I heard one of my favorite Three Principles teachers, Sandra Krot, on a webinar the other day. She slowly and carefully explained thinking and thoughts and feelings as explained by Sydney Banks. For the first time since 1995, I began to understand their relationship for myself on a much deeper level than ever before. And I thought how important it is for partners of sex addicts when they first discover their plight to have spiritual solace and hope from the beginning of this ordeal. Spiritual solace and hope are not intellectual concepts or theories. They are feelings, which can help to soften the blow of the deception that has just destroyed their lives.
I wish I had had a better understanding of the Principles and the deep consolation they offer when I was going through my rude awakening. In fact, I realized while Sandra was speaking that, I’ve actually become grateful that my partner died because it has given me the opportunity to deepen and mature in ways I would never have had to if we’d continued on stuck in limbo. Now that I know the real truth, we could not have continued on much longer anyway.
I remember when I was first going through the double throes of hell – both from the death of my partner and the discovery of her lifetime sex addiction. There really wasn’t any relief from that depth of pain and fury. It weighted me down like sandbags and went on for months.
I had far more spiritual education and resources than the average person, but the Three Principles and the 12 Steps and the Serenity Prayer and a couple of well-meaning, traditional therapists didn’t touch what I was going through. Or so it seemed.
I read passages out loud to myself from Sydney Bank’s The Missing Link, which gave temporary solace. But I didn’t put it together that my soul was being touched by his words and that’s where our real healing takes place, down deep inside. Not outside ourselves by talking and writing about the sordid pasts of our loved one, like so many programs suggest.
I had no clue that my thoughts would slow down naturally and that my mind would become more peaceful, and in that state the healing, love, and knowingness I ached for would come to me over time. I did not understand just how deeply I could reach inside of myself to begin healing.
I was swamped day after day with revenge thoughts and “visions” of just exactly where, what, and with whom my partner had been acting out sexually all those years. These revelations frightened and nauseated me and I did not know how to stop them. My perception was that my waking thoughts never changed, and that I would feel badly all the time.
One teacher, a 12-Step sponsor, strongly suggested that I write a gratitude list every night before sleeping. Grati WHAT?! I couldn’t imagine what for. And my other teacher, a Three Principles master, wanted me to see that although I had just lost everything I held sacred and meaningful for nearly half of my life, I was supposed to glibly accept that my agony was just my thinking?! What a bind.
In retrospect the gratitude lists did help. First, they got me out of my ego self, which was suffering. I had to dig a little deeper inside and look at the world outside of me to note my gifts. I had great health and a little pension to pay for the gym and yoga, which was a huge part of my recovery for two and a half years. I had my own apartment while many people in the world were suffering from relocation and war traumas. I had fresh food and safe drinking water.
I had a car to drive out to the levees for long walks at midday or midnight. I had a little camera to shoot spectacular sunsets while out there. I had a little bird that woke me up every morning with a sweet song and ears with which to hear him.
I made a beautiful altar for my partner and sat quietly in the candle light each dawn and dusk. Grateful that I knew where to look for spiritual help and that I had years of many holy teachings under my belt, not the least of which was, and still is, the Three Principles of Sydney Banks.
I will always have immeasurable gratitude for my website developer, Sean Armstrong, who started dismantling our website which she’d desecrated and which I did not discover until after she died! To help my recovery, he began building another site wherein I would eventually work with partners of sex addicts. He kept my mind occupied with tasks to that end to help me recover. He was as patient as a saint because my attention span in those days often faltered.
Little by little, the gratitude lists grew until I had to admit that there were many moments throughout each day that I wasn’t suffering “all the time” due to my partner’s lifestyle and her death. This was my first foggy view of the inside-out nature of our thinking. Of course, I still got upset about the circumstances surrounding my partner’s life and death. Who wouldn’t? But I also got glimpses of, as Sandra Krot said, “that nothing ‘outside’ can cause us to feel anything.”
I want to end with a quote from a paper Sandra wrote called “Feelings: What Are They Good For?”
“Ultimately, the powerful distinction to see is that it’s all inside-out, it may not look that way, it may not feel that way, but it is. And inside is where the wisdom, intelligence, and new thinking lie. . . ” [ital. and bold mine]
That’s the main point that I hope to impart… That inside each of us are the wisdom, intelligence and new thinking that we need to trudge through the spiritual and emotional quagmire of finding out our partners are sex addicts.
So, what do you have to be grateful for?