Thursday, July 21, 2016

Partner of an Addict

I haven't published a blog post in over 3 years, and let me tell you, a lot has happened since then. Short Stuff is now 7 and is going into second grade! Also, hubby and I welcomed a boy, Little Man, in Jan of 2014. He is two and half, and is lovey, talkative, and stubborn.

On the personal front, Hubby and I have had some very rough patches a year ago. Remember in my "About Me" I said I wouldn't pretend to be something I'm not. This is me trying to do that out loud. To show you the real, tough issues of life.

I've never actually said this out loud..I am the partner of a sex addict. There it is.

Let me address some questions, questions I've worked through, both in therapy, and how it makes sense in my own life.

How did you find out?
Snapchat. There used to be a feature that you could see your friends top friends. I saw a womans name I didn't know, as #1. She actually used her first and middle name, so I was able to find her on twitter and facebook prior to confronting him. She was about 10 years younger than him and a student at a nearby college. I knew once I found that out. I also was able to see the red flags I didn't want to see before that helped me get to the truth. He tried to deny it at first but then admitted to it.
I sank into a depression, so called a therapist about a week later. My husband has a history of "Adverse Childhood Experiances," basically lots of trauma in his childhood. If you are familiar with the ACE's score, he has 9 out of ten. My therapist is the first that suggested it might be an addiction because of his history of trauma. Its a way of dealing with it, he used to deal with it with drugs, but he hasn't done that since before we first got together.

Are you sure that's not just an excuse?
That was my first thought when my therapist suggested it. So I read. and asked lots of questions.  All I can say is the shoe fits. I found out later he also had an affair with a woman that is older than his mom, so clearly it has nothing to do with me, or the other woman for that matter. Compulsion, going on the hunt to numb out, wanting to dominate as a way to feel in control. A little like alcoholism, but a little different too. Still the loss of control, wanting to stop and having trouble doing so despite having negative consequences. Different in the fact that I can't just throw out the bottles of liquor and avoid situations where people are drinking. Sex and triggers are everywhere. To me, sex addiction is NOT an excuse. It helps explain some of the behavior, but that doesn't mean that he's off the hook. It also helps me to stop blaming myself for what happened. This is NOT my fault. It still could have happened no matter if I was super loving and intimate with him all the time. Also if it happens again, he can't just say "it's an addiction!" It means that we can't just write it off as a one time thing that won't happen again. It means that both of us have to work both together and separately on the issue. And let me tell you, its WORK. Work that I am still struggling with even two years after the discovery.

Why did you stay?
To be honest, in the beginning, it was mostly because of the kids. I didn't want to put them though that. I wanted to at least "Give it my best Shot" before calling it off. My parents are divorced, and although they stayed together till I was in college, their marriage was over years before that. I felt like they never tried to make it better. Things were bad, got worse, and even worse and they didn't do anything to try to fix it. I didn't want that to be the case with my kids. If we do get divorced, I want them to know that we tried, really HARD. My therapist said that staying isn't a choice you make and that's the end of it, it's a choice you make every day. "Today, I am going to stay." There were and still are (although less now) some times when I do want to go. Hubby is also actively working on his recovery. (He wasn't after I first found out)  At the time, we were fortunate enough live within 50 minutes of a therapist who specializes both in childhood trauma and sexual addiction. We went to him as a couple and he went separately, as well as to a psychiatrist. Plus, I love him and I know we can still have a great life together. We can work through this and build a stronger foundation.
For each person its different. I advocate to listen to your inner wisdom. Glennon Doyle Melton, author of "Carry On Warrior" (and blogger) calls it your small quiet voice. Find a way to get in touch with that voice. Some people leave, some stay. Either way a person chooses is right for them. Carry on Warrior was a book that was given to me by a dear friend at the time and was so helpful after I found out. I'm currently reading her new one "Love Warrior."

Who knows?
Not many people. His parents and brother, My sister, a few of my friends, and one or two of his. More people know he's going to therapy and that we have gone to couples counseling, like my parents, but they don't know why.

What were the red flags?
Leaving much earlier for work than he needed to, saying he wanted to get a head start on the day, but not coming home any earlier.
 Being emotionally distant, to both me and the kids. This was tough for me, because he had complained with both of my pregnancies that I was cold and not my loving self. The affairs that I know of happened from when I was about 3 months pregnant to 3 months postpartum so I chalked his distance up to me being pregnant because I was distant too. I remember when I was still on maternity leave (before I found out) expecting him to get closer, but still feeling that distance from him and wondering why. I looked at a picture of hubby holding our son after he was born, and the look on his face was like he wasn't there. I couldn't see it back then, mostly because I didn't want to. I mean what are you going to do when you are 9 months pregnant and find out your husband is having an affair?
Never leaving his phone anywhere. I also didn't know the pass code. My phone had died one time and he wouldn't let me use his for something, and he got mad. HUGE red flag there.
Also, talking or using his phone where I couldn't hear or see him, like in his car or the garage. My husbands a smoker but he never used to go to his car to smoke. He'd also stay out there longer then usual, especially since it was cold.
Getting upset for no reason, having a short fuse.
Not wanting to have sex. Again chalked this up to pregnancy, and then not being able to for a time after the birth of our son. He didn't even want to touch me though.

What would your advice be to partners after they find out about an affair?
Go to therapy for yourself. Even if your partner doesn't want to go with you, go for yourself. Hubby didn't start going to therapy till at least 3 months after I found out, and it wasn't with someone who had experience working with SA (sex addicts). He saw her for about 5 months then quit going. He later confessed that he pretty much dictated where the sessions went and would veer her off course if he didn't like where it was going. He didn't start actively working on himself until we went to therapy together.
Figure out what you want. Find that voice in you that tells you when something is wrong, the voice that , some refer to this voice as God, others to their inner power, the guiding voice that wants to protect you. Its never a loud voice. Its a soft, quiet voice, the voice of wisdom.
SELF CARE! For me its yoga once a week (at night, without the kids) regular coffee and lunch dates with friends, writing my feelings down, and time alone to reflect.

I really hope this helps someone who is going through what I am.  Its so important to have a group of supportive people around you. But be choosy about who you tell. I told my sister and that was a big mistake. I had to stop telling her things because she started to hate my husband and was not helpful for my healing process at all.

Friday, February 15, 2013

At Valentine's Day

With Valentine's Day here I thought I'd share my families new traditions but first, a little history.
I was surprised to find out that its the second most celebrated holiday in the world, behind New Years Day. Also, that it began with celebrating Christian Saints who died a little before 200 AD and the day had nothing to do with love until the 14th century when some dude wrote a poem. Here it is:
"for this was on St. Valentine's day
When every bird cometh there to choose his mate"
Actually 3 other dudes also wrote poems around this time about birds mating on Valentine's day but this one is from the most well known author, Chaucer, the same guy that wrote The Cantibury Tales.  Yep, that's what inspired our modern day V-day. Because mid February is when birds choose there mate in England :)

A little about my history with Valentine's Day; When I was a kid we'd celebrate Valentine's Day at school by giving everybody a Lisa Frank or CareBear cards with those chalky candy hearts, and doing your typical Elementary School Valentines Day party. At home we didn't do anything too special, maybe mom would give us a little chocolate heart and we would make cards for our parents.
When I got older I hated Valentines Day because I was always single. I really just saw it as a holiday promoted by the flower, chocolate and card industry that made people express their "love" for each other with ridiculousness expensive roses, $4.00 cards (I can buy a whole chicken for that price!) and a huge box of chocolates that will taste just as good (actually better!) when they go on sale after Valentines day is over!  The first time I wasn't single on Valentines Day I told my boyfriend that I never had a good valentines day. He surprised me by giving me a heart necklace from Zales!! He gave it to me early, right after he got it. It took me a while to realize it wasn't the exact date that mattered, only the thought and the reason behind it. Needless to say I married him! The next year he asked me what I wanted to do, and I said why don't we wait until the 17th to celebrate.  Things go on sale and it's not as busy in restaurants. He liked that idea so that's what we've done since then. Plus my husband is notorious for giving gifts right after he gets them. I used to hate it, ("Just wait to give it to me, Christmas/my birthday/mothers day/etc. is only 4 days away!") but now I see that he is just excited for me to get it and he's really bad at keeping things from me. Those are good things!
 

Last year with short stuff, (when she was 2) I think let her have some candy (probably left over from Christmas :) and gave her a book or something like that. This year though, she kept asking when it was, and on Valentine's, asked if she could have her card. (Her Grandma and great-grandma sent her one in the mail, so I think that's where she got her idea from.) I hadn't gotten her a card, or anything really, because I was waiting to capitalize on the sales. So, before I came home that night, I got her a card, a 24 piece puzzle, a little tiny heart box of chocolates, and some valentines cards to color. Since she is older now, I don't think I will be able to get away from celebrating late like I do with Hubby. I'll just have to get things on sale now and keep them for next year (non-chocolates of course) I might just start a tradition with the whole family that they will get a little something the day of (that I purchased the last year for 70% off :), and I will bake cookies or brownies and make them into heart shapes. Then, after the chocolate goes on sale, I'll get a big one for the whole family!

I'll be the first one to say that I'm cheap! If I wouldn't of found a 99¢ card, I would have made one for Shorts, because there is no way I'll pay $3.49 for a card. However, because I'm a working mom, there is a trade off for time/cost. That's why I bought her cards to color. If I was really cheap, I would have cut ones out for her to make herself. We might do that when she gets older, but that's a little too much work for me right now. 

Well, that's Momma's Best Shot! 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

...at jewelry making

When I first saw this necklace on pinterest I loved it, especially the teal color. I decided to try to make it for my sister in law for Christmas. I found some white beads at Hobby Lobby (for half price of course!) and figured white would go with a lot of outfits my sister in law has.  Here's the original post, her instructions are good. I basically followed what she did without much changes.


I had no idea how long to make it, so I figured the longer the better! I had a hard time locating the bead tips because I wanted to use an antique gold chain. I could only find silver so I just went with that with a silver chain. Of course after I finally needed them I couldn't find them. I had some black ones so I just used those. I found them the next day in my coat pocket (I even looked in there but I guess I didn't feel them when I reached in there). My 3 year old so graciously opened them for me, so I put them in there so she wouldn't spill them everywhere. While I was doing this Short Stuff wanted to help, (one of the many things I love about her!) and for awhile she was good about giving me beads, but I couldn't keep up with her pace, "Here's more mom!" and she was starting to hinder my progress.  Usually if she does this all I have to do is find a different job for her and she is set for awhile.  I remembered I had some plastic beads for her and pipe cleaners. I got those out and had her make Christmas presents for people too!




She made two for me, I asked her if I could take a few beads off so I could wear it as a braclet, and in true 3 year old fashion, she said, "No." So I asked her if I could hang it up in my car, she liked that idea better. She was super excited when she saw it in my car the next day!


So here's how mine turned out.  I totally want to keep it for myself! But the next one I make I will make it so I can also wear it as a bracelet. Hoop on one end, hook on the other; of both the braid and chain. I did this with the button necklace/bracelet I made too.  I'm hoping to also put an extender on this one so she has some options as far as length. 

 

















Well, that's Momma's best shot!

UPDATE: 1/2/13! I made another one! The beads I use are from Hobby Lobby, called bead treasures. They come in a pack for 4 bucks and I could probably do 2 necklaces with each pack. They were half price so I decided to do orange for my sister in law, she has MS and orange is the color of the MS ribbon. This one changes into a bracelet as well!
I learned a few more things as I was doing this one. It was helpful to put the clasps on both ends before starting so I just had to attach the hoop at the bottom. I had to re-do the braid, like 7 times before I was satisfied with it.  Just when I thought the braid was tight enough, I'd play with it a bit and I realized it wasn't.



















I also decided to try to make just a bracelet for me using the braiding style. This time I did a 5 strand braid. I also used clear stretchy cord I got at Wal-Mart (the thicker stuff!) so its easier to put on! I made sure I had plenty of extra on the end so I could tie it all together! My other sister in law had this awesome vintage necklace from her great-grandma, and said she never wore it so she gave it to me and it just so happens to match this bracelet perfectly! Pretty sweet!



Anyways, I hope your holidays were great!



Monday, December 17, 2012

...at decorating

Sometimes pinterest has the best ideas. I saw this, and thought it would be perfect for Short Stuffs room. Here's where I got the idea:
www.thriftycraftygirl.blogspot.com/2011/12/25-days-of-christmas-ornament-tree.html 

Too bad I grossly underestimated how many bulbs to use for her tree. I hardly got halfway up the tree, I had to go out and buy 3 more containers! I got them at Walmart and the one closest to me was sold out of the colors I needed. So when I was in the bigger town with the bigger Walmart I checked there and they only had pink and blue. I just decided to make do with those. Instead of using beads I used garland and I'm glad I did. It was much easier filling in the holes. The garland just slipped right in.
Here's how it turned out.
Pretty huh?

Now for some lessons learned. You can see the bottom is all garland, there's a reason, I was about 5 ornaments short and I was afraid what I needed was all sold out! So, I do what I do best, made do with what I had. I thought about leaving holes in the back, but I didn't want it to look like it was half done. Or chopping off the bottom a little, but I'd probably ruin the thing, so I just stole the ones from the bottom and called it a day :)

Guess what I couldn't find while I was doing this? My hotglue gun! Guess where it was hiding? In the craft organizer (or a door shoe organizer with crafts in it) on the back of the toy room door, where its suppose to be. As my mom would say, "You'd loose your head, if it wasn't attached!" ...she's right, and its getting worse with age and motherhood, and I'm only 27, ahh!!! Before you do this project, locate your hot glue gun, I wasted so much time putting ornaments back in thier respective hole. If I did this again, I'd do 2 rows then hot glue. Sometimes, you do have to re-arrange a little. I guess its a good thing I didn't do that right away because I re-arranged all the purple ones after the purple was sold out at the store. SO before you do that, have MORE than enough! I probably used close to 100! If these ornaments go on sale after christmas, I am buying them all up to make more! The shorter garland at wal-mart was the perfect size. (I will get more specifics on what I used later)
Also when I tried to shove the ornaments into the top of the tree, it broke. Thats why it doesn't look pointy at the top. Oh, freakin well. I'm not selling this on etsy or at a craft show or anything.

It's my best shot!

Monday, November 5, 2012

...at organizing the laundry detergent space

The other day, I was in an organizing mood, so I decided to take on my laundry detergent space. Living in the country we have super hard water, so I usually use borax or super washing soda in with my detergent. I also use baking soda for other things in my bathroom, so its nice to have that on hand. I just started making my own powdered detergent (more on that on another post) but have store bought detergent as well. My husband is an industrial technician and gets REALLY dirty, so I still have store stuff till I can get a handle on his clothes. His work clothes are beyond hoping that stains will come out, but at least they don't smell like Form Oil! (Plus he is really skeptical and doesn't think my stuff will work) I also use vinegar in the fabric softener compartment and have found it works really well. Its much cheaper than fabric softener, and doesn't have those nasty chemicals that absorb into your skin! Fabric softener sheets can be used for dust around crown molding, and to get off baked on food on grills, and I'm sure for other things too. Even though I haven't done those things yet, I have them around just in case I get a wild hair to try! I have some really good ideas on how I can make my formula better,(which right now is just ground fels-naptha, super washing soda, and borax) so be looking forward to that in the near future! 

So here is what it looked like before: 



I saw this really cute idea to use spaghetti and pickle jars as "apacarthy" jars from the Parties for Pennies Blog, found here: http://partiesforpennies.blogspot.com/2012/02/diy-apothecary-jars.html but I didn't have any knobs laying around so I just painted the lids different colors that match my bathroom. (BTW my house will NEVER look like hers!) My plan is to gets some knobs and add them to the lids. I also thought about adding a candle stick underneath one to increase height, but this will have to work for now. 



Looks much better, aye? I just want to say this took me about an hour, which isn't too bad considering I painted the lids. The hardest part was getting the labels off the jars. I actually threw a few of them in hot soapy water before I left for work in the morning. I found that worked the best. I read about a technique where you blow dry the label and it'll come right off, because the glue heats up but it didn't work that well. It just left a lot of glue to figure out how to scrape off. I didn't have to use much elbow grease on the ones I soaked. 

Well, that's Momma's Best Shot :) 

...at Halloween Costume making

So, I know this is a little late, but I made short stuff's Halloween costume this year. I am always amazed at how expensive costumes are, and how, especially little ones costumes are made without thinking that its going to be the end of October, and it might be cold! You would think they would make them with a little heavier material. Then there's those parents that dress their 2-5 year old in one of those costumes, and complain that its too small for their kid to wear something underneath, so their kid has to cover it up with a coat. HELLO?!? Where have you been on Halloween for the past 25-35 years?! Yes, its going to be cold in IOWA on October 31! ...sorry for the tangent, I digress....

Short stuff is now at that age where she can pick what she wants to be. Her first Halloween she was a bumble bee (she was 3 months), then a pumpkin, and last year a fairy. This was the first year I really "made" her costume. Last year, she just wore a tutu and some wings she had for dress up. This year, she wanted to be a puppy. I asked her what color of puppy and she want to be and she chose white, like her Nana and Papa's puppy. So I found a white hoodie at a secondhand store for $4.00, and I had some white 18 month pants, which fit around the waist but were a little short. I also got some brown and white felt at wal-mart for $0.15. sheet (I got 2 brown and 2 white) 

Here's what I did.  First I cut out a brown circle to go on the chest (to hide the large logo across the front of the sweatshirt) then, I cut out white ears and a tail and sewed them.  I folded the felt over and "free cut" the ears, then did that again but used the first one to copy the second set of ears. I just cut a strip of tail to be folded over, and rounded off the edges. ) After I sewed the ears and tail, I put some stuffing in them.  I didn't have any conventional cotton stuffing, so I used some paper bunny bedding we had! (I've said this before and I'll say it again, use what you have!Then, I hand sewed them onto the sweatshirt. Here's what it looked like on Short stuff! 

Oh and I also made cuffs for her legs since her pants were too short! But I didn't sew those on :) You can see that the brown circle is off center, and the ears aren't in the right place. She sure is a cute little puppy though! Not bad for a $5.00 costume! I'm crossing my fingers for a kitty next year, and we can re-use the sweatshirt just with a black patch, and some pointy ears! :) Well, that's Momma's Best Shot! 

What were your kids for Halloween? 


Thursday, October 18, 2012

...at a quick meal

At my house, my husband and I are always trying to figure out what to have for supper each night. More times then I would like we end up throwing a pizza in the oven or chicken nuggets in the fryer. (Hey don't judge, we use peanut oil, so its not AS bad :) I have found that planning a little helps us eat better, so a while ago, I found this great post on Pinterest (where else) on how to convert an 8 x 10 photo frame into a  "What's for supper?" Meal planner. Basically you print on scrapbook paper the days of the week, then you can write on the glass with a dry erase marker about what you are going to eat for supper that week.  I went to the source for all my frames, Goodwill and picked a decent one up for $0.88, then got a scrapbook page of popcorn from Joanne's.

]First couple weeks, it was great, I remembered what to put in the fridge the night before and didn't have to bother hubby as much PLUS we ate better. Its been up for oh about 3 months or so, and guess what?! I've only used it for like 4 weeks total! The last time, we didn't even eat anything close to what I wrote on that board.  This always happens, I do something with every intention of making my life easier, and it fails. No, more like I fail at making it a habit!

....so last night I was stuck again, didn't know what to make and it was already 6:00. Fortunately, I did have the good sense the night before and had put some ground beef in the fridge. So, it was either tacos, cheeseburgers, sloppy joes/maid rites, or god forbid, hamburger helper. My hubby HATES boxed meals. Which, when I first met him, was about the only thing I knew how to make. He is a much better cook than I, and I have fortunately learned a great deal from him in the last 5 years! 
Problem was, I was craving meatloaf but that takes 1 hour just in the oven! Anyone who knows me knows that I get hangry if I don't eat. (Angry because I'm hungry) This describes me well....

I need to send this card to Damon :)

PLUS I have a 3 year old, and I would like to feed her before 7:30 at night :) 

Thankfully I had remembered that there was a way to cook individual sized mini loafs in muffin tins! I got the original recipe from this blog: http://www.ringaroundtherosies.net/2012/04/more-freezer-cooking-meals-part-3.html
I hope to do a lot of other ideas on her website, freezing crock pot meals to help my family eat better. I'll let you know how that goes! 
I adapted mine a little bit so here is the Momma's Best Shot Version: Also, I do want to say the measurements are not exact, I'm guessing about how much I put of stuff in.  Pre-hubby days I used to have to measure everything out exactly, but thankfully my husband helped me to "let go of my fear of messing things up" and just use trial and error. Plus I was in a hurry so I didn't have time to measure stuff out!
1 lb ground beef (I think I used 80/20, but I'm sure whatever you have would work)
1 egg
1/2 onion (I used 3/4 of a small onion, depends on how much you like onions!)
1/4 packet plain crackers  ...Ritz, saltines, breadcrumbs, whatever. Maybe like 1/2 Cup? I thought I was out, so I was going to use rice crispies :) My mantra is make do with what you got!
3 shakes Worcestershire sauce
1 TBS mustard (I had Dijon so I used that) 
salt and pepper to taste.
1/2 Cup tomato sauce 

Preheat oven to 350. Put thawed ground beef in med sized bowl. Add all ingredients except tomato sauce. Mix well. (I used my hands, its easier!) Place in muffin tins. Push down on middle to create "bowl" so they cook well in the center. Put tomato sauce over top. Cook for 30-35 min @ 350 degrees. 

Result, hubby and short stuff liked it! Short stuff doesn't really like beef, but she ate this! I always ask my husband what he thought or how I could improve it, and he said instead of tomato sauce to use ketchup with a little mustard, worchestershire sauce, and brown sugar to top it. I love getting ideas from him about how to improve, I hope to be a really good cook in 10 years :) The great thing about this recipe is you can easily double it and freeze the leftovers, so instead of throwing a pizza in the oven you can throw these little guys in the microwave for a quick meal on those nights you are too tired to cook.

I also had a winter squash I needed to use. It came from my in-laws garden (I don't even know what kind it is. Kind of looks like a squashed pumpkin thats green) So I cut that in half, scooped out the insides, put it in a bowl, turned both halves over on the cut sides, added an inch or so of water, put a lid on, and microwaved for 6-10 minutes (till its fork tender) turned it back over in an oven safe dish, put dash of salt, few shakes of ground nutmeg, around 2 TBS honey and 3 TBS butter in each middle and put it in the oven until it melted. I would of added some apple juice if I had some (Original recipe came from a church cookbook, again measurements not exact!) When I scooped it out on the plate, I added a little more honey on top. Too bad I didn't have walnuts or something like that! It was decent, not as good as using brown sugar though. I am sure maple syrup would have been great too! We would have had apples with this but short stuff wanted an orange. Short stuff ate all of the squash first. I am a fortunate Momma, because she loves all sorts of veggies! Olives, mushrooms (straight from the can usually) zucchini, asparagus, peas, dill and bread and butter pickles, picked beets, green peppers, you get the idea. She'll try just about anything too, don't ask me my secret, cause I don't have one! She has always been a curious eater. I actually took most of the onions out of her meatloaf cup, because I know she doesn't really like them. When I gave her her plate, I told her that I took out the onions for her, but I had a lot of onions because I like them.  She found one while she was eating, ate it, and told me she liked it! We'll see if she eats them next time they are in something. 

Which reminds me....I didn't put anything in the fridge to thaw for tonight. What are some of your favorite go-to quick meals? I need ideas! 

So meatloaf cups, honey squash, and oranges were on the table at 6:45. Well, that's Momma's Best Shot!