If you find yourself despairing—wondering if things will ever change, here’s a story of transformation . . . and hope.
The photo to the left tells a beautiful tale that’s not apparent without the backstory.
This unassuming building is a new restaurant—The Pit Room Handcrafted Barbecue—still under construction directly across the street from my office building in Houston, Texas. In fact, you can see it from the window of the office where I work with clients every day.
Until about a year ago, this building was home to an adult bookstore called Talk of the Town II. (As an aside, I’ve often marveled at the names of sexually-oriented businesses. Names like Talk of the Town, Treasures, or ‘Gentlemen’s Club are thinly-veiled empty promises—beautifully illustrating the cunning, baffling, and crazy-making double-speak of addiction.)
In any case, before renovations on the The Pit Room started, clients had to drive past the adult bookstore to get into the parking garage of my building. It was an eyesore, a trigger, and surely a temptation for some. As you can imagine, I was so glad when it closed its doors for good.
About five weeks ago when it was still possible to walk into The Pit Room by simply passing between a couple of two-by-fours, I took an impromptu tour one day and caught a glimpse of the two large pits where they’ll prepare the barbecue (below).
The Pit Room Handcrafted Barbecue (under construction)
These pits happen to be positioned very near the former entrance to the adult bookstore, where they’ll burn for hours on end, day after day. I imagine them literally burning off the years—likely decades—of despair, shame, and secrecy that are the toxic legacy of most sexually oriented businesses.
Partners of sex addicts and survivors of infidelity often want to know:
- Will things ever change?
- Will this ever get better?
- Will my triggers ever go away?
- Will our relationship ever be the same?
While many of these questions are difficult—even impossible—to answer, I can tell you emphatically and unequivocally that things will change. Impermanence, one of the three “marks of existence” in Buddhism, is something you can always count on.
And when you focus on yourself—your reality, your thoughts, your emotions, and what you have the power to take action around—change will happen and the change will be good. Just like the transformation of Talk of the Town II to The Pit Room.
If you want to see change, I encourage you to make a daily practice of focusing on your wins, successes, and accomplishments.
When life is particularly stressful, don’t make the mistake of comparing where you’d like to be to where you are today. Instead, consider where you are now compared to where you were, say, three months or six months ago. This practice will help you see your progress rather than focusing on how you, your partner, or your relationship, fell short of the mark.
What are your 3 wins today?
If you’d like to track your “wins” and develop the healthy habit of focusing on what’s positive and what’s working—rather than what’s not—I highly recommend downloading a free app called Winstreak (available in the App Store). I use it every day and love it.
(If you struggle with triggers—and most partners do—I’d love for you to join me for Taming Triggers Solution Online Course. The next Course starts November 2, 2017. Sign up here to be the first to receive updates. Get all the Course details here.)
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© Vicki Tidwell Palmer, LCSW (2016)
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