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Helping Her Heal
By humbled
11/25/2011 9:03:45 PM
After almost 3 years of living clean and sober I unfortunately relapsed. How could this happen! I swore to myself that I would never allow this to happen again because of what it cost me and what it could have cost me. I have the most dear wife any man could ever ask for. She has continued to stay by myself dispite all the pain I bring into her life. She is a true angel. One of the things about what I think about now is....what happened? How did I relapse? 3 years was going to be huge! And worst of all...my dear wife was actually showing signs that things were going to be positive again. Now both our worlds came crashing down again.

In looking back at what went wrong I realized that I had stopped my spiritual program. I had found that throughout my life, anytime I wasn't holding strong to the rod, I would find myself venturing off into the darkness. I have felt so strong against the advesary when I was diligent in my spiritual program. Elder Todd Christoffeson has said "..Like the Savior, we may draw strength from the scriptures to resist temptation." That is so true!! I truly found that strength!!

So many stressful things have been happening to me professionally and at home. Instead of spending my time seeking the Lord, I began to spend it seeking ways to fix my career. After about a month of that I had lost vision of the Big Picture.

I have vowed that this time I really want to be able to be there for my dear spouse. I want to be able to put myself aside and really be there for her. It was too hard for me last time. Probably because I wasn't humbled enough yet.

I have re-watched the "Helping Her Heal" program and have come to realize that a big part is figuring out that it is all about her. Realizing the "actual" damage that I have caused and how it has shattered her life. I truly recognize that now. He states that I need to be there for her and what she needs.

This is where my dilemma starts. She doesn't know what she needs. I have been a "fixer" all my life and nut much of a listener. I have been told that I need to do more listening and stop trying t fix everything. So have have devoted myself to trying to meet her needs and put my wants and desires aside. When I honestly just listen to her and try to be there for her she makes comments that I'm not very good at that either! I don't know what to do. I feel like no matter what I do it just isn't good enough. I have caused such a great pain in her life and I just really want to try my best to help her out. She totally doesn't deserve this. I know I just need to keep hanging in there and be there for her. I just don't know what that "being there" really entails anymore?

Any suggestions??!!

Comments:

From my limited experience with loved ones,    
"I noticed with my fiance that relapses and slips always went better for her if she felt like I had a plan and a positive attitude. When I wallowed around in despair, she just wanted to get away from me.

I would imagine that your wife feels very vulnerable and uncertain, so any certainty and consistency you can provide for her would probably be appreciated. Instead of making grand promises like "I'll never ever do it again," it would probably make her feel better to hear "I need to go to group every Sunday night from 7 to 9 from now on." Following promises with action would also be a good way of showing you're back on track.

I don't know much about what you can do to make her feel better, but I think a show of determination on your part to beat the addiction would be a fine start."
posted at 02:12:54 on November 26, 2011 by ETTE
Emotions    
"I want to share some things I have been thinking lately.

The truth is that we are all trying hard to rid ourselves of this addiction.
There are no quick fixes.
I am now convinced that the only way to fight and be on top of this addiction when times are swell or easier on the relationship (ie no intense pain, anger or hellish stress between loved ones) is when we are consistently exposing our underlying emotions to our spouse.
With that I think we take the initiative to talk about things, not wait for them to ask. I can bet anything that the spouse will see the needs early on and give us the empathy we need thus giving porn or masterbation no chance.
We have to contiuously be on top of our emotions and the only way to do that is by following through continuously with self analysis (step 4 and 10).
It takes discipline to be on to of things, always watchful.
For most of my recovery until late August I believed that people relapse because they don’t want it enough. That is retarded thinking, It is the willpower trap!
We need to take charge of our recovery and establish a system that works for us and changes (those things we can change) the environment around us.
If you know the cell phone is a threat, get one that makes calls and limits internet – like the good old Nokia ones, might not look cool with a brick alongside the ear but it is that or relapse. Get filters but hey no filter is perfect.
If the TV is a threat, get rid of the channels.
I know covernant eyes is great and I feel safe with it on my computer.
Some personal boundaries - I only go into a book store or library with my wife, no one else and never alone. Same thing with video stores. I don’t wear sunglasses in public places even if it is uncomfortable. I don’t watch TV alone in other people’s homes etc.
There are more things to include but just those above ensure I feel safe.
I do however feel safer than any other time when I go to my wife wife tell her how I am feeling, get things out of my system no matter how pathetic they appear to make me feel and then get validation from her that she heard and is doing all she can to understand.
Hang in there humbled, remember what she has said all along, the lies are what cause more pain than the porn, open up your book of emotions so she can read you and understand you. "
posted at 09:35:23 on November 28, 2011 by ruggaexpat
hold on... you had a bad day.. get back up and keep going    
"I attended an SAA meeting last night and they had an old timer speak.. He had done terrible , regrettful things in his life. He had 1000+ days of sobriety. Watched some TV, found something a little too fleshly and ended up slipping with mb. He felt awful giving up the 1000+of sobriety. What he learned is that he had a slip/relapse and tomorrow is a new day and he now has 1500 days since then of sobriety. He learned from his mistake -- this is repentence -- growing from our mistakes.

His big learning that he wanted to share with the rest of us that night was that slips happen. True recovery isnt measured by sobriety. We all sin and make mistakes over and over again. True Recovery is saying.. "I slipped. tomorrow is a new day." bad recovery is saying "#$%#^$#$, I cant do this. Im done with trying." thats falling off the wagon. In reality we all slip. We gossip, we fudge a truth, we dont stand up for someone.

good luck man! you can do it!"
posted at 09:55:51 on November 28, 2011 by Hurtallover
Human Error    
"You guys have helped me more than I could possibly describe!! Thank you for your encouraging words and advice. I often struggle with thoughts that I am not "good enough" or "too unworthy" for Christ. I have frequently had those thoughts that I will never be good enough to "return with honour." This is something that I am really trying to work through lately.

I had couples counseling today and our therapist made a remark that because I relapsed, I hadn't fully repented long ago when I first came clean. I "chose" to be very offended by that comment. Ofter a couple years of humbly asking the Lord for forgiveness and to change my focus and clean my mind, I finally got to a place where I felt like I had been forgiven and had a clean slate provided by the Atonement. In my doctorate studies, we studied the concept of Human Error in great detail. I frequently feel like I have a dicotomy of thoughts in regard to my recovery. In one respect, I am told that I am human. We came to this earth as unperfect beings and are instructed to do our best and the Atonement will provide us the ability to become perfect unto Christ if we allow Him. On the flip side, I feel like I am not allowed to make human mistakes. That I have to be absolutely perfect or I won't be accepted by Him or others. I do understand that the Atonement works through my faith and humbly trying my hardest and coming to Him for Forgiveness. I do continue to work on my irrational thoughts that I have to be perfect to be accepted by Him.

Hurtallover, your comments are so right on too. True recovery isnt measured by sobriety. We all sin and make mistakes over and over again. True Recovery is saying.. "I slipped. tomorrow is a new day."

I have a tendency to talk about my 3 year sobriety because I use it as motivation to myselft to get back to doing the things that I had been that kept me so strong. Unfortunately my wife doesn't like me to talk about that because "it doesn't matter becaus you relapsed." It hurts that I can't tallk to her about how I use it as motivation. I truly wish she understood the true intent of my thoughts with that. Unfortunately that requires her to trust me a little, and that just isn't possible right now. I do keep Hope that someday she will be able to give a little bit of trust back. She told me that it took her 3 years to be able to give me 1 day of trust at a time. I have a lot of work ahead of me to get back to that point, but I have hope that we can do it! I am really trying this time to be more aware of the pain that I caused and focus on what I can do for her. I so dearly love her and don't want to see her hurting!!"
posted at 13:41:16 on November 28, 2011 by humbled
the complex interaction between addict and partner    
"Preface -- this is a bit of a rant...because Im fearful of letting my guard downn and a slip happening to me.

Ugh.. What's really hard for me is that you went 3 years, had a slip and now hopefully you are on your way to not slipping again. I dont know the nature of your slip.. I assume mb or porn or both. But your wife is taking it so hard. This scares me to pieces... I dont know what my wife would do but she is pretty traumatized right now.

I guess I had this idea in my head that in a ideal world that after 2-3 yrs of sobriety that a partner would also be healthy enough to realize a slip is a slip and we are human. I guess if you went and found an escort or had an affair, that would be different.. I think more important would be to understand --1. what triggers and middle circle did you ignore and whats your plan to not ignore that. 2. Have you gone back to addictive personality traits -- isolation, secrecy, cycles, etc

It seems unfair to throw all of the 3 years of recovery out like a baby with the bath water. However, as I try to empathaize with a partner, I can imagine that a slip would be very triggering and create fear -- wondering --is this a slip or a full on relapse? And now Im upset because I have to watch him like a hawk again and rebuild the trust..

bleeping bleepers..

"
posted at 14:47:28 on November 28, 2011 by Hurtallover
Got to love self before can really love others    
"I think one way to show this in the marriage relationship is by always sharing those feelings of inadequacy with loved one.

I know this is showing real love to the loved one but it is more importantly loving self enough to get the crap out in the open to truly protect self and the relationship.

Honey I feel .... I worry that this is a cause for concern in my recovery. Can we talk for a few minutes?"
posted at 16:20:44 on November 28, 2011 by ruggaexpat
A loved one expects honesty    
"I think for myself I understand that the pornography has a pull on my husband that I can not understand. So I do not expect him to not be tempted. However I expect 100% honesty. I think that it is possible to be honest totally to your wife even if you do not have complete control on your addiction. It is the secrets that betray. My husband tells me when he is weak and why, etc. That really helps in not only preventing relapses but improving the relationship. It is not the nature of what he did (whether he went to a strip bar or wether he went to his phone) it is the lies!!! Remember this Hurt a lover with your wife, it is the lies that kill the relationship and breaks our heart. Remember, it is so much better to go to your wife and talk about your temptations and why they are happening and figuring out things together. Than actually relapsing and hiding it away again, when you chose to lie and hide again, she is thrown back again to hell. A week ago, my husband unwilling had seen something (an ugly scene on TV in the middle of day), thou he turned away from it. He told me as soon as I came home, so we would discuss the effects on him. This helps me trust more and helps him turn away from temptation. Try honesty and transparency, it works!!!"
posted at 20:30:00 on November 28, 2011 by Anonymous
"What you do when people aren't watching you"    
"This is something my wife had told me that I constantly have going through my head now. More than just the Po~n issues, but with everything that goes in my head. Music, shows, language. I have been working hard with IMDB Parental Guide ratings on all the shows that we watch. Music that I listen to in my truck I know pay more attention to the words. I have never been one to listen to the words as much as I listen to just the melody. I would be sitting there humming some song and my wife would ask.."do you know what this song is about?" My response..."Ahhh, Butterfly's and Rainbows (shrug of shoulders)". Kinda a joke between us that I don't listen to words. HOWEVER, in looking into my triggers, I think this was exactly it. As I have been paying more attention to the music, I have realized how BAD a lot of the music really is that I have casually listened to. I can usually recognize the song now after the first few beats and be able to change the station. It's extra good since I have kids that are growing up and I need to be a better example to them in that regard.

I do need to be more forthcoming with ALL my thoughts and emotions to my wife though. I want to get back to where we used to be able to really know what the other person was thinking and how they would react. Thanks Anon for your comment with that."
posted at 21:27:40 on November 28, 2011 by humbled


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"Nothing is beyond [Christ’s] redeeming reach or His encircling empathy. Therefore, we should not complain about our own life’s not being a rose garden when we remember who wore the crown of thorns! Having bled at every pore, how red His raiment must have been in Gethsemane, how crimson that cloak! No wonder, when Christ comes in power and glory, that He will come in reminding red attire, signifying not only the winepress of wrath, but also to bring to our remembrance how He suffered for each of us in Gethsemane and on Calvary!"

— Neal A. Maxwell

General Conference May 1987