Have you done a Journey to Healing & Joy phone group, or a similar group with another ministry, yet
you still have times when you wish you could get support from others who understand? As we know, this is not a linear journey, and it isn’t a journey we ever outgrow completely. Life can still bring triggers, life-sized upheavals that produce difficult transitions, and if we’re married, it still carries the threat of a husband’s slip or relapse. It’s for these times that we are launching a drop-in weekly phone call for a flat low monthly fee of $50. For that monthly payment, which can be cancelled at any time, you will have access to weekly calls or occasional calls when you need a shot of sister-support.
The call will be on Thursday mornings at 8am Pacific Daylight Time/11am Eastern Daylight Time, and it will be hosted by me, Marsha Means, MA, and a former client named Ellen. Ellen brings a unique element in that her journey only began a year ago, so her pain is much fresher. In contrast, my journey really began way back in 1990 when I married a wonderful man who struggled with this addiction. My much-longer journey has given me years of experience and understanding as I’ve walked alongside thousands of others, while Ellen’s very intense year of healing, coupled with her unique gifts, produces an understanding of how the trauma produced by sex addiction impacts each of us. Our first call is on Thursday, April 4th, and will last from 60-90 minutes, depending on the needs of the group.
I invite you to “meet” Ellen in her story below:
My name is Ellen. I am the very grateful mother to three incredibly unique and vibrant teenagers. I am the wife of a thoughtful and courageous husband. I have a career that is fulfilling and challenging. As I write this short bio, I am on the eve on my 44th birthday. I just finished breakfast with my dear mother-in-law and for lunch I will meet with my two sweetest girlfriends for salad and cake! Today is a wonderful day. I feel energized, hopeful and loved beyond measure. I am peaceful and joyful, not just because it is my birthday, but because I have a second chance at this wonderful, mysterious life. For this next chapter of my life, I will pen the plot. I will imagine and dream the adventures, and I will find peace in knowing the twist and turns will be met with confidence and wisdom. Most of all, I will greet this life with
constant gratitude, forgiveness and support.
Last year I wanted to die. I literally wanted to disappear or run until I fatefully collapsed. I was trapped in a world of isolation with a huge shameful secret. I had just learned my husband had been unfaithful. These discoveries usually don’t come with a hug and manual of how to survive them; they come like a wrecking ball shattering us into a million pieces. My world was crashing in on all sides. I was beginning to comprehend that something had been wrong all along. I finally had a concrete clue that the man I was married to for two decades, was not who I thought he was. Devastated and disappointed are understatements. I did not even feel safe. I was stuck in a nightmare and had no idea what was real, anymore. I felt worthless. I felt crazy. I felt responsible. I felt frantic, then catatonic, I felt heartbroken, then full of rage. The suffering became so frightening and exhausting. Then I began listening to the most loving whispering of wisdom, “you must save yourself and then you can help your kids, but you can’t do this alone”.
And so, my recovery journey began. One foot in front of the next. One moment of trust met with one moment of hope. I was led to a therapist who was informed about sex addiction, who understood terms I had never heard before. Terms like betrayal trauma, gas lighting, acting out, verbal abuse, family of origin wounds, and PTSD. She suggested materials to educate myself and to support my new reality. I was connected to Marsha Means and her amazing ministry of women. I was now circled by women who knew my pain, who knew addiction and suffering. I was supported to grieve and to process all this loss. I was given options about how I might begin a healing journey that would be unique to my personal experience. Eventually, I was introduced to a whole community of women, all on separate paths but with one destination in mind: personal healing.
So yes, this may be one of my favorite birthdays. I have a brave husband who chose a sincere and rigorous recovery. I am mending broken relationships. I am showing up for my kids in a way that makes me really proud. I have a marriage with honesty, warmth and love. I have learned about true intimacy, and my next chapter in life will always include the gift of raw, authentic and compassionate intimacy. My years of ministry work and career paths have enriched my life with opportunities to hold sacred space with the most vulnerable and most spiritual of circumstances. I have worked with hospice and the actively dying, and with prenatal and postnatal care and the newly born. I have educated, counseled and supported. Most importantly, I have walked along side women for decades, simply holding space with them as they look within themselves to find the miraculous wisdom and power that already exists. This addiction sadly snuffs out a woman’s light. We can hold hands with one another, show up and be present. It is here, with our own stories, joined together in a community of support, that a once lost and shattered girl can bring forth the light her soul longs to shine. It is my privilege and honor to be with women on their journey of healing.
Click the "Subscribe" button below to register for this Thursday, 8am group.