Thursday, April 3, 2014
My Journey: My Life Has Become Unmanagable...
After about 6 months of fear and terror...of up's and down's...of unanswered questions... everything came out and made sense.
My husband had addictions through his youth that he never dealt with properly. I found out shortly before our marriage that he had addictions in his past. As I prayed about it, I still felt strongly to still marry him.
I didn't understand addiction at that time. I also didn't understand that there is a difference between sobriety and recovery. I assumed that because he was a return missionary and held a temple recommend it was in the past. It wasn't something we were ever going to deal with. I didn't understand the strong clutches of addiction or the life-time commitment to recovery.
Remember how I told you that Heavenly Father answered my prayer? I believe these circumstances were a direct answer to that prayer to have my Calling and Election made sure. These very circumstances that almost crushed me brought me to the right place that Heavenly Father could finally begin working with me.\
I have begun to understand that having our Calling and Election made sure is a life-long process for most of us. Some are blessed with this to be a speedy process; however, most of us take much longer. This process entails shedding and having our natures changed. It means overcoming the natural man in His strength and having it literally rooted out with no more disposition to do evil (Mosiah 4). It means stepping into the Divine Nature we once held and have the potential to have again. Because of the fall, we enter mortality with our desires for the carnal, sensual, and devilish. These desires out rule our desires for the spirit's companionship and submitting our will to God's. The manifestations of the natural man are exhibited differently in each of us. Similarly, the path for us to have a mighty change of heart is unique to each of us. More on this in a separate post.
As I built my confidence in aligning my truth with His, He was ready to show me something I initially didn't feel ready to see: my marriage had been built on a cracked foundation. These belief boxes had been completely hidden from me in my big purge. There were also belief boxes about parenting and family relations that I had been previously unable to see without my own perceptions clouding them. After rummaging around for quite a while in these boxes, He also was able to later show me that they were neatly stacked on top of some of the greatest lies and mis-truths in my beliefs (but that will need to be another post).
It was time to begin the long process of sorting through these belief boxes. Ready or not.
As I said previously, I am still unable to know at this time whether some of our choices were right or not. What I do know is that they set things into motion. Because of the unemployment then under-employment, my husband wound tighter and tighter. He was like a sling-shot being pulled back farther and farther.
He had done a great job "white knuckling" it , as we call it sometimes with addiction. He had 7 years of sobriety. Although he had not acted on his addiction since before our marriage, it was still very much alive within him. The stressful circumstances brought it to the surface. Although he hadn't acted on his addiction, he had not developed healthy new ways to deal with stress. Naturally he resorted to old ways of soothing the stress and anxiety.
It make so much sense in hind-sight. The physical symptoms and even the mental symptoms, I was able to later recognize were actually withdrawal symptoms.
I felt a mixed mess of emotions of
but yet surprisingly, relief
when he told me what had been happening during those month of darkness.
I had been right. Something had been terribly wrong. As things began coming to the light, I found out that I had been right every single time. I had been warned at those times of significance, but I began to doubt myself. As I asked him if something was wrong, he would turn it around on me. He was "fine," so it must be me. It was terrifying, yet validating that I wasn't crazy.
Although I knew he was acting out on his addiction, things still continued to worsen with our situation.
One great blessing during this time is that I hit my personal rock bottom. I began to realize how powerless I was to Mark's addiction. I realized I could not change him. I could not make him do or not do anything. I could express how I felt. I began using a basic "script" along the lines of, "I don't think you should ____. I don't want you to ____, but you need to choose." I was beginning to make some healthy choices and crawl out of my co-dependent behaviors.
It was scary to open my hands and release him in that way. My attempts to control him and drag him down the path I wanted him to go had given me the perception of having control. Little by little I was letting him go.
Little by little over the passing weeks that turned into month, I was able to place him in Heavenly Father's hands. I wasn't sure what was going to happen to my husband or my marriage, yet I was able to find peace.
I found God again. He had actually never left my side. Because of my pride, I had distanced myself from Him. My unwillingness to "drink the bitter cup," to submit my will to His, and accept that this truly was reality had created a wedge. He was patient and waited for me to quit thrashing and quietly turn to Him. He was able to give me peace inside despite the turmoil surrounding me.
My life had become completely unmanageable.
This was what He was waiting for me to discover, for in my discovery, I was able to see who truly could manage it for me. I began to experiment on the word and "plant...[it] in my [heart]" (Alma 33:23). I finally knew I was powerless and I had hope that Jesus Christ held the power I didn't.
The first few posts I have written the events that lead up to my "rock bottom." Often we refer to that phrase in recovery groups. For me, it means the point where things were bad enough that I was finally willing to try to do it differently than I had been doing that. In recent years I have learned that my rock bottom doesn't have to been very deep. As we seek to maintain recovery, truly, it can be with the slightest "fall" or at the first hint of feeling "off." It doesn't require my life to be completely a huge mess before I can hit my darkest point. I have more power in how deep rock bottom is, even if hitting rock bottom doesn't mean my circumstances change. I can hit rock bottom for different situations in my life. For me, it is simply the turning point where I turned my heart over to God. I began to surrender. I began to seek for His power in a way I previously hadn't. When I am still holding on to the idea that I can do it myself, I haven't hit rock bottom yet. In our situation I ended up almost losing everything except my faith before I would turn and look. I did not understand the doctrine. I did not understand where I ended and Jesus Christ began (if I would allow Him to).
Your challenge is to watch this BYU speech (His Grace is Sufficient by Brad Wilcox). It is about 30 minutes long. I say watch it as a #1 choice because he is such a wonderful speaker. If you can't for whatever reason watch, then listening is a close second choice because you can still at least catch all of his funny voices and animated way of speaking. If you choose to, a notebook and pen could be really helpful to jot down what comes to your mind as you watch it. Consider going into it looking for ways to make this blurry line of where I end and Jesus begins more clear (How much does he expect me to carry? What is my part before grace "kicks in?" By the way, that is a lie. See if you can catch what is actually true about grace). Also consider watching for ways you could be using Jesus Christ and his gifts more fully in your personal life.
When I write about "bitter cup prayers" soon I will come back and link some things in this post that I recently was able to connect.
My journey. Previous post HERE
My journey. Next post HERE