Starting Off With A Smile

Happy New Year! 2016. How long will it take for me to stop writing 2015? I’m guessing at least two weeks. I think that’s actually being optimistic. More like February before I’m consistently writing 2016 and not grabbing the ol’ bottle of Wite-Out.

I hope everyone’s New Year is off to a good start. Mine has been a bit rocky but I think it’s a matter of perspective. I can frame it to be complete crap or I can look at it through the lens of something more positive and that’s the view I’m choosing. Optimism.

I’ll start with the good first. My ever-patient friend, (and I think undercover angel) Bryan, sent back my self-help book. The critiques weren’t nearly as bad as I thought they were going to be.

I anticipated lots of corrections requiring major rewrites but that wasn’t the case at all. Just some suggestions on how to make it really shine. And since my wise and wonderful friend, Robyn along with my blogger buddy Donna have already read the “advicey” portion of the book; it’s almost ready for publication. Now that’s exciting news for 2016! I should have that bad boy to print in a couple of months. Yay for getting to help people soon!

The not-so-good start of the year was the discovery of Devin’s continued slips. To say I’m disappointed would be an understatement. Not in the slips. I don’t care about that. Really, I don’t. It’s his recovery. Not mine.

It’s the lies. Those get to me. No matter how many times I tell him how crazy-making they are, he continues to do it. The slips have been going on for a couple of months and I’ve known it. The red flags have been popping and I left it to him to come to me because it’s his job. I asked twice if he’s slipped and both times he said no.

As an addict, it’s an act of self-preservation. I understand that because I can relate from my days as an active addict. Sometimes an addict has to feel shame and remorse in the moment of acting out to stop the cycle of their addiction. And that’s what happened. I caught him in the act. He was looking at porn.

We talked it out and he figured out why he slipped. He discussed ways to prevent it from happening again and even offered to put a keylogger on his computer. While that is tempting, I don’t think it’s wise. Putting a keylogger on there leaves me responsible for checking up on him and I don’t want to be his accountability partner. If he wants to put some kind of restricter on his computer, that’s on him…not me.

So, again, I choose to frame the beginning of this year in a positive way. I’m going to focus on me. I'm going to work on my book that will help people heal from the trauma of discovering their spouse is sex addict, rather than worry about Devin and his sobriety. I think that’s a much better way to begin the New Year: with a smile on my face.

How about you? Are you starting off the New Year with a smile?

Slips Are Still Possible…For Me

Insanity crept in

My plate wasn’t too full to blog last week. My mind was. Funny thing about being an addict, it doesn’t seem to matter how long I’ve been sober, there will be times life will test my sobriety and as I wrote this last week, I was in that time.

I’m emotionally hurt. A damaged soul who, even with the proper tools at hand, can’t always right the ship immediately. It can take some time to process the hurt and even longer to recognize the pain even exists. And in this case it had for some time. It’d been building for weeks.

Days ago, I couldn’t have put my thoughts into coherent sentences. My mind was too muddled and confused. I wasn’t sure why I wanted to drive fast, sit on the edge of the seat on roller coasters (literally), and take crazy chances. I just knew I needed to be reckless. I wanted to fill a void but didn’t know why. I craved to feel some kind of rush and that’s dangerous for an addict.

After reflection, I know the whys (there are several) and I have to figure out how to emotionally fix it. It doesn’t matter that common sense tells my addicted brain how stupid and irresponsible it would be to act out. Will I? Probably not. But that doesn’t stop my brain from fantasizing about numbing my pain by getting high. What a relief it would be…at least temporarily.

What I find fascinating is that if you saw me strolling down the street, you’d never know. I look fine. I look normal. I smile, I chit chat with my co-workers and hold the door open for strangers. But inside I’m tormented. I’ve thrown up my white flag of surrender.

The chinks in my armor are showing. The cement wall of my recovery has become a sheer curtain. I can reach through and ruin my sobriety in an instant.

I’ve done the right things to keep me on the sober path; I’ve reached out to a program member, I’ve talked to Devin about the seriousness of the situation, I’m journaling, I pulled out my affirmation cards (those things are so awesome) and am going to hit up an NA meeting.

The insanity lifts a few days later

I was sitting in the car dealership waiting for my repair to be finished when my phone rang. Unknown number. Normally I would’ve ignored it. My gut (God) told me to answer it. It was a program call. A newbie in distress. God put her in my path for a reason. I listened to her as I drove to the tobacco store to start my newest addiction. Vaping. It’s better than cigarettes. And it’s definitely better than drugs, folks.

We shared many of the same experiences, past drug addictions being one of them. She recently suffered a relapse and hearing her utter those words scared the ever-living shit out of me.

Relapse. How easy it is to fall back into.

I was grateful to have been sitting in the parking lot of a tobacco store and not downtown trying to score blow, speed, meth, or whatever else I could get my hands on at the moment. It very easily could’ve been my next stop; I was feeling that low.

Not only did hearing her tale scare me, it humbled me. It sobered me. More than any meeting I could’ve sat through.

So, I did what I would’ve told any sponsee: go back to the basics. I took care of me: I read (a very funny read by the way); I studied program material; I worked on my sequel; I watched mindless comedies and reality television; I took some time off from chores and cooking and accepted help from Devin and the kids. Most of all, I talked to Devin. I shared why I felt such tremendous pain. And that was healing. 

Funny. I was going to forgo counseling for a while to save some money. Think I’ll skip the hair salon instead.

Grey hairs are better than a black soul.

I’m looking forward to a much better week. You?