via blogs.babble.comWorking the steps daily has been a game-changer for me. I'm seeing more progress in the past few weeks than I have in a long time.
I've been dealing with a porn addiction in my marriage for 8 years now.
It wasn't until 2 years ago that I realized I was co-dependent, and I thought I was co-dependent BECAUSE of my husband's addiction, and I resented him for it for a long time.
But as I reached my Step 4 and began writing an inventory, past experiences began to resurface at random times: just as I was getting into bed one night, I suddenly remembered something I hadn't thought about for YEARS.
When I was in grade school (second grade? third grade?) I ate lunch with a girl named Amber. One day we sat next to another girl, Mandy. Mandy had a Little Debbie Fudge Round. It looked so good -much better than whatever dessert my mom had packed for me.
Mandy got up to go to the bathroom.
"Take it," Amber had said.
I didn't want to. I mean, I wanted the dessert, but I knew it wasn't mine to eat.
"Take it, just take it," Amber said.
So I did.
We split it and ate it really fast before Mandy could get back... and it was the by far the WORST tasting dessert I've ever had. I munched on a combination of guilt and chocolate.
Mandy asked us what had happened to her dessert, and we shrugged.
I never told her the truth.
I never stole anything after that.
The thing is: I care more about what other people think of me than I do what GOD thinks of me. I FEAR others more.
I let go of my Step 4 inventory for a long time. As I did, things would come to me every once in a while, and now that it's time for me to start Step 4 again, I feel a little more prepared. I feel like I have more direction.
And I realize something monumental: I NEED RECOVERY from my co-dependency... not because my husband has a porn/sex/lust addiction but because I have issues -I've had them for most of my life!
In high school, I only dated guys that needed saving in some kind of way. And you know what they say... you marry you who date.
I once dated a guy who needed a research paper written for him. I was at the top of my English class and had turned in a 10-page research paper with a fat 100% at the top of the page. He was a transfer student who turned in a 1-page research paper... a bullet-pointed list of facts and a fat F at the top of the page.
Our English teacher paired us together, and she asked me to please tutor him. We spent hours together, hours in the library, hours at my house, a few hours at his... and I got to control the situation. I was able to SAVE him from certain failure.
And you know what? One afternoon when we were working together, he checked his email and his inbox was stock FULL of porn... not just the spam kind. He tried to cover the screen.
We ended up dating for one week (Thursday to Thursday), and after I broke up with him he actually came into the mom and pop pizza shop I worked at and asking me to please date him again.
"You can help me," he said, "I need help and you can help me."
Something in my gut SCREAMED to get the heck away -jump ship! and I listened.
"I need to help myself right now," I said.
He scoffed. "With what? You've got it all together."
"I'm applying to colleges. I'm earning money to pay my own way through school. I've got a million extra-curricular activities, and I need to focus on ME."
My boss asked him to leave.
Thank goodness I listened to my gut on that one.
I realize now -for the first time ever -that I was bound to marry someone who needed saving, even if I wasn't aware of it.
I have asked the Lord so many times, "Why did you LET me marry an addict?"
I see it now as a tender mercy.
Without my husband's addiction, I would have probably never realized the extent of my co-dependency -I would have never gotten any kind of recovery.
(or maybe I would have in a different way -a more painful way)
I would have spent my entire life fearing others more than God, trying to FIX everyone and everything, trying to CONTROL others and their situations in life.
I would have forever tried to be the wrong kind of perfect.
And I know now... I SEE now that if I would have divorced my husband two years ago when I was tempted to, I would have walked right into another "saving" relationship because I hadn't worked to find any kind of recovery for myself.
In the frame of mind I was in two years ago, my HUSBAND was the one with the problems and he was also THE problem... the problem that needed fixed, controlled, saved.
Now I've dropped the idea. I've let go of him. I've got bigger fish to fry.
I'm a friggin' mess.
And so I say to my husband as I did to Ryan in the pizza shop all those years ago, "I need to focus on ME right now."
That way if my husband decides against recovery or he dies (which cops sometimes do, but heaven forbid...) then I will be okay on my own.
Thank goodness for my husband. I shudder to think of the many relationships I could have ended up in that could have been far worse.
Thank goodness for addiction.
Thank goodness for recovery.
Thank goodness for the Atonement.
Thank goodness for love.