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PostPosted: Wed Oct 01, 2014 7:46 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 23, 2013 4:38 am
Posts: 59
***Note: I posted this in my healing thread, but I am re-posting here for a couple reasons.
1. People read healing threads, but rarely respond to them, and I would like to hear what some people...from both sides... think about what I am saying.
2. When I first started this journey I was desperate for encouraging words...HOPE. I wanted someone to tell me RECOVERY IS POSSIBLE AND A MARRIAGE CAN SURVIVE THIS DESTRUCTIVE BEHAVIOR. At the time, I wanted the quick fix we are so used to seeing in society. I was naive, no... ignorant and uninformed... about what this path was going to be. I stumbled here looking for answers only my spouse and I could answer for ourselves. I just read a lot of stories about women in the same pain I was in. And often, I couldn't hear the immediate answers to my questions in the process I had to undergo. So now, I want others to know that the process doesn't always make sense as you are going through it, but it works. I am not at the end, but then the way I have chosen to support my spouse means it may never really be over. And TODAY, I am okay with that. As my user name suggests...it is 1 day at a time.
3. I still want to hear those words from someone further down the path then I am... that recovery is possible and a marriage can survive. I suspect there are less that do than don't and that's why I don't hear about it. But if there is anyone out there just starting on this path, read my healing threads, do the work and give it time. You don't have to decide today what to do with tomorrow. Recovery is for both sides of this problem.
Here is my post:

Relapse+truth=path to recovery and healing

It has been months since my last post. I have allowed time what it needed to reveal the behaviors I needed to see to make decisions. This whole situation, and dealing with it is a process that cannot be hurried along. IT TAKES TIME.
I did the work I needed to do, but after reading so much on this site, I knew I was only at the tip of the iceberg so to speak. I allowed my husband to move back into our home almost a year ago. We had a long talk about rules, boundaries, acceptable behaviors. We had fights, we made up. We had more fights, we learned better new ways to communicate. But there was always the nagging feeling...the gut instinct that says don't believe all he says is true. It took almost a full year, but I discovered the whole time we were trying to heal this relationship, he was still lying...and holding back. I knew it from missed counseling appointments and lack of that open book feeling regarding both his cell phone use and his inability to share anything about his feelings about what was discussed at his SA meetings or his counseling appointments. His whole heart wasn't in it.
Sure enough, I found a clear message sent to a woman he had met through work. And he admits it has been going on since before he moved back in. He swears it is only text messaging. He allowed me to scroll through his pictures and I found a photo of him in a compromising position with a girl he picked up in a coffee house. Car...dark alley... you get it.
But where the conversation takes a new twist...he opened up and revealed so much more. Told me about things I would not have caught him in.
I am still hurt and angry, but it is so different this time. He isn't denying. He isn't hiding. He is getting angry with his own actions and is recognizing his past and the impact it has had on us and our family.
Once again, the hard part in this is that I have to give him time. He made promises to create a course of action that includes going back to SA meetings...not just sitting in his car in the parking lot. Finding a new counselor we can both see. And rejoining recovery nation. But that doesn't happen overnight... so I give him time to show his sincerity.
And my challenge beyond giving it time for more to reveal itself... deciding if he is worth the time, or if he is really just the ultimate master manipulator.
As I told him, if he continues to lying and take advantage of that fact that I am a loving and supportive wife who keeps working at forgiveness each day, who keeps trying to understand, and he doesn't change...he tells boldfaced lies and manipulates me as he has been doing...it says more about him than it does me. I am not a fool. I am not stupid. I do not bury my head the sand. Instead I choose to believe in good over evil. I choose to believe my life amounts to more than being the wife of a "cheating bastard" with a sex addiction. I am living with the values I believe in... honest and forgiveness at the top of the list. His ways cannot alter me. I will still be those things, with or without him.
And if he really was hurt the way he is now just beginning to realize, I want to be the person who helps heal him. No one else did, and if they had, I might have had the husband I was suppose to have. I don't see it as self sacrificing. I suppose if it gets to that point, I will know I have done all I could.
I pray now, however, that this time, with this new honesty... he is finally recognizing and is truly worthy of the gift God has given him in me. And that he works hard at his healing so that he can be a good man, good father, and good husband. I deserve that much.

_________________
Don't take life too seriously; You'll never get out alive
~Elbert Hubbard


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2015 12:56 pm 
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Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2010 5:26 am
Posts: 78
1day@atime,
Hi, I am not sure you are still coming to the RN website. I am responding to a post you wrote in October. I, myself, had been away from RN for awhile, and decided to come back to support others. I just wanted you to know that yes, recovery is possible, and marriages can thrive after the presence of an addiction. In fact, I hope I don't sound cliche' or full of crap, but my husband and I both believe that our relationship is as good as it is now, BECAUSE of the struggle we experienced. First, I want to clarify what I mean when I say recovery is possible. I have been told, and I think I agree, that there's no such thing as a "recovered addict." An addict is always a "recovering addict." The reason being, if you let down the guardrails, you risk running off the road... so to speak. That's not to say, the behaviors are still there. I do believe an addict can be free of all acting out behaviors and be completely and utterly devoted to his wife and family. I believe that's the man I am married to. But we leave systems in place for the protection of all.

You wrote
Quote:
I am not at the end, but then the way I have chosen to support my spouse means it may never really be over. And TODAY, I am okay with that.

And to let you know, that is me, as well. My husband and I are 5 years post D-Day. Two years ago we had what I thought was a setback, only to find that he was never really doing as well as he led on. In other words, he was still lying and acting out. But today, two more years later, I do believe he is in a very healthy recovery. But I know, it will never be "over." It is just different. And in a good way... better. Even fantastic! Not perfect, but that's unrealistic anyway.

So you wrote five months ago and I'm sure a lot has changed for you, perhaps for the better, perhaps not. I would love to hear how it's going, and to continue to support you on the journey. It can be tough road at times, and sometimes lonely. There are people here for you. I, personally, am grateful for the our experience, and I want you to know, if you haven't already come to that conclusion, that you might end up grateful for it too! best wishes,
lmartin


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 9:42 pm 
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Partner's Coach (Admin)

Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2007 3:07 pm
Posts: 5200
Quote:
People read healing threads, but rarely respond to them, and I would like to hear what some people...from both sides... think about what I am saying.
Yes, at RN, personal healing and recovery threads are only for the individuals, and not for community members to post to. The coaches will sometimes offer feedback or support on the lessons, but we are all volunteers who coach on our own time (with the exception of those who coach privately, but even still, the work we do in the self-directed workshop forums is completely pro-bono).

Quote:
I still want to hear those words from someone further down the path then I am... that recovery is possible and a marriage can survive.
Recovery is possible. That said, while the path can be laid out in a linear and logical way, those who travel it rarely (an understatement) travel this path in such a way. If we could bottle and sell such a controlled process, well… this is magical thinking so there is no point to even entertaining such thoughts. To come up with such a formula, one would have to control for so many variables that you would ultimately be removing human being from the equation. The whole point of recovery is learning to manage one’s life, autonomously, with a commitment to a healthy vision that is supported by healthy values that the individuals has selected for themselves.

You have beautifully identified the central key of recovery (or lack thereof) when you said: “His whole heart wasn't in it.” This is what it boils down to. There will be starts and stops along the way in any process, but that which separates those who make it from those who don’t is found in that very statement. And—there is no way that the partner can know, unequivocally, which it is. Ever.

Quote:
But where the conversation takes a new twist...he opened up and revealed so much more. Told me about things I would not have caught him in.
While this is a good sign—if his heart is really in it—it can also be a smokescreen that leads a hopeful partner to believe that this “new” information means more than what it is. This one incident isn’t going to dictate how his recovery goes, but a pattern of behaviours over time. Some persons in recovery are only ever motivated by crisis (in this case, the crisis is you caught him in a lie). My husband was the same way. Eventually, he told me all he could (or was willing to) tell me. When push came to shove and we were in what would be our final crisis (violated a bottom line boundary, and I had done enough work, and cycled through our patterns enough times, to recognize that there was no more “new” information that he could share. There was no way for me to believe his (false, it turned out) sincerity. My h realized this, too, apparently—because he didn’t even let the door hit him on his way out. I told him to come up with a plan and his plan was to leave almost immediately, go live with enabling friends, and less than 3 months later he started dating and said to me “we’re just different people; we don’t belong together; you have your thing, I have mine; your values are idealistic; etc. etc.” This, after 16+ years of telling me the complete opposite, that he didn’t want this (his addicted behaviours) as part of his life; that he always wanted to stop, even before we met; that he had traumatic events that led him to this behaviour (and he did, this is not to diminish that in any way). I digress. The point is to not mistake renewed commitments as sincerity as they can become a pattern. There is a lesson in the partners’ workshop that helps identify the path they may be on (sincere, insincere, somewhere in between).

Quote:
Once again, the hard part in this is that I have to give him time.
Yes, but only because this is clearly what you value and are committed to. Someone else may not have the same values as you, and may not wish to give their partner the time it could take, which is ok, too.

Quote:
I do not bury my head the sand. Instead I choose to believe in good over evil. I choose to believe my life amounts to more than being the wife of a "cheating bastard" with a sex addiction. I am living with the values I believe in... honest and forgiveness at the top of the list. His ways cannot alter me. I will still be those things, with or without him.
Excellent. Your commitment is apparent.

Quote:
In fact, I hope I don't sound cliche' or full of crap, but my husband and I both believe that our relationship is as good as it is now, BECAUSE of the struggle we experienced.
I wholeheartedly support this belief. I think that overcoming obstacles (vs denying them, avoiding them, running away from them, etc.) is definitely a path to growth-in relationships and within individuals.

Quote:
I have been told, and I think I agree, that there's no such thing as a "recovered addict." An addict is always a "recovering addict." The reason being, if you let down the guardrails, you risk running off the road... so to speak.
This mindset (the “once an addict, always an addict” mindset) is a tenet of disease based models of recovery. The health based model (as promoted here, at Recovery Nation) does not have the same perspective. We see addiction not as something innate that the person has no control over, but as a set of behaviours that have been learned over the course of a lifetime, that served a purpose but have become maladaptive in that they violate more values than they support. With that, the person with addiction will overcome their addiction if they see that the cost of having the addiction outweighs the cost of not having it (i.e. if they truly value not having the addiction, and truly value the things that having the addiction gets in the way of such that they commit to learning new ways to manage their lives). The transition is described as the person with an addiction initially sees themselves as their addiction (not separate), then they learn to see themselves as a person with an addiction, then they begin to see themselves as a person who used to have an addiction, until they get to a point where they almost cannot fathom that they ever had an addiction (i.e. they come to know themselves as healthy individuals who identify with the vision they created for themselves and the values they honour that supports their living into that vision). Once they have transitioned to a person who identifies as healthy, they no longer live in the space of trying to avoid triggers and urges. Yes, they know that temptations exist (as well all do) but they become so well practiced at making values based choices, they no longer fear the temptations. They don't need "guardrails" but make healthy choices, autonomously. They have a developed awareness of themselves that allows them to make conscious choices from their vision and values, not emotion-based choices from a place of reactivity and immediate gratification. Of course, this takes time. And practice. And commitment. And a desire to overcome their addiction that fuels their willingness to challenge every urge and to realign to their path when they make mistakes. This level of commitment can only be intrinsically motivated, otherwise it will not sustain itself over the long term (because extrinsic motivation is always tied to some expected outcome, and when outcomes fail to meet expectations—as they usually do—the person either tried to cover up the mistake (to keep up appearances in an effort to try to force the outcome they wanted in the first place) or they give up, or in some other way change course. However, with health based recovery, the person with addiction does not have to admit powerlessness to their behaviour, and they do not always have to be on guard.

Be well.

_________________
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. (Viktor E. Frankl)


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2015 10:32 am 
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Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2010 5:26 am
Posts: 78
CoachMel
Thanks so much for all your comments. In reading what you wrote, I have to agree. And I apologize because I totally do not believe that "once an an addict, always an addict." And I never want to give that impression. It takes away hope, and I've seen recovery happen. But I see where in my mind I've begun to blur the lines a little. I do believe, as I stated, that an individual can make those healthy choices for the rest of their lives. Your post has offered some reminders of the basics, which is very good for me, I think. I've been away from the forum for awhile, and this is why I'm reminded of just how good it is to be here. My own husband and I are in a very comfortable place, but I realize now that it might not be a "safe place." I say this because he still fears relapse, even though he has not come close to it in awhile. He made a disturbing comment awhile back that if anything ever happened to me, he fears a full backslide and that he would abandon our child. That's a scary thought. Because something could happen to me. Our marriage is really good right now, but I want him to have the peace that comes with the belief you wrote about...
Quote:
The transition is described as the person with an addiction initially sees themselves as their addiction (not separate), then they learn to see themselves as a person with an addiction, then they begin to see themselves as a person who used to have an addiction, until they get to a point where they almost cannot fathom that they ever had an addiction (i.e. they come to know themselves as healthy individuals who identify with the vision they created for themselves and the values they honour that supports their living into that vision).
Oh I want that for him. I once said to him that I think this will always be a part of our lives. He said that makes him sad. I was okay with this being part of our lives, because life was, at that time, and is now, good. But if he's doing well for the wrong reasons, he's got more to do. This morning we talked and I asked him, "Wouldn't you love to be in that last phase of transition that CoachMel is describing. He doesn't think it's possible, but I realized in talking to him that I do believe it's possible. But in all this, in speaking my beliefs to him this morning, I realized I that I guess I did slip into "disease based thinking..." and I guess our guardrails are still up because he has not fully recovered, and because somewhere along the line I forgot what was possible. So the next step for us is to figure out how to make that last step. And to figure out what the truth is... Is he not recovered? Or is he not confident? I personally don't believe he would ever again choose addiction over our child. I've seen his values for our marriage and family grow crazy strong in the last year and a half to two years. But I want him to have that confidence. I'm guessing there's more for me to do as well. Starting with going back and reviewing the lessons I read so long ago. Thanks again for your wisdom and encouragement!


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2015 11:14 am 
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Partner's Mentor

Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 661
Quote:
You have beautifully identified the central key of recovery (or lack thereof) when you said: “His whole heart wasn't in it.” This is what it boils down to. There will be starts and stops along the way in any process, but that which separates those who make it from those who don’t is found in that very statement. And—there is no way that the partner can know, unequivocally, which it is. Ever.


Well, there it is in a nutshell. We can never truly know if our partners are being honest, are not engaging in compulsive rituals or obsessive thinking, are truly healthy. I know what to look for; I know to trust my gut instinct; I know to live by my values and continue to be detached from addiction and his recovery. I know that staying or leaving is a choice; I know that at some point I will choose to trust or not trust; and I know at some point I will choose to forgive or not forgive. And, I know that trust in any relationship, even with a non-SA, is always a risk and always a choice.

Jon says they will continue to have urges but that if recovered, it should be but a brief thought. My marriage counselor tells me that at some point, with time, practice and a deep commitment to health, a SA can think "why in the world would I ever want to engage in that compulsive behavior or obsessive thought." At the same time, he believes, as does Jon, that continued monitoring by the SA is a must.

I read these books and hear some CSAT's talk about recovered addicts having the capacity for tremendous empathy, joy in life, great relationships. But, here's what I have learned: I don't know of more than one partner, a woman, who would agree with this outcome. Most partners, even if they are glad they stayed, seem to feel that their marriages/partnerships are as good as or even better than ever, but feel....unsettled. Feel not completely at peace. Feel the need to continue to monitor his health (well, that's a requirement). Feel the lingering doubt and whispers of "is he being honest." I fear that my husband will never be as trustworthy and as transparent as I would like (and I think I am completly reasonable about my expectations). I fear that he will learn to lie with even more skill than he had in the past (and he was an especially skilled liar). And, I realize I have to choose how I respond to this based on my values. And, I just don't yet know. And, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe more women reach this wonderful type of relationship.

I can also see that with recovery and help with intimacy issues, these SA's probably feel love and intimacy at a more true and deep level than ever in their lives. But I wonder if we, the partners, will always be slightly impaired in our ability to deeply love and have deep intimacy. I wonder if the need for continued monitoring of health, the lingering doubts, the old scars, let us love but not as deeply as we did or could. I don't know. I guess that is a choice as well.

dnell


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2015 1:44 pm 
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Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2010 5:26 am
Posts: 78
Quote:
I read these books and hear some CSAT's talk about recovered addicts having the capacity for tremendous empathy, joy in life, great relationships. But, here's what I have learned: I don't know of more than one partner, a woman, who would agree with this outcome. Most partners, even if they are glad they stayed, seem to feel that their marriages/partnerships are as good as or even better than ever, but feel....unsettled. Feel not completely at peace. Feel the need to continue to monitor his health (well, that's a requirement). Feel the lingering doubt and whispers of "is he being honest."


I sense a bit of sadness here dnell, and my heart goes out to you. Interestingly, my experience has brought me to some different conclusions. I am very at peace with where my husband is on his journey, and where we are together as a married couple. Not that the peace is never disturbed, but that would be the case not only in anyone’s marriage, but in anyone’s life. It's universal. As time has passed, for me, those lingering doubts and whispers have become fewer and farther between. Ironically, I do not think that that is universal. I believe, as I said that it is because of this struggle and work done as a result of it, that those moments of "unsettling" are fewer. I think the quality of any relationship is directly related to the intentionality with which the couple works at.

Quote:
I can also see that with recovery and help with intimacy issues, these SA's probably feel love and intimacy at a more true and deep level than ever in their lives. But I wonder if we, the partners, will always be slightly impaired in our ability to deeply love and have deep intimacy. I wonder if the need for continued monitoring of health, the lingering doubts, the old scars, let us love but not as deeply as we did or could. I don't know. I guess that is a choice as well.

I definitely believe at times, love is a choice. But I definitely do not feel impaired in my ability to love or be intimate, but I think I understand where that comes from, because I felt that way at one point. I believe I've come to love others and my husband and children even more deeply over time. Somewhere in all this, I made an enormous transformation toward non-judgment. And don't get me wrong. I have expectations, I have boundaries that I enforce. And I'm not without feelings when it comes to the damage done by sexual addiction. I still experience anger and sometimes sadness. I would experience all of those things in any life I choose. I value honesty and transparency above all in my relationship with my husband. There's no intimacy without it. However, at some point, I'm not sure when, I was able to set aside the damage done to me, and see what it's done to him. He hated himself for who he was and I could see the pain in his face at times. When I began taking note of this, and trying to understand him, my compassion grew, and love came out of that. We came to view the monitoring, the weekly chats, and the internet filters as acts of love and protection over our marriage. (That took a long time - yeah, it was a pain at first, and we hated it - but again I'm telling you the good ending). One might ask, if he was in so much pain, why then didn't he just stop. I asked that too. But the fact is it is an addiction, and he hadn't learned healthy habits yet. Now he has. And it was a long time coming, but yes, he also feels love and intimacy deeply now.

I don’t know if there’s any value there for you. I just wanted to offer my perspective. I know this is so hard for all of us partners. I have the greatest respect for every one.
lmartin


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2015 2:38 pm 
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Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:34 pm
Posts: 661
lmartin, thank you for the post. I think it is wonderful that you and your husband have struggled together to reach a deeper commitment and understanding. And, I very much can understand your point that compassion led to love.

Yes, I am sad. Not as sad as I once was, but still sadder then I will be given more time. It is just too early in my husband's recovery process to have the kind of changes that would be so nice to have. To expect that level of change, after 6 months, is unfair and unrealistic. I monitor my husband's health, as per the lessons, but I am also aware of Jon's point that early on we must leave them to themselves, assume they are fine, and go on from there. It's not much to go on, but it is better than the past.

And, it is too early in my healing process for me to have resolved all of my feelings, to have reached a point where my values are not compromised, to have my visions and plans for the various alternatives that may come before me. I'll get there. I am muich further than I was six months ago, but I have a ways to go.

But, it is deeply reassuring to hear of your situation.

dnell


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