Monday, August 18, 2014

Helping Myself and Others


Since my kids have been away, I’ve had time to work on my self-help book.  As I weeded my way through it, I discovered I have a long way to go before it’s finished.  At first I was disappointed with how much I have to edit, but then I realized I want it done right not fast. 

My mentor was correct all those long months ago when he recommended I take some of the narrative crap stuff out of it.  When I first started, I had the writing bug. I wanted to tell a story and help people recover from the effects of sex addiction.  Now that my first draft of my fictional novel is done, that itch to tell a tale has been scratched (at least for a little while.)

My non-fictional book had way too much personal stuff in it.  It resembled my blog more than a self-help book.  Sure, it’s great to be able to share my stories with others by giving them my personal experiences, but, geez, I was on sharing overload.

I remembered just what kind of book I wanted and needed after disclosure four years ago.  The last thing I wanted were sordid details of somebody else's marriage. I was trying to recover from sex addiction disclosure, not relive it. I was searching for someone who had not only been there, done that but also shared my hope that a marriage could survive after uncovering the addiction and betrayals.

I admit, it’s been hard to revisit some of the hurt to overhaul this book and make it better.  But it's helped me too.  So much of the junk that used to trigger me doesn't phase me one bit these days. I reminded myself that the things that happened in the past were just that - the past.  We are both better people in a stronger marriage now.

The anniversary of my first disclosure is fast approaching.  I thought by now it’d be just a blip on the radar of my life.  But it’s not.  It’s still there.  Although it lurks in the back of mind rather than in the present.   I suppose on that day I won’t wake up with the affairs being the first thing on my mind the way they used to be.  For that, I’m thankful.  I’m also experienced enough to know that it’ll wander through my brain at some point during that day and that’s okay.  I’ll allow myself to grieve for a moment or two but will make sure I remember how far we’ve come.



Then I’ll do what makes me happy.  I’ll write, blog, chat with others, and not allow myself to wallow in the past but learn from it instead.

Are there things in your past you wished you forget?  Have you learned from any bad experiences?




38 comments:

  1. The hurt and memories won't be as strong. That's the slow healing.
    Glad you are revising and working on that book again. It will help a lot of people when you finish.

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    1. I agree, Alex. I think it was on my mind so much yesterday because I was writing about it. On the actual day, I don't think it'll be so present or painful. Just a kind of, "oh crap, I've been down a long road" and then thoughts of "thank God we are in a better place" A few years ago, I would have been stuck in the negative mind frame.

      I hope my book helps at least one person. That's the reason I'm writing it. Not to get rich, just to help.

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  2. You might never forget that day, but what matters is your growth since then.

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    1. You're spot on Diane. As long as I stay focused on how much healthier we both are, the better off I'll be when that day rolls around this week.

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  3. You were right to cut out the personal and focus more on helping the reader. To be bluntly honest, when we read self-help books, we don't really want to read the personal story of the writer. It's not that we don't care, it's just that we are looking for answers for our situation. I guess it's a balance of sorts.

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    1. You nailed it on the head, Keith. I was so side-tracked with telling my story so the reader wouldn't feel alone, it didn't occur to me until now just how crappy that could make someone feel. They want answers about how to heal, not to read about my detailed experiences.

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  4. There's definitely something in my past I'd like to forget. I'm a bit ashamed of it, so I won't tell anyone else.
    Well now, that was a bit of a tease.
    To help, I'll tell you about the second biggest thing I'd like to forget. After a "All-You-Can-Eat-and-Drink" champagne breakfast, I ended up skinnydipping in a trailer park swimming pool. No one noticed, though. Which, to be honest, is a tad insulting.
    Glad I got that off my chest.

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    1. I think we all have things in our past that we'd love to forget. Especially those things we are ashamed of. Funny thing is, once we talk about those things, they seem less shameful. Well, had I been at the park that day, I'm sure I would have noticed a naked guy swimming in the pool. Unless I also partook in the champagne breakfast. Then, not so much.

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  5. Well, yes, it's good to take out SOME of the narrative, but you're not taking out the major fight scene, are you? Because that 10 page ninja battle was just incredible and I feel like if you deleted that from the book you would just sacrifice the integrity of the entire story.

    (Uh, I mean, glad to hear things are going well with the self help book!)

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    1. Oh, crap, Bryan! I took out the ninja fight scene AND the battle of the zombies. I thought they were too wordy. Hope I didn't screw it all up!

      I'm glad too. I still have an uber long way to go but I decided I'm not working on another fictional book until this one is finished. Well, let me correct that, I'll keep working on The Vig…but no other fictional books. hehehe

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  6. Very true, have to get it done right, not fast. The cat should take that advice sometimes lol just have to keep plugging away and with time it does go further back in your thoughts. As for the past, hmm wish I hadn't got screwed up, but hey, what can you do.

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    1. I don't think you need to slow down, cat, you work at the speed of light cranking out all those books. Am I jealous? Maybe just a bit. haha

      I feel you on the not getting screwed up. Same here but these things happen. We deal with it with our heads held high.

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  7. It would be nice if we could write books fast and right. Oh, well.
    It's tricky maneuvering between our own story and that of our characters'. I think that healing is even more a part of the process than creativity.

    Take care, Elsie.

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    1. I never thought it would take this long to write my self-help book. Just when I think I'm done, I remember something I wanted to add. Then it means revising other parts of the book so I'm not being repetitive anywhere. How confusing. But a ton of fun!! Be well, Robyn.

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  8. Time and distance does help ease the pain of bad memories and experiences. I have lots of things I'd love to forget. But oh well...it happened....just part of the tapestry of my life I guess.

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    1. That's how I feel too, JoJo. These things happened and as long as I don't set myself up to repeat my mistakes, I'm in good shape.

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  9. Great to hear you're making progress with the book and you've got a good critique partner to help you with it.

    It's not so much forgetting about bad things in the past, it's about leaving them in the past and not allowing them to affect me in the present. Sometimes that's easy, sometimes not so much.

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    1. The past has a strange way of rearing it's ugly head when you don't want it to. But, as long as there is a good thought to replace the negative one, that helps.

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  10. I'll bet it was cathartic lobbing off the old, dead branches. You probably couldn't have written the book you want to write when you started. So think of "take one" as taking notes until you were ready for the real thing. And the gory stuff you could always turn into a romance novel!

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    1. hahah, a romance novel, that's funny, Chris! I think you made a great point, I wasn't in the right state of mind yet to write the book. I still had resentment in my heart for some of the players in our life's tapestry. Now, not at all. Even those I thought I'd never forgive, I found compassion for instead.

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  11. One of the best things that tapping therapy has done for me is this: the sting of all those old hurts is gone. I still remember them, but they don't pack a physical punch any longer (and what a relief that is). I also don't think about those things like I did before... so I believe it is possible to get there. (There being a place where the old pains don't cross your mind every hour, every day, every week, every month. In fact, it is something of a surprise when you think of "how it used to be" and you are simply grateful that isn't your reality now.) I know that you will get there!!! You are well on your way:)

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    1. I'm with you, Robin. When a trigger shows up, it catches me by surprise because I so rarely get them. When I do, it means I'm not spending quality time on my recovery like I should be. They give me that reminder I need to get outside myself and help others and focus on moving forward and letting go of the past. I have a friend who uses the same type of therapy you do/did - she doesn't call it tapping but it's the same premise. It's called eye rapid movement therapy. She gets it done at the same place I go to for counseling. She loves it.

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  12. Im happy you are in progress witth your book! I always think you feel happy when you write.
    Ah of course all of ys have things we want forget sometimes but we have to live with them:)
    Hugs!

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    1. It's true, Gloria. I am happiest when I'm writing. No matter if it's here on my blog or in a book or my long lost journal (thanks Blogger!). I just love to write. It's therapeutic for me. Hugs to you and yours!!

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  13. Well at least you have been busy with editing and writing your stuff ~ I find your post very insightful and since I don't have any personal experience about it, it makes me appreciate the progress and challenges of coping up with such a addition ~ Hope you are well dear ~ Have a good weekend ~

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    1. Thank you for your kinds words, Grace. I am in a place now where I can reflect on why I feel the way I do rather than the knee jerk reactions I used to focus on. It's much better! Have a great weekend my friend!

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  14. it is good to look back at times and see how far you have come...even if it is painful...and sounds like you are making good progress on the editting as well...ugh, my least fav part of writing...

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    1. It is my least favorite part too. I have to remind myself of the ultimate goal and why I'm doing it. To get this book published! =)

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  15. Sounds like great progress on the book and on life in general, girl. :)

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  16. It's interesting to me the way different people get over things and/or get on with things. Some people let go so much easier than others.
    Glad the book is progressing.

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    1. Very true, Andrew. I held on to resentments and anger for a long time. I think had I gone to counseling and support groups (I did for two months then dropped everything for another year), I would have healed faster.

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  17. Wallowing feels good but is not productive in the long run, I've found.

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    1. Wallowing is a huge mistake. I did pain mined for a long, long time. In that period I mentioned above. I thought I could heal alone but, mm, not so much. I needed a support group. Correction, a HEALTHY, support group.

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  18. You are definitely on the road to healing. You are not as hurt by the memories and you are not dwelling. You are realizing that your book is more to help others not an autobiography. Very few people will admit to sex addiction and yet, there are so many who deal with this and have no where to turn to so you will be an inspiration to many. Do I regret some things in the past I have done. regret, to me, is a strong word and I say no because, even though it was not healthy and hurtful and i would not do it again if given the choice, I learned from it. That is the big "Awe" moment. Learning and growing from it to become a more enriched individual. The past negative things that happened shaped me more in realizing what I do not want to do again or not be and also helped me acknowledge that some "bad" things were and are part of my make up. So kudos to you and helping others with the book you are writing

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    1. That's exactly what my CP said, Birgit. My book had become more of a biography than a tool to help people. Just the opposite of what I wanted it to be. I think I was so stuck in my head when I started writing it, I just couldn't switch that change off as I wrote. Now I can separate my blog from the book, much easier to read for people who are trying to recover. Yep, yep, yep, - learning from things rather than focusing on the regret or shame you feel helps you move forward in life. It's no good to stay stuck in a circular pattern. Thank you!!

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  19. Sound advice. A self-help book shouldn't be like a blog. How are you doing, Elsie?

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