William Shakespeare once said, “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” Never did I think I’d be in a place in my life where I’d find pleasure in helping others. Addiction has a way of making people get quite wrapped up in themselves and I was no exception. Neither was my husband.
Even when I was clean from drugs, I wasn’t emotionally sober and was in no condition to fully help people the way I am today. I was more than willing to write checks to the PTA, Fireman Fund, and Wounded Warriors but ask me to do more than donate cash? Um, not so much. To me, my time was better spent at work or at home cleaning. Besides, there were other people willing to volunteer, right? Unless it was the SPCA because well, puppies.
Devin, on the other hand, volunteered time rather than money. It was one of the traits that really attracted me to him. He was the one who got me started at the SPCA. He also volunteered his time for the Special Olympics, the VFW, and other charities before the addiction sunk its claws into him.
As his struggle with pornography worsened, the isolation in our house grew. He retreated into the bedroom, while I retreated into my brain and buried my head in the sand of denial. Our family became fractured, the cracks in our family unit grew, and neither Devin nor me were much in the giving spirit. I could barely give myself emotionally to my own children and certainly wasn’t giving to myself at all so trying to give to others was impossible. The same held true for Devin.
Addiction had managed to shift us away from our core values. He was immersed in a world of pornography, and I was obsessed with him and trying to survive our marriage. No more visits to the SPCA to volunteer. No more showing up to help at the VFW. Nothing. I was back to writing checks and even those were only to a select few. My heart was hurt and showed in my inability to be of service to others.
It took being humbled by disclosure, and then working the steps and going through Candeo before I was able to give back what was so freely given to me: experience, strength, and hope. I had found my passion. I discovered my purpose and it helped me move forward not just in my recovery but in life too.
I wanted to let people know that while addiction is a tough road to navigate, whether you’re the addict or the partner of an addict, it’s a journey that can be traveled and overcome. And it doesn’t have to be done alone. There are so many people out there willing to help. Addiction doesn’t have to win the battle, they can.
So while I used to volunteer my free time playing with puppies (okay, not really, it was doing administrative work…and then playing with the puppies and bringing them home!), I now give back by helping others who have been affected by pornography addiction, both those struggling and their partners. I began with S-Anon. For me, they got me back up off the ground and doing much-needed self-work. Then, I added in Candeo because they totally rock and were pivotal in my husband’s recovery.
And now? Now, I’m excited to share that I’ve been volunteering with the folks over at Fortify (part of the Fight the New Drug movement). And lemme tell ya, these guys are just as awesome as Candeo. The training videos to help those that are struggling are full of optimism and hope. The community is full of people encouraging each other to fight against the addiction. I’m blessed and amazed to be a small part of it.
Do you have a strong passion for something too? God, Volunteering, writing, gardening, crafting, working out, animals? I’d love to hear about fills your heart.
ETA: As I was bebopping around my fellow blogger's sites, I discovered that our friend Chrys Fey could use our help with a passion of her own. She is also an animal lover and is helping a friend rescue abandoned kittens/cats. If you can help, here's the link to her blog post with all the information you'll need to donate or share the post. Thank you!