Category Archives: Uncategorized

Human Being

Human being, not human doing. We are here to be, to experience. Others are here to experience BEING and they are also a part of our experience. Every human experiences “being” differently. It’s truly an art form and every one is their own artist. We are quick to judge art that doesn’t look “good” according to our standards, and quick to applaud that which soothes, intrigues, and inspires us. 

There are those we let in and those we keep out of our experience of “being” human. While everyone is unique to our experience “Special people” are those we are drawn to (like family, friends, lovers, etc.) who are equally here to experience “being” human with us. The problem is that we get attached to the roles we think they should be playing, and become ruffled when the image we had of them in our mind isn’t what we thought. So we become frantic trying to find a way to shape them back into the form we wanted them to take in our life, and at that moment the experience is lost.
It is lost because we aren’t there to experience them anymore. We are there to control or to get a specific outcome that pleases us, or to mold people into something that makes our life more comforting or less threatening. Our experiences become expectations and desires.

Desire… wanting a specific outcome from an experience… it’s what makes the pursuit of the experience so exhilarating. It’s the fuel to the fire of our motivation. But the journey is where the treasure lies. This is what human BEING is all about. 

I’m Going to Die…Eventually

I’ve been thinking about death a lot these days. I had recurring dreams about my own death for several days in a row that I began to wonder…am I going to die?

 

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Death is serious and I hesitate to talk about it because it hits home to so many, and it hurts. Losing a loved one hurts. A lot. But this week, I took some time out to think about my own death, and what it could actually mean for myself, my family, and my friends. It was dark, and depressing because what I came to conclude was that my children would be left without Mommy, and left to live with very careless, dangerous, and emotionally unavailable men. The feeling of powerlessness over that consumed me and brought me to my knees. What if… this day was my last day? What if this week was my last week? What if this year was my last year? What kind of memories have I left for my children? What kind of hopes and dreams have I inspired in them? How much sense of value, worthiness, and self-love have I instilled in their hearts? How would they remember me? What parts would bring them grief? What parts would bring them joy?

 

It was a sad week for me, but it left me with the conclusion that, I don’t know how much longer I have. I could have another fifty or sixty years. Or, today might be my last day. Because I never know, because tomorrow’s breath is not guaranteed, why would I waste another second not trying to make this day the best?

 

In doing this reflection, I realized that in order for me to take my life seriously, part of me actually DID have to die. Not a physical death, but the death of old, useless beliefs that do not move me forward in my conscious evolution and purposeful intentions of leaving this world just a little better than when I fell into it.

 

When I began my “spiritual journey”, I came across a word that at the time felt threatening to me. The word was “detachment”. In the midst of betrayal and infidelity, the idea of keeping the focus on my own recovery, healing, and overcoming the trauma sounded and felt more like “turn a blind eye to the offender”. It was hard to see that it was actually advising that, if we keep our focus on the offender, we will always be in fight or flight mode, stuck in a state of hypervigilance, stress, anxiety, and fully enmeshed in the other person’s life. This prevents us from attending to inner healing that is put on the back burner and not being tended to.

 

It might be different for everyone, but my understanding of detachment came in phases. The first phase was thinking that I was not allowed to think about the offender (in this case, my husband’s sexual affairs (past or present)). I thought I was not allowed to think or feel about how horrible it felt being betrayed and lied to. It felt like I was being advised to deny my feelings and sadness. What I came to learn through therapy and spiritual practice, was that you gotta grieve, and grief is an absolute MUST in healing. However, grief is only the beginning, not the end, of the healing process. After that, there’s a time to let it go. But to let it go meant that I had to be really honest with myself and identify if I was ruminating over the events/offender, or truly grieving. For me, grieving was about two and a half months. After that it became pretty clear that I was simply ruminating. I was able to recognize the difference as one of the tell-tell signs was me starting to feel bitter, negative, resentful, and angry as I replayed the past grievances that, for the most part, were not even relevant to the real problems, and sometimes the thoughts were putting me into a negative spiral of sadness, despair, and extra pain. It was not helping me heal, but more like “picking at scabs”.

 

When I realized that I was causing myself unnecessary pain by ruminating, I used the 3-second method, which was this: If I found my mind wandering with thoughts about the offense, I would allow myself to think about the issue for 3 seconds and then automatically change my focus onto something positive. Eventually, through this exercise, the next phase of my understanding about detachment came.

 

This required me to change my story around the issues. I decided to stop seeing him as a perpetrator and more of an “angel” of sorts. Through his horrific acts, I was pushed to dig deep within myself, and uncover some pretty embarrassing character defects of my own. I was also pushed far enough to realize my worth, my value, and what I really wanted in life. This “angel” had brought so much darkness into my life, that I had no other choice but to decide if I wanted to stay in darkness or shine as bright as I possibly could so that I could at least find my way out. This “angel of darkness” was a further catalyst to my spiritual growth. Without him, I would have stayed stuck in a stale place in my conscious evolution. I was codependent, and afraid. I put on a façade of strength and confidence when in fact I was a nervous wreck always holding back and making excuses of why I couldn’t move forward or pursue my passions. My goals, my dreams, my passions were all on the back burner. But in all honesty, I am not even sure I recognized or knew what my passions were at that time. Perhaps, it was through the suffering, dark coldness that I discovered them?

 

The monstor image I had of him in my mind, became softer. Anger turned to gratitude. The next phase of my detachment felt like depression though. I was sad. It went to a pretty negative place. I wondered, “if all of this suffering is for some greater purpose, why should I care about anything? Why should I want anything? Why get mad, sad, or even happy, if none of it is supposed to matter? If I can’t do anything about anything, and everything is out of my control, why care? Why bother?” At one point, I was convinced that this life seriously sucked and I had absolutely no hope that it could ever be a life of joy. It felt a little like “punishment”. This was a hard phase to get out of.

 

The key to that part, for me, was realizing how extremely self-centered and self-absorbed I was. I was only looking at it through what I was getting out of it. What we too often fail to remember is that joy comes not out of getting, but giving. When we do good, or see others do good, we feel “good”. When we do bad, see others do bad, or even dwell on our own miseries and failures, we feel “bad”. What’s worse, is especially when we see other’s successes as a threat to our own, or somehow playing a part in our failure, or competition to our personal success, we feel bad (and in most cases, threatened, and angry). So when we see our loved one walk away from us, no matter how many years we swore that we loved them unconditionally, we do not see them as our loved one anymore, but as an enemy or a threat to our goals. We carelessly misuse the phrase “Oh, I’m just detaching…” We confused completely disconnecting that part of us that loved them very much with detaching.

Hell bent on making it clear to the world that this person had strayed from our tightly held expectations that they should be or do differently than what we wanted, and thus they are in the wrong. Instead of caring about their wellbeing and respect their choices, we shut down and say we’re just “detaching” because detaching keeps us focused on ourselves.  This is they way I processed detachment for several years.

 

Unfortunately, this wasn’t helping me heal. Determined to heal, and determined to stop feeling so bad, I saught the advice of a spiritually-awakened friend. I had to commit to praying for my husband morning and night, that he would get everything he wanted in life, and that he was embraced with unconditional love, inner peace, and genuine happiness. The first week was white-knuckling it and took every bit of strength and energy for me to even mumble those words in my mind, much less outloud. Getting through those prayers for the first week was torture. But after 2 or 3 weeks of praying morning and night, it was when I was able to genuinely feel it and mean it.

 

The next phase of my coming to understand and grasp what detachment really was, was learning how to understand and accept that everything was out of my control. I couldn’t control what he thought, felt, said, or did. No matter how much I changed, he continued to be mean, verbally abusive, hostile, and deeper into his sexual addiction, alcoholism, and gambling. But this time, since I no longer saw him as an enemy, but an “angel”, and because now I genuinely wished for total joy and love for him, my attachment to what I wanted to be different was no longer there. I was at peace with the fact that he was who he was, and he does what he does. I no longer felt a need to respond emotionally or verbally to his prompts. Through gratitude and changing the way I saw him, my faith and hope grew. I came to realize that perhaps all of this was an opportunity for me to grow, evolve, and learn something very important. I had a nudging sense that if I could process this “opportunity” I was sure to find…joy. This was something I felt very confident about, and looking at how I had processed everything in the past, and how futile it was, I knew there was no turning back to old thought patterns and behaviors. For sure, something about me had to “die”.

 

Detachment finally meant accepting reality, being honest about my reality, and embracing it. In doing this, we don’t feel sad. We don’t feel depressed, and we don’t feel hopeless, as I had originally thought.

 

The only sad part about it was that loss is a part of life, that just like everything else, must be embraced. We don’t want to do that because we tend to think that if we “embrace loss” it means that we don’t feel anything- that we’re cold-hearted and don’t care. But what I’ve found in doing this spiritual practice, is that only by embracing loss, we are then able to truly value life. The reality of loss, when embraced, shakes you just enough so that you can finally appreciate it ALL, in its entirety. We step out of our selfish expectations of perfect partners and friendly like-minded people, and see that darkness makes light precious. Death makes life precious. Mean people make kindness precious. We begin to truly cherish everything good in our life. We realize all that nonsense, that bullshit- it’s all a distraction from what really matters.

We stop looking at what we’re getting out of it all, and realize that the real power of change is in what we’re willing to give, and how much we’re willing to love.
The death that I was sensing was this belief that I had time to be angry and insecure, and that I was justified and deserved the opportunity to take that bitterness out on another person. What needed to die was the belief that my passions would simply unfold once I got what I wanted, the way I wanted it, and then had the motivation to pursue them. Life is short, and we’ve got a lot of evolving to do on a conscious level. There is tremendous fear in detaching from that which is holding us back from our true potential and conscious evolution. We attach to relationships, jobs, material things, and the false sense of security they bring, and when those relationships, jobs, and material things are torn away from us, we realize and regret that our foundation was mistakenly placed.

 

I am starting to see how easily distracted I become when I see things as “not going my way”. Instead of keeping true to my personal values, morals, and holding strong in my integrity and what I believe my purpose is in life, I get side-tracked and react to things I don’t like in ways that don’t reflect the person I wish to be. This distraction has gotten the best of me. For the majority of my life, however, my reactions to unpleasant events were a protective mechanism. And while it seemed to work in my childhood, as I grew up, my habitual patterns and reactions to those distractions put me further from my goals, and way out of line with my values.  The person I wished to be remembered for, when my time does come, to leave this world.

All You Need…Is Within

The past few months went from hope and faith that some “higher power” would heal my marriage to acceptance that it wasn’t supposed to be saved. It wasn’t real. The moment I recognized that my marriage was a sham I had two very clear paths in front of me: Path 1 was to be a victim, get angry, and blame my husband for horrendous atrocities and live bitterly in resentment about how he ruined my life. And then there was Path 2. Path 2 was to change my story from being a victim to being responsible.

Anyone who has been hurt, betrayed to, and abused may think, “why should I have to be responsible for any of this? I didn’t cause it!” While I can agree that we may not have caused it, and while it may be entirely true that none of it was even fair, the fact is we ARE completely responsible for what we choose to do with it. We can choose to take revenge, add fire to the flame, increase hostility and negativity… or we can move on.

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I will be the first to admit that it is so much easier said than done. But the second you acknowledge that you actually HAVE that power AND responsibility to change your perspective of being a victim to something else (honestly, it probably doesn’t matter what you change it to, so long as it is empowering and positive. Be a unicorn, be a queen, be whatever…), that is when the sobering reality comes in and corners you, asking, “what are you going to do about that now?”

What I’ve learned through this was that my suffering was primarily about the story I was telling. The story I kept telling myself and others. This story was on repeat in my head ALL day, 24/7. What I hadn’t realized was that I CHOSE that story. The story didn’t choose me.

Write-your-own-story-Simple-SojournsThat’s a nasty pill to swallow, but it was true. If ever an “oh shit” moment, that was mine.If it is true that I was creating a story in which I was a victim, the story had been repeated so often that my entirety believed it true. I’m not saying that what my husband did wasn’t wrong. It was! It was horrendous! A real prick! My bitterness wants to say these kinds of people shouldn’t be allowed to breathe on this Earth… but that’s bitterness talking…

The fact of the matter was that I was NOT getting joy from choosing Path 1. Yet, I continued to choose Path 1 over and over, and when I realized that I could potentially choose another path and could potentially feel a WHOLE LOT better, the idea of choosing Path 2 became a little more attractive to me.

Path 2 wasn’t an easy path though, because Path 2 required me to feel my pain (and honestly, who wants to feel pain!?). It required me to sit with and grieve the loss, forcing me to deal EFFECTIVELY with the normal woundedness of being a human being. And with that grieving, came a promise of healing. To me, that sounded pretty attractive, even though the cost (feeling pain) didn’t seem alluring at all.

Path 1, my chosen path for several years was be a victim, complain about it, argue about it, fight it, lament it, and then hope and pray that through some godly miracle, the other person will finally see the light and change and make me happy (not happening). Path 2 was: deal with the shit effectively.

Path 2 allowed me to complain about it, argue about it, fight it, lament it, and kick the floor, but it required me to get it out of my system by EFFECTIVELY processing it, and then MOVE ON. People that choose Path 1 don’t like the “move one” part.

But when we do move on, one day we realize you simply don’t need it because we’ve grown through it. We’ve felt the pain, let it shake us to our core, and then we reach the first moment of real choice: Do I stay a victim? Do I stay powerless? Do I stay irresponsible? Or do I choose a different story now?

Everyone makes that choice to stay a victim or to move on. Most people like being the victim and subconsciously rationalize that it’s just too hard to grow up and take responsibility for themselves, so instead of doing anything effective, they continue to complain like a helpless victim and continue to make life “wrong”. I did that for the majority of my life. What I didn’t realize is that the prison I thought I was in was a prison of my own doing. No one forced me into it.

The past few months, I’ve had some time to do some inner reflection and really question what it is that I was trying to get out of all of this and the answer was simply, “JOY”. I want an inner peace and joy that cannot be shaken by external circumstances. And allowing external circumstances to shake my joy was me working against my goals. The hard part about all of this is, again, all about CHOICE. If my unshakeable inner peace and joy is my goal, what am I willing to do to achieve it? Do I continue down a path that clearly wasn’t working? Or do I choose another completely different path? A NEW way of thinking?

A new way of thinking is hard, because our brains are hardwired to take the blame path. It’s all based on fight/flight, and while it is natural, it’s also primitive, and we need to evolve or we will suffer. The solution is not to “delete” these patterns (we can’t) but to create new ones. This is the challenge, but this is where your control is.

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Now, when I find myself ruminating on the past, the pain, or even the uncertain future, I bring myself back to the present. And since I’ve realized that hating my husband just brought me more pain, I choose an alternative path again, which was to say a silent prayer for him: “Dear God, I pray that he receives everything he wants in life, including the experience of unconditional love, peace, and happiness.”

I don’t know how it works…but somehow, when I offer unconditional love to even those that have hurt me, creates an inner peace and joy I’ve not felt in decades… and guess what!? THAT was my goal.

All I needed…was always within.

Marriage Fraud – I Was Used For A Green Card

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Three weeks ago, my husband told me the truth. The first time in our 2 years of marriage, he finally told me the truth on his own will. But what he told me was so shocking, and so unbelievable that I didn’t want to believe it. Everything inside me wanted to believe it was just his “addict brain” talking. He had quit his recovery program a few months prior, so I had reason to suspect his acting out had gotten out of hand. He started dating a few women, and continued his rendezvous with prostitutes, escorts, and erotic Asian and Russian massage parlor women (his fetish). So when he told me, “I’ve never loved you. I am just using you because of the green card…” my mind and heart shut down. No! How could this be? How could I have not seen the red flags?? I sat with that for a few days, rehashing and ruminating on our past, and I had realized that is probably why I never felt loved. That is probably why he was always so abusive, angry, threatening, and cheating. That’s why he didn’t care about his recovery program. No wonder! 
So what does all this mean for me now? What do I with that information? I reached out to an online Victims of Immigration Fraud Support Group that referred me to the US Consulate in Mexico. My first thought was, if I tell them the truth, they will tell him! And then he will retaliate with violence and possibly kidnap our baby! I can’t tell anyone! I reached out to an Immigration Attorney, who told me it would be confidential. I had to believe her, because I knew I couldn’t keep following this man and complying with his demands.

The immigration attorney advised me to write a letter to USCIS, cc’ing the local office, NVC, and ICE. I did. And now I fear deeply for my and my child’s safety. What will happen? How will this play out? Who do I go to for legal protection? What if he takes my child? I reached out to my family law attorney who said that legally he had a right to equal visitation, and joint custody. There was nothing I could do. My husband knew that too. I knew that if I tried to keep him from the baby he would get even more angry and maybe even take a harsher retaliation against me. I was stuck and had to comply with him just to keep him “calm”.
He has caused so much damage to this country, spreading STDs, engaging in illegal and immoral sexual acts with prostitutes, cheating his taxes, driving recklessly drunk, speeding, accumulating large amounts of tickets and warning letters from the DMV, gambling away all of our money, not paying his taxes, in debt and in collections with several companies/banks, and daily hurting innocent and vulnerable women that trust him, putting our child in unhealthy environments, and exposing him to drunken men and prostitutes/escorts at their new home. While we applied thinking that without him it would be a serious hardship for me, it has been an abusive, dangerous, and severe hardship with him HERE IN THE U.S. His presence in the US and in our family has caused us more harm and hardship than we can handle. It has caused extreme stress and anxiety in our home, and we are constantly living in fear of his addictive behaviors and violent behavior. He is dangerous. He is abusive. He is VIOLENT.

And because I missed all the red flags… it came this far. My son is now a child of a narcissistic sociopath addict that has caused serious damage and distress to this country. And there’s nothing I can do about that. Family Law says I have to prove his abuse. I have no proof. They say even ICE won’t deport him because they have no resources or time for it.
He insists that “for the best interest of our baby”, I should continue the green card process so that our baby can “have a father”. I worry that his abusive and addictive nature is NOT in the best interest of our baby, for me, and definitely NOT for this country, and after a lot of thought I came to the conclusion that the best thing for me, my family, and for this country, was to withdraw the entire visa/green card application. It was the only thing I could do. He may never be sent back to Mexico. He will likely end up continuing to live in the shadows, taking part in criminal actives and exposing my baby to his nasty and destructive addiction behaviors. But if I can share my story, maybe people will start to see… maybe it can help someone else…

Forgiveness – I Had it All Wrong…

For years I could not take my attention off of my sex addict husband. After what he did, the idea of taking my eye off of him (even if it was just “taking my mind off of him”) made me feel unsafe. By putting my attention on him, my life, my happiness, my sanity, and my recovery was left sitting in a dark corner. Ignored, unattended, rejected.

For years, all I could do was talk about things he did (years, months, weeks, and days prior). I didn’t want to accept the fact that what was done was done. Somehow, ruminating on it brought me comfort simultaneously bringing me great despair. It kept my pain alive, kept me a victim, and made it “important” to my identity as a victim. To me, forgiveness meant letting go of the “story” and “moving on as if nothing happened”. To let go of that had repercussions that were so unsure for me that it felt like too much of a risk to take, so I clung. For dear life.

Yes, there were consequences to things he did via his gambling, alcoholism, and sex addiction, such as acquiring several STDs, significant financial loss, losing trust, being emotionally and physically abused, etc. But the fact of the matter was that it was done. His addiction wasn’t done. No, no, no! That will be there all his life. So what was “done”? What was it I was hanging on to? I couldn’t admit it at first, but in truth I wasn’t hanging on to his actions. I was hanging on to the feeling of being betrayed and learning the truth about who I was really married to. I was no longer in the safe confines of not knowing. I was no longer capable of being in denial. I was no longer in the dark. The truth had come out and I HATED IT.

I thought he had stolen my sense of security, and what I didn’t want to admit to was that it was I who put my sense of security in the wrong place.

Letting go takes courage. Letting go of any offense takes courage. Sometimes I get really mad at him for something he said or did and at that moment, my feelings around it are very intense. But after a while, the feelings around it are completely gone. The negativity was temporary. I could hold on to it. I could add it to my list of “everything wrong with my husband” But why would I want to do that? It certainly wasn’t changing him. It wasn’t making him a better person. It wasn’t bringing me any sense of joy or empowerment.

Even with the big ticket items (like the addictions, constant lying, cheating, and abuse), I started realizing that the only thing left after something comes up is the story I keep telling myself about it.

My instructor was talking about an elderly bitter person who was complaining about her childhood. He laughed and said “what kind of life is it to be half-dead and still talking about something 50-60 years ago? Do you really want to waste what small amount of time you have left on this Earth dwelling on that?”

That thought shook me to my core… Here I am still complaining about the past, complaining that I didn’t get the life “I deserve”, and no amount of feeling bad and blaming him was going to change the fact that he was a con artist. No amount of hatred and mean words was going to change my reality into my fantasy life/marriage.

Letting go meant forgiveness. And forgiveness is about the present (not the past). Forgiveness is about how I’m living now. Am I thinking in a way “NOW” that will be helpful to me to live successfully? Am I open to whatever “NOW”? What choices am I making “NOW”? Because that’s all I can control. He will always be an addict. He will always look for victims to use and abuse. This is the very nature of sociopathic narcissists. This is HIS truth. He may never change. He may never recover. He may never feel any remorse, guilt, or shame about his behavior and choices. And I had no control over that.What was I doing about MY life, given those facts?

I started to see, unfortunately, that I have many habitual patterns that just keep on circulating, and those habits and patterns continued to make me unhappy. One of those was thinking that if I sacrificed myself for another, I could earn their love and affection.

It wasn’t the events, or the person, but the patterns of thinking that kept me in unsafe and unhealthy situations. Demanding that he stop being an addict, or demanding that he stop being who he is, was an unenforceable rule that I spent what feels like billions of wasted hours trying to fix.

Then it hit me: What if I put my attention and energy towards having a good life, rather than arguing with reality?

I was blaming my childhood, my husband, and other things for my current situation. Am I again reminding myself that this wasn’t fair, or that it shouldn’t have been done, or “how dare they!”? Yup…I was doing that. I clearly had not forgiven. I was NOT interested in letting anything go. I LOVED reminding everyone (especially him) about this horrendous injustice, because it protected my cherished victim status.

I did NOT want to admit that I screwed up in my life. Even if I was married to a complete a-hole, even if he may have contributed to ruining my time with him, I was choosing to stay. I was choosing to stay in denial. And if I left, I could be free from his behavior. But I wouldn’t be free from my own…Yes, he may have contributed to 80% of the damage when we were together, but the feelings I attached to that story needed to go.

Unfortunately, he’s not responsible for the next years of my life. I admit that I spent longer time than necessary to stay in a bad relationship and longer time than necessary being angry and resentful toward him after it happened. I admit that, knowing that there is an addiction (and addiction is a disease that lasts a lifetime), regardless of what he is or is not doing, it’s what I am doing NOW that is the problem. And NOW I can tell I wasn’t dealing with it very well.

I preferred explaining to people why my life didn’t work. It was hard accepting that what I was doing now wasn’t that successful. The easiest way to deal was to shift the spotlight off of me and my part of the problem and put all of the attention and blame on to HIM. I did NOT want to swallow the pill that my life was my responsibility. That’s when I realized that I was not forgiving or living my life very skillfully….

Through the Steps (and tons of ongoing therapy) I had to come to terms with identifying that which I could change NOW (not the past). Did I really wanna grow? If so, what about my patterns did I need to change?

I came to a 12-step program thinking I had something bad happen to me that the world just had to know about and help me fix. Through working the steps, I came to accept that I was struggling to cope with what had happened (not just with the sex addict but throughout my whole childhood). My suffering was trying to bring to surface the stories and life experiences I couldn’t adequately deal with or metabolize successfully.

Clearly, I had a LOT of work to do and NO time to keep obsessing about my husband’s transgressions and deceit…

My instructor compared it to a garden. He said, “Imagine you have a garden and the garden has some weeds. It doesn’t matter how long those weeds were there…You still have to pull them out!” You can sit and complain, “But it’s not fair I have weeds in my garden!” And, “If only I had a better gardener in 1993… then the weeds wouldn’t be here.” That just makes it harder to actually deal with what we have to deal with.

“Forgiveness is a little bit of pixy dust”, he said: It doesn’t matter why it’s here. It’s just here. It’s something that I have to deal with successfully, and the more energy I can bring to deal with it, and the less energy I spend arguing with it, the more successful I’ll be.

He told me, “It’s your current perspective, that piece of you that wants to be a victim, and be able to say, “I got an extra unfair dose in this life and I want to get special dispensation because of that, and so for good or bad, I’m gonna hold my little flag out saying ‘I got a bad deal’”.

At that, I knew it was time to stop blaming, stop obsessing, and work my program harder. It was time to put my resources to my health and whatever else I needed, and victimhood was an unsuccessful and futile place for me to make decisions from. That is when I realized what forgiveness was. It was for me. Not for him.

And so it happened. Forgiveness happened.

This Day is Yours, To Make of it What You Will

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What a glorious day this will be, if I can remain focused on doing what is best for me!

Sometimes I get sidetracked and allow outside events and people to affect my mood. There are times I go an entire day feeling sad or miserable before I realize that I’ve just allowed someone else’s behavior or words to sabotage my whole day!

Sometimes I forget that peace doesn’t come from getting someone to do or say something to me to make me feel better about myself. That’s me willfully becoming a prisoner to another person (often with the other person not even knowing I am their prisoner!) Freedom comes when I set myself free from the emotions and behaviors of others.

“But look at what they are doing to me!” I could argue.

“No… look at what you are doing to yourself.” I have to remind myself (ugh…grunts, shuffles feet, looks down and kicks the dirt).

I don’t know why things are the way they are or why I have to go through the things I am going through, but I know with all my heart that my life is in good hands. Regardless of how it looks right now, it has always worked out for me in the end. Every time I found myself panicking about how things are going to turn out, I am always surprised at how things turned out far more better than I originally anticipated (and oftentimes much more awesome than I could have done if I tried to control the outcome).

Today I will remember: If I want chaos, all I have to do is focus on someone else’s behavior. If I want peace, all I have to do is focus on my own.

The Only Way Out is Through

When we are faced with the truth and the truth hurts, the courage to sit and feel those emotions fully is required in order to process it and let it go.
I have learned that it hurts less in the long run to sit in that pain, than to avoid it. The more we deny it, resent someone else for it, ignore it, numb it out with drugs, sex, parties, distractions, and sometimes  blaming someone else for it, the longer it hurts, the more intense the pain becomes, and the more often it comes back into our lives repeating itself.
But even knowing this, doesn’t take the pain away. Knowing I’m brave and courageous doesn’t take the pain away. Knowing that it won’t last forever and that it will be over soon doesn’t make the pain less. Knowing that I’ll be okay and come out stronger doesn’t take the pain away. Knowing I will find peace, and maybe even a rainbow after the storm doesn’t ease the pain…
It hurts a lot. In this dark, lonely, and cold place, all I want to do is to reach out and grab for anything that can ease this pain- anything or anyone to release me from this suffering.
But the only way out is through
and that is where the answers are.
only way out is through
I must weather this storm. I must open my heart and mind to this: feel it, learn from it, and grow from it.

It is painful… but I will live. I will live through this. “Nothing lasts forever, including this…, and the sooner I allow it to flow through me, the sooner it will go away…” I remind myself. “The more I avoid the pain, or try to control the outcome, the longer, stronger, and harder the pain will remain.

Let it go… Let it flow…
So I offer this to you as well. You aren’t alone. You are strong.You are brave. You can handle this. If anyone can handle this, it is YOU! YOU are a winner. YOU are a survivor. YOU will overcome this. You don’t have to envision the future, or try harder, or even pretend everything is okay. All you have to do is let this experience flow through your life like clouds on a rainy day. Breathe it in and breathe it out.
Mourn your loss and move forward. 
There is no other direction but forward.

The Struggle to Understand the Incomprehensible

When we first learned of our loved one’s addiction, some people chose to leave the relationship, and some people chose to stay. Some, like myself, had no clue wtf to do… Those, like me, that stayed became hypervigilant and found themselves spending endless hours online looking for answers by either snooping, searching the internet, books, YouTube, or anything that could give us more insight as to why our partners continued to lie and act out. Was it something in their childhood? Was it something I did? Is it a psychological disorder? Can it be cured? Can I do anything to help?

Don’t get me wrong. Striving to learn new things and increase our understanding of life and all the complexities around it is a very good thing. We should always question our world. But sometimes we have to take an honest internal inventory of our motivations and ask ourselves, “Why am I putting so much attention and time into this?” I mean, c’mon. Isn’t there something you would sooooo much rather be doing?

It took me over a year to finally realize that my curiosity to “understand” my partner’s disease was not just fueled by my need to know, it was fueled by my need to control, my need to feel safe, and by my need to justify me staying in the marriage. By finding something online that justified me staying, I didn’t have to look inside myself.

What I eventually learned from all of it, though, is not what I set out to know. My first year in recovery as a partner of an addict was me taking classes, going to therapy, reading every book on the market (EVERY BOOK), talking to people similar to myself, and spending hours online trying to understand who my partner was and if I should leave him.

In the end, even though I sincerely believed trying to understand him was about me trying to justify why I would want to stay, the truth is… the UGLY truth is… that what I was really doing was avoiding trying to understand myself.

It’s funny to me now because I realize I always knew the answer. I knew who I married. I knew he had a problem. I knew that it would be a very rocky road if I stayed. I knew that staying meant being hurt over and over and over again. I knew that none of it was personal. I knew I didn’t cause it and that there was nothing I could do to stop it or even make it worse. What I was really looking for wasn’t in any of those books I spent countless hours reading.  It was all inside me. The question was not, “who is my partner?” or “should I stay?” but “who am I?” and “Do I want this or not?”

The truth is, we can’t make sense of addiction. And while science and research has helped us gain a better understanding of who our partners are and how their addictions work, no amount of searching online will help us make sense of what really matters. YOU.

As I justified my newfound passion for learning about this addiction, the reality was that I was externalizing my pain, putting a huge spotlight on him, and running from my own personal healing.

People are going to make bad choices. We can love them and stay. We can love them and go. We can love them and be unsure of which action to take. But until we are able to put the focus back on “who am I and what do I want” we are just as stuck in ourselves as our partners are stuck in themselves.

So I take this week to reflect on me.