Thursday, June 16, 2016

To the Woods

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.” --Henry David Thoreau

I'm headed to Girl's Camp with my Young Women next week. And I cannot wait. A few days in the woods living simply and quietly (I hope), sounds heavenly. My bones are aching for it. When I imagine heaven, I picture a hammock with my name on it. Leaves rustling in the wind high above me. A book heavy on my abdomen, open and waiting. The slow, rhythmic sway of the fabric cocoon around me. Soft eyelids. Soft gaze. Total peace in the moment.

Girls Camp probably doesn't have hammocks. But it will have trees. Good enough.

Thoreau's words seem like amazing meditations and affirmations for every day intentional living (in the woods or not):

Today I will live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.  


"He didn't validate my sexuality. And neither did I."

Scab's Love Rice podcasts are hitting some major trauma bruises. Especially the one above. And yet, though I can relate, I also feel alone in my particular "sexuality struggle."

It seems that most addict men demand sex from their wives, beg for it, express their constant need for it. But though I unknowingly lived with an addict for years, I was sexually deprived. Physical sex was nonexistent in my relationship.

I felt absolutely crazy over it. Why doesn't my husband want to have sex with me? Am I just hyper sexual? I must be bad for wanting sex all the time when he doesn't. Are all marriages like this?

I was rejected so many times over the years that I basically learned to live without it. I learned that vulnerability and asking to be intimate solicited the response, "No." The very few times we were sexual, were always initiated by my husband. Looking back, they were bouts of lust. Every time.

I remember being soo happy when he would want me. Because, well, it meant he was attracted to me. Loved me. Needed me. Validated me.

I sold my sexuality for sporadic lust. I was willing to jump when he was calling the shots and accept that my voice didn't hold weight or importance. "He didn't validate my sexuality. And neither did I."

What kills me looking back is that I accepted my husband's rejection. I internalized it and attributed it back to me. I started to view it as this: I am undeserving of sexual intimacy. Something is wrong with me. And when I discovered the betrayal, it staked that false belief deep inside me.

I did not validate my sexuality.

Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife said in the podcast that our neediness for validation in these perceived roles we have actually undermine our potential--actually gives us a pass to underperform as individuals.


"I've been devalued by both of us."

In order to assert my sexuality, I need to ask "What kind of sexual relationship do I want?" My visual image for claiming the sexual relationship I want is Lucy Honeychurch from A Room with a View.

Scabs drew the image of sexual mindfulness. Which I loved. To me it means being present and seeing my sexuality and worth for what it is right now and how I can best protect and value it NOW. It's seeing and claiming the sexual life I want and deserve with wisdom, awareness and responsibility. Powerful stuff.

Self-discovery, transformation, growth, empowerment are all so key in recovery--and when it comes to protecting sexuality, it's just as important. I felt enlightened when Scabs said, "It's easy to stand up for ourselves when we can back it up from within ourselves." Deliberate, confident, personal power.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Last 18 Months

The last eighteen months or so, this blog has been as silent as a graveyard. But our lives as a family certainly have not. These months were filled with trial after trial after trial. Trials that suddenly make writing impossible. All my energy has been redirected to just living, just coping, surviving, then healing, then dealing, feeling, going through a thousand emotions, shedding a thousand tears, all the while trying to mother and raise my three beautiful children, attend therapy, recovery groups and support family members as they go through hell and back, as well.

I don't know why trials happen. And I've cried and yelled my fair share at Heavenly Father--demanding, yelling, begging, sobbing that He answer me and tell me WHY.

But the answer that comes to my mind...and has since day Why Not?

It angers me and yet it also humbles me. I know its correct despite my urge to scream that I am a poor victim in this and I did not choose it. But Life chose me, nonetheless.

The clearest answer I've received from the Spirit has been this: Wait and See.

So, I'm waiting. And I'm seeing so much. Both the good and the bad. And sometimes the downright ugly and hellish.

As an extended family, my sweet family members have now supported one another as we've discovered betrayal and infidelity, sexual addiction, rape, and now cancer. My father called me one day in fits of tears and despair. He cried, "I'm being pushed to the very edge."

But those outcries come in moments of overwhelming hopelessness and fear. And thankfully they pass. The cloud lifts and then I remember that I've seen strength, growth, empowerment, clarity, knowledge, connection, authenticity and more. I have laughed! I have been happy. And so has everyone in my family despite the complete suckage of the last 18 months. I've felt myself, and my family, rise to a new level.

There is more compassion and less judgement. There is greater focus on the things that truly matter in life--like love and the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I've discovered that my family is filled with men and women who are all trauma troopers in their own ways. Living life, standing tall, fighting for good, amazing, courageous angels on earth.

I stand all amazed at the trials life offers me. And I stand all amazed at the love and grace that Christ gives me to get through them.

Friday, March 6, 2015


Dear Friends,

My recovery-dedicated blog can be found at
Please follow me there.

Love to you all,

Anne Girl

Saturday, February 28, 2015

He's Back

After almost four months of sleeping separately, I invited Simon to sleep in our bed again. 

Just for sleep, mind you. And our three year old is in between us. 

Simon thanked me for letting him back in and I think I just nodded my head like, "Sure." It was more that I felt ready to tolerate his presence in my bed: my safe place. The place where I cry and kneel to pray. 

I've felt good about him being in there with me. ( even though I had gotten very used to having the bed all to myself!) And having my son with us makes me feel emotionally safer to. 

I bought my ticket to Togetherness today. And in the registration, I was asked to write down what my main question is that I'm hoping will be answered at the convention. This is what I wrote:

How can I feel comfortable and adequate in the bedroom again?

I think you get what I'm asking. And truth be told, I shouldn't have put in the word "again." Because I've NEVER felt comfortable or adequate in the bedroom. I always knew something was amiss with our intimacy and its frequency. 

Having Simon back in my bed--even just for sleeping--has brought up those insecurities again. And I hate it! Because I KNOW nothing's wrong with ME in that situation. The issues were never about me. But I still stress. 

For now, I'm taking my sweet time. And Simon has not pressured me once for which I am grateful. 

So if anyone is sitting in Togetherness and hears this question brought up--you might just see AnneGirl with her arms in the air praising God. Ha! 

Who is going to Togetherness? 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

ARP Dates

Simon and I have been on more dates in the last three weeks than in the last three years of our marriage. We went rock climbing, ate sushi, played board games, had a Valentine's dinner with our ward and made a date night out of ARP. 

They were all fun. And we are learning to reconnect. Investing time in each other is nice and new.

Victoria (A Battle Worth Winning) was the one to suggest that our ARP nights be special date nights. Before, we would drive to the church, go to our separate meetings and then drive back home. We always had good conversations afterward. However, I really took Victoria's advice to heart and tried to make it special.

I wanted to convey to Simon that I wasn't going to ARP BECAUSE of him, but I was choosing to go WITH him. I shifted my thinking and attitude. I suggested we go out to dinner beforehand and try someplace new. It was awesome. I'm always a happy girl with a belly full of fish tacos. Our conversation was happy and hopeful and we shared a brownie on our way to the church. 

My meeting was great in that I felt useful. There was a new woman--who I know a little and is my age--and I watched her bawl and bawl. I'm not far into recovery, but I had enough tools and experience under my belt to share my hope and healing with her. Seeing her--and that traumatic state--reminded me of just how far I really have come. That trauma was the most painful thing I have ever experienced. Seeing my fellow sisters experience it is brutal. If there is an upside to all of this, it's the level of compassion I have been able to find and hopefully extend meaningfully.

Despite the tear-filled night, Simon and I were able to meet back up and drive home holding hands and talk with real vulnerability.

The talks we have after therapy/ARP are my favorite. We are each in such an open, vulnerable, honest place and I feel closest to him during those talks. Simon--who has not been super jazzed over our particular group--was so upbeat and positive afterwards. He felt lighter and more hopeful. And though it's terrible that there were more new people that particular night--he felt happy knowing he was not alone and that other men were seeking help.

My heart soars when I hear him talk about his recovery efforts. I wish therapy and support groups could happen every day.

But they don't. Some days aren't stellar. Some days are simply awful. And others are very happy. Triggers and trauma resurface. Trust is still lying in pieces on the floor. But hope seems to be a little more visible. It's one step forward, two steps back.

But at least we aren't standing still. One day at a time. Sometimes one hour at a time.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Tomorrow I Turn 29

Tomorrow I turn 29. The last year of my twenties. Next year, I'm 30. And I could be divorced. 30 AND divorced. That could majorly be a suck-tastic year for me. 

I can't seem to push "divorce" out of my head. But I'm feeling so done. I feel increasingly more angry as my husbands actions sink deeper into my heart. And I'm left screaming on the inside, "WHAT THE HELL!!!" 

I mean, seriously. What was he thinking?! He wasn't, obviously. He didn't care about anything but the "fix." 

Sometimes I just sit in shock and disbelief. And lately disgust. 

The cycle of my emotions has been really interesting. It really is "crazy making" as my therapist says. So many emotions, so little time. 

But disgust--repulsion, has really settled in. I'm just so disgusted. Disgusted at what he's done. Disgusted at it's effects for me and my children. Disgusted that I was so oblivious. Disgusted that I'm still married to this man who doesn't even seem to care about me. 

I read in Rhyll's book that she told her therapist, "I feel like my husband doesn't love me." To which he responded, "He doesn't! He can't!"

I told my sponsor that I was feeling similarly. I have no romantic love for my husband. She said, "Of course you can't! The betrayal has been too extreme! He can't love you in his addiction. And you can't love him in your trauma. At least not romantically."

It was seriously profound to hear that. I felt like I was given permission to NOT love my husband. Because I simply can't. There is no room for romantic love. It was such a relief!

I do love him. But it's a concerned brotherly love. I'm worried about him. I know sexual addiction can't make him happy. But I have no desire to kiss him or be intimate with him. No desire to plan out a future with him. Nothing. Suddenly, I've become the sexual/intimacy anorexic in this relationship. 

As I've given myself permission to NOT love my husband, I've really discovered how forceful I was being with myself. I thought that to truly forgive him I had to truly and romantically love him. I thought forgiveness meant I was madly in love with him and would do everything in my power to stay with him. I thought that's what a successful recovery looked like. What was expected. I was forcing myself to stay. I was forcing myself to love. I was forcing my marriage to stay together. 

Force is the same as control. It's unhealthy. I've had to accept that recovery can be successful and a marriage still fail. I really believe that. But I don't hear much on that scenario. 

Sometimes the betrayal is just SO deep to make a marriage work. Sometimes it's just too much and there's no going back. I guess I really just don't want to make it work. I've done nothing but be true to my covenants. I've done nothing but support my husband. What more can I do? 

I don't like to fail at anything. I don't fail. I succeed. But I don't want to "succeed" in keeping my marriage together and be miserable the rest of my life. That's not succeeding. That's a tragedy. 

Simon isn't a monster. He is a good man deep down. I saw it in him those first couple years we were married. I think. But his actions have been monstrous. Atrocious. Disgusting. I just can't dealt with it! I don't know how. 

Simon IS improving. But I don't see it as recovery. I haven't seen those behaviors yet that tell me he's 100% on board. I don't know if he's willing to do what's expected of him. He wants to do recovery "his own way." And that spells disaster. It's a ticking time bomb. J

I'm not getting divorced tomorrow. But I feel like it's coming. We live parallel lives. I work my recovery and hope he's working his. But I've learned to not have expectations. 

I just want it over sometimes. I almost want him to act out with someone again, just so I can have an "out." Just be done. Just move on. Just not see him and be reminded of everything he's damaged and all the trust and love he's dashed to pieces. He's such a fool to have thrown us away. 

In many ways, I am happy. But a righteous husband for my birthday would really be the best gift I could dream of. I literally dream of being married to a righteous man. It's all I want. It's what I deserve. It's what I need. 

But again, that's setting up an expectation. 

Here's what I can expect tomorrow. I'll turn 29. And it will be bittersweet.