Achieving Balance


 February 26, 2024

When I began my recovery, my children were all in elementary school. Our home had an atmosphere of tension and insecurity.I was bound and determined to be the perfect mother—loving, compassionate, understanding—but I really did not know how to manifest those qualities in a balanced way. I sometimes went to extremes in caring for my children. There was a constant feeling of impending disaster and if someone made a mistake (and there were plenty!), I reacted in extreme ways. I neglected the children emotionally, obsessing about my husband when he was acting out and worrying about the “next time” when he was not. I lived my life through my kids because I didn’t even realize at that time that I had my own separate life. If they passed a science test, I felt I was a success. If they got a low grade, I was a failure as a mom. Their grades were my grades and their emotions became my emotions.

Today, after several years in S-Anon, my children know that when I go to a meeting, make a telephone call, or receive a telephone call from a program friend, I am trying to stay balanced. I don’t force heavy conversation with my children, but I try to be aware of any opportunity where I might be able to share my recovery with them, and be emotionally available in that moment. I have told them that there are certain groups and people whom God has given to both their dad and me to help us learn how to truly love ourselves and others. I talk with them about being aware of feelings and learning to express feelings honestly in appropriate ways. I talk with them about the need for each of us to have boundaries, how we need to learn to “mind our own business” in a loving manner, and how I am not going to get this all perfect for probably a very long time — if ever! Above all, I try to make amends where needed as quickly as possible, and stay current with any issue needing our attention. I have not disclosed the details of their dad’s addiction. I feel that is his responsibility when he feels the time is appropriate. Now, if I get off track, usually one of the children will bring it to my attention, and I again have the opportunity to put the program into practice! I cannot count the number of times my 13-year old has said to me in so many words “Mom, you are starting to get into other people’s ‘stuff’!” but if I am working the program on a daily basis, they will see it, feel it, and I can share what I have learned in S-Anon with my children at their level.

Reprinted from Working the S-Anon Program, pages 88-89.

Hoping in a Higher Power


 December 25, 2023

The only solution to my fear, my desire to control and my feelings of victimization has been to live one minute at a time and to act as if I trust God, even when I don’t. I look back on all my losses, and even though I see that each one in the end turned out to be best for me, I still feel angry and fearful. But I do know one thing for sure: I am not God. This small amount of humility allows me to know that I do not know what is best for me, or for anyone else. I have seen that things I thought were best were not, and, as a result, I am beginning to see that my self-righteousness is not based on reality. This gives me the hope that God does know what is best for me. I know that I cannot get my partner sober or save our relationship, only God can. I must let go of trying to control, and let God do whatever he is going to do, even if I don’t want to. I don’t know if that is willingness, but it is all I have.

Reprinted from Working the S-Anon Program, 2nd Edition, page 39.

People Who Understood my Pain


 October 12, 2021

I went to my first meeting immediately after learning that my husband’s string of affairs was an addiction to lust. I was in so much pain from the discovery of the betrayal I was desperate enough to try anything. I also wanted answers about living with a sexaholic, like “What is the percentage of sexaholics who relapse?” and “How would I know if relapse had occurred?” I never did get the percentages I wanted, but I got to know a group of people who understood my pain as no one else could, having been there themselves. I was one of those who could disregard what therapists told me, saying to myself, “They haven’t been betrayed as I have!” But I couldn’t dismiss what I heard in these meetings. In the beginning I cried, meeting after meeting, but I always felt reassured when they told me they had been where I was and understood. It seemed that by sharing the pain with them, it was lessened. I came to learn that I was dependent upon another person for my happiness and for life itself, and that was part of my problem. S-Anon has helped me to gradually gain an independence, self-confidence, and serenity I never thought possible.

Reprinted from S-Anon’s Newcomer’s Information Booklet.

Surrendering to a Higher Power


 August 28, 2017

After working another Twelve Step program for several years, my life was filled with growth, peace, serenity and acceptance. Upon finding out about my spouse’s sexaholism, it all slipped away. I had great difficulty letting go of this new issue. This, I thought, is too big, too deadly and too frightening to let go of. I was again struggling to surrender my will to my Higher Power. When I came to S-Anon I knew my life was unmanageable, but I couldn’t see how I was contributing to it. I understood Step Three in my other program, yet I didn’t see that my snooping and checking up on my spouse was my way of holding on, not letting go. Even though I had experienced the fullness and freedom of knowing and accepting my powerlessness in my other program, in the area of my husband’s sexaholism I was still clinging to my will — my safety and protector (or so I thought). I was too frightened to trust God with this. In S-Anon, I learned how to detach and surrender where sexaholism was concerned. I finally came to believe — again — that it didn’t matter what the story, hardship, or circumstances were. Surrendering to my Higher Power was the only way to feel calm, clear, serene, and safe. Step Three told me that I was not alone and that regardless of circumstances, I would be O.K. I could trust that my Higher Power had a plan for me that was better than I could imagine.

 

Reprinted from S-Anon Twelve Steps, page 31.

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