I’m Broken. I’m Exhausted. And I Don’t Know What to Do.
Sometimes, even the most heroic of women finds herself hitting that dreaded “rock bottom.” You know the one—that moment where our best attempts at healing have flat-out FAILED, hope is at an all-time LOW, and we’re hijacked somewhere between desperate (“Please throw me a life vest!”) and dead inside (“I honestly don’t care anymore.”) Life as we’ve known it implodes or explodes, and we truly don’t know how to salvage ourselves from beneath the wreckage.
All we really DO know is this: SOMETHING. MUST. CHANGE.
The survival of our hearts and souls depend upon it.
So, Then What?
For women reeling from the trauma of sex addiction, “rock bottom” can be the darkest, most horrific moment of our lives. Yet for those of us who survive that moment of despair? It can morph, with breathtaking momentum, into a life we honestly didn’t even know was ours for the taking.
Because I don’t believe in gracious little soundbites (at least not without the guts to back them up), here’s a little glimpse into my own “rock bottom” story. I wrote this in my journal two years ago, on the eve my 9-year recovery “birthday.” It’s an intimate little piece of my most private experience, but honored to share it here with my BTR sisters… even though I still can’t read it without crying.
July 21, 2015
Before recovery, I thought I understood the concept of “hitting bottom.” At the very least, I’d watched it happen to addicts on television. Wasn’t “hitting bottom” the point where addicts lost their grip on everything that mattered, when life no longer felt worth living?
As the partner of a recovering sex addict, it took two years of excruciating efforts for me to reach my very own “rock bottom” moment. By the time I did, I desperately needed to STOP banging my head against a concrete wall, one emblazoned with slogans like “Please be honest,” and “Just say no!” I needed to stop bruising my hands black-and-blue, trying to squeeze water from a granite rock, one inscribed with seductive phrases like “I wish you would,” and “If only you could.” And just as addicts need to get desperate enough to fight for their recovery, willing to do anything it takes to get sober, that’s precisely what I needed, too: I needed to get desperate for my own healing, willing to do anything it took to change the way I was living.
After two years of forcing my marriage (unsuccessfully) to become what I wanted, I finally released my iron grip (no joke) and whispered these words to into the universe:
“Okay. You win. I’m done. I give up. I’m willing to stop trying to fix this marriage, my-way-or-no-way, against prevailing odds. I’m scared to death about whatever comes next, but I’m going to let go and let You take over. I’ll work with whatever marriage You have in mind for me, not the one I’ve been fighting so hard to make happen. I’m even willing to leave this marriage, (God, this is killing me), if that’s the ultimate solution to this mess that I’m living. In the meantime, I’m a wreck. I’m broken. I’m exhausted. And I really, really, really don’t know what to do.”
With that whispered prayer, I confronted my deepest fears about the war I’d been waging: I faced my dread that somehow, despite my best efforts, I could end up with another divorce on my record, withering at the end of a second failed marriage.
That was my bottom. Yes, it was awful. And no, I honestly DIDN’T know what would happen next.
Years later, as I look back on that day, I’m choking back tears all over again. I pause for a moment to honor the guts I poured into those whispered words, the vulnerability I scraped from the deepest part of my little-girl soul.
That night, seven years ago, I cried because I thought my marriage was over.
Tonight, I’m crying because it wasn’t.
I’m minutes away from midnight, on the eve of my recovery birthday. I’m feeling more emotional than usual, as a decade of memories hover around the glow of my laptop. It feels good to write about recovery on this occasion, wrapped within the comfort of hindsight and reflection. Here in the dark, amidst this chorus of crickets, I realize that I’m waiting for the clock to strike twelve. This may sound silly, but I want to be the first person to wish me “Happy Birthday.” It might not seem like a big deal to anyone else, but I WANT that meaningful moment to remember, just between me, myself and I.
Because, after all, who else really understands what it took to get here?
Are you hitting your own rock bottom?
You’re not alone, sister! Most of us need HELP to rise from that moment of meltdown—to stare down the darkness, talk back to the trauma, and overcome the fear that’s been holding us hostage. For us as women, seeking support is NOT a sign of failure or weakness—it’s actually one of the most beautiful, courageous and empowering steps we can take.
Here at BTR, our coaches understand the “guts and grace” reality of hitting rock bottom, and we strive to help you make this pain COUNT.
Have you already risen from your own rock bottom? Click here to schedule a support call
I’d love to hear more! Please share your story in the comments below, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.