Thursday, September 21, 2017

How Does Betrayal Trauma Effect a Woman's Physical Health?

These words are exactly how I feel!!!  I am sitting in a really good place with my own recovery, but how can I turn a blind eye to those who are still struggling?  God has blessed me with a compassionate heart, life experiences that give me the ability to empathize and validate others easily, AND the knowledge and tools to rise from the wreckage.

Three really cools things that need to go down on the records that hopefully you will see are actually related.  1.  This week I connected something huge, huge, huge.  I already mentioned this on my Instagram account, so just skip #1 if you don't want to read it again.  My dad gave me a priesthood blessing when my husband and I were separated.  The only thing I still remember from it is that I was blessed to avoid the health struggles so common to women in my situation.  Between the priesthood literally acting as a shield to my physical body and the tools that immediately began showing up in my life (thanks to God's goodness), I have remained in wonderful health despite my battle with betrayal trauma.  Although my experience isn't entirely unheard of, it is not the "norm" for my circumstances.  As women began to respond to my question with their own lists of health issues because of betrayal trauma, I began to weep.  It is simply heartbreaking! All of this time I had no idea how God had completely spared me from these painful experiences related to recovery work, nor have I been aware of the effects on other women's bodies because of the trauma.

2.  Because of the rejection letter (for the first draft of my book) I have spent my time researching and reading rather than editing.  I knew yoga has been part of my recovery, but now I have words to explain to you why it has been important.  In the movie clip below I spell out the patterns of trauma as it relates to physical health for your own recovery work as well.

3.  I had 4 people ask me in one week shortly after my free yoga class if I teach regularly and if I plan to teach regularly again.  The first 2 got a quick, "nope" response. The 3rd was a bit harder to say no to.  By the 4th, I knew we needed to revisit this as a couple and decide if it is something we can do again.  I will spare you the 20 minutes of awesomeness if you don't have time to watch the entire clip below.  I WILL BE COMING BACK TO TEACHING AGAIN!!! We have known for a few weeks, but I have been excitedly preparing the details to make the announcement.  The dialogue on my Instagram account yesterday was a big kick in the pants to finalize everything.  How can I not teach...knowing what I know?  Yes, it needs to be at a comfortable pace me and my family can commit to, but how can I continue to keep what God has given me to myself and my family?!

Here are the details for classes:

~These are Christ-centered yoga classes taught by a trauma-informed instructor (yours truly). :)

~Do I have to be the wife of a sex addict to take these classes? No.  Even though they will absolutely be beneficial to women in that particular situation, every body (and mind) benefits from Kundalini Yoga.  The experience and content of the class is universal.

~Classes will be every other Saturday night from 8-9pm.  You can come 15 minutes early if you want your feet rubbed with essential oils.  The first class with be Saturday, October 7th.

~Cost: Punch cards for 10 classes will normally be $50, but if you purchase yours before October 31st, you will receive a 20% discount (so $40).  You can pay per class if that works better ($6/class).  I am open to discussing trades as well.

~I will be teaching out of my home in Brigham City.  I can accommodate both in person and online options. I will be recording them, so you can still join the class even if Saturday nights don't work for you by doing any classes on your own (or re-do them too).

~How can I sign up?  For now shoot me an e-mail:

God bless you on your journey! xoxo

Sunday, September 17, 2017

An Ambassador for Christ...

Isn't that beautiful?!  I found this verse on Friday and have been pondering on it all weekend.  At my hubby's suggestion, it's another "brain dump night."  I think my tossing and turning next to him with an active mind makes it challenging for him to fall asleep too. :)

One week ago I received my first rejection letter for my book.  Although I was a tiny bit disappointed about it (because honestly who wants to purposely go through rejection?) I am actually relieved and not entirely surprised.  There is still so much to do! It would have been a pretty thrown together job and basically cranked out in a few month's timeline to go from rough draft to published book. The 3 blessings Mark gave me before receiving the e-mail had an underlying theme with things like, "You need to learn how to run a marathon with all of this rather than just sprinting."  "God will need you long-term, so go at a pace that you and your family won't get burnt out."  "The timing is important.  There is more to learn and experience.  Be patient and you will understand what God has in store."  After getting the rejection letter I was ready for another blessing. Mark talked again about the importance of the timing and said, "Think about how much you learn and experience in just 24 hours right now with your active mind, your willing heart, and your eagerness to learn.  There is more to learn and experience, so be patient."

The past week has been unreal! Just completely unreal.  So many doors have unexpectedly opened and others are poised and at the ready.  I did not anticipate so many doors and for them to start opening all at once.  I am blown away by the opportunities God is giving me to be an ambassador for Christ!  In this week I have been powerfully reminded once again that God uses the willing.  As we seek to assist in Christ's work to bring hope and to save souls, God will use each one of us in unique ways that are fitting to our experiences, abilities, and sympathies...and the rest will come.  Some of these doors opening are obviously the means of providing the knowledge and experiences God has promised me.  Some of these doors will prepare me to be an even sharper instrument and bless me with those skills, abilities, and spiritual gifts that are needful to perform the work He is inviting me to participate in.

The past few months I have felt stretched nearly beyond my capacity to bear it, yet Christ has strengthened me to be able to courageously stand as one of His ambassadors---to boldly testify of God's perfect plan and His perfect Son.  Although there have been challenges, this has been a beautiful leg of my recovery journey already.  I am grateful for the blessing of courage and the opportunities to stand boldly and testify of Christ and to defend truth in the ways it relates to marriage, family, and the reality of Jesus Christ as our personal Savior.

I am learning the patterns of making things happen with my faith.  I know full-well that my faith does not rest in my abilities or prowess, but in Christ's.  My faith is in Him.  So why should I not stand up boldly and confidently as His ambassador?  Why not stand fearlessly and add my voice to the discussions?  It has nothing to do with me and everything to do with Him.  So why not rest my faith completely and wholly in Him and His ability to command the elements and see to the details of God's children and their lives?  Why should I not have fearless faith that He will take my feeble offerings, amplify them, and in His perfect ways allow His words to pierce through the excess and the noise to touch hearts?  He knows how those words can reach receptive and willing hearts in ways that allow for those precious words to sink deeply and grow strong roots of conversion.  So why not have faith?

I invite you to take some time to ponder on this powerful statement, for we all are ambassadors for Christ.  What can YOU do?  What does God need you to do?  In quiet or obvious ways, with subtlety or with boldness, how can you be His ambassador?  Remember He simply needs the willing.  He can work with that offering.  He doesn't need the talented or the articulate or the able.  He will take care of all of that. He just needs the willing. And if you don't yet feel willing, He can help you with that too. :)  Take your pondering to God and open your heart to the possibilities.  May God bless you as you seek to testify in your own voice and in your own ways of Christ as His ambassador publishing peace.

"...How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings unto them, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings unto them of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion: Thy God reigneth" (3 Nephi 20:40)!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Cascading triggers...

Last November Mark approached me with the idea of putting up his profile in LDS Casting to be an extra (background person) with his primary goal to be in the LDS Church's recording of the Book of Mormon clips.  I can wholeheartedly support him in that!  The tricky part came, however, in that it would require him to have a full beard and long hair.

We both knew that in the past, him growing facial hair has been a trigger for me.  It's one of those cascading triggers I have mentioned before.  When I say cascading I mean one trigger that, like the first toppled domino, sets of an entire chain-reaction of other triggers.  For me, him growing a beard triggers 3 major things (that I can put into words).

1.  The only other time he grew a beard during our entire marriage was at the peak of the darkest of the dark.  He wasn't taking care of himself (and not just emotionally/mentally, but basic physical needs like eating, showering, wearing deodorant, etc).  He neglected his facial hair like many of his physical needs and the beard started to grow and grew and grew.  I'm not sure how to better put that into words, but Mark growing facial hair triggered things surrounding safety and fear for me because in the past it was indicative of him not taking care of himself.  It is one of those triggers that would have me back in the past, reliving that dark, dark time of fearing for his life, safety, and our future.

2.  The beard also triggered things related to safety and fear because he had such a punk attitude about it.  When I tried to offer suggestions or express that I didn't like it, he not only shot me down, but also fought back harder on it.  Even though it was about the beard, it wasn't only about the beard.  The beard became the epitome of him at this time---of his unwillingness to listen to the expression of how I was feeling and what I was needing to feel safe, validated, or heard.  So when Mark would grow facial hair, it would hit on, again, my fear for emotional safety.

3.  As I have hit on already, his facial hair is just a trigger in general to how bad things really were at that time.  It can be difficult to live in the present because of the past.  I recently heard a quote that went something like this: "Trauma is the only mental health issue that is based on reality."  Traumatic events REALLY happened!  Unless we know how to spot them and what to do about them, we will fall victim again, but this time to our own minds, emotions, and patterns.

So...he gently asked if I felt ready to support him in this.  For about a year or so before he asked, I was finally able to tolerate him only shaving a few days a week.  As I thought it over and we discussed it last fall, we decided to give it a try.

So it grew...and it grew...

Haha :)

We found out a few weeks ago that he didn't make the cut for this year, but it will be a 5-6 year project.  I'm not sure if we are going to be on board for THAT long.  LDS Casting will be sending out the application for next year's summer recording in a few months, so it's not worth completely shaving.  Plus Mark just auditioned for Savior of the World (a beautiful play about the events surrounding Christ's birth and death.  Go check it out on Temple Square around Christmas time!).  With those things coming up, it isn't a good time to part with it yet.

But at the same time, I have reached my max with it.  I have been surprised with how okay it has overall been for me the past 10ish months of growth.  But for whatever reason, I have reached my safety max without going into triggered with it.  It's one thing to have it growing with an end date in mind.  It's one thing to have a beard that is regularly groomed.  I couldn't face another day of an indefinite un-groomed beard!  It was an open and safe conversation where we both were able to talk in ways that we wouldn't have years before as we expressed "I needs," "I think's," and "I feels" (rather than "YOU's..."). We both know that it has been really fun for him to grow it out, yet I have been extremely patient with something that isn't even remotely attractive to me. :) I am thankful that we are different spouses than we used to be and that we have learned to listen better to each other, and usually without defense.

While I cut his beard last night, I apologized for how difficult I am to live with.  I have remorse that things bother me that "shouldn't" or "wouldn't" be a big deal to "normal" people.  He stopped me, grabbed my hands and said, "Katy, it's because I didn't create the safety for you in the past.  I am committed to do that for you now."  Oooooh!  That was a good response!  It hasn't always been like that.  He hasn't always been able to make sense of the trigger/trauma madness, especially in intense moments.  He hasn't always been able to see it from my perspective or to help link it to the past.  And I haven't always been aware enough of myself to know what I need. I also haven't always expressed those needs, but we are usually a pretty good team now.

This is the after picture. I LOVE it so much better!  He can still be in Savior of the World and has plenty of growing room for his hopes for next summer. I am much happier that I can actually see his face and his smile!  This is the most attracted to my husband's physical appearance I have felt in a long time! :)

After peeling back this layer of healing together, it alerted me to some pent-up emotions.  Normally I would need a good cry, but guess what happened this time?  After I cut his beard and was about to toss the little beard pigtails in the trash, Mark confessed in grave sadness that he was wanting to grow out his beard to donate it to Locks of Love.  WHAT?!  He.was.serious!  He had even researched about it.  Some poor unsuspecting person could have ended up with Mark's lunch that missed his mouth on.their.head! hit me as extremely funny.  So we ended the night like THIS...then I still laughed with this intensity for about 2 more hours!  (Be careful not to pee your pants laughing if you watch that clip.) It was a delightful surprise way to release the emotions from our big conversation.

We are determined to tackle the triggers and the trauma together, even if it means one at a time and it takes us the rest of our lives to uncover them all.

Friday, September 1, 2017

This fabulous course!

If I could offer you the chance to step where I have stepped in one of the most important ways when it comes to addiction recovery or spousal addiction recovery would you be interested?

This woman who created the course I want to tell you about, Jaci, has been a huge influence in my journey!  Specifically in understanding the Atonement, Jesus Christ, and grace.  Her message hasn't been her own and it hasn't truly been Jaci who I have recognized in her message.  She has simply been the instrument, but what a wonderful one she is!  I have never been exposed to someone who can teach the gospel like she can and specifically about Jesus Christ.  Jaci is a masterful teacher as she is completely relatable, yet knows the scriptures well too.

I have had the privilege to learn from her for almost 9 years. One day I woke up to the truth that Jesus Christ isn't just some vague concept.  My life was completely shattered and I had lost almost everything because of Mark's addiction before I connected what she had been saying with what it meant for me personally.  Because of her words and the similar words of others I had a tiny glimmer of hope as to how to apply Jesus Christ to my dismal circumstances.  I want YOU to have a similar experience if you are willing.  People ask all the time what Mark and I did to be where we are today.  It's like they want some quick-fix or to receive the knowledge through osmosis or something rather than through experience over time! :) Understanding what the Atonement could (and can) do for us is a huge, huge, huge KEY piece to our success story together.  How can the Atonement help addicts?  How can the Atonement help spouses?  What does the Atonement have to do with betrayal trauma?

I know this course is about sugar addiction, but I guarantee that if you go into with an open mind, you will make discoveries about what the Atonement can mean for you and your personal circumstances.  Just insert whatever you need to in place of sugar addiction.  Although we all have different reasons we need the Atonement, the patterns are the same.  Although I do resonate with sugar addiction, I also found some pretty mind-blowing things when I was honest with myself.  Although I wasn't turning to sex-addiction, I was turning to things (sugar +).  When I felt bad inside I was turning to things like controlling behaviors, social media, other people, or even emotions.  If chocolate isn't your go-to, I think this course would still be beneficial to you and that is why I want to yell at the top of my voice to Go.SIGN.UP!

And the crazy news is this course is only $25!  At that price how can you NOT give it a try?  I dare you to give it a go and see what happens.

You can find out more details and enroll HERE.  I would love to hear what you think about it!

7 Lies about Pornography & Sex Addiction that Hurt Wives...

1.  Lie: "It's normal for men to view pornography, masturbate, or participate in other forms of infidelity.  It's just the way men are wired." 

TRUTH:  Although it is by design that we have an innate curiosity about and a natural draw towards sexuality, in God's terms, it doesn't open the door for a free-for-all!  He has given us commandments designed to keep us safe and provide for the most happiness possible as individuals and in our relationships with others.  Although the draw to sexuality may be normal, we are not justified in sexual behaviors or relationships outside of the bounds of marriage (or inappropriate ones even within marriage). The innate desire for sexuality does not warrant such a blanket statement. It dismisses a wife's pain by speaking this lie to her. You just completely shut her down because the message you are sending is that there is no problem in the first place!

2.  Lie: "Pornography, online relationships, or just 'looking casually' at women do not count as infidelity."
TRUTH: Listen to what our Savior said,"whosoever looketh on a woman, to lust after her, hath committed adultery already in his heart" (3 Nephi 12:28, see also Matt 5:28, emphasis added).  Even if the woman has clothes on and a man is lusting then it is still infidelity. I am amazed how many Christians or even members of the LDS faith somehow don't connect these other forms of infidelity to adultery. It can cut deep as wives if the truth is side-stepped. Call it as it is!

3.  Lie: "If you were more ____, wife, then your husband wouldn't have this problem."

TRUTH:  Sex addiction doesn't actually have to do with sex.  It is simply a symptom that there is more going on at a deeper level. Some of the most physically attractive women I know have had/have husbands who struggle with some form of sex addiction.  Buying an entire new wardrobe, getting a new haircut, losing 15 lbs, or even plastic surgery won't fix his addiction!  Being more promiscuous in physical intimacy won't change it either. If you say something like this to her, she is probably 10 steps ahead of you.  She already most likely feels that his choices are somehow caused by a lack in her physical appearance, her body, her abilities as a wife, or herself as a person in general. When you say this to her, you are just perpetuating the lies.  This lie casts a smoke-screen---the attention is drawn to something else rather than where the real solution lies.  Changing her appearance, her personality, anything about her, or even tucking away her own needs for the sake of "peace" won't change his addiction.  Sometimes the ways we respond as wives contributes to the mess, but wives never cause their husbands' addiction! Husbands need to take responsibility for their choices. Working her own recovery; however, can have a backdoor influence on his choices.  As she is/becomes healthy, learns how to avoid enabling the addiction, and turns to the Savior for her own sins, weakness, short-comings, and for the ability to forgive and heal, it can be a call to higher ground to her husband.  Even then, it is ultimately his choice whether or not he will join her in healthy.  She is not responsible for the ways he responds, what he does, whether or not he expresses his own feelings or needs, or what he says.  My actions are mine.  My husbands actions are his. We cannot control another person or what they say or do.  They exercise their own agency and choose for themselves.  In saying this to a wife, what you are in essence telling her is that she is responsible for her husband's use of his own agency.

4.  Lie:  "You should just divorce him."

TRUTH:  Maybe.  Each situation is unique and God alone knows whether a marriage is beyond repair.  He knows the willingness of both parties.  He knows whether going separate ways will be best in order to stop the cycles of hurt and hurting.  Marriage can be tricky in situations like this because it requires two willing partners to both choose God, marriage, and recovery in order for it to work.  Again, see above.  Both parties have their own agency and one party cannot force the other to choose.  But you know what?  I am so thankful for one voice that spoke hope for my marriage.  My bishop had the Spirit with him as he counseled me.  He had the foresight to see that my marriage was still salvageable.  Now here we are coming up on 6 years out since Mark's last relapse and still going strong.  We are happy and have a depth to our relationship that was previously lacking.  Having shouldered this burden together, hand-in-hand, we have been completely changed as individuals. We have welcomed one more child together into our home and are willing to welcome more.  We have used the ways our lives have been burned to the ground to help, lift, and encourage others around us.  If somebody had told me all of this the day I made the appointment with the divorce attorney, I would have laughed in their face!  There was no way!  No way!  It wasn't possible.  There was no bright future for my marriage. My husband was too far gone.  My marriage was in tatters.  But here we are today!  As we are privileged to the difficult situations and details of those battling sex addiction and those who love them, may we choose to be sensitive and recognize that we just.don't.know.  The call for divorce or not is between the husband, wife, and God.

5.  Lie: "You just need to forgive him."

TRUTH:  There is a difference between forgiveness and healing.  I didn't know that in the past.  Forgiveness opens up the way for healing to take place, but healing usually takes time. Sometimes forgiveness does too.  Just because a wife is still healing doesn't mean she hasn't forgiven yet.  She can forgive even if she still doesn't trust him. Trust takes time to rebuild, but forgiveness can be granted when we are ready--at times that means instantly.  She can forgive him even if he isn't sorry or understands what his choices have done to her.  She can forgive him but still need to hold firm with boundaries to protect herself from being hurt again.  Forgiveness doesn't = doormat! Forgiveness brings us peace, but as the wife of a sex addict, it will take more than just forgiveness to be able to fully move on. She is the one who gets to decide where she is at in this process, not you.

6.  Lie: "You are controlling."

TRUTH:  Boundaries can be perceived by the addict or others close to him as an attempt to control.  Since I am a visual person, I picture a boundary as a fence with a gate.  Boundaries are there to keep me safe, to have what I need to stay in a good place, or so I can get what I need for myself.  If I hop the fence and I'm out trying to tell other people what they will or won't do, it isn't a boundary.  I can't choose what others will do or say, remember, they have their own agency. That WOULD be controlling! But I can decide what I will be doing or saying and that includes putting limits on what I will or won't do.  I just realized that I have never written a post on boundaries!  I will need to do that soon and then come back and link it in here when I do. Often addicts don't like boundaries because they shift the entire dynamic.  A wife that was once making it very easy for him to turn to addiction through enabling now actually has a spine!  Why would he like that?  Why wouldn't he use every form of manipulation or do everything he can to get it back to how it was before?  He may even feel the need to recruit others to be "on his side" to "gang up" on the wife in explaining how "irrational" she is being.  And you know what?  Sometimes the wife really may be controlling.  But do you understand why?  Maybe she knows in her gut that something is just off. Maybe, even if she cannot articulate it, she has been warned by the Spirit and feels urgently that he shouldn't go certain places, participate in certain actives, or she is just unsettled in general. Even in moments when the husband is sober or making good choices, there have been times when he wasn't been.  She may have hit a trigger that has lead to her controlling actions/behaviors.  Just like the addiction is only a symptom, so are the crazy or controlling things she does or says.  They are indicative that there is something going on at a deeper level and are reflective of her attempt to protect herself because of what she has been through in the past.  (If you need more details about what I mean, read about betrayal trauma HERE). If you hear such things from him and feel yourself ready to take "his side" that his wife really must be controlling, maybe you should find out her side of the story too (or just point him back to his wife and tell him to go home and work it out with her instead of you!). In his perception, his wife absolutely is controlling!...but that may not be the actual Truth. It's how he feels, yes, but not necessarily the Truth.

7.  Lie:  "Sex addicts can never really get over it. It's impossible for them to change once they have gone down this road."

TRUTH:  Because of Jesus Christ, sex addicts, wives of sex addicts, anyone who makes mistakes, those whose hearts are full of hurt or pain, or anybody who feels weak can overcome.  The Atonement not only covers our mistakes, but it also gives us the strength to change and to be changed.  We can be changed.  For Mark and I, that hasn't meant that we can go back to old ways, places, people, or habits.  It hasn't meant that either of us has been completely perfect all of the time either.  But what it has meant is that it isn't as intense as it once was.  It isn't as raw.  It isn't something we are having to be on constant alert to anymore. Alert, yes, but not constant alert.  We have settled into the healthy changes and the new hearts.  It means that when we do make mistakes, we quickly make it right.  We exercise the pattern of repentance. And that is that.  Do I believe men can be healed from this?  I do.  I have watched it before my very eyes.  It just looks different than I expected it would.  Our recoveries are something we will need to maintain for the rest of our lives.  We can't go back or pretend it never happened and expect to be able to hold firm.  There are still up's and down's.  Not as many intense roll-coaster up's and down's as there were a few years ago, but still up's and down's.  The biggest difference of it all is that we know what to do about it now.  We also have taken the time to put our lives in order and we put forth the effort to maintain the changes. As Brad Wilcox points out, perfection is our long-term goal.  For most of us, it isn't one that will be completed in mortality. In the meantime, we can be happy with and recognize that any steps in that direction is progress!

Listen to these words of hope from President Packer: "The Atonement, which can reclaim each one of us, bears no scars. That means that no matter what we have done or where we have been or how something happened, if we truly repent, He has promised that He would atone. And when He atoned, that settled that. There are so many of us who are thrashing around, as it were, with feelings of guilt, not knowing quite how to escape. You escape by accepting the Atonement of Christ, and all that was heartache can turn to beauty and love and eternity...

"I bear witness that God lives, that Jesus is the Christ, that the Atonement is not a general thing that is for the whole Church. The Atonement is individual, and if you have something that is bothering you—sometimes so long ago you can hardly remember it—put the Atonement to work. It will clean it up, and you, as does He, will remember your sins no more" (talk HERE).

One last parting thought.  We need to be not only tender with the wives we are aware of, but also the husbands as well.  The husbands need to understand how their choices hurt their wives, but in ways that are productive to forward movement. I recently read an article that troubled me.  Often wives of sex addicts can be overlooked, misunderstood, or invisible.  We need to be careful, however, that we don't swing the other way.  We can slam the husbands in our gusto. In our attempts to validate the burdens of the wives we can heap on shame for the husbands.  Shame doesn't bring change, recovery, or healing.  Shame only makes us want to bury deeper and get better at hiding our problems. Concealing isn't our goal. He needs to know, but a wives full fury or reaction (or her family's or friend's) usually isn't helpful.

I know there is a lot to digest all in one post. It's taken me years almost 6 years to uncover these lies!  Initially I heard the lies more than the Truths, so it took multiple exposures to the Truths before they could stick. I am here as a fellow-traveler to support you in any way I can.

P.S. my primary editor AKA Mark recommends THIS BYU devotional talk to be an extension of this post.  It invites individuals to take responsibility for 100% of their actions.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Mark has requested clarification...

For the first time in almost 4 years of writing, Mark has rightfully made a request for clarification.  The way I have described our situation is "almost 6 years out since Mark's last major relapse."  He pointed out that it leaves room for you to wonder what I mean by that.  Have there been other relapses since?  Is he currently sober?  So let me give a few definitions in my own words.  A relapse is when an addict falls back into addiction and stays there until they pull out.  A slip is when an addict acts out on the addiction in a one-time situation, but quickly recognizes that it isn't what he/she wants.  Slips (and even relapses) can be a normal part of the recovery process. So in these terms, it has been almost 6 years since Mark's last relapse and about 5 years since his last slip.  Currently, he long ago passed from sobriety into recovery. It's hard to give a sobriety vs. recovery date because it's blurry where sobriety blended into the beginning stages of recovery.  So, for his sake, know that he is rocking his recovery!!!  I am thankful for his willingness to let me share so openly and the ways it has been a blessing to others struggling, especially those suffering in silence.

Monday, August 28, 2017

If I Wrote a Book, Would You Read it?

What is your book called?  Be Still---a journey for body, mind, and spirit by Katy Willis (unless the title somehow gets changed along the way)

When and where will it be available? TBD.  Right now my manuscript is in the hands of the first publishing company I have approached. I don't have a contract yet and I could use your prayers!  It's uncomfortably premature to announce it; however, I am committed to this book and its message. I hope to grow an eager audience ready to receive it when it is available. It HAS to come out!  Somehow, whether in physical or digital form, this book and its message will be available.  I just don't have a timeline or publishing details...yet.  More details when I do have them.

What is this book about? I did my best to take my story out of the story.  I focus on the doctrines, principles, patterns, and tools that helped Mark and I navigate towards recovery.  I share the most potent insights gleaned from professionals, holistic approaches, and spiritual sources as I discuss what has brought Mark and I hope in our individual lives, helped us tackle the roots of addiction and co-addiction, and heal our marriage.  I illuminate the essence of recovery by exploring the body, mind, and spirit connection that can lead to a personal knowledge of God, for true and lasting recovery only comes through knowing God intimately.

The book is broken up into three sections and is centered around the familiar verse in Psalms and repeated again in D&C, "Be still and know God."  It is my goal to lead the reader to a personal connection with their Higher Power. For me, that means God, whom I access through Jesus Christ. In the first section of the book we explore what it means to be still, clearing away the clutter, and really focusing.  In the second section we discuss what is most worthy to rest our attention and efforts on.  We break down each aspect of the Fall and how it applies to us personally, and therefore, how the Atonement applies personally as well.  After having gone through the details of this journey for ourselves, the last section covers how best to support those around us both inside and outside our homes in their own journey towards knowing God personally.

Although there are a few sections that would likely be most appealing to spouses or loved-ones supporting an addict (or who have in the past), I am confident my book is overall written in a way that would lend support to the addict's journey as well.  And I believe it would be of interest to an even broader audience as well.  Even though it was my husband's addiction that gave me these experiences and the resulting knowledge, the things that I have learned are universal.  What is the 12-step program?  It's simply the gospel.  And so is the message of my book as well. This book is a desirable read for any Christian wanting to know how personal application of the Atonement can help her/him draw closer to God.

Why did I decide to write a book? What honestly sparked the idea was my dad hounding me since last fall. :)  I never pictured myself capable of such an endeavor!  Although I love to read and enjoy writing, I never considered myself an author. He finally asked me point blank if I had thought about it at all.  I hadn't.  I committed to seriously consider it past initial dismissal and realized my question wasn't actually, "Can I write a book?" but really, "What would my message be?" (Because I have enough experience with God to know He uses the willing and make the inadequate adequate.) Over the course of several months, ideas would come and go, but nothing that felt right, until one day it hit me with power!  I knew exactly what my message needed to be!  As we have kept in contact with our friends from various recovery groups, it's difficult to hear when our friends are going through divorces or have decided to stay married, but have agreed (either spoken or unspoken) that they are done trying to work this out.  I want to make it clear that I have absolutely no judgement at all for the details of others' journeys!  Truly, I would be in a similar boat if Mark and I both hadn't decided to work our own separate recoveries then come together to tackle the marriage.  But these updates or running into old friends would usually spark a conversation between Mark and I.  We would usually end up shrugging our shoulders unsure how we are still standing hand-in-hand and happily married after the mass-destruction and ensuing entanglements of the addiction.  That day, it came forcefully to my mind and my heart that it isn't a coincidence.  We actually did something.  We didn't just have dumb luck nor did our recoveries happen passively.  There are patterns!  Mark had given me a recent blessing and I was counseled to start paying better attention to the patterns.  And in that moment I could see it clearly.  In recent years Mark and I both have had others around us try to copy what we did to find their own recovery.  The details of our journeys cannot be duplicated, but the patterns can be.  It was my job to thread together those parts that can be taught, understood, and applied personally by others.  THOSE are the parts that can be "copied" because it isn't me that is being copied at all!  It is simply God's patterns and His plan being applied to His children as individuals.  And those following in my wake are simply opening their eyes to understand what the gospel of Jesus Christ means for them personally.  Within about 3 days I had my rough outline basically filled in and I knew just about exactly the ground that would need to be covered in order to accomplish this message.  I had a tender and personal experience that confirmed powerfully that I needed to do this...that I was meant to do stand up tall as God's daughter and open my mouth as a living witness of the reality of Jesus Christ, His grace, and His capacity to change people, to strengthen, and to heal.

What can I do to support your efforts?  Pray!  Especially right now as this book, and a few other hopefully upcoming projects, are in the hands of decision makers.  Also, please share.  Even though you may not be supporting a loved-one with sex addiction, I can guarantee you know somebody who is.  But chances are they will never tell you.  It can be difficult to find the wives of sex-addicts.  It's not because we are so few in numbers.  It's because there are multiple layers of stigmas and shame associated with his addiction and what it means about us as the wives (or spouse).  You know them, you just don't know you know them. Please help me to reach far and wide with this message of hope!  That Christ can support us with the burdens of pornography and sex addiction and the aftermath as we seek to heal and move forward, whether individually or as a couple.
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