Tonight I’m Struggling

I’m laying here struggling with the idea of self pleasure… I think it comes from the wanting to run from the love and acceptance that I find here. Matt has been so good to me, he loves me and Gavin with all his heart. I want to be here! I want to learn how to accept the gift of feelings and emotions that come with love! I don’t want to run anymore and I’m not going to either!

Sunday Thoughts

Today at church I felt the Holy Spirit move in my heart the way I used to when I was a teenager. I have only felt that one other time since I stopped truly listening to the my heart and allowed my addiction to take over my life. It is the best feeling in the world when I feel that I am fully surrendering my heart and my will to God. I can’t remember the last time I felt like I was really living the way God intended me to live. I know I am human and that I will make mistakes but at least now I know I am going in the right direction. 
After service Matt and I had one of our marriage sessions with our pastor. I have been struggling with what a Christian marriage looks like especially when it concerns submission. I have given so many people so much control over my life in the past but it hasn’t always been in the right context. I have allowed others to control and abuse me thinking it was love. I have since learned through recovery that it is in fact abuse and not love to let someone control my every thought and decision. I am my own person and I finally understand now that I am to submit to Matt’s leadership of our family only when it lines up with the Bible. If we both agree about which direction to take our family then I will follow his lead. I also understand now that if we are battling about which direction to go, as long as his choice is biblical, that I may need to submit to the choice he makes.
After we talked about marriage and submission we talked about our love languages. As we were sitting there discussing them all of a sudden he was showering me with all kinds of praise. I was so moved by his words and his obvious affection and love for me I started to cry! I can’t tell you how much it meant to me to hear him say the things he said about me and to know he thinks so highly of me!

Three Weeks Sobriety Today!!!

I have been dealing with a new area of recovery in the past month or so; You see I go to Celebrate Recovery every Friday night and I recently learned I have a serious sex addiction! I’m not sure where this addiction started but I am know that in time God will reveal what I need to know when He knows I am ready to deal with it! I’m on twenty one days of sobriety … Yay … Thank you God!!!
When I first started this journey I was afraid that my relationship with Matt would fall apart, but he is being super supportive and respectful of the desire I have to get this area of my life under control. We are going to do our very best with Gods help to make it to our Wedding Day, October 28, 2011!

Sex Addiction – The Definition

For women sexual addiction can take on a uniqueness. Our behavior ranged from sex with self, phone sex, cyber sex, and pornography. We engaged in promiscuity illicit relationships and multiple-adultery. For some of us it was exotic dancing, escort services and prostitution. We used our bodies, intentionally dressed provocatively, and performed for others, creating the illusion that gave us a false sense of self worth. We were addicted to the intrigue, the tease and the forbidden. We jeopardized our relationships, jobs, morals and values; we even neglected our children. All the while, we rationalized our sexual behaviors. We asked ourselves “What will a little fantasy hurt,” or “What they don’t know, won’t hurt them.” As we lived a double-life, we became disconnected from reality making true intimacy with another impossible. We carried this behavior from relationship to relationship and even into our marriages.
Why? We were running; running from love; running from pain; pain from shame, self-hate and multiple forms of abuse. We lacked self-worth and feared intimacy. We tried to connect; we tried to escape. We felt abandoned. We had a need to be put in control and have power over others. Spiritually, we were bankrupt. We have learned to numb our feelings and to cope with our inadequacies by reaching out for a cure that would ultimately destroy us. This unhealthy belief system was not in line with the plan God had for our sexuality.
Sexual addiction is progressive. It can begin as a little flirtation or a “curiosity.” When we cross a line, it sets us in motion to cross the next one more easily. Ask the adulterer, ask the prostitute, ask the slave to the Internet, “When, how they started, and how it ended.” We’ve asked ourselves, “How did we get here?” Sometimes, we don’t even remember why we started acting out in the first place. We tell ourselves that the next sexual act will be better and more lasting, but it never is. Eventually, our behaviors resulted in losing relationships, our marriages, jobs, and material possessions and in some cases, our children. For many the risks of sexually transmitted diseases are now a reality. And finally we hit a bottom. There is a void that we haven’t been able to fill with fantasy, sex or lust.

Searching Again …

My sponsor resigned today and I don’t know what to do!!! For anyone that is a leader at CR in recovery for Shattered Vows and/or Co-dependency or if you know someone who fits this description please pass along their name to me.

  • She needs to be kind, caring, strong, willing to call me on my denial, tell me the truth even when it’s not what I want to hear. She needs to be able to give grace and understanding when I am struggling with reality. She needs to be honest with me, be able to talk openly with me, be non judgmental when it comes to my choices and inventory. She needs to call and text me back, be willing to meet with me when I really need her support. She needs to be able to laugh, cry, celebrate, and mourn with me. She needs to have sobriety in at least one area of recovery that we share. She needs to understand what it is like to raise kids or at least understand that their needs need to be taken care of first.

Lesson 10: Spiritual Inventory Part 1

In this lesson I begin to learn about how my actions have affected others and myself. I begin to work on Principal 4 and Step 4.

 

Relationship

Priorities In Life

Attitude

Integrity

 

Write About It:

1. Relationship with others

  • Who has hurt me? (Go as far back as I can). How did they specifically hurt me?

    • Brett: physically, emotionally and sexually abused me, lied to me, forced me to have sex with him, looked at pornography and then he denied it when I had proof in front of me.
    • Matt: Physical and emotional affairs with others

  • Who am I holding a grudge against? (Seeking Revenge?)

    • Brett
    • Matt
    • Sisters
    • Dad
    • Mom
    • Gwen

  • Who am I Jealous of? (Past & Present) Why?

    • Melissa (sister) Got more attention from my mom when I was a kid.
    • Miranda (sister) Got more attention from my mom when I was a kid.
    • Rosie & Rodney they have my boys and are raising them.

  • Who have I hurt? How did I hurt them?

    • Jorin – lied to everyone about being raped and he was taken from me.
    • Xander – lied to everyone about being raped and he was taken from me.
    • Matt – lied to him, ran away when he wanted me to stay and so much more.
    • Mom –  didn’t talk to her for two years
    • Dad – ran away from him when he opened up to me in 2008
    • Shiela – took my anger out on her when it wasn’t her fault

  • Who have I been critical of? Gossiped about? Why?

    • Mom – critical the way she treats others and her actions especially her drinking
    • Matt – critical of him especially his “English” skills
    • Self – critical of my image and self-esteem
    • Brett – critical of his lack of education
    • Shiela – critical of how she treats her kids

  • How have I attempted to place the blame on someone else? (Be Specific!)

    • Need to pray over this one … New answer to come soon!!!

  • What new healthy relationships have I developed since I have been in recovery?

    • Matt and I are not new but our relationship is a lot healthier now than it was in the beginning.
    • My sponsor & accountability partners
    • My mom and I are getting healthier because I am expressing things to her and setting boundaries and expecting her to follow them.

2. Priorities In Life

  • What areas of my life have I been able to turn over to Jesus Christ?

    • Need to pray over this one … New answer to come soon!!!

  • After acting on Principle 3, What areas of my life am I still not putting God First? Why not?

    • Self image issues – I need to see what god sees not what other people see.
    • my family issues – not relying on god to show me how to deal with my issues.
    • Why? … probably because I have trust issues and don’t trust God to help me with them.

  • What in my past is keeping me from seeking and following God’s will for my life?

    • I am simply being lazy about it. I need to make the commitment to explore and try to learn what His will is for me and choose to follow it as best as I can with His help and guidance.

  • Number the following list in order of my personal priorities …

    • This is how it is …

      • 1 … family
      • 2 … friendships
      • 3 … Christ
      • 4 … church
      • 5 … ministry
      • 6 … career
      • 7 … money

    • This is how I would like it to be …

      • 1 … Christ
      • 2 … family
      • 3 … church
      • 4 … friendships
      • 5 … ministry

      • 6 … career

      • 7 … money

  • What are my personal goals for the next 90 days? (Keep it simple!)

    • Finish my inventory and share it with my sponsor by December 15
    • Continue to nurse Gavin and not allow the postpartum depression to take over
    • Find more time for my CR questions
    • Get all my college financial aid issues straightened out
    • Catch up on posting my CR lessons on this blog

3. Attitude:

  • What areas of my life am I thankful for?

    • My salvation in Jesus, the grace God gives me no matter what my faults are, my recovery and sobriety, Gavin is a happy and healthy little boy, I have a home to live in, bills are paid, a car to get around in, my CR friends, my sponsor who challenges me and gives me things to think about when I am struggling with reality and how i want things to be, Matt because he loves me for me & my accountability partners!

  • In the past what things have I been ungrateful over?

    • I have been ungrateful for Matt and the unconditional love and support he has given me, past jobs, my health, my son because he is a miracle and a blessing, Rosie & Rodney because they adopted Jorin & Xander and the contact they have given me, making it through my pregnancy, my mom and the things she tried to provide me, the times I got in trouble and had to deal with the consequences myself. The 21 day challenge helped me to be grateful for even the little things in my life.

  • What causes me to lose my temper?

    • I have a short fuse but here are a few items: broken promises, people who use the wrong word repeatedly even after being corrected, when someone doesn’t listen to what I say (not advice wise but in conversation, people who try to tell me how to raise my son, people who make insensitive comments, people who treat their kids like they are garbage or replaceable, people who interrupt me when I am talking/sharing my thoughts, things don’t go the way I thought or planned, Matt when he insults himself, Brett just cause he is a jerk, politics, my cat when she meows at 2 am and wakes up Gavin & slow people (ex: drive 30 mph in a 45 mph zone).

  • To whom have I been sarcastic to in the past? (Give Examples!)

    • I am having trouble stepping out of denial when it comes to sarcasm. I would have to say there are several people I have been sarcastic to, my ex’s (David & Brett), Matt, my mom, my sisters, & certain friends. I know part of why I am having issues with the denial is that I minimize due to the abuse I have suffered in the past. An example: When I sat down to answer this question I asked Matt to look up the word ‘sarcasm’ and he asked me how to spell it … my response was “Seriously?” This was definitely sarcastic!!!

  • What in my past am I still worried about?

    • I am worried about making amends for the things I have done in the past, the emotional damage Jorin & Xander have suffered due to my lies and actions, how the past with Gavins biological father affect him and how I raise him.

  • How has my attitude improved since I have been in recovery?

    • I have learned that its okay to not be okay and that I don’t have to let people walk all over me. I set boundaries and I uphold them instead of compromising just to make others happy. I do my best to be honest with others instead of hiding things. I know I have a long way to go but I’m doing this one day at a time!

4. Integrity

  • In the past how have I exaggerated to make myself look good? (Give Examples!)

    • I’m not sure I did this as a child but I know I have done it as an adult. I did it on my resume in the form of length of time at a job, hobbies and interests of mine with past relationship partners and amount of money I made at certain jobs. I feel like I actually minimized things more than exaggerated them as a child.

  • Does my walk as a Christian match my talk? Are my actions the same at recovery meetings, church, home & work?

    • I feel like my actions mostly match my talk. It is an everyday struggle to keep it that way but I do try to be the same person in public as I am at home. I am always trying to be myself no matter the situation.

  • In what areas of my past have I used false humility to impress someone?

    • Need to pray over this one … New answer to come soon!!!

  • Have any of my past business dealings been dishonest? Have I ever stolen things?

    • Yes they have been. I lied on resumes to get jobs. I stole things when I was a child. It was anything from a pack of gum at the gas station to money and valuables from other people. At 8, I stole money and candy from a vacation bible school at the Baptist church in my home town. At 10(?) I took money from the local Museum. At 15 I took about $300 and a bunch of CD’s from a youth group cause I was angry with them.

  • List the ways I have been able to get our of my denial (distorted/dishonest thinking) into God’s truth.

    • Need to pray over this one … New answer to come soon!!!

Lesson 9: Inventory … An Explanation

In this lesson I actually begin my inventory worksheets, and continue to work on Principal 4 and Step 4.

Since there are no questions in this lesson, just information, I transferred it into this post. I changed the “you” & “your” into “I” & “me” to make it about MY recovery not just generalized.

Think About It…

Now that I have the background information and I’ve built my accountability team its time to start writing my inventory. This lesson will provide me with the tools I need.

How do I start my inventory?

The Celebrate Recovery Inventory is divided into five sections. It will help me keep focused on reality and recall events that I may have repressed. I must remember, I am not going through this alone. I have developed my support team to help guide me, but even more important, I am growing in my relationship with Jesus Christ!

It will take me more than one page to write out y inventory. I have several paper copies and have one on the computer as well to use.

Column 1: “The Person, Place, Institution”

  • In this column I list the person or object I resent or fear. I need to go as far back as I can. Resentment is mostly unexpressed anger and fear.

    • “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” Ephesians 4:31

Column 2: “The Cause” (Event)

  • It has been said that “hurt people hurt people.” In this column I am going to list the specific actions the person did to hurt me. What did that person do to cause me resentment an d/or fear? An example would be the alcoholic father who was emotionally unavailable for me as I was growing up. Another example would be the parent who attempted to control and dominate my life. This reflective look might be painful, but …

    • “Fear not, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed. I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

Column 3: “The Effect” (Feelings)

  • In this column I will write down how that specific hurtful action affected my life. List the effects it had on my past and present.

Column 4: “The Damage” (Belief Systems, Losses, Insecurities)

  • Which of my basic instincts were injured?

    • Social – broken relationships, slander
    • Security – physical safety, financial loss
    • Sexual – abusive relationships, damaged intimacy

  • No matter how I have been hurt, no matter how lost I may feel, God wants to comfort and restore me.
  • “I will look for those that are lost, I bring back those that wander off, bandage those that are hurt, and heal those that are sick.” Ezekiel 34:16

Column 5: My Part (Character defects, Behaviors, Choices)

  • I need to ask myself, “What part of the resentment against another is my responsibility?” I need to ask God to show me my part in a broken or damaged marriage or relationship, with a distant child or parent, or maybe a lost job. In addition I need to list all the people who I have hurt and how I hurt them.
     

    • “Examine me, O god, and keep my mind; test me, and discover … if there is any evil in me and guide me in the everlasting way.” Psalm 139: 23-24

Please note: I have been in an abusive relationship, both as a child and as an adult, I can find great freedom in this part of my inventory. I will see that I had NO part, NO responsibility for the cause of the resentment. By simply writing the words “Not Guilty” in column 5, I can begin to be free from the misplaced shame and guilt I carry with me.

Celebrate Recovery has rewritten Step 4 for me as an abuse victim.

  • I made a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself, realizing all wrongs can be forgiven. I renounce the lie that the abuse is my fault.

More Tools:

  1. Memorize Isaiah 1:8: “Come let’s talk this over! says the Lord; no matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can take it out and make you clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you white as wool!”
  2. Read Principal 4 “Balancing The Scale” Verses
  3. Keep my inventory balanced. List both good and bad! This is very important! As God reveals the good things I have done in the past, or that I am doing in the present, I can list them on the back of my inventory pages. Removed this tool because Karrie W. said to only deal with negative on the inventory sheets!
  4. Continue to develop my support team!
  5. Pray continuously!