Core Values


As part of my early trauma therapy, I was asked to write down my core values and beliefs.

Say what? core-values

My foggy trauma brain wasn’t functioning at full capacity so I remember writing three or four sentences that included obvious statements like: “Pornography destroys marriages.” “My family is worth fighting for.” I couldn’t pull much from my core because at the time it was enveloped in a dark cloud of deep pain.

Supposedly, my core beliefs were going to help me formulate boundaries. I had written some clear “expectations” before going to therapy, so I thought writing my core values and beliefs was kind of pointless. I figured I would simply re-write my list of expectations into therapese language and voila! My boundaries would be done. No need for all this preliminary writing on bottom lines or core values.

And then a recent situation came up that forced me to ponder my core values, again. I felt the need for a declaration of my beliefs. I wanted a written document that would become the foundation for possible decisions in the future regarding addictions in general, not just sexual addictions. I wanted something that would explain my decisions to anybody that might need to know: bishop, children, husband, other betrayed wives, addicts (not just sex addicts), and therapists, if needed.


These are my beliefs regarding addiction that I have acquired in my two-plus years of seeking healing and peace after experiencing the devastating aftermath of addiction in my marriage. They are living in my core, deep inside of me, so they’re firmly planted. I might change some of the wording or add additional beliefs, but for the most part, I feel like these are solid. It’s nice to have something solid to stand on!

An unexpected reward came from my work. I shared the core values document with my husband. He appreciated it enough to email a copy to others he thought could use it. In fact, my husband and I are creating an additional document that changes the “I” to “we” and sending it off to family and couples we work with!

I pondered on my core beliefs for a long time. I can now see the value of using these as a basis for boundaries in my relationship. Today, I feel empowered because I know where I’m standing.

Download pdf here.




The Cookie Connection

It’s the start of a new year and, like so many others, I have tried to focus on eating more healthy foods. I love food! I especially love ice cream, cookies, brownies, and cake! None of my favorite foods fit in the “healthy food” category. So, I have to maintain willpower and self-restraint as I work the sugar cravings out of my system. I have had some success over the past week until . . . two cookies were left on the kitchen counter! Gasp!


They were oatmeal raisin cookies. They were over-baked so the raisins had turned into hard little wrinkled pellets. I don’t know how long they had been sitting on the counter, but I’m sure the open air didn’t help the quality of the cookies. Their brown rough texture made them even less appealing.  Except. They were cookies! That’s all my mind needed to know. The tempting voice in my head kept sending me cookie thoughts: “They are so little. They can’t have too many calories.” “Nobody will know.” “You did take a walk this morning, so a few extra calories won’t matter.” “You can eat healthy tomorrow. Today, eat those cookies!”

My self-restraint lasted . . . oh, about a minute. Each cookie was devoured in two bites. The calories burned in my 90 minute walk was suddenly consumed in about the same amount of time it took me to put on my walking shoes. No matter. The pleasure of that sugar high lingered. And then I added the cookie data into the “MyFitnessPal” app. That’s when the self-loathing began.

“What is wrong with you? Those cookies weren’t even that great-tasting! You’ve wasted all your efforts toward healthy eating!” Interesting. The self-loathing voice sounded just like the one that told me to eat those darn cookies!

As I was in the midst of my negative self-talk and cookie remorse, a chilling thought hit me.

I expect my husband to use self-restraint to stay away from porn and lustful thoughts and yet, I can’t even control myself from eating two ugly little cookies!

My face suddenly felt hot and my throat tightened, the physical reactions I have when I feel shame. I felt terrible. I needed something to feel better. Obviously, eating cookies was not the answer.

Chips! Tortilla chips with salsa! Hey. They’re not sweets. Surely, the dipping motion of my hand to secure those chunky salsa bits on the chip will eat up some calories!

Stop! Get off the shame train! Eating cookies, chips, or whatever does not involve the same pattern of behavior as a sex addict who is fighting off cravings for lust! I don’t want to accept that idea. It can’t be true. Eating cookies does not destroy families (unless my health deteriorates to the point that I can’t function as a wife, mother or grandmother). Eating cookies is not a sin (unless I let my cravings consume me and keep me from focusing on God). Eating cookies does not lead me to strip clubs and places I shouldn’t be (like fast-food restaurants?).  Eating cookies does not break the commandments of God (unless you believe that your body is a temple and gift from God). Dang those parenthetical thoughts!

I am uncomfortable thinking that there might be some connections between my own weaknesses and my husband’s lustful addictions. Obviously, there are differences, but as I write this, the lines between them become more and more blurred. I don’t think my cookie experience should make me feel sinful or devalue my self worth. The lesson I need to remember from this is to have some understanding toward my husband as he works on his recovery and repentance from sex addictions and sins.

I think we’ll have grilled chicken and a green salad for dinner!

No dessert.