Just like any addiction, there is a recovery. Divorce is no different.
Step 1: Admit that you are powerless in your marriage and that your lives together have come to an end. This is a crucial step because this is the first step to freedom. Like an alcoholic or drug addict, you have hit rock bottom in your marriage, and have tried everything to save it with no success.
Step 2: Realize that the only way to regain your sanity and sense of self is to leave your marriage. This is the step of hope for a better future for ourselves. We have realized that the situation we are in is not good and have decided to take back our power.
Step 3: Make the decision to turn your case over to an attorney and the courts. Although some couples can end a marriage amicably, most cannot. By turning your case over, you have admitted that you have tried to work it out without the help of the system and failed, so you put your trust in the hands of someone who knows the laws.
Step 4: Make an inventory of what you expect and want at the end of this process. At this point, write down everything you want from custody to custodial rights. Take an inventory of the contents of your lives together and half them, one half for you and one half for him. Write down what you need to live for yourself and your children. Make sure you include everything, including camp, weddings, college and first right of refusal.
Step 5: Admit to yourself, your therapist and your ex-husband your part in the dissolution of your marriage. In order to move on with your lives, you must admit your part in the failure of your marriage. In most cases, it takes two to make it work and it takes two to make it fail.
Step 6: Be prepared to be a single parent and start over. If you aren't ready for the realities of being single or a single parent, then you probably aren't ready for a divorce. The realities can be hard, but if you are prepared to face them, then it does make it easier.
Step 7: Note that being a single parent is going to be very hard, but it is better than being in the marriage that you were in. This is another big one. Being a single parent is hard, but sometimes it is better for the kids to see each parent happy separately than together.
Step 8: Sit down with your children and explain to them that Mommy and Daddy will not be living together anymore. This is best done with both parents there, but is not always possible. Make sure your children know it is not their fault and that you love them.
Step 9: Overcompensate with your children for the fact that they no longer have a two parent household. If it is at all possible, avoid this step. It is not necessary, just one that I tend to find myself doing.
Step 10: Continue to look at your new life and see the good in it, even when you are so dang tired from the kids and the dogs that you can hardly move. This is an ongoing process, because there will be plenty of days where you want to throw in the towel and surrender. But, you can get through it.
Step 11: Through therapy and some good drugs learn how not to repeat the same mistake and why you make the choices you make. You need to know why you made the choices you made. Whether you work it out with a therapist, coach or even internally, it is important so you don't make the same mistake again.
Step 12: Decide to help other women who are in the same position that you were in. I realized that I was put here to help others, whether it is giving a little help or a lot of help. Divorce is hard, but it is easier when you have someone who has been there and can help guide you through the murky water.