Friday, December 19, 2014

How To Set Boundaries

What Are Boundaries?

Though I've always had certain Boundaries, I didn't know they were called "Boundaries". And I know how confusing and hair pulling it is figuring out what boundaries are and how they apply to you, so bare with me.


Boundaries Boundaries Boundaries

Boundaries are a way to protect ourselves. Imagine Boundaries as being a fence around your property. It's a way to let the good in while keeping the bad out. You can choose what comes in, or out, of your boundary line.

Boundaries are also about self control, not about demanding anyone to do something. You can't demand or force your husband to leave, go to counseling, meetings, be honest, etc etc. You can ASK him to leave, but that doesn't mean he will leave your presence every time you get upset. But you sure can leave.

Why are Boundaries so Important?

What are Personal Bill of Rights?

Personal Bill of Rights 

You may have occasionally heard the term "Bill of Rights". Personal Bill of Rights are statements that we declare to ourselves to help empower us, encourage us, and stand up for ourselves. A few examples are:

- I have a right to safety in my home. 
- I have a right to say yes or no to sex, no matter what. Period.
- I have the right not to be responsible for others’ behavior, actions, feelings or problems.
- I have a right to make mistakes and not have to be perfect.
- I have a right to expect honesty from others.
- I have a right to all of my feelings.
- I have a right to be angry at someone I love, and love someone I’m angry at.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What Are Slip's, Lapse's and Relapse's & What Do They All Have In Common?

They all include Acting Out in one's addiction, are a part of the Addiction Cycle (<--link), and require a restart in sobriety AND Recovery dates. Let’s look at some definitions.

Acting Out - Intentionally seeking out any erotic and sensual stimulus, even if "accidental" at first. DEFINITE lines of acting out: Masturbation, Pornography, Infidelity, Emotional infidelity, Inappropriate relationships with opposite sex, Chatting, Flirting, Sex ad browsing, Forcing anyone to have sex (yes, even if it’s your own wife), & Massage brothels.

PornographyAny material depicting or describing the human body or sexual conduct in a way that arouses sexual feelings. This includes scantily dressed women in bikinis, lingerie or revealing clothes, scantily dressed woman in comics, cartoons, or art, erotic books, risky material in movies, TV shows, phone apps, or games.

LDS .org Church Definition of Pornography - 
  "Pornography is any visual or written medium created with the intent to sexually stimulate. If the work was not intended to stimulate but nevertheless causes sexual arousal in an individual, it constitutes pornography for that person."
  "Pornography is any entertainment that uses immodest or indecent images to stimulate sexual feelings. So even a mainstream television program or advertisement can be pornographic. If images trigger sexual feelings in you, you should avoid them."

Are there differences between slip, lapse, & relapse? Yes. Technically. 

S.L.I.P -- "Sexual Sobriety Lost its Priority" - A slip is a one-time unexpected unplanned break in abstinence. Slips are significant events that call for immediate attention. But how can one know it will truly be the LAST time they will ever act out? For all an addict knows, they could act out again in a few days, few months, or next year etc. And if one-time-slips continue to occur, would each one still be considered a "ONE time unexpected unplanned break in abstinence"?

Relapse - A relapse is the recurrence of symptoms of a disease or to resume addictive behavior after a period of abstinence.

Lapse - A lapse is somewhere confusingly in between.

Monday, November 10, 2014

To Filter or Not Part 2 : Is Computer Monitoring For Safety or Control?

The Lord asks us to never tolerate evil in any form, right? But what does tolerate even mean?
(I admit I had to look this one up and was surprised to find out I was wrong). "Tolerate: To allow the existence, occurrence, or practice of without interference; To accept or endure."

Elder David E. Sorensen says:
"The Savior asks us to forsake and combat evil in all its forms, and although we must forgive a neighbor who injures us, we should still work constructively to prevent that injury from being repeated."
How does one work constructively to prevent pornography coming into my home? Elder Quinton Cook says:
 "Parents must have the courage to filter or monitor Internet access, television, movies, and music."

Would you allow a loved one to shoot up heroin in your home? Would you allow a loved one to store heroin filled needles within easy reach of your children in various places like the cupboard, bedroom, family room, or on the counter next to your phones, and then turn around and say,  "I can't control my him, there's nothing I can do" OR, "It makes me feel too crazy to stop it coming in" OR, "He's going to find a way to shoot it up if he wants to anyway" OR, "I'm his wife, not his mother", OR "He should be the one to choose to get rid of the heroin for himself" OR, "His recovery is his recovery" ....?? -------  I'm curious if anyone would say these types these things if it were actual HEROIN?

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Sex Addiction Cycle

The Cycle of Sexual Addiction

Addiction Cycle

Thursday, November 6, 2014

LDS Recovery Over-Encouragement: Hinder or Help?

I want to share an interesting conversation I had with my husband...

About a year ago I thought my husband was better. He said he was sober. He no longer displayed his usual addict behavior or signs he relapsed. He progressed ALOT. He didn't seem to always be in this black abyss of shame. He LOVED going to counseling. He loved going to meetings. He had a sponsor. He wasn't getting majorly defensive like he used to. There wasn't as much tension as before, and if he did get upset he snapped out of it alot quicker. He wasn't isolating or as distant. He talked about his feelings more than he used to. A good portion of his addict behavior seemed like it was gone, and most of all the bishop, therapist, and his sponsor all said he was doing AWESOME and that he was in Recovery.

Great, RIGHT???

I felt in my gut something wasn't right----I just assumed I was crazy. It was easier to just try and believe he was sober and not think or deal with it. He was acting sober. He did everything people said a sober man in recovery would do. Every time I'd pray and ask God if he was lying I'd feel immense peace. If I asked God if he was telling the truth I'd still feel peace, maybe not as strong, but pretty great. Was I feeling peace because he WAS lying, or was I feeling peace because he telling the truth?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Trauma & Triggers

Q:Why am I traumatized? Why do I have triggers and why does my trauma increase over the little things?

Although your mind and emotions seem complicated, and there are an infinite variety of circumstances that you face each day, your basic response to thoughts and experiences is always one of two varieties: rest-and-recover, or fight-or-flight.  

Much like a computer, the brain stores memories in a system of memory files.  These memory files contain information and data much like the files you'd find in a medical office or document files in a computer. But unlike a computer or office, our brain files contain not only data/information (ie memories), but also emotions, emotions AS they occurred at the time the memory was made, thus containing two parts, the information about the event and the feeling we had at the time of the event :

Memory file = Information + Feelings at the time

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Latter Day Saint: To stay or leave? Can a spouse heal while living with an addict who refuses to seek recovery?

**This is my personal experience and does not imply what anyone else should do, that is between them and God. This just happens to be what God told ME**

It depends on what a person can, or is willing or not willing to handle, and most importantly: what God says.

I fully believe someone can heal and live a happy life despite their spouses decision to not seek recovery. However I know myself well enough that I could not. It would destroy me. And not only me, but it would destroy my kids. Perhaps if I did not have kids I could tolerate alot more but my kids were my biggest driving force in my decisions.

When I was contemplating whether to stay or go, I felt inspired to ask myself these questions:

Monday, August 25, 2014

What We All Wish Church Leaders Knew About Wives of Porn Addicts:

What Do Wives Of Sex Addicts Wish Everyone Knew? 

1. We are simply devastated.  
2. We did not cause this and we cannot cure it.
3. We may feel that if we were prettier, smarter, or more “something,” they would not have this problem. This is not true. In almost all cases, they were addicted before they ever met us.
4. We need to know about our husbands’ actions so that we don’t blame ourselves for whatever feels wrong in our marriages
5. We also need to know of our husbands’ actions to help protect ourselves, our children, and our homes. Keeping someone in a relationship under false pretenses represents exploitation.
6.We have done nothing to bring this situation into our lives.  It feels so unfair that we have no choice but to deal with it.
7. We are baffled that we ended up here. We have tried to do all the things that we thought would bring us our happy eternal marriage.  This is the last thing we expected.  We may feel cheated and angry with God.
8. We feel really ashamed.  We feel embarrassed that we married someone with this problem, or that we didn’t see it sooner. We feel our husbands have made us into a phony, a fake, and a liar.
9. Extreme emotions are normal in our circumstances.  We should not be shamed for feeling them.
10. We may need help remembering that we have worth as individuals, no matter the outcome of our marriages or future choices of our husbands.
11. We feel alone. We feel like no one else has this problem. Isolation compounds our pain.
12. We need support
13. We have experienced major Betrayal Trauma which is a form of PTSD, because of our husbands’ betrayals  This trauma is not an indicator that we are weak or not using the Atonement.
14. Statistically 70% of woman with sex addict husbands have PTSD / Betrayal Trauma
*It is hard for us to reach out for support.
*Other women who have been in our shoes can provide vital support.
*We may need ongoing support from our bishops.  It may be hard for us to ask for this ongoing support.  A little bit of reaching out and following up from our bishops may go a long way in helping us not feel overlooked or forgotten.
*We need to know what resources are available to help us.  A bishop who is familiar with this problem and what these resources are could help us feel better sooner.
*We may want and need increased access to Priesthood blessings.  Our husbands may not be worthy to give those blessings, and even if they are, they might not be the ones we want to ask to give them to us.  It may be valuable to have our bishops help us identify who we can ask when we need this particular type of help.
*Our bishops may be the first people we reach out to after discovering our husbands’ addictions.  It may be hard for us to trust Priesthood holders since our husbands have held the Priesthood in our homes.  If we feel invalidated by our bishops, it will be so much harder for us to reach out for further support.
*We sometimes feel invalidated when it seems that the Church does not hold our husbands accountable for their actions.
*More sex is not the answer. Our husbands do not act out with pornography and masturbation because we give them too little sex; they will not stop acting out with pornography and masturbation if we give them more sex. If we are encouraged to “not withhold sex” we will feel like we are being told that our feelings are not as important as our husbands’ feelings.  Our need for exclusivity trumps their “need” for sex.  Men are expected to remain abstinent until marriage, which implies it is possible for men to survive without sex.  Our having sex with them does not help them to recover.
*We are in no position to be asked to give our husbands support.  If anything we need their support for us as we come to terms with what they have done.
*The best way for us to help our husbands is to hold them accountable.  Being asked to “forgive and forget” too early will hurt us both.
*Letting our husbands off the hook too easily usually decreases the urgency they feel about getting help.
*We need to set some boundaries for ourselves with our husbands to protect ourselves from ongoing harm.
*The best support we can give to our husbands is a healthy wife.  We need to do what it takes to find our way back to our own personal health.
*If our husbands have been caught instead of voluntarily disclosing, they may not actually have any desire to get better, no matter what impression they may give a bishop when discussing addiction.
*If we are asked to make changes to help our husbands overcome their problems, and they don’t change, then we feel like we didn’t try hard enough or lacked faith.  It may increase our shame.  Only our husbands are responsible for their own behavior.
*Most addicts lie or minimize when asked about their addictions.  We and their bishops are not likely to have heard the entire story from our husbands.
*Many of our husbands will continue to act out and to lie to us (and to their bishops) after their initial meetings with their bishops.  It may not be appropriate to encourage us to trust them yet because they may not be trustworthy yet.
*Our husbands are incapable of giving up their addictions if they keep them a secret.
*Our husbands’ lies have harmed us at least as much as the actual betrayal.
*We need to eventually forgive our husbands.  We may not be capable of forgiving them as early as we may be asked to do.  We will do our best to leave a place in our hearts for forgiveness to come.  
*Forgiveness does not mean tolerating evil or harm.
*Trust and forgiveness are not the same thing. Forgiveness is a benefit for us; trust is a benefit for our husbands.  Trust needs to be earned once it has been lost.  We will probably forgive before we trust again.
*We will not get over it quickly.  We would if we could, but it will take time and effort to find our way back to emotional health.
*We need help regardless of our husbands’ desire for help.
*We will not automatically get better when our husbands stop acting out. Our progress may actually lag behind theirs.  The history of deception keeps us from being able to trust that we are now safe, even if they say that they have not relapsed in a long time. Some therapists believe it takes 2 or MORE years for the wife to recover after her husband gets sober and in recovery.
*Our husbands have not been good husbands. They have been selfish and lacking in empathy. Addiction results in other bad behaviors that have been harming us.
*Our husbands’ actions in no way decrease our own worthiness.
*Our husbands have most likely been trying for years to overcome their addictions by fasting, praying, reading the scriptures and attending the temple.  These are vital components in their repentance and in building their spirituality.  However, in most cases our husbands need more help than this to get into Recovery from addiction.  They often need knowledgeable trauma/sex addiction counselors.
*We most likely need outside help to heal, just like our husbands do. Knowledgeable trauma/sex addiction counselors and regular support group meetings can help us tremendously.
*Even addicts dedicated to the recovery process tend to relapse several times before achieving lengthy sobriety. But relapsing is still very serious and NEVER OK.
*We would like our bishops to not assume they know everything they need to know on this topic. Be open to good information. Do not be afraid to admit what you don't know. Please ask us what you can do to help us.
*We should not simply replace all negative thoughts with positive ones. That shows denial of the impact this problem has in our lives.  In order to heal from these difficult emotions, we need to allow ourselves to feel them.
*Many marriages that fail from this problem actually fail because of the continued lying more than the continued acting out.
*Our husbands' dedication to complete transparency in our marriage will help us to feel that we know everything we need to know. This transparency may include ongoing access to all email, social media, bank accounts, cell phones, computers and electronic devices. Transparency may also include an agreement on future disclosures.
*Despite our best efforts, our marriages may not survive.
*This addiction has caused us to doubt ourselves, our own intuition and the guidance we are receiving from the Lord.  
We need you to support us as we seek for our own answers from the Spirit and make our own choices going forward.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Warning Signs That Your Partner Might Be A Sex Addict

Is He Secretly Viewing Pornography? Is He Secretly Having Affairs? Check Out These Warning Signs: 

Warning Signs Of Approaching Relapse

Warning signs of relapse

Do you suspect your spouse may have relapsed or is heading towards a relapse? Here are a few common warning signs:

1. Engaged in the Addiction Cycle. For more info go here >> (link)
2. Slowly reverting back to old behaviors
3. Lying, silly lies no matter how small, minimizing, or omitting truth
4. Defensiveness, irritability, mood swings, defiance, blaming or anger outbursts
5. Passive Aggressive behavior!!
6. Lack of communication and full transparency, even if THEY think they're communicating and being transparent. Ex. Saying "I'm good", or saying they are frustrated, upset, or triggered but not explaining WHY they feel that way---and then turning around and saying "What do you mean, I am communicating, I told you I was upset", etc.
7. Selective Forgetfulness. Forgetting things they once knew a day, week, month, or year ago. Ex.  Previously having a great conversation about honesty & recovery and feeling like they finally "get it", only to later then have them act confused as if they forgot and have never heard it, or play stupid,  "What? I know I am supposed to disclose when I relapse, I just didn't know you wanted to know right away and how many times." etc etc ...(like seriously? didn't think id want to know even tho I've told you a million times? ) ;)
8. Increased mistakes/ Not being able to follow simple directions/ Lack of common sense. L Ie. Always being late, not helping around the house or with the kids, never getting the right things at the grocery store despite having a list, becoming careless, unmotivated, apathetic, etc
9. Self loathing and shame spiral as a way to manipulate and make you feel sorry for them. The "I can never do anything right" mentality.
10. They are emotionally disconnected. It's hard to find attachment with them. They are there but not really "there".
11. They blame, redirect, become defensive, become sleepy or get the confused "deer in headlights" stare when you try to talk to them.
12. Becoming overly stressed for whatever reason and not handling it in healthy ways (reaching out etc)
14. Lack of empathy / Becomes oblivious and clueless to the fact you are hurting and how to help you.
15. Slowly isolating or spending more time doing mind numbing behaviors and unimportant things while online. Ie. Browsing movie trailers, news stories, games, etc "yellow light" behavior.
16. Getting wrapped up in secondary addictions like work, gaming or food
17. Using a wife's safety Boundaries as their own, out of spite. "Oh ya, well I have a right to leave when you get upset TOO"
18. Slowly missing meetings and/or counseling appts. Slacking on recovery work, and becoming frustrated or resentful of recovery work. Thinking they don't NEED to do as much recovery work. Ie. "How much of this do I REALLY need to keep on doing? Come on, it's been a few months, I feel better. Can't I stop?"
19. Neglecting their self-care. Self-care is critical to maintaining recovery (and sanity).
20. Slacking on scriptures & praying
21. Becoming emotionally needy, insecure, Ex. Never wanting you to leave, getting jealous when you hang out with friends or do your own self care, needing constant validation that you love them, etc
22. Self-Delusional: They twist things to make themselves right ie. "I quit going to therapy without talking to you about it as a way to help you. You have been stressed lately and I wanted to be home for you" etc.
23. Complaining about not getting enough sex or having everything revolve around sex again.
24. Not being interested in sex or not being interested in intimacy and connection with OR without sex.

MOST IMPORTANTLY!!! : LISTEN TO YOUR GUT. If you feel something is not right, 99.9% you're most likely right. A good thing to ask yourself is "What do they spend their time on?". Being in recovery is about sobriety and continually improving QUALITY of life and the quality of one’s soul. If your spouse is spending more time on things that isn't helping them be a better person, edifying themselves, or improving their quality of life....then which direction are they going? Forward or backward?

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Emotional Abuse: What is it? Signs and Symptoms

Info I put together from some great articles :
Psychological abuse, also referred to as emotional abuse or mental abuse, is a form of abuse characterized by a person subjecting or exposing another to behavior that may result in psychological trauma, including anxiety, chronic depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder. Such abuse is often associated with situations of power imbalance, such as abusive relationships, bullying, and abuse in the workplace.
Emotional abuse is "based on power and control", and defines emotional abuse as including rejecting, degrading, terrorizing, isolating, corrupting/exploiting and "denying emotional responsiveness" as characteristic of emotional abuse.

Signs You’re In An Emotionally Abusive Relationship, but not limited to:

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Understand Me

Understand Me

My Addiction vs. Betrayal Trauma

No amount of words can fully express to anyone the pure hell I went through when the drugs wore off. Physical pain. Emotional pain. It was unbearable and I was terrified. An hour into the withdrawals my body started to sweat and shake. It felt like I had the worst flu of my life, but x1000.

And then the real pain started.

Monday, April 14, 2014

To Filter or Not??

My psychologist once helped me out in this one. I am pro filter. But filters really DON'T 100% (more like 50%) work. They never worked for my hubby. They were kinda a joke.

I'm pro monitoring, password protecting, AND filtering all together haha. (see more here)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Is There Relapse in Recovery?

OH MY GOODNESS the big question! 

What does being in Recovery REALLY mean? Can someone be in recovery and continue to slip/relapse as long as they keep trying? Or do you have to have sobriety first in order to get IN to recovery? 

Everyone seems to have their own definitions of what recovery is, and being 7 years sober myself, I decided to do a little more research and get to the nitty gritty of what it means to be IN Recovery. (Definitions of slip, relapse, acting out, and sobriety HERE)

According to The Betty Ford Institute defines recovery as "a voluntarily maintained lifestyle characterized by sobriety, personal health and citizenship.”

In 2005, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offered the following Working Definition of Recovery: “Recovery from addiction is a process of change through which an individual achieves abstinence and improved health, wellness and quality of life.”

American Society of Addiction Medicine's describes recovery as “a process of overcoming both physical and psychological dependence on an addiction with a commitment to abstinence-based sobriety”

I believe defining Recovery in the addiction world is extremely important. Some believe being in recovery to mean “any sign of progress” or “someone who is trying to stop” but that leaves such a huge wide range definition that just about anyone could stand up and claim Recovery. If there are no boundaries and definitions on the term Recovery, then the importance of that meaning seems to lose its value. Especially for all the people who ARE sober AND in Recovery. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

When does snooping become wrong??

When does snooping become wrong? Where does the line get drawn between obsessively snooping or just trying to protect ourselves?

This is something that has been on my mind lately that I am seeking to gain more clarity on. Ive been reading a lot of articles, book, and blogs of other spouses of sex addicts, and when the spouse of the sex addict is trying to recover, heal and is going to counseling and 12 step meetings, I keep coming across a similar theme:

Snooping on your addict husband is BAD BAD BAD!!!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Latter Day Saint: Addiction, Agency, & Freedom

Do addicts have a choice? Or do they lose all agency and responsibility? Here's my personal thoughts.

You've often heard the phrase "He lost his agency", and the word agency is frequently used interchangeably to describe what we gave up and lost after son....but can someone technically lose their God given agency here in this earth?

This is where freedom comes in.

I believe it is our choice to USE our agency submit our freedom to sin.

In terms of addiction, if I take a sip of alcohol, 9.9 times out of 10 I will have no control of drinking more. Did I give away my agency for the drink? Technically no. Did I give up control and my freedom? Yes. If I give up control am I any less responsible for my decision? No.

Why? Because it was my choice to entertain the thought of drinking.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Full Discloser: To disclose or not to disclose?

Full disclosure. What is it? Honestly it seems that every single website ive seen and every single therapist I read about or talked to has their own opinion on what entails within Full Disclosure (from now on i May abbreviate as FD). How much does the addict tell the spouse? How much exact detail? What about the gory details? Does the spouse even NEED to know all these things? Maybe...maybe not. But shouldnt that ONLY be left up to the spouse to decide? Doesnt it depend on the addict? I find it incredibly odd that anyone (addict, friends, counselor, bishop) would ever just go ahead and decide for the spouse. I read an amazing article on (Link here Myths ) by Shay on dispelling myths about how sex addiction impacts the spouse, I almost about jumped for joy and did a dance, myth #1 read :