This summer has been a very monumental one for many different reasons.
For one: we moved. After almost 3 years living in what was feeling almost like a closet, we moved into our first single family home for the next 'stage' of our lives. We are very excited to begin this new phase, however, moving is no joke! I still feel like I don't even know where my socks are!
Second: It was a big summer for Damien's kids and I. Up until now...I have been......I don't know....I guess weary on being where the kids are outside of our visitation. This reason is because of Damien's former wife....I am a person who doesn't like uncomfortable situations especially when I'M the one who caused them! I like being the person to hold back and let things be easy rather than force myself into some situation. So for the sake of his ex-wife and her feelings...I've stayed away for the most part. Last year, the kids played soccer and I went to the last game to see the trophies being given. I recall it being very uncomfortable....very uneasy...but I was, of course, glad I went for the kids.
I was debating how many games I would go to this year, when at one of our visits, Damien's daughter told me I could "share" her lipgloss with her because we were "related". I said, "Oh yea?!" (in a rather joking tone)...and she said, "Yea! You're my step mom!" ............Now.....up until this point....I knew she had a tiny grasp on the situation...it was the first time she really acknowledged me that way. And it meant the world.
At that moment, I knew I was to go to every single soccer game no matter how uncomfortable I felt. So I have. And to my surprise, this year was quite different. There have been moments where Damien's ex-wife and I have been side by side, in the same conversation with the kids and even said a word or two to one another....and lack of tension caught me by surprise. Of course....there were a few moments ;) The best part was the kids got to see me there....present....and they were happy that I was. This past Saturday was the very last game...and I have to say, I am very sad about that.
Third and most recent: When God showed me at 19 years old that my past would be used for His glory....it was as clear as crystal. Lately (I'd say the past 3 months or so), I have felt a little clouded.....I haven't been sure what the next step is but I knew I shouldn't just be 'standing'. I have a friend who taught me that sometimes when you're looking for clarity, a good thing to do might be fasting something. I've never really practiced fasting....just once for 24 hours....AND I thought it had to be completely no food. This friend told me just fasting one thing...and every time you think about that thing...to pray about whatever it is you need clarity on.
So...I thought about this and thought, what could it hurt?! I decided to fast coffee because I am dependent on it and knew I would think about it ALL the time! (This was a very hard decision for me by the way!!) I committed to 1 week with an evaluation. Three or four days after fasting and praying like a maniac through my headaches (!!!), my husband came home from his weekly men's group and said an opportunity came up for a women's group to meet at the same place his group does. He told me the founder of the organization wanted me to contact him.
Long story short...I met with the guy...told him my story and how I thought a group like this would be structured. I also told him I was an open book! God told me he was going to use me but didn't give me step by step instructions so I am willing to be open to anything. (A little back story...I honestly wouldn't PREFER to facilitate a group....the opportunity came up months ago but I convinced myself it wasn't what I wanted to do. Well..looks like God disagrees! )
The group would be a support group for women dealing with significant others struggling with sexual impurity. So far, nothing is final but wheels are turning and I am so thankful God has revealed this direction in my life to me.
Just to finish the story...after the first week, I still hadn't met with the founder, so I decided to fast 1 more week. I think fasting is one of those things that kinda rubs people the wrong way....I know it did for me. I think like many other things, your perception can change everything. With the right motivation and attitude, I would generally recommend fasting for anyone having seen the benefits myself. The worst that could happen is you ended praying a LOT more than normal :)
Thanks for listening/reading to my life update :) I'd like to ask that if you do pray, to please pray for his women's group and the process of getting there. Between you and me, I feel like I'd do better facilitating a men's group (haha), but we'll see!! I guess God is going to teach me patience as well (no offense to any women) ;)
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
"I don't feel like I'm a hypocrite. I feel like I'm human. I got away from the one thing that keeps me straightened out and going in the right direction.”
-- Josh Hamilton
What is relapse and how should it be defined? Addiction is addiction whether it's alcohol...drugs...porn....and you know, I don't even really like that word. I think too many people are 'addicted' to something and are in denial about it because they don't want to be labeled with an addiction. For example, I am addicted to the internet, more specifically, my iPhone. I am very dependent on it. I guess because it's an iPhone, I am not only addicted to the internet, but also to my cell phone in general. If I go days without it, I become very irritated and start to lose control of my life. ;)
Anyway, I learned of Josh Hamilton's story through my baseball fanatic husband. He's been following Josh and is inspired by his story and I wanted to share it with you. Please take a look at the video and read the article. In short, Josh is a recovering addict of drugs and alcohol and relapsed at a bar one night, getting extremely drunk and taking provocative pictures with females. This story could have blown up into something much different when you think about it. Hamilton could have not told his support group immediately; he could have waited until this story hit the news and then dealt with it...he could have made excuses for his actions (being under stress, spring training, etc). He could have been completely in denial about how crucial his actions were, giving himself the allowance to relapse 'just once' since becoming sober.
But he didn't. He relapsed. Period. He called his support group after the incident, including his wife. He has spoken freely to the press about the real struggle he has concerning the issue and how he has devastated himself, his family, his profession, and most importantly, his relationship with Christ. One part of the interview that sticks out to me is when he said no matter how long ago it was since his last drink was or how in control he feels of his struggle....he can't even have one drink.
This made me think of you, my readers, as many things do. I'd like to take just a moment to let you know that I pray for you often, no matter what you're situation is. What you're going through and why you're reading my blog is important, whether it's just curiosity, whether you're a follower, or because you are really struggling with pornography and its affects. I thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts.
Many of you have emailed/commented saying something like, "Thank you so much for sharing your story. You have impacted me greatly and I've deleted all my porn files and am now dedicated to never looking at it again." My reaction to these sort of comments is always overwhelming no matter how many I receive. I am immediately filled with joy, usually on the verge of happy tears, and thank God for the work He's doing through my crappy story.
I have a soft spot for these particular people and always hope that they take the advice to surround themselves with a support group, or just one person who knows everything. It's not an easy task, especially for a male, to ask for help concerning any area of struggle, but I believe it's a crucial component in conquering any addiction. Here's the #1 reason why.......
You will relapse.
It's just the way it is. I know there's miracle stories out there like, "I vowed to never do it again and haven't ever since....that was 20 years ago!" but BELIEVE me, that is not the norm and it's not what is expected. I think people have the wrong impression about struggles. You have that one intervention, that one moment when the person is on their knees and begging for forgiveness for what they've done to their lives and family. Whoever they're begging forgives them and then for some reason, expects them to be Mr. or Mrs. Perfect for the rest of their lives.
When a relapse occurs, having specific steps in place ahead of time so no thinking or procrastinating is involved really helps. Most likely, you're feeling depressed, defeated, insecure, hopeless, and like it's not worth it because well, it's just too hard to stop....so why stop? Why not just continue doing it if I'm going to relapse and feel like crap anyway? These thoughts are very tempting when you're feeling down and out. So please, if you haven't already...look into that small group of individuals to support you.
Also, one last thought. God allows you to relapse in order for you to depend on Him more. Relapsing doesn't mean you're a fraud and that's you're not 100% into it. As Josh Hamilton says, it means you're human and just like all the rest of the humans on this planet, we often let less important things slip into our time and our view and accidentally lose focus of what really matters.
Don't get discouraged...keep focused on your relationship with God and when you relapse, be humbled and 100% honest....it'll make the situation a whooolllee lot more bearable- for you and those you love.