Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Background: Shortly after the Netflix incident, I went on a google rampage (if you haven't done it, you will). After 6 years of broken promises like "I won't do it again" and "I won't ever do it again," I figured there had to be something "wrong" because it hurt so freaking bad and he still did it. I knew he couldn't control the impulse but I didn't know why. I wanted solace and I wanted to know someone to give me a reason.
[Enter Two of My Favorite People Ever] - Jane and Scabs.
I found their blogs during one of the google rampages and I couldn't stop reading. I saw myself in their stories. I saw my husband in their stories. And most importantly, I found a name for this uncontrollable impulse that causes immense grief, pain, trauma, heartache, loneliness and confusion: Addiction.
"Seriously?", you say, "Duh."
I know. Like I said before, Denial and I are good friends.
While hawking Scab's blog one day at work (July 2013), I noticed she had posted about a camp she was coordinating in Idaho. "Hmmm...interesting...maybe I could go to this camp. I could figure out if HE has a problem. I could get a plan." So, I emailed Scabs and registered for my spot at Camp Scabs. I bought a plane ticket and committed to a weekend in a remote cabin in the middle of the woods with 18 other women I didn't know whose husbands are sex addicts (crazy much?)
The morning of my flight was filled with anxiety. Will I have to tell my story? What if they can't stand me? What if my story traumatizes them? What if my ugliness makes them reject me? What if there's no coffee? Where will I poop? What if I can't poop? (ok, I know that's nuts, but c'mon, I can't be the only one that thinks about these things). I won't even put on paper the fears I had about the difference in religious beliefs (it's embarrassing and not okay).
To cope, I bought Starburst Jellybeans, Pretzel M&Ms and a Maxim magazine to burn. (Yeah, I could write an entire blog post about the humiliation of checking out at the grocery store with those three items but I will leave that to your imagination).
I boarded the plane: 1 carry-on, 1 personal item and a lot of emotional baggage.
What ensued was a life altering experience. Women who understood my pain, listened to my story and forgave my trespasses - the extension of grace from these women brought so much healing. And their stories, oh their stories, changed me. And I'm not talking about me sitting there listening and pitying their plight. I'm talking about admiration for their courage, the love for their family and spouses, the "ovaries" to walk away when it's time to be done and the strength to be vulnerable and the willpower to heal and seek recovery.
I didn't take much to realize that "he had a problem" - I figured that out on the bus ride to the cabin. But what I took away from that weekend was much bigger than that: I have a problem. I have codependency. I have trauma. I have "defects of character." I have courage. I have bravery. And most comforting of all - I now have this beautiful group of friends that are willing to share their knowledge, wisdom and friendship which is pretty amazing.
What did we do: we ate, we talked, we burned crap, we cried, we laughed (really hard) and we healed.
I wish I could share every detail and divulge every thing that happened - because it all changed my life. But I can't. And I wouldn't. These are my girls - my Scab's Sisters - and what happens at camp stays at camp.
This is what I will say: Find someone to talk to - care about yourself - join a recovery group - go to camp - and get on the bandwagon people. Your friends are waiting for you.