I pointed out all of the good qualities he had, he countered with something bad.  The uniform he wore so proudly for twenty-four years is now hanging in the closet collecting dust and he lives in the past.  Instead of holding his head high for the medals and ribbons he earned while serving his country, he focuses on having to start over in his forties and the hatred people feel for America and the military.  It brings tears to my eyes just to type it because he’s right.  We hear it and see it every day.

I am left to wonder if he is unable to forgive himself for what he did during our marriage although I have forgiven him. Or was his upbringing lacking the love he needed, now that he’s sober and working on his steps, facing his demons he’s lost.  Perhaps that’s why he’s having such a hard time allowing God to help him?  He kept telling me he couldn’t release anything to God because it was his responsibility, his burden to carry.  God didn’t do it, God gave him free will and he took it and fucked it up all on his own and to let it go would be the coward’s way.

Somehow, I think the low self-esteem and his step work go hand in hand.  I just wish I knew how to help him aside from reminding him how much I love him and appreciate him.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

It's Here! It's Here! I'm A Winner!

It's here!  I'm a winner!  Debra at She Who Seeks had a Carol Shield's giveaway over at her blog, and I won!  I never win anything, ever!  It arrived in the cutest little box, take a gander:
It included a very touching card which is now on my dresser mirror so I can see it every morning.  Debra's generosity is amazing.  I find Debra sharing a book she loved with a stranger, her act of paying it forward because she is so inspired by Carol Shields so very moving and inspiring.  How awesome is that?

I joked with Debra that I was going to finished my billion page Stephen King book before starting to read this one, however, I've since changed my mind.  I opened up the box once more.  Put King back on the shelf and will read Larry's Party beginning tomorrow (I have a Migraine today.) 

I have also decided I will pay it forward, in the same box, as Debra did when I have finished.  I haven't decided how just yet.  It may be on Blogger or it may be in my S-Anon group.  I'll know once I've finished reading it.

Debra, Thank You from the bottom of my heart.  I truly cannot express how much your generosity has effected me.

Have you ever won anything?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Meet Jeanine - A Journal Entry


I’m going to do something today I haven’t done in a very long time.  I’m going to write a journal entry.  Forgive me as I process the trigger that occurred last night.  This comes on the heels of what I talked about yesterday.

Sometime in 2008
Meet Jeanine.  I no longer recall when she entered my husband’s life although there was a time when I could have given you the exact month the first contact was made, how long their affair lasted and the last time an email was sent.  I am not even certain if that’s how she spells her name.  It may be Janine.  These details no longer concern me.  They used to consume me.  I used to lay awake at night and see her face, her emails.  I lay there and judged her because she wore heavy make up while I chose the less is more approach.  I closed my eyes and saw picture upon picture of her in various lingerie outfits and judged her again for being overweight instead of comfortable with herself.  I knew her address, where she worked, where her husband worked and who his boss was.  How did I know all of this?

Hypervigilance.

If you need a detective, call a woman with a degree in computer science who has been cheated on a dozen times…she’ll find anything you want.

Hypervigilance.

It’s addicting.  Or, it was for me.  Perhaps it was my own addictive personality that made it addicting for me, perhaps not.

Jeanine was a cashier at a local store and told Devin she was in an open marriage. They had a brief online affair.  She tried to get him to get physical but he hadn’t reached that point in his addiction yet and they met once for her fifteen-minute break at work, he got skittish and began to ignore her emails after that one time meeting. 

When I found out about the affair, I went to her work.  I don’t know what I would have done if she were there.  I’m a tiny little thing, 5’2”, 120lbs, and she could have kicked my ass in a heartbeat but back then she stood for everything I hated.  She was a home-wrecker.  I wasn’t rational. I wanted to get my .357 and kill her.  Would I?  No.  I arrived at the store, searched relentlessly for her, asked innocently for her, even went to the personnel department and found…she’d been transferred.

Hypervigilance.

It had me all over that store.  Tracking her down but I wasn’t done with Jeanine.  I didn’t feel any sense of satisfaction.  Instead, I turned my attention to her husband.  I contacted him through his work email and told him about the affair between my husband and his wife. He was shocked!  She had broken their open marriage rules.  No married men.  Ha ha – Vindication!!

Now what?

Hypervigilance.

Meet….

the next woman on the list

Vicious cycle isn’t it?