My Sunday


She was sitting directly in front of me during our church sacrament meeting. She usually kept to herself, sort of quiet. Her hair was colored blond and styled simply. I don’t remember her walking into the chapel; all I remember is how the back of her head looked.

It was fast and testimony meeting day when members of the congregation are invited to go to the pulpit and share their testimonies of Christ. We do this once a month, so it’s kind of a routine thing. The meeting was spiritually up-lifting. It felt good to soak up the inspiring thoughts, stories, and testimonies of others.

I looked at the clock. It was time for the meeting to end. I picked up my hymnal and prepared to sing the closing congregational hymn as the bishop approached the pulpit to close the meeting.

That’s when it happened.

The woman in front of me stood and walked toward the pulpit. She raised her arm up toward the bishop, gesturing for him to wait. The bishop nodded his acceptance of her request and sat back down. I thought she was brave to hold up the meeting like that.

She walked to the steps that would take her on the raised platform where the pulpit stood. Then she stopped. She just stopped there. She didn’t move. She was frozen in that spot.

It didn’t take long for others to notice that there might be a problem. In one graceful motion, the Women’s Relief Society president, left her seat and approached the woman from behind. She gently rested her hand on the woman’s back and then came to her side, whispering in the woman’s ear.

At the same time, the organist quickly left her bench with an understanding smile. She was facing the woman when she moved toward her, all the while trying to reassure her with a confident “you can do this” kind of nod.

There they were in a small huddle. Three women. One was in need, and two were reaching out. The huddle lasted at least two minutes, a long time when a large congregation has nothing to do but wait.

After whispers and reassuring smiles, the two women moved aside while the other woman found her intended destination at the pulpit.

She was crying. She was embarrassed that she was crying. She didn’t want to cry and so she had stopped at the steps hoping to manage the tears. “The tears keep coming out,” she said as she broke down again.

And then her story unfolded. She used all the couched and coded messages of a betrayed wife: “alone” “family in crisis” “pain” and “hurt.” Her final statement was emphatic and her voice rang clearly through the chapel. “I am strong and I will be ok! I know I will!”

As she returned to her seat, I found myself looking at the back of her head once again. I wondered if she knew the stories of the women that came to her aid. I wondered if she knew that our Relief Society president was betrayed by her husband years ago and she now lives a life that is exemplary of the power of forgiveness. I wondered if she knew that the organist has battled depression and anxiety as she works through marital and other family issues. I wondered if she could ever guess that the sister behind her, looking at the back of her head, is also a betrayed wife. I wondered.

I tapped her on the shoulder. I swallowed the lump in my throat as I leaned forward  and whispered in her ear. “You are not alone.”

We, none of us, are alone. We are in the company of many good women that have walked through the refiner’s fire and come out on the other side with more resilience and strength. We can stand together with confidence. We are strong and we will be ok.


Boundaries and Self Worth

house construction


My support group recently watched a video that featured, along with some weird-looking zombies, the importance of creating boundaries.

The point of this video (see below) is that the way we see ourselves can determine how well we are able to enforce our personal boundaries. If you see yourself as a beautiful mansion that has been maintained well, you will want to put up a secure fence to keep your mansion house safe.

On the other hand, if you’ve abandoned your house and left it in disarray for a while, you might not feel the need for a strong fence or any fence at all to protect your house. I think living with an addict year after year can do a lot of damage to our personal houses that are built in our hearts. I have to admit, there have been times in my life when I felt like my house, (or me), was in a neglected state and in need of repair. When I viewed the abandoned house depicted in the video, I felt sad because I could relate to the feeling of being that kind of house.

Fortunately, I’m a good fixer-upper and I have spent periods of time here and there for house-cleaning, repairing, and sprucing up my house-self. I count this as a gift from God. I didn’t discover my husband’s addiction until decades into our marriage and I often wondered why God hid these secrets from me. I may never know the answers for sure, but I can now see this as a huge blessing because God gave me time to really work at fixing up my house. I didn’t end up with a mansion, but I feel my foundation has always been solid and my framework is sturdy and reliable. You see, I’ve never doubted that I am a daughter of God and that He loves me. My foundation is built on that testimony. The knowledge that I have divine worth, has helped me keep my house in good condition, but it has taken years of work to get to that point.

So, when it was time for me to create personal boundaries, I was blessed with some good building material from my fixer-upper house inside my heart. There was just enough left in my house to build my safety fence. In fact, some of my first attempts at fence-building probably ended up looking more like a brick wall with razor wire on the top instead of a boundary fence! I may have made a few ultimatums, but they worked for me until I figured out a better approach.

Betrayed wives are often counseled to create boundaries right away. I think an important step is missed in such counsel. I think betrayed wives must first learn to love themselves and discover their true value. I believe this comes from relying on God and believing that He values us as His children.  When we believe in our own self worth, we understand the need for protecting ourselves, the houses for our souls, from behaviors that show no respect for our true value.

In the end, loving yourself is not about tooting your own horn or conforming to the world’s view of self-esteem. It’s about being who you are—a unique child of God—and knowing that who you are is a good thing. When you understand your eternal worth and you live in a way consistent with your divine heritage, you will gain a lasting self-esteem that is better than anything the world can offer (Truth, Lies, and Your Self-Worth, By Mindy Raye Friedman, New Era, Jan. 2014).

A strong sense of our eternal worth is the best thing to keep the homes in our souls, our heart houses, beautiful and strong.  I once took a white board marker and wrote on my mirror, “You are a daughter of God.” I left that message on the mirror and daily repeated the words until I felt like I regained my sense of worth. Regardless of our circumstances, our mistakes, or our moments of faltering faith, we are daughters of God and we deserve houses that are safe.


What’s in a Name?

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”

Romeo and Juliet (picture found on

Shakespeare nailed it. It doesn’t really matter what we call ourselves. It’s the person we are and not our name that defines us.

I have a real name and it’s not Avalon Vic. I bought some lotion at a boutique and it had the name “Avalon” on the bottle. I liked the lotion and I liked the name. When I looked up the meaning for “Avalon” I found the following:

Urban Dictionary: Avalon is derived from the welsh name “afal”; often associated with the island that King Arther’s sword Caliburn was forged. The island of Avalon is also often associated with an island that yields beautiful apples. The name “Avalon” as used in the context of a feminine name, describes one who possesses beauty unrivaled by any other. In the modern context, those who possess the name Avalon are seen as ‘One who is as rare as the legendary sword forged for a king Arther’, thus, “Avalon” is one of a kind- a woman .

I also like the name, Vic. It sounds strong and reminds me that I can be the victor over the trauma of betrayal.

Though I think my pretend name is pretty, anonymity is not. In fact, anonymity stinks. It limits how I tell my stories. Sometimes I feel like I’m split into two people: the real me and this other “Avalon Vic” person. So, why do I, and so many other women, choose pseudonyms for our blogs?

For me, anonymity helps limit the number of people involved in my husband’s recovery efforts and my healing. I love my ward members and neighbors, but sorting out the messiness of betrayal, addiction, trauma, and everything else, . . . well . . . it is something that the two of us need to do without too much outside help. We get plenty of assistance from professional therapists, church leaders, and therapy group members and they are the only ones, beyond our immediate family and one close friend, that knows about us.

Anonymity protects me from the ignorance of others. It’s been almost two years since D-day and I’m still not ready to hear the ignorant remark, “If she had only taken care of her husband’s needs, this wouldn’t have happened.”  It may be unwarranted, but it’s a fear I have. My husband is popular and he knows a lot of people. Most people would never believe he is capable of doing what he did, so I assume they will simply blame me, the less-known and more reserved one in our relationship.

Having my husband’s Priesthood blessings restored is very important to me and my extended family. I feel safe keeping our story under wraps until those blessings are restored. And then . . .

And then, I hope to have Avalon Vic merge with the real me. I hope I can be brave, come out of hiding, and tell the world that sex addiction is real and it’s spreading like a plague. There is so much more to me than this pornographic sex and lust crap. The reality is, I may have to join the fight against porn, despite my desire to rid myself of everything associated with it and never look back. I don’t know what the Lord has in store for me. ME. Not Avalon Vic. But I do know that the time will come when Avalon Vic will fade away and the real me will emerge as one person . . .  with one name.


Paper Brave

pen and paper-7The are times when I can give awesome advice. There are times when I have unstoppable courage. There are times when I am so in tune with the Spirit, I have no doubts concerning the most important answers about life. When I am writing in my journal or invited to respond in writing to a question or concern for someone else, I have expotential courage. Oh, yes! I’m a valiant warrior woman when my pen hits the page. Sometimes I feel I am my bravest self when my life is written on paper. I project magnificence on the printed page!

It is a careful and methodical process when I attempt to write down the perfect thought to share with others. Surely, I can inspire and buoy others with my profundity. Yes! I know all about the addiction cycle and how someone behaves when in addict mode. I have great ideas about boundaries. I’m doing the 12-step dance every day along with scripture study and prayer. You need an article? Give me a second and I’ll find the perfect conference talk for your solace and comfort. Look at me! I’ve got this!

The reality is that writing down my thoughts gives me time and forces me to think things through.

I can quickly delete or erase any of my misdirected thoughts when I’m writing. The end result is that I sound mighty terrific! I can easily give the appearance that my healing progress is right on the mark. No foul-ups. No overly emotional responses. Ever.

Paper brave does not, however, save me from the moments when sobbing and hugging the floor is the only thing I can manage to do. My paper brave self cannot eliminate triggers that, without any warning, jump out and catch me when I’m off-guard. Paper bravery does no even exist when my imagination conjures up horrific images or scenarios that terrify me to the core in order to “fill in the blanks” of my husband’s disclosures. There are moments when my unstoppable courage halts, when I can’t think of any decent advice, and when detecting the Spirit is a challenge. Those are the moments when trauma takes over and my bravery cowers in the corner.

Fortunately, during times of trauma, I can read my journal filled with audacious counsel and guidance. As I read, I wonder, “Where is that warrior woman? Where did she go?” I keep reading until

I find myself again.





About the Lion

It was one of those dreams that wake me up at night and then haunt me for weeks after.

The most significant part of the dream began with me walking alone on a dirt road with thick woods on either side. There were a few other people walking along the road, but I did not interact with them. I felt isolated and alone as I walked. From a short distance away, I heard someone yell, “Look out!” I instinctively jumped to the right side of the road as a circus train barreled past me on the left. The train was miniature-sized and was barely as tall as I was. As the train rolled by, I noticed that many of the windows in the train cars were broken and I thought, “The circle animals are going to be loose!”
As soon as the train went by, I excitedly began to search for the animals that would be roaming free. There was an amazing sight in front of me with elephants, zebras, monkeys, and other animals casually roaming about. The animals were everywhere!

In an instant, my excitement disappeared as I realized there might be a lion among the newly freed animals. I froze with fear at the thought of meeting a lion. I said a quick and fervent prayer, “Please God. Please, don’t let there be a lion. Please, no lion!”

As soon as my prayer was finished, I looked up to see a huge lion ahead of me and on the side of the road. The lion was staring at me and I was gripped with terror. “I can’t do this. I’m going to die,” I thought. Slowly the lion, while keeping his steady gaze on me, sauntered to the center of the road. He looked at me as if daring me to cross his path. I felt trapped with no options. lion

In the blink of an eye, the lion was suddenly hidden from my view because a huge cart appeared in front of me. It was a very large, heavy, wooden cart. The thought came to me that if I pushed the cart, the lion would be crushed. I knew I didn’t have the ability to push the cart by myself. I got a strong impression that if I could just push with all my might, the cart would begin to roll. There was a push bar in front of me and I grasped it firmly and tried to push.


Another impression came that I had to believe that I could push the cart. I tried to push again, but this time I told myself I could do it. “Have confidence! You can do this! Confidence!” I told myself. I gave all the effort that I had. The cart began to budge a bit and then it slowly began to roll. Once it started to roll, it just kept going and I was surprised at how easy it was to push.

The cart rolled over the spot where the lion was. I couldn’t see him, but I knew I had crushed the lion under the weight of the cart. The lion was gone. There was no sign of him anywhere.

I crushed the lion.

I believe the lion represents my fears. As I progress in my healing from betrayal trauma, I remind myself that I may have to continue facing down lions, my fears, day after day. I have a sturdy cart, the Atonement of Christ, that I can utilize to overcome any and all obstacles and fears in my life. I just have to have confidence in myself and believe in the power of the Savior.  Once my Atonement cart starts to roll, I will continue crushing the lions that stand in the way of my hope and healing.