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Do Labels Really Make A Difference When It Comes To Addiction?
When we love someone that drinks too much or suffers from addiction, it’s easy to go down the rabbit hole of researching their issues and offering them a label or diagnosis.
And frankly, why wouldn’t we? We know they have a problem, and we love them. We’re trying to help. Right?
Well, I actually have a different idea, sister. I know, this may be hard to hear, but let me explain. There’s something else that we can be doing instead, that will truly make an impact on the situation and be so incredibly helpful.
Listen to the podcast for my ideas on why labeling isn’t appropriate, when it is acceptable, and what you can do instead. I also share three bonus tips on the podcast… Enjoy!
To listen to the full episode (including 3 bonus tips) go here: https://loveoveraddiction.com/do-labels-make-a-difference/
We have a free guidesheet for you this week. Find that here: https://loveoveraddiction.com/speak127/
And if you’re ready to learn more about Love Over Addiction and join the movement, you can do that here: https://loveoveraddiction.com/
|Feb 17, 2019|
Valentine’s Day With Our Love Over Addiction Sisters
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. When you have a partner that suffers from addiction, you may be left feeling alone and neglected on this day that’s supposed to be all about love.
We have a loving suggestion for you: Be your own Valentine. Prepare for the day, dress up, exercise, plant flowers, whatever is “your thing”, girl do your thang.
Today on the podcast we hear from our Love Over Addiction Sisters as they share their own self-care tips to prepare for this day all about love.
These sisters are strong, and they know what it’s like to be with a person that is addicted to alcohol, illegal drugs, prescription pills, gambling, pornography, or sex, among other things. They know what Valentine’s Day can feel like and they’re getting prepared.
These women have fallen in love with themselves, for the first time, or all over again. I adore them. Even when it’s uncomfortable, not “fun”, or just downright hard, they persist. You persist. We’re strong together.
To learn more about the Love Over Addiction movement, see our free offerings, online programs, and more, go to https://loveoveraddiction.com/.
|Feb 10, 2019|
Ask Me Anything Episode #3: With My Husband
We all love (or have loved) someone that suffers from addiction. It could be alcohol, illegal (or legal) drugs, prescription pills, pornography, or sex among other things. Regardless of who you are, and what role they (and their addiction) play in your life, it does have an impact on us.
It impacts our outlook on life, our trust, our relationship, that inner voice that we all have. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be in a different relationship? If you decide to leave your partner, what does life look like afterwards? Is there hope? Will you trust again? Could you ever find a different partner that didn’t have addiction issues? What about the kids?
These are serious questions, and today, I talk with my husband Brian about our life, our relationship, and our kids. Addiction actually helped our relationship. Listen to the whole story (or at least 1 hour’s worth) here: https://loveoveraddiction.com/ask-me-anything-3/
We have a free guidesheet for you here: https://loveoveraddiction.com/compassion125/
And if you're ready to join the Love Over Addiction movement, and see our free offerings and online programs, join us here: https://loveoveraddiction.com/courses
|Feb 03, 2019|
How to Handle Super Bowl Weekend When Your Loved One Drinks Too Much
Super Bowl is a huge drinking and partying weekend. Everyone seems to have an excuse to drink or smoke, or whatever a little extra with the celebratory (or defeatist) vibes in the air on this particular weekend.
All the snacks are out, the TV is on, and the drinks are flowing. How do we handle situations like this when our loved one loves to drink a little too much? We talk serious questions and advice about the parties, what to do if they start drinking, and how to handle it when your children are involved.
We can be prepared together. We’re a sisterhood, and we’re ready to support you every step of the way in this judgment-free zone. We do have it harder than most women. That’s certainly not your fault. You’ve found the right place for answers and support. Welcome.
Get the episode notes here: https://loveoveraddiction.com/super-bowl-game-day/
Find a free guide here: https://loveoveraddiction.com/124/
And to discover more free tips, online programs, and other offerings, join us here: https://loveoveraddiction.com/
|Jan 27, 2019|
A Personal Story About Boundaries and Safety
Our community is filled with women that love a good person that drinks too much or suffers from addiction. The strength and resilience of the women in our community to handle some very difficult situations are truly inspiring.
Listen to our podcast or read the blog for a special interview with Desiree, a brave and strong woman that we admire. She’ll discuss relationships, kids, boundaries, and much more.
Find the full episode here: https://loveoveraddiction.com/safe-in-your-home/
We also have a free guidesheet available to you: How to Communicate Your Boundaries. Find that here: https://loveoveraddiction.com/123/
To learn more about our free resources, online programs, and community, find us here: https://loveoveraddiction.com/
|Jan 20, 2019|
Ask Me Anything Episode #2: About My Ex-Husband
We’re back with another Ask Me Anything episode - all about my ex-husband. I was married to a good man that drinks too much and suffers from substance abuse disorder.
It’s a real conversation filled with tough questions, real answers, and hopefully some new insights for you.
When you're in a relationship with someone that suffers from addiction, it's hard to see the light. I felt like I was in a prison, and wasn't sure if or how to get out.
If you have questions for me (about my ex-husband or not), send them to us at info@LoveOverAddiction.com. We might feature them on an upcoming episode. This podcast is for YOU - so we really want to hear from YOU. We hope you’ll share your feedback + send your questions to us.
|Jan 13, 2019|
One of My Favorite Books
Today on the podcast I review one of my favorite books that has everything and nothing to do with addiction. I was married to a good man that drank too much and suffered from addiction for 10+ years. After reading this book, I walked away with new insights from our relationship, and how it truly was an opportunity for me.
Read the blog or listen to the podcast to learn all about it. And we’re doing a free book giveaway. Listen for details.
|Jan 06, 2019|
When you love someone that drinks too much or suffers from addiction it's easy to be wrapped up in their disease, their actions, and their situations.
We are high achieving women, and we can develop unrealistic expectations (yes, that means too high of expectations) for yourself and those around. These unrealistic expectations you can steal your joy and make it hard enjoy anything.
But what if you start to make peace with who you are right now. Take some time to look around and notice all of the good things that are happening.
Listen to the podcast or read the blog to hear how to get rid of the expectations that may be holding you back.
|Dec 30, 2018|
12 Holiday Tips From Your Sisters
Holidays can be filled with baking, shopping, and sipping hot cocoa while watching your favorite movies. But when you love someone suffering from addiction, the holiday season can be tough.
We reached out to the women in our community to share how they make the holidays enjoyable and less stressful.
Listen to the podcast or read the blog for their insights. You'll feel inspired and encouraged by their ideas.
|Dec 23, 2018|
Your Safe Space
Creating a safe space when you love someone suffering from addiction is a must. Truly, it's non-negotiable. When I was married to a good man that drank too much and suffered from addiction, my safe space was my island. It was my sanctuary. I'll tell you what it is, how I created it, and tips for creating your own today.
Read the blog or listen to the podcast and we’ll talk all about it.
|Dec 16, 2018|
Introducing: Ask Me Anything Episode #1
We did something different this week: My friend Olivia is on the podcast - and she’s asking me personal questions from women in our community. Some questions are related to addiction - but others aren't. We talk motherhood, raising children, social media, and of course, stranded on an island.
It's the first episode in our mini Ask Me Anything series.
It’s different than what we normally do - so if you’re new, don’t run away!
Do you have questions for me? Email them to Info@LoveOverAddiction.com.
|Dec 09, 2018|
Six Ways To Avoid Another Holiday Full of Drama
When you love someone that suffers from alcoholism or addiction, the holidays can be unbearable. This season that's supposed to be family oriented and joyous can turn into a nightmare of anxiety and stress because of your loved one's behavior.
You deserve to have a good holiday. Their behavior is not your fault. I have 6 tips for you today.
|Dec 02, 2018|
How One Of Our Sisters Learned to Relax
Do you love someone suffering from alcoholism or substance abuse disorder? When you love someone who drinks too much, uses illegal drugs, abuses prescription pills, or is addicted to pornography or sex it can make you feel isolated and alone. You're not alone though. Listen to Janet, a woman in our Love Over Addiction community as she shares her personal story about her addicted husband with Michelle.
|Nov 25, 2018|
18 Reasons To Be Grateful for Addiction
There are many blessings of loving someone who struggles with addiction. Yes, you read that correctly.
I know it feels dark and hopeless sometimes. But addiction can be a gateway: an opportunity to grow into the women we are meant to be.
Hear from 18 women in our community and how addiction has been a blessing in their lives. These women know exactly what you're going through. They understand, and we do too.
|Nov 18, 2018|
Encore: Dealing with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?
When you love someone suffering from addiction or substance abuse disorder, it can feel like you're dealing with two different people.
When they're sober, you see the person you fell in love with. They're kind, loving, funny, and caring. In these moments you see your true partner and the love of your life.
When they start drinking or using drugs, it feels like they turn into someone else. Their addiction masks their personality and takes away the person you fell in love with in the first place.
|Nov 11, 2018|
A Personal Story
I want to share a special story with you today that I don't share very often. It's my personal story about why I left my marriage with someone that drank too much and suffered from addiction. Every woman's path will be different, but I hope you find comfort and encouragement in mine.
|Nov 04, 2018|
Our community is full of women that love good people who drink too much or suffer from addiction. We truly believe that our loved ones are good people. On today's episode, it's a bit of an unusual story, but listen in to hear the core story about why we believe they're good people.
|Oct 28, 2018|
The Worst Advice - From Good People
When we love someone suffering from addiction, sometimes our most trusted confidants can give us the most well-meaning, bad advice.
Some of the wisest people have helpful guidance for “normal” marriages without addiction. But some of the advice I had received during my marriage as “codependent people-pleaser” would have sent me down a spiral that ended in a breakdown.
Read the blog or listen to the podcast to learn the best way to decipher between good advice or wisdom you should ignore.
|Oct 21, 2018|
3 Warning Signs You’re Being Manipulated
If you love someone who drinks too much or suffers from addiction you’ll learn three reasons why we can’t just break away when we know we should entertain the idea of leaving because the reality of today outweighs the hope for our future.
If you’re doing your part. If you’re showing up and have been committed to the work but it feels like all our efforts of helping them get sober bring inconsistent rewards. If you’re trying to detach and trying to set boundaries, but it’s just not working…. Then listen to this week's podcast: https://loveoveraddiction.com/112/ or visit us for more FREE helpful tips at LoveOverAddiction.com.
|Oct 14, 2018|
Feeling Trapped In Your Relationship?
The drama and stress from loving someone suffering from addiction are enough to make you feel like you’re going insane. There are days where you want to curl up into a ball forever. Addiction can make you feel like you’re suffocating and your feelings and thoughts don’t matter.
The women in this community, your sisters... we understand exactly what you’re feeling.
Listen to the podcast to find helpful tips and to know that you’re not alone: https://loveoveraddiction.com/111/. For more free tools head over to our blog at LoveOverAddiction.com We are here for you! Always.
|Oct 07, 2018|
Warning Signs That Our Self-Care Isn’t Healthy
We’re smart enough to understand the benefits of self-care, right, especially when we love someone who suffers from any kind of addiction.
And if you’re new to the subject of self-care a great place to start is by listening to episode #96: https://loveoveraddiction.com/96/ or reading the 7 Most Important Questions You Need To Ask Yourself: https://loveoveraddiction.com/79.
Sometimes the most caring thing we can do for ourselves is spend less and simplify our days.
Self-care is a good thing. For sure. But let’s make sure what we’re doing is really feeding our souls and filling us up, not turning into something that’s just another thing to conquer or accomplish. If you want to learn how to avoid turning self-care into another chore this episode is for you.
Click here to read the post or listen to the podcast at LoveOverAddiction.com/110.
|Sep 30, 2018|
Encore: Struggling With Anger? This Will Help
Anger…. It’s an emotion women don’t like to discuss. But it’s a very REAL and HONEST feeling when addiction is a part of your family - and we always believe in speaking truth - even when it prickles a little.
Loving someone who suffers from alcoholism or addiction is hard. Period. And you’re allowed to ride the roller coaster of emotions without apologies.
If you feel angry sometimes - no shame sister. WELCOME TO THE CLUB! Now head over to LoveOverAddiction.com and get 5 helpful tips to deal with your natural feelings of anger.
Would you prefer to listen to a podcast? We’ve got that too. Click here to listen to the Love Over Addiction podcast.
|Sep 23, 2018|
He Got Sober
Have you ever dreamed of the day your loved one finally gets sober?
I think most of us can raise our hand.
For Sara, a sister from our Love Over Addiction community, this dream has come true.
She was just like us, worrying about her future and feeling guilty that she may have made the wrong decision by marrying a man with a drinking history.
She even talks about having thoughts of taking her own life because of the way addiction was making her feel.
Make no mistake about it - Sara is not afraid to speak the truth and I am so stinking proud of her.
She talks about how her husband got help and found sobriety, how she had to master the skill of boundaries and detachment AFTER he got sober and what to do if replases happen.
Listen to this courageous woman by clicking here - her refreshing honesty will inspire you.
Would you rather read the transcript? We have you covered. Visit LoveOverAddiction.com.
|Sep 16, 2018|
How To Help Your Children Heal From the Trauma of Addiction
If you’re worried that your kids are suffering from the natural trauma that comes from loving someone suffering from addiction, my interview with Dr. Gowda (who has the most impressive resume and is a child psychologist) teaches us how we can help our children develop into healthy, well- adjusted and successful adults.
When children are raised in a household with addiction, there are certain things we, as mothers, need to be aware of. We're their biggest advocate. We need to learn how to fight for them.
Even if you have older children who have left the house, it’s never too late to learn the skills that will help your family navigate through addiction.
We owe it to our children to become educated about ways we can help them navigate through all their complex feelings of having a parent who drinks too much or suffers from drug addiction (substance use disorder).
|Sep 09, 2018|
Communicate Without Talking (this is not as weird as it sounds)
When our loved one who's suffering from addiction treats us poorly by drinking after they promised not to, or using drugs when they JUST said this time they were getting sober for good, it can make us want to lash out, get defensive, or become unglued.
It’s true! No one wants to admit that women can get angry, but this disease makes us feel that way. Anger is part of the package—let’s just be real.
So how do we respond in a way that best serves us?
Today on LoveOverAddiction.com, I’m sharing my tips for communicating without saying a word.
Read our blog here: https://www.loveoveraddiction.com/how-to-express-your-feelings-without-arguing
If you want to learn more about the Love Over Addiction program, visit us at http://theloveoverway.com/programs/love-over-addiction/.
|Sep 02, 2018|
3 Tips for Communicating Boundaries To Your Partner Suffering From Addiction
Every woman walking this earth should know her boundaries and understand how to enforce them because boundaries make us strong, powerful, and respected. This is imperative when you love someone suffering from any kind of addiction: alcohol, illegal drugs, prescription pills, pornography, or sex, among other things.
But many of us get this very necessary skill wrong. Today on the Love Over Addiction Podcast, you’ll learn 3 tips for communicating boundaries.
Check out these highlights from the episode:
|Aug 26, 2018|
Uncovering The Truth About Enforcing Boundaries & Addiction
On this week’s episode, Michelle shares two very personal stories about boundaries. And if you’ve been a part of our community for some time, you know boundaries are a necessary skill for every single woman on this planet, especially when you love someone suffering from any kind of addiction: alcohol, drugs (illegal or prescribed), gambling, pornography, or sex among other things.
Here’s a sneak peek into the episode:
|Aug 05, 2018|
How To Find Compassion For Your Loved One Who Suffers From Addiction
Would you say that you struggle with resentment while loving someone who drinks too much or suffers from addiction? In this episode, Michelle will teach you how to let go of the anger and resentment and tap into compassion.
Here are a few key points from the episode:
Read our blog at https://loveoveraddiction.com/2018/06/how-to-find-compassion/
If you want to learn more about the Love Over Addiction program, visit us at https://TheLoveOverWay.com/programs/love-over-addiction
|Jul 29, 2018|
Financial Advice Every Woman Needs To Know When You Love Someone With Addiction
Michelle had the pleasure of interviewing financial expert and President & CEO of Francis Financial, Stacy Francis. She's a financial expert that specializes in working with women that love someone suffering from addiction. You can start making changes today in order to protect yourself, regardless of what stage of the relationship you're in.
Here’s a sneak peek at what you’ll hear in the interview:
Read our blog at https://loveoveraddiction.com/2018/07/financial-advice/
If you want to learn more about the Love Over Addiction program, visit us at http://TheLoveOverWay.com/programs/love-over-addiction
|Jul 22, 2018|
Tips From A Divorce Lawyer If You Are Leaving Or Staying With Your Partner Who Suffers From Addiction
When you love someone suffering from addiction, any kind of addiction like alcohol, illegal drugs, prescription pills, gambling, pornography, or sex, among others, it's important to know your options. You deserve to be educated and be able to protect yourself in any situation.
Today we interview matrimonial lawyer Kara Bellew to discuss what the divorce process looks like. Even if you’re choosing to stay and have no plans on leaving the one you love, we encourage you to listen to this episode and hear what Kara has to say.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
|Jul 15, 2018|
Stay Quiet or Speak Up? How To Make The Right Choice When Dealing with Addiction
Knowing when to stay quiet or speak up when you love someone who drinks too much or suffers from addiction takes practice. Today Michelle is going to teach you when keeping quiet is your best choice.
Here are some of the topics we cover in this episode:
If you want to learn more about the Love Over Boundaries program, visit us at https://loveoveraddiction.com/love-over-boundaries/
Hey there. For those of you that missed last week's episode, you might be wondering, "Wait a second, what happened to the Wife of an Alcoholic Podcast?" We changed our name. And there is a lot of reasoning and a lot of thought behind that change. I encourage you to listen to last week's episode if you missed it.
Speaking of change, there is quite a bit of change going on, y'all. I have been so excited to announce this, and you might have seen this on the Love Over Addiction Instagram account or the Facebook page. And if you don't follow us, then please do. Because we have so many announcements and lots of wonderful tips, and we have some great ideas that are going to be posted on social media. You can find us at Love Over Addiction on Instagram and Facebook.
But, if you missed our posts, I want to tell you a quick story. And I'm going to warn you, this is a bit of a longer episode than normal. I promise that I will get to your free helpful tip, and I have a surprise for you at the end of this episode, so make sure that you stay tuned. But I want to tell you a story first.
I've been doing this for six years. No, maybe seven. I don't know, you guys. A long time. And I love it. I love it so much that I started to feel overwhelmed. I began to get to the point with this community where I really wasn't able to grow it the way that I felt like it needed to grow.
So I decided with my husband that either I would have to scale back, or I would have to blow it out. And we have a woman in our community named Kate who approached me several months ago and said, "Look, I work for a union, and I think that my members would really benefit from Love Over Addiction." This is the second largest union in the United States and Canada. Might even be the world. And when she told me that, I got, a) really nervous, and b) really excited.
But I knew that I couldn't even fathom that idea unless I had some help. Because you know how we always talk about self-care here? I knew that if I were to entertain the idea of helping that many women, on that kind of scale, I would no longer be able to have any sort of self-care or life, for that matter. I'm already working really long hours per day, and there just wasn't enough margin.
So when I was in the kitchen, talking to my husband about this, he said, "I know a guy you need to talk to." And he set up this meeting with this amazing man who is so full of wisdom and been part of the behavioral health and healthcare industry for many, many years. Super intelligent guy.
He's retired and does a lot of consulting for multi-million-dollar businesses.
So my husband, who is your biggest supporter and advocate, as is mine, set up this meeting with the three of us. And this guy sat across the table from me, and he said, "Look, I've read almost every single thing on your website, and I have to tell you, what you are doing is wonderful and could be very big. So you need to figure out what is the end game. Where do you want to take this? Jump to 10 years, 20 years from now. Where do you see this going?"
And I never had thought about that. For me, it's more like, I'm just going to take it day by day. And whatever you guys need and whatever I hear you talking about, I'm going to react to that. So I left that lunch with thoughts swirling and swirling and swirling. Then I sat down with my hubby and said, "Okay, what do you think we should do?" And he encouraged me. He said, "Michelle, I know the idea of growing this business is scary to you, and I know this opportunity with this union is really, really big, or could be really, really big. But think about all of the women that you could reach." And then he asked me, "Did you ever figure out what your goal was?" And I said, "You know what, I kind of did."
I was a little scared to tell him, but I said, "I want to be the number one brand that women think of when they think of addiction. I want to be the number one brand in the world." And not me, not Michelle, but Love Over Addiction. Our community. Our movement. I want women all over the world who are in pain, who are suffering, and who are feeling alone like I did over 10 years ago in my kitchen, looking at my husband, passed out, and going where, where are all the other women that are going through this? What are they doing? How can we bond and share tools and tips and laugh and not get depressed, and not talk badly about the ones we love? How can we find hope, and how can we find laughter and friendship through this? How can we turn addiction into something that is the best thing that ever happened to us? Where is that?
And so that's what I want. I want every woman in the world to know about us and that she has choices. That she is not powerless over this disease. I want us to become a giant movement. And that feels really scary to put out there to you, because it makes me feel really vulnerable, but that is my heart. That has always been the heart. That's what keeps me up at 2:00 in the morning when I'm thinking about what we need to learn, how we can improve, what we need to teach, and what we need to bring to light.
So he said, "Great. That sounds amazing. Write that down, first of all." Which, of course, I didn't. Because it's implanted like a tattoo on my heart. And then he said, "All right, then you need to get a company. You can't grow this off of you." And that even sounded better to me, because again, I'm being so real with you right now and I did not plan on sharing all of this with you before I started, but why not? We're a sisterhood. You're through the front door with me.
So as soon as he said a company, I felt a weight lifting off my shoulders. You know how when you make a really good decision, and it just feels perfect? And all of a sudden, you feel lighter. I have never, ever been comfortable with being the brand. Let me rephrase this because I don't want to make it sound like I'm lacking self-confidence. I'm definitely a feisty person that, when it comes to addiction, will speak up to anyone and talk about it with anybody. But I've never been really comfortable having the spotlight just on me. And building a business off of my name just doesn't sound right with my personality. It doesn't sit right with me. Now, for people like Tory Burch, absolutely. I don't know if there is a Lilly Pulitzer. I think there is. I think that's a real woman. Great. Those authors that you probably follow on Instagram, that works for them. But for me, that's just not been my personality.
So as soon as he said a company, I started to get excited. Because I knew that would mean taking the shift off of one person and really building a team. And really building a brand.
So, where does this leave us? I went away from that conversation with my hubby and thought about a team. And the more I thought about it, the more excited I got. Now, you all know Megan, and I love her to death. She's been with me for a couple months now, and she's fabulous. She manages the community, and she manages all my content. The most important thing she does is spell check everything because you know I have dyslexia, so yeah, when spell check doesn't recognize your words, you know that that's bad.
So I started to think about the women that I know in business, and the women that I admire in business. And there are two women in particular that I have worked with that I brag about all the time with Brian. These women are rock stars. They are powerhouses. They are probably the two most respectable businesswomen I have ever met. And they are wiser than me in so many areas. The problem was, one of them had her own business and had done an amazing job building up her own business. The second one worked for that other woman. And I said to Brian, "These two women are the only women I can think of." And he said, "All right, why don't you ask? Why don't you see if they will come do this with you, to build this movement together?"
So I flew one of them down. Her name is Brittany. And she had no idea that I was going to ask her for this. She thought I was bringing her down to help me talk business strategy. And she said yes. So she stepped away from her business and brought Jo with her. And Jo is one of my heroes who is truly the most organized, type A (in such a good way) woman. So Brittany is our new CEO. And Jo is our Director of Operations.
I am so excited because it feels real. Because it is. And it feels right. If we are going to really integrate ourselves in the world of addiction, we've got to have a team. So these are your new team members. These women love you. They've been working very closely with me for years. They know this business, and they know you inside out. They're inside our programs, and they're inside our community. And so it wasn't this huge process for them to get to know you guys, because they already had. They believe in our mission. And they believe we can actually make this happen.
So that is the big news. Now, what does this mean for you? Nothing. It doesn't mean anything. I'm still going to be hosting this podcast because my favorite thing to do is talk to you. I'm still going to be writing programs. I'm actually working on Love Over Addiction 2 right now. Now that they are on board, taking care of all of the operations and the back end, I am now free to write and dream up new content and research for you. So I will become even more available to you and coming up with all these great ideas for you because they are there taking care of the business side of business. So that's what it means to you.
And I really, really hope that you are as happy and as proud that two other amazing women are willing to join our movement and our team. 2018 is turning out to be a huge year. I have so much more to tell you, but I am going to try and sprinkle it throughout the process because I don't want to overwhelm you. And I need to get to your helpful tip, because of course, I would never just talk your ear off about this and not give you a helpful tip. And I told you, I promised you a surprise at the end of this podcast.
So today, we are going to be talking about whether you should you be quiet or speak up. That's a big topic, isn't it? So keeping a quiet mouth—can I tell you how impossible that feels to me at times? I have a reputation in my family as the one who isn't afraid to speak up. To call BS when I see it. I used to feel really ashamed of being very verbal. Or let me rephrase that. I was taught to feel ashamed for having a personality that someone could be considered too opinionated. For years, I would wish I was the kind, quiet girl who agreed. Who was more laid back, and worked things out in her head in her personal time, instead of confronting or having difficult conversations. But that, my friends, is not how God made me.
Although, I am 40 years old, and I have learned over the last 10 years, that being outspoken is good, but not all the time. Sometimes, it's necessary, and it serves us and others to have the courage to speak up. Look at the amazing examples of Rosa Parks and Maya Angelou. What if they had not used their strong voices? History would not have been made. Freedom would have been denied. And yet, I read that Rosa Parks, a seamstress, known to be the mother of the civil rights movement, for the most part, was a very quiet woman. And that's how I learned you can move mountains when you choose to use your voice in specific situations, and you can also be powerful and quiet.
When you love someone who drinks too much or suffers from addiction, there will be times when you need to use your strong, convicted voice. And we have many examples of that in the Love Over Boundaries program. But we also need to learn when keeping a quiet mouth is the best choice.
For example, nagging the one you love is a waste of your breath. Keep quiet. Your nagging will not change anything. It doesn't help them get sober, and it won't help you feel better. In fact, nagging probably does more harm than good.
Another example when keeping a quiet mouth is a good thing: If the one you love is on drugs or drunk, they aren't sober, so don't even bother spending a single ounce of your precious energy when they are not going to hear a word you are saying.
And one more example of when it's best to keep a quiet mouth: if they're being abusive. Now I know this is a hard one to hear. And a couple weeks ago, we talked about what verbal and physical abuse looks like. But we talk on this podcast about the issues that no one else wants to discuss. So hang in here with me, because this might apply to you.
If the one you love is being verbally or physically abusive, some of us might be tempted to fight back. I know I did for many years until I learned this technique. But that is like adding more gasoline to the fire. The best thing that you can do in an abusive situation is to leave. Get out of the house. Hang up the phone. Try to walk out of the room. Lock yourself behind a door if you can. Exit, and don't engage. Retreat to a safe place.
If you fight back with your hands or your words, you are putting yourself at great risk. If you know they are in a foul mood, give them space. Back away. Refusing to fight back is not being submissive or passive. It's being smart and mature. By learning when to keep a quiet mouth, you are growing into a wise woman. Biting my tongue, disengaging, and getting busy doing my own thing helped me keep a calmer, more stable environment for my kids and my marriage.
Each one of us needs to use the courage that lies within us to speak the truth and call BS when we see it. But, let's make sure we are thoughtful, intentional, and not reactionary when we do. If you are interested in learning when and how to approach the one you love, join our Love Over Boundaries program. We will walk you through the exact steps and give you the sentences you can say in case you feel stuck. Literally, the sentences. We have them all on several pieces of paper. You can print them out, and you can practice in your bathroom, looking in the mirror.
Now, I promised you a treat for staying with me that whole time. We have a freebie. So in the beginning, when I first started recording the podcast, I would give away freebies. You guys have spoken up, and you want more freebies. And we really want to please you. So we put together some freebies for you. It's not going to be every podcast, but this particular one. This is a guidesheet prompting you to create a list of things that you can do when you disengage from a situation and keep a quiet mouth.
In order to get your freebie, take out your phone, or maybe you're listening to this on your phone. And I want you to text POPQUIZ, all capital letters. POPQUIZ to the number 4-4-2-2-2.
Okay, so, I'm going to explain this because I needed someone else to explain this to me because I'm totally bad with technology. So instead of putting the name of the person you're going to text, you put the number, which is 4-4-2-2-2. And wherever you write the message, that's when you put in all caps, POPQUIZ. And please don't worry, we don't store your numbers or anything like that. This is just a way for you to get your free guide sheet.
Okay. I love every one of you. Make sure you subscribe, and please, will you please do me a favor? Will you please review this podcast? I love hearing from you. You don't need to use your real name or anything like that. You can totally hide that. I read every one of them, and they help us rank on iTunes. And it's not about being number one, but it is about getting the word out that this is a resource for other women. Right now, I think we're in the top five percent of podcasts on iTunes, so we want to maintain that. We want to grow even more. And also, the more popular a podcast gets, the more I can get great guests on for you because guests want to be on popular podcasts. So I love you, and I hope you'll join me in welcoming Brittany and Jo to our team. And I hope you find that as good of news as I do. I'll talk to you next week.
|Jul 08, 2018|
Why We're Changing The Name Of The Podcast
Wife of an Alcoholic is now The Love Over Addiction Podcast. In today’s episode, Michelle explains the reasons behind the change and what it means for the future of the podcast.
“If we start with love for ourselves and learn how to nurture our bodies, minds, and spirits, we will be able to offer that kind of love to others.”
Read our blog at:https://loveoveraddiction.com/2018/07/changing-the-name-podcast/
Learn more about the Love Over Addiction program at: http://theloveoverway.com/programs/love-over-addiction
Hey, it's Michelle. Normally, I announce the name of this podcast and play some beautiful music that my brother, Tristan, scored for us. I don't know if you know this, but Tristan is actually my little brother who lives in LA with his wife and his bulldog named Lilly. And Tristan scores music for movies and for TV shows.
So the music that you're listening to in the Love Over Addiction Program, he wrote all of that. You have a professional composer writing that music for you. He was just at Johnny Depp's house because he was working on his latest movie. And you know that really funny woman Melissa McCarthy? He just scored something that she was in as well.
So here's the deal. This is why there's no snappy music playing. Because we are changing our name. Yep. It's true. We are not going to use the Wife of an Alcoholic Podcast anymore. And I want to explain why. I want to get one thing straight. We, the women of this movement, love or have loved good men and women who are choosing to drink too much or use drugs.
And although we might be very angry and very hurt, we are working our butts off at our own recovery. We realize, and we take full ownership that we have work to do. We are learning what it looks like to stay in our own lane, to forgive, to be dignified. Even though some of us have left our relationships and our marriages, we are always praying, cheering, and hoping for the ones who use drugs and alcohol as a way to escape.
The addiction community is starting to speak out about labels like "addict" or "alcoholic" or "drunk." And I try very hard not to go down the rabbit hole of getting too involved in the theories of addition. It feels like every expert has a different opinion. The more I research, the more confusing it gets. The neuroscientists, the therapists, the ones who have used drugs or drinking as coping skills, they all have different explanations. So I conscientiously and respectfully choose to stay out of that arena.
The truth is, I'm not interested in what causes addictive behavior. My job is not to try and get your loved one sober. There are tons of more qualified professionals out there who can help with that. My mission is to grow a community of women who are getting back to feeling valuable instead of worthless like this disease tries to make us feel. My passion is our self-growth and healing.
Two of my children have dyslexia, and so do I. Growing up with the label of "Learning disabled" used to bother me. My dyslexia does not affect my intelligence. Sure, I can't spell the word promise correctly. Thank God for Megan who spell checks everything I write. But that doesn't hold me back from being a creative, sensitive, and driven woman. Today, I have learned to be proud of my dyslexia. I think it gives me a creative advantage. I don't mind labels at all. Call me dyslexic, call me learning, I don't care. And I am trying to teach my children to feel the same way.
But I want to be sensitive to all the labels we place on each other. And that is what our community is about. Even though the people who are hurting us are doing so because they are choosing to drink or use drugs too much, we want to be respectful. These are real men and women with feelings and a boatload of potential. We never want to come across as better or smarter. Clearly, this is not the case from a woman who can't spell the word promise. We love or have loved these gifted men and women for who they really are. We have been their greatest cheerleaders and their biggest supporters.
So with this in mind, I am changing the name of our Wife of an Alcoholic Podcast. I'm changing this name because not everyone in our community is married. And because we are labeling the ones we love as alcoholics. Plus, we talk about all kinds of addictions, not just alcohol. For example, we had an episode on pornography addiction a couple weeks ago.
So what is the new name? The Love Over Addiction Podcast. As you know, we have a few programs called Love Over Addiction, Love Over Mistakes, and Love Over Boundaries. It is one of our core beliefs in this movement of ours that every day we are trying to choose love over addiction, love over anger, love over judgment, love over ourselves, love over our children, and love over our weaknesses. If we start with love for ourselves and learn how to nurture our bodies, minds, and spirits, we will be able to offer that kind of love to others. And then, we will begin to heal the world.
Because I've written hundreds of free articles over the last six years, specifically about loving someone who struggles with addiction, I now want to open up that space to talk about more of my favorite healing topics that might be less about addiction, and more about spirituality and self-love, learning to love our bodies, how to raise our children, and friendships. Basically, I want to talk about all the things that women love to discuss.
So Love Over Addiction is our new name. Make sure you stay subscribed to the podcast. Most of the podcasts will remain between five and 10 minutes, but we will also be doing some interviews with some people that I really think you should know. They are game-changers and life-givers. We are going to be interviewing lawyers, financial planners, rehab specialists, and some powerful women who are going to teach us about self-care.
So make sure you stay tuned. Please share Love Over Addiction with your friends. And let's offer ourselves the kind of love we've been looking for, with or without labels. I hope you found this helpful and insightful, and please make sure to subscribe. Check out our free resources at LoveOverAddiction.com.
|Jul 01, 2018|
The Secret to Loving Yourself
For those of you who have been following my blog or listening to The Wife of an Alcoholic Podcast, you know that I used to do yoga on a pretty regular basis.
I had just turned 40, I was feeling tired of my exercise routine, and I needed something that was a lot more gentle and a lot more reflective. I was also in a difficult spot physically.
But I was really into yoga and loving it, and then Hurricane Irma came. We evacuated our house and couldn’t get back in for over a week, so my exercise routine dropped by the wayside. Then I found myself in a really weird place.
I’m not a person who loves to exercise, so it’s not weird for me to feel like I don't want to work out. That’s pretty normal for me. But I just couldn’t find the motivation to do anything.
I love to pray, and I didn’t want to pray. I love meditation, and I had no interest in that. I’m a huge advocate of self-care, but I just could not bring myself to do anything.
And I found myself in a really numbed out place which made me panic because that’s not like me. I’m very ambitious and driven. I get up in the morning, and I think, “Okay, what needs to be done? Let’s get through this to do list.”
But this was the season in my life. I actually went to talk to somebody about it because I was so scared that I would never get out of it. I went to see a therapist, and during my session, she said, “Michelle, you're in the wilderness.”
She was right.
It was the perfect thing that I needed to hear to let me know that the wilderness is temporary.
I didn't know how long I would be feeling stuck in this spot where I was tired, unmotivated, and dull. I felt like I just wanted to be lazy, and I just wanted to sit on the couch for weeks on end. My creativity and my curiosity were gone which was not a place I had ever been to before.
It scared me, but I knew, based on the session with her, that it would return. This was temporary. I trusted that I would be able to learn a lot from this situation.
There were lessons that I needed to discover in this period of my life.
During this time, I moved to Tampa and, very slowly, I started to get that desire back. I started to feel the little bit of light in me that got stronger and stronger with each day.
But I think the number one lesson I learned during my wilderness stage was something that was reiterated to me today when I was running.
There were women passing me that looked amazing, toned, and tanned. They looked like they were running for fun which is something I cannot understand on any level whatsoever.
While I was running, I can’t tell you how many times I looked at the app on my phone to see how many minutes I had left. I was suffering.
There is no podcast, no music, no specific running shoes that I could spend a bazillion dollars on that will make this more enjoyable for me.
But I am determined. So I’m out there running, and this beautiful woman runs past me who’s probably 12-15 years older than I am. My 13 minutes had just ended, and then she whizzed by.
My first thought to myself was, “Why can't I be more like that? Why can't I be more like her?” Then it hit me. And I remembered thinking, “Michelle, you did well. You just ran 13 minutes in a row, and you didn’t stop. You did well. I’m proud of you. You can do this.”
That loving, compassionate, soft whisper of a voice healed my soul in ways that I needed so badly.
And it brought me back to that time when I was in the wilderness.
The way I got out of the wilderness was by being gentle and kind to myself.
So today I want to ask you: what if you became your biggest fan?
I know a lot of us, including myself, depend on the ones we love to make us feel good. We look for validation from other people or through our accomplishments.
My mom is married to one of the most wonderful men in the world. And I grew up around this man telling her how beautiful she was. He wrote her love letters and brought her flowers. He was so adoring.
I remember one time we went on a trip together. Every day he had hidden a new card in her bag so that she could wake up and read how much he loved her.
They were married. This isn’t even like they were dating.
They were married.
He had sealed the deal. And he’s still putting all this effort into showing her how much he loved her. It’s amazing.
You know what I heard my mom do, though? After he told her, “Peggy, you look so beautiful,” I heard my mom say, “No, I don't. I look ridiculous. I’m dirty. I’ve just been working in the garden for hours. How could you say I’m beautiful?”
And I also have a friend whose husband’s love language is words of affirmation. If you’ve not read that book, I highly suggest it. The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. My friend’s husband is fabulous at telling her these amazing lines that just blow me away. But I hear her dismiss it.
And the reason this happens is because having someone tell us all the things we crave to hear does not mean as much to us if we don’t already believe them about ourselves.
Today on my run, it was far more powerful to tell myself that it was okay and that I was doing a great job than it was for anybody else to tell me that.
It was so nurturing to me to be the soft whisper in my head that suggests I should be compassionate and loving to me.
So let me ask you another question. What have you done that you're proud of?
Today I ran for 13 minutes straight. What did you do? And do not tell me you haven’t done anything. I know you. I know that there are so many things you can list off that you are proud of.
So I want you to take a moment and pause. And I want you to think about what you have done. It can be in the last week, the last six months, or the last year.
What have you done in your life that you are proud of?
Did you think of something?
What loving message do you need to tell yourself right now? This morning, I needed to tell myself that what I was doing was good enough. I needed to congratulate myself and celebrate the fact that I was making an effort. It might not be as good as everybody else around me, but I was trying.
I want you to pause, and I want you to be still. Just give yourself 60 seconds to think, and then tell yourself what you need to hear in your most loving and gentle voice.
Say it out loud. It can be a monologue, or it can be one sentence. But do it right now.
I am so proud of you for taking the time to be loving and thoughtful with yourself.
I promise you that if you are willing to whisper to yourself on a regular basis, all of the deliciously kind and sweet thoughts about you, you are going to be transformed and offer the loving, sweet thoughts to others. You will no longer be looking to everybody else for the acceptance that you need to give yourself.
The truth is the love you're looking for, the one that's healing, the one that’s going to replace all of the negativity that addiction brings into our life—that love is offered to us by ourselves.
We couldn’t turn to the people around us to provide that love even if they were sober—even if the one we love did not struggle with substance abuse or addiction.
Women who are in sober relationships need to practice this too.
And if you are a woman of faith (not everybody is, but if you are), then think of this as the Holy Spirit whispering to that deepest part of you the love that you know is being offered.
We are a movement of very powerful, amazing women who are willing to give a voice to this disease. We are willing to step up and help each other and encourage one another because strength grows in numbers, and we are growing, and we are strong.
|Jun 24, 2018|
The Most Empowering Daily Practice To Heal Ourselves
I want to talk to you today about the importance of grace.
Grace is my new favorite word. I think it's going to be my keyword for 2018.
This community attracts women who are very ambitious. A lot of people in the world are not, and they like to sit in their pain, and they like to stay comfortable.
The women in our community tend to be thirsty for somebody to explain to them exactly what to do. And that's what we do here.
These women say, “Give me the top five steps, and I’m going to get it done. I’m going to ace it, and I’m going to do it to perfection.”
That is a wonderful quality to have. It’s something we all share. We can go through a to-do list like nobody’s business. We can make things happen.
We’re the glue that holds our family together.
But let me tell you: it can also be our greatest liability. We are too hard on ourselves.
We don't offer ourselves the forgiveness that we are offering others constantly, and we are holding ourselves up to a standard that is so darn high. We’re exhausted trying to achieve it. And it's never achievable.
Maybe occasionally there will be a day or a moment where you’ll feel on top of the world because you're meeting all these huge goals for yourself and you have nailed everything, but for the most part, we‘re falling short of these expectations.
I suffer from this too. I left my alcoholic and substance abuser many years ago, but I still carry with me the trait of this need for perfection. And I still struggle with the idea that if it's not done perfectly, it's not done right; it’s not good enough.
It is important to offer grace not only to those we love, but it is just as important—if not more important—to offer grace to ourselves. To fall short of these crazy expectations that we have on one another and on ourselves and go, “You know what? We tried. We get an A for effort. And that’s good enough.”
If you're having a hard time forgiving the one you love who’s addicted and hurting you, I want you to give yourself grace. It’s okay. You can't forgive them today. Tomorrow is a new day.
You can try again.
If you’ve joined one of our programs: Love Over Addiction, Love Over Mistakes, or Love Over Boundaries, and you're learning and listening, you're watching the videos, and you're filling out the workbook, but you're still not able to commit 100% to the tools that you're learning and you're still making mistakes, that’s okay. I want you to offer yourself grace.
Take a deep breath. Understand that you are doing the best you can do in one of the most stressful situations that anybody has to go through.
You are living with somebody who is choosing drugs, alcohol, pornography, gambling, or other women over you. That’s devastating. That hurts. That’s painful.
And I’m not sitting here telling you to stay stuck. I’m not giving you permission to go around grumbling and griping or yelling and screaming all the time. I’m saying that it’s okay to take a pause and acknowledge the fact that you are still here and you're still trying after all this time.
Take a moment to look back at the woman you once were, look at the progress that you have made, and celebrate those small victories that you have accomplished.
You need to offer yourself grace.
This is one word that can heal your life. And it's also important to offer it to those we love.
But first, start with yourself. Because if you cannot offer yourself grace, how are you possibly going to offer it to those around you? You can't.
You're running on empty. You are resentful. You’re frustrated, and you’re critical. And all that negative spew, all that poison that comes out of your mouth and in your thinking—that’s a killer. That's the addiction.
So take a pause today, and offer yourself some grace. I promise, if you learn to be kind and gentle with yourself and treat yourself tenderly and lovingly, you will be able to interact with everybody else in your life with that same kind of tenderness.
If you’re ready, I would love to teach you practical tools that will make all the difference the next time your loved one comes home drunk or high. Imagine not getting into an argument, not feeling angry or disappointed. Imagine not letting it ruin your evening.
That can happen but you have to be willing to do the work. Join our program and get to work so that you can have that relationship breakthrough you know you need.
|Jun 17, 2018|
If You're Thinking About Leaving
Are you scared of leaving the one you love? Have you thought about it, but the idea almost paralyzes you with fear, so you immediately stop thinking about it?
There's just no possible way that you will ever leave.
What if you're one of the members of our community who is in the middle of leaving, you're planning your separation or your divorce, or maybe you’ve already filed for divorce, and you're in the process of working out the details?
When I chose to leave my husband who suffers from addiction and substance use disorder, I was absolutely terrified. I go a lot more into detail about that in the Love Over Addiction program.
But I don’t think there is any one of us in our community who has left and said, “Oh, no, it was a piece of cake. I wasn't scared at all.”
Leaving the ones we love draws out courage.
All of us are filled with enough courage to make the huge changes that we need to make in our lives.
It’s just a matter of whether or not we are ready to step out in faith and call upon that courage that is living deep within us.
And I did. I chose to trust that somehow, someway I would figure it out as I went along. I didn't have the entire plan mapped out in front of me, but I had enough of a plan to know that I had an option to leave.
One of the things I did not figure out or have covered was money. I was a stay-at-home mom; I had not worked for seven years.
When I was working, I was doing very well. I was very successful and got promoted very quickly, but as soon as I had kids, I realized that I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom with them.
I left my career and enjoyed staying home for a period of time. And the idea of going back to work at that point in my life did not sound appealing. Not because I was lazy, not because I didn't have ambition or dreams.
I wanted to be there for my kids since they were already used to it, and I thought the transition was going to be very rocky. Also, I did not want to put them in daycare.
I knew that I needed to go, but I didn't know if I would have the finances to be able to continue as a stay-at-home mom.
When I was preparing for the divorce, I had a therapist whom I loved named Carol. She was kind of my lifeline.
And there were certain times during the divorce when I would be in her office three times a week because trying to leave somebody who does not want to be left is incredibly difficult.
So I relied on her strength often. I would walk into her office feeling very beaten down, feeling very discouraged, and I would hear her encouragement. It was everything that I needed to leave her office ready to face the challenges waiting for me outside of that door.
And that is what I try to be to you: your Carol. I try to fill you up and remind you how wonderful, beautiful, and strong you are. I try to help remind you that you are completely equipped to take on this disease. You are not a victim, and you are not powerless.
So one of these afternoons I walked into Carol’s office, and we were at the point in the divorce where we were discussing money.
There are basically two main topics when you get divorced. If you have children, you deal with the children. That's one big topic.
The other topic is money. And I’m going to make a generalized statement. I understand there are exceptions to the rules, but from what I have found and research has told me, most men care only about the money. That’s their hot button. They want to give you as little as possible because addiction is expensive.
Addiction needs money in order to survive.
I was going into Carol’s office, and we were at the point where the visitation with the children had been agreed upon but was waiting to be finalized until the money situation was worked out.
So I remember driving up to her lodge, walking in the door, and thinking, “I'm going to have to share with her that my husband does not want to pay me what I think he should.”
I remember sitting on her comfy couch, and she was looking at me and listening without judgment because she was wonderful like that.
And as soon as I was done, she told me about a story when she got divorced and how she made the mistake of settling for pennies because she just wanted the divorce done and over with.
I remember thinking, “Yeah, that’s exactly how I feel. I’ll give away almost anything just get me out of this situation because I don’t want any more conflict. I feel guilty that I’m the one who’s choosing to leave, so I should give him everything that he asked for.” This is what I told her and what I told myself.
I thought because she had done that, she would understand why I wanted to do that, and she would tell me it was okay and I was right. And because this was such a difficult, toxic time in my life, I should take whatever he’s willing to give me and run.
Instead, she told me exactly what I did not want to hear.
Carol told me that I deserved more, and my kids deserved more.
If I settled for less, I would regret it, and this was part of my growth.
I needed to learn to ask for what I needed and deserved.
I was so scared. And I went through all the reasons why and how she could be wrong or why my situation was different from hers.
On my way down the mountain from Carol’s office and back to reality, my ex-husband called and said, “How much are you going to ask for? How much are you thinking you're going to get? Because I’m not willing to pay you more than this. And don’t even think you can get away with that because it’s not happening.”
I hadn’t come to the conclusion. I was still in the processing phase. And I was still trying to work through this and come out with a solid answer that felt right to me.
So what do we do when we’re confronted with something that makes us feel uncomfortable, that we’re not ready to handle, that we need some more space and time to think about?
We create a boundary, and we create distance.
So I told him that I needed some time to think about it. I heard what he was saying, I understood where he was coming from, and I was not prepared to have this conversation yet. I was very dignified, I was very polite about it, and I hung up the phone because I didn't have to talk about it right then and there.
Why did I think that I was on his time schedule? I wasn't, and I had to create my own time schedule. I didn’t have to let him boss me around, bully me, or push me into making a verbal commitment that I wasn't ready to make.
So if you're going through your divorce process and you still haven’t come to some conclusions about the outcome or what you're comfortable with, take your time.
Do not be bullied or pressured.
You do not need to answer the phone.
Out of habit, I think we answer immediately or respond to a text message or an email because we’re trying to be polite, and we’re thoughtful people. But we reserve the right to take a timeout. Don't respond. Give yourself some space.
As I was driving back down the mountain from my appointment with Carol I said, “I just need a time out.” And I took one. I took weeks to figure out what I was comfortable with.
And here’s another thing: I went to my lawyer, and I said, “I think I’m going to ask for child support.”
I had a spreadsheet with all of our bills and all the kids’ expenses. It was all mapped out. They ask you to do that when you’re getting a separation and a divorce.
But even if you’re not ready to leave, it’s still something good to have.
So I had this spreadsheet, and I had a number in mind. My lawyer looked at me, and he’s like, “No. That is way too little. You're going to last a month or two. There's no way you can feed your kids on that amount, so let's come up with another number.”
At that point, I was ready to trust an expert who had my best interest in mind. This lawyer worked with thousands of women in the same situation, and he knew better than I did, so I trusted him.
Did I feel good about the number he gave? No, I didn't. I felt scared to death. I thought, “Who the heck am I to ask for that? I've been a stay-at-home mom. What kind of real contributions have I made?” That was my sick thinking.
I am now straightened out, and I understand that I made a ton of contributions.
I was worth every single penny and so were my children.
But at the time, you're sick, and you have that addiction voice in your head that's trying to convince you that you are less than.
At that point in my life, the addiction voice in my head was still pretty strong. That was the dominant voice speaking to me. But I decided not to trust the voice. I decided to trust the man sitting across from me—the expert.
Part of this whole deal of loving and leaving somebody with addiction is asking for what you need, not taking the easy way out. I’m not guaranteeing that you're going to get it, but you have to understand that you are deserving, and you have to stand up for yourself.
This is part of your growth.
This is a tool that I promise you will use over and over and over again in many more relationships and circumstances.
If you have children, it’s a tool that your children need to learn. You need to model for them what strength looks like. Ignore the addiction voice in your head that is belittling you. Trust the experts around you.
If you are looking for more helpful tips, join one of our programs. We are ready to encourage you, to embrace you, to love on you, and to become the sisterhood you need in your life.
|Jun 10, 2018|
Suffering From Anxiety and Depression? THIS Can Help.
Most of you know that I was married to a wonderful man. He was super talented, really good looking, and funny to the core. He was much smarter than I was. And he had so many gifts.
I really struggled because I was madly in love with him and tried everything I could to help get him sober. Of course, none of it worked which is the sad truth about loving somebody with addiction.
But during our marriage, I found myself very depressed. Before our wedding day, I was a very bubbly, very confident person. But addiction steals your joy, and it beats you down.
It takes all your vulnerabilities, all your shame, everything that you feel insecure about, and it shines a spotlight on them. It harps on them, and it uses them against you because addiction is just awful like that.
The whole thing about being married to somebody who constantly places drugs, pornography, gambling, or alcohol above you is that it can make you feel very depressed and unworthy.
The unpredictability of loving somebody when you don’t know if they're going to be high or drunk or go off the wagon can also make you feel anxious.
You're constantly waiting for that other shoe to drop. That is a place of tension we live in most hours of the day because addiction becomes our obsession. It becomes one of the only things we think about. All thoughts lead back to the road of addiction.
Is the person I love going to get sober?
What does my future look like?
What about the future of my children?
Is my relationship ever going to get better?
Depression and anxiety typically go hand in hand with loving somebody with this disease.
Now, here’s what I want to tell you. First and foremost, there's no shame in this. Welcome to the club. We understand. We get it fully and completely.
And I really want you to understand that you're not a victim here. You don’t have to remain stuck in depression and anxiety. Just because you're feeling that way today doesn’t mean that you're going to be feeling that way three weeks from now. There are lots of actionable steps you can take.
The obvious things you can do are prayer, yoga, and meditation. I've even heard some people talk about essential oils. There is also therapy. Or you can join the Love Over Addiction program and get into our secret Facebook group.
All of those options are very tangible. Get out there and serve or join a small group.
We have thousands of women from all over the world, and we tend to attract the type of women who say, “Michelle, just give me the steps. I’m ready to do it. Say the word, and I’m there.”
If you're that type of woman who has done all of those things and you're still left feeling anxious and depressed, there is no harm and no shame in talking to your doctor about medication.
I think a lot of us feel there is a stigma around mental health, and we feel like we can’t ask for help because it means we’re weak, we’re not praying enough, or we’re not capable enough. There is no shame in taking medication if it helps you for a season (or many seasons) of your life.
I did this. I took medication for depression and anxiety for two years. And it helped me tremendously. As soon as I was on medication, I remember thinking, “Why haven’t I started this earlier?”
For me, it wasn't about feeling joyful every day. When you start taking medication, it's not like you wake up feeling happy, blissful, and high all day long. It brings you back to center. It brings you back to baseline. That's what the medication did for me.
I was having panic attacks. And I remember sitting on my couch when the very first attack that happened to me. I was watching an episode of Friends, and I remember thinking, “Why is my heart beating so quickly? Ok, slow it down, slow it down.”
It was weird. I could breathe, but I felt like I couldn’t catch my next breath. My hands started sweating. I just could not get it together. And I remember calling my mom (because my husband was out on a binge and the kids were asleep and saying, “I don’t know what’s going on here.”
That’s the thing about panic attacks. Sometimes you can actually think clearly. Sometimes you can talk to people, but you just you cant catch that breath. And sometimes panic attacks can be much worse. That evening was when I started to notice something was off and I needed help.
So I wanted to let you know there is no shame. We need to stop that way of thinking and get help. You are in a stressful situation. You are in an abnormal relationship with somebody.
Right now you need to armor up with all the tools that you possibly can. And if medication is one of those tools that you need, there is absolutely no judgment here.
If you're feeling depressed and anxious, and you’ve tried everything on that list, go talk to your doctor. Make an appointment. Make your mental health a priority.
And if you haven’t joined us yet, our programs are part of the toolbox you need to get out of this rut and surround yourself with women who get it.
We understand, and we have specific and real tips that will get you feeling better if they get sober or not. So take the courageous step today and join us.
|Jun 03, 2018|
You Need THIS in Your Life
I’ve been thinking about how important humor is when we’re in the midst of living life while loving someone who struggles with addiction. So I was thinking about some of the funniest women I know.
One of those women is an author named Jen Hatmaker. She has her own podcast, too. I am in love with this woman. She came out with a book that really changed my perspective on the importance of friendship. It is called For the Love.
I was thinking about her because I recently went hear her speak. I saw an ad for her event pop up on Facebook. It was only 30 or 40 minutes away from me, so I thought, “I’m going to grab my girlfriends and go.”
So we all go to this conference, and we’re so excited to see Jen. She did not disappoint. You know it's a good speaker when you walk away and you can recite at least three things they said.
How many times have you gone to these things and you don’t remember anything they said? You remember what they were wearing or what you were wearing or what you ate during the break. But you don’t remember what they actually said. Well, Jen is one of those people who speaks, and you listen, and you remember.
The funniest thing she said the whole night, and the thing that spoke to me so much, was: “I’ve been trying my whole life to be precious.” It just hit a chord with me because I remember thinking, “I have never been described by anybody that I know of as precious.”
I think I look like I would be precious. If you were to see me in the mall, you would think, “Oh, she looks precious.” And then I would open my mouth, and you would quickly realize that I am the furthest thing from somebody who would be called precious.
But anyway, when she said that, I thought, “Yeah, that’s so funny.” And then it got me thinking all about Jen Hatmaker and how I actually was a little bit of a stalker. During the breaks at her event, I would be telling my friends all about her.
For example, she was talking about a time in her life that was really difficult, and I turned to my friends and said, “Oh yeah, that’s when she went on her boat, and she got her magazine and a glass of wine, and she was just all by herself. And her friend came to join her, and she was really disappointed.”
I did this for almost every story that she told. And I realized that this is kind of creepy and that I might actually have a problem. How do I know all this information about her? I’m not sure. I think it’s from Instagram.
But if you know me, I’m not a social media person. I am the worst of the worst when it comes to posting. I have people do it for me because I turn on my phone, and I go to Instagram, and I’m like, “I’m going to post this picture.”
But for some reason, when I go to post something, the camera opens up and it’s my face staring back at me. And I’m thinking, first of all, I thought I looked good today. But I don’t, clearly, and that is scary. Why can I not get this to pull up the picture I wanted to post?
What is my point? And how the heck does this pertain to addiction, you wonder?
The point is that we need humor in our life.
So often it can get so serious so fast. You're dealing with the stress, the chaos, the dysfunction, and the yuckiness of it all, and you’ve got to surround yourself with funny people.
When I was married to an alcoholic and substance abuser, I didn't have any friends because I was always so concerned about my husband and my children. I wrote everybody else off.
And I was afraid to leave the house because I wasn’t sure what I would come home to. Who would look after the children? Who would monitor his drugs or his drinking?
So I had no friends. You know who my friend was during that time? Oprah Winfrey. I did not have her phone number, but I watched her every single day while I was vacuuming.
And my other group of friends was the Golden Girls.
Between those ladies, I swear they carried me through my divorce.
Oprah is a funny woman. Not only is she funny, but she brought on some of wisest guests that really pertained to the pain that I was suffering and struggling with.
I remember being at Disney about a month ago. And there was a guy who was walking in Epcot. He was walking in England (because Epcot has all the different countries), and he had a white t-shirt on with black font saying, “Dorothy, Rose, Sophia, Blanche.”
I don’t know what came over me. And he probably thought I was the weirdest human being in the world, but I just took my kids and b-lined to him and said, “The Golden Girls! They saved me during my divorce. I love them!”
We hugged. We had a moment. In Epcot. In England. Hugging over the Golden Girls. So that's how strong of a connection I feel toward those women.
What I am trying to say is read books that are funny. Watch movies or TV shows that make you laugh. Go out and spend some money on things that give you joy and humor in your life because we have to loosen up.
We have to laugh during our recovery.
It is all too serious and all too intense. So go on out there and get Jen Hatmaker’s book.
You can get all the Golden Girls episodes on DVD or Apple TV. And if Golden Girls is not your thing, there are some great movies out there.
Tonight, make it a point. Put yourself out there, and surround yourself with people who are funny and that bring you joy.
|May 27, 2018|
The Shocking Truth About The $35 Billion Rehab Industry
Greg Horvath resides in Los Angeles, CA, and is a nationally respected motivational speaker, author and producer. For 15 years he's traveled the globe sharing his story of perseverance and overcoming adversity. He views the world through the lens that anyone can build a life they are proud to lead.
Because of Greg's incredible story of overcoming adversity to play college football at age 38, (click here for more info) and his passion to share it, he has become a much sought after motivational speaker. His love of film, which he discovered while studying Communication Arts at Saddleback College, has made him an award winning filmmaker.
The Business of Recovery is the third feature film Greg has produced. Unfinished Business was considered for a Canadian Gemini Award and Hope for the Broken Contender won the American Express People’s Choice Award at the Calgary International Film Festival.
Greg is very passionate about The Business of Recovery, a story he felt compelled to tell.
Michelle sat down for a controversial and enlightening interview with the producer of The Business of Recovery, Greg Horvath.
|May 25, 2018|
Is it Okay to Drink Around Your Alcoholic?
A while ago, I started practicing yoga. I found it incredibly therapeutic and very nurturing. It didn't help me with weight loss, but it did help me take a much-needed timeout from the craziness of the day to center myself. And I loved the way my body felt strong and flexible.
I was coming out of my yoga class one day, and I saw a T-shirt that said “namasté and rosé.” I looked at it, and I thought, “Hmm, interesting.”
I’m practicing yoga because I want to cleanse my body.
I do hot yoga because I want to release all the toxins from my pores. But I know that alcohol can be toxic, so I wouldn't have put those two together.
I also started seeing all of these pictures of cute and funny jokes about moms and alcohol.
“Save water, drink wine.”
“A banana is 105 calories. A shot of whiskey is 80. You do the math.”
“If I ever go missing, I want my picture on a wine bottle instead of a milk carton. That way my friends will know I’m missing.”
These are funny, right?
But as I started seeing more and more women using alcohol as a joke, as a way to unwind, I started to get a little bit more concerned. And I’m not trying to be Debbie Downer. I’m not trying to be that woman who comes to the party and shames everybody.
But I think there's a growing trend that we need to be aware of, particularly in our community where alcohol plays a very negative role in our lives. We have a love-hate relationship with alcohol, right? So I started thinking about this more and more.
Is this true? Are women now using alcohol more as a dependent to get through the day than they were before? I don’t remember my mother ever having T-shirts or stickers or pads of papers about wine or whiskey.
I started to do some research, and I found that the fastest growing segment of people who are abusing alcohol is women.
Yep. More than men. And get this: it’s women above the age of 40. Is that not crazy? That’s crazy to me. I would never have thought that. So which women have the highest risk of alcohol abuse and alcoholism?
Those are the women who are at the highest risk of alcohol abuse and alcoholism. It makes sense why it is now becoming the fastest growing segment.
So, if you want to drink, and you feel like you don’t have a problem, go for it. Have a drink. And we’re going to talk about how much is too much in a second, but I would encourage you to drink when your loved one is not around.
Think about it this way: I want you to pick your favorite food group. Is your favorite food group carbs? Or is it dairy? What about sugar? Pick one of those food groups right now that gives you great joy. Did you pick one?
I want you to imagine that you can never have that food group again. Ever. For the rest of your life. That entire food group.
It's such a serious problem that your life depends on it.
If you had anything within that food group, it could literally mean life or death for you. It could mean jail time or financial disaster. It could mean that you lose your entire family.
But you love this food group. And there are signs, posters, and billboards for it everywhere. You open up a magazine or a book or turn on your TV, and you see that food group everywhere. All of your friends love eating this food group.
You can't escape it. It’s impossible. You would have to live in a cave in the middle of a mountain and never come back in order for you never to be faced with the temptation of this food group again. And for the rest of your life, you will have a visual reminder that you can never, ever choose to have this food group again.
That is how your loved one feels about alcohol whether they want to admit that they have a problem or not.
They know they have an issue. And the reason why they are not admitting they have that issue is because they know they're going to have to face what you just pretended you were facing.
So, when someone asks me if they should drink in front of their alcoholic partner, my answer is: why? Why would you? Be that safe person. And when you're around them, support them.
If you're choosing to love them and stay with them, then be there for them. Don’t store it in your fridge or keep it in your pantry. When you go out to dinner, order anything but alcohol.
Not having alcohol around the house when you live with an alcoholic is one of the most loving acts of kindness you can do.
I’m not saying you can’t ever have a drink again if you don’t have a drinking problem. You can go out and have some wine or a drink with your friends. But when your loved one is in your presence, make the loving choice to support them even if they are drinking, and even if they haven’t committed to stopping yet.
You need to be a good role model. Not only for your loved one, but for your children. You want your kids to see that not all adults needed to drink. Why? Because there's real proof and evidence that this disease is hereditary.
The longer your children put off drinking, the smaller their chances of addiction become.
So let's get back to when you drink. When you have a drink, how much is too much? What is a healthy dose? According to the University of Washington Medical Center and the US Department of Health and Human Services, no more than one drink per day for daily drinkers.
So if you're drinking every day, seven days per week, no more than one drink is considered healthy. No more than two drinks per day for occasional drinkers.
This got me thinking, “Well, how big is one drink?” That's debatable, right? You can fill a wine glass to the rim. Is that really considered one drink?
One drink is a 12-ounce beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor.
Now, you might be going, “Okay, so I might have borderline alcohol abuse in my life. I might need to take a closer look at this.” Again, no judgment at all. This is common. Heavy drinking for women is three or more drinks per day.
If you’re drinking three or more drinks per day, you might need to take a look at yourself.
And if you're like, “Well, Michelle, I don’t drink every day,” then I’d tell you a binge drinker drinks excessively or out of control with periods of abstinence in between them. A binge for women consists of three or more drinks on one occasion.
So how many times are you having three or more drinks per occasion? If they are pretty close together, you might want to take a look at this.
There’s clearly, and scientifically, a growing population of women in the world who are using alcohol as a way to escape, as a numbing, or as a coping mechanism that's unhealthy and that we might need to take a look at.
And if drinking isn’t an issue for you, then it shouldn’t be an issue to stop it around the person you love.
Really, that's the truth.
For me, I chose not to drink when I was married to an alcoholic for two reasons: one is that I hated alcohol because it was ruining our family. I never wanted to see it, smell it, or look at it ever again. It was killing my husband.
At the time, it was causing my kids to be ripped off of their father. It was robbing us of our money. It was just horrible, and I wanted nothing to do with it.
The other reason I didn't want to drink is because I wanted to be a good role model for my kids. I could see that my husband was falling apart. I knew that they were noticing. They’re not stupid, and even though they were very young, they could tell that the liquid in that glass made Daddy act differently after he finished it.
I wanted to be their safe spot.
And I wanted to show them not every adult has to do this. You get to choose, and you don’t have to drink when you grow up. So those are the reasons why I chose not to drink for nine years.
I hope this helps answer your question. I know, for some of you, it's not the answer you want to hear. And if you disagree with me, that’s fine. Disagree with me. It doesn’t mean that you need to unsubscribe or write me an angry email. Don’t. Just disagree with me, and choose to do something different.
I’m telling you what I think is right based on research and my own personal experience, but you reserve the right to form your own opinion. That's the beauty of this community.
I’m teaching you from a place of love, but we all reserve the right to take ownership of our own lives, our own decisions, and our own choices.
I love each one of you, and I am here for you every step of the way.
|May 20, 2018|
Signs that You're in an Abusive Relationship
The Harvey Weinstein case came about several months ago, and one of the women in our community and I were talking about it. She said, “You know, Michelle, I feel like this is an opportunity for us to address such a common problem.”
I have a done a lot of research to prepare for this post because I take this topic very seriously.
Did you know that abuse thrives in isolation and that 50% of men in recovery admit that they have been physically abusive to their partner or spouse? And my guess is that close to 100% of men in recovery have been verbally abusive.
Let’s get started by determining what abuse looks like. And you might have started off reading this thinking, “Well, Michelle, I’m not really in an abusive relationship.”
And hopefully that's true, but will you promise me to read this and let me teach you what abuse looks and sounds like? If it doesn’t apply to you, then great, you’ll have confirmation and peace of mind. You’ll also have the tools to help another sister in our community who is going through this.
But you might be surprised. Addiction might be pulling a fast one on you. And there might be more abuse in your relationship than you're aware of. So please, please give me just a few minutes of your day.
I can't promise this is going to be a quick read because there's a lot of good stuff in here, but I can tell you it will be rich with information, helpful, and applicable.
You are in a safe place with me. There’s no judgment. We are a sisterhood, and we’re all experiencing very similar things. We don’t judge ourselves, and we don’t judge each other.
This might be the most important article you’ll ever read.
So please keep an open heart and mind because we are in this together.
I’m going to ask you some questions. And I want you to take the time to really think them over. Ask yourself: Does this apply to me? Is there any truth to this in my life?
You know one of our core beliefs in the Love Over Addiction community is that we do the work. We're not powerless over this disease. We don’t just need to sit back and wait for them to get sober. We are willing and committed to doing the work.
Recovery doesn’t come without amazing effort and the desire to be truthful with ourselves.
Think of your loved one for a moment, and think about the effort that you know it will take for them to choose long-term sobriety. It is a huge commitment that takes a lot of energy, tons of love, lots of thought and research, and work. That same amount of energy is what you need to recover yourself.
The amount of effort that your loved one needs to put into their sobriety is the exact amount of effort you need to put into your recovery.
So I hope and pray that you will stop in between these questions and really answer them. Nobody is around for you to judge. This is just between you and me. Are you ready?
Here are the signs and symptoms that you’ve been in an abusive relationship:
Does he/she make you afraid by using looks or actions or gestures?
Does he/she smash things, destroy property, abuse pets, or display weapons?
Are they putting you down, making you feel bad about being yourself, or calling you names?
Are they making you think you’re crazy?
Does he/she play mind games or humiliate you and make you feel guilty?
Does he/she control what you do, who you see and talk to, or what you read and where you go?
Are they limiting your outside involvement?
Do they use their jealousy to justify their actions?
Are they making light of the abuse and not taking your concerns about it seriously?
Is he/she saying the abuse didn't happen, shifting responsibility for abusive behavior, or saying you caused it?
Does he/she make you feel guilty about the children, use them to relay messages, or use visitation to harass you?
Do they threaten to take the children away?
Is he/she treating you like a servant, making all the big decisions, acting like the master of the castle, and being the one to define your role in the relationship?
Are they preventing you from getting or keeping a job?
Does he/she make you ask for money?
Are they giving you an allowance or taking your money?
Is he/she not letting you know about or have access to the family income?
Do they make or carry out threats to do something to hurt you?
Is he/she threatening to leave you or commit suicide?
Is he/she making you drop charges against him or making you do illegal things?
These are all ways addiction exerts power and control over us, and this is physical, mental, sexual, and verbal abuse. If you answered yes to any of these, you are not alone. I promise you. There are so many of us in this Love Over Addiction community who have experienced this. We understand.
And I know for me, when I was in this type of relationship, I felt like I was the one to blame.
I let the addiction make me feel like I was the problem and that somehow, someway, I asked for it.
I don’t have an issue with speaking up for myself. And sometimes, when you have a bad habit of nagging, yelling, or acting out of control, it can feel like you asked for it, right? It feels like you asked for this kind of abuse. It can feel like you helped take things to the next level. And maybe if you were that quiet girl, he wouldn't have gotten so mean and cruel.
That's how I used to feel. He wouldn't have had to do what he did if I was the timid and well-behaved girl. The woman and the wife who was quiet and small.
But can I be your friend and tell you the loving truth? That is BS. That’s the kind of lie that this disease wants you to believe because guess what: we have women in this community who are quiet. They’re the ones who internalize all of their feelings and anger, and they still get abused.
Nobody, under any circumstance, should ever, ever abuse you, even if you've gone off your rocker and made a big mistake.
There is never any justification for abuse, and it’s grounds to leave forever and never return.
If you're a woman of faith, I’m going to make a very bold statement here that I am completely prepared to back up. God does not want you in an abusive relationship. You are His child whom He adores. Would you want your child in an abusive relationship?
What would you do if your young child called you and said somebody was abusing them in the playground, or if they were a grown adult, their partner was abusing them?
Would you say to that child, “Oh, just stick it out. Toughen up. Grow up. This is partly your responsibility. What did you do to cause this?” You wouldn't say that. You would help them pack their bags, give them a safe place to stay, and do anything you could to protect the one you love.
That feeling is how God feels about you. But He can't force you to leave. He’s not going to pack your bag for you. That's your work. If you're staying out of guilt over what your church or religion is telling you, I am boldly saying and declaring you are focusing on the wrong opinion.
Too many of us have been putting up with abuse for too long.
Addiction and abuse go hand in hand. And if the ones we love are abusing us, it's time we stick up for ourselves.
Now that we have covered what abuse looks like, we are going to talk about why we put up with it. And there are basically four reasons why we don’t speak up about abuse.
1. We love them. And the idea of being alone and leaving is frightening. So we stick it out, and we hope that it will get better. We try our best not to upset them, and we live in fear that he will lash out again, but leaving would make them really, really mad.
We don’t want to leave, we just want them to stop being abusive.
And trying to escape seems impossible. So we hang on to hope that if we become a better woman, or if we try harder, he will change.
2. We feel like were partly to blame—like somehow we antagonized them, or we allowed it and didn't speak up or stand up for ourselves. We asked for it if we were in an argument and they hit or pushed or attacked us or put us down or yelled at us.
And we might blame ourselves for being too loud or assertive. We tell ourselves if we were just quiet and agreeable, this would never have happened.
We are intimidated and bullied into thinking that somehow this is our fault.
So we are left with feelings of shame.
3. We are not sure if this really is abuse because they can be so kind afterward. They know that in order to lure you back in, they need to be charming and apologetic, and then they need to bribe you emotionally or financially or physically. And then they abuse you again.
It’s this cycle that never ends until you get out and away.
4. We’re smart women, so we feel like we can't really be in an abusive relationship. Usually, we find ourselves in an abusive relationship, and we think, “Well, there's no way that this is truly abusive. This isn’t the obvious abuse that is portrayed on the Lifetime TV movie.”
But for the most part, you think your partner is a good person, and you're a smart woman.
Abuse doesn’t happen to people like you.
Look at the example of the women in Hollywood. Those women were successful, beautiful, gifted women. Abusive relationships happen to people of all different backgrounds. It’s not subjective.
So now that we have covered what abuse sounds and looks like, and we spoke of why we put up with abusive relationships, what can we do about it? I am going to give you a resource that I want you to write down.
All my data and research on the topic of abuse was done through this amazing organization. It’s called The National Domestic Violence Hotline, and you can find them at TheHotline.org. They are an independent resource that offers a free hotline with trained and skilled staff who specialize in this topic.
I have spoken to them professionally many times, and they are truly wonderful. And they will help you come up with a safe plan. They have safety plans for you and your children, for you and your pets, for you during your pregnancy, and any other situation you can think of.
Now, you don’t have to implement the plan right away. I’m not telling you if you're feeling panicked, and your heart’s fluttering, that you need to go home and pack your bags immediately; you don’t.
You don’t have to implement this plan right away. Part of leaving is coming up with a strategy.
You have to have a plan in order to execute this correctly.
You can also get the plans on their website, so if you don’t feel like calling the hotline specifically, all that information is still available to you. I am not trying to scare you, but rather lovingly teach you that abuse is not normal in a relationship. You don’t have anything to be ashamed of, my sister.
This is not your fault. Even though the one you love can be very charming, that does not mean they are not abusive. There are wonderful examples in your life of healthy relationships.
That is what you deserve. That is what your children deserve to have modeled for them. It is time for you to consider that you have the courage inside of you to stand up to abusive relationships once and for all.
I am right here with you. I believe in you 110%.
And if you are one of those people right now who has been listening to the podcast or reading the blog, but you haven’t joined our community, I am telling you that it takes a village, and we are your village.
We are real women all over the world who are waiting to encourage you, to lift you up, to give you advice, and to tell you what worked for us.
Think about it. We are all a collective voice that is waiting to help heal you, nurture you, and nurse you back to health.
You do not need to do this by yourself. If you are that woman, please consider one of our programs. I’m telling you that they work, and they can be life-changing when you make your healing a priority. You can check us out at TheLoveOverWay.com.
|May 13, 2018|
The Most Important Advice About YOUR Recovery
Isn’t it frustrating when you love somebody who seems so out of control and you don’t know how to help? Your heart hurts for them. They are hurting your heart, and you just need help.
I remember being that woman and loving a very good man who was so full of potential. He was very good looking, super popular, and could do calculus in ninth grade as well as write poetry.
He was the full package. And he was funny. We met in high school, reconnected later on, fell in love, and had three wonderful children together.
I never experienced addiction, so I did not know what it looked like. It took me about two years to figure it out (which is a long time, I know), but love makes you blind, doesn’t it? I remember going through this feeling incredibly alone. And I kept it a secret because I wanted to protect him.
I struggled for years by myself.
I thought, “If I ever figure out the answers, if I can ever be of service to anyone, I will dedicate the rest of my life teaching other women what worked for me.”
And I want you to be told the truth from somebody who loves you and gets it. I didn't read this in a textbook.
I personally experienced this for 10 years—loving somebody with addiction. So every day, all day long, addiction is my world, and I feel like you can trust me.
Also, when I tell you these loving truths, there’s no judgment because I used to do this. I used to make these same mistakes.
You’re addicted too.
And it's not your fault. Addiction is called a family disease for a reason, and it has conditioned you. You have been tricked and fooled into trying too darn hard to fix someone who isn’t ready for recovery.
Did you hear that?
You’ve been tricked and fooled into trying too hard.
You’re trying too hard to fix somebody. Too much of your effort and too much of your thought, too much of your time, anxiety, and emotions are going towards trying to help somebody who is not ready to be helped.
You are in no way, shape, or form helpless.
It is not fundamentally healthy for you to just sit back and go, “You know what, I’m surrendering everything. I’m going to wait until they decide to get sober to start feeling better.”
We are in charge of our own recovery, and we are not powerless.
So just like the one you love needs to decide that they have hit rock bottom, you need to decide you’ve hit your own rock bottom.
But courage does not show up when you’re folding laundry.
It does not happen until you draw upon it and you step out in faith and try to do something courageous. And you need courage. You need it to break the dangerous and deadly cycle of addiction.
You might be saying, “Michelle, I’m not the one with the problem. I’m not the one drinking or doing drugs. I am not the one surfing porn at 2 am.
It’s not me who’s leaving my family and not coming back for hours at a time. I’m the one who's responsible and takes care of everything. I’m the one who's reliable and honest.” And I get it. You’re thinking your loved one is the one whose life is out of control.
You’re addicted to helping them.
I’m almost certain most of you found me because you were looking for help for them. I hear it all the time. You’re researching ways for them to get sober, and I show up on your phone, desktop, or tablet.
Here’s the deal: if you're currently reading anything about addiction, I want you to put it back on the shelf or close out of the browser. No more researching about addiction. That's one way you are addicted to helping them.
You’re addicted to the drama.
I know that hurt to hear. I remember when someone told me that, and it stung so bad. But when I gave it some thought, and I took a break and really thought about that, I realized they might have a point.
Addiction has conditioned you to expect drama. You ride the highs of hope when they tell you they will get sober, and then you experience the despair and disappointment when you find out they were lying.
We don’t know what to do with ourselves. So we get antsy, and we get untrusting. Sometimes in those slow and steady moments, we create the drama because we’ve been conditioned to do so.
You’re addicted to the rejection.
There is a part of you that deep down inside believes you are not worthy of the love that you crave. You’re sitting here asking your loved one to become this person you need.
I’m not trying to get super psychological on you, but if the one you love became everything you're hoping for, do you think you would be fully ready to accept that kind of love?
It was just a very dysfunctional coping mechanism. And I realized how dysfunctional it was with Brian because there was nothing this man was doing that was causing me to grab my keys and my purse and run out the door.
It was out of fear.
And truthfully, it was a knee-jerk reaction from being so wounded and broken in my first marriage. I still had a lot of work to do to reprogram myself, but I couldn’t do it without getting into another relationship.
Brian came to me, put his hand on top of my hand where I had grabbed the keys, looked me right in the eye, and said, "No more. If you walk out that door right now, you cannot walk back in. I’m done with this; you cannot leave every time things get tough."
Would you be ready for that kind of love?
Do you feel worthy of that? Do you feel like you genuinely deserve to be cherished? If the answers are "no," "I’m not sure," or "I think that would be very hard for me to accept," then you need recovery.
|May 06, 2018|
When Addiction is Preventing You From Feeling Loved
Addiction thrives on the fact that it can mess with our minds.
We get confused and feel guilty when our expectations are not met by our partner, particularly when we love a good man or a good woman who’s suffering from this disease.
We start to think, “Is what I’m asking for too much? Are my expectations too high? Is what I’m craving something normal, or should I not be asking so much from my partner?”
The four basic needs of a relationship involve love, attention, affection, and help from your partner. But are you expecting those four basic needs from somebody who can consistently meet them in a healthy way?
You should not feel guilty for expecting those needs to be met from the person you want to share the rest of your life with or your son or daughter.
Are you expecting them to love you like you deserve to be loved though? Are you expecting them to show up consistently—to be truthful at all times and every occasion? Because love is trust. Do you expect them to be kind? Because love is not rude. Love protects you.
Love is your safe spot. It’s your landing point. It’s the place that you feel called back to again and again after a hard day.
Are there times in your life that you want to share with your partner, but they are absent? Are you counting on them to give you more attention than their addiction?
What about affection? Do you desire for your partner to respect your heart and your feelings enough to trust them with your body? Are you expecting to feel safe with them when you're intimate and vulnerable?
And do you expect them to see you when you need help? Do you want your loved one to anticipate your needs and be thoughtful enough to meet them?
Love, attention, affection, and help are four basic needs for anybody in a committed, loving relationship.
Here's the truth: each one is necessary from both partners. If your needs are not being met, it’s okay to feel upset. It is acceptable for you to take a pause and mourn the idea that as long as addiction is constantly in your relationship, chances are, those four basic needs are not going to be met for you on a regular basis.
It is almost impossible for your loved one to manage their active addiction and meet your expectations. I’ve never seen it happen.
More than likely, if your loved one is suffering from a drug addiction, a porn addiction, a sex addiction, or an alcohol addiction, it’s preoccupying most of their thoughts, so they're not thinking about your needs and how to meet them.
You're probably feeling used when you're intimate with your partner because you recognize that your heart, your mind, and your spirit are not being respected enough.
But in this community, we believe you are not helpless.
You can come to the point where you say, “Michelle, I am going to leave because I feel in my heart that I deserve something better. I deserve those four basic needs to be met by my partner.” Or you can decide to stay and say, “I’m not ready to leave. This partner is worth the pain and the suffering, and I’m willing to readjust my expectations in order to remain in this relationship and stay happy.”
Either one of those choices is fine. But you’re going to have to lower your expectations for the person that you love.
You can provide yourself with the kind of love that you're looking for and needing from your partner. YOU.
Remove the responsibility from the person whom you love to meet your needs.
Now, I know that's not easy to do, and I know that’s heartbreaking, but those feelings of anger, disappointment, and resentment will disappear if you start taking care of yourself.
How do you do that?
Love: how do you meet the basic need of love if your partner isn’t making you feel adored? If you’re a member of the Love Over Addiction program or you’ve listened to the podcasts, you’ve heard me say this before:
Do something kind for yourself every single day.
Every night I reward myself for working hard for my family, for you, and for myself by taking a bubble bath. And I soak in it as long as I need to while reading my favorite book.
That is my reward. I turn down the lights, and I close the door. That's when I fill my cup up.
If you're not into that, that’s okay. So is it cooking? Is it making time to exercise, paint, or do your nails? Whatever it is for you, make a list, and do something nice for yourself every day.
By doing that, you are loving yourself.
Next is attention. What do you do if the one you love doesn’t give you attention? I know this is very common in the world of addiction. They don’t come home when they say they’re going to come home, or they take off when they want a drink.
It’s between you (or your children) and addiction to get your loved one’s attention. So how do you get that need met if they’re not fulfilling it?
This is huge, so don’t miss it: you need friends. I know that you are feeling lonely. And you're feeling lonely because you're not getting out of the house enough and having fun.
You’re feeling lonely because you're giving too much attention to the person you love instead of the loving people who are around you.
You’re giving yourself, and everything good that you have to offer, away to somebody who is not fully able to appreciate it. So take some of it back, and give it to the people in your life who are waiting for you to reach out.
I want you to make friends and invest in them. Get out of your pain and your struggles enough to text somebody and say, “How are you doing? What's going on with you? Do you want to go for a walk this week? Would you like to meet for dinner?” Join a group or a class, and meet new people.
There are too many of us who struggle with loneliness because we are afraid to leave the house and not be there to control the ones we love.
Let it go.
I remember being in year five of my relationship with my ex-husband who was addicted to drugs and alcohol. I had lost all of my friends, and I was so lonely because I didn't want to let anyone in on the secret that I was struggling with this.
Put yourself out there.
I promise the more you try, and the more consistent you are, the more that it's going to pay off. Pretty soon, you're going to find yourself with three or four really amazing friends. You're going to be so grateful that you did. So that's how you get the attention that you're looking for.
Lastly, you crave affection. You want to be lovingly touched, and you want to hold hands with somebody. You need affection. Your children can provide this. I personally force my teenagers to hug me. They roll their eyes.
If you don’t have kids you can get that attention from, go get a massage. Go get a facial. Get your nails done. Also, yoga. I don’t know what it is, but hot yoga in particular really seems to give you that connection to your body that you're looking for.
So, those are your four basic needs from a relationship. And I’ve just taught you how to meet every single one of those needs, whether they decide to get sober or not.
The key takeaway here is to lower your expectations.
And the quicker that you do this, the quicker your recovery will come from loving somebody with addiction. Forget having your needs met by the person you love for now. If they get better and they get sober long-term (one year or more), great. Then, you can re-adjust your expectations. But if they are actively suffering from addiction, you need to look elsewhere.
As soon as you start implementing these tools and tips, I promise you will start to feel better. You will start to feel like the kind, loving, and smart woman that I know you are.
You can do this. You’re not alone. You have all of your sisters. Particularly, if you join one of our programs, you’ve got thousands of women cheering you on and telling you, “Do not give up.”
Do not turn around and go backward. Keep moving forward and taking the steps that you need. Get out of the house. Meet your own needs. Make space for yourself. You’ve got this.
|Apr 29, 2018|
3 Benefits of Separation
Deciding whether to stay or leave is an extremely common topic in our community. You can’t blame us, right? We long for the day addiction will let go of the one we love so dearly, but we’re not sure how much more we can take.
Today I want to tell you about a tool that is available to you, but it’s not brought up often. This tool is a wonderful way to help you determine what you want for your future, and it’s called separation.
I’m not going to tell you that you should leave, and I’m not going to tell you to stay. I’m just going to teach you about the benefits of separation and ask, if you are struggling with staying or leaving, to consider this an option.
Before we get to the benefits of separation, I want to explain the reasons we choose to stay with them and why we choose to live in this place of tension where one day we think we’re in this for the long haul, and the next day we are ready to walk out the door.
A lot of people look at women like us and go, “I don’t understand why you're not choosing to leave.”
We either get judged for staying in the chaos, or we get judged for leaving because it is a “sin.” People tell us we can’t leave because of what our kids, neighbors, or church might think about us. I totally get it. I dealt with that for almost 10 years. So why do we choose to stay in an unhealthy relationship? We go into great detail in the Love Over Addiction program, but today we’re going to briefly cover the top six reasons.
All six of these fears are real and valid, so do not judge yourself for having any of them. But I’m going to make a suggestion that I think would help solve a lot of those fears. It is a topic that we have not spoken of before. It’s called separation.
Before I go over some of the benefits, let me first define what I mean by separation.
Either you are picking up and relocating or the one you love is picking up and relocating long-term—30 days or more.
I want you to think of a separation as your personal rehab. I don’t think there is a program out there that says, “We’ll have them back to you in two weeks completely rehabilitated.” Most rehabs last 30 days, but often suggest the addict stay for 60 or 90 days.
And I think it would be better (if you can swing it) for you to be the one that removes themselves from the situation. I’ll tell you why when I go through the benefits.
I also think it's important for you to remember that your intentions for separation cannot be to get your loved one sober.
If you decide to separate, it cannot be from a place of manipulation. It has to be because you understand that this is in your best interest, whether they get sober or not.
Now, let’s talk about separation. Why would it be beneficial to our relationship?
The first benefit is that it is not a final decision.
It’s basically a timeout. You’re saying, “I have to figure this out. I’m not sure if this is the right answer, but I need some time.”
And when you create personal space away from addiction, you are able to get a clear mind. It actually strengthens you. Once you spend your first night alone, you’ll realize that every additional night will help you feel like you can make this happen long term if you choose to.
Addiction tries to make you feel like you are incapable of changing. It wants you to stay stuck because then it remains in control. Here are some examples of the lies addiction tells you.
You're never going to be happy on your own.
You’re never going to be able to handle your life by yourself.
You are never going to find anyone who’s going to cherish you and love you.
You are unworthy of any type of love that you have now.
The voice of addiction grows weaker and weaker the longer you're away from it. It makes space for the truth to become louder and stronger. So taking a break strengthens you. It also confirms you.
There is part of you that truly believes you are worthy of being loved.
It might be buried very deep inside you, and you might not have been in touch with it for a long time, but there is a part of you that believes you have something beautiful and unique to offer.
The second benefit of separation is that it will restore you.
You are exhausted. Addiction wears you down. Your mind is focused on trying to figure out how to save the one you love. Separation allows you to restore yourself, relax, regenerate, and step away from the abuse and anxiety about your future.
You can sit down in a cozy chair with a cup of tea and be in control of the next few hours of your evening because you’ve created a safe place, and you’re not worried about the dysfunction. You’re allowing yourself to heal.
And finally, the last benefit of separation is that after you are rested and restored, you will find yourself established.
This time you have given yourself will allow you to experience what it feels like to leave. If you want to return, you will know that you are returning because it is your choice. You accept that you love someone with this disease, and you are willing to accept that and all that comes with it.
You are established enough to make up your mind to return to the relationship as a healthy partner with realistic expectations, or you have decided that you are ready to leave. The restoration, confirmation, and strength that the separation has provided you is enough to help you come to the understanding that you are going to leave. You are strong enough and capable enough to make a different choice for your future.
Those are the benefits of separation: clarity of mind and clarity of heart.
You just need to have the courage to step out and put addiction at a distance so you can gain clarity.
I’m not saying you need to do this today, but I wanted to introduce the idea and teach you the benefits.
If you’re ready to consider separation as a possibility, I challenge you to start thinking about the details today.
Don’t get stuck when you feel you’ve hit a wall and think there’s no way you can make this work. You can get creative. There might be a friend of yours who has an apartment above a garage that they're willing to lend you for a while. There might be a family member who’s willing to help with the kids.
There are ways that you can make this happen. How uncomfortable are you willing to get to find the answer?
I love each and every one of you, and I hope you found this helpful.
If you haven’t joined one of our programs yet, what are you waiting for? It’s time to make your healing a priority.
|Apr 22, 2018|
Detaching Without Frustration
Detaching is a big buzzword in the recovery community. I hear a lot from the women in our secret Facebook group that detaching with love is almost impossible because it requires you to remove your emotions from the situation and from the outcome.
So, let’s say your loved one starts making bad choices by having a few drinks. Your instant reaction is to get upset and to feel like you’ve been punched in the gut again because they lied. They said they were going to get better. They said they weren't drinking.
Your detachment would mean you go through that immediate process, and then you auto correct yourself, and you say, “I’m not going to go in there and nag. I’m not going to point out that they know that I know. I am not going to yell or scream or have a temper tantrum. I’m not going to sulk. I’m just going to let that dysfunction happen, and I’m going to move on.”
That’s ultimately what detachment is: it’s taking away your power from somebody else’s actions.
It’s saying, “I’m going to choose to be responsible and accountable for how I feel in this moment regardless of what’s going on around me.”
A lot of women in our community say, “Okay, Michelle, I get that, but then I can’t get back in touch with the love that I have for them because I’m removing all of my emotions to prevent getting hurt. So how can I let my guard down, be vulnerable, and trust them but detach at the same time?”
It’s super hard, right? It’s a point of tension where you’re vulnerable and having a moment of real connection.
You have a great weekend with the person you love, and you think everything’s going to be better. Then they come in, and they’re high, or you catch them in a lie about their addiction, and you’ve been sucker punched. You think, “I should have detached. If I were detached, I wouldn't have felt that pain.”
I want you to know that these are normal feelings.
What I’m going to teach you today is all about how to get to the point where you're not riding this roller coaster ride of vulnerability and detachment. I’m going to teach you how to respect yourself enough to honor your feelings regardless of what’s going on with your addict.
And the way you do that is to get busy. Stop trying to invest in whether they are going to get sober or not.
Lower your expectations for the one you love.
So basically, you start off by saying, “I completely accept the fact that the person I am in love with might never get sober.”
That is a very hard thing to do. And I’m not saying that’s going to happen overnight.
But I want you to think about your next week, your next month, your next year, and then the next three years. I want you to imagine where you're going to live, how old your children will be (if you have children), and, if you’ll be working, what kind of job you will have.
In all those milestones, I want you to imagine your partner is still sick. There’s no improvement. And this disease is progressive, so if they don’t get help today or tomorrow, you know it's going to be worse next week and the week after that.
I’m not trying to crush your hope, but what I am saying is that if you go into your relationship with those expectations, it’s a pleasant surprise if they ever get sober. It’s a wonderful, miraculous thing that occurred.
And if they don’t get sober, they remain struggling, and you choose to stay with them, this gives you the best chance of happiness. I know that sounds completely backwards, but it’s true because you’re no longer living in a state of disappointment.
The reason why you feel like you're on this roller coaster ride is because there is some part of you that still hangs on to hope and believes they’re going to get sober tomorrow.
So, if you let go of the promises of good behavior, and you let go of any kind of hope they’re going to get sober for good, that allows you to get off the roller coaster ride.
It’s allowing you to say, “I fully accept that my loved one is struggling with a disease, and ultimately, I have no control over it. So if I am choosing to stay, I am choosing to accept this person for who they are today, their struggles and all.”
That’s the first step of detaching. The second step, once you’ve freed yourself of expectation, is to get busy. You need to join a gym, or you need to join a book club. Get involved with your grandbabies.
It doesn’t matter what you choose to do, but don’t sit around waiting like a hall monitor looking for all the ways or signs or symptoms they are still addicted. Get on with your life, and find joys in other areas.
If you're like, “Michelle, I heard you say that before, and that's not working well,” then you haven’t found something that ultimately gives you joy yet. You need to keep searching.
Ultimately, the goal is to get you to have such a joyful life with passions, hobbies, friends, and self-care that it doesn’t matter what they're doing. They could be totally sober or completely wasted, and either way, you’ve created this very rich, fulfilling life for yourself.
The lie that addiction wants you to believe is that you need a partner to have a joyful life.
You don’t need someone sober in your life in order to achieve that joy. That’s a lie. You can be alone. You can be a single mom, a single woman, or a married woman completely uninvested in their recovery and surrounded by this very joyful life.
I hope this helps break down detaching in a way that makes it tangible for you. And I understand that what I wrote in this post is particularly challenging and could be devastating.
But I believe in being truthful with you. I believe in getting you to that joyful life, and sometimes that means hearing things that make us uncomfortable.
I love you, and I know you can have that life. I believe you can have this support and love in your life no matter what the one you love decides to do or not.
|Apr 15, 2018|
When Addiction Bullies You
I’m a big fan of Brené Brown. In one of her books, she talks about being vulnerable, and she has a rule that I’m about to break.
The rule is that you don’t speak of the things you are vulnerable about in public until you’ve actually worked through them and given them space to heal. I think that’s wonderful advice. I’m a big believer in that.
But I’m going to break that rule because I feel such a sense of urgency to share with you what’s going on with me. I think it’s what’s going on with you too.
Together, we can become stronger and help each other out. I always try to be the type of friend who is real and who never portrays that I have it all together.
With all that being said, I want to tell you what’s going on with me. I’m not going to get too specific because I believe in protecting the privacy of everybody.
I believe in sharing, but I also believe in being dignified and respectful about it.
There is somebody in my life right now who is bullying me and sending horrible, unkind messages that are difficult to read and completely false.
This person doesn’t know me very well. I think I’ve met them three times in my life and had very short conversations with them. So, they’re getting misinformation, and they have an ulterior motive for what they’re doing.
I am aware that I’m undeserving of this and that it's uncalled for. It’s mean, it’s cruel, and it’s difficult. As I’m receiving this harassment from this person, I thought of you all because I always think of you guys.
I thought about the way it reminded me of my first marriage, and the way addiction used to bully and harass me. I also thought about how all of you reading this probably feel bullied and harassed by addiction too.
We are told that we’re worthless. We are told that we should be ashamed of ourselves. We’re told that we are not fun, we are overdramatic, we’re never happy, or never good enough. We are told that we are crazy. We’re told that we’re controlling. We are told that we nag. And we are reminded of all of the things that make us feel insecure.
That's addictions way of trying to get us to be quiet.
Addiction is trying to put you in your place. It’s trying to say to you, “Listen, lady, you need to shut your mouth, sit down, and be quiet because I’m in control of this situation. I’m in control of your finances, your family, and all the extra free time of the person you love. I am in control.”
You are left feeling completely devastated. Your heart is broken. You feel like you’ve been beaten up, and you're marred and cut and broken.
That is a horrible feeling. And if you're feeling like that today, I am right here with you. We can feel beaten up and broken together.
But as I was thinking about this, I realized that addiction is a bully. It doesn’t matter who you are. You could be Mother Teresa or Oprah. You could even be God, and addiction would be trying to do the same thing to them as it is to you.
You're an obstacle, and addiction’s goal is to get everything out of the way so that it can remain in control of the person you love.
So, do not take this personally. This is not your fault.
We have choices. We are not helpless, and we do not have to sit around and wait for things to get better in order to start feeling better.
So, what do you do when you’ve been bullied? What do you do when addiction is trying to put you in your place with a bunch of lies? Do you retaliate and fight back? Do you walk away and give up?
The first thing that you do is take a deep breath. You have to pause. When this person was sending me text messages, I did not respond. I’m a feisty woman, so my initial instinct was to fight back. But I took a deep pause, I put my phone away, and I thought, “I need to get quiet. I need to make space to think about this.”
And then I asked myself, “Is there any truth to this? Do I need to be refined? Is there some lesson I need to learn?” This is clearly not a healthy way for someone to teach me a lesson. It’s not dignified, rational, or kind. It is cruel, and it’s mean-spirited. But if I sift all of that away, and if I’m left with just the words, is there a point they’re trying to make?”
I thought about that and said, “No, there's no point to what they’re saying, so I’m going to practice boundaries.”
I blocked this person from my phone. I don’t need this in my life. It isn’t helpful. This is coming from a place of yuck. So, I practiced what I preached: I set a boundary.
When you get bullied like that, you feel beaten up, don’t you? You feel like you have been broken and bruised, and you're damaged. You’re thinking, “Why me? What did I do wrong? Am I really that bad? Are they right? Is this accurate? What did I do to deserve this? I thought I was a good person. I thought I was kind.” And you go through every instance in your mind of the ways you’ve been kind, or you go through every instance where you’ve made a mistake. Then you have a choice:
You can choose to believe the cruelness and the lies about yourself, or you can choose to believe the real you.
I remember going to church after this happened, and I wasn't singing the worship songs along with the band. I remember closing my eyes and thinking, “What do You need to tell me? What do I need to hear right now?” And I felt Jesus cup my face in his hands and say, “I love you. I. love. you.”
It was so overwhelming to me because it wasn’t “I love you, but Michelle, you could have done better in this situation,” or, “I love you, but you really need to work on this trait. I love you, but you're falling short in this area.”
I felt this amazing confirmation that I am absolutely, unconditionally loved no matter what anybody in this world thinks of me. I have this unconditional love that I can tap into at any point in time.
It was so overwhelming and so pure that I realized giving anybody the weight and worth of my heart and my acceptance is giving away my power.
Whether it’s to somebody who’s being a bully, or whether it's to somebody who is giving me a compliment, it’s all the same.
It’s giving away your power to what other people think of you. And at the end of the day, even if you don’t believe in Jesus (that's completely okay because we welcome anybody of any faith or no faith at all), it truly is: what do you feel about yourself?
We are sisters. I know that you are reading this today and going, “I need help. I’m alone. I feel broken, I feel hopeless, and I feel guilty, embarrassed, and ashamed.” I am here to say to you: there is nothing that we need to be ashamed about.
You are lovely. You are beautiful. You’re magnificent. You are caring. You are thoughtful. You’re a good woman, and anybody that is healthy and not struggling with addiction is able to see that.
Addiction is a bully, and it has nothing to do with you.
It has to do with the ultimate goal of taking over the one you love. You are an obstacle that is in its way. Addiction is doing everything it can to get you to be quiet and leave it alone.
You do not want to retaliate. You do not want to get into the boxing ring with addiction. That’s draining to you because you're stooping to their level. It’s also ineffective. It doesn’t work.
When have you ever gotten into a fight with somebody where they come out going, “You know what? You’re perfectly right. I’m going to stop drinking and using drugs. I’m going to change my entire life around.” And maybe they said that, but did it really happen? Did it result in long-term sobriety? No. You know it doesn’t. So don’t waste your breath, your time, or your energy.
I am working on recognizing that this person is no better or no worse than I am. I don’t want this to sit with me. I don’t want this person to have control over my mind in my quiet time. And that's what happens when you don’t forgive. It just creeps into your pores: anger, resentment, and yuckiness.
So, I’m working on seeing this person for the goodness in them and reminding myself that we are all human, and we all make mistakes. I forgave my ex-husband a long time ago, and that was the best gift I’ve ever given myself. If I can forgive him, I can forgive anybody else.
That should be your goal, my sisters: forgiveness.
How do you do that? You give it space. You’re compassionate with yourself. You don’t reciprocate. Understand it’s not personal, and look for the goodness in them. Remind yourself that they are not rotten through and through. Remember that you are not perfect. And forgive them for you.
It doesn’t mean that you still allow abuse in your life. I’m not going to unblock this person from my phone, but I am going to work. Now that there's quiet, and now that I’ve set up that boundary, there is space, and I have the intention of forgiving them.
If you get nothing else from this, I hope you get that you're not alone, and I’m here with you.
I also want to mention that the tools you learn when loving somebody with addiction are tools you can use for the rest of your life. Addiction showed up in your life as a teacher. It’s a terrible teacher nobody wishes to have, but it gives you an opportunity to grow.
It gets in your face and says, “You’ve got to deal with me. Are you going to choose to deal with me today?” You are going to choose to learn the tools that you need in order to develop into the very best version of yourself.
Once you learn these tools, and once you start practicing them, they are going to save you time and time again for the rest of your life, whether you decide to stay in this relationship or not.
|Apr 08, 2018|
How to Stop Feeling Crazy
We offer a secret Facebook group for women who have joined one of our programs. It's filled with over 1,000 women from over 132 different countries around the world.
The Facebook group is a wonderful tool, and I love popping in there and seeing what you are all talking about and how you are all encouraging each other.
But there is something that is disturbing me. And I’m going to be real and honest with you today. I used to do this, too, so there’s no judgment.
We are using the word “crazy” so much in the group.
And my beef with that is that you guys keep calling yourselves crazy. You keep saying, “I am going crazy. I am driving myself crazy. This is crazy.”
Here’s the deal:
Addiction tries to make us believe that we’re crazy— that it’s us. It’s our fault. It tries to mess with our head.
But that is not true; you are not crazy. There’s nothing about you that’s crazy.
You’re the least crazy person in this situation.
You’re the rational one.
You are the convicted one.
You’re the one in the relationship that actually has and knows what’s healthy and what’s not—what’s acceptable and not.
You might feel like the situation is crazy when you love somebody struggling with addiction.
And the truth is: the situation is nuts. Let’s be honest. It’s not like loving somebody normal who doesn’t suffer from this disease.
When somebody comes into a relationship that chooses drugs and alcohol, pornography, gambling, or sex over us all the time, that’s crazy.
Please don’t use that word to describe yourself, my friend. You are sane. You are loving. You’re doing your best.
Today I was on a run. I'm thinking very seriously about signing up for a marathon.
The first 20 seconds of running, I feel like I can conquer the world.
I feel like I’ve got this. I put on my music, or I put on a podcast, like this one, and I’m rocking out for about 20 seconds.
Thirty to forty seconds into running, I think, “I don’t remember being this tired last time.”
And by second 55, I’m like, “I’m going to die. It’s over for me. There’s no point in continuing. I just need to turn this into a walk and surrender the dream.”
But it’s been on my dream board to run a marathon, so what I do now is say, “Okay, Michelle, just make it to that really tall tan apartment complex. Just make it there, and then you can stop. It’s okay if you can’t, but just try.”
I get to the tan building, and I think, “This is good. You did it. You actually ran.” I feel so proud of myself.
So then, I said to myself, “Okay, run to the next building. Don’t stop now.” All these 55 and 60-year-olds were jogging past me. I thought, “Just stick with it. You’ll get there one day.”
At first, I was judging myself, but I recognized it, and I said, “No, you ran to this tan building. Give yourself some credit. Now, walk the rest of the way home. That’s good enough for today. Tomorrow is a new day, and maybe you pick a new building. Maybe you pick one farther.”
I was reminded that I have to be kind to myself. I have to celebrate the small victories in my life.
I deserve to congratulate myself for being courageous enough to even try.
Then, I thought of you because I’m always thinking of you. I said to myself, “I wonder if the women in our community need to be lovingly reminded that they are making an effort.”
You are running to that building by purchasing the program, logging on, and doing the work.
That is something to celebrate. That is something to give yourself credit for. You don’t need to master everything that I’m teaching right away. You don’t need to run your marathon immediately.
It’s small, incremental steps and victories that we need to pause and go, “YES, this is one step closer to the goal.”
So right now, you're reading this. Right now, you're trying. Can I tell you that is not normal? Most people like to remain stuck because it's comfortable being stuck.
It’s easier to look at the people we love and go, “Well, it's really all about them. It’s really all about their recovery, and I don’t need to do anything about it. There’s nothing I can do.”
It’s easier to be a victim and a martyr and to believe that everything that has to do with addiction has to do with the ones you love.
But you and I know that’s not true. We know there's room for growth in our world and ourselves to become the women we were meant to be. That happens with small, little victories.
Do not get upset at yourself for not mastering these skills that I am teaching you. You are not allowed to beat yourself up if you backtrack. If you know better, and you still messed up— grace. Grace for you. Grace for me. Grace for all of us.
You’re doing work; you’re trying.
You are doing better than most. Forgive yourself immediately, and try again next time.
I believe in you, I believe in your recovery, I believe in your heart, and I believe that you are completely capable and possible of having the most wonderful future—a future where you are not bullied or held down in this disease. Where you are confident and beautiful, and you know it in your soul.
That is the ultimate goal of all of this. That is the end game. It is not to get them sober. It is to get YOU healthier and stronger. That is why we are doing all of this work. That is what all the programs are about.
Do you notice we don’t talk about ways that they should be getting sober?
This is about you and me.
This is about us as women coming together, sharing our pain, and growing and becoming stronger and wiser and loving.
You are running your marathon right now. Get your gear on, listen to the Love Over Addiction podcast, join the programs, and share your truth.
Baby steps. One at a time.
I’m here for you. I am cheering you on. I am your greatest fan—your biggest believer.
If you need any encouragement, just email us at MLA@MichelleLisaAnderson.com. We are here for you.
|Apr 01, 2018|
Worried Things Will Never Get Better? This Will Help.
If you love someone suffering from addiction, you might feel like you're on a roller coaster ride. One minute you feel angry, the next guilty, and then maybe you're worried.
It's a constant cycle that's never-ending. And all the chitter chatter in your head never shuts up.
Even when you’re standing at the stove stirring the pasta you're making for dinner, in the back of your mind you’re really twirling about how to save the one you love.
Being present in the moment feels close to impossible because of the trauma to your soul. How can you shut off the painful idea that the one you love is being taken down by this disease?
I often felt like I was on a boat that was sailing in the middle of the biggest storm of my life.
And it's slowly sinking.
I felt like I was the only one who was endlessly bailing out water so our family wouldn't sink. It was exhausting work. And every time I thought our boat was fixed and we were in safe waters, an addiction storm would approach.
Pretty soon, I just learned never to put down the bucket. I was always so worried about the next storm that I was always on guard.
Never trusting the moments of calm seas.
My normal became a feeling of constant anxiety.
There came a time when I knew I could no longer save our family. So I put life jackets on my kids, one for myself, grabbed their little hands, and jumped off the boat into the shockingly cold, rough water.
I made this decision because I knew I was being called to leave the boat and head toward calmer waters. I was no longer under the illusion I could control it. And I wanted a better life for my children.
For me, jumping off the boat was the best thing I could have done for myself and my kids. But it’s not for everyone.
If you're concerned that things will never get better, the Love Over Addiction program has a special section called "Should I Leave or Should I Stay?" Listen to it and see how you feel. You’ll know if it’s time to get off the boat or hang tight and ride out the storms.
|Mar 25, 2018|
Our community in the Secret Facebook Group are some of the most loving and thoughtful women I know. Every time I read their posts I am blown away by their wisdom.
Every now and then I like to share a question one of the women asked the group because I think a lot of us can relate.
If you would like to become a member of our private and confidential community, it comes free when you join one of our programs. You can check the programs out here.
Today, we’re going to be discussing pornography addiction. And before I get to the question, I want to make it clear that this is an embarrassing topic to discuss, but I can’t tell you how common pornography is in the world of addiction. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry that is quietly taking over the lives of millions of people.
If the one you love is watching pornography on a regular basis, you’re not alone. Many of us can relate.
Pornography is never okay when two people are in a committed relationship and addiction is involved. I teach healthy boundaries around pornography in the Love Over Boundaries program.
Now, let’s get to our question from our brave sister in the Secret Facebook Group:
(Privacy is our biggest priority. We will never share names in our group.)
Can you relate to some of this?
First, I think it’s important to note that we have many women of all different faiths (or no faith at all) in our community. We love and accept everyone and we don’t judge.
But if we are going to talk about people in the church who drink, use drugs, gamble, or watch porn, I think it’s important to note a few things:
We must stop feeling ashamed of our loved one’s struggles and we must stop thinking that we had something to do with their issues. They could be with you or not and they would still be battling this disease.
We are a community, a sisterhood, and we are in this together. Each of us can make a huge difference in this dark world of addiction. One of the ways you can help is to mentor other women who are struggling with loving someone who is addicted.
If you’re interested in becoming a Certified Love Over Addiction Mentor, we would love for you to apply. Click here for more information.
|Mar 18, 2018|
Should You Leave Or Should You Hold On To Hope And Stay?
The moment I knew I needed to leave.
I had been waiting for this moment for years and years.
Even through all the verbal abuse, the name calling, the shaming, the lying and the manipulation, I still clung to hope. I still loved him and I loved the idea of our family staying together.
But somewhere deep in the back of my mind, I knew there might come a day when I needed to leave. But my heart wasn't ready. My mind still had not arrived at the decision that I felt my spirit pushing me towards.
I knew raising my kids in this dysfunction wasn't ok on any level.
I knew he wasn't going to get better.
And I knew the harder I was trying to help him the worse it was getting. I could see this wonderful man disappear literally day by day.
Every month his addiction was worse than the month before. It was a downward spiral.
But I hadn't yet arrived at the point where leaving was the only option. My back was not up against the wall. I still wanted to wait and exercise all my choices.
And then the moment came. And it was crystal clear. What I wanted to do and what I needed to do finally lined up perfectly. And l had no other choice but to leave. It was my only option.
Not one of my friends or family knew how bad it really was. I did a wonderful job hiding the truth because I wanted to protect him. I didn’t want anyone judging the man I loved and I knew if they got a peek into my life they would tell me to take the kids and leave.
I was a young mom with three kids and no college degree. Our bank account balance was hundreds not thousands of dollars. Most of his paycheck went towards his bad habits.
The odds were against me. On paper, it looked like I was stuck.
But a woman’s courage can be mighty. And there was a part of me that awakened in that moment. I was refusing to listen to the lies of addiction. I would save my children and save myself. I would fight every moment of everyday to protect their childhood.
I realized I could do something. Addiction was lying to me the entire time trying to make me feel like I was powerless. But I was a powerful woman. And I refused to accept that this disease was going to take all of us down.
I was prepared to stay in a shelter if I needed to. I was willing to leave the place my children called home. I would make the sacrifices to start again. It wasn’t too late. I could get a redo. I could find love again. Love for myself and love for others. I could make a warm, safe home—even if it wasn’t my dream home.
I was willing to do whatever it took to save my life.
And as soon as I started planning and fighting for my future, everything I needed showed up. I would not quit and I would not back down from this disease. It would no longer get away with bullying me.
And after some time, addiction learned I was no longer falling for its tricks. I was a new woman. Rebirthed and shining brightly. I was armored and so were my children.
So it moved on trying to find a new victim. And left us in peace.
And today, over 10 years later that’s what my children and I have. Peace. Honesty. Love and Safety.
I don’t regret loving someone suffering from addiction but I also have never regretted leaving—and neither have my children.
|Mar 11, 2018|
7 Questions You Need To Ask Yourself Today
I used to paint for fun. I used to be silly and laugh a lot. I was confident in a room full of other people and I was adventurous and had a great group of friends.
That’s who I was before I fell in love with a wonderful man suffering from addiction.
And slowly, over time, the confident, joyful woman he was attracted to became insecure. I lost my friends because going out meant that I couldn't monitor his drinking or drug use. The laughter was still there, but it was less frequent and layered under sadness.
I became a shell of the woman I was before I met him.
But… it didn’t stay that way forever.
I decided that I was worth fighting for. That addiction might be taking down the one I loved, but I wasn’t going to let it take me down, too.
How do we get back in touch with the woman we once were?
How do we rekindle the spark within ourselves that makes us feel like we’re a light to our friends and family?
How do we get back to a place of fun and joy?
Here’s the good news: it’s not difficult or complicated. It’s actually very simple. But we need to stay committed to making choices that foster our best selves.
We need to give ourselves permission to make it about us, not them.
Today we are not going to talk about their addiction (oh my goodness, don’t we talk about that enough, already?).
Instead I am going to be asking you some questions (because you know how much I love questions).
And I want you to make me a promise.
Please, please don’t move to the next question without answering the one I just asked you.
Seriously. Because if you just go from one question to the next without answering and taking self-inventory, then this just becomes something you’ve passively learned instead of done.
And in this community of 20,000 strong women we are all about the work. The commitment and rededicating our lives to ourselves.
Are you ready for your questions? Did you make the promise? It won’t take long, I swear - there are only seven, and I guarantee if you think about this hard enough you’ll learn something helpful within yourself.
Think about the woman you were before this disease came into your life (or if you had parents who suffered from addiction - who you were before you realized they had this disease). And think about the woman you want to become. When you think of a perfect you, using all your best skills and traits - who are you in 3 years from now?
I did a whole episode on this very subject, and you can find it here. It’s one of my best podcasts if I do say so myself.
Do you like comedy movies? Do you like cooking? Do you like to ski or a good game of chess? Your identity is not wrapped up in the ones you love.
Are you in a place in your life when you are complacent with very little? Are you settling for crumbs instead of the whole delicious pie? A simple yes or no will do.
Let me cheat a little and break this down into two questions:
Or are you wishy-washy? Do you listen to the advice of 2 dozen people and change your mind constantly? Or do you know what you want, how you feel and what you think, and own it without apologies?
I know most of you know this by now, but I am dyslexic. I can’t spell worth a darn (as some of you have lovingly pointed out). But I write for a living! I love writing more than I love talking. And my love affair with books is borderline obsessive. I am proud of my “weakness” of dyslexia. It helps me think outside of the box, and thank you Jesus, there is autocorrect and Grammarly.com.
What are your weaknesses, and do you fully accept them?
I hope you found these 7 questions a helpful way to make sure we’re not placing all the attention on the ones we love but rather on getting to know ourselves.
|Mar 04, 2018|
How To Tell If You Can Trust Them Again
He had to work late and wouldn't be home for dinner. So, my three children and I sat around the table and ate lasagna and salad without him. When my blonde haired, blue eyed six year old son asked where daddy was, I told him that he was still working.
The words coming out of my mouth sounded truthful, but my gut knew they were lies.
I had been lied to so many times by the man I was madly in love with that I almost came to expect it.
The truth was I didn’t know where my loved one was while we sat waiting for him at home. And if I was being honest with myself - I didn’t really want to know.
The truth hurt too much. So I settled for the lie and we both pretended he was “working.”
When trust is broken between two people, we begin to feel insecure about their love for us. We start questioning their commitment to the relationship. We worry about how many other times they have lied in the past, and figuring out when to trust and when to protect ourselves becomes a full-time job.
Some of us can take on the full-time job of Detective. Analyzing all the data and following the scent of deceit. We can even become obsessed with finding the truth, breaking our own personal boundaries, and resorting to all sorts of crazy in order to discover what really happened.
Being lied to is an awful feeling.
And unfortunately, for most people suffering from addiction, it’s a habit of survival. They HAVE to lie to get away with their addiction. If they told the truth they would have to face the consequences and that’s one word that addiction doesn't believe in.
So.. where does that leave us? The ones being lied to? Can we ever trust again? How do we protect ourselves and stop living in a state of anger or anxiety?
First, it’s important to set realistic expectations.
If your loved one is actively drinking, using drugs, gambling, watching pornography, or whatever their addiction might be - if they don’t have a handle on it - expect lies.
Now, there are some exceptions, but for the most part most people with addiction tendencies will fall under the category of liar.
As I explained before, this disease has taught them to lie. It’s a survival tactic, part of their toolbox and comes with the addiction package.
So, expect lies if you decide to stay with them. Drop the expectation they will always tell you the truth 100% of the time.
Secondly, trust your gut. I can’t stress the importance of this enough. If you think they are lying because you suddenly feel that alarm bell going off inside your stomach, your throat, your heart - wherever - trust it.
Just like lying has become part of the addict’s toolbox - lie detection has become one of your tools. You know the truth, and you don’t need them to validate your hunch.
Stop trying to beat the truth out of them. It makes no difference - they know they are lying. They know you know they are lying. No more needs to be said or done about it.
If you feel the need to say anything, just let them know in one sentence or less, I’m onto you and you’re not fooling me. Then move on. Quickly.
Lastly, let’s be super clear - trust is one of the necessary ingredients in any healthy relationship. If it’s compromised, your relationship begins to feel like it’s on shaky ground.
If you have been lied to by the one you love who struggles with addiction, it’s natural to armor up.
Lies create an unsafe relationship, so no need to feel guilty for doubting or questioning. Ever.
Don’t apologize for not trusting. People earn your trust over time and with their actions. And someone can’t expect you to trust them when they have been dishonest.
We need consistency. What they say needs to line up with what they do. And until that happens, you need to set realistic expectations, trust your gut, and forgive yourself for being untrusting.
I understand exactly how you feel. I’ve been there and it’s not fun. But loving someone suffering from this disease doesn’t mean you need to wait for them to get sober to start feeling better.
|Feb 25, 2018|
Letting Go Of Guilt for Staying or Leaving?
There is so much debate these days about leaving or staying with someone who’s addicted. Everybody has an opinion. Your mom, your therapist, the guy who wrote that book, your pastor.
But do you know who I think has the most judgmental opinion about the choice to leave or stay with the one you love who is struggling with addiction? You.
You shame yourself for wanting to leave.
How could you break up the family?
How could you even dream of wanting something different?
You said forever and you tell yourself that breaking your promise would make you a quitter.
You may doubt that anyone else would ever love you.
The idea of ever being with another partner makes you sick.
Or finding love again with someone else makes you excited and then you really feel ashamed.
You don’t know how much longer you can take this.
What if they never get better?
Or what if things get worse?
You see all your friends and family and you think how nice it would be to be loved by a stable and thoughtful person.
I remember looking out my window and seeing my neighbors’ husbands coming home from work and thinking how nice it must be for those wives to always know their husbands are coming home when they say they will.
My truth was that most nights I was left waiting and waiting to hear my front door open.
I craved from the deepest part of my soul to stop feeling so lonely and start feeling good enough to be loved.
My other truth was that somewhere buried in my heart, I knew that one day I would need to leave.
And that’s ok.
But you may not be like me. You may be the kind of woman who wants to stay. Who is deeply devoted to her partner and the idea of leaving feels wrong.
You’re searching for a way to stay committed to your relationship and feel happy and confident whether they get sober or not.
You have your friends and your home and you don’t want things to change. You are prepared to do your work and see this thing through.
And that’s ok, too.
The debate of leaving vs. staying is constant when you love someone as unpredictable and unreliable as one who suffers from addiction.
The truth is we must not beat ourselves up for wanting to stay or needing to leave.
We must stop judging ourselves and each other for the decisions we make about our relationships.
Instead, we should embrace our right to choose and our right to change our mind.
Are you with them today? If so, forgive yourself for staying and remember you reserve the right to change your mind tomorrow.
Have you left or are you planning on leaving? Dream big and keep moving forward. One step at a time, my sister.
And let’s be super clear: addiction will try to blame you for whatever choice you make. But you are a smart woman and you will not fall for the lies of this disease. You will remind yourself how courageous you are. That you are worthy of love and care. And that if they can’t give it to you - you will discover it for yourself.
You are following God’s path for your life and everyone has a different road to travel. Don’t let another person’s opinion or “rules” keep you in a state of shame. Own your choice and get on with it with the grace that you absolutely can change your mind at any time.
You, my sister, are amazingly strong and are under tremendous stress. Be kind to that loving heart of yours. You’re doing the best you can and that’s good enough.
I love you with all my heart. And if you’re not a part of our community yet - what are you waiting for? We give you free weekly tips and inspiration for the relationship breakthrough you’re looking for.
Also, if you are considering leaving vs. staying we have an entire module devoted to the topic in the Love Over Addiction Program so make sure you check it out - it comes with a beautiful workbook and a free bonus - the Love Over Boundaries program (and what woman doesn’t need to master Boundaries?)
|Feb 18, 2018|
How To Start Feeling Happiness and Joy
So you love someone who is suffering from addiction? Welcome to our club. We are a group of strong and tenderhearted women from all over the world who are united by our love for someone who keeps hurting us.
We are in just as much pain as the one who stays up late to look at porn, or snorts the line, who drinks too much, swallows the pills or gambles our money away.
We love good people who make bad choices.
It’s as simple and complex as that.
And we find strength and comfort when one sister shares that she is struggling with something so “embarrassing” not even her friends know - we raise our hands and say, me too! I feel your pain because that just happened at my house last week. And it sucks and it’s hard and we will get through this together.
You’ll find all that goodness and grace inside our programs where you will meet with thousands of women just like you. You’ll get all the strength and love you need to finally stop acting like you have it all together, but then fall apart. You will also be able to leave your depression behind and walk into a new state of hopefulness and belonging.
That’s what this community can do for you. It’s a confidential and safe place where you can begin your healing so that your life can finally feel like you’ve always wanted.
And the best news is that you can get to this place of self-love and forgiveness if the one you love gets better or not.
This feeling of love that you're looking for is not reliant on their sobriety.
I used to think if my husband just got sober - everything would be better.
And you want to know the truth? He never did get sober and I got waaaay better.
I got the life I was dreaming about.
But I believe in always being honest with you - even when it’s something you might not want to hear. Are you ready?
You have to do the work. You can’t wait for them to start recovery. Otherwise, you might be waiting forever to start to feel better.
Today, you can make a choice to start your own healing. Your happiness is entirely in your control. You just need to take the leap of faith and remind yourself that you’re worth it.
So… all of this is to say, join us. Become a part of our community and let us cheer you on. Let us become your safe spot, your encouragers, your truth tellers.
If you’re in love with someone suffering from addiction, start with the Love Over Addiction Program. It comes with a beautiful workbook and the free bonus (Love Over Boundaries).
If you’re the mother of someone suffering from addiction, I would recommend the Love Over Mistakes Program. Share it with your entire family.
Make your healing a priority. It could be the relationship breakthrough you’ve been looking for.
If you have any questions, email us. We are always here for you. There’s an amazing team of women working behind the scenes to help and support you. You’re not alone.
|Feb 11, 2018|
Dealing with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? This Is a Must-Read.
Let’s be real with each other. It’s hard to keep up with all the different ways your loved one treats you, isn’t it?
You might have a tender moment in the car and reach for their hand and you’re reminded of why you feel in love with them in the first place.
They might be funny and cracking you up when you both are standing at the kitchen counter talking about your day.
Or you might share a thoughtful and romantic moment that gives you the deep sense of connection that has been missing for awhile.
These are the moments of light in times of darkness. These are the glimmers of hope when we feel defeated.
Moments like the examples above are when their behavior comes from a place of truth. This is who God made them - a good loving person - and this is how your relationship was intended to feel like.
But then, as we are holding our heads up to the light and beginning to trust again… that hope fades and we are left in darkness.
Our broken hearts have to learn one more time how to handle heartbreak. Because the one we love is replaced with darkness. They have faded into the background and we are left loving an unwelcomed version of them.
The addiction masks them like a cloak and our happy, productive, romantic partner is replaced with a hurtful, distant, insulting, worst version of themselves.
Let’s just state the obvious: it’s not fair. But addiction never promised to be fair, did it?
Addiction doesn’t know about respect or compromising. Addiction doesn't listen - it takes. It’s selfish.
If you can untangle the person you love into two separate beings, lots of good things can happen.
You will find your power and control. Because the next time they become distant or rude, you can say to yourself, "That’s the addiction. It’s not personal. It’s a disease. I did nothing to justify this behavior."
And when you see a true glimpse of the one you love who is kind and responsible, you can enjoy and savor them with the realistic expectation that they will not stay like this forever (unless, of course, they are sober and getting weekly help).
If you choose to stay or leave them, making peace that the one you love is struggling with two versions of themselves will help you turn anger into compassion.
You will be able to reach a point of empathy because when they lash out or reject you, you’re not taking it personally.
You can say to yourself (or out loud),
“I am an intelligent, sober woman and this is just the addiction talking. I don’t listen or believe anything that comes from addiction because I know it’s a selfish liar who is out to deceive me. I am too smart and strong to fall for it.”
This is how you handle someone who is struggling with staying consistently loving and thoughtful because they are addicted to drug, alcohol, pornography, or sex.
You are a strong woman and you have found a sisterhood that believes in you. Together, we are here for one another, sharing the issues that no one talks about. We will not be ashamed and we refuse to just sit and accept that we won’t feel happiness and joy until they choose to get sober.
We are not powerless over this disease. And if you want to see real change in your life - now’s the time to join our programs. We will welcome you with open arms. Privacy is our biggest priority and no childcare is necessary. Do them online, at your own pace, and have lifetime access. We hope to meet you inside the program.
|Feb 04, 2018|
8 Helpful Tips for Children of Alcoholics or Substance Abusers
Talking with your kids about addiction is extremely important. Your children are a lot wiser and perceptive than you think. They might not know drinking, drugs, pornography, or infidelity are going on under your roof, but they know when things don’t feel right.
But you might be wondering...
How do we communicate without worrying them?
|Jan 28, 2018|
Struggling With Anger? This Will Help.
Do you ever feel angry because the one you love has an issue with drugs, drinking, pornography, gambling, or sex? I bet if you were being honest with yourself you would say, “Yes, I do feel angry sometimes.”
Now, let me ask you another question: Do you feel guilty about feeling angry? When you deal with anger, do you turn into an out-of-control crazy lady saying things that you regret later? Or do you continue with the act of being “nice” and just shove, shove, shove it down further and further inside until you can almost pretend you’ve forgotten about it?
Anger for women is a tricky subject. I was listening to a podcast the other day and a famous author said she wrote one paragraph in her book about anger and received more criticism and attention about that paragraph than any other part of the book (and this was a New York Times best-seller).
The other author on the call (who is also mega-famous) said when she had the courage to talk about her anger, she lost a lot of readers who refused to buy her books. And these women have a predominately female audience.
So why are we so angry when women express anger? Why is this an emotion that we’re afraid to talk about?
Unless we’re robots, anger is a natural emotion and it especially makes an appearance in our lives on a regular basis if we are being lied to, manipulated, or hurt by the disease of addiction. Anger is a very important emotion for us to pay attention to.
Dr. Harriet Lerner discusses this theory in her book about anger called The Dance of Anger. The very first paragraph helps us understand the importance of anger. She writes:
“Anger is a signal worth listening to. Our anger may be a message that we are being hurt, that our rights are being violated, that our needs or wants are not being adequately met, or simply that something is not right. Our anger may tell us that we are not addressing an important emotional issue in our lives, or that too much of our self - our beliefs, values, desires, or ambitions - is being compromised in a relationship. Our anger may be a signal that we are doing more and giving more than we can comfortably do or give. Our anger may warn us that others are doing too much for us, at the expenses of our own competence and growth. Just as physical pain, anger preserves the very integrity of our self. Our anger can motivate us to say ‘no’ to the ways in which we are defined by others and ‘yes’ to the dictates of our inner self.”
Don’t you just love that? I think it’s so helpful because it shows us that anger isn’t something we need to feel ashamed about. It’s not an emotion we need to ignore. It’s a warning signal. It’s our insides letting us know that something isn’t right.
Now that we have an understanding that anger isn’t something to feel guilty about, we need to talk about how to deal with our feelings of anger.
In Dr. Lerner’s book, she talks about how women are dismissed or called irrational when we show our anger. Has the one you love dismissed your anger when you’re upset because they have been making hurtful choices? Have they told you that you were being irrational or dramatic?
So how do you handle your anger? Do you have a pattern of lashing out or do you suppress? Do you cry and breakdown or shut off and walk out? Do you give the silent treatment or are you passive aggressive?
If you are not handling feelings of anger in a healthy way, starting a new pattern can be super helpful.
Here are some steps to start practicing next time something comes up that triggers your anger:
Start by asking yourself:
Approach your loved one when they are sober. There is no sense in talking to them about your feelings when they are trying to numb theirs. Wait until they are sober, clear-headed, and able to receive your feelings.
When you do choose to share your anger, make sure you're in a calm and controlled state of mind and heart. I am not saying you need to disguise your anger, but you do need to be in control of it.
Make it clear how you feel and why you feel that way but don’t hang on to their reaction. You’re expressing your frustrations because you think it’s important to give your feelings a voice. You’re making space and respecting your warning sign that something isn’t sitting right with you. But don’t expect change when you’re dealing with addiction. This exercise is for you and your mental and spiritual health.
Walk away if they are not respectful. Be prepared for defensiveness if they can’t receive your feelings. That’s okay. You accomplished your goal of communicating your anger in a respectful and dignified way. You cherished your own feelings by giving them a voice. Congratulate yourself and choose to end the conversation if your loved one isn’t ready to hear you. You can still celebrate your victory.
The fact that you read this is the very reason why I can tell you this: no matter what happens to the one you love, you will be okay. You have a desire to get healthy. You are open-minded and ready to change. And I am so proud of you my sister.
If you found this helpful, we have three courses that could change your life (and your relationship) PLUS a Secret Facebook Group filled with women just like you (so you will never feel lonely again). Click here to learn more.
|Jan 21, 2018|
How to Stop Comparing Your Relationship to Other Couples
When I was married to a good man who struggled with addiction, one of my biggest battles was comparing my marriage to my friends’, family’s, and even strangers’ relationships.
There was one evening when I was on a date night with my husband. waiting to be seated at a Italian restaurant. I was nervous that he was going to order a drink because, as you know, one drink leads to two that leads to three and then there’s no stopping and the night is ruined.
I watched another couple walk by who were laughing and holding hands. They looked happy and ready to have a good time with each other.
I remember thinking, “I bet she doesn’t have to worry if he’s going to get drunk. He looks so responsible. He probably tells the truth and comes home when he says he will. I bet they take lots of vacations together and have a cute house. She probably does crafts with the kids and makes Halloween costumes by hand. I bet she even works out everyday with him. They probably go to the gym together. And he looks like the kind of guy who volunteers to coach Little League. He’s so dependable.”
Have you ever done this?
I had made up their entire story in my head and it sounded so much better than my own reality. And maybe I was right about some of those characteristics of their relationship and maybe I wasn’t.
Have you ever thought that someone has it “all together,’ only to get to know them and realize they struggle with things just like you do?
You love someone who has a disease. You could be the most perfect woman in the world, but it wouldn’t change the fact the one you love has to deal with their addiction.
It can be really easy to be resentful and insecure about the chaos that’s going on around you thanks to your partner’s drinking, drugs, pornography, or gambling issues.
But do you really think there’s a couple out there who doesn’t have problems?
Comparing Your Relationship With a Healthy Couple
Try to think of one relationship you know that is perfect. Do you have them in mind? Now ask yourself - would you be happy in that relationship? Take a moment to really let yourself think of someone who you compare yourself with and imagine yourself in a relationship with the person you're envious of.
My guess would be no - you wouldn’t be as happy as you would want to be. That couple that seems to have it all together might not match your values or lifestyle. They might not be as funny or as adventurous as you would prefer. They might work too much or too little or they raise their children with a different parenting style.
Their version of a happy relationship is different from yours. They found what they needed in a partner but that doesn't mean that partner is right for you.
The real questions you need to be asking instead of comparing are:
Am I with someone who makes me happy?
Comparison is a trap. Pay attention to your own needs and feelings and don’t worry about other people’s relationships. If you’re not getting what you need from your partner, it might be time to evaluate your future.
But don’t leave because you think someone else has it better and you want what they have. If you’re thinking about ending your relationship, make sure it’s because you took the time to answer the questions I just asked you.
Comparing Your Relationship With an Unhealthy Couple
Another trap we fall into when we love someone suffering from addiction is listening to other women’s stories and telling ourselves we don’t have it that bad.
The truth is, someone always has it better and worse than you. There will be women whose loved ones have done far more hurtful things than the one you love.
Maybe the one you love didn’t go to jail or never screams at you. Maybe they “just” drink alcohol and don’t do drugs. Maybe they are still making good money and didn’t lose their jobs.
All of that can be true. And you can listen to other women’s stories and feel incredibly grateful you’re not experiencing their issues.
On the other hand, you can also use it as an excuse to stay stuck and justify settling for neglect, disrespect, or abuse.
The questions you need to be asking instead of comparing are:
Am I in a healthy relationship?
The goal of these questions is to take personal inventory of your feelings and values and stop judging your relationship based on someone else’s. What is okay for you might not be for them. And what works for them might not work for you.
The bottom line is that most of us are in love with good people who are covered up by this disease. It’s okay if you are struggling right now. We will make it through this season, we just need to check in with ourselves and stop comparing.
If you found these tips helpful, there are plenty more practical ways we can help ourselves and the ones we love. We don’t need to stay stuck and unhappy. There are better answers. Click here to take a look at one of our programs.
|Jan 14, 2018|
How to REALLY Surrender
The word surrender is used a lot in the world of addiction. One of the things that always bothered me was that I was constantly being told that I needed to let go and surrender, but I never really understood how.
The word surrender to me means letting go of my emotional investment in a certain outcome.
So what’s the opposite of surrendering?
Let me ask you a question, and I promise it’s just you and me so you can keep it real and honest. We don’t do judgment in this safe community of ours.
Would you consider yourself a controlling person?
Do you put forth a lot of effort to get an outcome that you think is beneficial to your situation?
When you are told no, are you the type of person who is determined to make it a yes?
Do you run a situation over and over in your mind, trying to figure out how you can get someone to do whatever it is you think is best?
Let’s make it even more specific. If you love someone suffering from the disease of addiction do you:
Track your loved one’s location most of the time?
If you said yes to even one of these questions, my sister, you are not alone. Welcome. We are your people. We get it. I could have answered yes to every single one of those questions during different times in my life.
And you want to know why you said yes to one or more of those questions? Fear. You’re afraid. You are scared that this disease is going to break apart your family and take away the one you love.
You are holding on with both hands as tightly as you can because the idea of losing your loved one scares you.
So you fight for control. You do the opposite of surrender.
When chaos happens in your life because of this disease, you dig deeper, looking for solutions. You are an overachiever. So you try harder. You read one more self-help book, you make the house even cleaner, you try harder at work, or insist the kids behave even better.
You find an area in your life that you can control and you push harder.
And then what happens? All this effort - where has it gotten you?
There are certain areas of your life where all this effort pays off. Places where your determination and grit has clearly worked in your favor.
If you are controlling with your diet and exercise I bet your body is thanking you.
If you have placed control over your child’s screen time and determined what they can watch and for how long, that’s a benefit to your children.
Control is not always bad. In fact, it’s necessary for the success in our lives.
But, there are some areas where surrendering is the healthiest choice. And I have a feeling you know what I am about to tell you…
Surrendering control over our loved one's addiction is a good thing. Not only for us but for them.
Remember those questions I asked you? It’s not mentally, spiritually, or physically beneficial for us to say yes to any of them. We must let go of trying to control a grown adult. If the one you love is above the age of 18 - surrendering their future is key to your healing.
And the good news is that surrendering is very simple. Just stop making the choices to get in their lane. Stay in yours. Keep yourself busy with your healing and recovery.
Let’s make it even more specific. If you love someone suffering from the disease of addiction this is what surrendering looks like:
Stop tracking your loved one’s location most of the time. Let them go where they want to when they want to.
Stop looking for their hiding spots and keeping track of how much they have had to drink.
If you think they are making bad choices, don’t reach out to them. Get busy doing something you enjoy.
Go to bed and don’t worry when they come home. You can sleep in a different room if you like.
Make a list of chores you would like done and post it on the fridge. Tell them you would love for these to get done and then keep a quiet mouth. If they don’t do them, hire someone. If you can’t afford that, try doing it yourself or letting it go.
Manage your own schedule. Eat when you want to eat. Go out when you want to go out.
Take a deep breath or two or three. Tell yourself that you are a grown adult in love with another grown adult and that healthy relationships do not require micromanaging. You will eventually find out where they have been and what they have been doing.
Please don’t ask people to talk to your loved one about their sobriety. That’s manipulating. Your friends and family will talk to them if they feel that’s appropriate. No need to push.
Next time you Google, look up something that you’re interested in. It could be a new hobby, a vacation, or images for your dream board (we talk a lot more about dream boards in our Love Over Addiction program).
You don’t need to try to be perfect. The only thing you need to try harder at is loving yourself. Spend some alone time every day with God and ask to be reminded how loved and lovely you are.
If you spend too much time trying to fix everything around you so your loved one won’t drink, use drugs, cheat, or look at porn, you are wasting your time. Let things become imperfect - it will have no effect on their bad habits.
The next time you think of doing something kind for them, stop and do something kind for yourself. I’m not telling you to be selfish. But they know you love them. Do you love yourself? Be compassionate and ask yourself, “What do I need right now?” And then go do it.
Anger is a real emotion when you love someone suffering from this disease. Expect it. Let it happen. Don’t fight it. Acknowledge it. Then let it pass through you. It’s okay to make time to be alone for this process.
Their addiction has nothing to do with how well put together your life is. It’s their battle to fight. Love them, support them, and give them consequences and boundaries.
If you’re looking for encouragement, answers, and healing - we have just the program for you. Click here to learn more about our programs and to join our Secret Facebook Group filled with loving and supportive women just like you.
|Jan 07, 2018|
4 Easy Tips For New Years Eve
New Year's Eve is a night of the year that painfully reminds us of the unique relationship of loving someone who drinks too much or has substance abuse issues.
Here are four tips that will help make this holiday a little easier:
Be kind and compassionate with yourself.
Don’t worry if other people are judging you because of your partner’s disease. You are a beautifully created, loving woman. Your self-worth needs to come from God, not your friends or family members. Don’t compare your normal with other people’s normal. They may not be in love with someone suffering from this disease, but I promise you that their partner is not perfect either.
It might be a good idea if you need to leave the room or leave the party – with or without them. Or, choose to skip the party have a cozy evening in with a great book or your favorite movie and some popcorn. Bottom line: create some distance between you and this disease if you need to.
Do not own their embarrassing behavior.
Do not apologize for your partner’s actions and bad behavior. He or she is an adult who needs to make their own apologies. If they are slurring, being inappropriate, or rude, don’t make excuses for them. Let the bottom fall out. It might be the best thing that ever happened to them.
Do not lecture them the next morning.
You don’t need to remind them of their awful choices. He or she already knows. Yelling or giving the silent treatment the morning after will just make them resent you and make you feel guilty.
You are dignified and courageous. You can and will speak with kindness and strength. And if you feel like you just can’t control yourself - leave for an hour or two or make yourself busy with something that brings you joy.
It’s okay to let them know if they ask how they behaved the night before. But no amount of shaming or trying to convince them how bad they were will change anything. They know there’s a problem - they are just not willing to do anything about it yet.
I know these are difficult steps, but I believe that you can do it! You are not alone and I am here cheering you on! Don’t let this disease bring you down. You deserve a fun New Year's Eve - if they are sober or not.
If you haven’t joined us in one of our programs and you want to find answers, hope, and happiness, what are you waiting for? Click here to check out the details. Our programs are offered for just $25 a month. If they are spending money on their bad habits, making an investment in your family's future is a better choice, don’t you think?
|Dec 30, 2017|
Three Tips for a Happy Holiday + BONUS for Mothers
Holidays… when you’re married to a man who drinks too much or suffers from addiction they can be difficult, can’t they?
You’re hoping for the best. You’re praying they will stay sober so you can have a beautiful, warm, and loving holiday.
Maybe you’re planning on visiting with family and they don’t have any idea how bad things have got at home. Or perhaps you have children and you just want their father to be the loving dad they deserve.
I know exactly how you feel. When I was married to a wonderful guy who struggled with this disease, I had really high expectations for the holidays. I decorated the house, cooked delicious food, or sometimes, if I was busy, I would purchase some delicious food, and I would invite my family over to celebrate and have fun.
But during all my planning, I was feeling nervous. In the back of my mind, I was worried that he wouldn’t stay sober and my big plans to have a lovely and happy holiday would be ruined.
And, the truth is, my reality was far different than the dreamy holiday I had fantasized about. There was drinking and drug use, sometimes even days before the actual holiday.
I remember during Christmas, I would see my father carving the turkey and my husband just sitting on the couch with a beer, completely in his own world and think, “Why aren’t you enjoying this holiday with us? This could be so wonderful if you just put down the drink and engage with the ones who love you.”
It made no sense.
And that’s an excellent place for us to begin with this holiday guide:
This disease makes no sense.
Here are three tips to help make your holiday happier:
1. Stop trying to understand the why.
Think about it: Who would choose to feel wasted over feeling the love their family has to offer?
Who would choose to feel a fake kind of joy that drugs or alcohol make them feel, over the real joy of laughing with your loved ones?
Who would choose mind-numbing drugs over receiving the warm love of a spouse?
Someone who is sick. Someone who's out of control and who has a disease.
And the more you try to understand the reason why they make these unhealthy choices, the more frustrated you will become.
2. Have a plan if they refuse to leave the house.
When you’re planning your holiday and you're wondering: “What do I cook, who should I invite over, or where should we go?” Or if you're invited to an event or meeting up with friends, I want you to include a backup plan if they start to drink or use drugs.
In other words, what are you going to do if they start acting up? You might be thinking, “I don’t know what to do, Michelle.”
And I don’t want you to worry because I’m going to offer you some helpful suggestions if they refuse to leave and you have plans to go out.
If they start to drink before a holiday party or event you’re excited about attending, you have a choice.
You can leave the house without them and have a good time.
Here’s what you’re not going to do: you’re not going to make the unhealthy choice to cancel your plans if they refuse to go.
You’re a courageous woman. You can go somewhere without your loved one. You have excellent social skills and people enjoy talking with you. You will be surprised how much fun you can have if you leave them at home.
Think about it: you won’t need to constantly look across the room and worry if they've had another drink. You won’t feel embarrassed about their slurred words or awkward behavior.
The only person you will be responsible for is you (and maybe your children if they are attending).
You can do it! I know you can. I promise you’re more capable than you give yourself credit for.
Even if you have just 5 minutes of fun, it will be better than wasting the evening staying at home upset and disappointed he made his bad choices again.
3. Have a plan if they start drinking too much or using drugs when you’re out.
So let’s say you’re at the holiday party and they may or may not have promised to not drink or use drugs. You’re grateful they're getting out of the house, and you don’t want to nag or start an argument, so you mention how worried you are they will act up.
And then, you see them start to drink. Your throat begins to tighten and you feel like you’ve been punched in the gut. You’re devastated.
But here’s the great news, you don’t need to lose hope. You’re not powerless over this disease. You can take a deep breath and remember: you’re a strong, capable woman. This is just one evening and you can handle it. You have choices.
You can leave the party without them - call a cab or ask a friend to drive you home.
Say nothing when you're out in public and make a promise to yourself that next time, you will not agree to attend an event with them if there's drinking or it’s at a bar.
One warning: if you chose this option to stay out with them and say nothing, make sure you get the car keys. Do NOT get in the car if they refuse to hand you the keys and are under the influence. You’re not only risking your life, but you could also be putting yourself at risk to be a part of a serious accident. If they refuse to give you the keys, take option one and find another ride home.
I am here to tell you, my wonderful sweet friend, that you’re not alone. There are thousands of us out there dealing with the same issue, and you don’t need to stay feeling stuck.
By exercising these choices, you’re choosing to do something about this disease. You’re not just letting it happen to you.You’re giving them consequences and you’re growing into the courageous, loving woman you were made to be.
It might seem scary or uncomfortable, but real change never happens when we are repeating old behaviors. I promise you can do it. Have faith in yourself and believe that God made you with so much more courage than you even realize.
You’ve got this. I am right here for you. You’re not alone.
For parents of alcoholics or substance abusers:
It’s not your fault. You’re a great mother. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this. You care about your child. You love them. And I know you would do anything to get them sober. You must believe you did nothing to cause this.
So if you’re worried about their drinking or drug use and the idea of spending time without them this holiday season is too much, here are a few tips just for you:
If they have too much to drink or they come over to celebrate, make a deal with yourself - this is the last holiday you will invite them over to.
When they have been sober for six months and shown consistent, respectful behavior you will extend an invitation, but until then, this is the last time their toxic lifestyle will be allowed in your presence.
I know this seems hard and perhaps even cruel, but your child needs consequences for their choices. I am giving you permission to relieve yourself of guilt for not including them. You are actually making a tough decision for their benefit.
By doing this, you’re helping your child. They need to see that this kind of behavior will not be welcome nor tolerated.
You don’t need to be mad or upset when you tell them. You need to be secure in your delivery and say something like, “I love you dearly and I miss you. I miss the best part of you. The child I know you were created to be. A sober, responsible, and honest person. And until they are around full time, I am sorry, but you are no longer welcome. I’ll be waiting.”
Or you can say “I love you so much and you need help. Until you consistently get help and are responsible, honest, and sober, I can no longer be around you. Your recovery is your responsibility now. It’s up to you”
By continually bailing them out, you’re enabling them. You think you’re doing it out of love, but it’s actually causing more of the same destructive patterns. We talk a lot more about this in the Love Over Mistakes program, and you can find out more about that at TheLoveOverWay.com.
But for now, my biggest tip is to set the healthy boundary in place that the only people you will be celebrating the holiday with are the ones who are not currently struggling with addiction issues.
The Love Over Addiction, Love Over Boundaries, and Love Over Mistakes programs could be the greatest gift this season that will help you find your joy, offer you practical tips, and make you feel like a giant weight has been lifted off your shoulders.
|Dec 22, 2017|
A Boundaries Victory From One of Our Sisters
Here’s a post that came from our Secret Facebook Group that is full of THE most loving and encouraging friends. There are over 800 women waiting to lift you up and cheer you on.
I think you’ll find one of our sister’s personal story a tremendous encouragement.
Recently, I had a falling out with both my mother (who abandoned me twice and is a narcissist and a dry drunk) and my sister in law (meddling, critical, and a highly suspicious dry drunk).
Clearing my expectations, hopes, and wishes regarding others is a radical experience. It seems that by telling others how I feel with honesty and authenticity and practicing honoring my boundaries has the effect of allowing them to respond in the same incomprehensibly mean, judgemental, defensive way as ever before.
My alcoholic husband is not the root of my trouble. But I can weather the storms of my life so much better with him as a partner, not an anchor, in the storm.
Today, he is so much more a partner than an anchor.
Yes, it's work to set a boundary, to announce it, and to enforce it, but it is so much lighter a load than keeping my feelings bottled up, keeping secrets, and carrying around hurts, hopes, and expectations.
Before this course, I did not know what boundaries were.
Without them, I had no defenses to keep me safe. I relied on others (most of whom are ill-equipped or hurt me regularly) to keep watch.
Now, thanks to Michelle Lisa Anderson, I can say, "I will speak up with kindness and dignity to share how other people's behavior makes me feel."
Keeping silent about anger or hurt is as much of a lie as hiding love or gratitude. "I release what does not serve me," and it doesn’t serve me to be a silent doormat.
Love Over Addiction has helped me love myself more than I am afraid of my husband's addiction. It has helped me love myself more than I fear my mother's rejection. It has helped me love my son enough to teach him to stand up for himself.
I'm proud of myself for doing the work. I'm proud of so many of my sisters in this group, too. Most of all, I love this program and MLA for making it for us.
Isn't this amazing? Can you hear the hope and strength in her writing? She did the work and she started out just like you.
It's the holidays, and it's time to give yourself the gift of recovery and hope just like my friend in the Secret Facebook Group.
If you're feeling lonely, we are here for you. You don't have to be alone. We will help you and encourage you with real practical answers. I hope you join us in one of the programs.
|Dec 17, 2017|
A Story From One Brave Woman
Because this post is so good, it only needs a short introduction from me in addition to saying it's written by one of the women in our Love Over Addiction Secret Facebook Group. I know you'll find hope in her story. Enjoy!
If someone had told me a year ago that 2017 would be the year I found true happiness, I would've been hopeful, but not very trusting or optimistic.
If someone had told me that in 2017 I would be given the opportunity to travel across the country and visit places I had only ever dreamed about, I would've thought they were crazy.
If someone had told me a year ago that within the next year I would meet and marry a kind, generous, loving, successful, educated, adventurous, non-alcoholic man, I would've bet $1 million they were dead wrong. And I would've lost.
One year ago, I felt hopeless. I felt like a failure. The man I loved so very much didn't love himself, and I couldn't change it. Lord knows I tried. I refused to accept reality because it differed so greatly from what I wanted it to be.
But there was a plan bigger than my own.
In December 2016, my alcoholic gave me the gift of infidelity. Yes, I said gift. It was truly the best Christmas present I never knew I wanted. It was my final straw.
And let me be very clear, I was devastated. I was in shock. Utterly and completely shattered. I wanted to run back to him so very badly. I was scared to death.
The hardest part about ending that relationship was my fear of the unknown. I didn't know what would happen next - with me, my two daughters, or with him. It was terrifying. To say that I finally accepted reality or trusted God's plan would be a complete lie. The only thing I knew for sure was that I didn't want to live like that anymore.
Thanks to the support, reassurance, and lessons from Love Over Addiction and the kind, loving, beautiful women in this group, I stumbled through those first two months of grief.
I held my ground and my head began to lift. It was not easy. I can honestly say it was the most difficult thing I have ever been through. But I am here to tell you, it is possible.
Doors began opening immediately. Opportunities and situations that I thought only existed in romantic comedies and fairy tales were suddenly present in my own life.
I swore off dating for one year. I knew I needed time to heal. That was my plan (because y'all know we're always planning how things should happen in our lives).
I never imagined His plan would be so much better than mine.
I joined my local gym back in August 2016 after yet another traumatic, short-term "break" from long-term my alcoholic boyfriend. I had zero expectations but knew my goal was to run a local half marathon the following spring.
The running class was scheduled to begin January 4, 2017. My relationship ended suddenly and unexpectedly on Dec 27. I really just wanted to lie in bed and cry on January 4th, but something made me get up and go.
I had already committed to it and I was tired of my alcoholic boyfriend's antics ruining my plans. I went faithfully twice a week until the race in early March. I finished my very first half marathon and felt a sense of pride for that accomplishment.
My running coach was kind and professional. He was also very proud of each one of us in the class. I won't lie, he was also handsome. But a relationship wasn't in plan, and I tried my best to ignore any spark between us.
By April it was undeniable. He asked me on a date, and I thought, “Why not?” He was a true gentleman and we had a phenomenal time. He even paid for our date! I certainly wasn't used to that!
I always heard that when you meet "the one," you just know.
I never understood that until now. It truly is this unconditional love.
It's a non-circumstantial, comfortable feeling of love and trust. No matter what I do or say or how I act, this man loves me and I love him. I don't fear him leaving me in the middle of the night if my kids act up.
I don't fear him cheating on me if I don't want to have sex at the exact moment he does.
I don't fear that he could stop loving me at any moment.
I don't feel the need to check his phone or look for his hiding places.
To put it simply, it's easy. It's what I always envisioned "normal life" to be.
We decided there was no reason to wait to spend forever together. He proposed on June 24th, and we went to a local courthouse on July 14th.
Some people probably think we're crazy and that it was "too soon," but I can't explain the feeling of fate. I have never been happier. And not because he makes me happy, but because I am finally happy with myself.
I took a girls trip to Zion National Park in June without having to worry about whether or not he would drink too much.
We are going to San Francisco next month for our honeymoon. He is surprising my girls with a trip to New York City for Christmas. So many opportunities I never dreamed possible.
I credit Michelle Lisa Anderson and all you lovely ladies for helping me reach that point, but, ultimately, my life turned 180 degrees because I made a difficult, terrifying decision.
It was up to me to take that leap. Just like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, I was wearing the ruby slippers the entire time - I just didn't know what to do with them.
I'll end this story with a small piece of unsolicited advice (sorry, sometimes I just can't help myself).
If you are waiting for your next move to be painless, seamless, or easy, you will never move.
It is very painful. It is terrifying. It is difficult.
But most importantly, it is not only possible, but it is beyond rewarding.
My journey is just that… my journey. My ex-alcoholic boyfriend's journey is his journey. I truly believe that his journey intertwined with mine for a purpose.
I learned so many things about myself that I never would've known without being in a relationship with an alcoholic.
When I began to trust my thoughts and feelings, I realized I was valid and important. I began to see that his journey and my journey were different, and that was okay. That was the reality.
I have no idea where my ex is or what he is doing. It doesn't matter. I sincerely wish him the best. I am thankful for the five-plus years we spent together.
I believe he was placed in my life as an opportunity for me to grow, learn, practice humility, experience and give grace, and become the best possible version of myself.
I am not encouraging you to leave your alcoholic. I am not pretending to understand your circumstances, because all of our circumstances are similar yet completely different.
Wherever your journey takes you, I want you to know you are worthy of love and respect. Love and respect yourself with every fiber of your being and life begins to look a lot brighter. There's a plan for you that's bigger than your imagination.
What an incredible, inspiring story. Does it bring tears to your eyes? Hope to your heart? I hope it impacted you as profoundly as it did me.
If you haven’t joined Love Over Addiction, we’d absolutely love to have you. Whether you stay with your alcoholic or not, we are here for you and a rewarding life is waiting for you!
|Dec 10, 2017|
The Truth About Trusting Them After Rehab
How do you trust your partner again? Can it ever be possible? Or will you always worry and constantly be waiting for the other shoe to drop?
Trusting again is entirely possible. You can, and you should, trust the one you are planning on spending the rest of your life with. If you can’t trust them, you’ll end up exhausted from the constant anxiety that they will disappoint you again.
So how do you get to a place where you can relax in peace and finally trust the one who has hurt you and lied to you about their drinking, drug use, cheating, or pornography?
You watch, you don’t listen. You open your eyes and you close your ears.
This disease knows how to say exactly what will help it get away with anything. It knows your buttons and just the right one to push to get you to deny your gut or make you believe that you’re crazy and there is nothing to be upset about.
Don’t allow someone to make you feel guilty for not trusting right out rehab. I think that’s almost impossible. There hasn’t been enough time loving you in the real world to gain trust.
But you’re a smart woman. And you can sense when something is wrong. Don’t be manipulated.
I could always tell just from the way he said “hello” when he had been drinking. My stomach would just feel like it was being punched. My throat would sometimes close up or my heart would sink.
So from now on, next time he promises that he won’t drink anymore, don’t listen. Wait and watch to see if his actions line up with that.
If he says he isn’t going to go to the bar after work, ignore it. And wait to see what he actually does after work.
What about the computer screen that he looks at late at night that he swears will never show pictures or videos of naked women again? Nod your head, but let his promises pass right through you. And see if he sneaks into the office again.
Now let’s be super clear about something: I’m not giving you permission to wait around the house and monitor his behavior. That wouldn’t be healthy, would it?
I am saying stop paying attention to the words from someone who has a history of lying to you.
Don’t hang onto his promises and get your heart broken because you believed him.
Wait to see what his actions prove.
I spoke to a woman whose husband is making it very easy for her to trust him again. He comes home clean and sober when he says he’s going to be home.
Her husband makes attending his meetings the biggest priority in his life. He chooses not to miss one no matter what comes up.
He is so passionate about his sobriety that he is choosing to mentor young men.
That is an example of a man who is working hard to regain his wife's trust. And it’s working. Because he’s consistent. He has not had six relapses in six weeks.
Trust only works with consistency and time. If he’s relapsed, give yourself permission to relapse with your trust.
If you haven’t joined us in one of our programs and you want to find answers, hope, and happiness, what are you waiting for? Click here to check out the details. Our programs are offered for just $25 a month. If your partner is spending money on their bad habits, making an investment in your family's future is a more valuable choice, don't you think?
|Dec 03, 2017|
What To Do if They Drink and Drive
Are you worried about your partner drunk driving?
When you ask them for the keys, do they refuse?
Do they try to convince you that they are fine?
They might tell you they have spread out their drinking over the night, or that they only had beer and not liquor. Or perhaps they are abusing drugs and you can tell they are high and shouldn’t get behind the wheel.
But what should you do if you’re concerned about others on the road?
Are you stuck always having to drive them home (that is, if they let you)? And if they don’t give you the keys, what would happen if someone got hurt?
I’m going to tell you what to do, but I want to warn you first. You’re not going to love my answer. It’s going to be difficult for you. But your uncomfortable decision could save the life of the one you love and the innocent lives of others who are sharing the road with someone who legally should not be behind the wheel.
Are you ready for this loving truth?
Here's what you do... if you know he's been drinking and he refuses to give you the keys, the second he gets in the car you need to call the police. They don’t have to know you’re the one that called.
I know that sounds harsh, but you could be saving his life and the lives of many others on the road. If he gets into an accident, you could lose not just him, but things that are mutually in your name.
He will be arrested and maybe serve some jail time, but that could be the best thing that ever happened to him (and you).
I know this will be difficult and scary, but please consider setting this boundary. Consequences are necessary for the ones we love to sober.
Read more about my program, Love Over Boundaries here.
|Nov 26, 2017|
A Truth About Sobriety That No One Talks About
There is a very common issue in the world of addiction called dry drunk. It’s when someone is actively refraining from drinking, but still displaying signs of selfishness, stubbornness, lack of accountability, and blame.
And it’s shocking because for so long you’ve thought if they just got sober everything would be better.
If they just got sober, they would turn into the loving, kind person they used to be and your relationship would be everything you wanted and more.
But when they stop drinking they get cranky. And mean. You end up walking on eggshells even more because you never know what kind of mood they will be in.
And the selfish, narcissistic behavior actually gets worse. How could that be? Alcohol and/or drugs were the root of our problems, so why isn't it better?
If the one you love is resentful, angry, depressed, anxious, jealous, speaking fondly of his or her drinking days, self-obsessed, or now addicted to something else that’s unhealthy (like sex, video games, or food) they are probably considered a dry drunk.
So what do you do about it?
First, let’s start with the fact that this is normal behavior for some. Drinking or drug use was their way of coping. Now that that has been taken away, they are left with all these feelings and don’t know how to handle them like a mature, loving adult.
And unless they are willing to get outside help like counseling, AA support groups, a sober-living house, yoga, small groups, etc., this behavior will most likely continue.
The other sad news is that dry drunk behavior often leads to relapse. I’m not sharing this with you to make you scared, but I believe knowledge is power and removing the scales from your eyes is the BEST way to start your recovery and deal with this disease.
Most importantly, I need to you hear this, so lean in closely:
Their awful behavior is NOT your fault.
Don’t let this disease try to blame you. You’re a loving and wonderful partner. You’ve done the best you can to deal with this relationship.
If they get cranky, try not to be around them. You can sleep in another room, schedule things without them on the weekends, eat dinner when you feel like it, and don’t need to wait for them to show up.
Get busy getting busy. Create your own space until they get the help they need. Create and enforce your boundaries. And most importantly get the help you need.
If you haven’t joined us already, this is the time. There are three programs for every stage of your recovery (including mothers). Check them out by clicking here. It’s time to commit.
|Nov 19, 2017|
This Could Happen Coming Home From Rehab
Rehab can be the best thing that has ever happened to someone trying to get sober. And for many brave men and women, it is the starting point for their sobriety.
Others come home and are back to their old ways within days. But there seems to be a growing trend happening that I want to talk about.
Many women in the Love Over Addiction program are telling me that the ones they love are coming home and choosing to get drunk the very day they come home from rehab. Sometimes, they even stop at the airport bar after the flight they took when they checked out of rehab.
I know this might be discouraging to read. I work really hard at trying to keep this from being one more place on the internet for venting, complaining, and defeat. Instead, I intend to create a safe and loving community full of women who can celebrate their victories and who are open to learning how to take back their control over this disease.
We are not victims. We are smart, loving women who are good wives and mothers. We have many gifts to offer this world, and the purpose of our lives is not to make the ones we love sober.
So when your partner comes back from rehab, I want you to check your expectations. Sure, they’ve done a wonderful job in a controlled environment where every day they are surrounded by other people whose intention is not to get drunk, use drugs, or look at pornography. They also have the assistance of some amazing counselors who have most likely found their own long-term sobriety.
The reality is that it’s scary for alcoholics and addicts to go back into the real world.
There are triggers all around them. They may not trust themselves. They may find temptations all around them.
Our world advertises social drinking everywhere. Unless you want nothing more in the world than to get sober, you won’t. And no rehab - no matter how good - can make you have that desire.
That’s the truth. And you know it because you’re a smart woman.
The very best thing you can do when they get home from rehab is to make sure you’ve done your own program. While they're working hard at trying to figure out their issues, you need to get started on your own.
The last thing they need (or deserve) when they get home is for you to nag, yell, worry, or police him. I know that’s hard. Trust me - I don’t say this with judgment. I did every one of those things I just mentioned.
I understand that it’s difficult to trust them. And that will take lots and lots of time. It could even take years (and I’ll write about that more in a few weeks).
But for now, your only job is to get busy working on yourself by starting one of our programs.
You have been through just as much (if not more) as they have. You have bags to unpack and feelings to work through. You have tools you need to learn and confidence you need to gain. You need boundaries and self-care. You need a program.
If you haven’t joined us yet, now’s the time. It’s not just about making your healing a priority. It’s about giving your future the best chance of real change. Finding your happiness again. Discover the real you and how wonderfully made you are.
|Nov 12, 2017|
How to Deal With Lying
I was talking to a wonderful and wise woman who has joined the Love Over Addiction program, and she was telling me a story about her husband who lied to her about his drinking.
She walked in on him sitting in his office and sensed that he had been drinking again. She confronted him and he denied it. So she picked up the glass and said, “What is this?” He told her it was Coke and swore there wasn’t any alcohol in it.
She took a sip and said it tasted funny. But he kept saying it was just soda.
This loving and smart woman felt like she was going crazy because it didn’t taste like it was just soda. It didn’t look like just Coke. But he was looking her right in the eye swearing it was just soda.
So she took the drink and walked it over to her neighbor's house and made him try it. He said, “Whatever that is, it’s not just soda.”
It’s ridiculous how this disease can make us feel like we’re going crazy when we try to call our partner out on a lie and they deny, deny, deny.
So what do you do the next time you're convinced they’re lying that won’t make you feel like you're going crazy?
It’s very simple and it’s something you can start to do immediately.
The next time you’re convinced the one you love is lying to you about anything (because addiction loves to try and get away with a LOT), you let them know this: you know the truth.
BUT, here’s the deal: you need to tell them this very calmly and in one or two sentences, and then you hang up, walk out of the room, disengage.
So in my friend's situation, this is what she would do:
He is NOT going to say, “You’re right honey. That’s a drink and I was trying to trick you. I love you so much. Please forgive me and wait right here while I throw it out.”
We both know that won’t happen so don’t expect it.
You know it’s a drink. I know it’s a drink. Your partner knows it’s a drink. Accept that you are with someone who drinks or uses drugs. For today, you’re choosing to stay with him or her. Tomorrow might be different, though, and you reserve the right to change your mind.
When you try to prove they are drinking or using, you’re attempting to control or admit they have a problem. Stop. Take a deep breath and remember you ARE in control - over yourself and your reaction. And you can go about your day with or without him or her now that you know the truth.
If you haven’t joined us in one of our programs and you want to find answers, hope, and happiness, what are you waiting for? Click here to check out the details. Our programs are offered for just $25 a month. If your partner is spending money on their bad habits, making an investment in your family's future is a more valuable choice, don't you think?
|Nov 05, 2017|
Feeling Stuck? Here’s the simple solution.
Last week I was speaking with a woman who booked a personal coaching call with me. She was feeling stuck, and she wanted to leave but couldn't bring herself to imagine ACTUALLY leaving. She was looking for a breakthrough that would convince her that leaving or staying was the “right thing to do.”
I told her, don't worry about getting to the finish line today. Just figure out the next 3 steps.
For her, that meant:
Breaking down your big goals into smaller steps is the best way to avoid getting overwhelmed. Plus you get a quick sense of accomplishment.
Remember: we don’t do judgment in this community. We will never tell you to stay or leave. You reserve the right to stay today and change your mind tomorrow.
What are the next 3 steps in your recovery?
It could be to focus on your physical recovery - and so you need to find a gym near you. Make an appointment to take a tour and get the class schedule.
It could be your mental recovery, and you need to join one of our programs (read the details by clicking here and decide what program looks perfect for you).
It could be your spiritual recovery, and you need to head to your local bookstore and read up on all the different types of authors and teachers, select a few books to take home with you and put them on your bedside table for evening reading.
Whatever your goals are, and whatever phase of recovery you’re in, take a moment right now to write down the next 3 steps you're committed to taking.
You can do this. I am right behind you cheering you on.
If you’ve been feeling stuck, I also recommend going through my program, Love Over Addiction. This program sets the foundation for your personal transformation from being lonely and scared to feeling a deep sense of peace and hopefulness about your future. I hope you join us.
P.S. We are starting a new podcast called Love Over Addiction. You'll hear real-life stories of the brave women in our community who have overcome, found happiness and are deeply committed to healing. I know you're going listen and nod your head a lot, maybe laugh and cry and be left with hope. Just subscribe to the emails and we'll let you know when new episodes come out.
|Oct 29, 2017|
How Addiction Can Be A Blessing For Our Kids
Let's be real, loving someone who drinks too much or suffers from substance abuse can feel like the opposite of a blessing.
But one of the things that make our community different is that we refuse to just talk about the dark sides of this disease. Many, many blessings come out of a complicated relationship. And today, I want to talk about one of them.
I am divorced. And I was the one who chose to leave my husband after ten years of trying to “help” him get sober. We have three children together. And one of the greatest fears that kept me suffering in my marriage was the idea that leaving would break our family apart. I was so afraid that I would do serious damage to my children.
A few years ago I was a Keynote Speaker for a Celebrate Recovery conference. I brought my oldest son, Lance who was 12 at the time to hear me speak. His response to my talk about his father made me weep.
Below is an excerpt from an email to all attendees and the entire church written by the man who ran the conference. He refers to Dr. Jerry Cade who is a wonderful guy that heads up the National Christian Counseling Association (I ended up being a Keynote from them after this talk).
I hope you find hope and see this disease really does bring blessings. Not just for you, but for your children as well. It’s not all dark, and there is so much light just waiting for you. Have faith that blessings are just around the corner.
Michelle Anderson's wonderfully titled program, Love Over Addiction, is giving wisdom to women about loving a man who suffers from substance abuse. Michelle's young son, Lance, joined her for the entire day. She mentioned Lance in her address and the fact that this was his first time ever to hear his mom speak in such a formal presentation. Dr. Cade wrote, "I happened to sit by him (Lance). Maybe it was just me, but I think that at the end of Michelle's talk, he jumped to his feet and began to applaud and led all the rest of us to a standing ovation. Love over addiction, indeed!"
No, Jerry, it wasn't just you --- I saw it, too --- a boy who, without thought of embarrassment, jumped from the pew applauding; but, it was his face I will remember - a young boy's face lit up with a righteous pride that shouted from the rooftop, "That is MY mom!!! I am HER son!!" If nothing else had happened in the entire conference but that one moment in time for that one boy, then Re-Creation lived up to its name!”
I adore you my reader and you’re an amazing mother. I promise you that this disease will not ruin them if you communicate with your kids about what’s going on.
|Oct 22, 2017|
7 Questions You Need To Ask Yourself When You Love An Alcoholic or Substance Abuser
Do you feel exhausted from loving someone suffering from addiction? Are you worried about the one you love so much your heart hurts? Are you wondering how to help them get them sober or convince them they have a problem and need help? Do you wonder if they will ever change?
When you love someone suffering from addiction, the list of worries goes on and on.
All that worrying can take a toll on our bodies.
Here’s what’s important to remember - allow yourself to crash. Give yourself the necessary space to take a deep breath and go back to bed if you need to. Sit on the couch and watch your favorite show. Sleep in. Take a vacation if you can.
If you’re tired and you're at the gym, walk instead of run. Read a good book in a cozy chair and skip the grocery store. Order in and don’t make dinner. Vacuuming can wait until another day. Be kind and gentle with yourself.
Put down the phone and don’t worry about being available to everyone all the time. Call in from work and take the day off. Take a mental health day.
We are known to work too hard. We have been responsible our entire lives. It’s okay to permit ourselves to take a break. Sit on the porch and watch your neighbors pass by.
Go to an easy flow yoga class. Download the free Calm app that will teach you how to breathe. For the next few days, just be kind to yourself. Take it easy. Take a break from the role of fixer, pleaser, and caregiver.
Do the minimum needed to make sure things are taken care of. Stay in your favorite pajamas. Cancel your plans.
Resting and being still is healing. Busyness can prevent us from feeling. You need to take a break from the chaos that surrounds you in order to find peace through the stillness.
Creating distance between you and the dysfunction allows you to take inventory and ask yourself some fundamental questions:
What do I want?
Just take a day to imagine and get back in touch with YOUR desires. Ask yourself: WHAT DO YOU WANT? This should feel fun and indulgent. So much of your energy has been about their sobriety - it’s your turn now.
If you haven’t joined us in one of our programs and you want to find answers, hope, and happiness, what are you waiting for? Click here to check out the details. Our programs are offered for just $25.00 a month. If they are spending money on their bad habits, making an investment in your family's future is a better choice, don't you think?
|Oct 15, 2017|
How To Tell If They Love Alcohol More Than They Love You
The other day, my husband and I were celebrating a special event. We came home, got our pajamas on, tucked the kids into bed, and prepared for a cozy evening in.
I was standing in our bathroom washing my face and he walked in with a drink. And all of a sudden I felt a feeling I hadn’t experienced in years. My stomach got tight and I felt a little lump in my throat.
As I mentioned, we had been out and had our limit of two drinks. I don’t have a drinking problem and neither does he, so we don’t intentionally choose that amount. We just know from experience that three drinks are one too many for us.
So when he walked into the bathroom with drink number three, it took me off guard. I was unprepared. After a few moments, I realized - these were old feelings surfacing from my first husband who has a drinking and drug problem.
My quick, subconscious reaction to his third drink was a trigger caused by the pain from my past.
As I was staring at myself in the mirror blotting my face with a washcloth, I debated if I should say anything. He’s not my ex. He’s a sober, responsible man. Shouldn’t I be fine?
But then I thought if I did something that was causing him to have his old buttons pushed I would want to know.
So I kindly said, “I love you, honey, and I just need you to know that I’m feeling uncomfortable that you’re having another drink. I’m not asking you to pour it out - it’s just bringing up a lot of old feelings for me.”
And you know what he did?
Before I could even get the last few words out of my mouth, he was pouring it down the bathroom sink. He wasn’t angry or resentful. It was a natural choice for him that didn’t even require any more conversation.
I gave him a huge hug and thanked him over and over.
And that’s when I realized - when you love someone who isn't struggling with this disease - they will gladly get rid of the alcohol if they know you're even mildly upset. It’s not a big deal to them.
If you’re wondering if your partner loves alcohol more than he or she loves you, ask them to throw out the next bottle or cup and see how he reacts.
I know in my first marriage I begged, pleaded, threatened, and manipulated to try and get him to do the very thing Brian did in our bathroom. And it never worked.
Now and then I get transported back into my past and I can compare the life I had then to the life I have now. This is what I know for sure… I’m so glad I stopped focusing on his issues and started to focus on mine. If I didn’t commit to my recovery, I never would have had that moment in the bathroom.
If you’re ready to commit to your healing – join one of our programs and let’s get started. They are full of REAL tips (and not a lot of fluff) that you can start using immediately.
|Oct 08, 2017|
For Mothers & Wives Who Are Feeling Defeated and Helpless
A woman in our community told me she’s heard some mothers say it’s easier for wives who love someone suffering from addiction or alcoholism because they can leave their husbands, but a mother's role never ends.
And I lovingly disagree.
True, a married couple with no children can divorce and never speak again. So can a married couple who had a child together. And so can a mother who needs to step away from her addicted son.
Everyone, no matter what the relation to the one suffering from this disease, chooses how to react.
Nobody is helpless. No one gets to throw their hands in the air and just be a victim. There are real tools and practical actions we can take every day that will bring back control and order to our lives and help the ones we love.
We are not powerless over this disease.
You have been doing the best that you could do.
You didn’t cause your child or loved one to drink or use drugs, and you are not responsible for their destiny. However, you can find success by helping yourself.
Your job is to become educated by learning the practical tools that will replace your old, enabling behavior and help you find relief and freedom, whether they get sober or not.
I know you feel overwhelmed with all the dysfunction going on in your family. Your greatest fear is that they will run off and get hurt or killed. You might be taking on some unnecessary guilt and your anxiety might be keeping you stuck and feeling helpless. You don’t want to break up your family, but you can’t imagine living like this forever.
I get it. In this special and non-judgemental community filled with amazing women, we all understand how you feel.
And here’s the loving truth: you don’t need to put up with abusive behavior.
You can say “no” and risk them being mad at you. You do have the strength to overcome your greatest fears.
The tools in the Love Over Mistakes program (for wives and mothers) might make you feel uncomfortable at first. But you and I both know you’ve needed to make changes for a while. What you’ve been doing isn’t helping.
The Love Over Mistakes program will help break the cycle of enabling and give you success. You will no longer feel guilty. Instead, you’ll have a clear roadmap of what you can do and what you should stop doing to help the one you love and help yourself.
I hope you decide to join us. You are not helpless. There is hope.
|Oct 01, 2017|
Why does your partner spend time with their friends over you?
If you’re married to someone who leaves the house to hang out with his or her friends or who stops at the bar on the way home and you’re wondering why they don't want to spend time with you (and the kids, if you have any) I want to ask you a question about a bad habit you may have picked up.
And before I ask you, it’s important to know that the reason I ask is because I used to have this very bad habit. So there’s no judgment - ever. Just promise me that you’ll be honest because we can’t heal if we’re not honest with ourselves and each other.
We are a sisterhood. We get one another. We’re in a safe place and we are all connected.
Here’s my question to you: are you nagging your partner when he or she drinks or uses drugs?
If you’re nagging, you’re enabling. Your partner knows their choices are bad and they don't want to be called on it. My ex-husband used to leave for days at a time because I would not put up with his drinking around our three young kids. And he didn’t want to deal with me being a nagging wife.
And when he left - who do you think he went and hung out with? Other women like me? Of course not. He went and found other alcoholics and addicts. People who would tell him his behavior is okay. People who might even be worse off than he was so he can feel superior.
Their “friends” are not holding them accountable. They are not pointing out the fact that he or she should be home and sober with their family.
The sign that your partner wants to leave the house means that you’re in a healthier place than he or she is. So next time you feel tempted to nag him to ask yourself, "Does this really work?" And more importantly, "When I nag how does it make me feel about myself?" Chances are - not very good.
Honor yourself by refusing to be the nagging wife.
Get on with your life and your choices and let your partner make theirs. If he or she is not coming home, get busy doing something that makes you happy. A bubble bath, cleaning out a closet, going for a walk, baking some cookies. Make a list of ten things that bring you joy and do one thing every time you feel tempted to nag. Meet your own needs. This will help you get back control over this disease not by being controlling, but by being accountable for your choices.
You can do this! I am right here beside you reminding you - even in the worst of times - you’re not alone. I know how you feel.
If you’re ready to make your healing as important as your partner’s sobriety – we are waiting for you. Our programs are online, confidential, and you have lifetime access – so you can do them at your own pace.
|Sep 24, 2017|
A Must Read For Women Who Always Take Care of Everyone Else
A while ago, I went skilling with my family in Whistler, Canada, and when I came back I just didn’t feel like myself. I would wake up in the morning feeling exhausted after an 8-hour sleep. I kept thinking it was jet lag, but weeks went by and I just never felt better. A few years ago I had gone in for some blood work and the doctor noticed some of my levels were high.
Turns out, I was diagnosed with autoimmune, low iron, and hypothyroidism, among some other things.
The last several months have been a struggle. I lost my ambition to do most things. I went to my hairdresser and she noticed my hair was unhealthy and falling out. I gained weight around my mid-section (fun). I was just not feeling myself.
The weeks were filled with doctor's appointments, vitamins, medications, and more.
The other night, I was sitting on the couch watching a movie - something I don’t usually do. Sitting in combination with movie watching and not multitasking? That’s when I knew there must be something wrong.
My sweet husband was in the laundry room folding laundry (think super large, 8-person-family-size laundry). And I was sitting on the couch. Doing nothing else.
Do you have any idea how hard it was for me to just sit there knowing that he was doing a chore and I was doing nothing? I felt so guilty. And then I started to think of all the ways I could repay him. It almost killed me not to get up off the couch and tell him, “Thanks, hon, I’ve got it from here.”
In the last few weeks, he’s put the kids to bed while I pore over medical articles. He’s emptied the dishwasher and taken the kids to the playground so I could nap. It’s really ridiculous.
But then it occurred to me - he’s serving me. And he expects nothing back. Most of my life - certainly all my adult life - I have been thinking of ways to serve everyone else. My kids, my husband, my friends. And now, it’s my time to be served. To accept the loving acts of kindness that my husband is doing for me.
I had never had a husband that was willing to do something kind. When you’re married to someone suffering from addiction, it’s usually (but not in every case) all about them. Their needs, their timeline, their choices. We become an afterthought.
I don’t share this with you to brag. I hope you know my heart’s intention is good. But I thought about you (as I often do) and wondered... if you had this kind of thoughtfulness offered to you, would you be able to accept it?
Or would you be like me, and feel guilty or like you owe someone something in return?
Why don’t we start accepting the help we need?
What about starting off small, like saying “yes, please” when the grocery clerk offers to carry your bags to the car?
Or “yes, please” when a friend offers to bring over dinner?
Or when we're feeling really brave, next time you're vulnerable with someone and they offer to help - actually tell them, “You know what would be so helpful?” and then name your need. Dinner, picking up the kids from school, a girl's night. Whatever.
We have to stop being afraid of asking for what we need and start feeling deserving enough to receive.
You and I, we are givers. We are women who love to take care of everyone else.
Thanks to an amazing doctor, I am back to 100% health. And because of my “time off” I am a little more balanced in the giving/receiving area.
It was a great reminder to me that accepting help doesn't make us weak - it makes us real. And being vulnerable enough to receive is truly an act of strength.
I go into self-care more in the Love Over Addiction program. I really hope you join me because making your healing a priority is one of the best ways to help your family start recovering from this disease - whether they get sober or not.
|Sep 17, 2017|
Should You Drink Around An Alcoholic?
When you love someone suffering from addiction is it ok to drink around them?
Sometimes it’s easy to say “no, thank you” when we’re asked if we would like a glass of wine or pretty beverage since we have grown to hate the very substance that’s tearing our family apart.
But other times, we wonder… am I enabling him if I drink around him? If I’m telling him not to drink should I avoid people drinking too?
These are great questions.
Here's what I always recommend: try not to drink in front of your loved one. I did not drink in front of mine for 10 years. It had no effect on his drinking (he still drank and used drugs) but it helped me know that I was not a stumbling block.
If I had a drinking problem (and thank God I don’t), I think it would bother me to be around other people who drink. That's why a lot of non-drinkers stick together - it takes away the pressure. If they were trying to quit smoking - would we light up a cigarette in front of them? I would hope not.
You're not going to be able to avoid social situations where people don't drink and your loved one needs to learn how to handle it, but I would personally, as his wife, support him when you're at home or out by ordering a coke, tea or water.
Refraining from drinking in front of an alcoholic is one of the most loving acts of kindness we can do for the ones who struggle with this disease.
If you found this tip helpful there are plenty more practical ways we can help ourselves and the ones we love. We don’t need to stay stuck and unhappy. There are better answers. Click here to take a look at one of our programs and payment plans.
|Sep 10, 2017|
If You're Feeling Tired of Being Strong
I love to remind you how strong and courageous you are. I choose these adjectives for two reasons: one--I know they are true about you and two--this disease tries (and sometimes succeeds) at making us feel weak and helpless.
But if you’re the type of woman like me who always feels like she has to be strong, who takes problems head on and is constantly looking for solutions, sometimes, just sometimes, being strong and courageous is NOT the best answer right away.
For most of my life I have been considered the strong one in the family. When I am hurt I don’t usually cry or hide. I usually confront the situation or person. When I see injustice I speak up (especially for my kids) and I don’t have a problem taking on other people's issues and helping in any way I can.
And most of the time this works for me.
But every now and then I see a really soft, tender-hearted person who dares to be vulnerable and I get jealous (that was embarrassing to admit).
I am thinking of a certain woman whom I went to dinner with. During the entire dinner she was soft spoken. She was a wonderful listener and only contributed when she had value to add. She was petite and tender. Even her soft pastel clothing was innocent looking.
I know when she gets hurt she cries. She explains her feelings with an open heart and vulnerability.
And everyone melts.
And this is where I get jealous. Because nobody really feels sorry for the strong ones. I can’t tell you the number of times I have struggled in my life and my parents told me, “I don’t worry about you Michelle. I know you can take care of yourself.”
And a part of me is flattered they think I’m so capable and a part of me wants them to worry a little.
Being strong and courageous are virtues that I would never ever want to give up. But this woman at lunch reminded me that it’s also important for us to be soft and allow ourselves to fall apart when we need to.
To pause for half an hour, half a day or half a month and just cry. Let it out. I don’t need to immediately pick up the pieces every time right away. I might need to let myself sit in the pain on the bathroom floor for a moment. Let my heart open up to the struggle and be really daring. Let someone I trust see me falling apart.
And even say “Yes, please!” if someone kindly offers to help me instead of always being in control.
I asked my Secret Facebook Group how they felt about the idea of allowing ourselves to take a break from being strong and courageous and this is what they said (they are soo wise): I will never use names - privacy is our most important priority. Always.
“I feel like I'm saying a lot lately ‘there is beauty in the breakdown’ and it's ok to fall apart because that's necessary in order to become whole again. We tried to be perfect (wives, daughters) and that's what got us here in the first place. If we own each feeling, and accept each feeling, then we can process it peacefully in our own time and move forward to a more beautiful place.”
“Sometimes what may appear to be weakness....breaking down, crying, withdrawing....is actually the strongest thing we can do. Admitting we can't do it all is strong!”
“Being strong, I think, to me looks like not being consumed by grief, bitterness, or shame. If I let it out I'm dealing with it and walking THROUGH the pain, not around it. So, if I need a sick day or cry at a stoplight, or whatever, I'm dealing with it and walking through it... focused on not being consumed.”
“Yes. Surrendering to how we REALLLLY feel!! I have to let myself do that every now and again! I have to remind myself it's ok to have ALLLLL of the feels! The bad ones. The negative ones. The pessimistic ones. They are ALL valid. I actually feel a great release when I finally realize that what I am doing is BLOCKING the flow of the negative feelings in order to ‘stay strong’ and ‘be positive.’”
“I think definitely it's okay to relieve ourselves of the need to always be strong. We're always taking care of so many things in our daily lives. Through yoga I've learned that sometimes just being quiet and getting in touch with how we're truly feeling can allow those feelings to bubble to the surface, and then clear away. Also, because we are always going, going, going, to put ourselves in a receptive state to pull our energy inward is a good way to renew that strength and courage.”
“I do think we need a break! At least I do somedays. Not to wallow in it, but just to grieve the losses we endure and must come to terms with. Sometimes just being given permission to cry it out, rant and rave and feel the anger and sadness can be such a great release. That alone can give me the strength and courage to keep moving forward.”
“I think sometimes feeling the emotions and falling apart at times is being strong and courageous. You are being true to yourself.”
Do you see why I love these women so much?! There is such amazing wisdom in our online group. If you’re interested in joining us - we would LOVE to have you. You get immediate access after you purchase any one of the programs. And because the group is Secret - none of your friends and family will be able to tell you’re a member or see your posts. Facebook does a great job of hiding all activity.
|Sep 03, 2017|
Why Did He Fall In Love With You?
The other night I was folding laundry - that’s a daily chore with a large family… thankfully, I have a very nice laundry room where I can watch the kids in the pool or playing in the backyard while I fold and stack.
I was in the middle of moving the clothes from the washer to the dryer and I was thinking of you (because I spend a lot of my time thinking of you) and I had a thought that made me stop and think I needed to tell you this right away.
We always say this disease happens to good men right? And it’s true. We love good people who are suffering with a disease. At their roots they are good. They are gifted and full of potential. That’s why we fell in love with them in the first place, because we see their true beautiful selves.
But here’s another important thing to remember that I think we miss. We are really gifted women too. This disease is attracted to us because of all our wonderful qualities.
We’re not crazy - even though addiction tries to make us feel that way. It’s actually quite the opposite. We are very sane and very capable women. That’s why we come up with so many wonderful ways to help them (even though they never take us up on it for very long).
We are loving women who are fiercely loyal. There’s nothing we wouldn’t do for the ones we love. We protect and serve and then serve some more.
And I am sure some of you are thinking, “what’s so special about this? I’ve always been this way.”
But that’s my point. What comes naturally for us are very rare gifts to find in others. What makes us special is the exact reason why addiction loves women like us.
Do you know how many women are in this community? Over 17,000. And do you know how many of us are successful women? We are Working Mothers, Lobbyist, Lawyers, Nurses, Marketing Directors, Triathletes, Entrepreneurs and Teachers. The list goes on and on.
We are not stupid like this disease tries to make us feel. We are very capable, smart women who can manage a whole lot more than just herself.
We are managing little people or grown up people, we are making contributions to make this world a better place, we are researchers and readers, and advocates.
So next time this disease tries to get you to believe the ridiculous lies that you’re unloveable, you’re not worthy of someone's time and attention, that if YOU changed they would get sober… just remember my loving and thoughtful manager - that you are a woman who knows better.
You are a smart and beautiful women who is fully capable of managing her own life and making healthy decisions that are full of self love.
If you need help learning exactly how to make decisions of self love when you love someone who drinks too much or suffers from addiction, we have you covered. You’re in the right place. Self care is the number one tool YOU need to start living the happy and healthy life you desire. You healing starts with you - not him. Join one of the programs or sign up for personal coaching with me here (there are only a few limited spots open) and you can start learning how to pay more attention to your needs and caring for yourself.
|Aug 27, 2017|
Drinking and Driving: The Boundaries You Need
The Love Over Addiction Secret Facebook Group is filled with women who are some of the most loving and encouraging women I’ve ever meet. We are a sisterhood who is bonded together by the fact that we love someone suffering with addiction.
This disease can do a really good job of keeping us isolated and alone. But there is something so healing and powerful when you’re surrounded by a group of women ready and willing to lift you up when you need it the most.
One of those women asked a great question that I wanted to share with you because I think so many of you can relate.
How do I protect myself when he chooses to drink and drive? I'm afraid he will get into an accident and hurt/kill someone else and therefore everything I have worked for will be taken by his bad choice. How can I approach my husband and let him know that I would like to drive without him getting angry and defensive?
Can you relate to this? Does the one you love drink and drive? Are you worried about the legal consequences if they get into an accident? Are you looking for ways to avoid driving with them after they’ve had a few drinks?
Here’s my answer.
We go into this in greater details in the Love Over Addiction and the Love Over Mistakes program. The truth is you should NEVER get in the car with someone who has been drinking. That is a boundary you need to have in place for your safety.
Even if that means that he gets mad at you - you must not get in the car.
Here's something you can say when he's sober and has not been drinking: "I love you but I can't get in the car if you've been drinking. It scares me. If you're planning on drinking, I would like the keys to the car. Can we agree on that?"
Then, if he agrees but refuses to give you the keys - have the Uber or Lyft app already loaded on your phone and ready to call. If you don't have Uber or Lyft - call a friend. But don't get in that car. This is a healthy and safe boundary. You need to protect your safety. If he wants to risk his life - there's nothing you can do - but you get to choose to protect yours.
As for finances and protecting marital assets, we cover that in the Love Over Boundaries program. There are a lot of steps you can take to prevent yourself from losing everything and if we want to get control over this disease - we must learn how to protect ourselves. I hope you’ll consider joining me in one of the programs.
|Aug 20, 2017|
Why You Might Be Staying in an Unhealthy Relationship
This week we’re going to answer the question: why do I stay in an unhealthy relationship?
But... before we get started, I want to make something clear. I will never tell you to stay or leave.
There are many women in this community who choose to stay in their marriage and it works for them. And there are women who leave.
My goal for this community is to get YOU healthier and happier so you can make the decision that is best for you. The choice is yours and we will NEVER judge you. Ever.
There are many reasons we decide to stay in a unhealthy relationship (we love them, we see their potential, we find self worth in helping others, fear of what others will think, fear of breaking up a family, etc).
Today we’re going to be covering a reason I’ve never discussed before.
Here’s a question I received from a wonderful and strong woman in our Secret Facebook Group that we will use as a great example (I think a lot of you will be able to relate):
I have been in a relationship with an alcoholic for over two years. At first I thought he just drank a lot, then his obsession with drinking made me realize he is an alcoholic, a highly functioning one.
The whole relationship, I gave and he took. I could see that when something interfered with his drinking he would avoid it. But as soon as I began to put some demands on him, basically just asking him to treat me like I treat him, he began to talk about how our relationship wasn't working.
So now we are not together, except to go out to dinner once in awhile, which I am about to put an end to.
But why does it hurt so much to let this man go? I loved him like I never loved anyone else. I was so selfless and always thinking of him. I just can't understand why my heart hurts so much but my brain is telling me I am lucky it has ended and get on with my future without him. I still love him.
This is a question I get a lot. Why do we know in our heads that leaving is the right thing but our hearts want to go back?
Are you ready for the truth? It might be difficult to read but if you’re honest with yourself it maybe something you need to hear.
The truth is, when we don’t completely love and accept ourselves we are always looking for people and circumstances to reinforce our negative beliefs.
I’ll give you an example. Let’s say he promises to come home at a certain time. And you wait for him. But he’s late and he doesn’t even bother calling to tell you he’s running behind schedule. And when he does finally walk through the door he smells like alcohol or looks high. You ask him if he'd been drinking or using and he tells you that you’re paranoid and overreacting. In other words, he belittles you for not being cool with the situation.
What’s really going on in this scenario is that you came into this relationship feeling unimportant and not good enough. And he is reinforcing that belief about yourself by the way he’s treating you.
When he doesn’t show up on time because he’s at the bar or out with friends after work, his ACTIONS are telling you that you're not important enough to him to choose your relationship and get sober.
And then you start to think, “What could I have done better to get him home on time? What am I doing wrong that he doesn’t love me enough?”
You take it as a personal rejection that something is wrong with YOU. And you think that if you just “get it right” he will finally find you important enough to come home and stop choosing drugs or drinking over you.
That is the reason this disease can be so powerful over us. Because it attracts women who already believe they are unimportant or unworthy of being cherished, and have hearts that want to help others.
Addiction can identify types of women like us a mile away. And you want to know how it confirms we are the women who will fall for the guy who suffers from addiction? We stick around. We are the ones who stay and try to help the ones we love get sober.
Think about it, if a really confident woman was going on a date with a man who said he was going to pick her up at 7:00 pm and then he showed up at 8:00 with alcohol on his breath or high as a kite - do you really think she would get in the car with him? No, she would probably refuse to go out and never call him back.
Why is she so different than us?
Because she knows she’s important and she loves herself enough to not accept dysfunction into her life.
We need to starting falling in love with ourselves more than we fall in love with the alcoholic or addict.
It might be the most difficult thing we ever do, but it should be our new goal.
Because only THEN can we walk away from disfunction without looking back. We can start to honor ourselves. We can find the worth in who we are and were created to be. We can look at ourselves in the mirror and believe: I am enough.
And when all our decisions and choices come from a place of self love, we can become the most powerful and attractive version of ourselves. Everything in our lives will change.
|Aug 13, 2017|
My Personal Body Shaming Story
As most of you know, I have a blended family. I have given birth to 4 children. And I’m about to share with you a story that at first glance might not seem like it has a lot to do with drinking or addiction, but hang with me and I promise I will get there.
Over the last 3 years I have done almost everything to get my stomach flat. I have thinner legs and arms but I have been “blessed” to carry ALL of my weight in my belly.
It used to be so bad that on a regular basis I would be asked when my baby was due. And because I’m such a codependent (and I know you get it) I would lie and make up a date because I didn’t want the person who was asking to feel bad. I know - ridiculous.
So I started working out - something I have avoided my entire youth and adult life. Over the last 3 years I have done almost every exercise known to man. I have also read and tried way too many diets.
At first I lost 20 lbs. And then I gained them all back. Then I lost them again and now (for the last year) I’ve been at a plateau. I don’t get asked how far along I am very often anymore, but I still catch people staring at my belly and I can tell they are wondering - “should I ask?”
So as a very last resort I went to a surgeon…to inquire about a tummy tuck. I know. Please don’t judge.
I left his office with a possible date for surgery and a plan.
But here’s the thing…Over the next few weeks leading up to surgery I kept thinking, what if I could just get to place where I was ok with my body? Or, something even more crazy - what if I could even embrace my body, as it is right now?
What if I could look at myself in the mirror and thank God for all the hard work my tummy has done in my 39 years of life? My worn out tummy has helped create 4 beautiful human beings who have turned out to be amazing, healthy kids. It has stuck by me as I gained and lost over 200 lbs (including pregnancies). Never giving up. Never shaming me for choosing chocolate. Sure, it may not be what it used to - but it’s served me so well.
What if I could get out of the shower and look at my husband in the eye without running for a towel?
My breasts are not winning any prizes after nursing 4 kids (and let’s just be honest, they really weren't prize winners before that either). But they are cancer-free, they FED 4 humans and kept them alive!
What if the only exercise I committed to doing was the kind I loved? I love to walk, do elliptical (hello, Netflix) and I love yoga. What if that’s all I did for now? No HIT training, cross training, spinning or whatever the trendy fad is that seems to work for everyone else but never for me?
What if I just ate with the intention of feeding my body with nourishing, healthy, colorful foods at every meal? What if I took my time learning to cook what my body needs to thrive? Instead of filling it with junk or starving myself for 3 days only to overstuff myself on the 4th?
What if I researched what I need to eat to have healthy hair, nails, eyes, pores, muscles, skin and just committed to giving back to my tender body what it has given me. To serve my body out of love with no expectations?
What if I threw my scale away and ripped up every diet book? And just moved my body most days and filled my body when I was hungry with things that would make it thrive?
And if I wanted a treat - I would eat a damn treat. No calorie counting, no body shaming, no regrets. Just kindness for myself, self acceptance and giving my body the best chance to grow old gracefully.
That would be amazing.
I don’t know how I’m going to get to a place of total self acceptance but I know where to start….
I told my sweet and supportive husband that what he was looking at was as good as it gets for now and I canceled my appointment for surgery.
If you’re in love with someone who drinks too much or suffers from addiction like I was, we can easily take their disease as personal rejection.
But what if we decided that we would not let this disease dictate how we feel about ourselves? We are better than addiction and it’s time to take back our confidence in our minds, hearts AND bodies.
If you're ready to make your healing as important as his sobriety - we are waiting for you. The programs are online, confidential and you have lifetime access - so you can do them at your own pace.
|Aug 06, 2017|
Intimacy - Part 2 - Be Prepared to Blush a Little
A few weeks ago we discussed intimacy while loving an alcoholic or substance abuser and I covered what to do if you would rather not be intimate with the one you love. This week I’m going to go into a little more detail because of all the questions I’m receiving.
You’re going to learn if alcohol or drugs can kill their sex drive - and lead to ED (erectile dysfunction - blush), what to do if they’re blaming you for the lack of intimacy in your relationship and how to stop accepting responsibility when he isn’t interested or can’t perform.
So take a deep breath, make sure there are no kiddos around and let’s talk about this very REAL problem (because we do real here - without any judgment of course).
First off, let’s start with the fact that excessive drinking CAN cause a sexual dysfunction* called testicular atrophy by lowering testosterone production. And the less testosterone, the less interested in sex you become.
So if he’s acting like your roommate while all your girlfriends are complaining their husbands want to have sex all the time - you can thank the alcohol for disrupting his hormone distribution and liver function.
No need to compare yourself to your girlfriends. You are just as beautiful, fun and loving as they are. They are just not married to a man with this disease.
It’s also very common for men to have erectile dysfunction who binge drink (ahhh.. hellooo??). Do you want to know why? I will make this very brief and not too scientific-y (is that a word?).
Alcohol can prevent blood vessels in the penis from closing so it cannot remain erect (I promise that’s the last time I use the words penis and erect).
So if they blame you for not being attractive enough (this disease is so nasty sometimes, right?) you now know they’re doing this to cover up the fact that they CAN'T have sex with you because of their drinking.
But most alcoholics and drug users refuse to take responsibility for their actions so of course they’re NOT going to say, “Sorry, honey. If I just get sober once and for all we would be able to make love again.”
Instead, they will find ways to blame you or whatever else they can think of. Don’t fall for it. You’re a smart woman. You now understand - this has NOTHING to do with you. It’s just science.
|Jul 30, 2017|
Something We Should Remember
Sometimes the disease of addiction can bring out the worst in us. We can feel angry they keep lying to us. Or depressed because they keep choosing drugs and alcohol over their marriage and family.
But if you take away all the dysfunction that addiction adds to the family, if you remove those layers, you will discover a gentle and loving woman with an open heart and the thoughtfulness to give.
You will find grace.
Grace is one of my favorite words. Grace is not angry or powerful in a loud way. It’s soft and tender and done with an open heart. It’s an extension of forgiveness. It’s being able to look someone in the eyes and feel them in your heart.
Grace is hugging the ones you love tightly during their meltdown.
My sweet 10 year old son was having a meltdown at bedtime the other night. He was yelling about his younger brother throwing his pillow on the floor and as I stood in the doorway of his bedroom listening to this silly temper tantrum, my mommy instincts told me this really isn’t what he’s upset about. And rather than telling him his meltdown was silly and to get back to bed (because it was 30 mins past bedtime) I saw his heart hurting.
So I walked over to his bed, put him in my lap and told him I was so sorry he was having such a hard day. Then, I mentioned 2 things I loved about him.
I said, “Graham, I love that every time I come back from getting my hair done, you tell me I look beautiful.” Because he’s sweet like that. “And I also love how thoughtful you are. When we were walking through the mall last week - you offered to carry my overstuffed purse even though I could tell you may have been a little embarrassed.”
You know what happened? He stopped crying and the love in my heart filled up his.
He gave me a kiss on the cheek - curled up in bed and went fast to sleep.
Grace means coming from a place of love when others can’t.
It’s reaching for my husband's hand in a crowded place and giving it a squeeze to let him know I love him.
It’s choosing to look at the reason why someone is hurting you instead of getting stuck in the hurt.
It’s giving our friends the benefit of the doubt.
Grace helped me forgive my ex husband. Grace helps me forgive myself. Grace brings me back to soft.
My husband recently told me: I love you when you're being tender. I love when you’re being loving and compassionate to the kids or when we’re at dinner with another couple and you’re giving them a pep talk. I just sit back and watch. That’s when I fall in love with you all over.
I know the side of me he’s referring to. But most days, I am all drive, ambition - armed with my to-do list and sheer determination to get it done. We women have to wear many hats (chef, housekeeper, nanny, chauffeur, manager, etc.), don’t we?
Sometimes the side that is tender and loving gets pushed aside or hidden because we get so hurt by the ones we love when we’re vulnerable enough to reveal it. This is especially true if you’re married to a man who drinks too much or uses drugs.
But occasionally, let’s just take a moment to extend grace to others and ourselves. Let’s put away the battle gear that addiction forces us to wear everyday and be tender. In for no other reason, to remember we still have grace. And that is something this disease can never take away from us.
|Jul 23, 2017|
How To Deal With His Anger
Last week, I answered a question from one of our loving, strong women in our Secret Facebook Group. I love this group. I’ll admit... being the introvert I am, I’m not usually one to join groups. So when I started adding free access to the group when you join one of our programs, I really wondered - are women actually going to find this helpful?
And, boy, do they ever. It’s a safe place (with no judgment) to share what’s really going on in your relationship and to be encouraged, embraced, and given advice (if requested).
Because that’s one of the things that makes The Love Over community different: we offer specific advice and tools to help you - whether your partner decides to get sober or not. We don’t buy into the theory that we’re powerless over this disease. We don’t just need to sit back and let addiction take over our lives.
There are real, tangible things we can do that will help us take back our control and maybe help them get better.
So this week, I’m going to answer another great question from one of our women in this group (we will never share names because confidentiality is our priority - seriously):
Q: I haven’t been able to have a conversation with my AH (alcoholic husband) in years. He takes [the conversation] over, usually talking non-stop, talking over me, and then getting angry with me - all the while telling me everything I do wrong. I usually cannot get a word in edgewise so I don't know how I can even enforce a boundary since I would not be able to say anything. He won't stop talking long enough to listen. Any suggestions?
You don't need to enforce a boundary with words. In fact, it's sometimes better if you don't use words. Use your actions. If he won't listen and have a conversation that is respectful when both you and he are listening and sharing, then stop the conversation. Shut it down.
If he's blaming or disrespecting you, you have permission to walk away.
By staying and engaging, you're giving him the message that it's okay to talk to you like that. Lock yourself in a different room if you have to. Get in your car and go somewhere. Whatever. Just stop giving him attention. He can’t keep talking if there’s no audience.
You can do this. You’re a strong and courageous woman. Changing our behaviors changes your results. If you want him to treat you differently, you have to change first. Remember, my friend, you teach people how to treat you. I’m right behind you cheering you on every step of the way. Put your healing first by joining one of our programs and see how much different your life will be.
|Jul 16, 2017|
How Do I Share With People What I’m Going Through?
When you join one of our online programs you get a special invitation to our Secret Facebook Group (no one can tell you're a member or see your posts). This group is filled with women who all love someone suffering from addiction.
And our little Secret Group is a BIG part of my heart. They share with such honesty that empowers us all to rise up together. They encourage one another and cheer each other on - it’s such a beautiful community to be a part of.
We never, ever do judgement and we don’t do negative venting. It’s a safe place to ask questions, share victories and be encouraged.
One of the questions that was shared by a very strong and wonderful woman in our group went like this:
Q: So I have been opening up to family and friends about being in an alcoholic marriage. I am at the point now where I really don't care who knows and don't feel the need to keep it a secret from anyone. At this point if anyone asks about my Alcoholic Husband I am honest with them. How do I share with people outside of my immediate world? While I don't want to embarrass him I feel strongly that I do need to be honest if they ask.
Here’s my response:
A: Great question. I share my experiences with a lot of people. I think it's our responsibility as women to break the stigma of this disease. We are thoughtful, loving women and the more we share with others, the more empowered we become.
It’s important to NOT talk poorly about them. That makes everyone feel uncomfortable and you want to maintain your dignity.
You can say, "I am currently going through a divorce with a wonderful man who happens to suffer from addiction. He is so talented and funny, and I would have loved for it work out but I just couldn't support his poor choices anymore."
You can change the TALENTED and FUNNY part to some kind of traits you admire about him.
Stick to the facts and give him credit for his good qualities (this disease does happen to good men and women).
You don’t want to come across as resentful or bitter. You are healing, you are empowered. You are a loving and strong enough woman to have forgiven and chosen to move on.
You don’t owe anyone any apologies and you don’t need to feel guilty or embarrassed. You refused to be brought down by this disease and that’s so admirable. You’re a survivor.
And I really want to take a moment to say…I LOVE that you are sharing this with others. There are soo many women out there secretly suffering who NEED to know they are not alone. Who need the message of hope.
So please keep sharing. I share as often as I can (to the grocery clerk, the Starbucks barista, and the woman I just met at a party. I am hoping they ask me some kind of question that leads to my share of being married to an alcoholic and substance abuser). It’s not about putting him down - it’s about offering hope that we can rise up from this disease.
If we choose to stay or leave - that’s not the point. It’s that we are learning to overcome. Together.
If you’re interested in joining our wonderful Secret Facebook Group - check out our programs here. If you have a question, email us - no question is too silly.
|Jul 09, 2017|
This week we’re going to be talking about a subject that makes some people (most people) feel uncomfortable. Intimacy (or in other words: sex).
Intimacy can be difficult when you love someone who drinks too much or suffers from addiction. If you’re married to a man who drinks or uses drugs in the evening - often times you might be looking to have a moment and they are passed out or out with “friends”.
Or perhaps they want to sleep with you but the idea makes you ill. How could you be vulnerable with someone who makes you feel so unimportant when they drink or use?
Because I always believe in being vulnerable with you (and this is a place of no judgement - ever) - I’ll share first.
At the beginning of our marriage, I would use sex as something that would bring us together. I knew I would get his undivided attention and that I could make him feel good - so I willingly participated.
Towards the end of our marriage, I used to feel empty during sex. I had learned not to trust him outside our bedroom so why would I trust him inside?
I let him have his way while I would stare at the clock and wish it was over. But after awhile, it just became too much. It was clear I was being used to meet his needs- there was no moments of tenderness there. And I could no longer access a place of vulnerability - because I was so angry about his addiction and he was so disconnected.
So I stopped. Politely and respectfully - I refused to sleep with my husband.
And even though it made him mad, it made me feel empowered. Not because I was holding it over his head or using sex as a way of getting him sober (because we all know that will never work). It was because I was respecting my body. My right to save the most intimate act I know for someone who consistently shows me the kind of love that is patient and kind.
I stopped sleeping with the man I loved until we had the kind of love that trusts, protects, hopes and preserves. Anything less made me feel dirty.
If you would like to be intimate with your husband, that's ok. If you would like to wait - you reserve the right to say, 'no thank you”. The bottom line: it's about honoring your heart.
Pay attention to the REASON you want to be intimate with him.
Is the reason you want to be intimate because you're feeling needy and looking for attention or to be validated? Then, it might be better to practice some healthier ways to feel important.
If you're looking to be intimate because you're just in the mood and looking for fun, then go ahead and be intimate with him.
Sex is a powerful act and can be very healing or really mess us up. So we need to honor our bodies and be respectful of our hearts.
P.S. I do have a video about intimacy in the Love Over Addiction program and teach more helpful tips about sex in the Love Over Boundaries program. If you haven’t joined us yet - I would love to get to know you better inside the program. Confidently is our biggest priority. Click here to check out all our programs.
|Jul 02, 2017|
Should You Tell Other People About His Disease?
There is a new movement going on about addiction - men and women who are in recovery are speaking out about their addiction. They are trying to break the stigma that addiction is a shameful disease and something we need to keep a secret. And I am so amazingly proud of all the ones who are brave enough to publicly declare their victory (or journey to victory) over addiction.
There are so many benefits to claiming your struggles and sharing with the world how you got better and found help.
But I am still worried. Because the ones that love them are still suffering in the backgrounds. We are in the shadows quietly waiting for our loved ones to recover. We're hoping with every ounce of our being that one day all this pain, rejection, and suffering will bring us closer together with the ones we love. We want a happy ending just as much (and sometimes more than) the ones who are addicted.
So where is our moment of public victory?
Is it really our victory to claim? They are the ones who are not choosing to drink or use drugs anymore - how can we take any credit for that? And what about if they have no victory to claim? Will we always just be struggling in the shadows? Afraid to tell anyone what’s going on in our family?
For how long will we keep smiling when we feel like crying? How long will we act like we’re okay because they were sober two days this week?
It’s a tough place to be. We can’t control their sobriety, but we don’t feel it’s our place to share with others since it might shame them.
But here’s my truth (and you can decide for yourself): I know, for sure, that addiction thrives on secrecy.
If kept a secret, it always remains in control. And the ability for outside influences to help are very small.
If we keep this disease a secret, addiction wins.
The other fact that I feel comfortable claiming is that this disease is a family disease. It’s happening to us just as much as it’s happening to them. When they are trying to hang on for one more day, we can’t stop worrying while waiting to see if they'll succeed.
We usually structure our lives around their addiction. Can’t go to that sports game because there will be beer there. He really doesn’t want to go to the movies at night since they won’t be serving alcohol, so we stay in a watch a movie. We are hoping the local bar closes down for business or the drug dealer gets put in jail. It feels like a full-time job to manage our lives around their addiction.
So with all the effort, the struggle, and the pain, why isn’t this our disease to share?
We’re in it too. And we need to stop being so darn worried about what other people will think of our marriages and share what’s really going on in our homes. It would be amazing if we all did this. How many women you know right now who will come forward and go, “I know exactly how you feel.”
And then think if all of us shared that we love someone who is struggling. Think of how powerless this disease would get. It would be destroyed because we would all be willing to share our stories, learn from one another, and grow together. We would share its secrets and its evil ways. If we dragged addiction out from the evil darkness and into the light - I am convinced together we would be stronger, wiser, and more courageous and we would beat addiction.
We can hold hands, form a circle, and teach each other by sharing, supporting, and offering suggestions. We can return to our homes armored and ready. Or we can leave if we need to or we can stay if we choose to. We will have freedom.
So, my wonderful and loving friends -
I know that sharing that your loved one is fighting for their life with addiction sounds terrifying. But today, just think of at least two people you know who you can share this with. And when you share, remember - you’re not looking for approval. You’re just serving others by letting them know things are not so perfect. And you're serving yourself by giving yourself permission to no longer accept that shame is something you need to own. This disease is not your fault.
Looking for more support during this time where you’re going from holding this deep, dark secret to beginning to share it with others? Head over to MichelleLisaAnderson.com to learn more about the work-at-your-own-pace programs that I offer for women just like you.
|Jun 25, 2017|
5 Tips for Dealing With Anger
What do we do when the one we love keeps choosing drugs and alcohol over us? Most of us feel angry and rejected. Some of us choose to react to our anger by shoving it down inside. Others lash out. Neither option is good.
So what do we do with all the anger that seems like it comes along with this disease? How do we get back to a place of joy?
Here’s the first truth I need to you hear. It was written in a book called Quiet (and if you’re an introvert like me - this is a must read). The author, Susan Cain wrote:
So what do we do with anger? I have a few suggestions (you didn't think I was going to just leave you without some helpful tips, did you?):
I have found that when we're angry, we need to go to the exact opposite place, which is compassion and empathy. Love on yourself. Do something kind. The more kindness you offer yourself, the quicker the anger will melt away and you’ll be able to offer kindness to those around you.
P.S. Remember: feeling angry is normal. Even Jesus got angry. So don't try to avoid it, but let’s learn how to deal with it.
If you want to learn exactly how to take steps toward your own recovery when you love someone who drinks too much or suffers from addiction, I would love to help you. Your healing starts with you - not him. I've put together a free guide with 12 tips to get you started on this journey. Following these tips won't always be easy, but it's the beginning of your transformation. Sign up below and I'll send them straight to your inbox.
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|Jun 18, 2017|
What Addiction Doesn’t Want You To Know
In this community, we give you a lot of tools to help you feel happiness and joy whether your partner gets sober or not. We don’t believe the common theory that says we’re powerless over this disease. There are many things we can do that will take our power of choice and confidence back from the awful disease that steals it.
We don’t just throw our hands up in the air and say, "Oh, well. I just have to sit around and wait for my partner to get sober to start to feel better." That’s not true for us. We are strong, courageous women who will stand up to this disease. We will not let it rob us of the good life we are meant to have.
We will not just sit back and be subservient.
Does this newfound courage come off as anger? No. Let’s not mistake courage for anger. Our strength is dignified. We will stand our ground and stand up to this disease and we will do so with more respect than anger.
Our words will be intentional and strong. We will say what we mean and follow through. Even when we are afraid and doubt starts telling us we're doing it wrong - we will press on.
And make no mistake, my loves, when we take back our power over this disease, there will be a struggle for control. Addiction does not want to lose. It will fight to keep controlling the one you love and you.
Because you are a woman on a mission to save herself (and perhaps her children) and nothing can mess with a mother and her babies.
He might tell you it was mean when you left him at the party because of his embarrassing behavior after too many drinks or drug use. But it’s not mean. It was the right thing to do. That’s just this disease trying to make you feel guilty. Don’t fall for it.
When you refuse to sleep with them after they’ve been drinking or using drugs, they might tell you it makes them feel like you don’t love them. Remain strong and let them know when they are consistently sober, loving, and respectful, you would love to share a bed.
And make no mistake about it, my sweet sister… the stronger you get - the less they like it.
They might throw a temper tantrum. They might belittle you. They might guilt trip you. But don’t change your ways.
When you try to make powerful changes - this disease gets scared. Because you are threatening its future. Addiction is used to controlling the person you love and you. And when one person has the courage to say enough - it will do anything to get you back under its thumb. Don't fall for it. You're stronger than that.
And you don’t need to announce that you’ll be changing your ways. Your new strong and courageous choices will let them know. Besides... how many times have you threatened to change or to leave but not followed through? They probably won’t believe you anyways. Don’t worry about giving them a heads up or explaining yourself. Just start changing and they will catch on.
Keep moving forward. Practice making healthy choices. You can do it! I’m 100% behind you. Cheering you on every step of the way.
P.S. Join us at one of our work at your own pace programs and become a member of our secret Facebook group where the doors always open to talk about these major life changes.
|Jun 11, 2017|
How To Stop Being Afraid of Change
My family and I are thinking of moving to Nashville. This really isn’t something we all want to do, but it’s a move that we are feeling called to do. There are a millions reasons why moving to this beautiful town makes sense. We could go from five schools to two. We would have way more options for a thriving church. Even the cost of living would go down. There are so many benefits.
But here’s the truth: we don’t want to move.
And the more I feel that God is calling us to pick up our lives and leave, the more I am trying to figure out the "why" behind it.
Why am I resisting change even when I know it’s good for me?
There are three reasons that come to mind when I stop and slow down to take personal inventory:
I am scared of the unknown. I don’t have the neighborhood picked out, so it’s difficult for me to imagine our new home. And what about our friendships? The introvert in me cringes at the idea of having to open up to new people.
I am comfortable where I’m at. I remodeled my home and it’s full of memories. The other day I was walking the dog through the neighborhood and enjoying the palm trees, the beach, and the birds. Chances are, if we move, it will be painful. There will be tears - for me and my kids. It’s going to be difficult and guaranteed to not be easy. Even though I know the location where we are is not the best life for us - it’s what I’m familiar with and that means it's comfortable.
I don’t want to take a chance on something new. I get things wrong all the time. What if this move is the wrong move? What if we go there and are miserable? What if this calling I’m feeling is bad judgment on my part? I would have made a terrible mistake. And my family would have to suffer.
And as I was thinking through my personal dilemma, I thought of you (because I am always thinking of you).
There is one thing I know for sure: where I am now doesn’t feel right. It may feel convenient and it may be familiar, but it’s not my best. And I have a feeling that the whisper I hear about moving is God offering us the best.
I can’t imagine my happy life in another town today. But I know that staying where I am is not the long-term answer.
It’s so much harder to make changes and move forward when you can’t guarantee the outcome. That’s why we stay stuck in our situations.
So just for today, we are taking it one step at a time. I’m not putting the house up for sale just yet (no need to get dramatic). I will just keep doing the next best choice. We went to visit and took the kids. Next, we toured schools. Now, we’ve applied and are waiting. One small step at a time.
I could easily work myself up by thinking of the next ten things that may or may not happen. But when I go to that place and start to feel anxious and panicky, I shut it down. No need to waste energy on things I can’t control. And, as I learned during my divorce, answers will appear at the perfect moment. I just need to focus on completing the next task in front of me.
Moving forward requires taking chances and trying new things. It may not mean that we physically move. It might require us to say, “No, thank you,” or to say, “Enough - no more,” or, “Yes, please."
Here’s the bottom line: if we’re not happy with areas in our lives, we cannot expect change until we’re willing to get uncomfortable.
What do you feel you’re being called to do that you’ve been putting off? Have you been like me: too afraid of change, so you’re settling and making the best out of what’s less-than-best?
Are you comfortable in your suffering? Has being married to a good person who drinks too much or is addicted to drugs become your excuse for not fighting for your future?
Are you waiting for your partner to get sober so your life can get better?
There is no judgment here. We are sisters and we are in this together, no matter what stage we’re in.
If you’re ready to commit to your healing – join one of our programs and let’s get started. They are full of REAL tips (and not a lot of fluff) that you can start using immediately.
|May 14, 2017|
Does Rehab Really Work?
When I was married to a good man suffering from this disease, I went to the bookstore on a regular basis looking for books about how to help my husband get sober. What I found was tons of stories and memoirs about brave men and women who have struggled with addiction and found a way to get sober.
But there were no stories about the women who loved them.
So late one night when I was in the bookstore, I made a promise to God that if I ever found the answers, I would spend the rest of my life teaching other women.
And that’s exactly what I have been doing for over six years.
My three online, do-at-your-own-pace programs are designed just for wives, girlfriends, and mothers who love someone who suffers from alcoholism or substance abuse.
Today we are going to talk about something a little bit different: rehabilitation.
I get asked questions like, "Does rehab really work?" and "What makes a good rehab?" all the time.
But before I tell you the top ten things you need to know about rehab, I want to share my experience with getting my ex-husband into a rehabilitation program.
I go more into detail about it in the Love Over Mistakes program, but I'll keep this story short.
Several years ago, at one of my many trips to the bookstore, I came across a book written by a man who started his own fancy rehab center based on extensive research. His approach was dramatically different than most 12-step rehabs, and there was something very persuasive about his writing. The more I read his book, the more I was convinced that I needed to get my husband to Malibu so he could experience the breakthrough this author was promising.
I spent days dreaming of what it would be like to have him sober for good. How he would be the loving, supportive husband I always knew he could be. My children would finally get the engaged dad who was sober and loving all the time. Our vacations and holidays would not be centered around his next drink.
But there was an issue: this rehab cost $60,000. We were in our twenties at the time and coming up with that kind of money seemed impossible because we lived paycheck to paycheck.
I called our health insurance agency, and they told me they would pay for some of it. Then I called our family and my father kindly offered to take out a second mortgage on his apartment. I drained our bank account, plus his family agreed to pay a portion as well.
After a month of planning, the money was there. Now it was time to fill him in. I planned on hosting an intervention, but (since God had a better idea) the night before our intervention was going to take place, he overdosed on drugs.
I’m not sure what kind of drugs he took, but he came into my bedroom and was talking really fast and acting crazy. I’ve never seen anything like it. He had always done his drugs away from the house. It scared me to the core. I was watching a stranger in my bedroom who had absolutely no resemblance to the man I married.
I prayed that the kids would stay asleep so they would not witness his paranoid behavior and hours later he settled down.
I told him that we had planned for him to leave, take a month off of work, and attend a rehab. That everything had been taken care of for him.
I didn’t know how he would react and I was prepared for the worst. But then he looked at me and said he was tired of living like this. He agreed to go just four hours before his scheduled flight to the rehab center.
Like I said, I go more into what happened in the next month in the Love Over Mistakes program. But for now, I want to share with you the top ten tips that you will find helpful when considering rehabs. I wish I had these tips all those years ago.
He will NOT lose his job if he goes to rehab.
The Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family Medical Leave Act guarantee that addicts and alcoholics who wish to undergo treatment for substance abuse will be given the time they need to do so by their employers and that their jobs will be saved for them while they are away. These laws do not guarantee a paycheck while they are gone. Some employers will pay a certain percentage of their paycheck, some will not.
Rehab success rates can be misleading.
According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, the rehab community claims a 30% success rate, but they only count people who complete the programs. 70-80% have dropped out within 3-6 months. I am not sharing these numbers to discourage you or put down the rehab industry. But if you're thinking, like I did, that just getting them to rehab will be the solution, you might need to adjust your expectations.
12-step programs are usually part of the aftercare suggestions.
Eventually, your partner will be encouraged by the rehab to attend a 12-step aftercare program. If he or she attended rehab and graduated, but doesn’t feel comfortable attending 12-step, higher-power programs on a consistent basis, they don't have a lot of other choices for aftercare treatment other than therapy.
Many rehabs don’t follow up with alumni.
Once you graduate from the program, you’re pretty much on your own. Of the rehabs that I know of, most do a decent job of trying to suggest ways to manage your aftercare. But when you walk out those doors, it’s up to your loved one to work their own recovery.
Look for a rehab that practices EBT.
EBT stands for Evidence-Based Treatment. 12-step programs have saved many lives, but studies have shown that we need to also include a medical model for treatment. A medical model includes an assessment from a psychologist or psychiatrist who is trained in addiction medicine, an intervention, therapy, psychopharmacology (a fancy word that means medication), and an inpatient program or outpatient program that offers quality care. You can go to the American Society of Addiction Medicine for a directory.
Rehab is expensive.
Even non-profit rehabs usually cost over $20,000 for 30 days.
Recovery information you read on the internet is often published by a rehab, not a research-based institute.
If you’re on a website reading about addiction and they have a 1-800 number or any ads for a rehab, chances are, the website is published by a rehab. I’m not saying there isn’t good information out there on the internet to read about addiction but know the source. Sometimes what looks like well-written articles are just marketing websites.
They might tell you relapse is part of his recovery.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a government-funded program, relapse in addiction resembles relapse in other chronic diseases. You may have heard people compare the disease of addiction to diabetes. Well, if you're a type-1 diabetic and you’re getting successful treatment, you have a 30-50% chance of relapse. If you suffer from addiction you have a 40-60% chance of relapse. If you suffer from asthma, your chances of relapse are even greater at 50-70%. Just because they attend rehab, doesn't mean there isn't a good chance they will relapse just like any other chronic disease. When that happens, we don’t need to think of it as a failure. Rather, a treatment needs to be reinstated or readjusted or another treatment needs to be introduced.
You need to recover too.
You have been hurt, damaged, and lied to by this disease. Getting your loved one help is good. But if he or she refuses or agrees, you need to find support and answers too. If you’re anything like me, when my ex-husband went to rehab, I was left feeling lonely, angry, and worried. I needed to work my own program and get educated on what I needed to do when he came back. If you’re interested and you want to learn about our online, do-at-your-own-pace programs, you can click here.
If they don’t want help, you won't be able to change their heart.
I know that’s hard to hear, but if you really want them to get sober, they have to want it too. However, you don’t need to wait for them to get sober for you to start to feel better. You can take control of your decisions and reactions and your recovery.
I believe in you. You’re not powerless over this disease. You don’t need to wait for them to get sober to start to feel better. We are in this together.
P.S. I hope you will join me in one of our programs. You have lifetime access, they are private and confidential, and, remember - you need recovery if he gets sober or not.
|Apr 30, 2017|
Why We Keep Going Back to Them
I am asked all the time, "Why do I keep going back to someone who hurts me so much?" There are many reasons we stay, but instead of guessing, I’m going to be vulnerable and share with you why I kept falling in love with a man who clearly didn’t love me or himself enough to get sober.
Here are the top four reasons I kept going back to a broken relationship:
I loved his potential.
I was married to a great guy. He was funny, charming, smart, and good-looking. He had it all. And my big and sensitive heart could see all his goodness. And because I was in love with him, I chose to keep focusing only on his potential. I thought that if he could just be that loving guy all the time, our lives would be amazing. And the truth is... if he got sober, they may have been, but maybe not.
I have a friend whose husband was sober for over ten years, but he was still very narcissistic and all his decisions were made from a very self-centered place. Getting sober does not guarantee an amazing life.
The truth is, you don’t really know how he would be if he was sober for the rest of his life. So the image you have might not be the most truthful or realistic.
I was scared of being alone.
For so long, all my energy was focused on him. Even when things got really bad (and they got really bad), I would suffer and put up with crap because my fear kept me stuck.
I was afraid no one else would want me. Afraid I was going to be alone the rest of my life. I was afraid my kids would blame me. I wasn’t sure how I was going to pay the bills and didn't know where I would live.
The idea of evenings spent alone was terrifying. But I was already alone because every time he was drunk he might have been with me physically, but he wasn’t with me. He wasn’t offering me anything. Instead, his disease was tearing me down and telling me I wasn’t worth it.
Once I actually left, I realized that it was far healthier to lie in bed by myself and read a good book or watch my favorite movie than lie in my bed and wonder when he was going to join me and how drunk or high he was going to be when he came home.
That’s the kind of tricks this disease plays on you: it convinces you that lying there worrying if he will ever get sober is better than lying there in peace by yourself. And that’s just crazy.
I didn’t want to look at myself.
You may have already been in one alcoholic relationship and now you’re into your second. Or you’ve left your loved one and you’ve started dating other alcoholics and you're wondering why you’ve attracted these kinds of negative relationships into your life. Here's why: you haven’t done the work you need to do on you.
It’s much easier to blame the alcoholic when your life isn’t going so well.
I thought that if I just left him, I would be able to find a happy and healthy relationship as long as the man was sober. But this could not have been further than the truth. I needed to do my own work. I had to take a good, long look at myself and say, "Where do I need to grow? Am I too needy?" Yes. "Do I look to other people to tell me how I should feel?" Yep. "Do I change my mind a lot?" Check. "Am I good at taking care of myself, or do I become resentful when other people don’t meet my needs?"
These are all things I needed to work on before I got into another relationship and before I decided to leave. Once I did my own work and left him to choose for himself whether to get sober or self-destruct, I realized that I deserved to be cherished and respected.
I didn’t want to break apart my family.
The real reason I finally decided to leave was not for me, but for my kids. I could not stand the idea that they were growing up around a man who hurt them so badly. Don’t think it’s that big of a deal? Talk to any adult child of an alcoholic and they will tell you the nightmares of their childhood. The neglect. The abuse. The rage or the tip-toeing.
A woman can put up with a lot of self-abuse, but when it comes to her kids - we are like lions. Waiting to be pounce and protect our young.
But for those first six years of my son’s life, I convinced myself that if I left, my kids would never forgive me. But why? Was it wrong that I craved the father who would show up consistently sober for his children? No - it was my responsibility as a parent to be their biggest advocate.
The truth is, it’s never fun looking at the truth but we have to if we want to get unstuck. If we want that better life, we have to work for it. It must be intentional. It'll be scary. It will be difficult. But it’s worth every tear, drop of sweat, and heartbeat. Because our life is worth it.
No matter how old we are, our future is worth the struggle and the battle. And facing your truths will unlock your heart's healing. You don’t have anything to be embarrassed about. We are all the same here. We get you. This disease has beaten us up, but we will rise together. We will stand up to it because we are not powerless. We will be our own biggest advocates and God tells us to be strong and courageous.
If you’re ready to make your healing as important as your partner’s sobriety – we are waiting for you. Our programs are online, confidential, and you have lifetime access – so you can do them at your own pace.
|Apr 16, 2017|
How To Deal With Judgemental Family Members
Almost every week, a woman who loves a good person suffering from the disease of addiction asks me if they should tell their family how out of control things have become.
Have you ever wondered if you should tell your family about their latest binge? Or about the time they never came home? Or what’s really going on with your marriage?
Your loved one might seem put together on the outside. Most men and women who drink too much or suffer from substance abuse hold down good jobs and earn a good living. Most of the time, they can help take care of the kids and household duties.
And because they are so high-functioning, it can leave you feeling nervous about sharing with family just how bad things have become. Will they believe you? Will they blame you? What if they are in denial and passively listen to you, but don't really hear you?
How do you handle immediate family if they deny, enable, or blame you?
Well, before I get to the answer, I think it’s really important that we discuss why we cover up this disease for the ones we love and what makes us too afraid to tell others.
Telling my parents that the man I loved had a drinking problem was a huge deal for me. For years, I kept his issues a secret. Sure, they could tell he would have a few too many drinks on Christmas or birthdays. But they really had no idea how much and how often he was drinking or using.
Here are the top 3 reasons we cover up this disease for the ones we love:
Guilt. We feel guilty for betraying them. We feel like this is their secret to tell. But what have we all been taught about keeping secrets? Secrets keep us alone, ashamed, and stuck. Keeping their disease a secret is letting the addiction win. You have every right to share with loved ones what they're struggling with because you’re struggling with this too. That’s why they call it a family disease.
For years I worried, "What if he found out that I told his parents he spends several nights a week drinking too much? Or that his drinking has turned into smoking pot and then doing cocaine?" The funny, charming man they call their son was blowing through our life savings at the local liquor store.
If they confronted him - he would be so angry at me. And they did confront him and he was angry at me. But the more I spoke about it, the more educated we all became. The more he was called out on the carpet, the more this disease began to lose control.
Protection. You love them and you want everyone else to love them too. You want everyone to see the real person you fell in love with and all their potential. You’re their biggest fan. And when they are sober, they can be the most loving and wonderful person on earth.
I wanted my parents to be my husband's biggest fans. And the truth is that I thought that if he felt loved and accepted, it might help him get sober. So I made it my job to let my parents know just how wonderful he was. I would laugh a little harder at his jokes when they were around, I would mention how he loves to detail the cars and takes such great care of our vehicles.
But there was also a part of me that wanted to protect his reputation because I didn’t want to be embarrassed. I had always felt like the black sheep of the family and if they saw that I had made a mess of my marriage, it would just validate the fact that I would never be as good as my brother.
Looking back now, I can see that I was just owning his addiction. The truth is, I could have had a body like Barbie, a mind like Elizabeth Thatcher, and a heart like Mother Theresa, and he still would have had an issue with drugs and alcohol. His addiction and all the dysfunction that came with that had nothing to do with me.
Endings. And lastly, I didn’t tell my immediate family that the one I loved was struggling so badly with drugs and alcohol because I was afraid they would tell me I needed to leave.
I loved him. We had three babies together. I loved my home and the idea of leaving just seemed impossible. How could I give up and walk away? Where would I live? What would people think? What would God think? The questions were too overwhelming. The more I tried to answer those questions, the more afraid I became of being alone.
In the end, I did tell his family and my family many, many times about his addiction. And here’s the truth: their reactions are not my concern. If they want to live in denial and try to blame me or justify his poor choices, fine. I know the truth. I don’t need them to back me up.
Tell family members, but lower your expectations and stop waiting for them to justify your feelings. You know what’s going on. You’re a grown woman who is responsible and loving. You don’t need their approval. You don’t need their validation. Keep your sharing to just the facts. If they don’t cherish your feelings - don’t trust them with your feelings. Just keep it strictly to the facts. Think of yourself as a reporter.
I hope you found this helpful. It’s hard for people to understand what you’re going through. And if you’re looking for a community of women or a program that was created just for you that will teach you exactly what to do - then it’s time you joined one of our do-at-your-own-pace, online programs. There are no meetings to attend and you can learn from the privacy of your own home.
|Apr 09, 2017|
12 Blessings Of Addiction
If you have been listening to my podcast or reading my blog, then you know that I love to research.
One of my happy places is sitting behind my computer in my office with a warm cup of tea and spending the day Googling and getting deep into a subject.
Recently, I went to an event in Naples, Florida and during dinner, I sat next to a researcher. Usually, I’m not a fan of those kinds of events. But, I was so excited to find another introvert who could discuss research strategies.
When I was married to a good man who drank too much and was addicted to drugs and many other things, I began to research.
First, I started looking into top rehabilitation centers. That research led me to this post about the top ten things you need to know about rehab.
After I researched ways to help the man I love get sober, I started researching ways I could find help for me.
Where were the resources for the family members? I did find some, but they all seemed so depressing.
They usually had a cliched picture of a person standing on top of a mountain with his or her arms open wide. Or, even worse, images of drugs and alcohol. The last thing I needed to see was images of the very substances that were responsible for taking the man I love away from me. Do you know the kind of pictures I’m talking about?
I craved something with real answers.
I found chat rooms that were filled with angry women who were only using it as a place to vent. And let’s be clear - there’s nothing wrong with venting. But if you’re around someone who’s constantly complaining, you know that it can be depressing. How often are you going to want to hang out with someone who’s always using their energy to unload their negativity?
And as a quick side note: this is why I always tell women to be careful with their friendships when they're married to someone who’s struggling with addiction. You want to make sure you’re always finding a balance between sharing your struggles, but also listening to other people too. It can’t always be about our urgent problems.
I went to group meetings. But after a few months, I felt like I wanted to have a real conversation and sometimes I left feeling even more worried and depressed than when I arrived.
So, I started thinking, "How can I take such a serious subject and make it more approachable? More warm and loving?" My intention is not to downplay our pain. Because loving someone who loves drugs and alcohol more than they love us is painful.
But when I look back at my 10-year relationship with an addict and alcoholic, I see things to be grateful for. There were many blessings that came out of our marriage even though it didn’t last.
I would never, ever take that time back. And that motivated me to create a social media campaign called 12 Blessings of Addiction. Once a week, I post a very personal blessing that came from loving someone struggling with this disease on Facebook and Instagram.
I think you will be shocked at what you read. And my hope is that you can see yourself in my situation. I get very vulnerable and, yes, I was scared to be this personal. But I want to be real with you about my truth because I think most of you will be able to relate.
Now, this is just a warning: some of these blessings are controversial. I’ve already received some not-so-loving feedback. But you don’t have to agree with everything I’m saying. It’s okay if we have a difference of opinion. We can still be sisters and in this together. We shouldn’t let addiction tear us apart just because we all don’t think alike.
So if you need encouragement and are wondering why God put you in this relationship - check out my Facebook Page and Instagram and look for the posts about the 12 Blessings of Addiction. Send me a friend request or follow me. I would love to hear from you. Plus, you’ll get the latest essays and podcasts.
And before I go, I want you to lean in really close. Because I think you might need to hear this today.
Addiction is a part of your destiny. It’s a painful part of your life story. And because this is your truth, one day when the healing has gone from a scab to a scar, you will be used to help many others. Your suffering will be the most wonderful offering you give. And your pain will be the most wonderful gift you have received. You just need to make it through. You've got me and I’m here cheering you on. And you’ve got the other women in this new movement. And together we will stand hand-in-hand and break the stigma of addiction.
If you’re in need of immediate help, recovery, and answers, I have you covered. Go check out my three programs. They are online and do-at-your-own-pace. You have lifetime access, so if something comes up you can take a pause and come back whenever it’s most convenient for you. You don’t have to go through this alone.
|Apr 02, 2017|
What To Do With The Kids When Your Partner Drinks
Do you find it difficult to know what to do when the one you love starts drinking in front of your children? Are you a parent of a child who drinks too much or suffers from substance abuse?
I often say to my loving Secret Facebook Community - which is filled with some of the most amazing and courageous women on this planet - you have choices. You don’t need to stick around when they're making bad choices.
You can ask them to leave the house. If they refuse or they’re too drunk, you can pick up your keys, grab the kids, and head right out the door.
Over the years, I have had some women say to me, “Michelle, it’s not that easy. What if they decide to follow me? What if the kids are busy and don’t want to leave the house?”
And here’s the loving but hard truth I need you to hear:
I had three young kids when I was married to my alcoholic and addicted husband. And I get that it’s not easy. But sometimes this disease requires us to do things that are not easy.
There were moments I had to wake up my baby from a nap and get the older ones out of the house. After we were divorced, there was an evening I had to drive until 3am from another state to rescue my kids from his house because he was drunk and out of control and my kids were scared and hiding in the bathroom.
If you know they will follow you to the car and try to prevent you from leaving, you can call the police. I had to do that three different times. Having the police show up at my house was embarrassing, but it showed addiction that I mean what I say. Take me seriously when I say leave the house or leave me alone.
We HAVE to be willing to teach this disease that we mean business and courageously stand up to addiction.
We can do it. I am cheering you on every minute. You are more courageous than you think.
I hope you found this helpful and will consider joining one of the three programs we offer. I would love to get to know you better inside the Secret Facebook Group filled with hundreds of women just like you (you will receive a private invitation after you join one of the programs).
P.S. Speaking of our Secret Facebook Group, one of the very wise women who is a part of it shared this comment when I asked the group this question: "What do you do when you think your loved one might drink this weekend?"
This is what she wrote:
My new thing to say in general is, "Will you let me know if you're planning to drink tonight? If so, the kids and I are going to go....(do whatever)." This lets him know that I'm not interested in being around it, that I'm not trying to control his behavior, and that I have a plan in place. Sometimes he will say "I'm fine without it," which is great. Other times, he drinks and we do something else. Tiring, but more peaceful.
THAT’S BRILLIANT! That takes courage and commitment and I am so proud of her. She has been a member of the Love Over Addiction program for a few months and her growth is amazing!
|Mar 26, 2017|
How To Protect Your Finances From Addiction
Addiction is expensive. Beer, liquor, drugs, pills, porn - it all adds up. I was an oblivious wife and never really paid much attention to our bank statements. Math wasn’t my best subject and I thought it was romantic that my husband took care of the bills and provided for us.
But I was wrong.
There was nothing romantic about wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars on the very things that are destroying our family.
It wasn’t until he was in rehab that I finally sat down and looked over our checking account and realized how out of control this disease was.
Here’s my helpful tip about managing your finances:
You should consider getting separate bank accounts if both you and your husband are earning an income. Put everything you earn into your account and DO NOT give him access. This disease will continue to rip you off and take from you no matter how upset you get at him.
I even recommend this to my friends who aren't married to an alcoholic or substance abuser. They say it's the best thing they have ever done for their marriage.
One friend makes more than her husband, so they both take money out of their separate accounts and put a set percentage into a joint account to pay the monthly bills. Her husband said it was so healthy for their relationship.
You can spend money on things that you like and you won't need to answer to him and he can spend money on beer or whatever and you don't need to nag him or worry about not being able to pay bills.
Another benefit is that it will help you keep a good credit rating. My credit rating was destroyed because addiction doesn’t care if borrowing money to feed the disease will get you in debt.
I know this might be a big step for you, but please just consider it.
You’re a strong and courageous woman. You’ve got this.
P.S. You can give him a courtesy "heads up" that you're doing this but you don't need to ask him for permission.
If you found this helpful, we have three courses that could change your life (and your relationship) PLUS a Secret Facebook Group filled with women just like you (so you will never feel lonely again). Click here to learn more.
|Mar 19, 2017|
An Open Letter to My Ex-Husband
Our marriage served a purpose and was not wasted even though it did not last. We had three little ones who are light and joy and gifts to this world. They have your terrific sense of humor, your working hands, and your kind heart.
You knew that dark, rainy afternoon that you could not be the father they need. That I had found someone who could love them and care for them in a way that your addiction would not let you. You let them go out of pure love. And when you shook that man's hand outside and thanked him for adopting your blood, that was the most selfless, loving act of kindness.
You are not defined by the mistakes you’ve made.
In that moment, the man God created you to be was overpowering the man that addiction is trying to make you become.
I am no better than you because I don't struggle with addiction. We are both doing the best we can and making mistakes along the way.
You were given an unfair disadvantage. A predisposition. Why you? Why did our family have to break apart because of this disease?
I don't know, but one day I will get to ask God. And until then, I will work. I will work to help heal the suffering that addiction causes. To educate women and teach them that we’re not powerless over this disease.
I could not save you from your disease, but I will spend my life working to make it purposeful.
We love you - from a distance, where it's safe. Because this disease is a nasty battle that is dangerous for young, tender hearts and minds. We will cheer you on and pray with tears and grit for your healing. But we will be outside the arena of your battle.
We know you can fight and surrender and win. You're a special gift. Your talents need to be used. You have love and knowledge to share with the world.
This is a battle for your life. Literally. Fight for it. Never give up. It might appear that we have left. That you have been abandoned. But if you listen closely, you will hear our cheers. Our deep plea for your breakthrough.
We have not given up. It has been many years and our voices of encouragement have not faded.
We love you - from a safe distance.
P.S. We thank you. I thank you. Thank you for never condemning me for my purpose. For encouraging me to tell my story. For thanking me for finding a good father for your children. We are waiting with open arms for your victory over addiction.
If you’re ready to commit to your healing – join one of our programs and let’s get started. They are full of REAL tips (and not a lot of fluff) that you can start using immediately.
|Mar 12, 2017|
Looking for God to Tell You What to Do? This Will Help.
Do you overcomplicate things in your life?
Maybe you make a decision only to doubt if it's the right one?
Do you stay stuck in your situation because you're afraid if you step out in faith it will be too soon or too late? Or the wrong step?
Use this checklist to make your next decision and see if your plans match God’s will. Take action immediately. Move forward with courage and strength. You have His permission. You have God's promises. What more confirmation do you need?
How to Make Your Next Decision:
If it's kind - it's God’s will.
If it's an act of strength and courage - it's God’s will.
If it's moral - it's God's will.
If it's honest - it's God’s will.
If it's loyal - it's God's will.
If it's fair - it's God's will.
The details don't matter. It's very simple.
When faced with a decision, I remind myself of these promises:
God promises protection. He will be my bodyguard.
God promises wisdom. He will keep an eye on me.
I was given a spirit of power and love and a sound mind.
And so were you. Let’s start using this simple checklist and trust the God within each of us.
If you found this tip helpful, there are plenty more practical ways we can help ourselves and the ones we love. We don’t need to stay stuck and unhappy. There are better answers. Click here to take a look at one of our programs and payment plans.
|Mar 09, 2017|
4 Helpful Boundaries
I signed up to volunteer with the 4-year-olds at church one Sunday, and about ten minutes into the class, I started looking at the clock and wondering how much longer until the class was over.
Let’s be super clear: I love children. I have six of my own, but I am certain being a preschool teacher or working with young kids is not my gift.
Maybe it’s because I think about germs way too much. Maybe it’s because I prefer adult talk. Maybe it’s because I always feel like I need a nap afterward. I just know that I was not the person who was made to volunteer in a class full of beautiful, precious children.
I have good friends who love serving in that position, so I am going cheer them on and I will find somewhere else to serve. Also, I don’t feel guilty about it - I just know that it's not for me.
That’s a boundary I have put in place. Anytime someone asks me to volunteer with little ones, I politely (and respectfully) decline.
Boundaries are important for every woman, but they are especially important when you love someone who struggles with addiction or who drinks too much.
Here are four helpful boundaries you should put in place:
Your words can’t change him. Surrender the desire to fix him. Change your expectations. He is sick.
Transfer all the energy you used to put into worrying or working yourself up over his bad mood and use that energy for yourself. Self-care is the best way to heal.
Be kind to yourself. Be your biggest advocate. Self-compassion allows you to be compassionate with others.
Practice good boundaries. It’s okay if he calls and you don’t want to answer. You’re not at his beck and call. You can let it go to voicemail and you can block his number.
If you’re struggling with boundaries and are not sure where to start or how to enforce them, we have a course called Love Over Boundaries created just for women who love an alcoholic or someone suffering with addiction.
|Feb 26, 2017|
Is He Cheating? Here’s What To Do
It’s not uncommon for the ones we love who are struggling with addiction to have an affair. This disease makes good men and women do awful, hurtful things.
So if you have been a victim of infidelity, my heart can relate. We are sisters. And it’s devastating. Your heart feels like it’s physically in pain and it takes your breath away in random moments throughout the day - like when you’re doing the dishes or reading a book.
After my ex-husband cheated I felt dirty and used. How could he? Isn’t the fact that I am still with him enough? I am sticking by his side while he drinks himself to death and continually breaks promises to get better. Doesn’t that count for something?
But the really scary part? When we find out they are cheating and we still want them back.
You judge yourself for needing them. Shouldn’t this be my breaking point? Any “normal” woman would kick them out of the house and never want to see them again. But you feel the opposite. You feel like you want them close. So close.
You want them to confess their mistake, show you how awful they feel about it, and then spend the next several years proving to you how much they love you.
Yeah, I’ve been there.
So here’s what to do:
1. Don’t judge yourself. Your reaction is acceptable. You had your heart broken. Your world was crushed. Be kind to yourself. If you want to yell, fine. If you want to cry, fine. Maybe you want to deny, fine. It’s all fine. Just get through the day. Say how you feel and make it until bedtime. If you feel something different tomorrow, that's okay. You can change your mind and your feelings a thousand times over. This is new, so give yourself grace.
2. Don’t make a decision to leave or stay until you have really processed. You need to work through this. If you want to temporarily kick him out because you need to be alone with your feelings, do it. If you want to hold him close and ask why, that works too. Just keep going back to forgiveness for yourself.
Oh and one more very important thing…
This was NOT your fault. None of it. This is NOT about the fact that you are not putting more effort into your hair or hitting the gym. It's NOT about the fact that you nag him or her or that they think you can't have any fun because you’re not partying.
This is all about the disease. It’s just that simple. So any kind of blame or shame you’re feeling? You can give that right back to the disease.
Kindness and gentleness and self-love. That’s what it’s about right now.
P.S. If you’re feeling alone and not sure what to do, I am personally extending you an invitation to join me in one of our programs. We can walk through this together. You don’t have to do this alone.
|Feb 19, 2017|
How To Stop Feeling “Not Good Enough”
Several years ago, my dad took my brother and me on a trip to Paris. We went to the Louvre one afternoon and we paid extra money for headsets that you can wear while walking around the museum. The headsets tell you about each picture and the artist.
It was stunning. There were so many beautiful pieces of artwork that I didn't know where to lay my eyes. My brother and I just walked from hallway to hallway, overwhelmed by all of the beauty that these artists were able to create.
But there was one hallway in particular that was filled with tourists who were waiting in a long line to enter a room with a very special painting. This painting is considered a masterpiece. I can't tell you specifically what makes one painting a masterpiece and one painting just a regular painting.
But this piece of art was so beautiful and so perfect that dozens of people were in line in order to just get a glimpse of it.
Each detail had been carefully painted. Every stroke of the paintbrush was intentional and well-planned and thought out. You could tell the artist spent many, many hundreds of hours thinking over and working on this masterpiece.
So when I came across a verse, it reminded me of that painting in the Louvre.
I learned that I'm a masterpiece. That God put as much effort into me as that artist had put into their painting. That's what makes me beautiful. And, like most people, I sometimes have a hard time believing that.
It's not that I doubt God - it's that I doubt myself.
I believe lots of people are considered God's masterpieces. But I'm not one of them. I am ridiculously flawed and have dirty dishes in the sink. I can't seem to find a balance between working and parenting. I criticize my husband for stupid things. It truly is ridiculous. So I am clearly not a masterpiece.
But the more that I thought about this, the more it made me feel uncomfortable that I was not believing God's word was true. Would He really make somebody who’s not a masterpiece?
If He makes all of us, I am criticizing God’s work when I criticize myself.
You are His masterpiece too. And it's time that we start believing that.
I love you dearly. Let’s be masterpieces together.
|Feb 12, 2017|