Therapy Session #2

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I just returned home from my second session with my therapist and was greeted by the scene above. My neighborhood is swarming with dump trucks (some from the company I will soon be working for) and claw trucks. The claw trucks are picking up the ruined contents of my neighbors homes after Matthew flooded our neighborhood on Oct. 8th & 9th. They then meet a dump truck in my court and transfer it to be carted off to the dump. My heart grieves a little more every time I witness this. Many of these folks do not have flood insurance and lost almost everything.  I, in comparison, was relatively unscathed.  What I lost was minimal or can be easily replaced.  My only concern at the moment is my heating and air conditioning system that might get replaced by the insurance.

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My car, although flooded, runs fine and everything works, the smell however is another matter. I vacuumed seven gallons from the trunk  (boot – that’s for you Summer), another gallon or two from the interior and I have had a whole house dehumidifier running in the passenger seat for four days.  It is still pulling out water.  A good shampoo later should help with the odor.

While sitting here at the window and watching the activities in the court I couldn’t help but reflect on my conversation with my therapist. He described for me in great detail the entire Theophostic prayer healing process.  What sticks in my mind is the process, all of which is bathed in prayer, of embracing your feelings and allowing the Holy Spirit to expose the lie that is behind the feelings.  i.e. “I can’t do anything right, I’m worthless, I will never amount to anything, etc.” At that point through prayer we can ask Jesus to bring His Truth to the situation, banish the lie or lies and bring healing.  Logically I know some of the lies I have bought are complete rubbish but in the deepest recesses of my heart I’m still that screw up of a little kid. It is in the deep recesses of my heart that I am working and not my logical mind.  God knows how much I want to experience His love, joy and peace. As I watched the trucks in the court I couldn’t help but think, Jesus does love me.  So much so that He wants to go into the deepest recesses of my heart with one of those claws and remove all of the putrid, rotten, stinking lies that I have been stewing in for all these years and replace them with His Truth. I am looking forward to this next step in my journey.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”   Rom 15:13

Hope & Faith, Barney

 

 

A Much Better Place

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“The art of living lies less in eliminating our troubles than in growing with them”                       Bernard M. Baruch

I am breathing easy this morning. As I look back over the last ten days to two weeks I am amazed by all the goodness that has come into my life despite all the turmoil.  From a massive rain event (13 inches) that flooded my garage, enclosed back porch as well as my car, to overwhelming stress and a job I was extremely unhappy with to starting therapy, I think the image I selected kind of says it all. Everything perhaps, except how much I would really like to be there!

Let me take these one at a time. I am Blessed, I mean well and truly Blessed!  While the remnants of Matthew may have flooded the garage and back porch (both of which really needed to be cleaned out) no water entered our living space. This in a neighborhood that was devastated by the flood.  By my estimate 9 of every 10 homes got flooded in their  living spaces. Dumpsters now occupy the driveways instead of cars. House after house on the streets leading to my court had their entire contents, sofas, dressers, mattresses, clothing, in piles on the lawns or at the curb. It was tremendously sad and for a period of several days I felt an overwhelming sense of guilt. When we checked our Flood Insurance coverage we were shocked to discover we had no, I mean zero coverage on contents. We had dropped it years back to reduce the premium when I was out of work. Yup. We are Blessed! As a side note my garage is really, really clean! Still working on the back porch. Oh, I didn’t tell you, when I checked our Flood Insurance I discovered we had zero coverage for contents.

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                  This was a common sight, this photo taken more than a week later.

On the job front, after having an anxiety attack I finally came to the realization that my recovery and marriage are much more important than a specific job, so I made the decision to leave the transit company. The very next day I was offered a job driving a dump truck. I will hopefully start next week. I know it doesn’t sound like much but I’m happy, regular hours for the most part.  No problems attending my group meetings, or church men’s group and during down time waiting in the truck I can blog. I shared my reason for leaving HRT with the owner and my need to attend the group meetings and he was very supportive. I cannot begin to tell you how much my stress level dropped.

On the topic of being real I want to publicly thank Blue of A Broken Blue Sky for finding the courage and calling me out on a comment I made to one of her recent posts.  Blue I can’t thank you enough for calling me on the carpet. I was out of line and I have learned that I don’t learn squat from someone who isn’t honest with me.  As a result I have started searching and following some blogs written by the wives of sex addicts so I can learn more about how my actions have affected my wife. Thank you Blue, keep it real! In addition I’m going to stick my neck out even further and ask all of my online WP friends to keep me straight.  If you aren’t comfortable doing it in a public with a comment just shoot me an email.  I truly value your opinion.

Yesterdays appointment with my therapist went very well. I got a good feeling from him within just a few minutes. We didn’t do much more than review all the paperwork I filled out, review all my medications, and talk about all the feelings I had been experiencing both positive and negative. We will start the real work next time which happens to be tomorrow due to a cancellation.  I am happy to say that the worst of my nerves were put to rest. The type of therapy I will be going through is not traditional, in fact it is prayer facilitated in this case by a licensed therapist. It is called Transformational prayer ministry, formerly known as Theophostic Prayer ministry,  Theophostic being derived from two Greek words that together mean “the light of God.” Instead of using hypnosis to help you remember traumatic events and associated emotions, Theophostic Prayer ministry is focused on identifying the lie-based core belief that we harbor and seeking the Lord Jesus in prayer to receive his counsel through the presence of the Holy Spirit. I have included a link to an article written by my therapist, Frank Meadows, for the Christian Broadcasting Network. It is very informative and explains the process a whole lot better then I ever could. I just read the article and others and I can’t wait for tomorrow!

http://www1.cbn.com/prayer/theophostic-healing-prayer

Blessings to You, Barney

 

Barney sees a Therapist

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Well, it happened a whole lot faster than I ever thought. In two and a half hours I will be sitting in a therapists office for the first time in probably seventeen years. This guy comes highly recommended and still I am as nervous as I have ever been. I called yesterday to set up the appointment and the soonest I could get in is the first week of November so I asked to go on the cancellation list.  Don’t you know his office called this morning with a late afternoon opening and I have been stewing in nervous juice ever since.

Not this quick! I haven’t even had a chance to wrap my head around this move.  I have read some horror stories recently about therapists so despite the recommendations I am filled with trepidation. I even thought of calling back and cancelling the cancellation appointment. I cringe at the thought of sitting face to face with another person, a live person, and spilling all this muck in my head.  Sometime I wonder if it’s even real, what happened to me. My stomach is in a knot and I feel numb.  I don’t know if I am more afraid of what I will say or what I will learn, probably both. I know that this visit will be the toughest so I guess I will just white-knuckle it, I have been doing that my whole life.

Barney

 

Barney’s having a Meltdown

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I’m losing it.  I want to act out and know I can’t. I’m over-stressed, anxious and feel like my head is going to explode.  Can’t sleep, my head is pounding and crying doesn’t alleviate anything, in fact the tears dried up real fast.  I know I need to make a phone call but it’s 6:50am and who wants a call that early. Totally overwhelmed. I want M to just hold me so bad but I know that is not going to happen.  I was reading a  WP blog “Write, Forest, Write”. Forest is a Therapist in Fresno, Ca. who recently celebrated twelve years recovery from porn addiction. You can find a link in the blogs I follow. Two days ago I found a blog post he wrote about how to take a self-compassion break. I was looking that up and about lost-it when I couldn’t find the ear buds to do a guided audio meditation. I need to relax, I need sleep, Gotta go, I need relief.

Barney, in distress…

Love, Regret and Gratefullness

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This has been an extremely stressful week for me. Beginning with my struggle to install the accountability/internet filter application on all my devices, to work, ugh, and a visit from Matthew.  Thirteen inches of rain across our city (almost three hundred square miles, yup, the largest in the state) and none of the weather forecasters got it right.  The water level came up another six or so inches during the night.  While it did get into the garage and the enclosed back porch it was about five or so inches shy of getting in the house.  Thank you Lord!  We are so grateful, around us many, many of our neighbors were not so fortunate. As I drove through the neighborhood Monday afternoon I observed house after house with furniture and carpeting piled at the curb. As it is the salvageable contents of our garage are sitting in the driveway while box fans dry the floor and block out.  At least now I was able to move the dryer out and install the new heating element that died several weeks back. Can’t tell you how many seldom used muscles are now aching.

On another note I awoke early this morning and started commenting, chatting really with another blogger who posted an Acrostic on Respect. Please see Dana’s latest post at “Love Letters Lost at Sea.”(I still have figured out how to post a URL) It really touched something in me. To me anyway, respect and physical intimacy equal love.  Shannon Ethridge once said in her blog that the simplist way a wife could show respect to her husband is to say Thank You.  Oh man, she doesn’t know how right she is, at least for this guy.  My two love languages are touch and words of affirmation, thank you fits right in.  If my wife really wanted to say I love you all it would take is a squeeze of the arm and Thank you. And if she really, really wanted to say I love you and thank you altogether, well, she won’t go there (can’t blame her) but I sure would like to!

So anyway, something triggered me and I had to end our nice chat and pull the covers up tight.  In thinking about all this my eyes were suddenly filled with tears and my heart with regret.  Regret for not loving M the way she needed to be, regret for using porn to unsuccessfully self-medicate myself, and regret for being so disrespectful not only to my wife but to my Lord and Savior who has been there for me all the while. And then He blesses me, undeservedly, while all my neighbors take a bigger hit from Matthew than I. I still struggle to believe how much God loves me.

I Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)

18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

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I know this isn’t anything like the parting of the Red Sea but it certainly means a lot to me.  God is Good!

Love in Christ, Barney

Baby Steps

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Falling Forwards Sexual Addiction Recovery Week Four

It’s been much to long since I have posted here. Yesterday I took a baby step forward and yet it felt as though I literally leapt into the dark abyss.  I came face to face with the power and strength of my addiction when I took a step that I really didn’t want to. Something inside of me wants to hang on, to maintain control.  For several weeks now I have been encouraged by my recovery group leader to install an internet accountability and filter app on my electronic devices.  While I knew in my heart it was a necessary step I put it off for several weeks until yesterday when I couldn’t put if off any longer.

I have to say that it was one of the hardest things I had ever done.  Mentally I struggled with it, hard. I know this sounds ridiculous to some but think of it this way for a moment.  Consider if you will the one thing, or person, who is the absolute most important to you in the whole world.  Now consider walking away from them, for good!  No more contact of any kind, no letters, no pictures or phone chats. Nothing!  That’s how hard it was for me to make that phone call.  That is the strength of addiction!  It’s no wonder the Bible calls it idolatry.

When I called Covenant Eyes I got a representative who explained the plans, etc. and then started to explain how I could set up the internet filter. At this point I got completely confused and asked for help with installation and setup.  He quickly transferred me to a Technical Support Representative by the name of Sydney Wilding.  She talked M and I through downloading, installation and setup on three devices including setting up M as the administrator and my accountability partner.  By that I mean she will receive a daily email listing all the questionable sites I visited as determined by the internet filter.  I’m going to add another accountability partner from church, hopefully one of the guys in my men’s group.  I just want to say what a delight it was working with Sydney to set everything up. We must have been on the phone for 40 minutes.  I was unnerved when I got a woman on the line, I mean we are talking about pornography here.  But to her credit she was a true professional, patient, understanding, not a hint of derision, if anything full of compassion.  Thank you Sydney! You made this step so much easier than I thought it was gonna be.

My weekly progress in the group was not good this week.  I haven’t gotten my reading done or the daily Bible reading, daily phone calls etc.  The last several days have been consumed with thoughts of taking the step that I did yesterday.  So much so that I acted out and even binged a little much like a dieter will pig-out at a buffet the night before starting a new diet. I’m not proud of this but it is the truth and it is the truth I must face before I can get this addiction under control. Here is some Truth that I need to meditate on instead of the all the lies.

Isaiah 54:10, “‘Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,’ says the LORD, who has compassion on you.” (NIV)

To all of my followers here, especially the ladies, I am so very grateful for your support. The compassion and encouragement I have been showered with is, well, words escape me, let me just say the tears are flowing.  I don’t know what the future holds for me and M but it has got to be better than where we have been.  I love you all and again, Thank You!

Barney