Our WoPA week is lasting a little longer than a week! This was going to be our last post for this series, but I have one more story to share — from a mom who wrote in about the pain of mothers who have sons or daughters in addiction. Mommas, please know those of us who are working in this realm that we know of your pain, too. We just happened to focus on the wives this week.
We also have archived stories of women who have themselves suffered from addiction, and we welcome others’ stories of facing this trial with the help of God and the support of others. Find more links here.
If you would like to share your story of how your faith and/or reaching out to others has helped you find healing and strength through any difficult trial, please let us know at mormonwomen a/ gmail d/ com. You can also read many other essays about facing trials with faith.
There is a place for you
About a year ago I ran a half marathon in the foothills outside my city. A friend who had run the race before warned me of a steep hill around mile eight. I trained on hills and felt confident and capable. But as mile eight approached, and I started the first few steps up the hill, my confidence waned. When I saw the size of the climb ahead of me, I quit believing I was capable. I glanced around to gauge how others were doing. Just ahead of me — close enough to leave me feeling self-conscious about my heavy breathing — was another woman. A few feet behind me another determined female runner. I took courage.
As we climbed the hill, when my pace would slacken, my “friend” to my rear would vocalize an encouraging cheer. “You got this!” she would say between her own heavy gasps, and I would feel renewed strength. When the runner just ahead of me started to fall behind, I would clap a few times for her and she would lunge back to my side.
When I was weak, my friends were strong. When they felt they could go no further, I nudged them on.
Once we peaked over the hill I lost track of these two women. But I remembered their faces and figures. As I celebrated with my family at the finish line I looked around and saw one of the women and she smiled at me. A few minutes later I brushed shoulders with the other woman and we muttered some unintelligible expressions of gratitude. My heart was full of love and joy that we had all made it.
I didn’t know their names, I knew nothing about them. All I knew was that we were all trying to make it over that impossible hill. And that was all we needed, one common thread to tether us together. And at the finish my joy was three-fold, my own accomplishment and hers. And hers.
We are all so unique. Sometimes I am surprised at my own paradoxical nature. I drive a pick-up truck to yoga on Saturday mornings. I fall in love with the college athletes on the football team of my local university almost as much as I fall in love with characters like Fanny Price from classic literature.
My husband is equally unique. His story is unique. He wasn’t addicted to porn before we got married and he has been almost ridiculous in his honesty.
But I have found a safe place in this WoPA community. Where it doesn’t matter how different I am, or what my husband’s story is. I have found women, sometimes I don’t even know their real names, to stand by my side and encourage me. We have that one common thread. The disappointed hopes and broken hearts known only to wives of porn addicts.
Maybe you feel like you don’t belong. Maybe your husband’s story “isn’t that bad.” Or maybe you can’t possibly imagine that any other husband has done the horrible things yours has. Maybe you feel too ashamed or too afraid to share your story. Maybe you think you have nothing to offer. Maybe this addiction has destroyed your self-esteem so much that you feel unwanted or unlovable.
But there is a place for you.
There IS a place for you. This community consists of blogs, forums, 12-step meetings and retreats. Send an email, make a phone call, comment on a post. Register for a forum, attend a meeting, pray for God to guide you to a friend.
We are all facing an impossible hill. We often feel our confidence waning and we start to believe that maybe we aren’t capable of making it through. Reach out. Listen carefully for the voices around you who are cheering you on. Look around for those who are losing their pace, whose steps are weak and growing weaker.
When we get to the finish, our joy will be one-hundred fold. Not just our accomplishment. But hers. And hers. And hers…and hers….