Friday, October 15, 2010

Where do we go from here?

On Tuesday night, I was angry with D for no particular reason. Even now, I can't pinpoint exactly what was going on in my head, but I came home in a bad mood from a difficult day at work and felt unattractive and upset and just generally icky. D and I argued briefly about him not doing some housework we had agreed upon, resolved the issue, and I went to change my clothes. In the bedroom, my hand uncontrollably drifted to his cell phone, and before I knew it the texts were up.

And there was one to a female friend saying something about how that friend should come over to our house and relax and get a massage.

The good: For the first time possibly ever, I immediately confronted D about it. I didn't try to hide my feelings, didn't try to beat around the bush or get him to admit that he'd done something--just straight up told him that I found the text and that it was NOT. OK. I told him in plain English that this crossed the line, and that I wanted him to tell me anything and everything else that had occurred. He claims there was nothing--that he hadn't meant anything by it, that he simply had been chatting with a friend who was stressed and had no flirtatious intentions, simply wanted her to know that she should go get a massage (i.e., wasn't implying that she should get one from him). He also admitted that it looked bad, and that if I had a problem with it then it didn't matter what he meant. We discussed that perception is reality, and I asked him to please not speak to any females by text or get on the internet while I'm not at home until we re-evaluate the situation. I also informed him that I would be checking in more frequently in the next few days.

The bad: I'm not sure how to feel at this point. We had a good conversation that was completely different from how anything would have gone before. I was honest about my feelings without fear of reprisal or consequence in a way that was totally new. But still--it happened. And whether he had intent or not doesn't really matter...the fact that he would have said something like that without even thinking that it might come off badly is disturbing enough. Where do we go from here? Should I demand meetings or therapy or some other tool? Or should I live in a state of caution, checking in and keeping a watchful eye toward the phone?

Right now my goal is to take things one day at a time and push for more frequent conversations with the other options in reserve. Surprisingly, I'm not freaking out--I just feel unsure of what steps to take in the near future. But then, perhaps that's what "one day at a time" actually means.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Today marks two years of sobriety for D, two years of recovery for me, and two days since the start of my favorite season.

Happy fall, all.

Friday, August 27, 2010


I've been feeling antsy lately. Feeling old behaviors creep up and surprise me at odd moments--wanting to check D's phone, worried about the fact that he can get on the computer when I'm not home now, rampant what-if type thoughts about facebook chat and the like. I'm trying to check my gut against reality and trust it, even though there seems to not be anything really wrong (although granted, how do you ever really know?). I was trying to figure out what, exactly, was triggering these thoughts when I realized that the last time I felt this way, this uncomfortable and strange, was at the end of February of this year. Late February 3 years ago was my initial discovery date. Suddenly, the connection clicked.

Today is the one-year anniversary of D's release from probation. One year ago today, we got to be Normal (whatever that is) again. But it's also been two years (or close enough) since what should have been his final day of probation--the point at which I realized that after almost a year and a half of therapy and meetings and dealing with serious legal problems, D was still lying to me (and everyone else) about his behavior. I think it was actually in early September that I really realized that he had still been so active with his acting out (especially with texting and online sex chatting) the entire time that we planned our wedding and got married, but it was late August when he first failed his polygraph test that sparked it all.

I am grateful for my husband's sobriety (almost two years now!). I am grateful to see him become the man I fell in love with all over again, and to watch the changes that have occurred over the past two years as we rebuilt our relationship from the ground up. But those memories, and the times surrounding them, of the worst days of this process are still raw and painful. Apparently to the point that just drawing near to the date without realizing it can trigger me. The human brain is a confusing thing.

I have a plan to talk to D and let him know what I've been feeling lately, and see if there's anything we need to change or do differently, but sometimes I worry that I'll be old and gray and still having flashbacks on the first week of school.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Letting Go (Again!)

Wow--2 months since my last post? Really? I swear I haven't disappeared into the abyss. Just into the depths of more than a month of massive studying for a qualification exam (which I just discovered that I passed! Hooray!), then a month of vacations and travel and house projects and then back into the next round of school. Life has been busy, but good. Even D has begun a new project--he's taking a class that will be the first step (hopefully) toward having the pre-qualifications he needs to go on to graduate school in another few years. Which, of course, brings us to the topic of today's post.

The aforementioned class (which is a very Good Thing by all accounts) contains a good deal of online work. Most of the assignments are posted online, and D has to turn in a great deal of work by uploading it to the professor. Our original plan was for him to write out the assignments on his computer, save them to a drive, and then we could upload them to the website when I was around (backstory: currently the only computer in the house with internet capabilities is mine, which is password protected and can only be opened by me). Unfortunately, my new work schedule is incredibly strange and changes a lot, and D is often home working on homework when I'm gone. It became, simply put, too inefficient to continue if he was going to finish the class in less than a year.

And so, the other day, for the first time in 2 years, I told D my password and he got on the internet when I wasn't around and wasn't even home. It's been a huge and somewhat strange step, even if it only happened once and really only will happen seldom in the future. It's an odd mix of emotions for me--on the one hand, D is quickly approaching two years of sobriety and slowly but surely, we have worked to this point where I do trust him to let me know if anything is bothering him. On the other hand, there is still the tiniest of jolts to my stomach knowing that with this trust comes the possibility for him to easily slip back into old behaviors. We're taking things one day at a time, but for me, letting go of the "what ifs" is still hard.

Friday, May 14, 2010


So I'm currently studying for a rather massive certification exam and have essentially been holing up at local libraries/coffee shops/anywhere with a quiet table and plug for my laptop for the past 2 weeks, hardly emerging to check my e-mail, let alone blog. What I have emerged for, however, is my newly found hobby of running.

I've never been fond of running, but I have always been fond of exercise and there has just come a point where there's not much else that I have time for (in terms of getting a decent cardio work out in as little time as possible, anyway). So a couple of months ago I heard about a friend who was doing what is called the Couch to 5K plan (check it out at, which was supposedly going to turn her from a complete non-runner to 5K ready in about two months. I took up the challenge too, and I'm currently in my 7th week.

So here's the thing I've learned about running--while I'm doing it, I absolutely despise it. I tend to get bored, and I just want to be done as soon as I've started. But I also feel 100% better afterward--even to the point that now I get a little restless when it's that time of the afternoon and I even (gasp!) want to go to the gym. The biggest change came the other day, when I did my first round of 25 straight minutes of running. After about 5 minutes, all I could think about was how much it sucked. How much I'd rather be sitting at home watching TV or really just doing anything else. But then suddenly it hit me. Somewhere in the back of my brain came a little voice telling me to just go with it. Instead of wishing it were better, to acknowledge that it did hurt and I was tired but that was all ok and to just let the run be what it was. All of a sudden, my body relaxed, I wasn't fighting myself anymore, and the entire workout became that much easier. Time went by a lot faster, and I felt strong and refreshed at the end. It was such a strong reminder that I tend to fight where I am rather than just letting myself be there and experience the present for what it is that I've been feeling all zen and uplifted ever since.

Now if only I could make it apply to studying...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


The house is dirty...
Dog fur rolls across the floor like tumbleweeds
and the grass is too high
and the dishes need washed.
So many projects are running around in my head--
ideas of painting the kitchen and staining the deck and powerwashing the siding
and replacing the old and broken down and worn out
but then the car needs brakes
and the dog needs medicine
and I have to buy books for next year before the loan money arrives.

Do you ever just get frustrated?
So many things I'd like--a new tub that isn't chipped, a car that's not more than a decade old, shoes that will get me through my next year's internship (lots of standing for long hours and such). But it's not going to happen because little things come up, over and over again and suck away what little money was set aside.

So today I take time to at least make the house look good
and myself feel better
and mow the grass
even though I have a quiz tomorrow
but when will there ever be time otherwise?
And you say you will help but when my part is done you aren't ready
and the frustration grows because you do not run on my schedule.
And then we fight.

It will get done--it always does.
But sometimes it takes a while to unlearn old expectations
and remember that I do not have to get frustrated
because now you actually keep your promises.

Friday, April 16, 2010


Each spring, my school has a big end-of-the-year dance/party/celebration for all of the graduate students. Each department tends to have their own small-ish affairs as well, but the larger event is always very much looked forward to by all. I don't tend to go out much with my peers (partly because I'm not much into the crazy college-kid-type bar scene, partly because my closer friends aren't into it either, and partially because I'm married and sometimes just want the chance to sit at home being lazy with my husband), but last year I really looked forward to the chance to let loose with friends and introduce D to everyone that had only heard me talk about him. The night of the party, D had been at work but got home in plenty of time--we ate and he watched some tv while I got all dressed up and ready. But when the time came that I was ready to leave, he was still there parked in front of the tv in sweats. Of course, when I asked him to get ready he only did so grudgingly, complaining that he only rarely got time to do what he wanted and relax and didn't feel like getting up to go somewhere until he was ready. We eventually made it to the party (later than I had planned) and ended up having a pretty good time, but we didn't stay long, and I was frustrated by the fact that it had been such a hassle.

This used to be the pattern, you see. Throughout D's addicty years and even early on in recovery, if there was something he just didn't want to do (for whatever reason), he either didn't do it or moved at the speed of molasses to get it done, complaining all the while about his precious lost "me time." Even things that he knew were incredibly important to me would end up getting tossed by the wayside simply because he didn't feel like getting up for another hour. All the prodding and poking and dragging and nagging and pleading I could do weren't enough--we were constantly late, and I was often let down.

Today is the annual end-of year celebration again. My friend Sue invited D and I to join her at her house for dinner beforehand, but unfortunately D will not get off work until right when the party is set to begin. Knowing this, I told Sue that I would be there, but might be going stag because I didn't know if D would want to come after work, if he would be able to leave in time, etc....really just covering up for the fact that I didn't want a repeat of last year. I pictured the same scenario--D getting off of work, going home, not wanting to put on different clothes and head back out again. I was prepared to simply go alone with friends and not worry about dealing with the same kind of attitude I had gotten last year.

A week ago, D commented that he would come straight from work to Sue's house for dinner, or possibly meet us at the party if we were finished or he ended up stuck at work later. Two days ago, he turned down his boss's request to have him work a later shift this evening because he had already committed to my school function. This morning, he asked me which tie he should take with to work to wear tonight. And the most amazing thing is that none of it was said grudgingly or with annoyance. I get the feeling D is actually excited to be able to go tonight.

Of course, there is always room for disappointment later, but it's these little changes in attitude that have truly marked the biggest differences in our lives over the past year--and for those, I am eternally and overwhelmingly grateful.

Edit: We had a fabulous time. :-)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

My Kingdom for a Pillow

Today is one of those days where I know what I need.

What I need, today, is some self-care. The good news is that I'm aware of it and not just letting myself get flurried into a dozen different activities and directions until I've completely lost myself. The bad news is, it's a very difficult day to practice any kind of self-care at all.

The biggest thing is, I'm really tired. D's car is in the shop (to the tune of many hundreds of dollars, oh joy), and in effort to save money, we chose not to rent a car but simply share mine for a few days until his is fixed. Really this isn't a bad thing, especially considering that this week in particular is a very light week at school and on the days where I need the car I am able to simply drop him off and pick him up. The problem is that last night D worked the closing shift, and though he called me to come get him at around midnight (not so far from my usual bedtime), when I arrived there had been some sort of crazy last minute issue and we ended up not getting home until almost 2:00 am. And then, of course, I had to be at class at 9 (well, really 8, but I chalked that one up to Not Dying). So anyway...tired. Usually my lack-of-sleep MO is to just take a little nap the next afternoon and go about my life, but unfortunately today I am stuck awake waiting on the plumber. Because of course we needed something else to spend our money on, the dishwasher decided to start backing up into the sink last night and spraying dirty, disgusting water all about the kitchen. It was a party. I also have a quiz tomorrow, so I originally thought that I would just force myself through the waiting-on-the-plumbers time period by getting that done so that then I could nap, but that's not feeling so productive either.
Sing it with me folks---You cain't...always get...what you waaaaaaa-aaant. Ah, well. My goal is, by the end of the day, to get what I need.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

In My Mirror

Last night, D's sister (we'll call her...Anna) called late. She's been having a lot of trouble in her life recently and I think she just wanted to chat...she's currently going through a divorce, having trouble with her job, unhappy with where she's living and just in general in a really negative place. I feel for her, because I know what it is like to grieve a relationship (although in my case, it was obviously not a divorce but the process of working through addiction), and to feel stuck in a position you don't want to be in. I've never been extremely close with Anna, so I don't often feel that I am in a position to offer her advice, but she said something last night that I found myself extremely touched by.

As D and Anna chatted (with me close enough to the phone to hear), Anna shared that she was frustrated by the fact that she will probably have to take on a second job in order to pay off the rather extensive debt that she and her ex have built up. She was even more concerned because the ex apparently just got a DUI a few days ago, and is looking at several thousand dollars in fines, fees, etc. that will land a more significant chunk of the credit card bill on Anna's shoulders in the coming months. Of course, D said (and I thought to myself) that she should let the blame rest squarely on her ex's shoulders--he got himself into trouble, and she should not have to pay extra bills because of his mistake. "You don't understand," Anna said. "The bills have to get paid one way or the other, and I want the debt gone. Besides, this wouldn't have happened if we were still together--I would have been able to stop him or drive him home."

In those words--in Anna's attempts to take on her ex's problems as her own, to shoulder more than her fair share of the burden, in her ardent belief that had she been there, she could have controlled him and his actions and the situation to a more positive end--I felt more kin to her than I ever have. Here in her own life, I saw a mirror to my own past codependent mess. No! I wanted to shout through the phone line (or somehow teleport myself through it to shake her into sense). Nothing you do can control what he does. His behavior is his, his bad choices are his, and the consequences of those choices do not have to make your life worse if you don't let them. I wanted to tell her how this used to be me--how I honestly believed that if I were present all the time, constantly watching the phone bill and computer and D's social life, none of the horrible addicty problems would have ever arisen. But of course, I couldn't do that. Because I can't fix her either--and she will have to come to realize all this in her own time.

In the meantime, my heart goes out to her. And I am grateful for the fact that I, at least, can now realize that someone else's drunken mistake is not of my own doing, and not something I can fix, or need to feel guilty about, or take on the consequences for if I don't choose to do so.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Slaving Away

Do you ever get frustrated on behalf of someone else? I have a bad habit of that with D. Today's example: one of D's employees is basically a crappy worker. Shows up late, leaves early, often disappears throughout the workday, acts misogynistically toward other women that he works with, and (best of all) blames his poor performance on D and his coworker M because they "set a bad example" and "don't support him." When D and M try to correct his behavior, the employee complains to other bosses that D and M are too hard on him, don't like him, and then D and M get in trouble for being too harsh and not good managers D and M work evenings and weekends, and their other co-workers and bosses who are not there at the same time have no problems with this employee. Recently, the employee (let's call him "Bob") sexually harassed a customer of the company to the point that she made a complaint to D and M, who forwarded her information to their head of human resources. D and M were both relieved that there was finally some legitimate evidence about Bob's wrong-doings and hopeful that he would be reprimanded at least, if not fired.

Today D called me from work because he was incredibly frustrated that the head of HR had been unable to reach the woman who filed the complaint, and therefore nothing would be done about Bob's behavior. In fact, a previous write-up for other issues was also being removed because Bob had complained that the only reason this issue had been brought to HR was because D and M "had it out for him."

I hate this, because D basically works a really crappy middle-management job while I finish up school. We can't afford for both of us to be in graduate school at the same time, and D's true "dream career" requires a lot of extra education. And so he goes in every week to a job he hates in order to support me and my ability to pursue my career. And when things go badly at his job as a result, I feel bad and frustrated for him, sometimes to the point that I feel as though it's my fault he's in this situation--if I had not chosen to pursue graduate work, he might be able to quit his job for a while in order to either go back to school or at least find another/better position elsewhere.

I know (intellectually) that it's not my fault. I didn't cause it, can't control it. But I hate hate hate hearing every day about how awful it is, especially when there is nothing in my bottomless well of codependent helpfulness that I can bring up to say or do to help make things better.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

God in 100 Words Or Less

Do you know MPJ? If not, you should. Her blog is awesome--amazingly written, interesting topics, and one of the first and best sources of SA recovery-related material I found when I first got into this blogging experience. She recently wrote a post entitled "God in 100 words or less," in which (as you might imagine), she challenged others to explore their idea of a Higher Power. I've been thinking about this for a while, and as I'm right now in the midst of doing some shuffling about in my spiritual life, it seemed a good time to sort through some of my own ideas about God. And so....

God is Love. Truth. Beauty. All with Capital Letters.
My God connects us all because He is within us all--a divine spark in our deepest soul.
My God has no religion but reveals herself in all of them, sending messengers like Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed to show us his compassion.
He is my guide and strength. A very real presence in a sometimes unreal world.
God reveals Godself daily in kindness, laughter, music, sunsets.
My God cannot condemn because she cannot help but love us.
My God cannot be defined, but compels us to search for words anyway.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Out of the Dumps

It felt good to get that last post out, but since then I feel like I've been spending way too much time focusing on D and his life and his recovery and his actions and behavior. I've just been having one of those weeks when I want to ask every day, multiple times a day, if everything is going ok with him and if he is sober. I know it's not healthy, and I'm trying to kick the habit once again and get the focus back to me, but it's been more difficult this time for some reason. We did end up talking a bit more about the moving situation, and it was a calmer discussion but when it comes to this kind of thing, we often seem to come to the same conclusions over and over again. It's not that the conclusions aren't satisfying--they're just difficult to pin down.

Basically what always happens is D does everything in his power to reassure me that he is fine, nothing is wrong, he is not acting out or thinking of acting out, and then he gets hurt that I am once again suspicious when nothing is wrong and that he cannot go a (insert here: day, week, however long it's been since our last discussion) without me bringing up the past or assuming something is wrong with him. He doesn't like to think about it because he's trying to just be a good, normal, non-sex addicty person. My problem is that while he tries his damnedest to avoid thinking about it, I often cannot escape thinking about it. It follows me. I mean, things are wonderful in our life right now--D has been sober almost 18 months, school is going very well, we are planning a lovely and well-deserved vacation, etc. etc. etc. There's really no reasons for me to be worried or suspicious, but every now and then I'll just be driving down the road on my way to somewhere innocuous like the grocery and all of a sudden I just have a random flashback to a really bad point in our history. Those kinds of things have been happening more recently lately, and I think it's contributing to my not-so-fabulous state of being, even in the face of the outer fabulous that life seems to be at the moment.

Maybe it's the weather--I've long said that I feel I really do suffer from seasonal affective disorder, especially in this time of year when spring seems so close and yet so damn far away. I want to start wearing skirts and tank tops again, and find myself wishing I could will it to be warm just so I wouldn't have to bundle up so much on my way to class and work. Either way, though, I'm sick of being here, and while I know that sometimes you just have to accept where you are for the moment and know that "this too shall pass," I also know that sometimes I can't get better if I don't do something about it. And so I'm setting a goal this week to start doing a few little things to help me concentrate more on me and what I can do to stay healthy, rather than focusing so much on D. Goals for this week are to spend more time with my higher power each day, exercise at least 3 days (that's another thing the cold weather does to me--I'm not motivated to exercise, which just makes me feel worse which makes me not want to's a vicious cycle), and make a gratitude list each day. Starting now.

Today, I am grateful for the excitement that my next school year will bring as I move into more career-oriented work. I am grateful for my wonderful family. I am grateful for the new items I recently bought for the house that make it feel so much more homey. And I am as always grateful for this blog, its readers, and all my other wonderful recovery friends and resources who are such a help when things get difficult.

Sunday, February 28, 2010


I'm still working through the issue that arose yesterday with D helping his friend move. Sadly, I didn't handle the whole situation all too well--he ended up coming home a little later than expected, and when he called to let me know he was returning, I pretty much blew up. Of course, expressing my discomfort with the situation was not made better by my own screaming, but sometimes I feel that I just can't express exactly how I'm feeling otherwise. And that realization, along with Bernadine's most recent post, helped me realize that one of the issues I still have (and have never really worked on) is the anger I have felt (and still feel) toward D for this whole situation.

I have never really, fully admitted to just how angry D's behavior has made me. I mean yes, when disclosure first happened and as we worked through his probation and counseling we discussed the fact that he had hurt me and made me angry, but I've never really examined that anger, gotten to the core of it. At heart, I have to admit that this whole experience has, indeed, made me incredibly angry. I am angry that I had to waste so much time and money driving to counseling and PO appointments, angry that because of his criminal record we will always be limited in terms of D's career options, angry that my partner and best friend lied to my face for years about behavior that was painfully obvious. I am angry with myself for believing all of it, angry that I somehow became the kind of person who accepted that kind of mistreatment in exchange for security. I am angry that someone I love so completely was capable of mistreating me so horribly. Angry that D spent so much time with other women--either chatting online, texting, talking, or being together face-to-face instead of building time with me.

But more than anything I am angry that I cannot get back the trust that was broken. Angry that almost every day of my life, no matter how normal life seems to be, I am in some way reminded of the innocence I can't get back. I am angry that I cannot kiss my husband goodbye in the morning without saying a prayer that he will stay sober that day. Angry that I cannot simply be glad when my husband goes to help a friend move, but instead can't help but think through his motives and actions with a fine-tooth comb. Angry that I feel silly for getting upset about such a normal activity, yet also know that my reaction is justified. Angry, in short, that my world can never just be the simple, happy life I had before sex addiction found its place in our lives.

I'm still trying to figure out exactly what made yesterday so triggering, so that I can possibly set a new boundary or at least discuss it with D. Yesterday evening when we talked/fought about it, D offered to let me call the people who were there (both girls and guys) to confirm that nothing bad had happened, but it didn't make me feel better. He offered to not agree to something like this again without checking with me first, but that didn't help either--after all, I don't want to be the horrible wife who prevents my own husband from being a good person. I think that all this points to the ultimate problem being my inability to confirm his motives. Sure, nothing may have happened. There were many times when nothing happened with women he was seeking out before. My problem is, I will obviously never be able to truly know his intentions, thoughts, motives for almost anything, so I'm not sure if there are really any ways to make this better or prevent it in the future. But maybe just talking about it and admitting that some of this still makes me really, really angry is a start.

Saturday, February 27, 2010


D informed me last night that he was going to spend a couple hours after work today helping a (female) friend move. Now, when I work through things, I tend to love making lists. So, without further ado...

  • He told me about this apparently as soon as he knew about it.
  • I know the friend. She's a pretty nice girl who has hung out with us several times.
  • D promised he had only agreed to help for an hour or two because we haven't seen each other very much lately and he wanted to make sure we got to spend an evening together.
  • I have no reason to believe D has any interest in this girl or is doing anything other than being a nice, helpful person to her/her roommate/her family/her dogs.
  • This kind of shit still makes me get nervous. Still.

I wish, oh but I wish I could just hear something like that and not react. But I can't yet. Maybe I never will. When he first told me, I stayed calm and asked for details, but inside I was shaking and my bottom was dropping out. And then, of course, come the little niggling voices... "What if he's only doing this because he's trying to flirt with her?" "What if she asked him to do this because she's interested in him?" "What if they've been texting or e-mailing under the radar this whole time and the moving thing is just a front to hook up?" "Last time he helped a female friend move it was many years ago when he was still acting out and he was being too flirtatious and manipulative with her." And on and on.

Like I said above, I have no reason to think D isn't sober. I openly explained to him this morning how I was feeling--that I didn't mind the idea of him helping his friend move, but situations like these still sometimes stir up old, bad feelings. I even explained the fact that the last time he helped someone move it was a person with whom he had an inappropriate relationship (albeit not physical, but emotional infidelity hurts too). But somehow it still doesn't feel like enough. I still don't feel right about it. I'm still worried that somewhere somehow something bad is going to happen (or already has). I just wish there were a way to make the thoughts and worries and stomach lurches go away so I can have a nice, normal, non-sex-addiction day.

Monday, February 15, 2010


We have (yet another) snow day today as nature continues to inundate the midwest and east coast. I enjoy how pretty the snow can make things, but honestly at this point I'm just tired of it and ready for some warm. The chance to kick back and have nothing on the docket does, however, give me the opportunity to do some much-needed thinking and writing.

I've been thinking a lot about religion lately. I was raised in a Christian church by a decidedly liberal family--raised to question the authority of the capital-c Church, to understand the historical aspects behind the Bible and those who wrote it. I never grew up thinking that the bible was infallible or that the world was literally created in 6 days. And I like that. I've always appreciated my parents' efforts to make my siblings and I educated, thoughtful, and non-complacent when it came to religion. At the same time, however, we have always attended church. The same church, in fact--always in our same pew, every Sunday. And recently, that church has started to chafe me a bit. I suppose it's been a growing problem for a long time, but has recently started coming to a head as I've spent more time thinking about what it is I really believe (and also just how much I can't stand the current pastor).

This newfound soul-searching has coincided with the fact that my friend Sue has recently begun attending a new church with her boyfriend and thoroughly enjoying it. This church is what is known as unitarian, which essentially means that as a church, they welcome people from all religious backgrounds and encourage members to seek their own Truth while affirming the inherent dignity and worth of all peoples and beliefs. That one sentence was enough to get me hooked, and further research into the idea basically showed me that this concept (at least on paper) is exactly what I have been looking for in a church all my life. I do consider myself somewhat more Christian-based than the unitarian church as a whole, but what I love about it is that I can be Christian and find my Truth in that way, while respecting that the person next to me may find the same Truth via Hindu scriptures or Humanism or Paganism or anything else. This, for me personally, is a huge revelation--I have always felt within myself that there is truth to be found in all the major religions of the world, and here is a religion that affirms that fact.
And so, with this exciting new knowledge, D and I joined Sue and her boyfriend John for church on Sunday. And we both really, really enjoyed it (which is relatively shocking, because D has always been an ardent non-supporter of organized religion) and wanted to return.

Hooray, right? The only problem is that while I feel such a draw to this practice, I have a feeling that my family may not be as supportive. It's probably a stupid fear--my mom in particular I don't think will mind too much, although she will probably be happier if I at least continue also attending our family church at least until my grandmother dies. My dad, on the other hand, is another matter. Not that he disapproves directly, but he tends to be very set about his traditions and life, and would probably be generally upset if I were to stop attending church with the rest of the family. In fact, when D and I broached the subject at family lunch on Sunday following the service, my dad's initial reaction was, "Wait, WHAT kind of church was this?!!?" Even though he may agree with may of the tenets, he just can't wrap his head around the idea that I would choose this path.

My problem is that I'm just not sure how to deal with this. Obviously I want to do what makes me happy and what I feel is right for me, but I also don't want to cause strife with my parents. Especially with my parents, my people-pleasing properties tend to be especially strong and problematic, and so part of me wants to just say they can get over it, and part of me wants to avoid confrontation. I'm obviously hopeful that they'll just come to accept my choices, but even if they don't, I hope that I'll find the courage to stand up for myself.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Thoughts of Spring

There were fresh tulips at the grocery yesterday. Now there are fresh tulips on my kitchen table.
This morning I was awoken by birds chirping outside my window.

We may have 6 more weeks of cold and snow, but it's the tiny signals that there will be a spring that are the highlight of my Winter.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sharing (Or Not)

My school sent me an e-mail today informing me that there will soon be a session for incoming grad students about dealing with addiction--both in the people we serve and in ourselves, as we work in an often busy and stressful environment that can often lead to higher percentages of such problems. There will be various community panelists who have battled addiction coming in to work with small groups, to let these new students know about the harrows of addiction and recovery from various substances and behaviors. In the e-mail, one of our professors asked for any of us who might have had experience with addiction (either on our own, or family/friends etc.) and would be willing to share to join in the small groups as panelists, were we comfortable doing so at this point in our recovery.

I think, first of all, that this is a fabulous idea. Too many professionals (in most fields, not just my own) don't realize just how prevalent addiction is among us, and knowing that some of your fellow students have dealt intimately with the subject could be incredibly helpful to those who might otherwise be too afraid or proud or ashamed to step forward and seek help otherwise. In fact, I think it's such a great idea that I'd love to step forward and help out as a panelist. The problem is, I'm not sure if either my husband or I would be prepared to take such a huge step in "outing ourselves."

I have gained a great deal from others as I have worked through my own recovery from this crazy disease that is SA. Without other bloggers, online meetings and support groups, and real-life counselors, I don't think I would be where I am today--let alone my husband or my marriage. And it is one of the major points of most recovery groups that the ultimate in giving back is to share the message with others. But yet, there is something incredibly private about sex addiction, especially given the stigma that it carries in the media and society in general. If my husband were a recovering alcoholic, this would seem to be a much simpler answer, but sharing with a group of colleagues, some of whom I know relatively well and some who will be my superiors as I continue in school and career, is much more difficult a prospect given the sensitivity of the subject. I know first of all that D may not approve, and his privacy is equally as important as mine. Even if he approves, however, I am not sure that I would feel comfortable being so open to these people I work so closely with.

I have some time to make a decision, but I find myself intrigued by the prospect of doing so. What do you think? If you had to chance to share your experience with co-workers and colleagues in a setting like this, would you take it or protect your anonymity?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Empathy and Its Downfalls

A close friend of mine (let's call him/her J) recently discovered that an immediate family member has a life-threatening illness (it's so terribly difficult to share things like this and maintain anonymity, so you'll have to forgive the vagueness). This particular disease, once diagnosed, has a very short life expectancy--a year, perhaps, maybe a bit more or less. Obviously, I feel terrible for J. I cannot fathom what it must be to be going about life minding your own business and suddenly be facing the imminent death of someone you so dearly love. There are always the survivors, of course, those who defy the odds, but the odds are still not good. As a result, I find myself trying to do and be what J needs right now, to help facilitate the maintenance of as normal a life as possible given the circumstances. But I just can't help but feel that I'm running into trouble.

It's not that I'm over-extending myself trying to care for J. In fact, J is almost as stubborn as I am in refusing to ask for help if it's needed, or at least is still in shock and just unsure of how to feel and act--and as a result, I honestly haven't found much that J will actually allow me to do to help at all. Where I'm finding trouble is that I think I'm just transferring way too much of J's emotional climate to myself in an effort to be empathetic. I've always cared very much for people and naturally do feel like I am more in tune with others' feelings than most, and I know that it can be a detriment as much as an asset at times. Right now with J I can't seem to stop thinking about how awful I would feel if this were my mother/sister/father/spouse, and what in the world I would do without one of them, and what if one of them was going to die--and then I actually start feeling scared as though it were happening to me, or at least sick with worry that it could happen to me and mine. Much of this grows from my love for J, from whom I would spare this pain if I could--but it's not my burden, and I am growing tired of these feelings of fear and anxiety for J and for my own family.

Yet another thing I can't control but can't seem to stop stressing over.