Thursday, July 17, 2014

One Truth, A Thousand Lies

I am a chain breaker. A lot of hard things have happened in my life and I want to be the one to fight them, to challenge them until the chains are broken.

Addiction is full of chains. Addiction is full of heartache and lies and secrecy.

I am the addict and the person affected by addiction. I have had to re-learn how to live life since April because in some really dark moments, my world was shattered and everything I had trusted as truth had turned to lies.

It only took one truth to learn about so many lies.

I don't know if I've ever felt lower than I did in April. Maybe as a teenager I got close, maybe a little bit when I was first diagnosed with infertility, but never quite as brutal as April.

Journal entry from February 2014: The thing is, if I would've been a different person, maybe none of this would've happened. If I would've been more patient or less controlling with him, maybe he would've loved me more. And if I would've taken better care of myself and stayed skinny, he wouldn't have left.
Now that he's gone, I don't want this to happen again. I want to be a different person so I don't drive anyone else away. I want to change some of the main things I used to like about myself because it's more important that other people like me."

When I wrote those words, I never intended to share them with anyone besides my counselor. They were raw surfaced emotions I was feeling about the things happening in my life. And unfortunately, they happened to be feelings I had and wrote about before April, when I found the missing puzzle piece to my broken marriage.

So you can imagine how much worse I felt after finding out I had been second (or third or fourth or fifth) to the devil's internet for years. You can imagine how discarded and empty and worthless I felt when I realized I was broken in a thousand places.

But God knew I wouldn't be able to handle it on my own. He had already set up the support and love I would need during this extremely confusing and dark time.
Some family members thought I already knew about the addiction because I attended The Togetherness Project and in the main description, it states: Join with other courageous women who are gathering together in a spirit of sisterhood to help overcome the betrayal of trust and emotional pain associated with a loved one's pornography addiction and/or infidelity.
Yeah, surprising, isn't it? I honestly didn't know.
I was attending the project because a friend had invited me. I was going through a divorce, life felt super messy, and I welcomed any and all support in the form of a sisterhood.
And support me, they did.

I've learned a lot about pornography addiction in the last three months than ever before in my life. I've written an essay for school on the subject, I've discussed among friends, and I've read a ton of statistics.

I've become a fighter because I feel like it is a part of me. I feel like I can make a difference just by bringing awareness to the *fact* that pornography kills love.

Artificial love is not the same thing as real love.

Satan is trying and he is succeeding. Men and women are getting lost in the internet world of pornography and most of them are feeling an incredible amount of shame and worthlessness because they can't just kick their habit.

Within my church, we often shy away from talking about the nitty gritty of pornography addiction because it is uncomfortable. I've heard people preach that "good men/women don't look at pornography" and it makes me want to throw up because guess what? THEY DO!

Good men and women are trapped in this world full of lies and heartache, not only for themselves but for their spouses or future relationships. These aren't disgusting people, they are our family and friends, our very own loved ones! They are struggling in secrecy because if they came out and talked about their addiction, they would risk judgment and people looking at them in a whole different light.

But what makes them different? Nothing, really.

Because it can happen to anyone. It isn't just an addiction for boys or girls or teenagers or adults or poor people or rich people; pornography takes anyone and everyone it can. That's the way Satan set this up.

Did you know that pornography literally changes chemicals in the brain? "On the surface, cocaine and porn don’t seem to have a lot in common but studies are showing that viewing pornography tricks your brain into releasing the same pleasure chemicals that drugs do. What’s more is your brain actually begins to rewire itself because of this artificial stimulation." source

Covenant Eyes states that 9 out of 10 boys and 6 out of 10 girls have been introduced to pornography before they are 18 years old and the average age of exposure is now 7. SEVEN!

The statistics are scary. You can go to either of the websites I linked and you will find more.
I have joined this fight in the way that I can, by bringing awareness and also by opening the discussion about judgment and what our purpose here is; because I highly doubt God would put us on this earth to judge and ridicule each other.

But along with my fight to bring more awareness, I am still a woman affected by pornography addiction. I have still felt a lot of loss and pain and confusion these past few months, mourning a huge part of my life that now seems too painful to remember.

Divorce life brought a lot of heartache into my life. Learning about the pornography brought a heartache I didn't know could even exist.

My eating disorder is one of the main demons I refer to when I talk about my brokeness after our separation. And I've viewed my eating disorder the same as some people might view their pornography addiction or some other type of addiction; it is shameful.

But it is common and I am choosing to open up to you because you may be struggling too. You might be feeling broken and bruised in an otherwise safe-looking world. Because eating disorders tell us we aren't good enough and that controlling our eating or exercising will bring us the happiness we are searching for.

My eating disorder tells me I wasn't as skinny or beautiful as the women in the internet. My eating disorder tells me that he left because of my physical appearance. My eating disorder tells me I'll be happier when I weigh a certain amount or control the hell out of my eating.

Because control is a huge part of this. When my life was pulled out from under me, I felt unstable, out of control, and absolutely defeated.

And if you're wondering the most important lesson I've learned from fighting my eating disorder and fighting the lies it tells me about myself, it is that I am not happier when I'm listening to my eating disorder. I am not happier when I am starving myself or purging to avoid weight gain. I am not happier when I hyper-focus on my flaws and decide I have to do whatever it takes to get rid of them.

I'm not.
Because this girl
And this girl
And this girl
And this girl are ALL the same person and not one of them is better or more worthy than the other.

They are all me. I am every single one of those pictures.

My eating disorder tells me a lot of lies and it is often hard to distinguish between the truths and the false information inside of my brain. I am on a journey to healing myself, learning more about my disorder, and challenging the lies inside of my head.

I've learned that a spouse's pornography addiction can directly coincide with a person developing an eating disorder. Although that wasn't the case for me, pornography addiction seemed to validate everything I had been fighting not to believe about myself for years. It brought a lot of insecurities I already had and magnified them by three thousand.

But I guess I'm here to tell you that it is a fight worth fighting. The life I live, although messy, is beautiful beyond anything I could've comprehended. I fight for my children. I fight for you.

And I'm learning that I am worth my fight too. I am worth more than any amount of money or weight or artificial love. I am worth fighting for. 
We are all worth fighting for.


Tiffany Crespin said...

Tears to my eyes.... "this girl and this girl and this girl are ALL the same person and not one of them is better or more worthy than the other. Satan is succeeding. ..agreed.

Lisa said...

Good job b Suz!!! Sorry too :(

Lovely Light said...

This is so are such a good person. Seriously, thank you for writing this and being so brave and vulnerable.