Thursday, October 27, 2016

What Do You See?




Recently I traveled out of town to see my migraine specialist. I usually stay in the same style hotel room so I can have a microwave and a fridge. Yeah, I'm a cheap ass. I'd much rather bring my own drinks, and then heat up my leftovers from Bennigan's than pay for eating at a restaurant again. Like I said, cheap.

Anyway, each room has the same artwork and one in particular catches my eye: 




When I first saw the picture, I thought of Jesus. The picture comforted me. My next stay in the room, I must have been in a different head space because I didn't think of Jesus, I thought of Robin Williams. And it wasn't around his death. For some reason, the profile reminded me of him. 

I love how art can be interpreted by people in different ways,  or even the same person can view it in a new way depending on their mood.

What do you see?

As a cool side note, there is this stack of books left behind for people to read:


I love seeing the Big Book there and I read from it before I start writing. It's tempting to leave a copy of mine behind on my next trip. Would you leave yours?

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

My Husband's Point of View


 
Over the years many of you have read that I feel it's important to have a boundary agreement when in a relationship with a sex addict but I’ve yet to share how Devin feels about it. So, today I’m going to share a post he wrote on Candeo for the addict’s and their partners. This is a bit longer than my usual posts, but I feel it’s well worth the read. With his permission, I'm sharing it here:

 

I am the SA of the couple and have been in recovery for 6 years now. I debated on which part of the forum to post this and thought maybe both sides could benefit from my experience so I decided here would be best.

As the SA and a man, the first boundary agreement was the hardest, for both of us. For my wife, trying to figure out what was realistic, acceptable and fair, and for me, because initially I felt emasculated; like a child where my mother was imposing all these strict rules.

It wasn't until I understood that my actions and behaviors showed that I did not have, or understood, boundaries, and that this document was to let me know what was and wasn't acceptable behavior. These were the things I needed to do to help my wife work through this traumatic experience and start to rebuild her trust and faith in me and our marriage.

Checking in was the hardest. I did whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, wherever I wanted. To feel I had to check in hurt my ego. But part of my acting out comprised of doing whatever, whenever, and wherever I wanted. If I didn't check in to help put her mind at ease, the wounds could never start to heal. When I understood the trauma I caused, I also suggested an app, so I could also “show” here where I was. We use the Life360 app, and to make things easier, she also checked in, too. It became a mutual action.

I also had to learn there was no such thing as “just friends” at the workplace. In fact, after reading the book, “Not Just Friends”, I realized how wrong my thinking was. There was a section in the book that discussed “walls and windows”. In a normal relationship, my wife should have been inside the walls with me looking out the window at the world. Instead, she was outside looking in, where I was sharing intimate thoughts and feelings with female co-workers instead of her.

The boundary agreement laid out what was and wasn't acceptable in the work place. Keeping things professional was something I had to learn. Sharing what problems my wife and I were having with others was not acceptable and would have repercussions if I overstepped that boundary.

The first boundary agreement was rough. I knew no bounds and she needed some kind of reassurance to help start the healing process. Other boundaries included working on my recovery, checking in, especially if I was going to be late from work, or if I planned on stopping somewhere on the way home. Being honest, which was hard, but I am fortunate that she has made it easy to be honest by not over-reacting when I tell her I had a slip. If I wasn't honest, there were repercussions, which for me, was sleeping in the spare bedroom for a few nights.

I have heard of the SA's coming up with boundaries of their own. Folks, this isn't a tit-for-tat. Just because your spouse comes up with a boundary agreement doesn't mean you have to as well to get back at her. Remember, you were the one who didn't have any boundaries. Your spouse thought life was going along just fine and you were everything they dreamed of, until they learned of your “secret” life…then everything came crumbling down. This is for your spouse's reassurance that somewhere, deep inside, is the person they knew they married. Let them have this without the retort.

“So what, as SA's we don't get to have any boundaries?” Yes, we do, because for whatever reason, something most likely happened in the past that lead us to have some kind of trust issue. This kept us in that secret life and we also need a place to feel safe.

As a couple, there should be reasonable boundaries to encourage us to be honest when we slip. There should also be limitations on language so it's a safe environment for everyone.

My wife and I set aside a time in the evening to share about our day. We share, one on one, our feelings, needs, and progress or slips in our recovery. This is the safe zone where we can be open and honest (an even show our vulnerable side) with each other.

I hope this helps couples who are struggling with boundaries. I apologize if I rambled as it is easier to talk about than write it out.

I love my wife and realized how special she is for staying with me after the pain I caused her and I want every couple to have that same chance.


In response to a question my husband wrote:


In my time in recovery I have learned that this is the most difficult, yet most important piece of the puzzle for a couple's relationship to survive. 

Before recovery, I was that wild stallion who lived for the moment roaming the plains, untamed.  I think it's safe to say that most, if not all, SAs are the same.  The boundary agreement is the corral, and if you have any experience with horses, you know how that goes.

The SA needs to understand that the boundary agreement is like an amendment to their wedding vows, because, well, as an SA, we didn't fully understand nor follow those vows.  This boundary agreement isn't made to tie us down nor emasculate us, but to explain to us what is and isn't acceptable, and just because the spouse comes up with the agreement, doesn't mean the SA has to as well.  If the spouse wishes to check your cell phone at any given moment, it doesn't mean you have to have the right to do the same out of spite.  Remember, if your marriage is important, you will do WHATEVER you can to ease their fears and concerns.

To the hurt spouse, the reality of us coming to the realization that we have an addiction can be somewhat traumatic all in itself.  I'm not trying to excuse my actions, not at all, but learning that I have an addiction, was like learning I had some other incurable disease...and yes, it is incurable.  There is no magic pill to make this disappear.  There is no training to make it go away.  There is only recovery programs like Candeo and 12 Steps to help us understand, adapt, and live with this condition.  Also know this, recovery isn't just for the SA.  As the hurt spouse, you have suffered a traumatic experience as well and need to work on your own recovery.  In my groups, I have seen firsthand relationships suffer because only one is working on recovery.  It's a 3-part process; your recovery, the SA's recovery, and the couple's recovery. 

When you, the hurt spouse, creates and presents the boundary agreement, presentation is key to acceptance.  First your SA spouse needs to understand why you're presenting the BA.  With us, it's because my wife loved me, wanted our marriage to work, and knew that somewhere, deep down, was the man she married.  That I broke boundaries and went outside my marriage and needed to understand what was and wasn't acceptable behavior.  As hurt as you've been, please try to be gentle and nurturing.  I know it's asking a lot after what you've been through.  

 
I had to learn how to present my boundary agreement properly. At first I was a hellion. Now, it's a team effort, a calm and more relaxed conversation than it was six years ago. What about you? Do you have problems communicating difficult topics? 

 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

I'm A Happy Turtle - An IWSG Post


 
Happy Insecure Writer’s Support Group Day! It’s October already. I guess that means I have to admit that my favorite season is finally over. Fine. You guys can have your pumpkin flavors. I’ll still hang on to the hope that Mother Nature will deliver me a beach day when I’m not working and don’t have migraine. A girl can dream, right?



I’m in a good place with my writing. It’s amazing what a few weeks can do. This month I’ve got a set of characters in my head that are screaming to come out and play. This is the fun part of writing. The pantsing part that I love. Just type some stuff out and see what happens.



Plan it? Outline it? Who me? Nah. I’ll pay for that lack of preparation later I’m sure. But right now, well right now this is way more fun. I’m in no hurry. I write because I love to do it not because I have to do it.



My second self-help book is also coming along. At a turtle’s pace. It’s making me do a lot of reflecting on the past and that can be somewhat emotionally draining but that’s also why I write a fictional book at the same time. It helps provide a much needed distraction from the real life stuff.



So, yeah, this month I’m a happy turtle. Even if it’s gonna be cold soon. Stupid fall. Stupid winter. Where's summer?



The question of the month: When do you know your story is ready?



I don’t. Even though I had encouragement from my rockin' CP, I still couldn't do it. It took my husband telling me that I was procrastinating out of fear for me to finally hit the publish button. Thanks babe!



How’s your writing coming along? Are you a pantser too? Are you looking forward to the colder months or are you just as unhappy as me?

Scheduling note: I’m working today. I’ll be by to visit everyone later this afternoon. 

 




This has been a post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. It's a chance to talk about our fears and doubts, or inspire others by sharing our success and happiness.  We’ve got a great bunch of people in this group and we’d love to have you join in on the fun too.  A big thank you to it's creator, Alex J. Cavanaugh.

Don’t forget to stop by and say hello to our fantastic co-hosts: