Finding Internal Motivation

26 Jul

Image Source – Own work by Louis Waweru / CC-BY-SA-3.0

My heart is aching today for a fellow blogger and friend who is going through a really difficult time.  I won’t share what has been happening specifically since it is her story to tell.  She has shared some on her blog – Repairing Shattered Pieces.  It is almost all I can think about today.

When she described how she felt last night, it made me think of being exposed and vulnerable in a very dangerous place, like laying in the middle of the road, powerless to keep from being run over.  Again.  Because at this point she has been hit hard.  I can imagine the waves of debilitating pain and hurt washing over me again and again.  The helplessness and despair.  I feel all of this by proxy, so I’m sure it’s amplified a thousand fold for her.

The positive glimmer in all of this for me has been Mr. Mess.  I have been sharing with him what is going on as she discovers more details.  He has been incredibly supportive and insightful.  He has offered his knowledge and assistance, if needed.  More than almost anything else, the way he has been talking has caused me to realize how far he really has come.

The other night he started talking about his own journey and how that has given him so much perspective on what it takes to get well.  He went through almost a year of denial over his sex addiction.  During that time he wasn’t really addressing his issues.  Sure, he went to therapy, he attended SA now and then, he said the things he thought I wanted to hear.  But he didn’t really believe, deep down, that there was anything he needed to do.  Some days when he felt down he could accept that there was a problem, but most of the time his denial, justification and rationalization were in full force.  He did the things he did because he knew it was the only way to keep me.  That’s it.

He said yesterday that if someone isn’t doing the all of the work they should be to correct their issues, then they don’t really believe they have them.  It really is that simple.  When he wasn’t going to SA it was because he believed he didn’t need to.  When he skipped therapy and stopped going altogether it was because he wasn’t invested and didn’t trulybelieve he needed the help.  He stuck with marriage counseling because he did want to repair our marriage.  But he still couldn’t accept that there couldn’t be a stable marriage until his addiction problems were corrected.  He wanted things to work out, but his motivations were largely exterior – the pain I was in, the tension in the house after a lie, the guilt he only felt afterwards, the shame of discovery and seeing my disappointment, the regret of a poor decision, and the list goes on.  He was focusing on me – my pain, my desires, my boundaries.

The only internal motivation he had was fear:  the fear of losing his lifestyle (house, car, dual incomes), the fear of losing love (acceptance, comfort, my presence), the fear of divorce, the fear of failure, the fear of who knows…  The problem is that fear can only carry you so far.  What he didn’t have was an internal desire to change for him.  Because it would make him healthy and whole.  Because it would make him happy.  Because it would give him the marriage he wanted, the intimacy he wished for, the acceptance and love he deserves.  Part of recovering from any addiction is coming to the full realization that you are worth it.  For you alone.  That you want to change.  For you alone.  That only you can fix you.  That the motivation has to come from within.

I’m glad that he has learned that now.  I am proud of where he has made it to in his recovery.  I feel more secure knowing that he is working on recovery for himself.  It also gives me reassurance that we are on the right path.  I am working on my issues and he is dealing with his.  Is this what an adult relationship feels like?

Image Source –  Own work by Adha65 / CC-BY-SA-3.0

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8 Responses to “Finding Internal Motivation”

  1. Allison September 10, 2012 at 5:50 pm #

    Hi! I read your blog and I can’t tell u how much I want my husband to experience that true transformation like your hubby has. My husband is a porn addict, he’s been in denial a full year now. We’ve seen 2 counselors, 2 pastors over the last 12 mos and every one of them has confirmed that he indeed has an addiction…but he thinks they’re all wrong. So now my husband has registered us in Retrovaille for this weekend thinking we can just do that and not continue the counseling & recovery we’ve been going to. I know he still needs to complete the 12 step recovery…nothing will work until that’s done….but he’s just going thru the motions and not really wanting to change because he doesn’t think he has a problem. We’ve been separated now for 3 months and he’s still in full denial.

    • beautifulmess7 September 10, 2012 at 6:19 pm #

      I am sorry you are going through that. Being with a sex addict in denial is the hardest thing I have ever dealt with. It makes you question your sanity, even when everyone else around you is confirming what you know is the truth.

      The thing about sex addiction is that it is progressive. At first it was “just porn” with my husband. That got out of control, as it always does with addicts. It led to chat rooms, sexting, and I have no doubt it would have moved into physical affairs if I hadn’t discovered things when I did. Even once the emotional affair was uncovered he continued to hide his porn problem. And it continued escalating. The things that I saw on March 31st, 2011 will probably forever be seared into my memory.

      He finally stopped then when I told him that I hope it was worth throwing his marriage away for. I think that slapped him back into reality a little bit. But even once he stopped, he didn’t believe he “really” had a problem. That took another year of therapy, SA and marriage counseling. I can’t speak for him, but I think Retrouvaille played a big role in him finally “getting it.” I actually wrote this post one week after we completed our weekend.

      Of course there is no way I can promise that will happen. Retrouvaille isn’t a quick fix. It is a complete program, though, not just one weekend. It takes committment and openness. If he actually participates fully, does the dialoging, and listens to your feelings I think it will make a difference. One of the biggest things will be committing to the post-sessions and to dialoging every night, even if it’s just exchanging emails and then talking on the phone for 10 minutes.

      Even though it has been 3 months of separation and he is still in denial about his addiction, the fact that he reached out for the Retrouvaille program means that he hopefully has some desire to salvage your relationship. He may think (unrealistically) that can be accomplished while keeping his porn addiction up, but the truth will become apparent. Use Retrouvaille to address each little thing one step at a time. If he can start to understand how you feel, he will also be able to start understanding why he would be driven to continue hurting you that way.

      I hope that eventually he will either have to face that he has an addiction that has made his life unmanageable or he will have to let go of his marriage and stubbornly hold on to his addiction. Either way, know that you will be okay. Remember, you can set your own boundaries and bottom lines. Then he can decide if he is willing to meet those expectations or not. If he isn’t, you will be okay and he will be the one missing out.

      I would encourage you to give the weekend a shot. Try to set aside the differences and issues and problems that have been making your marriage so difficult. There are no electronic devices allowed at the Retrouvaille weekend, so I would make a pact together that phones and laptops do not come into the room at all. That should also help you feel safe that there is no pornography happening while you are trying to reconnect and begin healing.

      I am more than willing to email you or even give you a call if you have any questions you want to ask me in private (away from the public eye). Just shoot me an email through the contact form on the “What Brought Me Here” page. I am thinking of you.

  2. Hope July 27, 2012 at 2:25 pm #

    Even though it took him a year, it was honest. If he’s internally motivated and honest about his motivation, he will recover.

    • beautifulmess7 July 27, 2012 at 2:32 pm #

      Yeah. It did take him a year, but at least he’s there now. He is stubborn and it was years of behavior to overcome. Now I feel much more confident that he can get better because this is for HIM now.

  3. Samantha Baker July 26, 2012 at 5:37 pm #

    I really really hope that someday I can write these words about my husband. I’m so glad Mr. Mess has truly accepted his addiction and has realized that he has to do the work on himself to overcome it and stay in recovery.

    I’ve not forgotten his offer of help. Crisis mode…I’m thinking I’ll just give you Mr. Baker’s e-mail address. When the SA guy contacted him the Sunday he was accepting of it, buthe wouldn’t have reached out on his own. (he did yesterday though).

    • beautifulmess7 July 26, 2012 at 5:40 pm #

      Absolutely. We’ll put that part in their hands. Let the guys deal with their stuff… Now what can I do for you?

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