"We need to take care of our own mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health, no matter what our challenges may be." (Healing Through Christ Workbook)
Since first discovering my husband's pornography addiction 12 1/2 years ago, I have ignored and neglected my own needs. I took on the role of rescuer, clean up crew, and protector and have worn myself out in the process. Years of sweeping my emotions under a rug and self-imposed isolation, along with constantly keeping tabs on my husband has taken it's toll on my health in more ways than one. I had miscarriages, two of which almost killed me, suffered depression, and developed a chronic illness that veers it's ugly head every time I push myself past the limits.
Right now, I am trying to slow down and take my recovery at a snails pace, which is hard when I live in a fast paced world with church callings, endless housework, and children to chauffeur around everywhere. Don't get me wrong, I love serving in the church, serving my family, and keeping my home clean, but rarely do I have time for my own basic needs. I have had plenty of days where I don't eat enough or drink enough and feel exhausted and sick for the next few days that follow. It's crazy and I know I need help!
The first step in the Healing Through Christ workbook is, "Come to understand and accept that we are powerless over the addiction of a loved one and recognize that our lives have become unmanageable."
I am working these steps for the first time and discovering how important self care is in my recovery not only from the trauma caused by my husband's addiction, but my own addiction to co-dependency.
I have decided to make a plan for self-care:
- I will read books...My husband and I just started reading, "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus," and we are both learning better ways to communicate with each other.
- I have also been wanting to start teaching myself the piano again and start sewing and crafting. These things I love doing, but suddenly lost interest in when my husband relapsed.
- My children love games and I am wanting to play games with them in the evenings instead of watch TV.
- I will learn how to quilt this year. I have always wanted to and never thought I could do it, but I am determined. I want to make my children a quilt to take with them to college. If I get started now, I should be done by the time they leave.
- I will visit the windowed ladies in my neighborhood and get to know them better. They've lived her all of their lives and I bet they have some great stories to tell.
- I will attend my support group each week or when I can and reach out to find a sponsor.
- I have been invited to GNO's in the past , but turned them down, because of self-imposed isolation. I am going to go next time I get an invite and I will have a fun time getting to know my friends better.
- I will continue to see my therapist every other week, until we run out of things to discuss or when I feel I can take the tools she has given me and go it on my own.
- I will set up appropriate boundaries and decide what I will and will not accept or do in my recovery.
- I will eat regularly to keep up my energy and drink plenty of water.
- I will go to bed by 10pm every night and wake up by 6am.
- I will exercise daily, either walk, run, or do Zumba ( I have always wanted to try Zumba)
- I will read and study my scriptures every morning upon waking.
- I will read Ensign articles or Conference talks during my spare time.
- I will always listen to Christian radio when I am driving and LDS/Christian music when I am at home during the day.
- I will take time to enjoy nature each week and mediate.
- I will go to the temple once a week or at least twice a month.
- Whenever I feel the need to control my husband or anyone else, I will drop to my knees and surrender these feelings to the Lord.
- Prayer will be my first response to overwhelming thoughts and emotions.
- Recognize that...
"Heavenly Father, the Savior, and the Holy Ghost are our greatest sources of support. Recovery and healing are made possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. In addition, the Lord often works through men and women to bless the lives of His children. All who participate in the addiction recovery program find that they are following the Lord’s counsel to “be faithful, . . . succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees” (D&C 81:5).
- I will not be on my laptop when my children are home. I will make myself available to them at the crossroads, when they are coming and going.
- I will have a daily check-in (assessing needs) with each of them upon arriving home from school.
- We will have family prayer and scripture study each night, when possible.
When we take care of ourselves we are better capable of being in a position to act on promptings to care for those we love.
President Spencer W. Kimball taught: “God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that He meets our needs” (“Small Acts of Service,” Ensign, December 1974, 5).
Update: I don't plan on attacking this all at once, it's a day at a time and I will rely on the Spirit to be my guide and help me know what is best for me each day. I am just happy to have a plan written down and felt these were things I can do, granted they must be done in wisdom and in order.
You are all amazing! I appreciate your thoughts and concerns for me. It's funny how we have never met, but you all seem to know me pretty good. Love you all!