Friday, May 16, 2014

The End of Numb

I remember the first time I found out about porn.  I caught him.
A newlywed with all her bloom and youth and tight skin pulled over energy and twitterpation... I turned into a different creature.  To say I was devastated would be a gross minimization.
Oh, how I FELT that discovery, how I lived it over and over again in my mind -the worst rerun in the history of TV Land.
I felt sure I would never go through it again.  I didn't know that porn was something that was less like a "whoopsie daisy" and more like the worst kind of blood-deep poison.
But it did happen again.
"And again and again and again!" to quote my favorite Uncle Willy (The Philadelphia Story).

I tried reasoning, shaming, bargaining, saving, preventing, more shaming... I OVER"loved" him.  Nothing worked.
I poured my entire self into the poison.
My life and obsession, my sole hobby... it was Danny.  More than anything, I wanted my marriage covenants to remain intact.  I wanted my family together forever.
I loved Danny.  I loved our marriage.
I understood his weakness, and gosh darn it ALL if I wasn't THE MOST PATIENT wife in the history of the universe.

Do you know how long you can last trying to compete with porn?  Oh, I think the answer is different for everyone.  But for me, personally, it lasted about 6 1/2 years.  At that point, I began doing recovery work.  I read the books, I found support.  I gained education.
I knew I was getting better because the devastation I felt all those years ago was beginning to dissipate.
He would come to me with disclosures (or I would fine evidence), and I shrugged.

Then I would look at myself in the mirror and work on the only thing I had control over: ME.
I continued living with an addict.

I choose my marriage.  I choose my marriage to an addict.  But the only way I could survive it was numbness.

It felt like I was sitting on a couch, watching Groundhog Day over and over again... yelling at the screen, pulling my hair, but in the end... I was utterly powerless over Danny's actions.
The numbness made it go down easier.

There were certains in my house who weren't numb.  In fact, they were the OPPOSITE of numb.  They're impressionable, sensitive, and internalizing everything.
I watched tears stream down my daughter's face after an outburst from Dad.
"Because I did something bad," she sobbed.

I started realizing that for all the patience I had, for all the CHOOSING MY MARRIAGE I had done... the return, the truth... was ugly.  Facing seemed to feel a lot like heartbreak -something I had shielded myself against.

But the Lord has a way of providing us with what we need, even if we don't want it.
He provided me with truth: hard evidence that no matter how you sliced it:

Danny was not choosing our marriage.
Danny was not choosing me.
There was no real recovery.

I knew -though it killed me -that I couldn't stay.  I wouldn't stay.  Staying in a marriage where I was cleaving unto God and my husband (and fear, while we're at it) was pointless.
I married for ETERNITY.  Not time.  A time marriage made no real sense to me.  I was hell-bent on eternity.

But I could not force it on any other person.
And so the time came when that person had to go away because my marriage -though it began in the Temple -was something I'd feared since I was a child.
It was pointless.

To maintain my peace as a woman of God and a mother of three beautiful children (yea, THE MOST beautiful children), I had to sever ties.  I had to leave my marriage.
God was my guide.

It turns out that I can't live numb... primarily because "living" and "numb" can't actually coexist.
I'm not powerless anymore.  I'm not watching scenes go down at shrugging anymore.
I just can't!
I just can't!  SO MUCH.
Thinking of The Numb Place makes me feel so sad.  Reminders of The Numb Place make me feel sorrow.

I want to LIVE.  I want joy and pain and sorrow and happiness.
I want feelings to come into my body and I want to EMOTE them out: write them, scream them, sing them, talk them!

I seal that desire with the death of my marriage.
I seal that desire with baptism by fire.
I seal that desire with love... my failing love of God and His unfailing love for me.

The future is alive, and in His hands.
(and as it turns out, I'm not the patient person I thought I was all these years.  In fact, I have no patience at all.  For anything.  Hello, Character Weakness.)


  1. Alicia, THIS is exactly how I've felt. Although my husband left me and chose porn over marriage, that numbness was ever present in my marriage and at the beginning of my divorce. My favorite part was this: I married for ETERNITY. Not time. A time marriage made no real sense to me. I was hell-bent on eternity.

    Wow. Powerful words right there. I had never even thought about it that way before. A time marriage really doesn't make sense to me either. I appreciate that because I believe hearing those words will help me process through my temple marriage being broken.
    Thank you.

    1. I sometimes wonder if I'm being awful for expecting so much... but then I realize that I'm ready to live alone if it means standing by what I believe in... and that makes a time marriage more painful than wonderful.

      And it IS truly, truly painful.

      I remember Danny once telling me he was terrified that I was going to leave him, and it boggled my mind 100%. Because our sealing was pretty much void at that point.

      Also, can you message me?!
      You said you sat next to me a few weeks ago and dinner and I'm dying to remember it all. Email, woman!

  2. "I want feelings to come into my body and I want to EMOTE them out: write them, scream them, sing them, talk them!"
    My favorite part of this post. I want to FEEL. We are meant to FEEL and we are meant to emote those feelings, not to hold them inside like a cancer or a toxin that slowly eats away at us. That's what I want.
    Thank you.

    1. I think "emote" is my new favorite verb. And it helps me understand surrendering a little more. Sort of like... I can get my hands on the idea now. I love how you put it, "not to hold them inside like a cancer or a toxin that slowly eats away at us." YES!

  3. "But the Lord has a way of providing us with what we need, even if we don't want it.
    He provided me with truth: hard evidence that no matter how you sliced it."

    This really rang true with me. A few months ago, I prayed for a miracle. I mean, REALLY prayed. I wanted so much for my husband to finally choose me over his addiction and the other woman. Somehow, I knew I wasn't going to get the miracle I so badly wanted. BUT, I did get a miracle. I got undeniable truth about what he was really thinking, feeling and doing. And then I KNEW that I couldn't stay any longer. You are so right in saying that God gives us what we need. It broke my heart to end my marriage, but I am learning to be happy again, and leaning on God to help me get there.

    Thank you so much for your blog. I wish there weren't so many of us who have to live through this. But thank you for sharing your journey. I know it has helped me, and I'm sure there are so many others.

    1. That kind of truth is SO sosososo SO hard.
      Can I just reach through this blog and look into your eyes and validate you?! YOU are incredible. Leaning on God is not an easy thing to do, and I love hearing your humility through your words.

  4. This addiction is so much more complex than people understand. Love this post. So much TRUTH.

      I wish it wasn't ;)

  5. This is exactly how I feel right now. I can't stay numb, I can't ignore, I can't pretend. I can't stay... But feeling is HARD.

    1. Feeling is so hard, and you are an amazing woman. You are, lady. You're in my prayers.