Living Your Own Life

It takes so much energy to be married to an addict.  So much of it involves worry: is he lying to me again, is he acting out again, am I doing enough to get him to stop (you CAN’T stop him so stop trying), how will this influence the kids, should we get divorced, should we see a counselor, what will happen if….  Often, the wives of addicts feel like they have no control over their own lives, because all of their thoughts and worries revolve around him and how his actions will affect their lives.  She winds up feeling very unempowered.

One of the first steps a woman can take, no matter the reason she is feeling unempowered, is to start intentionally living the life she wants to live, no matter whether those around her are ready to live it with her.

For example, my husband worked Saturdays for 15 years.  He had a great job that allowed me to be a stay at home Mom to our three children.  But I missed so many opportunities because he couldn’t come with us.  Street fairs, birthday parties, museums, and other events would go unattended because I wanted to go as a family, and he couldn’t go with us.  If it was that important, sometimes I’d ask my Dad to come with us, but it just wasn’t the same.  I was really living a life waiting for something to happen.

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Finally I decided to just go without him.  I realized how much I was missing out on waiting.  I picked a Saturday and decided to go hiking.  I found a very easy paved trail that ended at a waterfall.  It was a little scary to pack up my kids and drive up a mountain road in a minivan by myself, not to mention keeping an eye on three young children as we walked up the side of a mountain.  But I did it.  And it felt AWESOME!

And I have not slowed down since then.  We bought passes for the Los Angeles Zoo and go often.  We went to a insect fair at a local museum.  (Ew!)  (But cool!)  We’ve traipsed around California visiting friends and family and monuments and museums and all kinds of awesome things that I wouldn’t have ever done before.

About 4 months ago, my husband’s schedule changed and he got Saturdays off.  I had already established a pattern of spending time making memories with one another that was easy to carry on now instead of struggling to establish new patterns.  Me taking control and living the life I desired has blessed my family immensely.

What are you NOT doing because you’re waiting for an external circumstance to be ideal?  What step can you take to live it?  Have you always wanted to go back to school and study something dear to your heart?  Do it!  Are you Christian and skimp on scripture reading or family prayers because your husband, the patriarch, doesn’t initiate it?  Well, you initiate it!  You can still bless your children!  Have you dreamed about having a beautiful yard or garden but feel like you can’t do it without him?  Yes you can! Check out some gardening books from the library and get to it!

What can I do to support you?  Reach out to me on my contact page.  I can help you set goals and provide accountability to make sure you’re living the life you dream.

Building Ourselves

I read a quote the other day that struck me.  It was in the May 2016 issue of the Ensign Magazine, a publication of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  It was an address given by Neill F. Marriot.  (I am LDS, or Mormon, though I try to publish content that all my readers can relate to, so if you’re not, stick with me here anyways.)

She spoke of a women’s desire to nurture.  That is what we do, naturally: nurture and bring others up.  Our children, sometimes our husbands, friends, neighbors, and others all benefit from our innate desire to nurture.

Sister Marriott says, “However, the first child of God we must build up… is ourselves.”  I can attest to this fact. I have had times where I’m trying to care for my children, run a house, be a good wife, but I feel like I have so little energy reserve to pull from, and my family does not get the attention and care they should.

This is why one of the first things taught in betrayal recovery is self care.  It is not a new concept.  Have you heard the quote, “You can’t pour from an empty cup?”  It’s true!  If we do not first nurture ourselves, we can not give to others.

Empty cup

Taking care of ourselves is vital to our health and wellness.  The four kinds that I emphasize or physical care, spiritual care, mental/emotional care, and temporal.  In future blog posts, I will go over how you an use these concepts to gain better control over your own life.

Until then, if you need help, feel free to reach out to me on my contact page.  I’d love to help you take control of your life and live the life you dream.

Lessons learned from Moana, Part 2

During the trip to return Te Fiti’s heart, Maui and Moana encounter many monsters: walking (and battling) coconuts, a gigantic crab, and and fearsome lava creature all test their resolve.

Maui, who wasn’t keen to go on this adventure in the first place, is often unhelpful and would rather just go his own way.  Occasionally he can be a bit and rude and condescending to Moana.  He doesn’t understood why what he did was so wrong.  In spite of this, Moana doesn’t veer from her course.  She doesn’t get distracted.  She doesn’t give up.  (She almost does at one point, but she doesn’t!)  She just keeps going on her way, being firm with Maui when he’s acting like a cranky child, but not letting his crankiness deter her.

The spouse of an addict can often feel the similar to Moana.  She may have goals for herself and her family for her own personal development, hobbies, and education, or things for her family like vacations, how the house or yard should be kept. Though her husband is not hunky demi-gods with great hair, just a plain old human, his behavior can often distract her from her goals.  Her energy can turn from her own goals and dreams to him; wondering what can she do to get him to stop, worrying if he’s acting out, worrying if he’s lying, wondering if his behavior is affecting the children, and a myriad of other things.  This is what brings the feelings of hopelessness and powerlessness.  When you focus on things you can not change, it’s depressing.  Focusing on your own goals and your own path despite how others around you are behaving, like Moana did, can bring a power back into your life that you may have not felt in a while.

Find Part 1 here and Part 3 here.

Lessons learned from Moana, Part 1

Have you seen Moana?  It’s seriously one of my favorite movies now.  Besides the amazing music, the story of Moana has some underlying themes that really struck my heart.  Many parallels have been drawn in the addiction community between her story and that of an addict and their spouse.

If you haven’t seen the movie yet, let me run through a quick plot line.  Moana is the daughter of the chief of a Polynesian island.  They tell the legend of the demi-God Maui, who stole the heart of Te Fiti, or mother earth.  Since then, the world has been slowly dying.  Moana is chosen by the sea to find Maui, restore his magical fish hook to him, and return him to Te Fiti so he can restore her heart.  The journey is dangerous.  They come across some crazy creatures and trials on their way, but eventually they complete their goal.

The inhabitants of Moana’s island do not travel by sea.  There are a few who go on boats to fish for food, but they always stay close to the shore or in the bay.  Moana is drawn to the ocean as a young girl, but is not allowed to go near it, much less swim or go out on a boat.  But thanks to the “village crazy lady”,  aka Grandma, Moana is shown a cavern behind a waterfall which is filled with boats.  A few bangs on a drum and a vision is opened up to her where she learns that her ancestors were voyagers, wayfinders they’re called, who sailed from island to island. establishing new lands.

At this moment Moana realizes who she is.  She learns about this feeling, this calling she has in life, and the reason she has always been called by the sea is because it’s her heritage.  She later sings “We are descended from voyagers, who sailed their way across the world. They call me.”

The spouse of an addict often feels like Moana.  So often they feel like there’s something else out there, another path they could be taking or following.  They often feel stuck, hopeless and powerless.  When they realize their path to recovery, the thing has been calling them, they often feel a sense of freedom and empowerment.

Another line in the same song says, “Yet the voice isn’t out there at all it’s inside me.  It’s like the tide always falling and rising.”  We were made to have joy.  It is our heritage.  When we find our path to happiness, we feel it, our soul or our spirit knows that it is meant for us.

Find Part 2 here and Part 3 here.

Lessons learned on the freeway

 

I had one of those cool “ah-ha” moments last week. I was on the freeway, in the carpool lane, going a sensible speed to stay a safe distance behind the cars in front of me and keeping with the flow of traffic. There was a guy that stayed on my tail, dangerously close, for like, 10 miles. I could see him in my rear view mirror and could tell he was angry at me.

I didn’t get it. It was an open carpool lane, meaning that he could get out and get back in any time he wanted. And there was no traffic. Nobody was in his way. Why was he letting one self-righteous person in the carpool lane keep him from doing what he wanted to do? From what he thought was necessary for him to be happy?

So often in life we let others dictate our happiness. We sit there and let others lack of action limit our action. We get at angry at them for slowing us down, when all we have to do is change lanes to go as fast as we want.

There’s so much power in doing what you know is right for you. The blessings that come from following God’s plan for you, and from living to the fullness of our capacities are wonderful. It is empowering to live the life that you want to live.

I know; easier said than done, right?  Depending on close this person is to us, it can seem impossible.  When a parent, spouse, sibling, or another person in authority in our life is the one slowing us down, it will probably be hard to say, “Thank you for opinion, but I know that this is the right choice for me, and the plan that will bring me happiness and fulfill my purpose” and then drive by with a goofy grin on our faces as they look at us, stunned.

So, how do you do it? Well, that’s where life gets tricky.  It takes confidence in yourself and in your plan to tell someone you love “I’m doing it my way.”  Need help?  That’s where I come in.  As your coach, I can guide you in developing a plan that will help you change lanes out from behind whomever is slowing you down.  Go to my Contact page and let me know how I can help you.