Today we have a Guest Blog Post written by Alicia from brabadges.blogspot.com ! I am so excited to share this with you, and you should go check out her blog when you are done reading here. I asked her to answer the question: What has helped you the most in dealing with your spouse's addiction? Because this is something that so many people are needing help with. And when you are at that point you might want to hear what has helped someone else.
I love the 3rd verse of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." Have you read it?
"Then the traveller in the dark,
Thanks you for your tiny spark,
He could not see which way to go,
If you did not twinkle so."
I remember my Traveller Days, and they were so dark. No one knew my secret because I believed it wasn't mine to tell. People around me talked openly about my secret, never knowing.
"If my husband ever looked at pornography, I'd leave him."
I remembered thinking the same thing until it happened to me.
"Porn is such a problem right now... it's breaking families up."
If it was such a problem, why did I feel so alone?
I couldn't find any spark, let alone any light. The cycle of addiction seemed to run our home. We operated around where my husband was at emotionally. I worked hard to keep my kids safe, to keep my husband happy. I always came up short, but I never stopped trying to be "more."
I stopped focusing on my own needs and allowed them to be swallowed up in what I perceived to be my husband's needs. No matter how hard I tried, no matter how many books I read or strategies I came up with... he would always return to his addiction. I tried keeping tabs on him, following up with articles I'd asked him to read, and reasoning with him.
One day, six years into our marriage and after a year without my husband relapsing, I uncovered more lies. I hit my rock bottom. The emotional pain was so intense, it morphed into physical pain. My heart hurt so badly, I clutched at my chest. I couldn't believe this was my life, my story.
I cried myself to sleep and the next morning I told myself if I could find tiny spark -just one story of one person who had made it though a story like mine -I could make it through that next day.
I found a book online that led me to a 12-step support group. At first I only attended with the intention to listen. All I really wanted was to look into the eyes of another person going through what I was going through. I had travelled in the dark for much too long. I needed light.
I found sparks that night. It only took a few meetings of "only listening" to really intrigue me. I began working the steps myself.
Today,, I attend two meetings each week. I work my steps with a sponsor. I attend counseling and reach out to a trusted spiritual adviser.
I have found a great deal of truth working the 12-steps. They have brought me to a place of serenity. The journey has not been easy or painless... in fact, it has been very hard and very painful. I repeat the serenity prayer each week and appreciate the reminder that, "pain is the pathway to progress."
I have learned I can let go of what I can't control (the past, others, the future...) and focus on what I can control -myself.
Working the 12-steps is like looking through a REALLY clean mirror... I can see my strengths and weaknesses, my pride and my humility. It is almost as scary as it is empowering. I have the direction I need to take hold of my life and live to my full potential, regardless of my husband's choices.
I live one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time -my path lit by the sparks of those who walked the path before I did.