Helping Myself and Others

Since my kids have been away, I’ve had time to work on my self-help book.  As I weeded my way through it, I discovered I have a long way to go before it’s finished.  At first I was disappointed with how much I have to edit, but then I realized I want it done right not fast. 

My mentor was correct all those long months ago when he recommended I take some of the narrative crap stuff out of it.  When I first started, I had the writing bug. I wanted to tell a story and help people recover from the effects of sex addiction.  Now that my first draft of my fictional novel is done, that itch to tell a tale has been scratched (at least for a little while.)

My non-fictional book had way too much personal stuff in it.  It resembled my blog more than a self-help book.  Sure, it’s great to be able to share my stories with others by giving them my personal experiences, but, geez, I was on sharing overload.

I remembered just what kind of book I wanted and needed after disclosure four years ago.  The last thing I wanted were sordid details of somebody else's marriage. I was trying to recover from sex addiction disclosure, not relive it. I was searching for someone who had not only been there, done that but also shared my hope that a marriage could survive after uncovering the addiction and betrayals.

I admit, it’s been hard to revisit some of the hurt to overhaul this book and make it better.  But it's helped me too.  So much of the junk that used to trigger me doesn't phase me one bit these days. I reminded myself that the things that happened in the past were just that - the past.  We are both better people in a stronger marriage now.

The anniversary of my first disclosure is fast approaching.  I thought by now it’d be just a blip on the radar of my life.  But it’s not.  It’s still there.  Although it lurks in the back of mind rather than in the present.   I suppose on that day I won’t wake up with the affairs being the first thing on my mind the way they used to be.  For that, I’m thankful.  I’m also experienced enough to know that it’ll wander through my brain at some point during that day and that’s okay.  I’ll allow myself to grieve for a moment or two but will make sure I remember how far we’ve come.

Then I’ll do what makes me happy.  I’ll write, blog, chat with others, and not allow myself to wallow in the past but learn from it instead.

Are there things in your past you wished you forget?  Have you learned from any bad experiences?

To Trust or To Snoop?

from where else? Bing

Trusting your gut. 

Many of us do it without giving it a second thought.  Maybe you did it last weekend when you made your football picks.  Thankfully, my Giants didn’t have to play and I was saved that humiliation.  I can’t say the same for this week.

Let’s take it a bit further. Perhaps you trusted your gut on your way to work this morning and you left a few minutes early.  You don’t really know why, but your instinct told you it was best to walk out your front door five minutes earlier than normal, so you did.  You didn’t question it.  You just got in car and left.  Maybe you avoided a traffic jam.  Or even a car accident.  You’ll never know.

Many moms understand this on an even deeper level.  A mother’s instinct, that gut feeling, can tell you something is wrong with your child.  It can scream at times.  It alerts us before something has happened to our precious little ones.

Then, there are people like me.

I managed to screw up my God given gift.  Not through any fault of my own though. Mine was a wreck thanks to relational trauma caused when I found out about Devin’s sex addiction.  The PTSD from the trauma caused me to become hypervigilant.  I acted on every suspicion I had about Devin.

I never allowed myself time to relax and settle back down.  I lived in an almost constant state of anxiousness.  If I suspected Devin was surfing porn, I’d run to the computer and check.  I’d spend hours wasting away trying to dig up some kind of evidence of him looking at porn or having an online affair.  That led me to forums on sex addiction and betrayal.  I kept myself in a negative mindset.

Then, Devin would do something completely innocent but to me, it was a red flag.  I’d be back at the computer again.  Wasting my time and energy.  Every time I closed my laptop, I felt sad and defeated.  Sometimes, I was even disappointed I didn’t find anything.  At least if I found something, I wouldn’t have squandered away so much time for nothing. 

Eventually, it dawned on me.  I couldn’t trust my gut anymore.  I lost the ability to know when something was “off” with Devin.  Those of you married to an addict know they have “tells.”  Things they do or say when they are headed down the wrong path in their recovery. 

When I wasn’t able to quiet my mind enough to calm it, I knew things had to change.  I stopped being hypervigilant.  It was a difficult journey for me.  It meant entering a world of not knowing.  Not knowing what Devin was or was not doing was frightening.  It meant learning how to trust.  I had to begin placing my belief in him and in myself.

I had to hope he would come to me when things were headed down a slippery slope.  I also had to believe that I could trust my gut. 

In time, my gut instinct came back.  I could see clearly when Devin’s recovery wasn’t going as well as it should be.  I trusted my instincts and talked to him when I felt it was necessary.  Each time it’s been for good cause.  Then came the time I hoped for, he came to me.

I think it’s okay to trust.  It’s also okay to verify, with your spouse’s knowledge…none of this spyware crap unless you’re both on board with it.  To me, if you’re spying on your spouse because you’re afraid they’ll act out again or because they’re not working they’re program then you need to have a serious talk with your spouse. Not spy on them.  You’ll just drive yourself bananas.  If they want to act out, they will.   Not to mention, you’re expecting transparency from them.  Shouldn’t they get it from you too?

Devin and I have an agreement when it comes to trust but verify:  If I have a feeling he’s surfing, or I trigger and it results in me looking at any of his devices or tracking him on his phone, then I tell him within twenty-four hours.

Although, I can’t recall the last time I’ve done either of those things.  My gut instinct has been very calm.  I like it that way. 

The Avoidant


Yep, another post from me.

Two days in a row, can you believe it?

The kids are back in school and blogging can become a regular part of my week.

I just need to figure out a schedule.

Sorry guys but I’m doing another post about sex addiction.  I normally don’t do two in one week but, meh, I’ve been gone for awhile.  Plus, I was pretty excited to find the link below and wanted to share it with those who may need it.

Now then, where was I?  Right, revelations.  Not the Bible chapter but self-discovery.  Yesterday, I talked about the importance of not being a parent to Devin any more.  That type of relationship is toxic in a marriage.

While doing some research on Devin's recent diagnosis of SLA vs SA, I discovered a fantastic


, and found that Devin and I fit this pattern almost perfectly.  Or, more accurately, we


to fit this pattern. 



Attracted to


Process of person's relationships

Love addict

Security, safety acceptance, “oneness” (merger)


Greatest fear is abandonment

Underlying fear is healthy intimacy (in enmeshment the core of the person is actually sealed off)

Self-contained individuals who appear strong, stable (often avoidant or obsessive compulsive, like their families of origin)

Line up next relationship before leaving current one--forming love triangles

Instant closeness, looking for “magic” feeling

Idealizing partner

Obsessing about partner

Talking obsessively to others about him or her

Acting out anger and revenge for being abandoned

Enters relationship in haze of fantasy--found this stable, strong, accepting individual

Gets high from fantasy

Denies how walled in avoidant really is

Avoidant gradually becomes distant and shuts down, abandons relationship in some way

Love addict acts out anger & revenge, turns to affairs and addictive sex

Partner capitulates and renews relationship, or love addict moves on to new relationship

Sense of self and self esteem does not develop--love addict remains in dependent position. Ability to tolerate fear and discomfort must develop for growth to occur


Wants to be connected, but not closely


Greatest fear is intimacy/engulfment

Can have a hard time rejecting others or saying no

Individuals who provide much of the enthusiasm and intimacy for both of them

Ambivalence all the way through may be in relationship because can't say no

May show initial traditional romantic pursuing, but ultimately enters relationship because love addict provides most of the “intimate energy”; may fear would never make into a relationship otherwise

As love addict wants more and more attention avoidant attempts to please by giving it to them--at least initially

Eventually avoidant becomes overwhelmed by enmeshment and/or neediness of love addict, becomes critical, and eventually backs off from relationship or abandons it

Feels relationship has failed, sometimes gets involved with addictive behavior or affairs to distance, distract, or numb out

May return to relationship out of guilt or fear of being totally alone, or moves on to connect with another partner

Cycle of abandoning and returning can go on and on, especially if love addict starts to move on

If you didn’t figure it out, I’m the


in this scenario.  I feared intimacy with someone and getting too close.  It made me feel vulnerable.  That fear was created after my first husband died.  I also thought I’d lose my sense of independence that I worked so hard to achieve after his death. 

What I didn’t realize was what an emotional mess I was inside after his death.  Instead of fixing myself, I focused on fixing others.  Some of you in a relationship with an addict may be nodding your heads right about now.  We tend to want to rescue people from their problems.  I tried to “fix” two alcoholics before I met Devin.  I didn’t even see the pattern of my relationships until I wrote them down while doing my step work.  How crazy is that?

The last column describes part of my relationship with Devin that are so painful to even think about.  It includes everything from me backing away from our relationship and then returning out of guilt to engaging in his addictive behaviors in an attempt to rescue our marriage. 

While it’s been a wild and crazy journey, I can truly say I look back on what I’ve been through with Devin with appreciation.  I never would have done this much work on myself had disclosure not happened.  Our marriage wouldn’t be as strong as it is now if he didn’t have the courage to tell me the truth and to get help.  We are better people today then we were in 2009-2010.


Being Hacked Taught Me A Lesson


It happened fast.  My email account was open through my Mac when suddenly my inbox went from zero to over twenty in less than a minute.  I clicked on the Mail icon and watched as the number grew to thirty than forty new emails.  All were error notifications that an email I sent out titled, “How Are You?” had been rejected by the server. 

The only problem was I never sent that email.  I’d been hacked.  I quickly logged onto my Yahoo account and changed my password.  I was confident I solved the problem.

In a sense I had.  The hackers no longer had access to my Yahoo account but they had my contact list.  Now my recipients were vulnerable to being hacked too.  I was bummed but I knew it was the sad reality of being in the cyber world.  People in my mailing list would know I would never send an empty email with just a hyperlink.  They wouldn’t open a link to whatever spam or virus the hacker was trying to direct them towards.  I decided to Let It Go.

Then it came right back.

“Elsie, have you seen this?”  Devin asked me.  He handed me his cellphone. 

I glanced at the “How Are You?” email he had opened. I let him know I had things under control.  No worries here, my dear.

He handed his cell back to me and said, “Look at the top of the email.”

As I looked, a knot grew in my stomach.  I may have been able to stop the hackers from doing further damage with my email but they injured me in a whole different way.

On Devin’s phone, the email had the option to see all of the recipients on the list with a simple click of a button.  One press with his thumb displayed my entire address book.  Seemingly not a big deal for most people but for me, this was a nightmare. 

Devin’s attention had been captured by an email address about infidelity.  He hadn’t scrolled down far enough to see the ones addressed to sex addiction groups along side my aunts, uncles, friends from out-of-state and worst still, our kids.  Right after disclosure, I didn’t create separate email accounts.  I kept everything the same.  Big mistake.

I shared with him the email addresses on the list he hadn’t noticed yet.  He asked what my plans were for damage control. My first instinct was to jump into action like he wanted.  I thought I should send out a mass email, let everyone know I’d been hacked and tell them to ignore the email.  Maybe even include an explanation about the wacky sex addiction email addresses.  That was the old me thinking that way.  The need to control the situation.

The new me decided to let the chips fall where they may.  The only people I told were the kids.  I let them know if they received a forwarded message from me to delete it.  They did just that.  The only people I heard from were a spammer and my daughter’s real father.  The spammer wanted to hook up.  My daughter’s father said he was doing just fine – IN ALL CAPS, that’s how he types.  He’s not the brightest when it comes to the computer and I’m thankful.

Slowly but surely I’m learning I don’t need to control everything.  They manage to work out just fine without me.

How about you?  Do you like to take control of things?

Out To Lunch

“I’m going to lunch.  Headed to that Italian place I found last week.  My co-worker, Rachel, is coming with me.  I love you.”

I read the text Devin sent again and took a deep breath before I responded.  I wondered if Rachel was a supervisor that needed to talk business with him.

“Have a good lunch.  Why is Rachel going to lunch with you?  I love you.” I texted back.

“She wanted to tag along.  Don’t worry, walls and windows.”  He answered, using a phrase from one of our favorite books, Not Just Friends.  It assures me he is aware of keeping proper boundaries with females. 

Usually this phrase makes me feel at ease and keeps my mind from going to dark places.  This time it didn’t work. Rachel wasn't his supervisor.  My mind flashed back to Devin’s old behaviors.  I let him know I didn’t think going to lunch with Rachel alone was appropriate.  I would never go to lunch with a male co-worker alone and I didn’t have a sex addiction or a past like he did. 

Thankfully, before my texting got out of control and I said something I’d regret, my phone rang.  It was someone from my S-Anon group.  She hadn’t been able to attend in a long time and we had catching up to do.  We were on the phone long enough for me to relax.

I understood I didn’t like Devin going to lunch alone with a female.  It made me feel very uncomfortable.  However, I realized communicating via texting wasn’t the proper format either.  It was too easy to miscommunicate our thoughts and feelings.  I let Devin know I’d rather see his handsome eyes when we spoke.  He agreed in person was much better.

When we spoke face to face, I explained my feelings to him. At first he didn’t understand.  He explained he was a different person now than he was several years ago.  He pointed out his honesty about going to lunch with Rachel.  This was something he’d never consider doing in the past, he'd just go.  I let him know I appreciated his transparency but it still felt inappropriate to me.  I didn’t think it was okay for him, or  me, to have social outings with people of the opposite sex.

I shared an experience I had with my best friend, Tasha.  I was single and worked with her husband, Doug, at his shop.  We used to brown bag lunch and eat at our desks.  One day Doug and I decided to eat at a diner.  Tasha was livid.  She let us know that under no certain terms was it appropriate for Doug and I to eat lunch alone. 

I was much younger then and didn’t understand Tasha’s reasons but now I do.  There should be no opportunity for a line to be crossed or mixed signals to be sent.  In Devin’s case, where cheating already happened, that lunch should never have occurred.

Devin understood my point and promised he’d never do it again.  I felt relieved but I also felt controlling.  I knew I was setting a clear boundary for myself and that’s something I have to do with Devin because of his addiction.  Yet, I felt conflicted for setting it.  I wondered if the problem was with me.  Was I so damaged from Devin’s acting out that I felt the need to control him outside the house?  Or was I making a reasonable request?  Since I have taken a look at my character defects, I am well aware that being in control is a biggie for me.

I decided to let it go until I could talk to my S-Anon group.  Devin talked to his sponsor about what happened.  His sponsor felt it was fine to have lunch with a female as long as Devin was keeping his guard up.  Frankly, I was shocked but I didn’t say so. My S-Anon group felt my boundary request was a fair one.  Then again, they’ve been through the same damage I have so they are just as biased as me.

I guess I know what my next counseling appointment will be about. 

What do you guys think?  Is it okay to have lunch with people of the opposite sex when you’re married? 

Treat Yo Self!

I am a fairly new subscriber to Netflix and I’ve fallen in love with it.  I don’t know why I was so resistant to signing up for so long.  I’m saving a ton of money by getting rid of premium channels once Directv ends my promotions next month. 

My son recommended I watch Parks and Recreation and I’m so glad he did.  It started out a bit slow but once it picked up, it had me rolling.  Two of the characters reminded me of something very important.  They reminded me to Treat Yo Self!
 This is something I am quick to tell other people yet I neglect to follow my own advice. I feel it’s important for everyone to take some time throughout the week and be kind to themselves.  Sometimes I think it’s okay to be a little selfish.  This way when things get a bit stressful, you’ll be in a good place mentally.

I had been so busy with other things I’d forgotten about me.  I love to visit the beach and I’ve only been once in the past three weeks.  I enjoy reading quietly in my comfy, leather chair but that’s also been abandoned. Another favorite luxury is a warm bubble bath and I can’t remember the last time I’ve soaked in the tub.

For someone like me, a person working on her recovery, I need to remember how important self-care truly is to my mental state. I never know what may be headed my way.  I just know I need to remember:

Treat Yo Self!

Audio Post on Emotional Sobriety and a Way Cool Announcement if you missed it

Shortest post ever!  I felt compelled to share this with you, my Hooligans.  It brought me to tears several times so naturally I want you guys to cry too.  No, seriously, this is such a powerful lecture this guy belongs on Ted Talks.
He is speaking about Emotional Sobriety but it isn't just for alcoholics or addicts, it's for anyone who is filled with emptiness, unhappiness, fear, self-doubt, self-hate, and it rocks.  Yes, it is an hour long but it is totally worth it.  

I hope you enjoy it as much I did and remember to love yourself!  You're worth it!

Tom B. Jr. Emotional Sobriety

Oh, if you missed my post the other day on my other blog I made a wicked cool announcement.

I'll be here in the morning but this afternoon...not so much, so enjoy your weekend everyone, I know I will and if you have plans, I want to know what they are!!  Are you partying?  Spending time with the family?  Working around the house?  What do you have in store?

Humbling and Wonderful Reminder


A few weeks ago, I was watching a great new show, Elementary, with my husband.  It’s a modern day Sherlock Holmes and I love it. It’s one of my new favorites of the season, right up there with Chicago Fire. 

(For anyone keeping track, my love affair with Honey Boo Boo is officially over.  I saw an episode of how they interacted with people outside of their home and they had no regard for others or their property, it was horrible and disrespectful and my kid is no longer allowed to watch that crap.  Where was I?  Right, rambling, how unlike me.)

Sherlock was investigating the kidnapping of his friend’s daughter and the friend is also his ex-drug dealer.  The case turns out to be a bit more difficult than he anticipates and he begins to allow self-doubt to creep into his head along with his friend’s doubtful words. 

Sherlock’s friend tells Sherlock he isn’t as talented when he’s not high and not as perceptive and his friend brings Sherlock drugs to help him solve the case.  Sherlock is full of so much self-doubt and insecurity about his ability to solve this particular case without the help of drugs heightening his senses, we are left not knowing whether or not he will succumb to the pressure of taking the drugs until the end of the show.

As I sat on the couch and watched Sherlock’s struggle, I could feel my fingers gripping the armrest.  Twenty years.  It’s been twenty years since I’ve put cocaine up my nose but the way the show framed Sherlock’s inner battle, his insecurities, I felt like I was him.

I understand the inner turmoil of first seeing the drugs right in front of you and saying “NO!” not today.  Then walking away, sometimes literally running.  Then once sobriety is accomplished, the insecurities set in. 

Am I good enough to maintain life in this world?

A Life where I am not high? 

Am I really funny? 

Am I really pretty?  

Will I still be able to write well? 

Will I still be creative?

So many insecurities to overcome once sobriety is reached.  I think many people forget that.  I know I did and it’s a humbling experience, a humbling reminder, as I watch Devin maintain his sobriety for so long but struggle with his insecurities in life as he continues his journey through recovery.  

A wonderful reminder in my meetings as I listen to others, and share, I am again reminded of where I was, how far I came and yet I still wonder…

Am I?  Will I?

Add a Tool to My Toolbox

Here’s your chance my Hooligan’s, your chance to run to another blog.  This may turn out to be long only because I don’t know exactly where it’s headed.  It’s one of my “back to the roots” posts, where I allow my mind to journal and think.  At the end, fun!  I promise.

The other day, I did something I never thought I’d ever do.  I attended an AA meeting.  Wow, just wow.  From the moment I stepped out of my car to the moment I said good-bye, I felt welcomed, loved, and a sense of belonging.  It was truly amazing.

I don’t know why I feared anything different.  We treat newcomers to S-Anon the same way, yet I was still scared to attend.  I was afraid because I’ve been drug free for so long, they wouldn’t understand why I was there, but there was no inquisition.  No one asked why I was there. They simply accepted my need to attend a meeting.

I was greeted with a bright smile and hello in the parking lot and accompanied to the door.  I was welcomed to a table and invited to sit down.  The fear of cliques dissipated as I watched people go from table to table and hug one another, men and women alike greeted each other, introduced themselves, and got older attendees their coffee.  I was surprised to feel a smile on my face in a place I had been so nervous to be not even five minutes before.

For months I have been missing something.  Something inside me is no longer able to hang on to the peace and serenity I found after I worked my fourth step.  I lost my emotional sobriety and I miss it terribly.  I long for it back.

What is emotional sobriety?  For me, it’s being able to feel my feelings.  All of them and handle them properly, without a constant feeling of discontent and unsettlement.  It’s so hard to explain once you’ve reached a place of calm and that calm feeling has left.  It’s like having an empty pit within you.

I’m not running around screaming at people but the desire to do it is there.  It has happened a time or two with Devin where I’ve made snarky comments and that’s not healthy for either one of us.

I knew it had to do with Devin’s recovery.  He has reached a plateau, according to our counselor, and without a change in his treatment plan, he is in danger of another relapse.  His behavior has become erratic as he works his fourth step and while I understand this on a rational level, it’s hard to understand as the person living with him.  He understands the need for changes and he makes them but then reverts back to old habits. 

Instead of being able to distance myself, instead of finding the compassion I’ve had in the past as a fellow addict, I became frustrated and impatient.  I am more like Veruca Salt, I wanted it NOW!  I still stayed out of his recovery, I still stayed out of his collecting and buying habit but I no longer fight fairly.  I am allowing myself to be baited instead of walking away.  I am engaging in behavior that isn’t healthy for me.

I know I cannot change him.  Only he can change himself.  This meant something needed to be done for me.  There was something I needed to do, another tool I needed to add to my toolbox but I wasn’t sure what.  Then I realized I needed to address my core issues, sure, I was sober but I’m still an addict.

An addict who never addressed her addiction with any type of counseling or any type of program.  I just quit drugs cold turkey and considered myself magically cured.  It was through the S-Anon program that I realized it doesn’t work like that, not even close bub!

I chose that particular meeting because of the time and location and it was truly a God send.  I left feeling less empty inside.  My spiritual cup had been filled.  Not my religious cup, my spiritual cup.  There is a difference.  Again, hard to explain unless you’ve sat in on a meeting.  There is so much hope, so much love, so much understanding and so much compassion.  It’s like getting a giant hug and knowing you’re not alone.  Even though you don’t quite know what’s wrong inside, you’re not alone.

I’m not sure this made sense but I wanted to share it just the same.

Now for the fun stuff I promised.  I was watching my beloved Fox News and saw a highlight of the Harlem Shake.  Take time to laugh today, my friends, I did:


Dear Me

I wish in several years ago when my world had collapsed upon itself someone could have sat me down and said, “Elsie, I know what you went through sucked but you are one tough chick and a shit storm is headed your way and you need to surround yourself with people who understand it not people who are toxic.”  I wish someone had done that.  Instead, God sent me a guardian angel and she sent me on the right path but I still strayed, I still went on my own stubborn headed agenda. I’m here to set the record straight and also try to help others avoid making the same mistakes:

Dear Me,

I’m sorry you just found about Devin’s online affair.  I'm sorry it wasn't just porn. But I’m glad you found that backbone of yours again because unfortunately you’re going to need it again soon.  Please listen to your guardian angel when she says Devin is a sex addict because he is, I’m so sorry. Elsie your world is about to be turned upside down but know you can handle it, you’ve been through some tough shit in your life but now is the time to stand strong and focus on you and your children.

Listen to your guardian angel, she’s been put in your life for a reason and won't be here long.  She is telling you about COSA and S-Anon for a reason.  Every fiber of your being wants to focus on Devin and his behaviors, his problems, soon you will want to focus on his affairs, yes there are more.  You’ll want to focus on the women too. Trust me, they aren’t worth your time and they sure aren’t worth neglecting time away from your kids.  They were objects to Devin, nothing more, nothing less and it is you that is making them larger than life while damaging yourself in the process.  Trust me, the images you see will come back to haunt you along with all the words and details you will learn.  They will pop up when you least expect it and at the most intimate moments and ruin far to many days ahead.

There is a piece of wisdom you don’t hesitate to share with Devin yet you don’t seem to see the wisdom in it for yourself.  You tell Devin if he spent as much time on his recovery as he did on his addiction he’d be so much further along by now.  Take a look in the mirror, Elsie.  After your second disclosure day, again, I’m sorry you’ll have another, you spend far to much time obsessing on the other women, then you move on to obsessing over Devin’s recovery.  If you spent that time working on YOU, you yourself would be a healthier person too.

I beg of you, give one of the 12 step programs a chance.  You walked in with such a chip on your shoulder despite your relationship with God.  You couldn’t admit your life was also out of control, you couldn’t admit you needed outside help from others because your massive pride was in the way – take help from others.  These women will help you.  They understand like no others can.  The programs work.  It’s not about “their” religion, it’s not a cult, there’s not some bizarre motive.  It just works. 

If you don't reach out to a program, reach out to a healthy place like church, a counselor or someone who doesn't bash your husband or being a sex addict.  He's a sick person, not a bad person.  Don't let people tell you otherwise.

Trust me.  I’m not going to lie, you’re in for some pretty fucked up times, but you’ll get through it and I think if you had a better network of friends, like COSA or S-Anon, you’d get through it much better.  Oh, and one last tid bit of advice…don’t tell your friends or your family.  You think it’s a great idea.  I assure you, it’s not.  It changes everything, even years later.

I'm happy to say things do get so much better!  You become a much emotionally, healthier person - through the help of a 12 step program.  As they say, it works if you work it.