Monday, July 29, 2013

New Phone Meeting for Women in Sex Addiction!

I am so so very happy to announce the start of a new phone meeting for LDS Women who struggle with any sort of sexual addiction.

We will be using the ARP manual to start with, but will most likely be moving over to using the Healing Through Christ steps as they continue to be written.  Their current manual is written for loved ones of addicts, but the manual for those that struggle with addiction is in the works.  There is no time frame on that, however.

So let's get to the good stuff!!

The meeting:

When:  Monday nights, beginning August 12th from 7:30pm-9:00pm MST
Where:  On the phone!  Which means, there are no geographic boundaries!
Who: LDS women who struggle with sexual addiction.
Group Leaders:  I will be one of the facilitators, as well as another good friend of mine.  Between the two of us we have over 8 years of recovery under out belts.  Both of us are really excited for this next step in spreading hope to the world.

Since this is our first phone meeting, we kind of want to break things in slow.  We want to get our feet wet before it completely explodes.  Hah.  So, I won't be posting the phone number to call in to the meeting here on my blog.  If you are interested in attending the meeting, we would LOVE to have you.  Simply email me at bythelightofgrace (at) gmail (dot) com for call in information.

**It is important to mention that the system only handles a total of 25 participants.  Two are reserved for the group leaders and I suspect that those sponsoring this meeting will want to attend as well, which would be one more spot.  So really, there are 22 spots available.  I expect spots to fill up quickly so please contact me ASAP for information.

Don't be scared though!  The good news is, if we DO fill up, we'll simply create another meeting!

If you have any questions, please ask!

I hope to hear so many voices on the other end of the line:-)

God is good!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Then, and Now

I am quoting my current bishop a bit in Chapter 5 of my book.  In order to quote him correctly, I went back and revisited our earliest Facebook conversations.  A good chunk of our communication took place over Facebook messages--a true blessing from the Lord.

As I was filtering through those messages, I came across one that stopped me flat.  I read it, and could hardly believe it was me.  I am filled with so much gratitude and am grateful for this awesome online journal I have of my early recovery.  I am able to see, in literal black and white print, just how far the Lord has carried me.

I want to share this section with you:

* * *

July 31, 2009 - written to my bishop.

(I had not yet attended a group meeting.  I had only met with my bishop a couple of times and had planned on working the steps on my own.)

Heya

I was wondering if you can do something for me. I was thinking our next meeting was this Tuesday but then realized you will be out of town and that it's [actually] a week from Tuesday. I was wondering if, before our next visit, you could talk to that other lady in the ward and get details on the group meetings. Just what they are like, how many people go, what they talk about, do they call on people specifically, would I be expected to participate, can I sit in the back - that sort of thing.

I've been really working on praying more. Actually, praying period, since I haven't in--I can't even remember how long. So, in my first prayer, about a week ago, I expressed my desire to be apart of something so tight nit and supportive as these groups, but I also expressed the monumental fear I feel when I think about going. I seriously get knots in my stomach and die inside [when I think about it]. I'm sure it would be fine after a few visits, but that first time, feels like I'd be walking into a dungeon of doom.

So anyways, I expressed all that in my prayer and asked Heavenly Father to soften my heart to the idea of going. I figured that was a simple enough thing to ask for. Since then, it's really all I think about. But, it's still a huge unknown to me so I'd like more information on it.

Also, I may take you up on that offer for you to go with me, because I seriously don't see myself walking in there by myself. I would drive there, and then I would sit, and I would talk myself out of it and turn around and come home. I still may do that even with you going with me. Taking that first step over the threshold is terrifying when it means letting go of a secret I am ashamed of and have kept hidden for 20 years.

Thanks a bazillion:-)

* * *

I was so stuck under piles of fear and shame.  But I was blossoming,.  A seed had been planted and it was growing.  The Lord loved me, Angels spoke to me and encouraged me... and eventually I reached.  I reached out for that support that I so desperately needed.

It has truly made all the difference.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

"Like" Me On Facebook!

Hello my dear friends!

I just want to check in and say hi!  I feel like my blogging has slowed down so much since I started writing my book.  The good news is, I'm done writing new content.  Now I'm just editing the crud out of existing content, so I feel it will go much much faster.  Chapter 4 is complete and Chapter 5 should move into final editing by the end of the week.

I am much more active on y Facebook page than I am on here right now, so I want to take a moment and invite all of you to like my page.  I am posting book updates, book quotes, tidbits, thoughts and pieces of myself on there.

I appreciate all of your support.  I am truly blessed to know so many wonderful people!

Much Love!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Filtering Gossip


In ancient Greece, Socrates was reputed to hold knowledge in high esteem. One day an acquaintance met the great philosopher and said, “Do you know what I just heard about your friend?”

“Hold on a minute,” Socrates replied. “Before telling me anything, I'd like you to pass a little test. It's called the Triple Filter Test.”

“Triple filter?”

“That's right,” Socrates continued. “Before you talk to me about my friend, it might be a good idea to take a moment and filter what you're going to say. That's why I call it the triple filter test. The first filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?”

“No,” the man said, “actually I just heard about it and...”

“All right,” said Socrates. “So you don't really know if it's true or not. Now let's try the second filter, the filter of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my friend something good?”

“No, on the contrary...”

“So,” Socrates continued, “You want to tell me something bad about him, but you're not certain it's true. You may still pass the test though, because there's one filter left: the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my friend going to be useful to me?”

“No, not really.”

“Well,” concluded Socrates, “If what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?”

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Just a Little Update


A Letter

My Dear Sister,

I just had to send a note to tell you how much I love you and care for you.  I saw you yesterday as you were walking with your friends.  I waited all day hoping you would want to talk to me also. As evening drew near I gave you a sunset to close your day and a cool breeze to rest you.  And then I waited.  But you never came.  It hurt me, but I still love you because I am your friend.

I saw you fall asleep last night and I longed to touch your brow, so I spilled moonlight on your pillow and your face.  I watched you sleep soundly as peace settled over you.  I wanted to rush down so that we could talk. I long for that connection with you, for that intimacy.  There are so many things I want to share with you; so much knowledge.  But you awakened late the next morning and rushed off to start the day.  My tears were in the rain.

Today you looked so sad, so all alone.  It made my heart ache, because I understand.  My friends have let me down and hurt me too.  But I love you.  Oh, if you would only listen to me.  I try to tell you in the leaves on the trees and breathe in the colors of the flowers.  I shout it to you in the mountain streams and give the birds love songs to sing.  I clothe you with warm sunshine and perfume the air with nature's scents.  My love for you is deeper than the oceans and bigger than the biggest want or need in your heart.

Please, just reach for me, ask me, talk with me, lean on me and love me.

Let me guide you.  That is all I ask.

                                                                   Your friend and Elder Brother,

                                                                                              Jesus

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Bullet Train Home

I have found that throughout my recovery, my obedience has come in different stages.

As I reflect on each stage, I am left feeling such immense gratitude for my Father in Heaven.

My Heavenly Father, Himself, feels gratitude for each level of obedience I attain
He does not shame me for being 'less than' the next level
He does not get irritated when I linger too long before moving on to the next stage
....no
He is patient
...and
He is kind
His gratitude is present, not past or future
He is grateful for my efforts
In the here
...and
In the now
He understands
...that
Each stage of obedience supports the next
...a gift
This ladder of progression

I was first obedient out of fear
I was terrified of the consequences I would suffer
...if
I continued to live in the depths of sin
I didn't feel I could
...or
Would, actually heal
But I wanted to be able to face my maker at the end
...and say
I tried everything

Next, I was obedient out of obligation
It was my duty to be obedient
I didn't do it out of love
...or
out of righteous desire
...but instead
I did it out of necessity

Then, I became obedient out of my desire to please my Father
I wanted His approval
...and
I wanted Him to be proud of me
I wanted
Even though my obedience was driven
....still
It was rooted in selfishness

Finally, I came to a point where my obedience shifted into the Celestial realm
I finally came to serve Him
...because
I love Him
Obedience born from the pure Light of Christ...
The bullet train home

See you there!

Friday, July 5, 2013

What Being Stuck in Sex Addiction Feels Like

I am drawn
...and
My countenance skips
I feel the magnetic pull
...of
the insatiable crave
I am consumed by want
...and
My thirst is unquenchable
Every cell in my body is diseased with rotten lust
Lust
The ravenous beast that threatens to eat me whole
I feel the pain from caving in...
... every... single.... time
I am hopeless
I am lost
I am nothing

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Step Twelve'ing, In a Huge Way

A couple of weeks ago I was presented with the opportunity of a lifetime.  I was invited to participate in filming a commercial promoting sexual addiction recovery, not only for those struggling with addiction, but more-so for their loved ones.

The folks at Addo Recovery have one purpose in mind; to help people heal.

I am grateful for the opportunity I have had to participate in their free classes as well as work with them on this film project. I'd like to share a bit of my experience with each...

The free six week educational course currently offered by Addo Recovery currently focuses on betrayal trauma education for wives, or significant others, of men who struggle with sexual addiction.  I have personally learned so much from this class.  I learned that my feelings are mine, and they are OK.  I learned that even though I sometimes feel that I cannot go on, that I actually do, and that makes me resilient.  I am resilient.  I also learned how to trust my gut, and how to give myself permission to act on that instinct.  Overall, I learned amazing self care and in turn, I learned to trust and love myself even more.

The class is offered both in person, as well as on line.  (Please contact Addo directly for availability at info@addorecovery.com).

Although Addo currently focuses primarily on healing the spouse, they are striving to branch out into offering resources for men, women and even teens who struggle with sexual addiction.  They are also working to branch out into offering education for children and parents.  Their ultimate goal is to help facilitate recovery for everyone affected by the devastating affects of sexual addiction.

Bravo Addo, Bravo!

Now, for super fun stuff... the commercial!

I about fell out of my chair when I received the invitation to participate.  Me?  Little ole' me?  Small town girl from Montana?  I just sat their grinning, and expressing gratitude to the Lord for helping spread awareness and hope, and especially for making it fun at the same time!

The filming was scheduled to take place over two days:

Day 1

I was to arrive at 12:45, 45 minutes prior to my shoot, for 'hair and make-up.'  My make-up artist, Emily, was amazing.  She was fun and talkative and made me feel so beautiful.


She even gave me fake eyelashes!  It was the first time I'd ever worn them in my life.  Aren't they beautiful?  I'm not sure I'll ever wear them again though.  There is no way I could put them on myself.  Hah!  (You can also check out more of Emily's stuff here.) 


While I was in the midst of getting my hair and make-up done, the producers/directors showed up at the door and introduced themselves.  Although I could hear them, I couldn't see them.  Not only did I not have my glasses on, but I was also looking in the mirror trying to stay super still for Emily.  

Realizing my predicament, one of the directors finally positioned himself in my line of site and shook my hand.  He was very friendly and inviting and I felt most welcome in his presence.  After meeting him I felt the need to then give heed to courtesy and curiosity and I turned to acknowledge the other guy. 

I glanced, and did a total double take... "I know you!"

Turns out I knew them both!  Or not really knew, but knew of them both.  The guy I recognized is Daryn Tufts, from the movie Singles Ward, and the other guy is Dave Nibley from The Best Two Years.  WOW!  I of course turned into a complete gooey groupie, asking for photographs and whatnot.  They kindly and patiently obliged.

Dave Nibley & I                                      Daryn Tufts & I

The studio itself was amazing.  I mean.  It was an actual studio.  Hah!  It still seems surreal.  I mean, me, in a studio.  With producers, directors, videographers, the sound tech and the make-up artist mulling all around me.  They even had a smorgasbord of food for us.  Complete royal treatment. So fun!

The time eventually came when Dave walked in and it was time to start the interview process.  Dave would be asking the questions, while Eric (Managing Director at Addo Recovery) and Daryn were to observe and offer feedback.


I was a bit nervous at first.  Because Addo is currently primarily targeting wives of those who struggle, I thought they were expecting me to only speak about my experience and feelings surrounding my husband's addiction and recovery.  But I was pleasantly surprised to find that they really wanted me to share my experience with recovery in general.  I wasn't limited or bound by expectation.  They truly did just let me be me.

The best part was when Dave asked me what the number one thing I owed my recovery to was.
I paused
...and said:
"I don't think I can talk about that."
Dave gave me a questioning look, to which I responded:
"I don't think I'm allowed to talk about God."
You see, Addo Recovery incorporates spirituality in their program, but they aren't faith based, nor do they represent any specific religion.
So I turned to Eric and asked:
"Am I allowed to talk about God?"
He responded:
"Yes, you can talk about God."

I then broke into tears as I expressed my gratitude for God's healing hand in my life.  That I owe my entire recovery to Him and would not be where I am without Him.  And that I love Him, so so very much.  I am so grateful that I was allowed that moment, even if the footage isn't published.  I do owe it all to God, and it would be wrong of me to not acknowledge His hand, ever, let alone on such a powerful platform.

Another bonus was the videographers.  These guys were funny!  I'm terrible in that I didn't get either of their names but they were hilarious! They all made me smile so much.  One of them took the below shot of me as Emily was working on my hair and posted it on their Facebook page, along with a kind note.


The entire day was exhausting but probably one of the funnest days I have had in a very long time.  I am finding more and more that the unknown is actually exciting and not scary.  The more I rely on God and let Him direct my path, the more I know, that whatever direction He sends me is the best for me, and for those around me.  I am truly grateful for his care and guidance.

I ended the day in my parking garage, left hand full of bags and right hand taking a head-shot of myself as I leaned up against the wood fence.  Who knew an iPhone+Instagram could capture such beauty?  The further into recovery I immerse myself, the more I come to know how beautiful I am.  I see such joy and peace in myself.



Day 2

Day two was to be filmed at Dave Nibley's house.  I have an actual picture of the house, but I don't feel it's appropriate to post it here... let's just say it's huge, and beautiful, and welcoming, and comfortable and clean.  I had plenty of opportunity to practice gratitude for what I have and work on not feeding my envy wolf.

The second day was a lot more chill than the first. I still had to arrive 45 minutes early for hair and make-up, but things moved much more quickly compared to the day before.  The biggest difference was there was no sound.  They were filming "B Roll" footage which is just footage that will run underneath my voice that was recorded the day before.  As you can see, Dave had me sit on his couch, typing on Eric's computer.... I was to look contemplative, but not too contemplative.  He wanted me to smile too... while not looking too contemplative.  Honestly, it was awkward haha.  But, eventually we got it done.

Dave Nibley, funny videographer & I

Let's not forget Daryn.  He was there as well.  At one point he sat down on the couch next to me.  As soon as he did I motioned for Emily to get a pic of us--all incognito style.  It didn't work, he totally noticed.  I know I know.  My groupie was totally showing again. ::: sigh :::  I'm gagging at myself a bit, but I seriously couldn't contain myself, or wouldn't.  Poor guy.

Daryn Tufts & I

The day flew by and soon came to a close.  Before I left for home I found myself on Dave's back porch overlooking the beautiful landscape.  I reflected on Mother Earth and how beautiful she is.  I felt such exquisite gratitude for all that I have been given; for all that the Lord has given me.  I am so very blessed.


And the final shot was my last iPhone+Instagram head-shot taken in the bathroom at my job.  I'm telling you, when my book gets published I'm toying with taking my own head-shots.  Unless the publishing company pays for professional ones, then I might just have to cave.



I am a beautiful daughter of God in recovery from a sexual addiction  
I am valuable
I am worthy
I am loved
I am His

Thank you Eric, Dave (Flynn Rider), Daryn, Emily and Creative Media Group for creating a space for me to shine my testimony and give voice to freedom.  

Cheers to whatever comes next!

Ezekiel 34:11-12,16

"For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick"