Monday, January 26, 2015

Survival Mode

This was a very productive weekend. I was a little apprehensive because we had very ambitious plans and that is often a recipe for disappointment around here. We got a lot accomplished though. B. finished a project that I have been wanting done for over a year! I don't normally post personal pictures here (to protect our anonymity), but I was so thrilled with how these shelves turned out that I just had to share. These are on the wall right next to the desk in our office space. All the canisters and containers have office supplies in them. I need a couple more baskets or boxes for paper but even if that doesn't happen, I LOVE THEM!

The other thing we got accomplished was cleaning out our closet. It's almost done anyway, a couple of shelves left to organize and my jewelry to put away and it's done. It was my commitment for the week to my LifeStar group. I'm not going to post a picture of that here. I'll be honest, it is embarrassing and causes some shame, it was THAT bad.

What does this all have to do with the title of the post…survival mode? Because while we were dejunking and editing, building and organizing, it made me realize just how much has gone undone since we moved into our home three-and-a-half years ago. I'll be frank, some of the junk has been piled up and unorganized since BEFORE we moved into our house.  I was contemplating this and it hit me, I have been living in survival mode for YEARS. All I was doing was just enough to get from day to day and accomplish enough to survive.

I didn't realize that I had been just barely getting by for so long. It wasn't until this weekend that I realized that not only am I doing a much better job of keeping up with the day to day things, but I am also getting projects and catch-up done. I'm no longer just surviving! I wanted to do a touchdown dance!

That is not to say that some days aren't rough and sometimes I have to revert back to survival mode. The trauma just gets to be too much for me and I have to revert. Those days are much farther apart than they used to be and I have tools in place to help me get through them. I really am making progress.

The other a-ha moment this weekend was about B. He helped me (a lot) with the closet and he researched, designed, bought the supplies for (with the exception of the reclaimed wood as I already had that), and completed the shelves start to finish in just a few hours. When I sent a picture to one of my friends she said, "I didn't know he was so talented!" I replied, "Neither did he, but I did!"

This is the man that is under this addiction. He is kind and thoughtful. He is talented and artistic. He can see the beauty in items that have history. He is methodical when working on a project. He is determined when he has a serious goal in mind. When our son got a headache tonight and threw-up all over his bedroom, B. cleaned most of it up (and for this I am profoundly grateful)! This is the man I know is is in there. This is the man I am learning to fall in love with.

If you are in survival mode, know that there is hope. Even if your spouse doesn't seek recovery, you can. You can learn how to do more than survive, you can find the strength and determination to have control over your life, instead of your life having control over you. It takes work and determination and a whole lot of help from On High, but it is attainable. Don't give up hope. If you want encouragement or a listening ear, email me at awifeprogressing(at)gmail(dot)com.

Not just surviving,


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Addo Needs Your Input

Harriet at A Wife Redeemed posted that Addo Recovery needs the help. If you are the spouse of a Porn/Sex Addict please take a few minutes of your time and provide Addo feedback to better help them understand Betrayal Trauma and develop resources. If you copy and paste this link ( into your address bar it will take you to a survey you can fill out anonymously (if you would like). It's a great way to help give insight to what we are feeling or have felt. Please take the time if you can so better resources (although they already have some fabulous ones) can be developed to help in healing from Betrayal Trauma.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Recent Reading

A large part of my time in recovery has been spent reading recovery books. I have read so much in my LifeStar workbooks as well as books written on recovery and other self-help books in general, they have helped me understand and heal. I have a hard time digesting the books in large pieces, so it usually takes me a while to get through even a small one. It also means that I am often reading more than one.

I recently finished "What Can I do About Him Me?" by Rhyll Crowshaw. This book is fantastic for the recovering spouse. She talks about her own journey through recovery and what helped her. It isn't a long book and it has so much great information. If you want to buy it you can get it here.

I have been working reading "Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life" by Glennon Doyle Melton. I'm sure I have mentioned it before, because I have been reading it for a really long time. The main reason it is taking me so long is because once I start reading I can't put it down and I don't often have time to get lost in a book like that. She is so funny, relatable, authentic, full of faith and just plain fun to read. Every time I read this book I get out a pen and highlighter. I have NEVER written or highlighted in a book that wasn't meant for that purpose (i.e.. a text book or workbook), but there is so much to love in her book that I can't help it.

The other book I am currently reading was given to me by a friend for Christmas. She saw the authors on a t.v. show talking about how they wrote it and KNEW that both of us HAD to have it. I am only a few pages in and so far it's fantastic. It is called "Gratitude & Trust: Six Affirmations That Will Change Your Life" by Paul Williams and Tracey Jackson. I read something in there tonight that I want to share. I give full credit for this to the authors and hope that it helps someone else.

"It all starts with honesty. If you're not honest with yourself, how can you be truly honest with anyone else? We spend a lot of energy fooling ourselves, covering for ourselves, and projecting an image that is in opposition of what's actually going on. There is such and emphasis on perfection in our society that we are all terrified of not meeting the standards that we either self-imposed or assume the world is expecting of us. Changing that begins with honesty: being honest about who you are, where you are, what you feel, what you want, and where you might have dropped the ball. Honesty is not only the best policy, it's the starting line of getting through the race of life as smoothly as possible

Purity in many ways is the cousin of honesty. Once you have decided to embrace honesty and let that be the controlling dynamic of your life, you must be pure to that concept. The definition of purity is cleanliness, transparency. So by following the path of purity, you keep your house clean your personal life clean. You maintain transparency about your misdeeds and mistakes because when you're being transparent, you're being honest. And when we're honest, we have nothing to hide from ourselves and others. Addicts of all sorts spend their lives covering their tracks. But any of us who merely have dents in our character - which we all do - spend a lot of our lives trying to mask them, hide from them, numb them, and beat them into oblivion. Think about how much more time you will have to do the things you want and be the person you want when you are not constantly running from your reality trying to cover up the things you don't want to be or do." (personal note: I disregarded the part about the clean house, for me, being in trauma and/or working on recovery means that my house isn't clean. The common areas are picked up and clean much of the time, but there is clutter everywhere. I'm working on this, but it's not a realistic expectation for myself right now.)

Honesty and Purity, or as they defined it, Transparency. Those are the things I strive for in my life, from myself and from B. I want to be honest with him and transparent. I don't want him to question my motives or actions. He does question them a lot, and I am working on being honest about my true feelings with both him and myself. I am also working on giving him transparency into those feelings so that he will know that I AM fighting for us and I DO want to fight to stay together.

There is a lot of push back and pain on his side when I tell him honestly how I am feeling and remain strong in holding my boundaries. He doesn't always LIKE what I tell him and sometimes he leaves our discussions hurting. It is NEVER my intention to inflict pain on him and the pain he feels right now is a result of his actions, not my holding the boundaries around them. I don't want him to hurt and for a lot of years I have tried to protect both of us from it by not acknowledging it. That didn't help either one of us, in fact it caused both of us more pain. I am working on that I am working not to rescue B and to let him feel that pain and work through it. It is really hard for me to watch. If he could honestly heal and find recovery AND do it pain-free, I would help him find that path. It's just not possible to get to the road of recovery (for either of us) without passing through pain.

I am still walking a line between compassion, rescuing and holding healthy boundaries. I ask, ponder, pray, seek and do it all over again every day, several times a day to make sure that I am doing what is best for both of us. I am asking my Father in Heaven to guide me on a path that shows enough compassion without rescuing B and while still maintaining healthy boundaries. It is a fine line, but the longer I walk it the wider it grows and the easier it is to stay on the path. I ask myself the question, what is my motive behind saying/doing this? If the answer isn't that I am doing it to help us heal then it's the wrong thing to say or do and I need to go back and rethink it.

I love my husband very much. I feel that love for him more today than I have in years, maybe ever. I can't however, continue to be betrayed and hurt over and over and over again and so for now I wait. I pray. I have faith. I accept. That's all I can do (besides working on my own recovery). It bears repeating, I love my husband. I want more than anything to find recovery WITH him by my side, holding his hand and fighting together. Please if you have a minute, send up a prayer for us, we could really use it right now.

Transparently Honest,


P.S. I get ABSOLUTELY NO KICKBACK from these books. I just want to share the resources that have helped me. If they don't work for you, that's ok, if you do find them helpful, that's great! If you have others you'd like to share with me, email me or leave them in the comments.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Boundaries and A Celebration

As I mentioned in my last post, I had to enforce boundaries because B acted out. I asked him to sleep on the couch for the night. As I turned my pain over to God and prayed for guidance, I really felt impressed to let him know that he will be sleeping there indefinitely. It was actually pretty tough to tell him that. I don't like having him on the couch. I really felt (and still do feel) strongly that the couch is his bed for now. Boundaries are really hard for me to enforce but I really do feel less resentful and fearful when I enforce them. I can even go so far as to say that they help me find peace. On Thursday B even told me that he was glad that I enforced my boundaries even though it was hard for both of us.

Today, I really had to enforce a boundary for myself and for him. It was very hard for both of us. It may seem small to some, but it was a big deal for me. I have always worked hard to get all of us, including B, out the door to church every Sunday. B has done better at being ready and even helping me get everyone out the door lately. Today, however, he fell asleep mid-morning and didn't set an alarm. I was going to wake him up to get ready and really felt impressed to hold firm on my boundary not to remind him to actively work recovery, which to me includes getting himself to church. I didn't wake him up and he didn't wake up until 12:30 and we have church at 1:00. He said, "Well, I guess I'm not going to Sacrament Meeting." My response was, "You know what time church starts."It was said with a touch of sarcasm, which was a poor response on my part, that I later apologized for. The intent was good, the execution a little lacking. We were able to talk a little while about how my enforcing that boundary wasn't me being vindictive or mean (even though my words said otherwise), but rather me holding him accountable for his behavior, which in the long run is better for both of us. Boundaries are tough to navigate sometimes, but when I examine my motives and decide that I am not being reactionary or punishing, they really do help me grow and find healing.

It was B's birthday on Friday. I decided on Friday morning that I was going celebrate the goodness in my husband. His family didn't always have huge birthday celebrations, and mine did. Birthdays are a big deal to me, so I decided to show him that I really do love him and that I want to celebrate him. I worked hard to do things that I knew mattered to him. I made sure the dishes were done and the house picked up, which always helps him. I took him to lunch in between a counseling and doctor's appointments for both of us. I also took home his favorite restaurant for dinner, which we never eat at because I hate it. It was a good day, for both of us.

I also planned a surprise dinner and invited some of our friends over for Saturday night. I love stuff like that and thought he would too. He didn't enjoy it and I appreciate him letting me know that. When he finally broke it down it was for a couple of reasons. The biggest one was that he doesn't feel worthy of being celebrated by others. That just made me sad. As much as we struggle and as hard of a time as I have at separating my husband from him addiction, he still deserves to be celebrated. Everyone does.

I love my husband enough to be able to enforce boundaries AND celebrate him. I love him enough to hold him accountable. I love him enough to have an ernest desire to see him find true recovery for himself, because HE deserves it.

Celebrating boundaries,


A Week of Up and Down

I have a lot to say today because I have been putting off blogging as it has been a crazy week, and I wanted to do some reflection before I wrote it out. I am not sure if it will end up being one post or more, so buckle in while it pours itself out.

This week I got an email from one of my virtual support friends. In it she asked me a question that I had to really think about. She asked about how I feel about my relationship with B? Wow, I guess I don't really talk about that much here, but when we check in every night I try to honestly evaluate that. The answer varies but all-in-all underlying it is two main emotions, resignation and acceptance. Those might not sound like very affirming emotions, but to me they are. I have reluctantly accepted that this is the course our relationship has to take right now and I have accepted that whatever happens it is in Heavenly Father's hands. I am reluctant to hope for healing right now because it hurts so much each time that hope is squashed. I am reluctant to give my whole heart to B until he has shown he can take care of it. I have accepted that B knows what I need to continue working on healing our marriage and that it is up to him to either work on those or not.  I have accepted that I too have flaws and am actively working on those. I have accepted that this process is time consuming, hard and long and that the timing is not up to me entirely (the only part I have control over is how actively I work my own recovery). I have accepted that I need to work my own recovery and healing and that my relationship will never be able to heal if I don't do those things. I have been reluctant to turn my fears about my marriage over to God but I have accepted that as I have done so, I have had peace. So for now, I am reluctantly accepting that we are on this journey and it is a process that is ever changing and evolving as we both learn and grow.

The next part I have to preface with a little bit of my own personal history. I was truly blessed to be able to live my entire life, until I got married, in the same house. What this meant was that because my family, and others like us, chose to stay grounded in one home I have friends that I don't remember meeting, we have literally been friends our entire lives. We firmly believe that before we came to Earth we were bound together in Heaven. I don't know what I would've done without these friends. One of these dear friend's husband has been valiantly and with all his might, fighting cancer for about the last five years. I found out from her sister on Tuesday that he was back in the hospital and that they were having to make some hard decisions because there are no more treatment options available. Ultimately they decided that he would come home and they would do what they could to keep him comfortable. She is only forty years old and he a few years older! Nobody should have to make those excruciating decisions at such a young age (or ever)! Wednesday I was aching so much for my friend. All I wanted was to be able to do something to help ease her pain. Part of the problem is that we are now more than four hours apart and so it wasn't physically feasible for me to be there. I have arranged what I could through others, I have reached out through text and phone to let her know I'm thinking about her. I have prayed for both her and her husband. But what I really needed Wednesday was to be held and allowed to cry and grieve for my friend and for the heartache I am feeling for her and for my own feelings of helplessness at easing her burden. I needed that from B. I needed him to be able to sit with me in my pain and hold me and be strong for me. He couldn't because he chose to act out twice on Wednesday. It hurt so much more knowing that I literally had nobody to hold me, nobody to comfort me physically at least. After a good long cry and some fervent prayer, I felt held and comforted by my Father in Heaven. His love was evident to me that night.

While I still find myself spilling tears around this event, I have found so much peace this week and it has been so healing. I still cry off and on for my friend, my heart is just aching for her and her little family. I am crying for all the times that I have had to be strong for myself and my family, because I had nobody else to turn to. I cry because the pain of the betrayal of all the things we have lost to this damn addiction make my grief come in waves. Sometimes I just cry because it feels good to let that pain go. For so many years I have not let myself feel the pain and it really feels good to be able to let it go (and I'm really sorry if you are singing that silly song from Frozen in your head now). This whole process is painful, but I know on the other side I will come out stronger for it.

All of that grief and sadness aside, there was one positive in the whole thing, I saw tangible evidence of recovery from B. He DID act out twice on Wednesday, and I DID take it personally as his choice of his addiction over me (I'll get to that in a minute), BUT he TOOK ACCOUNTABILITY for it! When I came home and he knew I needed comfort and to be held, before he reached out and gave me that he told me about his acting out. He knew it would hurt me and that I would be upset, but he also knew that if he allowed himself to provide me the comfort that I needed physically and emotionally and THEN told me or let me find out the truth, that I would feel so much more betrayed. He was 100% right. If i had found out after the fact that he allowed himself to act the part of a supportive husband all while withholding the truth from me, I would feel so much more betrayed. It is painful that he chose to act out and therefore was not a safe person to share my grief with. I will not however, fault him for telling me, that is progress and that is what I need to see.

Here's where I tell you about me taking his slip as a personal affront and about my LifeStar group calling me on my shit in a loving and compassionate way. What I said was "It just hurts so much that he chose his addiction over me." One of my group members asked our leader if sex addiction was the same as drug addiction and sometimes just not within your control. She was going to let it slide that night as I was so upset, but I'm glad she didn't. She reinforced gently the things I already know but had chosen to ignore at that particular moment. Logically I know that he got to a point (after not actively working recovery for a few weeks and not reaching out and using his tools) where acting out was pretty much inevitable. He was too far overcome by his addiction to find his way out at that moment. I know his brain is broken and that he was in addict mode with no way out that he could find at that particular moment. That in no way excuses his actions. He is still responsible ultimately, because he chose to not actively work on his recovery and to not reach out. He chose to not use his tools. But that choice was made weeks before that day. He still chose not to fight, but it wasn't that day that the choice was made. I love having people in my life that can safely call me on my shit and help me pull myself out of victim mode. It really is an amazing warrior community that I am surrounded by!

I have more to tell you, but no time to tell it right now. In my next post I will try to remember to tell you about enforcing my boundaries and B's birthday this week.

Accepting with resignation,


Monday, January 12, 2015


For a while now we have been doing a nightly (or near nightly) check-in to see where we are and what our days have been like. We have tried using the AEIOU check-in that Rhyll Crowshaw suggests in her book and adding the S for spirituality as suggested by Harriet at AWife Redeeemed.  (If you click on the link attached to "adding the S for spirituality, Harriet explains it well). It didn't work as well as we wanted it to, so we tried another acronym that we found somewhere (sorry I can't remember where it came from). That wasn't great either. We liked pieces of both of them but neither seemed to be exactly what we were looking for. Lately we have been just using a basic list in our head to check-in with but it still wasn't getting to the meat of things the way I wanted it to.

This is what I came up with tonight. It worked better than the others for us while incorporating pieces of each of them. Check-in tonight was heavy but I felt like we started to get some real communication going. It will probably need some changes but seems to work for now. 


What did I do for recovery today? Did I have any slips?

Emotions -
What emotions did I feel today? How did I handle them?

Affirmation -
What is something I appreciate about my spouse today?

What service did I perform today? What did I do for others?

What did I do to take care of myself today?

What exercise did I get today? How do I feel physically?

Did I feel The Spirit today? What did I do to increase my spirituality today? What do I need to do to feel it if I haven’t?

How am I feeling about our relationship? How am I feeling sexually?

What do you think? Do you have a check-in that you use that works well. Do you check-in? I'd love thoughts and feed back.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

I Know That Feeling

My parents have been here visiting for the last two days. I love my parents very much and would be lost without them, but sometimes they are not the easiest people to be around. They are very much afraid of what others will think. They have always had impossibly hight standards and are very critical of anyone they don't feel measures up. Well a porn addict certainly wouldn't measure up…and neither would his wife. I don't like that I feel that way about my parents, but they have proven over time not to be safe people to be vulnerable with about the deepest, scariest parts of my life. It goes without saying then, we haven't told them about B's addiction.

My parents know we are struggling and that our relationship is fragile right now. They know we are spending time in groups and therapy. As far as they know we are just working through some issues. For now, that's the way it needs to be. I can't take the pressure of wondering how they would react while trying to work on my recovery.

That background is needed when I tell you I had to work through my panic at the thought of seeing them yesterday. I love my parents and I love being able to see them. I realized on the way home from work yesterday that I was panicking. I was able to calm myself through some deep breathing and work through it. As part of that I was trying to pin point why I was so anxious to see them…and then it hit me like a ton of bricks. I'M KEEPING A SECRET!

Holy cow! Is this how B felt all the time while keeping his secret? I have known for years about his addiction, even if I didn't realize it was an addiction. But, nobody knew so I was keeping the secret from everybody, not just two of the most important people in my life. It is so crazy how much of a difference that makes. I am keeping a HUGE secret from two of my most important people. It hurts. It is panic inducing. I HATE doing it…but it is necessary…for now at least. I have to get some more healing under my belt first. 

I HATE SECRETS! I hope that I can work through this issue soon.



Realizations: Part 1

I have had a few lightbulb moments lately and I want to share a couple small ones with you.

The first realization hit me last weekend. It was like a totally "aha" moment. I realized that my healing is further along than I thought (at least for the present moment). I was thinking about the last time I had a full-on panic attack and realized it was the day after disclosure almost a month before and it only lasted about thirty seconds or so before I was able to calm myself. I don't remember the last time before that. You don't realize how HUGE that is for me. It's monumental. I have been having panic attacks for the last four years, seemingly out of nowhere (although since I am now learning about Betrayal Trauma I realize where they come from). These would sometimes happen a couple of times a day. It has been awful…especially since I used to be a pretty laid back person. It was such a relief to realize that I am able to better control my reactions. 

Last Saturday B decided to take a nap for half an hour. He said he would set his alarm and get up. Well, I heard his alarm go off and he turned it off and went back to sleep. When he finally got up two and half hours later, he said, "You should've gotten me up sooner." My only response was, "Not my job, you're a grown up." While that may seem like a perfectly normal response in a healthy relationship, it was not a normal response for me. The pre-recovery work me would've bugged and nagged him to get up. Then when he didn't I would've done the work I had planned to do but would've made as much noise slamming doors and stomping around as I could. Saturday, I didn't. I wasn't walking around on tip toes but I wasn't stomping either. I just went about doing what I had planned and figured he'd get up when he was ready. I didn't own his oversleeping and I didn't get into drama because of it. It was absolutely fan-freaking-tastic to feel so in control of how I reacted. (That doesn't mean that I was ok with his behavior, I did disconnect emotionally but in a way that said, I'm not okay with that behavior but I will not own it)

I can't tell you how absolutely empowering it is to feel like I'm in control of how I react. It feels like I have been set free from a monstrous burden that I was carrying and felt so out of control of. I absolutely love it! It's signs of progress for me and I will take any sign I can find that I am starting to heal!

A little lighter,


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Rescuing vs. Compassion/Empathy

One of the things we learned about in Phase I of LifeStar is the Drama Triangle. If you don't know what that is you can learn more here. Basically it talks about how when we enter drama or conflict we often assume a certain role most often or have a couple we switch back and forth between. The three rolls are victim, rescuer and persecutor. Hands down I am a rescuer. I have actually known that about myself for a very long time. What I struggle with the most is how to break out of that. How do I not be a rescuer? Where is the balance between rescuing someone (especially B) and having compassion on them. I am sincerely struggling with this.

I have really tried to recognize lately when we are in drama and do my best to walk away from it. I am not always successful. I have slipped into both persecutor and victim roles easily lately and I think it's partly in an effort to stay out of the role of rescuer. I am just really struggling to find the balance between being compassionate while holding B accountable and rescuing him. I have most often been the one to step in and rescue him by being the first to make an attempt to make up. Usually through a physical gesture or sexual overture. I often will be the one who takes care of a lot of the responsibilities to keep the family running. I was always so hungry for peace and connection that I rushed in to achieve that in any way possible. I have stopped doing that.

I have asked B repeatedly for what I need right now to feel safe and start to trust. He can't say that he doesn't know, yet he maintains that he isn't giving me those things because I am just so angry all the time. We are back to the chicken and the egg dilemma. How do we separate the chicken and the egg and get out of this cycle?

I could go back to always being the first to apologize and reach out in a physical display of affection. The problem with that is that I don't feel safe, loved or cherished and I have no desire to keep sharing myself physically when I feel so unimportant to B. I really want him to stop giving me half hearted apologies and show me that he loves and appreciates me and that he is committed to recovery.  Until that happens I don't see myself being willing to take down any walls.

B feels like because I am trying to get out of the role of rescuer that I have stepped in to the role of persecutor and that I am nothing but angry all the time. That may be true. I am frequently angry, but even I can see that is covering up the hurt underneath. Because B feels that I have been giving him nothing but anger, I tried being vulnerable last night. I tried sharing some of the pain I was feeling and a realization that hit me yesterday. He listened and I felt like he was digesting it and working through it, but today I feel like that never happened. He keeps telling me that he knows this is really hard on me and that he understand my hurt, but he isn't making any strong work to help lift that burden at all. I tried to share that burden last night and it seemed like he helped carry it then, but I'm left holding it all again today. I'm exhausted from carrying the burden. I need a partner. I need a helpmeet. I need a husband who loves and cherishes me to help me carry the load. Right now, I don't have that.

If anyone out there has any suggestions on how I can show B compassion without rescuing him I would love to hear them. I'm am emotionally and physically wrung out and I don't know how to move forward.

Former rescuer seeking compassion,