Thursday, September 26, 2013

Patience



I think in the age of technology many of us have become impatient.  We’ve forgotten what it’s like to wait for things, no matter how minute.  Think of the last time you went to watch a video online and it took more than ten seconds to load.  I bet you checked to see if you lost your connection.  Maybe you even gave up on the video and moved onto something else entirely.  What about your last drive-thru experience?  Did it take too long to get your food, your money, or your prescription?  Just think, we used to have to get out of our car and walk into the establishment for these services.  The horror!

We’ve become a society of Veruca Salts.  We want it now!


I was one of those people.  Who am I kidding?  I can still be one of those impatient people.  Especially when it comes to something like Devin’s recovery. I sometimes think it will happen overnight.  I fail to remember that each individual moves at different speeds. 

I love to dive in and self-examine and explore.  I’ve recognized I have more work to do so I’m doing another 12-step workbook to challenge myself.  For Devin, it’s not as easy for him to face his flaws.  I can’t expect him to be as gung-ho as I am.  Instead, I can be excited at how far in his program he’s come. 

It wasn’t always this way.  I used to drive myself crazy wondering about the progress of Devin’s recovery.  I thought it only fair because as a couple we’re in this together.  It made sense I be involved in his recovery.  I became confused on what that meant.  I was told to stay away, and then I was told it was okay to ask questions.  What did that mean?

I got clarification from my rockin’ counselor.  She said my way was not the right way.  (I love this lady.  She doesn’t mince words.  My old counselor would have said something like, “not preferable”.)  I was being a dictator by telling him how to work his recovery i.e. attend SAA meetings once a week, see a counselor once a week, do your daily reading, etc. Instead, she said it was acceptable that he understands my expectations for a healthy recovery because it’s part of my boundary agreement.  She also suggested check-in conversations.  We began using FANOS once again.

Once she explained the difference between being a dictator and checking-in with Devin, things seemed to make more sense to me.  I was able to let go of his recovery and let him take charge.  It also gave me a greater sense of patience because I wasn’t so enmeshed in it.  I could step back from it with greater ease and see how much progress he’s made. 

By using FANOS we, even all this time later, connect on a deeper level than we ever had before.  It also provides me with a sense of security that he’s continuing to work on his program.  It provides patience. 
~~~@ ~~~@
I’ll be at the dealership to get my car worked on today. I know I said that the other day but I never made it because I had a migraine.  They are supposed to have wi-fi so I can check my blog.  If not, I apologize for being late getting to your blogs.  

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Glimpse of The Past


This was posted on my old blog two years ago.  I found it while doing research for my book.  I’m so glad I’m no longer in the Trust But Verify stage. Just wanted to share it for those who still may be where I was back then.  It can get better.

A Fine Line Between Optimisim and Naiveness
July 2011

I believe that there is a fine line between being optimistic and being naive about Devin's, or any other sex addict’s recovery.  Realistically, their recovery rate is horribly low while their relapse rate remains incredibly high. For many, the addiction takes such a strong hold of them, it twists their minds, it warps their very souls and changes their core being.  I believe that there are sex addicts that reach level three and stay there or fluctuate between levels acting out for years undetected and unnoticed.

I feel very fortunate that Devin was not one of them.  It gives me a sense of hope that he will remain sober or as he said the other day in a more realistic sense - or more "addict" sense - that if he slips, it won't be by having another affair.  It will be through masturbation or maybe porn because that was what he couldn't give up without professional help.  Everything else he stopped alone before I was even aware he had a problem and he had even acted out, or, actually, the extent of the problem, since I knew porn was always an issue.  And, if he slips through porn, we have a plan for it and I'm prepared.  At least as much as I can be.

I'm saddened and scared when I hear stories from other women about what their husbands did and for how long they were betrayed.  I'm also given a bizarre sense of hope - followed by a twinge of guilt for feeling such a selfish response.  My immediate response, fear, comes because I know Devin could have easily fallen into this addiction cycle if he didn't recognize he had a problem and tried to stop himself in 2009.  Fear also comes because I know that given the right set of circumstances, he can fall into a cycle just like that.

I will always remain Cautiously Optimistic when it comes to his recovery.  Most likely, I will always Trust But Verify and while it may be viewed as unhealthy by so many, right now, for me, it works.  I am finally in the "I don't give a fuck what other people think" mentality.  It took me seven months to get here, and, I know myself well enough to know that I will have moments of weakness when I will read a comment and think "Oh my God, she's right, I should divorce his cheating ass!!" but, that person isn't me.  That person hasn't seen the remorse in his eyes or seen the change, as slow as it is, in him that I see.  Yes, it frustrates the hell out of me every day to have to deal with the range of emotions that I go through, the trauma, the fears, the self doubt, but if I don't put those aside and give my marriage a shot and give Devin a chance to work on his recovery while I work on myself then I'll never really know if we can come through this bullshit even stronger at the end.

As I look back over the last seven months, really and truly look back and review my emotions, my feelings, my own recovery, I can see so much progress and see how far I've really come in myself.  I'm pretty impressed with myself.  I'm learning to enjoy myself again.  Learning to read for enjoyment again, imagine that?  I'm enjoying the company of my children again.  I'm socializing at work again and starting to look for a new hobby (that's not so easy with Migraines).  I'm slowly making life about me again.

If I have to walk away, at least I walk away knowing that I tried.  Besides, not everyone is a failed sex addict...the odds aren't ZERO recovery rate, right??

See...Cautiously Optimistic   =)  
    
Or....just a Dumb Ass   

Time will tell.

~~~@
Please forgive the writing style.  This was written before I learned about run-on sentences!    
~~~@


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Avoidant

source

Yep, another post from me.  Two days in a row, can you believe it?  The kids are back in school and blogging can become a regular part of my week.  I just need to figure out a schedule. 

Sorry guys but I’m doing another post about sex addiction.  I normally don’t do two in one week but, meh, I’ve been gone for awhile.  Plus, I was pretty excited to find the link below and wanted to share it with those who may need it.

Now then, where was I?  Right, revelations.  Not the Bible chapter but self-discovery.  Yesterday, I talked about the importance of not being a parent to Devin any more.  That type of relationship is toxic in a marriage.

While doing some research on Devin's recent diagnosis of SLA vs SA, I discovered a fantastic webpage, and found that Devin and I fit this pattern almost perfectly.  Or, more accurately, we used to fit this pattern. 

Person
Desires
Attracted to
Behaviors
Process of person's relationships
Love addict
Security, safety acceptance, “oneness” (merger)

Fears:

   Greatest fear is abandonment
   Underlying fear is healthy intimacy (in enmeshment the core of the person is actually sealed off)

Self-contained individuals who appear strong, stable (often avoidant or obsessive compulsive, like their families of origin)
Line up next relationship before leaving current one--forming love triangles
Instant closeness, looking for “magic” feeling

Idealizing partner

Obsessing about partner

Talking obsessively to others about him or her

Acting out anger and revenge for being abandoned
Enters relationship in haze of fantasy--found this stable, strong, accepting individual

Gets high from fantasy

Denies how walled in avoidant really is

Avoidant gradually becomes distant and shuts down, abandons relationship in some way

Love addict acts out anger & revenge, turns to affairs and addictive sex

Partner capitulates and renews relationship, or love addict moves on to new relationship

Sense of self and self esteem does not develop--love addict remains in dependent position. Ability to tolerate fear and discomfort must develop for growth to occur
Avoidant
Wants to be connected, but not closely

Fears:

   Greatest fear is intimacy/engulfment
   Can have a hard time rejecting others or saying no

Individuals who provide much of the enthusiasm and intimacy for both of them
Ambivalence all the way through may be in relationship because can't say no
May show initial traditional romantic pursuing, but ultimately enters relationship because love addict provides most of the “intimate energy”; may fear would never make into a relationship otherwise

As love addict wants more and more attention avoidant attempts to please by giving it to them--at least initially

Eventually avoidant becomes overwhelmed by enmeshment and/or neediness of love addict, becomes critical, and eventually backs off from relationship or abandons it

Feels relationship has failed, sometimes gets involved with addictive behavior or affairs to distance, distract, or numb out

May return to relationship out of guilt or fear of being totally alone, or moves on to connect with another partner

Cycle of abandoning and returning can go on and on, especially if love addict starts to move on

If you didn’t figure it out, I’m the avoidant in this scenario.  I feared intimacy with someone and getting too close.  It made me feel vulnerable.  That fear was created after my first husband died.  I also thought I’d lose my sense of independence that I worked so hard to achieve after his death. 

What I didn’t realize was what an emotional mess I was inside after his death.  Instead of fixing myself, I focused on fixing others.  Some of you in a relationship with an addict may be nodding your heads right about now.  We tend to want to rescue people from their problems.  I tried to “fix” two alcoholics before I met Devin.  I didn’t even see the pattern of my relationships until I wrote them down while doing my step work.  How crazy is that?

The last column sums up my relationship with Devin during the painful time period I hate to even think about; 2009-2010.  It includes everything from me backing away from our relationship and then returning out of guilt to engaging in his addictive behaviors in an attempt to rescue our marriage. 

While it’s been a wild and crazy journey, I can truly say I look back on what I’ve been through with Devin with appreciation.  I never would have done this much work on myself had disclosure not happened.  Our marriage wouldn’t be as strong as it is now if he didn’t have the courage to tell me the truth and to get help.  We are better people today then we were in 2009-2010.

***




Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I'm Not His Mommy


source


My rockin’ counselor smiled as I walked into her office.  “How are you, Elsie?  It’s been so long since I’ve seen you alone,” she said.

“I’m doing pretty good.  I’ve got a lot to discuss with you.  I haven’t seen you one-on-one since you got sick.  I guess it’s been three months,” I answered.

My rockin’ counselor had fallen sick in the middle of summer and cancelled all of her appointments. Once she recovered from her illness she chose to only see certain clients.  She began with her sex addicts recovery group that Devin was a part of, then expanded to sex addict’s couple therapy.  She was now ready for individual sessions with spouses of sex addicts.  That’d be me!

“The last time you and Devin were in,” she checked her notes, “you were having some communication issues.  How’s that going?” she asked.

“Much better, I think.  He’s initiating FANOS instead of waiting for me.  He’s also sharing more about group and meetings.”

“Has there been ownership?”

“Yes. Devin was anxious to share too.  For the first time in FANOS he shared about a trigger and how he FRC’d it,” I said.  (note: the link to this is a great explanation of the program)

“FRC?” my rockin’ counselor asked.

“Face it, replace it, connect.  It’s something he learned while we were were still in Candeo online,” I explained.  “I feel pretty good about our reactions.  I didn’t get anxious from his trigger. I’m proud of him for being comfortable enough to tell me and I let him know.  But there's more.”

I sat back and explained to my rockin counselor Devin’s recent escalation in eBay purchases.  Then, I switched over to his increased need of advice on how to communicate with our daughter.  Advice I’ve given multiple times before.  I told her about two situations that occurred over the weekend that made him feel excluded at the dinner table. An ongoing theme in our home; Devin feeling excluded despite everyone’s effort to include him. Each situation Devin isolated himself rather than reach out to the family when they reached out to him. This has been discussed repeatedly in our rockin’ counselors office in couple’s counseling.

She asked how I responded to Devin.  I explained I provided the advice he sought about our daughter.  The first time I consoled him on feeling excluded and offered advice.  The second time, I didn’t feel it was productive to feed into his pity party so I simply said, “I’m sorry you feel that way,” and left it there.  I explained that more times than not I had been reacting with that response the last few months.

My rockin’ counselor said that was the best course of action to take with Devin. That we had fallen into a parent-child relationship with one another at the beginning of our relationship. I had changed the dynamics because I was further along in my recovery.  He was trying to fill that void somewhere else.  He used to fill it with online affairs but now he fills it with his hobby.

It was a very good reminder that it’s not my job to rescue him from his low self-esteem or the fact that he had a crappy childhood.  I gave him all the tools I can, I laid them at his feet, it’s his job to pick them up.  SAA gave him all the tools he needed to become sober and he succeeded when I backed off from micro-managing his recovery there.  I need to do the same here.  Love and support him but not parent him.

He’s made significant strides in his SA recovery.  Look at how he opened up in FANOS!  I just have to remember he has work to do in emotional sobriety.  Hell, it took me twenty years before I knew I was an emotional mess and needed a twelve-step program.  The least I can do is be patient with him.

I’m proud of him and I’m proud of me too!  We’ve come a long way, baby.  *Lights imaginary cigarette*  (I still miss those cancer sticks!)