Monday, October 1, 2012

Painfully Rewarding


“I want what you have.”  She said.

I laughed and replied a bit embarrassed,  “That’s sweet of you to say.”

She took my hands in hers, looked in my eyes seriously and said, “I mean it, and I want what you have.  I want what you and your husband have and one day I will.”

I nodded with understanding, gave her a hug and listened as she began to tell me the story of her own Disclosure Day.
~~~~~~~~~~

Doing outreach work for my S-Anon group has been painfully rewarding.  I am filled with fear each time I reveal myself to the public by hanging a poster or meeting someone new face to face to let him or her know we are out there.  My heart races just a bit as I take a chance and give someone my phone number and let them know where we hold our meetings.  We are a vulnerable bunch, many of us scared, lost, traumatized and I feel a dire need to protect every single one of us from any hint of harm or exposure.

The reward comes from seeing a person walk through the door fearing they are alone in the world of sex addiction and watching them settle in as the meeting takes place, knowing they are among people who understand what they have been through and what they are about to experience.  Knowing they are no longer alone.
 ~~~~~~~~~~

This outreach has also caused me to reflect back on some painful memories.  Memories I need to share in order to help others and the more I talk about them the less power they will hold, the less painful they will become, but it’s caused me to feel both vulnerable and grateful – a strange set of feelings to have at the same time. 

I feel vulnerable because of I have awakened old feelings of the past; things I had thought settled and set aside.  Wounds that were almost healed, scabs that had almost fallen away.  I am aware this is a temporary feeling.  The longer I am surrounded by new people, revealing my once hidden self to them, exposing the festering secrets to the sunlight, the less power the emotion will have.  It will once again become settled. 

At the same time, I am grateful for how far I have come in the last two years since my first Disclosure Day. It was a long, tough road and I have learned much about myself.  I am still traveling this road and have a long way to go but I truly believe the worst is behind me now. 

I am grateful how far my husband has come since his Disclosure Week to me.  He continues to be my rock when I have a trigger pop up out of nowhere, understanding when I can’t talk about it, knowing I just need him to be present emotionally and physically when I can’t verbalize how I feel.  Continuing to tell me everyday how much he loves and appreciates our kids, and me while working diligently on himself.

It is because of many different things we have each done alone in our recovery and together as a couple we have survived through the turmoil after disclosure, the roller coaster of relapses and now we continue to thrive as a couple to face his addiction together side by side.

This gives me the strength I need to continue my outreach while I work through the difficult emotions it’s awakened in me.

52 comments:

  1. This post was beautiful Elsie, I really love what you do with the S-Anon group and hope it continues for a long time, the way you describe disclosing just so you can help others is incredibly lovely, what you do is awesome. I'm glad that your husband has came along leaps and bounds as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You always have the kindest words, Matthew. I appreciate them so much. I want to continue doing the outreach for the group for as long as I'm able to and as long as it continue to feel right. I'm proud of my hubby too. I have to admit, I'm surprised how far he's come in the last few months. I really didn't expect to see this much progress in such a short time.

      Delete
  2. Your strength and grace continue to amaze and inspire me. When I think how stupidly jealous I get over nothing, I try to remember what you have gone through. Your husband is very lucky to have your continuing love and support when you could have so easily have walked away. He's your rock? You are his!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think jealousy is a natural reaction. We just can't help ourselves sometimes - especially when we've been hurt in the past. The one thing, aside from him being so remorseful, I appreciate the most about my husband is how grateful he is for me still standing by his side after all he has done as a result of his addiction. I agree, JoJo, I am his rock!! =)

      Delete
  3. I'm so glad to hear that the meetings are helping you and the others that are now coming. Keep up the good work and be good to your self.

    Love,
    Meemaw

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Meemaw!!! I'm excited to have new people showing up and sharing their stories with us. I never expected to this happen in a short time, but it is. It's amazing! Thank you =)

      xoxoxo

      Delete
  4. Bless your beautiful heart Lovey, you are amazing!
    Anyone who finds you along their way whilst their afraid and seeking help will be truly blessed.
    Much love and many hugs to you x x x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Lovey!! You are far to kind =)

      Much love and hugs back to you! xoxoxo

      Delete
  5. If this isn't an inspiring post, I don't know what is!

    I think it holds true that the more you talk about it, the less painful it becomes. As an added bonus, you are helping others as you help yourself and that's awesome!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And I see you won't give me the satisfaction of the 100th comment! GRRRRR!

      Delete
    2. Thank you, Dan. Yeah, I need to talk about it to get through it and eventually it will be no big deal like so many other things I've learned to talk about that I used to cry about anytime I talked about them.

      You'll be happy to know - your 100th comment is now posted!

      Delete
  6. it is lovely, Elsie, how you managed to turn it all into something helpful and positive!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Dezzy. It took two years to get here but I'm finally here and am grateful to be still be married and not bitter and jaded and angry at the world.

      Delete
  7. "It is because of many different things we have each done alone in our recovery and together as a couple we have survived through the turmoil after disclosure, the roller coaster of relapses and now we continue to thrive as a couple to face his addiction together side by side."

    Lots and lots of people could never have written this paragraph.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. that's because true love always has understanding :)

      Delete
    2. It is so very true, Dezz. I need to find that love poem online. I saw it in the store the other day and was going to take a picture of it...something like - true love isn't jealous, true love isn't cruel, etc. I'll have to search for it later. It's really pretty.

      Delete
    3. @Luanne, I missed this earlier - sorry about that! Thank you - we've had a rough ride the last two years and we've learned a lot about ourselves and each other and it's been well worth it...no matter what happens =)

      Delete
  8. I can always tell how painful it is to talk about these things, but I can also feel the hope behind your words. It IS great to see how far you and your husband have come, and you're definitely on the right path.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is painful but it gets less painful each and every time I talk about it. It's why I bore you guys to tears so often - and yet you keep coming back. You must be glutton for punishment!

      Delete
  9. It must be such a hard thing to do, the cat doesn't know how you can even show yourself let alone put posters up. That takes some kind of strength. What's the reward for your missing eye anyway? hahahaha now I have to go use the litter box.

    Awesome, how you can reach out and help others now, pushing past the whole anonimity issue. Just shows how far you have come and must feel great to help them out.

    Cat is done, find your other eye yet?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, my lovely little feline friend, always so sweet and special - now go find that smelly litter box and go play with your poo will you? You evil, wretched thing! ha ha ha!

      I swear, the first time I sat down from someone and started talking about our meetings, let them know what we were "all about" - I wanted to go in there with a large floppy hat and some large sunglasses...uh oh..here comes the comment about one eye....

      Delete
    2. haha that hat would sure cover up the one eye with ease. Might even ward off the fleas to spare your knees.

      Delete
  10. Elsie, these posts always make smile :) It's so awesome how far you've come and now you're using that to help people! You're outlook on life and your marriage really helped you get through something that so many people would have just ran away from. xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, my sweet, Jax! I'm trying to help people and I'm learning the best way to do it is to listen and let them know they aren't alone even if they decide to leave the marriage, they still aren't alone in the world.

      So good to see you back in the blogging world, Jax!!! =))) I missed you!!!

      Delete
  11. Well done Elsie, it must be difficult but rewarding writing posts like this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is sooo therapeutic to write stuff like this out and then when the shit hits the fan every so often, I have something to look back on and go "oh, yeah, this is why I'm still here!" ha ha ha

      Delete
  12. what nice and interesting post dear Elsie always I learned with you dear:))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My Gloria!! I love your picture, it's beautiful!! Guess what I bought today - Pears and Chocolate...the family will be enjoying one of your recipes this week so I have learned from you to my dear! =)))

      Delete
  13. Ok. I had this really nice comment that was kind of long written and I hit one wrong button on my computer (and no, it was not the delete button) and the whole comment is gone! Grrrr...that is how my day is going. Anyhow, the gist of it was, I am glad that you are able to help others. There are some situations that just really suck, and the only thing you can really do (other than to fix your own situation) is to help others.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't you hate when that happens, Mel? Ugh! I totally blame the computers, it can't possibly be our fault, right LOL I'm trying to help people the best I can..sometimes it isn't easy when I'm still trying to put myself back together too.

      Delete
  14. You are so strong - able to help yourself, be helped, reach out, stand up. Love it!!! Keep strong!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love how you phrased that, Jemi - no wonder you're a writer =)

      Delete
  15. I really appreciate your outreach efforts Elsie ~ Some memories can be painful but as you say, sharing them so others can breathe and walk with dignity and love, will have less power over you ~

    I wish you well ~ Happy day ~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Heaven. I love how you say with dignity because I think many of us have lost our dignity along the way and we have become so full of shame and there is no reason for it. It's an addiction, a sickness.

      Delete
  16. Thank you, Elsie, for this. I'm so glad I stopped by.

    Pearl

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome, Peal, and thank YOU for stopping by =)

      Delete
  17. I think you and hubby are amazing to be able to stay together as most people would just throw in the towel and walk away.........being able to reach out to others who are going through the same type of hell and pain.......

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We definitely have our moments, Jo-Anne, it's not always sunshine and rainbows over here - don't let me fool ya!!

      Delete
  18. You do the world good with what you know. We should all be pitching in and helping others, its these hard steps that make a better world. Go you :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, D4, that's kind of you to say. I think if we can take what we've learned from a negative and turn it into a positive, then we should.

      Delete
  19. You are a success story and one that is inspiring other people. The people you are helping can look at you and say "It's worth it. Working at it is worth it and there is another side to this thing"

    And I do believe I told you that you should counsel people as you were a natural.

    I'm doing my happy dance and singing "I was right, I was right"


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey you! I've missed you! Sheeet, (that's southern for shit) - Success story? You should have seen me last night as I tossed and turned from a trigger. LOL

      It is worth it though, working hard is definitely worth it. Knowing that you can get through to the other end and not be bitter once you get through it. You did say I should counsel people and yep, here I am, Anne - be careful you don't spill your drink doing that Happy Dance!

      Delete
  20. The very best thing one can do with the painful life lessons they go thru, is to share what they have learned with others. You insight and compassionate nature will be such a blessing those lost in this horrible maze of confusion and hurt. I know it's not easy for you, but it will get easier as time goes on. Someday it will be more about the lessons and less about the hurt. Good girl, work it!! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree. I think the best person to help people, are those who have been through it themselves. Now, as time has gone by, as more people have been helped, it's been less difficult to do recount...well worth it indeed!!

      Delete
  21. This is some cool stuff you are doing. We have to pass the healing on, right? I love it! Sharing and reaching out to others is step 12 and I think it's purpose is more for ourselves than others. Very cool.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I kind of jumped the gun a bit. I'm still working on amends but, hey, the feeling was inside me to help others so I went for it.

      Delete
    2. There's nothing wrong with that! I think it's awesome

      Delete
    3. Thank you, April. It's fulfilling and I find I'm doing more and more with it with each passing day.

      Delete

Thank you for taking the time to comment. I'm here to help any way I can.