ADVICE: I set a boundary... but is it too harsh??
By ConfidenceIn
7/4/2011 10:14:43 PM
So, I haven't seen changes since finding out again about the porn addiction. It's "only" been a week and a half. But, he went to a meeting on Wednesday, and hasn't worked on anything (book etc). He does say he prays in the car though.

I told him tonight (while we were both talking calmly and the spirit was there for me) that if he's not on the road to clear recovery by 1-1 1/2 years or so, then we have to part ways. I told him it was the hardest thing I've ever had to say. But, that we need the spirit in our home and I need an eternal husband. We are still in the same bed, been intimate, etc. So, I could see this would surprise him to some degree.

Needless to say, he's been pretty frustrated and mad at me since. I had hoped he'd know it was a good goal and that I was looking out for at least the kids.

What's your advice (Co or SA)? Should I back up and re-think things? Is it fair? HELP! Thanks in advance!

***--->>>EDITED TO ADD (below) on July 6, 2011 at 12:38 AM MST:

First, I enjoy every one of your comments. Helps me put things in clearer perspective, even if I disagree in any way. :)

I did pray about it many times, and I still feel it was a good thing to set out. It's something that has been on my mind for years (when we were fighting so much that he was hitting me, and verbally abusive things were rampant). It came to my mind every time I found the porn too. I just thought it wasn't the right time or thing to do at the time. Basically, the Bishop was inspired to tell me that it was the right time.

I hope it came across a boundary not an ultimatum. If he continues to bring porn into the home that takes away from the spirit I'm trying to help stay in our home, and is showing no recovery attempts, then I need to take our children away from that. It's him or him and the porn. I just want him. I know he needs time, so that is why I feel I gave him plenty to get on the right track to recovery. I know this even more because of the spirit's direction.

You are right about the expectations varying. I tried to explain it to him more today and I think he understood. I know he will most likely be struggling still with at the very least, lustful thoughts. I hope and pray that the lines of communication will still be very open between us. I expect him to still be attending the meetings at least 1/month, seeing him pray at least a few times/week, trying to read scriptures, engaging our kids in spiritual matters, going to church, when worthy, going to the Temple, checking in with the Bishop at his and the Bishop's discretion etc. Basically, I want to see him become the patriarch of the home again.

if he's busy leaving us to go into the other room (when he acted out), yelling, hitting, verbally abusing, not praying, no scriptures, no Temple, next to no church, etc in 18 mths (approx.), then myself and the kids will need to leave.

He's still extremely hurt by it. But, we talked for awhile as his anger waned a little, and he understands better where I'm coming from. I told him it's like if I had him as an alcoholic and in 18 mths the alcohol bottles were still piling up in the trash. But, if an alcoholic had some slip-ups and still craved alcohol, but was working on the 12 steps, and doing things suggested to do to overcome the addiction, and the bottles piling up was getting less, then I'd keep on supporting him.

I look at it more of a goal to reach than a ultimatum.


If any woman lack wisdom, let her ask of God    
"Have ye inquired of the Lord?

insights/advice from other Addicts (and concerned loved ones) is interesting (and important - Study it out in your mind)... but only God's WORD delivered through personal revelation really has the POWER to assist you with your goal of an ETERNAL HUSBAND.

My prayer is with you tonight.. that you may have grace to ease these heavy burdens."
posted at 00:42:03 on July 5, 2011 by gracefull
Those are good questions.    
"Another couple of good questions might be, "Are ultimatums the same as boundaries?" and "Do they work?"

To get at a better understanding perhaps you can look at your husband's reaction to the ultimatum and try to discover why it may have caused such a negative reaction. What message does an ultimatum send? Other questions to ask oneself might be, "Where is my focus?" or "What actions can I take to find some peace and serenity in my life that don't depend on my husband's behavior?"

Maybe a good excercise might be looking in the Family/Spouses manual about what it has to say about ultimatums. Are they the same as boundaries? Why or why not?

We are just learning how to cope in a healthy way with this new ugly dynamic that has been thrust into our most sacred earthly relationship. The old ways and old thinking don't always work now. We have to learn new ways and new perspectives on things. I know it doesn't seem fair that we should have to do so much work but all I can say is that the rewards are well worth it. Don't give up before the miracle happens."
posted at 01:02:59 on July 5, 2011 by Anonymous
"The best way to describe a boundary is to think of yourself as a daughter of God. How should a Daughter of God be treated. Yes it is appropriate to set boundaries that help you feel safe. Feel safe for your particular situation. Everyone is different and I agree with Graceful. Only your Father in Heaven can guide you there. But the fact that you felt the spirit gives me the impression that you were setting an appropriate boundary for your particular situation. Most addicts react as your husband has to a boundary. The difference between a boundary and an ultimatum is that boundaries have consequences. Ultimatums do not. If you set a boundary for recovery to feel safe that is appropriate. You cannot take this addiction lightly. It is a life threatening addiction to you. If recovery is not a priority then you need to be safe and so do your children. It is like saying. I love you and want to be with you but there is not room in this marriage for the three of us. You choose, me, you, porn. One of us HAS to go. He still has his agency to choose. Your Heavenly Father will let you know.

You are doing good. But rely on the Lord. Our comments are just that! Our comments, laced with our own experiences. "
posted at 01:33:33 on July 5, 2011 by Hero
"I know you mean well but that is simply the best formula for a quick divorce. The nature of addiction is that the addict will often fail several times before recovery sticks. To place an ultimatum on them only puts a restriction on yourself because if they fail, and they often do, now you must follow through with the consequence, even if you now feel differently about the situation. You can call them boundaries with consequences if you want but the bottom line is they don't work. I suggest every spouse of an addict read the spouses recovery manual published by Family services. I can't begin to tell you how beneficial working the 12 steps with someone who has worked through them already can be. Not an addict who is in recovery but a loved one who has worked the 12 Steps for themselves and found peace. This experience can be invaluable in our own recovery and eventually in helping others because it minimizes the pain by putting the focus in the only place it has any chance of doing any good. On ourselves. We cannot fix our husbands. We cannot convince them, coax them, threaten them, or manipulate them into recovery and every attempt to do so prolongs our pain.

We can seek out fellowship and support for ourselves and find healing for our angry and broken hearts. Our husband is not responsible for us not feeling the Spirit. We are. That can be a tough pill especially being taught all our lives that it is the priesthood holders responsibility to do this or that. We can be in the very presence of evil and still feel the Spirit if our own vessel is in order. It may not be our fault that we have become angry, resentful, and bitter but it is absolutely our responsibility to seek out the healing that is available to us. Our Savior works through other people and in my experiencde, other people who have been through this process of healing. At present, at least outside of Utah, there are few LDS meetings for spouses that have sponsor worthy women who have been through the !2 Steps and experienced the miracles that come with it. The S-Anon program fills that void and where there is no S-Anon, there is Alanon. I know how hard it is to step outside of the box, the cocoon of the church and ask "gentiles" for help but these programs provided the blueprint for the inspired LDS version and I can attest to the fact that there is incredible strength and healing in the S-Anon fellowship. There is peace and miracles happen. Not just to us but to our husbands and families, too. It is pretty common in the program to hear of how once we got some help and started working our own program, in a matter of time our husbands followed suit. Apparently it is extremely uncomfortable for an addict to live in the presence of recovery without partaking of some of it for themselves. I'm not saying that this will happen to everyone but it happens a lot.
The program for spouses works. Why not give it a try?"
posted at 02:56:42 on July 5, 2011 by Anonymous
"I feel like God has set the boundaries that I have...not me. I am powerless. I cannot do this. I do not have the wisdom to know what boundaries are right. I do not know myself or my husband well enough to find a healthy path. Heavenly Father does. I have tried to set boundaries before on my own and it failed miserably. I thought they were the right thing to do because it was what a 'strong woman' would do, or someone I trusted gave me the advice to do it that way (yes even Bishops) but it turned out wrong. Over the past 2 months I have truly started, (I am just at the beginning) to bend me knee to the Lord's will and through prayer I have gotten answers about boundaries that I need to hold to. Those boundaries have liberated me emotionally. I feel so safe and so free because of them...I feel free to heal. And not surprisingly, the boundaries that I have all are about my behavior and my space. (Though of course it effects him).

I would simply say, that as you let the Lord form your boundaries, you will have peace and confidence and especially the Lord's strength to follow through with them. If they are OUR boundaries then the Lord will probably have to let us rely on our own strength to try and enforce them. I for one and not capable of doing this on my own. Hugs Confidence."
posted at 07:39:35 on July 5, 2011 by maddy
Well Done    
"I'm a recovering addict and I think the boundary you set is excellent. You said "if he's not on the road to clear recovery by 1-1 1/2 years." That is generous. He may not be 100% recovered by then, but you said "on the road to clear recovery." I would hope he would be on that road in a month, if he really wants it. Right now, it doesn't sound like he wants it that badly and is not willing to do very much or go very far to get it (see the book He Restoreth My Soul). There are three questions: (1) what do I want?, (2) what am I willing to give/do?, (3) how far am I willing to go?

If all he is doing is praying in the car I highly doubt there will be any recovery. From my own experience, it is a tough road and requires not less than everything, full commitment to it. Addicts tend to do things to the extreme, so you don't want that either. But, measured, consistent, daily effort is necessary and possible.

I think you are being very fair and compassionate. Even if right now he doesn't want recovery that badly for himself, hopefully he will want it for you and his family. That's a good start. Hopefully it will develop into a desire for recovery for himself, because HE wants it.

In my own life, I know my wife has had the same thoughts. I have worked so hard that I don't think she has felt it necessary to have to give me an ultimatum (but she would). She sees me get out of bed 45 minutes early every day, even on weekends, to pray, study and meditate. I still have a ways to go, but I don't ever want to hurt her (or ME) again. I'm so saddened and disgusted by the effects porn has had on me, my wife, others. This has to stop.

Keep us updated. I would love to hear that your husband is experiencing a change of heart and is fully engaged in the road to recovery. I hope you find peace, comfort and blessings--no one deserves it more than you and the other spouses."
posted at 09:40:26 on July 5, 2011 by Anonymous
"I absolutely have worked the 12 steps. The new family support manual for loved ones. As a matter of fact I had the opportunity to be involved in the pilot program and actually have input into the program. I hope you have the most current version of this manual because there is a whole section on boundaries. I have healed I am so thankful for the program and have served as a missionary for close to 2 years in that program. That is why I advise as Maddy has testified that your heavenly Father help you with that process. I think you are confused about boundaries. A boundary is what you are going to do. Our Father in Heaven loves us and he and our Savior have set boundaries for us. They are my example and I will follow them. My Father in Heaven, the Father of my Spirit the anchor to my soul, says that all he want is for me to return to live with him again. I know I can if I follow his commandments. He defines who can return and live with him. He knew we would not make it without our Savior! Our prophets and his word, the scriptures. So I will follow their counsel. Our prophets advise us to use every resourse"
posted at 15:42:36 on July 5, 2011 by Hero
sounds good to me.    
"Hi Confidencein -- I apeciate all your posts. I'm an addict so my opionions are skewed. Let me start off by saying I like your boundary but I worry that it will be hard to determine if he is compliant or not. Is he is on the road to recovery or not? Is he in recovery or just white knuckling appropriate behavior. What if he lies about his behavior? How will you know?
For example:
Is praying in the car and praying at home enough? 3X/day enough?
Is attending 1X/week ARP meetings enough?
Is it a certain level of sobriety?
Is it how how many times he talks to you about his feelings?
the list never ends.
the ambiguity is driving him nuts. His normal outlet for dealing with stress (prn? and mb?) are gone so the stress is coming out sideways in the form of anger. I personally was going nuts the first month with several big blow ups that surprised myself.

So, how do you track his adherence to all those things without falling into unhealty co-dependency. egads! Watching him too close creates stress on the addict that makes him want to act out more. what a sucky disease this is!

I guess my thoughts are: YOU (and the Lord) get to decide if it's good enough in 12-18months. You have start preparing to split up if he is checking all the boxes but you still dont feel good about the situation. It's a consequence of his addiction. He can't blame anyone but himself.

I'm in a similar boat as your husband but I probably did worse. I don't know if my wife will stay with me. I pray that she does. The best I can do is stay sober and work hard in my recovery program. That's all I can control. I hope she gives me another few years of probation.

I really hope you find peace in your decisions. "
posted at 16:38:28 on July 5, 2011 by Hurtallover
I think you'll know    
"I agree with Hurtallover that it can be hard to measure whether someone is meeting your requirements because of the subjective nature of this (sobriety without recovery vs. sobriety with recovery, etc.). However, I think you'll know and I don't think it will be hard to tell. Then you can decide what to do. My wife knows. When I'm doing well in recovery, like lately, she doesn't have to ask a lot of questions. She can see it through my demeaner, actions and the spirit I carry.

Ask him to read "Wild at Heart" by Jon Eldredge. Excellent book. Maybe he'll realize he has a beauty to fight for and rescue (you). My recovery is the priority right now but increasingly I hope to help my wife heal from the pain I have caused her and repay some of the debt I have to her. The book is used a lot by the Lifestar therapists."
posted at 17:55:29 on July 5, 2011 by jc004
boundaries the addicts worst nightmare...    
"And the recovering addicts best friend."
posted at 19:50:17 on July 5, 2011 by ruggaexpat
"I can feel the care and love for both my husband and I in regards to my post. I have edited it to update it. :) Thanks!"
posted at 01:51:57 on July 6, 2011 by ConfidenceIn

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"Jesus rejected temptation. When confronted by the great tempter himself, Jesus "[yielded] not to the temptation‚ÄĚ. He countered with scripture. Gospel commandments and standards are our protection also, and like the Savior, we may draw strength from the scriptures to resist temptation."

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