Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Face It, Replace It, Connect

From where else? Bing!
A few years ago life threw me a curve ball. I learned my marriage wasn’t a Disney fairytale, after all.  I found out my prince charming had some rather large kinks in his armor.  I discovered the truth about my marriage.  I learned my husband is a sex addict.

Not exactly the way to spend our wedding anniversary, but that’s exactly what happened. As we celebrate our anniversary this week, I can look back at the few years and honestly say, I’m glad it happened.  Yep, you read that correctly.  I’m at a point in my recovery where I can say, I’m grateful I found out about the sexting, the emails to other women, and the physical affairs he had in the middle of our marriage.     

If I hadn’t found out about all of it, I never would have had the desire to change things in our marriage.  I wouldn’t have taken a closer look at myself, and thought, “Elsie, you need to make some major changes in yourself.  He’s not the only one who needs some work.”  I needed to experience that pain to get to the joy I feel now.

At the time Devin reached his sex addiction rock bottom, I hit my emotional rock bottom.  If that hadn’t happened, I think we’d be divorced or very unhappily married right now.  His addiction gave us each an opportunity to improve our relationship and ourselves.  That is why I can look back with gratitude rather than resentment.

Even now, I use the tools I learned early on in my recovery. I still journal things out when necessary (aren’t you glad I don’t do them here anymore and removed them to avoid pain mining?), I do daily readings, I yoga, I practice deep breathing and I use FRC.

What is FRC?  It stands for Face It, Replace It, Connect.  It’s a valuable tool to help calm my nerves when I feel anxious.  I was taught FRC during an online class I took called Candeo.  Devin used Candeo for a year and it really helped him with his recovery.  I highly recommend it. Worth every penny we paid.

The idea behind FRC is to face the negative emotions (i.e. the trigger or acting out temptation) you are feeling.  Acknowledge it’s there rather than ignore it. Replace the negativity with what your really want for your life.  Than, connect with someone or something in a positive way. If you can, talk to someone in person.  If not, you can do an act of kindness. If you can't do an act of kindness, try yoga or deep breathing. Just do something positive.

It’s goes something like this:

I have anxiety about Devin running late.  Rather than allow the negative emotions to overtake me, I identify they occurred.  To stop the downward spiral of hypervigilance, I face the feelings of anxiety.

Next, I replace the trigger with something positive.  Perhaps a memory of a special date night or long talk we’ve shared.  I can even imagine us on the beach together, walking hand in hand.  The idea is to no longer be focused on what caused the trigger.
Finally, I connect with someone in a healthy way.  I can call a friend, hop on my blog or even play with my dogs.  Then, I do something kind for somebody.

I don’t just use FRC for my triggers.  I also use it to stay calm when someone or something is frustrating me.  It’s a valuable tool that I’m grateful I learned.

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