Help! My Spouse is Addicted

How do I respond to my spouses first love that’s killing them and us? 

Help! My Spouse Is AddictedAddiction is a killer.  It’s a killer of relationship, dreams, and self.  When your spouse is addicted to something, it doesn’t really matter what it is, it feels like you are losing a competition.  They love something more than you.  The question becomes: How do I respond to my spouses first love that’s killing them and us?

It’s not about you:

First, realize it’s not about you.  ALL addiction starts with wanting to run away from unwanted thoughts, feelings, and memories.  There is something deeply troubling in them that they are running from.  It is possible that they can have deep feelings of affection toward you AND not want to face their pain.  (I chose to not use the word ‘love’ here, because love sacrifices regardless of feelings and it is true that they are not loving  you.)

No Shame

Secondly, shame is the number one emotion that will send a person back into an addiction.  Sometimes, we try to use shame as a means of motivating them to change.  We think, ‘if they just understood how their behavior is hurting me, they would stop.’  But communicating in a shameful way will just send them back into their addiction.

Call Them Higher

Trying to understand what they are running from will help you to heal the wound.  For instance, many people are afraid of not being enough in some capacity.  When you tell them ‘you’re a lousy spouse and only care about yourself,’ they want to run back to a place to feel numb, so they don’t feel their feelings of not being enough.  When you tell them, ‘I see you are struggling, and I believe you can face this hard thing and conquer it,’ they are motivated to rise to the expectation.  It doesn’t always work, but it’s your best shot.

Non-Negotiable

It’s alright to let them know that dealing with the addiction is a non-negotiable.  It may mean 100% abstinence (for things like a substance abuse) or it may mean bringing in accountability to control excess (for things like finances or excessive habits).  Some things really can be non-negotiable or the relationship needs to end.

No Secrecy – Bring in Accountability

Addiction loves secrecy because secrecy is the best environment for addiction to thrive.  You can let your spouse know that for each relapse you will be seeking help from your support community.  When relapse does occur, you then let the next tier know, which can include family, friends, pastors, counselors, or community members.  This is for the purpose of finding help NOT shaming!!!  You’re bringing in people that will offer support not criticism.  The circle of people remains as small as possible and you let your spouse determine how big that circle gets by their sobriety.

Healing the Wound

The ultimate goal is to help heal the wound that is driving the addiction.  When relapse does occur, we begin to explore the question of: What was the emotion going on before relapse?  Rejection? Fear? Loneliness?  THIS is what needs to be healed.  Healing this is what will bring long-term sobriety and make it possible for your relationship to heal.

If your spouse is not willing to face their struggle and their emotions, you may need to make stronger boundaries in hopes they will pursue the healing they need.   Realize there really are some addictions that are so toxic that separation or divorce are really the necessary options.

The most difficult part of this journey is learning how to step out of being offended, when it truly is offensive.  You will need strong and healthy boundaries in place and find a supportive community that will work both as a means of protection for yourself and as a way of calling your spouse higher.

May God give you the strength and wisdom to walk this hard road.

 

The Importance of Feeling the Feels

The Psalms are full of examples to us of being honest in our emotions with a faithful God who cares for us.  There also is an entire book named for one particular emotion to example to us how it’s done: Lamentations.

Feel the FeelsEmotions are a vital part of our humanness.  Yet we tend to either justify our over-reacting to our emotions or we shut them off.  But understanding and being honest about our emotions is imperative to our relationship with God, others, and even ourselves

For those who become overwhelmed by an emotional experience, it’s good to quiet the body, mind and soul and ask, ‘what is this emotion really about?’  While we shouldn’t excuse our behavior because of our emotions, neither should we tell our emotions to simply ‘shut up’.  Our emotions are telling us something very important.  They are telling us I desire, I hurt, I’m tired, I am afraid, etc.

For those who have suppressed emotions, it’s good to practice quieting the body, mind, and soul and ask, “what am I really feeling right now?”  We can often get caught up in suppressing our emotions because we don’t know what to do with them.  The result is dying to our emotional/spiritual side altogether.  Unfortunately, when we suppress our emotions it tends to come out sideways whether we want it to or not, in the form of anxiety, depression, control, and addiction.

We need to be able to feel the feels in honesty.   Bringing our emotions to our minds allows us to own our decisions and take responsibility for our lives.  It enables us to accept the things we cannot change and have the courage to change the things we can.

The Psalms are full of examples to us of being honest in our emotions with a faithful God who cares for us.  There also is an entire book named for one particular emotion to example to us how it’s done: Lamentations.

It is good to acknowledge our feelings for what they are.  But feelings can also lie to us, telling us we are guilty when we are not, telling us we are a lost cause when we are not, or telling us life is hopeless when it is not.  So, asking ourselves honestly, ‘what is this feeling about?’ and living out courage to change the things we can, is the only way we can live authentically before God and with others.

What can our feelings tell us? 

I am wrong:  Really thinking through this is important.  There is a difference between ‘I am wrong’ and ‘I did something wrong’.  The truth is you might have done something wrong, in which case God has provided ways to clean up the mess through accepting responsibility, confession, and making amends.  If the thought is ‘I am wrong’, then understanding your true purpose and identity in life is taking steps to freedom.

I grieve: Grief is one of the worst feelings because there is absolutely nothing that can be done with the loss.  But loss is supposed to hurt.  There is no way to heal from grief unless you go through it.  If you try going under it, over it, or around it, you will get stuck in it.

I desire:  Desire can be good or bad, depending on what you are desiring.  It will help to know if it’s a good desire by asking, what need is it fulfilling in me?  What will be the fruit of obtaining it?  Desiring peace is a good thing unless you are giving a tyrant what they want.

I’m tired:  Am I tired because I’m running from my emotions? Am I over-achieving?  Being self-reliant?  Is there a change I can make in order to rest?

I fear:  Fear is good if you are standing near the edge of a cliff.  But fear is not good if you have to be in control of everyone around you in an attempt to have the perfect life.  Ask what is this fear about?  What evidence is there that this will become a reality?  Is this mine to control?

I’m sad:  Sadness is not the same as depression.  It’s a missing of something vital to our lives.  It means we are still alive and have desire.  It often means we have the capacity to love and care still.  Acknowledging our sadness allows us the ability to grieve the loss.

I’m angry:  There are some things that we should be angry about.  Naming the anger is the first step.  But we can’t excuse destructive behavior even when our anger is justified.  So, finding out how to move toward a solution is a healthy response to our anger.

I’m not safe:  It’s good to listen to your gut if you don’t feel safe.  By acknowledging this emotion you can then make a safety plan.  But, believing that there is no one who is or no place that is safe means there’s some healing work to be done.

Brene Brown has written that when you refuse to acknowledge negative feelings you shut down all of your feelings.  You cannot be selective in shutting down only some of your emotions.

Burying these emotions (and many others) will only produce destructive elements in your life.  Acknowledging them, asking what the emotion is about, and having the courage to make any necessary changes will lead to emotionally healthy spirituality.

 

FBS: I Can’t Change

If you believe you can’t change, chances are pretty good you’re right.

I Can't Change
Photo Credit: Hilary Storm

This post is part of a series I am doing on False Belief Systems (FBS).  What we believe matters because it affects how we think about things, which affects our emotions, which affects our behaviors.  I’m not talking about theological beliefs (although those affect us too.)  I’m talking about beliefs about who we are and about God and others.  If we are stuck in cycles of harm that we want to break free of, this is a beginning point of where we look.

Since most people live with several FBS’s, it doesn’t matter which we start with…we just pick one and start.  But the belief “I Can’t Change” is a deal breaker.  It stops us from even trying.

Do you hear you tell yourself, “I’ve always been this way, I’ll always be this way, this is just who I am?”  Oftentimes we begin to believe we can’t change because we’ve tried many times to change and were not successful.  Perhaps we didn’t have the right tools to know how to change.  Perhaps we were young without the necessary capacity of freedom to change.  Or perhaps we were told we couldn’t change and so we believed them. Whatever the reason, it’s time to believe ‘I can change.’

Over the course of the next several weeks I plan to address these FBS:

I must be in control or something bad will happen
I don’t need anyone
If I’m vulnerable I will get hurt
I’m dumb, worthless, or a failure
I’ll always fail no matter how hard I try
I cannot cope without____________
Whatever I do it won’t be good enough
I am responsible for other people’s feelings, problems, & behaviors
My worth is based on my performance
People will only like me if I’m happy
God won’t be there when I really need him
Authority figures will betray me
If I don’t feel, I won’t hurt

Here are some essential steps to change:

  1. Be Determined

Nothing changes until you determine it to change.  Ask yourself “What’s stopping me? What is hurting me? Where do I want to grow?”  Chances are the truth isn’t not going to pop out of the sky to rescue you.  Even when we recognize God is making changes in us, we usually partner with God to make them happen.

  1. Surround yourself with a team

You were not meant to be alone.  Find some trusted friends who may be working on their own changes and be accountable.  Check in with them daily or weekly.  Let them ask you questions to help you see your current belief systems.  And let them encourage you.  This part is admitting to others your real self and your need.

  1. Find out why the lie is there? What is it protecting you from?

Usually a lie is protecting you from something.  Perhaps, if you believed ‘I can’t change’, it prevents you from putting in the work to learning something new.  Or perhaps it’s there to protect you from some sort of suffering, rejection, or failure.

  1. Work on it daily for 30-60 days

Replace the lie with the truth.  For 10 minutes every day, think on, memorize scripture or quotes, discover, read, talk about, and practice the new truth.  They say a person can change any habit in 21 days.

I’ve found that in 21-days the new brain pathway is built as I begin to understand how the lie is affecting me and recognize what I need to do. Some habits die hard and can take up to a year of working on it for it to be eradicated from my life.  But it becomes much easier after the first 30 to 60 days.

  1. Take Risks

Recognize it’s hard to change.  You will eventually need to step out into a True Belief System (TBS) and that can be scary.    Taking risks by telling people your new belief and acting on the new belief is a part of taking ownership of the new belief.  It only feels like you might die, but chances are you’re just growing.

This is different from the power of positive thinking or even Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).  I’m not against these things.  Positive thinking can go a long way in helping you when it’s grounded in truth.  CBT can truly help people, but I believe it stops short.  The goal of CBT is to reduce symptoms and distress to psychological disorders by teaching new information-processing skills and coping mechanisms.  The goal I am speaking of is to change entire belief systems and at the core trust in the truth.

If you believe you can’t change, chances are pretty good you’re right.  So killing this FBS is a great first step.   If you’re thinking this from previous experience or the changes you need to make are overwhelming, find your team and slay this dragon.

Why Celebrate Recovery Isn’t Just For Addicts

That’s right! It’s not just for addicts! It’s for anyone who is stuck and can’t move forward in life.  

Why Celebrate Recovery Isn't Just For AddictsCelebrate Recovery (CR) is a 12-Step recovery program designed to deal with any hurt, hang-up, or habit.  That is almost unbelievable! How can one ‘program’ help deal with coping mechanisms, divorce issues, sexual issues, anxiety, depression, grief, fear, rejection, substance abuse, or any other hurt, hang-up, or habit?  That’s right! It’s not just for addicts! It’s for anyone who is stuck and can’t move forward in life.  

CR presents 25 lessons which are broken down into four sections; getting ready to write down your inventory, writing your inventory, dealing with your inventory, and continue to manage your inventory.  The term inventory is simply a list of significant areas of your life including sins you’ve committed, sins committed against you, traumas, lies you’ve believed, attitudes you’ve experienced as well as blessings you have received and discovering your identity.

Getting Ready

CR takes eight (8) lessons just to get us ready to write down and deal with our inventories!

  • We start by coming out of denial and recognizing ‘I have a problem.’
  • We realize that we have tried to control this problem and can’t.  We need a power outside of ourselves to help us and that power is Jesus Christ.
  • We begin to hope again because we understand that we matter to Christ and He has the power to help us recover, which leads us back to truth.
  • We choose to turn our lives and our wills to Christ’s care and control.  And we recognize that we must do something different than what we have been doing to get a different result.
  • We commit to complete honesty about our lives and we surround ourselves with others who have gone this road before.

This sets us up for success!

Inventory

Now this is where the rubber meets the road and it starts spinning out, doing wheelies, and flipping over.  This is where we tend to lose people. I’ve heard it countless times, “Why do I have to rehash all the crap in my life?  Can’t I just move forward?” Yet, every recovery program has an inventory process so it must be important! So, the answer is, yes you can move forward but without healing from past wounds it’s like walking over broken glass with bare feet. You simply cannot heal until you deal with the past.

In CR, there are three inventory lessons in which we write down the good, the bad and the ugly.  We write down people who have hurt us, people we have hurt, life’s significant events, deaths, and how we’ve responded to these traumas.  We answer questions like who am I resentful of, jealous of, or am critical of? What makes me lose my temper or what do I worry over? Have I stolen from anyone or been dishonest?  We write it all down. I suppose that’s the scary part as we see ourselves looking back at us from the paper. We begin to own our stories, so that our stories will no longer own us.

Writing down our inventories is not meant to shame us or make us proud.  We simply write down the truth about our lives. We then take our inventories through God’s healing process to find freedom.

Dealing with our Inventories

Here is where the miracles happen!  God’s healing process is simple, but it’s not simplistic.  This is so difficult that we really can’t do it on our own.  We need safe people to help us navigate the truth by helping us see when we are still believing lies.  We need safe people to grieve with us in the losses of our life. We need safe people to be an example of how to walk the road to freedom.  And, of course, we need the Holy Spirit to enable us to do these things. It’s not meant to be done alone.

  • We start by confessing our sins, our needs, and weaknesses.  This is the first step of the healing process!  It’s a guaranteed promise.

1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from unrighteousness.”

  • We admit our wrongs to another person.  This is such a necessary part of recovery because this is where we walk out of shame.  I know it feels like we would be walking into shame, but that’s not the truth! We tell another person our sins and the world doesn’t end.  In fact, most of the time, at CR you will hear ‘me too.’ You get to take your mask off here, you get to be the real you, and you are loved for who you really are.  Your mask gets thrown away.

James 5:16 says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”

  • We are ready to have God remove our character defects as we voluntarily submit to every change God wants to make in our life.   (In religious terms that’s called repentance.)

Matthew 5:6 “Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires.”

  • We evaluate all our relationships.  We offer forgiveness to those who have hurt us and make amends for the harm we’ve done to others when possible, except when to do so would harm them or others.  This needs to be wisely done and having others help you navigate these relational issues is huge!

Luke 6: 31 “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”

And there we have it!  Boom-Sha-ka-la-ka!! Confession – Admitting – Repentance – Amends –Forgiveness.  These steps break any bondage we are stuck in and put us back in right relationships with God and (as far as we can do) with others.  At CR, we call it ‘cleaning up my side of the street.’

You see, these steps don’t really make sense.  If I were to create steps, it would be all about gaining control of my own world or finding solutions to manage my own happiness.  That makes sense to me. But God’s plan is possible for all to follow because He does the work. When we have done our part in following God and in restoring relationships, He breaks any bondage we are held to and we find freedom. It’s interesting to note, that even secular recovery programs use this as a basis because God’s principles always work even when you don’t give Him credit.  It’s a spiritual law much like the law of gravity.

What this does not do is fix physical issues such as cancer or even depression, although many people have found relief from depression when they follow these steps.  It does not control another person to act the way you want them to, although it can free you from their control. It doesn’t save you from the consequences of poor past decisions.  And it does not make life easy…sorry, life is still life.

Continuing-On

The last eight lessons of CR are how we continue to walk in the grace of God.  We establish new habits of confession, admitting our struggles to safe people, repenting, making amends and offering forgiveness on a daily basis.  We establish safeguards for relapses in our character, develop an attitude of gratitude, and learn to give away what we have received.

Celebrate Recovery works because at its core is the Gospel.  We learn to recognize our part in all of life’s issues and we trust God’s plan of breaking the bondage through His provisions.

If you are in or near Moscow, Idaho I invite you to come any Friday night at 7:00 p.m. at Real Life, Moscow Campus.  If you are outside of my area, then look up one of the 35,000 Celebrate Recovery groups world-wide here. 

Love & Relationship Addiction

Recovery isn’t about ending a particular romantic relationship.  It is about healing and growth in several areas of our life within relationship.

Love & RelationshipAddiction
Photo Credit: Hilary Storm

Love & relationship addiction is identified when a romantic relationship isn’t about love.  It’s about fear of being alone or achieving validation because of a relationship, and it tolerates damaging behaviors without resolution.  As a person addicted to romantic relationships, we may know the relationship is wrong, but we can’t walk away.  The painful cycle includes attraction, bonding, rejection, panic, reconciliation, and the cycle starting over.

Patterns of addiction to “Love” are:

  • Love at first sight
  • Going quickly into the relationship without time to establish common values, goals, or to build trust
  • Neglecting ourselves or loved ones in order to be with this person
  • Feeling isolated and detached from family and friends
  • Feeling overwhelmed by daily living and see their only way to survive is to attach themselves to someone else
  • Mistake intensity for intimacy
  • Romanticizing about the object of affection
  • Attracted to needy people
  • Seek to avoid rejection and abandonment at all cost
  • Afraid to trust anyone in a relationship
  • Using others alters mood or relieves pain
  • Highly manipulative and controlling of others, self & circumstances
  • Desperation to have peace in a relationship is defined by a cycle of begging and pleading to win the favor of a partner regardless of previous mistreatment
  • Escalating tolerance for high-risk behavior
  • Partner comes back with demands that the addict changes, but is not looking for a healthy relationship
  • Cycle continues of the partner leaving and the addict panicking

The Cause of Addictive Relationships

The beginning of an addictive relationship often starts in childhood where relationships with parents were absent, abusive, or neglectful.  We seek to heal what has been broken.  As children our emotional needs were not met when we faced rejection and/or abandonment. We came to believe we were not worthy of love.  The cycle continues as we seek validation from a person like the parent we were missing the affection from.  

The Process of Recovery

Recovery from love and relationship addiction is possible. The first step is to admit our need for a healthy change.  Here are some possible steps:

  • Recovery begins with admitting the relationship is addictive
  • It’s necessary to recognize and desire change in ourselves
  • Realize that obsession is not the same thing as love.  
  • Using relationship to prove you have worthiness is a warning sign
  • Understand your emotional triggers.  Being alone can trigger feelings of unworthiness. Believing that you are only worthy in a relationship can also be a trigger.
  • Connect your emotions to your childhood and recognize that your feelings and emotions are valid.  Also realize that they are not an excuse to stay in a destructive cycle.
  • If you feel immediate bonding and a sense of complete dependence in a romantic relationship, pull back as this is a sign your relationship addiction has been triggered.
  • Get a support team to help you seek out healthy relationships.  Possibly consider counseling to help heal childhood issues.

We start the process of recovery and working through the 12 steps to heal and start living the life God has planned for us.  Recovery isn’t about ending a particular romantic relationship.  It is about healing and growth in several areas of our life within relationship.  The foundation is spiritual healing.  Psalm 147:3 says, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”  It’s also about finding healing physically, socially, mentally, and emotionally.  Romantic relationships have played a domineering and oppressive role in our life.  The goal of recovery is about finding their healthy place in our lives and to build healthy relationships with God, self, and others.  

Celebrate Recovery is a 12-Step Support Group designed to bring healing to all of our hurts, habits, and hangups, including Love and Relationship Addiction.  It can be a great place to begin your recovery today!  

 

Defining Codependency

Two people can have the exact same actions but for one it’s healthy and the other it’s codependent.

Defining
Photo Credit: Hilary Storm

The problem of codependency is difficult to define because our actions often look like what we are taught to do as a “good Christian.”  We always put others first and we sacrifice ourselves in the process of serving others.  Many of our co-dependent actions have been our attempt of loving others.  We don’t want to see others make poor choices, we want what is best for them, and we want to feel loved.  These things are not wrong until we make unhealthy choices.  The problem comes in the motivation behind our actions.  We do not act independently for the welfare of others.  Instead we act out of fear, guilt and/or manipulation to obtain a desired result or for the approval of others.  In other words, two people can have the exact same actions but for one it’s healthy and the other it’s codependent.  As co-dependents, we:

are unaware of and suppress our own emotions.

  • Have difficulty identifying and expressing what we are feeling
  • Appease or rescue in an attempt to avoid our own anger, or the anger of others
  • Worry about how others may respond to our feelings, opinions, and behavior
  • Minimize, alter or deny how we truly feel in an effort to protect ourselves from others’ disapproval.
  • Do not ask others to meet our needs or desires
  • Are very sensitive to how others are feeling and feel the same instead of having independent emotions.
  • Are afraid to express differing opinions or feelings
  • Value others’ opinions and feelings more than our own

are consumed by the emotional state of another.

  • Assume responsibility for others’ feelings and behaviors
  • Feel guilty about others’ feelings and behaviors
  • Have difficulty making decisions without approval

willingly go against our own convictions for fear of rejection or fear of another’s reaction.

  • Are afraid of being hurt and/or rejected by others
  • Feeling like we don’t have a choice in response to someone else’s choices
  • Feel a need to rescue others from their decisions
  • Willingly hide, lie, or remain silent to cover for someone else

do for others’ in hopes of approval, love, or control

  • we find ourselves resentful when we help others’
  • become angry when we don’t receive the approval we deserve
  • feel we don’t have choices and must do what others’ want us to do
  • try to control the actions of another through guilt and shame

The Process of Recovery

Many of our actions as codependents are similar on the outside to what the Bible teaches.  It is good to help someone in need, to care for and have empathy with those who are hurting, and to put others’ needs ahead of our own.  Many of us have good intentions and have a strong desire to follow and obey God.  But codependency occurs when we want to please man rather than God.  

Recovery begins by admitting our true emotions to God, to ourselves, and to someone we trust.  We take ownership of our own feelings. We let others have their own emotions without feeling guilty, anxious, or responsible for how they feel.  We learn to express our feelings and deal with others’ reactions in healthy ways.  We learn to offer help without rescuing others. We change when:

  • We begin to act out of mercy and not from a need to be needed.
  • We act with intention serving others by choice because Christ has served us, not out of guilt or fear.
  • We seek to please God, not people.
  • Our value comes because we were made in God’s image, not from our work, service, or performance.
  • Serving others becomes a choice, not a reaction based on our emotions.  Healthy Christian service comes out of joy, not guilt.
  • We make choices not allowing others to dictate our actions.
  • We learn how to have healthy boundaries with others and how to respect other people’s boundaries.
  • We learn to help others appropriately by allowing them to make independent choices rather than making them dependent on us.
  • We learn to live balanced lives by caring for ourselves as well as caring for others.
  • We are willing to begin the process of recovery and working through the 12 steps to heal and start living the life God has planned for us.
  • We will use the tools of recovery: calling our accountability partners, journaling and reading the Bible.

As we begin this process of recovery, it often feels like we are not loving others.  But as we learn that God has given us the freedom to act and love Him independently without compulsion, we learn to love others independently.  We also allow others to love us independently and without compulsion.  

When It’s Hard to Believe

I wondered why I was having such a difficult time believing I couldn’t do this.

When It's Hard To Believe
Photo Credit: Hilary Storm

Once again, I was sitting at a computer trying to figure out how to get a video to play from the internet, through a projector and onto the screen.  Seemed to me that this should be a simple task.  But I’ve struggled with this more than once. And, if I’m going to be honest, I’ve probably struggled with it a dozen times.

So, I contacted our amazing, can-do-anything-on-a-computer tech guy with, “I realize I’ve probably asked you this before, and I think I know the answer, I’m just having a hard time believing the answer.  Is there no possible way to play a video from  the internet, through our program, onto the screen in the multi-purpose room?”  His answer was “nope.”

I sat there for a few minutes trying to wrap my mind around his answer.  Really?  In the 21st century, when computers can do ANYTHING, I can’t do this?  I wondered why I was having such a difficult time believing I couldn’t do this.

And then it dawned on me.  I’m having a hard time accepting “nope” because I don’t want to believe it.  I WANT to play this video for an audience on a particular night.  I want this computer, this little intangible, life-sucking thing, to do what I want it to do.

And then all the connections started to make sense.  This is why someone has a hard time believing how their spouse’s brooding, cold-shoulder is devastating their family.  This is why a person may have a hard time owning their resentment and hatred for their spouse.  This is why a parent can’t wrap their minds around the fact that their teenaged child is making (poor) decisions on their own and they can’t control them anymore.  And this is why an adult child can’t stop trying to please a destructive parent.  There are reasons we hold on to what we hold on to.  If we believed it, we’d have to stop trying to make something happen.  We would need to stop trying to suck love out of someone who can’t give it.  And it hurts to let go of what we want.   

In letting go of my little computer struggle I found freedom.  Freedom to not try to come up with ways to get it done and freedom to find alternative solutions.   I can’t make the computer do what it’s not capable of doing.  When I was able to accept the reality of my situation, I was able to stop spinning in circles and move forward.