Addiction from the spouse’s perspective

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Grateful for the opportunity to share a spouse’s perspective on addiction for an interview. We started Mabry Living to share our truth. It’s comforting to know we made the right decision to let light into the dark spaces of our lives. If you’re secretly struggling with addiction in your home or family, you’re not alone.

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Rock Bottom Gave Me a Solid Foundation

Addiction is a family disease. One person uses but the whole family suffers. This statement holds true for our family. I may not be the addict, but addiction has messed with my thought process. I know I didn’t cause the addiction, I can’t control it, and I can’t cure it. However, addiction has often times left me feeling like a worthless failure of a mom and wife because my family was deteriorating in front of my eyes.
My heart was broken back in November when active addiction sneaked back into our home. I knew it wasn’t a choice to crumble as I had three kids who needed me to be strong. Hitting my rock bottom gave me a solid foundation to start rebuilding my life. I was determined to direct my energy to an area in which I believe I am gifted in, art. Art is very therapeutic and something I thoroughly enjoy. No longer was I going to allow addiction to hold me prisoner of JOY. I was set free with my big dreams.


So here I am two days away from launching my ‘Sarah Turnbaugh Mabry’ paintings at a local craft show. These paintings were all inspired from the HOPE, FAITH, and DREAMS I leaned on during a low season in my life.
“On Christ the rock solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.”

Our shelter dogs rescued us

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In celebration of National Dog Day we wanted to share a short bit about our pride and joys with you. Nope, they’re not Snots from the movie Christmas Vacation, but they’re not too far off.

Although Cubbie (white) and Finley (brown) were adopted, we like to think that they rescued us, not the other way around. They picked us out of the litter of possible owners because they’re as unique as our family – they are both amputees. Cubbie was born with a birth defect to his left front paws. Finley had one of his rear legs amputated when he was 8 years old after his original owner let a severely broken bone get too infected. Given John’s leg amputation, we knew they fit perfectly into the Mabry family circus. We couldn’t imagine our family without them.

The thing about many rescue dogs like these is that they are so appreciative of being welcomed into a loving home. Ok, maybe they don’t relish the fact that baby Sawyer pulls at their fur or takes mom and dad’s attention away from them, but at least she’s good at dropping expensive, organic food on the floor from her high chair that she doesn’t want to eat.

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I consider Cubbie and Finley my therapy buddies. I can’t tell you how many times they have been there for me, to support me emotionally, when I was sad, worried or depressed. They are more effective than any antidepressant I could ever take. So go out and let a dog rescue you today!

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Shhhh! Don’t tell anyone I have problems! It could ruin my reputation

Hey everyone. It’s John. Thanks so much for coming along with Sarah and I on our journey. Up to this point of Mabry Living’s blog, Sarah has done much of the writing from her perspective. But I’m going to start doing more of my own writing and journaling here, too. So see if you can draw something from this one about my fear of protecting my reputation.

As you may know from the video speech I posted recently (which I’ll post at the end of this blog), I openly admit to having deep-seeded issues that can be traced back to my childhood, along with multiple traumas later in life. I have been through more kinds of treatments and therapies than I care to admit. For example, have you ever heard of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)? Yeah, I’ve done that kind of therapy. Ever heard of Brainspotting? Yep, another one I dabble in regularly. But getting to the place where I was willing to go get help and risk my reputation was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

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I find it comical now to see that everyone around me – my family, friends, employer, even neighbors – knew I needed help even when I was trying my hardest to keep my problems hidden. I was so reluctant to get outside help for so long in fear of what others would think. And then when I finally decided I needed help I wanted everyone in my inner circle to keep it hush-hush. I would say, “No one needs to know I going to treatment. Let’s keep this between us.” What was the big deal? Why did I need to be so discreet about getting help for myself? A lot of it was probably because it showed weakness and meant I didn’t know how to handle life on life’s terms. I’m supposed to man-up and handle everything on my own, right; the whole pull yourself up by your bootstraps thing.

I am so grateful that today I can openly say that I continue to struggle with anxiety and worry about what others think of me, question if I’m ever going to be enough and continue to struggle with chronic pain. I am proud of the fact that I now recognize the value of admitting faults and seeking help. I think it sets you a part from others and shows great tenacity and courage.

If you’re struggling in any area of your life, please, get quality help. If you struggle with an addiction, find a highly recommended addiction specialist near you. If your thing is childhood trauma or paralyzing fear and anxiety stemming from your childhood, seek the professional help of a trauma therapist who does EMDR or Brainspotting, which can help in processing trauma. Maybe you’re just completely overwhelmed with life. If so, go talk with somebody about it. It shows greater strength to ask for help than to ignore the issue in hopes it will go away. Believe me, it won’t. I’ve tried that approach.

It helps when I use the Serenity Prayer often: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

Here’s my biggest fear speech I made reference to earlier