If you ask him now, WS will say he never had any serious will to stop until he realized his life was unmanageable. He hated that his actions hurt me but felt they were "normal" and "okay" as long as I didn't know. He became a master at leading a double life...
So Will...I don't know what advice to give. I don't know what advice I would have given to myself 5 years ago. I know that unless *he* wants to change, he won't. No amount of threats, detective work from you, logical discussions will work. He will just get better at hiding it.
Is he an addict? Only a CSAT can determine that. I guess the one piece of advice I would give is to find a CSAT rather than a "regular" MC who will no doubt try to blame you for your part; when the elephant in the relationship really does not seem to be you.
There are certainly enough red flags to be concerned though. Listen to your intuition, and resist the temptation to sweep your concerns under the rug. Porn addiction is absolutely a form of sex addiction, and if he indeed has an addiction, it will escalate...not diminish.
I was thinking of you. I hope it went well and you are OK.
Lots of men and women watch porn. I never thought porn itself was a problem. My SAWH always watched it, I never enjoyed it. I was not even worried that he watches porn. Little did I know what kind of porn he watched and the way he did it. And it escalated. Like in drug addicts, most of them start with weed, then go onto something stronger, he started with porn and then went for a real thing. He never gave up on porn, even when se started visiting prostitutes regularly. You are so very young.
You don’t really want to find yourself in my situation 20something years down the line. Take it seriously, try to find out, with the help of specialists, what does porn mean for him, is he an SA and take it from there.
SAWH and I had a major setback yesterday. Basically, he confessed he has been struggling with sexual sobriety all along, that he has never been able to go more than two weeks without masturbating. That he's stayed away from porn, strippers, hookers etc but just can't seem to otherwise last more than two weeks basically since DDay. Worse, he had been lying to his 12 step group about it, because they are largely old-timers with much longer sobriety - he didn't want to be *that* guy that couldn't last two weeks.
He did say he was being honest with his new therapist this whole calendar year he's been seeing him. And when we spontaneously fooled around last weekend (no sex, just mutual stimulation to orgasm), he immediately called his sponsor the next day and came clean about everything with him. That he led me to believe he was sober so he wouldn't disappoint me, and thus led me to believe it was ok to start resuming things slowly. And that he clearly wasn't ready. And he was embarrassed, trapped, didn't know how to dig himself out of the hole he had dug for himself with the group and me.
It sounds like his sponsor said all the right things. That what he was doing was textbook, it's all part of the cycle and coming to terms with the addiction. That he had been motivated in his recovery by trying to keep me from leaving, instead of doing it for himself. That he needed to rip off the bandaid and tell the truth to me and the group, and it would be alright. The important thing was he was being honest now, and that is forward progress on accepting the first step.
He has a meeting with his CSAT tonight. They will discuss it further then.
He was genuinely remorseful and very afraid I was going to leave him. Admitted that when we do get to the formal disclosure process that there would be more he hadn't told me, that it had gone on longer than he had said (duh!). Admitted he didn't really grasp the whole recovery/addiction concept before, and now it was becoming clear to him what it really was and what all it really entailed, how it wasn't linear and how long it really was. How we watched me do all the things I do (IC, group therapy, S-Anon, etc) and was making progress and how he felt he couldn't tell me he badly he was failing, that he didn't want to disappoint me after all I had been doing.
So what did I do? I was quiet, I let him talk. When he was done, I did say of course I am disappointed. More in that he could not be honest with me (and his group and himself) than the actual failure of sobriety. That I would need time to process all this. That a lot of the trust he had rebuilt with me was now gone.
Then I chose to read him something I wrote here six months ago. It was in response to a SA soliciting input from others regarding him and his wife. He was limited in his therapy options due to his location, and felt like he was doing all he could but nothing he did seemed to make things with his wife better, that he seemed to keep making her even more unhappy. A copy of my response is here, page 10 of my story second post:
And I told him I wrote it six months ago and I still felt the same way.
I told him he had to get better for himself, not for me or for us. That until he can do it for himself, "we" in the fullest sense cannot really be possible. That he deserved to get better, that he needed to get better because he deserved an authentic life and he deserved to be happy. That it touched all aspects of his life more than he realized, and he needed to change it for himself.
I also told him whatever he does has no bearing on what I do for me. I will do all my recovery work regardless of what he does, because I need it for me. That he needed to let that go as having any impact on what he does. He had a lifetime to make things up to me, regardless of our status, but he needed to focus on getting himself better for himself. So being the husband and father he wanted to be could be possible.
I reminded him I had promised (more to myself than to him) that I would wait a year before making any major decisions about us. I still had a month left, and I intended to honor that promise. And that I would always love him and support his recovery regardless of our status. That there were three kids upstairs that needed him to be healthy more than I did, and I would always do what's best for them.
He said he didn't deserve me. I told him he was right. But I'm still here. For now. That while I wasn't handing down "consequences" like making him spend the night elsewhere, leaving, etc there were consequences for his actions. My trust in him is severely beaten. The potential path to our M healing had been compromised. That he clearly needed to step things up in his recovery, start going to group therapy, etc to prove he was serious about getting better.
So I'm still processing this obviously. The other shoe has finally dropped, I guess. I'm not surprised by any of this, it's not like I haven't been reading this in books and in your stories all along that this would happen. It's more like I've been waiting for WHEN it would happen. And while it sucks, so far it has not been the all-ending, massive trauma response thing I thought it would be. Maybe I just need more time for it to kick in, IDK.
Welcome, Will, to our little group. It's so hard to know what to say. In our little group, there's no such thing as "just porn" unfortunately. I suppose the best thing I can say is to read the post on page 1 detailing the best resources & then take care of yourself. Find a 12 step to attend. Find a good IC. Don't become his sobriety cop-- you're his wife not his parole officer. I know that will come across as harsh, but truly- the desire and motivation for sexual sobriety must come from your H.
Ghost & Hope, I'm glad to see you! You've both been on my mind.
Hath, I did wonder how you were. I had a niggling feeling that all wasn't well with your WH, I'm sad to read that my gut was right. It seems you're processing pretty well right now, and I feel better for that. On one of these threads someone posted that addictions are a disease of relapses, and I too am coming to realize that this is true. How we handle it is the true test I suppose.
WS, I think I'd feel similarly if I were in your situation. Nervous, happy, wary. I'm happy for you & your WH. I too want to try and work it out, and I'm hopeful that the positive changes you & your WH are showing will provide a strong base for the two of you to rebuild on.
"Live a life not an apology." Edward R.Murrow
"I can be changed by what happens to me but I refuse to be reduced by it."
WS gave you great advice. If he is open to being honest about his viewing habits and activities, and willing to meet with a CSAT you could evaluate things further. Definitely read and learn more. Spending your life monitoring only makes you feel crazy. If he is a SA he will just learn to lie and hide things better. I can remember times where I played the detective and sincerely felt crazy looking through his computer and his office. Not a life I will ever go back to.
I don't have a lot of time, but wanted to say that I thought that everything that both you and the sponsor said to him was spot on! He has to be motivated to change and be healthy for himself. It is so hard because maintaining the status quo is such a big part of the addiction. That is why for most addicts they have to experience a real dramatic experience to change (job loss, legal troubles, etc.). I know for my H it was only the threat of legal troubles that finally made him hit rock bottom.
As for not being honest with his sponsor and group that is also still addict behavior, the need to keep up appearances and lie. I can understand the disappointment in the lies. My H did have a couple of slips with porn and M in his first year of recovery. It was very frustrating to me. Porn and M are definitely off limits in recovery. So many things have to change in recovery for it to be successful, right down to the people we associate with, the books/tv/movies we entertain ourselves with, etc. Recovery is a way of life.
Take your time in processing. Maybe this really will spur him on to enter recovery. Have you met with his CSAT yet? I would probably want a face to face with the CSAT to confirm that he has been truthful with him about slipping with porn for the time he has been meeting with him. If he has been telling the CSAT that he is struggling, what is the CSAT doing to prod him on? I am not saying that this is the CSAT's responsibility, but he is there to give guidance, and if your WH is not interested in real recovery, it seems like his CSAT should be calling him out on whether he is truly ready to change.
Keep working on you and checking in. It is good to hear from you.
So his CSAT said SAWH will join a group therapy, but not until after he takes a full sexual history with SAWH. Which is pretty much what he's been working on this whole time, in addition to FOO and childhood experiences. I think he wants to make sure he is in a good fit with a group, and that SAWH is serious, I guess.
He said in taking the full history, SAWH is also doing the preliminary work for formal disclosure with me. Said he would step up that effort, faster than he would ideally like for him but he knows how important that is for my healing. He also stressed the center is pro-relationship and there are resources for MC and support there when we are ready for that step.
I have not brought up talking to his CSAT yet. This one, that he has been seeing since the beginning of the year, actually sat in on my group therapy last fall as part of his cross-training for that course for couples in very early therapy for SA I took. So I am comfortable with him, and wouldn't have issues discussing things with him when the time comes. I just figured he needed more time to assess SAWH. But I have an appointment with my CSAT today, and will discuss it with her then so I get an idea how I should proceed.
I asked SAWH if he felt better after talking to his CSAT. He said no. He felt incredibly ashamed. He still feared I would leave, because my year deadline was approaching. He asked how could I possibly trust him. ( And I confirmed, I can't.) He said he wasted so much time, not doing everything he was supposed to do, and everything I asked him to do. (And I confirmed, yes, you did not. And that was very disappointing.) That he was scared, humiliated, full of remorse, etc. And I told him everything he was feeling was normal, all part of the addiction process. That what was important was what does he do NOW.
Frankly, I'm tired. I understand this is a HUGE step for him. But I'm just over it and need some time to process and reflect on how this is all going to affect me, and what I'm going to do. My life is a bit overwhelming ATM with trying to get the new house ready and get the old house off my plate, end of school for the kids, etc.
Can I offer some advice from a recovering SA? I can only speak for what works for me, and I realize everyone is different.
There is a "technique" or "commitment" in 12-step circles called the 90-in-90. If someone like your husband were to commit to this, he would require of himself to attend 90 SA (or SAA or SLAA, etc) meetings in 90 days. It could be difficult based on where you're located-- like there may not be a local meeting every day if you're not in/near a city-- but it's a popular strategy recommended by many professional CSATs, 12-step Sponsors, etc. The reason I bring it up is because I recently committed to doing this myself. Not only does it bring an admission of respect from fellow 12-steppers (especially those older with longer periods of sobriety that your husband seems intimidated by), but there's also some clinical evidence to suggest that it actually helps break down the chemical responses in the brain that fortify habits (I would cite this source, but I can't remember where I read it)-- something like on average it takes approx 90 days of hard work to witness an affect. I've been talking to 12-step members about it specifically the past few days, and a common theme from a lot of guys is that they were able to experience their first real period of sobriety during that stretch. This may not work for your husband, but if he's grasping for some new way to commit himself (because I'm guessing he's probably feeling lost at the moment)-- some "fresh" start, so to speak-- this may be one thing he can do now.
I guess this is advice for your husband and not for you-- but I think that's appropriate as well because he must do this for himself (as countless others on this forum have pointed out and have come to realize).
Also (and I don't know if you can communicate this to him in your position) but he REALLY needs to be honest with his entire 12-step group. That room with those guys is the one place he should be honest without reservation (obviously excluding his CSAT and sponsor). Part of the whole idea is having a group of guys that you can be intimate with-- where you can tell absolutely everything-- where you can surrender your secrets to your fellowship and your higher power. They will accept him. They will. He needs to trust them-- trust and being able to trust others may be one of his root broken values, and if that's the case it will be hard for him. But he really needs to be honest, in my opinion.
As far as you? I'm so sorry you have to deal with his SA. I'll pray for you and your family. It's all I can do. I don't think there's any right or wrong answer to how to respond to your situation. I do read your words and I see you as a very strong and level-headed individual-- you're very brave. You should take solace in the fact that you are handling this very well-- as well as anyone in your situation could possibly handle it. No matter what decision you make for yourself and your kids, you'll be supported on this forum. If you're posting here and working on gaining a wider perspective of your husband's SA, then you're doing good things. You should trust yourself and your instincts.
I'll pray for you and your husband.
“When we disclose the thought and intents of our hearts in surrender, we identify with one another at depth.”
Thank you so much for all the advice!
Well, on Wednesday I just couldn't wait for him to ask, and I broke down and told him I knew, again. We had a really good talk, but we always have really good talks after discovery. This time though I told him to just let me go if he was going to do this forever. He was really torn up, sobbing, shaking and said that if I needed that, then I should. I told him I didn't want to and that I want him to get help, and he agreed, again. So, now it's time to wait and see if he does anything about it. If not, I'll have no choice but to leave.
I've got a lot of reading to do. Thank again!
WARNING: I am long-winded. Sorry in advance. :)
I've spent the morning transferring old posts into my journal. Rereading my words, my pain still reaches out to me- but also my determination to see things solely through my own POV, starting at every shadow. I see my determination to hang onto my FOO-taught hellishy dysfunctional patterns. My instinct to run to avoid or escape the pain can be overwhelming. I didn't learn until recently that the pain remains with you no matter what. The shadows and doubts and pain are still within me, but I won't allow them to overrun me. I won't run from this. I must stay and fight for who I authentically am, my truest Self.
Peace. It's amazingly scary, if I let it.
Hi all. The new job and actually being near family is keeping me busy, so I'm not visiting here as often. But I am reading everything and thinking of you all.
I have some questions...
A couple of you have said that Masturbation was crossing a boundary in recovery, or that it can't be part of recovery. Can you tell me why? I ask because since I'm gone, I told him he could masturbate (without porn) because, well, it seemed reasonable. Now I'm questioning that decision...
Also, ladies, I'm still feeling awfully confused. When we talk on the phone, it's pretty damn clear that WH misses me a LOT more than I miss him. Part of that is because I'm busy, and he spends all his time off work sitting in the house alone. But I don't think that's all of it. He's coming to visit me this weekend, and I just don't...care? I guess that's the right word. I mean, I'm mostly indifferent. I'm worried he's going to be horny (sorry, tmi) all weekend, and I'm just...not. It's not that it won't be nice to see him, it's just that if he couldn't come, I don't think it would bother me all that much. And I'm worried I won't ever stop feeling this way. And then there are the dreams...
Any time I dream about WH, it's bad. If not full-on nightmares, then at least dreams I wake up uneasy and depressed from. But...I find myself dreaming (and I do mean dreaming, not daydreaming) about meeting someone else. Meeting some guy who makes me feel not just special, but like some kind of magnificent treasure or something. Guys in my dreams are sweet and thoughtful. Things, by the way, that I still say my WH is, but I don't mean sweet and thoughtful in the way that he'll do the dishes because I don't want to and he still feels guilty. Sweet and thoughtful in a completely selfless way. And every time I wake up from these dreams, all I want is to go back to sleep where I can be in that world again, and inevitable I find myself wondering if I will EVER really be happy with WH again. I don't know the answer. I'm afraid to find out. I'm afraid to try to be happy with him and just be clobbered again someday. I'm afraid to not try and deal with all the consequences. Like the pain of divorce and losing a family and trying to deal with MY uber-conservative family.
But when I do daydream, he's not there. I have to force myself to see him in my idealized life. I'm trying to give him a chance, but a big part of me doesn't want to be with someone who needed so many chances. A big part of me wants to be with someone who decides on his first chance with me that he's going to do things the right way.
Sorry for the babbling rant. I just feel sort of lost today.
*latest* dday: January 26
Me: BS, 29
Him: f(?)WH, 30
R? I think...
Did you ever watch that episode of Seinfield where the four of them had a bet who could go the longest without masturbating? And George went the longest, and got smarter and smarter a la Flowers For Algernon? Anyway, it's the same type of thing. Clear the "high" response cycle from the network, it begins to rewire itself and they get smarter about everything.
Some would say allowing a SA in early recovery to masturbate is akin allowing an alcoholic in early recovery to have light beer only. They can't really get well unless they are entirely sober in the beginning. But unlike alcohol it is not realistic to expect zero activity forever, so they have to learn how to reintegrate it into their lives appropriately.
Hope that makes a modicum of sense. My brain is mush today.
(((Sabina))) I think sometimes the journaling is better the second (third/fourth/etc) around. Seriously. Tells you where you have been and reminds you how far you have come. And what you haven't done yet and still are doing.
Had a long talk with my CSAT today. I'm in deep trauma mode apparently. Ugh. So my goal is to be extra kind to myself this weekend because I need it. I'm going to actually GO to the gym at least once and I'm going to sleep in at least once, and if I can get one scheduled I am going to get a massage. If not maybe a mani/pedi, even though I will only destroy my nails with the moving.
I challenge you all to do something extra nice for yourselves this weekend. It's a holiday, and you all deserve a holiday.
Me? Eh, nothing much new to tell.
I think, and always thought, there is no way to really begin moving on without a polygraph... and possibly an "intensive".
So, my question is, has anyone on here done a couples intensive at the carnes center in georgia or the milton guy in houston??? Or something else Im not aware of?
Would you please PM me about your experience there??
Sorry he wasnt being honest all this time, but im a little glad that he got the courage (and ability) to admit it to you now, along with the thought process behind it. It seems like a lot of addicts have a hard time recognizing or communicating those feelings. Hopefully that is a sign he is making progress. I just wish it didnt have to be so darn slow with this stuff.
I discovering WH is going a whole month between IC appointments. I found the appt. card in the car console. Normally he goes every other week, but for some reason he's skipping a session in early June. There's probably a good reason, but I'm trying to be healthy and *not* ask him why he's missing a session. *Not* call him up and freak out on him. You know, my usual codependent routine. Instead I'm posting here. This codependent crap is making me *crazy*, and I'm the one doing it to myself.
Last night I had nightmares, this morning I woke up in full trigger-mode. Anxiety laden, my mind is running in circles: he's using pretty words to keep me where he wants me, he's nothing but a lying cakeeater, I'm a dupe, he has no boundaries, I'm a fool and blind on top of that..etc etc. The merry go round whirls along. *sigh* I want to take an extra med, but I have to go to work and they make me tired. So I'll cope without it and see how I feel when I return home.
Hath is right about the 90-day sobriety from all sexual actions - the people at Keystone mentioned the brain chemistry rewiring thing, too. But to echo Nealos, I think that works best when it's coupled with the 90 meetings thing. 90 days of complete sexual sobriety is really tough to do for anyone, let alone an SA.
I believe Keystone recommended no masturbation for the first year of recovery. After that, I think it depends on the triggers of the particular SA. For my WS, masturbation is one of his biggest problems. He used to do it everyday, multiple times a day - he'd do it to help himself wake up in the morning; he'd do it at night to help him go to sleep; he'd do it in the afternoon while he looked at porn; he did it when he was stressed; he did it when he wanted to celebrate or "reward" himself. Basically it's a wonder his penis didn't fall off...NO WONDER he never wanted to have sex with me.
I think the SA 12-step group continues to keep masturbation on the "no" list forever; but the other 12-step groups (SAA, SLAA) allow each addict to define their own boundaries and bottom lines. For some, masturbation might be okay within certain specifications (Ex: no more than once a week, no porn, no fantasy, etc). For others (like my WS), it will always be an inner circle behavior. The thing to remember is that an SA is not a "normal" man...and that is why masturbation becomes an issue.
As for the dreams...sounds like your brain is just weighing all the options out there. Let it process and heal in whatever way it needs to. My therapist told me to give the relationship a year, and after a year I would "know" what I wanted. That's what I would recommend to you, too. No pressure to make a decision. Take your time (if you want) and take care of yourself.