"S" is for Slips: A-Z Challenge

S is for Slips

“What he did is called a slip.”

“No, what he did is called a relapse.”

The discussion about what my husband, Devin, had done three years ago was open for debate.  Thanks to me.

I had no support system so I relied on a forum for partners of sex addicts.  It sounds good in theory, but in reality, it turned out to be a place where there was less healing and more bashing the addict.  (Maybe one day I’ll be able to host a forum focused on healing for the partner, you never know.)

The people on the forum were hell bent on figuring out if my husband had a slip or a relapse.  I wanted to know how to survive the emotional turmoil I felt.  I could care less what it was supposed to be labeled.  More times than not in that debate, I was advised to leave him.  They were convinced Devin would never get nor stay sober.

I’m glad they were wrong.

So, what is the difference between and slip and a relapse?  How do you recover when it happens?

Here’s what I eventually learned: 

Bing!
Much like an alcoholic, it’s what happens after that first return to their addiction (drink, porn, masturbation) is over.   If they realize they’ve made a mistake and immediately quit the behavior, it’s a slip.  When the slip leads into a downward spiral of their addiction, it’s a relapse.  After all, it’s progress, not perfection we’re all striving for here.

I had to learn that his slip was not a reflection of me.  That was truly hard to do when this addiction is so damn personal.  It was difficult not to feel inadequate when I discovered he looked at porn. 

My recovery work dissolved into millions of pieces because it was never built on a firm foundation.  It was built on sand rather than stone and easily eroded at the thought of not being “enough” of a woman for him. 

Once I figured out I was not to blame and had no control over what he did or did not do, I was able to start working my recovery using a brick foundation.  I made sure I had tools to handle any potential slips Devin might have.  I gathered poems that made me feel better, I did yoga and meditation, I utilized my daily reader, I prayed, blogged, and most of all, I reached out to others.

While it makes me happy that Devin hasn’t had a slip in a year, I no longer put my self-worth in his recovery.

What do you do to de-stress?

(I have a doctor's appointment today.  I'll be back this afternoon.)



~~~@

This post is part of the A-Z Challenge.  Wanna see more?




You Can't Control It!


source

I have to admit, I find it rather amusing my last post ended with this saying, If the path you're on has no obstacles, then it probably doesn't lead anywhere.”  It’s funny because three days after that post, an obstacle landed in my path. 
KERPLUNK!
Friday morning Devin sat down next to me and held my hand.  He looked into my eyes with sorrow and said, “I’m so sorry.”
I was working on an Excel spreadsheet and I thought he was apologizing for interrupting me. I looked at him more carefully, and realized he was on the verge of tears.  I grew concerned and asked, “What’s wrong?”
“I had a slip.”  He said.  “Well, I almost slipped then I stopped myself.”
“Thank you for telling me.  I appreciate you being so honest.  I’m sure that was really difficult.”  I said.  I could hear a marching band in my head celebrating how maturely I was handling the situation. Wasn’t I just awesome? Masturbation is in his inner circle and I didn't freak.  Go Elsie!
“Thank you for making it so easy.  I love you.”  He said.
We hugged and kissed.
Yet, I wasn’t feeling all that awesome.  I wanted to search his computer and check for porn.  I wanted to look at the phone bill and see if there was an increase in the data useage.  Instead, I went to a meeting.  Again, I patted myself on my back for my greatness.  Aren’t I so grand?
On the drive home I realized something I had forgotten.  About six weeks ago I asked him if he slipped and he responded with a resounding, “No.”  I explained to him the reasons why I questioned him.  He had been distant, objectifying women, objectifying me and our love life had become almost nil.  He blamed it on the stress of school and my migraines. 
I realized, I needed to ask him if slipped before that morning and not told me.  I also knew I needed to do this carefully.  I didn’t know how I could make things right but I sure knew I make this a mess. 
As it turns out, he did slip once before.  I was right about my instincts when I asked six weeks earlier.  He was afraid to tell me because I had been frustrated with him about not completing the chores he promised.  He didn’t want to add fuel to the fire.  He was frightened I would divorce him.
I was calm when he told me about the previous slip.  I told him I was proud of him for being honest but let him know I needed him to be truthful immediately.  Especially since I was asking about a slip.  It would ease my fears of feeling “crazy” for no reason.  It would reassure me that my instincts are correct.  He decided he would like to have the parental code on the television changed.  This will eliminate any temptation he may feel.  Then he let his sponsor and his meeting members know what happened. 
I chose not to withhold affection from him because he’s at a crucial point in his fourth step, leading into his fifth step.  It’s mentally draining and it wouldn’t be fair to him.  Once again, I mentally heard the crowd roar with their approvals of how I handled the situation.  My ego was being inflated at every turn.
Then night fell.  I was alone in the neighborhood of my mind.  I was in dangerous territory.  I was behind enemy lines.  Where were my adoring crowds? Where were my cheers?  Everyone took the bleachers and left the streets littered with MY garbage.  I picked through the trash and found my thoughts, “Maybe he’s been looking at porn on his phone, Elsie.” and, “I’ll bet he’s had more than one slip.  This is how disclosure started!”  Before long my mind was stuck in its circular thoughts of negativity.  My ego was quickly deflated.  I felt alone and isolated.  Then, at the end of block there was a table.  My hopes rose.  I realized I wasn't alone.  Around the table were my friends from S-Anon to turn to in my time of need.  I had God.  I had a great recovery that taught me this little gem: 
You didn’t cause it, you can’t cure it and you can’t control it.
I’ve been saying that to myself all day!  I am humbled and I’m okay.
~~~@ ~~~@ 
Programming note:  I’ll be MIA most of the week.  Be well everyone!
~~~@  ~~~@
"It's not my job to grant awareness."