Partner's Workshop: Stage Seven; Lesson One
Mourning the Losses
Early in the workshop, you identified many consequences that you have endured as a result of your partner's addiction. These consequences have forever altered the course of your life. Deeply, compassionately understand this. It is a helpless reality. You have but one life to live and yours will forever be marred by the intrusion of sexual addiction.
These lingering consequences — the career you could never achieve, the intimate partnership you were not able to experience, the pregnancy you didn't plan, the friendships you were not able to develop, the life you never had the chance to lead — these are very real losses. Opportunities to experience a lifestyle that you will never have again (in the context of the years already lost), and this is a painful reality to accept. But accept it you must, as your ongoing resentment towards your partner, towards the opposite sex, towards life in general or even towards yourself will destroy the only aspects of your life you have remaining: your present and your future.
Recognize that, by holding on to the resentment of what you have lost, you are simultaneously expanding the consequences that that addiction has had on your life.
So take this time to mourn. To consciously recognize the finality of these losses. To accept that they were neither fair, nor deserved. Purge yourself of the hold that sexual addiction has had on your life so that you are free to pursue a values-based, goal-oriented life. So that you are free to move forward. How? There is no set way. The only necessary element to this process is to consciously validate the losses that you have endured and then, as we will see in the next lesson, to make the choice to let go. To move on.
Some guidelines to mourning:
- Don't relive the intense pain and anguish. Yes, recognizing the permanency of your losses will hurt, just as the recognition of the death of a loved one hurts. But recognize this pain as a healthy aspect of healing.
- Don't relive the anger. You've been there. And likely, you may still be there. One purpose of mourning your losses is to begin letting go of that anger.
- Don't relive the need to assign blame. At this point, you should no longer be concerned with blame. You should be concerned only with rebuilding your life to the values that you hold dear.
- Don't connect your need to move on with your partner's willingness to accept responsibility for these losses. These are losses that have occurred to you. Embrace them as your own...nurture them...grieve them.
I. For this exercise, put your intellect away. Mourning is an emotional experience, not an intellectual exercise. How you achieve the goals outlined in the lesson should be unique to you. The only critical directive is that, when you have properly mourned for your losses, take at least fifteen minutes (several hours, preferably) to celebrate yourself. Celebrate your life. Your experiences. To recognize the ebb and flow of your life span and your current place within it. To reconnect to your individuality, your esteem and to the control that you have over your future.
II. Optional, share your experiences with this process. Again, don't worry about the intellectual aspects of communicating. Just share. Let it make no sense to anyone but yourself, if needs be. Just share your thoughts as an individual who is breaking free/has broken free from the grasp of another's addiction.