Monday, April 1, 2013

I Will Try To Fix You

Easter was yesterday.

We spent the weekend with my inlaws and all of my husband's siblings.  I was even able to squeeze in a Saturday lunch with Scabs.

Sunday morning, I ate candy, made orange rolls for breakfast, and went to church.  It was going to be a great meeting: my inlaws were scheduled to speak in church, and I was looking forward to hearing the hymns, taking the Sacrament...

I sat down in the combined Relief Society/Priesthood meeting and felt a little out of place.  I haven't been to Relief Society in years because of my callings in Young Women and Primary.  The lesson was on finances and debt and all that jazz.  A hymn was sung, a prayer was said, a teacher got up and started speaking, and then a gorgeous woman came in late and sat down directly in front of my husband.

Which was fine, I told myself.
I was paying attention to the lesson on ... she was wearing the most beautiful clothes.  Surely, my husband noticed.
It doesn't matter.
Listen.  Listen to the lesson.  Listen to the input from the class.
She's kissing her husband... they seem so happy. 
It doesn't MATTER. 
I close my eyes and I pray.  I open my eyes.
Listen.  Listen to the lesson.
I could never fit into her clothes in a million years.  I'm farm stock.  I married a city boy.  He likes small women, and he married a Pioneer Woman.
It doesn't matter.
She's a daughter of God.  I'm a daughter of God.
This is madness.
Triggers are stupid madness.
I pray, I pray, I pray.
I try to surrender.

The closing hymn can't come soon enough.
Who cares about debt anyway?

Once home, I walk into the room we're staying in and I lie down on the bed.  I'm tired.  I'd been fighting triggers ALL weekend. 
Maybe my working the 12-steps harder makes Satan work on ME harder?  I don't know.  But by the time the weekend was coming to a close, I was worn out.
I'd spent most of the weekend praying my brains out.

My father-in-law getting after my kids sets me off.  I pray.
The drive down, fear and anxiety take over.  For the first time since I was pregnant with my first born, I have an anxiety attack.  I pray, pray, pray and I text my sponsor.
My husband is snapping at me, and I ask him to just talk about whatever is bothering him to get it off his chest. 
He does.  I irritated him when I dotdotdot, and the list ends up being longer than he or I anticipated.
I haven't talked to my husband about any of my Step 4 realizations because we haven't had time to connect with each other.  When we get away to do some Easter Bunny shopping, I tell him about the root of my low self-worth.  He expounds a very little on how he's noticed thisorthat and how he's relieved to see that I'll be taking steps toward change.
And the beautiful woman sitting in front of me?  I was a battered boxer by the time that trigger hit -swaying, bloodied, sweating, but STANDING.
I wasn't about to drop.  So I prayed and let go, prayed and let go...

On the drive home from church, my husband talked about the importance of attending all three blocks.
What?  Only months ago, my Bishop expressed his concern that my husband wasn't attending all three blocks...
The day before, my mother in law told me how impressed she was that we didn't allow our kids to be exposed to Black Opps II.
"My son just told me that game isn't allowed in your home."
What?  Only last WEEK, we got into a fight over that specific game being played in front of our children.  Me against, he for.
What?  What?
Prayer, prayer, giving away, letting go...

And yeah.  I was tired by the time church was over.
My husband lied down next to me, taking me in him arms, asking what was wrong.
"I'm tired," I said.
"Tell me the truth..." he prodded.
"It is the truth," I said. 
He prodded more, and I told him I was struggling with a lot of emotions stemming from recovery, that was seriously just TIRED.
He pulled out hi scriptures and read a few things to me, told me a few stories from his mission, and he ended up by saying, "We we just do what the Savior wants, everything will be okay."
We talked about the One Woman in his ward that always steers the Sunday School conversation away from the core truths of the gospel and into strange deep territory where we all discuss the effects of music on brain cells or methods of baptism in the Catholic church.
He suggests that I pray to not have hard feelings toward her BEFORE I walk through the church doors.
"When you're feeling feelings like that," he said, "You can't feel the spirit."
He gives more examples.
I listen.  At least, I MEANT to listen.  I think I did...

And when he stopped talking, I just said:

I do want to do what the Savior wants me to do.  I would love more than anything to just sit and listen to the Relief Society lessons, to just listen and feel the Spirit.  But how was I supposed to know that a beautiful woman would sit in front of us and set off emotions inside of me?  I didn't WANT the emotions set off.  I didn't want to have to focus on giving emotions away and praying and letting go.  I just wanted to listen and feel the Spirit of the lesson.  But I had to focus on using tools to give away, let go, and not let a trigger take over the day.  And I'd much rather just not notice a beautiful woman, not wonder if you're looking, not care that she's easily 4 sizes smaller than I am... to just SEE a daughter of God, a sister, and immediate love for her instead of immediate, unintended animosity toward her.  I'm TIRED of this.  I'm SICK of learning this lesson and I DON'T WANT TO DO THIS ANYMORE.  At least I don't right now.  So when I say I'm TIRED, I'm being serious.  I'm tired.

Immediately, he pulled my head into his shoulder.
"I understand that," he said, "I understand being tired and not wanting to feel the way you do and constantly fighting.  I understand.  I'm sorry you're feeling this way right now."

"I'm fine," I said, "I just want to rest for a while and I'll come and join the family."
"Did I help?" He asked as he got up and went to join his family.
"It isn't your job to help," I said.
"But did I?"
"When you told me you were sorry and told me you understood, that helped," I said.
"Oh... "

The scriptures, the stories... they didn't help. 

I don't want to be fixed by him.  I don't want answers from him.  Is this how he felt when I was doing the same thing to him?
Babe, read this!
Try this!
Pray for this!

I feel so much like a child.  My daughter is THE most independent creature on God's Green Earth, and she knows best.  She's constantly under my feet... "helping."
She knows that if I just did it her way, tried things the way she thinks they should be done... they would be BETTER.
Her intentions are so good, and I don't want to discourage her, but when I have a mission -a job to do -I need her OUT from under my feet so I can just get it done.

How many years has the Lord regarded me thus? 
You're intentions are honorable, Alicia, but please, please, please move out of the way.  I'm trying to work.  My ways are higher than your ways.  Trust me.

I'm moving out of the way, Lord.

I'm not suggesting scriptures, I'm not out to save anyone or anything. 

I don't know what my husband needs.  I don't know how to fix him.
All I know is I can't make it through one weekend without constant prayer.  The 12-steps aren't actually STEPS.  They're a slide.  A tunnel slide.  And I'm climbing UP that slide.
Sliding back, hiking up, dodging all of the triggers sliding down under me with their hands gleefully in the air.
And I'm clawing, grasping, grunting, sliding back, finding my footing again... grumbling over the triggers, my gaze alternates between heaven and earth.

On the drive home, I find that I don't have much to say.  I'm not trying to manipulate my husband in a round-about way into talking about his addiction or struggles.  I'm not trying to finagle a confession or denial.
He makes a comment about his Twitter account.
The one he told me he was going to deactivate.
"Do you still have it then?" I ask.
He hardly ever checks it.  He only gets in and right back out.

And I pray, and surrender, and let go, and pray, and pray, and pray...

I won't try to fix him.  I won't try to fix anybody but myself. 
Instead, I think about my patriarchal blessing.  It tells me I was valiant in my premortal life.
Valiant?  I know what it means.  But do I really?  I ask my husband what it means to him.  He doesn't know exactly.  I use my smart phone to look it up.
Boldly courageous, brave, stout-hearted.

Everything I always WISHED I was.  I briefly wonder if I got the wrong blessing.
But no.  It couldn't be.

I am valiant.

I am brave and stout-hearted, and boldly courageous. 
And this will be my focus today.  To uncover that quality in my mortal tabernacle.

Do they make 5-hour energy for the SOUL?  Because mine needs a serious boost right about now.


  1. Oh Alicia, I love you. There is just so much truth shared in this post. I can feel it. You are on to something. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. I am sorry that it feels like such a struggle right now - but the pain is good, it means you are getting somewhere.

    (Also, as an aside, when my husband was younger and had more hair, he ALWAYS got comments that he looked like the lead singer of Coldplay. So when I pressed play, I watched him and stared at his facial features, comparing them to my husband (who actually DOES look a lot like him) and totally missed half of the song. Still a great song though. :)

  2. Alicia I love you:) I felt I was reading my story. I have the same triggers at church. The YW leading the music keeps wearing the same immodest dress and I can't focus on the music. I keep thining about how she's causing men and YM to lust after her.

    I pray and fight those triggers, buit it's a vicuous cycle that leaves me exhausted. Anxiety is the biggest problem for me lately. I hate it and want to be free to think of other women as daughter's of God intstead of walking porn. I wish there was a magic way to overcome this, but I am realizing it will take time.

    I decided if the YW leads the music again in her immodest dress, I am going to close my eyes and just listen to the music.

    I am learning that letting go is all I have anymore. I am tired and need rest in the Savior. I use to think it would be nice to just go home to heaven for a vacation. Then I realized heaven is right here on earth, in my scriptures, a conference talk, music, prayer, and the temple.

    I love that you mentioned your blessing, because I have been wanting to study mine lately and I can't find it. I am parting and hoping it will turn up. I know there a some things in there that I need to pray about, that will help me with recovery.

    That was sweet that your husband took the time to validate you. I often forget to praise my husband for doing that. He tried so hard all weekend to connect and I was in crazy co-dependent mode. Last night I was able to finally show appreciation for his efforts to help and listen.

    I always learn so mych from your posts:) Thank you!

  3. I think you are Valiant.

    In LifeSTAR they gave us this book called, The Toolbox. (you can buy it off of their website for like $7. worthwhile investment in my opinion.)

    It is a guide to help you develop your own 'toolbox' to use when you see triggers or your husband starts displaying addict behaviors. Things that help YOU remember that YOU are Valiant. I am working on it right now and I've found it helpful.

    Because, at the end of the day, the only person we can control is ourself. And that makes all the difference. You ARE Valiant.

    love you.

  4. Triggers are so hard, I appreciate you sharing how you handled it!

  5. Thank you for your thoughts. We all struggle with triggers, I wish we didn't. :( I like how you described the 12 steps as a slide.

  6. I need to read my patriarchal blessing. Thanks for the inspiration.