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A second addiction - need your thoughts
By matt2
1/11/2007 11:12:41 AM
Hi all. I wrote a long note and it got lost somehow when I tried to post it...bummer. Anyway what I wondered is what insights you all have about understanding and overcoming what I am discovering as a second addiction - deceit. I know it's a bedfellow with addiction of any kind but I am discovering how hard it is for me to be completely forthcoming - especially when I perceive the answer will disappoint someone. Even with mundane innocent things that I have no need to hide I find hard to be honest about without getting defensive and vague - for no apparent reason but habit, I guess. Anyway, I wanted to understand this better so if you have insights I'd sure appreciate them.

I took the sacrament for the past three weeks with a completely peaceful heart - worthy. That feels so good. I hope you are all finding peace.

Comments:

openness    
"I'm sorry you lost your long note, Matt. It's an issue that we've dealt with the entire time the site has been up. I keep fixing certain instances of it, but I guess it's still not completely resolved. I haven't had a spare minute in over a month to work on the site (or get it "available" for others to work on), so I apologize. I'll try to get that worked out for you.

As far as deceit, I have had the EXACT same problems. Especially if I think someone will be disappointed. I was always a perfectionist growing up and always thought I had to be the perfect child, so I began covering shortcomings up EARLY in life. Of course that just made it harder for me to REALLY get help with pornography when I was young AND I became VERY good at hiding things and lying. In the months since I began my recovery, and wasn't lying about pornography or bad places I'd been anymore, I even lied to my wife a few times about totally dumb things that weren't even bad! The first time that happened was when I realized that I had an addiction to deceit and deception also. We spend so many years covering up our weaknesses that we get addicted to deceit also.

I say, I realized this pretty early on, and I felt like the answer was simply that I HAD to try my best to be honest about EVERYTHING.

I actually had one of my many failed attempts at repentance for pornography a few years ago (though admittedly, not TRUE repentance - I even lied about how well I had been doing just so I could get off church probation). I think one of the things that really hurt me that go-around was that I wasn't completely honest. We live close to my wife's family and she has 8 siblings and there is always something going on, like baby blessings or weddings or blessings or baptisms and confirmations, or temple visits. Obviously I couldn't exercise the priesthood or go to the temple or take the sacrament, so my wife and I decided to just make up excuses. We would deliberately get to the function late, or tell everyone I "forgot" my temple recommend, or lie and say our kids were sick so only my wife could go while i stayed home to take care of them. All sorts of lies. And while I thought I was sincere in my repentance efforts, I was never REALLY honest about who I was. So this time around, I realized that that was a major stumbling block for me and that I could NOT afford to lie about what was going on. For me, that meant, talking to my brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law and telling them the truth about why I wouldn't be participating in things for a while. And each time I would speak to someone for the first time, it was SO hard. I would get sick to my stomach and nervous that it would be so bad, that they would hate me, or think I was totally evil. But each time, I felt nothing but love and support from my siblings-in-law. I think often we underestimate our family's love for us. And I KNOW Satan wants us to keep being deceptive in any way possible. Often now, I think about the question in the temple recommend interview (I haven't heard it for a while and probably won't for a while unfortunately, but I can't wait to be able to answer it again) that's something like "Are you COMPLETELY honest in ALL your dealings with your fellow men?". Think about that! That is TOUGH!!!

Think about this also: Really the whole goal of all of us addicts is to regain trust. We have DESTROYED the trust of our wives, loved ones, and children. The following thought came into my head one morning as I was reading the scriptures several months ago and has become my motto:

Trust takes time to establish, an instant to destroy, and a lifetime to rebuild

There will always (or at least for a long time) be at least a little bit of a question in my wife's mind. I went 9 years lying about who I was to her, how does she know I won't drop another bombshell 9 years from now, or 9 years after that? My most important responsibility for the rest of my life is to work to rebuild that broken trust.

So anyway, I didn't mean to write a novel, but I have felt the exact things you're feeling before. You just have to be honest. Resolve that you will never tell a lie again. Sometimes you still will because you've been doing it for SO long. So resolve that if you do, you will tell the person you lied to and apologize for it. And remember that like you said, you probably ARE addicted to lying, just like you are to pornography. Apply the 12 steps to lying as well. There is nothing in that recovery manual that says it is specifically for pornography or sex addictions. The principles of recovery are the same. I know it's a battle. In some ways the addiction to deceit has been more troubling to me since I began my recovery than the addiction to pornography. I haven't looked at porn for almost 9 months now. But I've certainly told lies. But we just keep working on it, recognizing our inability to have any control over it and turn it over to the Savior and trust in him to help us when we need it.

Good luck to all of us. Dishonesty goes hand-in-hand with pornography. It's kind of hard to keep that a secret without lying a lot. So we all need to work on it. Thanks for bringing it up, Matt."
posted at 14:18:58 on January 11, 2007 by derek
telling the truth    
"During my husband's recovery, there have been many times when he has said he was fine, or said that something "minor" happened and then a minute or so later said, "that's not true, this is what happened".

I know it was so hard for him to tell me the truth, but I was so glad that he did. I think after he started being completely honest with me he realized that it was okay to be honest with me. It got easier and easier.

If you slip and tell a lie, you can always say, "wait, this is what really happened"."
posted at 17:51:20 on January 11, 2007 by sophie
ADDICTION or HABIT?    
"I think lying just becomes habitual sometimes. Especially to people who are natural story tellers. Not to negate anything said above, just something I myself used to do constantly until I realized I was doing it when I didn't have to be doing it (at one time in my life, it was my job to deceive...). Anyway, once we start doing it, it becomes a habit -- HABIT, not addiction. I've said this a lot, and will keep saying it. I think the word addiction brings out so many negative thoughts in our minds, it can really make things harder to overcome than they really should be. If you can think of it as a habit you've aquired, and then focus on not doing it, you'll be amazed at how you catch yourself lying, and then can easily say (as Sophie pointed out), "I'm sorry, I made a mistake..., this is what really happened." Addictions are harder to overcome. Habits are much easier to break"
posted at 22:38:22 on January 11, 2007 by mcr285
Taking Risks    
"I almost hesitate to write much here because it seems that everyone else always has something profound to say, and I am not sure my thoughts measure up, but I had some thoughts as I read these comments that I wanted to share.

The holidays were pretty difficult for me and my husband this year. It seemed that even though I wanted so badly to enjoy them and to feel the spirit it was a struggle to do so. Adversity just kept coming up, and I felt so worn down from trying to deal with it all that I almost had given up on trying to really feel the true spirit of Christmas. --But in the end things ended up working out pretty well.

We had an experience after one of our counseling sessions. My husband was feeling defensive about some of the things that we discussed with our counselor. Because of this he made some bad decisions, but immediately realized the influence of Satan in his thinking. He came and talked to me about it right after it happened. After he talked to me about what he had done, something amazing happened, he opened up and told me some things that he has never told me before about things he has done because of this addiction. I hated hearing the things he told me, but realistacally in my heart I kind of already knew the things he was telling me. Our conversation went on for quite some time, and because he was willing to take the initial risk of telling me those things, I also opened up and shared some things that have been a big concern to me that have had an effect on our marriage for a long time. It was kind of strange to realize all this was unfolding. We both were taking huge risks by opening up and being so honest with each other. In the long run, it was a very productive and positive step for helping to mend some hurt things in our relationship.

Since our conversation, we have been to another counseling session. I came away with some things that were quite profound that I thought I might share. First of all, and this goes along with the fact that deciet is such a huge part of this addiction. --We have to be willing to change many things in our relationship. --not only stopping pornography--which is a big thing. It's destructive influence has effected so many other aspects of our relationship that we have to be willing to make a lot of other changes--how we communicate, how we solve disagreements, etc. . . One thing that our counselor said to us that really impacted both of us is that "ONENESS REQUIRES RISK". It almost took my breath away when he said it because I realized it was totally true. Especially recently. It has been a huge risk for me to try to trust my husband. To believe that he is really trying to change, to believe that he is really making the efforts that he claims to be making, that his motivation is sincere. It is also a huge risk for me to open up to him and be honest with him about my feelings, my fears, my frustrations and my hopes. But just recently as we have both been better at taking this risk, it seems like we realize more and more that we are both really working toward the same goal, and that we both want the same things. It gives us strength when we are willing to take the risk of being totally open and honest about our feelings.

One last thing that I want to share that is worth thinking about especially in the light of being decietful with your spouse and that is "When you realize that you are editing what you will tell your spouse, BEWARE!!"
Satan uses all kinds of tactics to bind us in his ways. By making little alterations from the truth we are lying to our spouse. Half of the battle with Satan is recognizing the tactic he uses against us. So I think that is something we can all use to help identify when we are slipping. Beware of editing the real story.

These are just some things that have been good food for thought for me and my husband in the last couple of weeks. My husband has really come to realize that he has a big problem with deception as well. Unfortunately it comes with this addiction, and from hiding it for so many years. It will take constant effort to be vigilant about catching yourself when you tell a lie, but honestly from the wifes point of view, The pornography and the awful things that come along with it are very hurtful, but being dishonest about it hurts so much more.

I pray as we start this new year that we can all continue to fight this battle. Satan is real and wants us to fail. Lets pull together to help each other as we go through the ups and downs of overcoming the terrible effects of this addiction."
posted at 03:50:40 on January 12, 2007 by achar
Great!    
"ACHAR, I really loved what you had to say. It really rang true to me. My wife and I have been through those exact same situations. Through this whole recovery process, I have had to learn that it takes risk to love and be loved. It takes some serious guts and courage to tell your wife things you have not ever told anyone. BUT, it pays off! The rewards are well worth the effort. it really enhances and fortifies marriage.

I have been a liar for a long time. Since I was a kid I felt the need to lie about things, even simple things. It is a character flaw of mine.

I had to give a lesson on honesty once and what I learned is that honesty is one of those commandments that you can obey completely. You can be totally honest. It IS possible. I have prayed and prayed for help to be honest and have been blessed.

I resolved as well to be proactive in talking to my wife as well. It is an important part of honesty for me. If something happens, however slight, I challenge myself to go to her first and tell her. I have learned that I cannot wait for her to ask if everything is going ok.

Thanks for everyone's comments on this. We are all so alike and yet so different."
posted at 10:08:11 on January 12, 2007 by doanair
Thank you!    
"I sure appreciate your insights. I learned from them all. Thanks for taking time for thoughtful and supportive responses."
posted at 10:07:06 on January 15, 2007 by matt2
I am new to this blog group & Comments on Second Addiction    
"I too have a second addiction. I realized I had a dependence upon taking a medication that I thought was lessening anxiety and for situations when I felt extreme panic. I have a mental illness and I've problems with anxiety and depression for many years, which I accept. However, I had a panic episode the other day when I was in the Idaho Falls Temple doing sealings, in which I had no warning or trigger I could pin point or figure out why it happened. Conversely, I there have been sometimes I have had episodes that I knew what stess related factors caused the anxiety. Moreover, when I was in the temple the other day, at work, and other places in Idaho Falls where I have had painful episodes, which is where my family and I live, I knew I was addicted to this medication that is a controlled substance. But I bear my testimony that God and Jesus is helping me right now to begin to handle the anxiety I am experiencing in which I have cut the medication to a sliver of one eighth (1/8) of one of the tablets. This has been a miracle to me because I went from taking one or two or even three tablets every day. My doctor has approved my actions and what is more important is my Heavenly Father and my elderly brother, Jesus Christ are standing right next to my side encouraging me and comforting me as I experience withdrawals symptoms of even more anxiety. I know it is a fact that God Almighty created natural medicines and because of one of herbs He created which I make into an herbal tea and drink that really calms and relaxes me in this, my time of need. So there is hope and God has blessed me as I continue to put all the faith I can muster up in Him. May the Lord bless all of you brothers and sisters. Remember, the Lord lives and He is active in helping and strengthing us with His grace. "
posted at 18:38:42 on October 14, 2007 by muttley
lying    
"hi there -- if there is anyone still out there on this string, I need some advice. I am 37 years old and started dating my girlfriend about 6 months ago. She is a recovering addict -- alcohol, heroine, painkillers. And she is doing fantastically in her recovery - she has about 18 months of sobriety, goes to meetings everyday, and has completely changed her life around. I love her and am so proud and supportive of her and her new commitment to life. I do not have and have never had any addiction issues (except to nicotine, which I quit successfully about 11 years ago). The problem with my girlfriend is that she lies to me, pretty frequently, about a lot of little things, and not just about her past, but also about things that happen in the present, principally things that she thinks I'll be jealous about if she tells me -- like going cycling with an attractive single male friend of hers, or having dinner alone with a new male friend from work. Now, I actually am jealous of these things, but I do not actually think there is anything really going on, and I've told her that - I've told her it's ok and that I will be ok with it so long as she tells me the truth. She and I have talked about this issue (because I called her on a few of these lies), and I've told her that nothing she could tell me is actually worse than the lying about it.

It seems to me like the compulsive instinctual lying that you've been talking about in this exchange. And I don't know what to about it - I don't know how to make her trust me to know in her heart that she can and should always tell me the truth. I love her so much and have been able to come to terms (although it has been a struggle) with most all of her other addiction issues, except this one. I am so afraid of going forward in a relationship with someone who can't be honest with me.

Any advice from this wise wonderful group?"
posted at 13:36:50 on March 24, 2008 by Anonymous
I hate to be a pessimist...    
"but your own words," I am so afraid of going forward in a relationship with someone who can't be honest with me." may have the answer you're looking for. I wouldn't presume to recommend staying in a relationship with her or not but I will tell you what you're in for. I have been in recovery for drugs and alcohol for years and although 18 months sounds like a lot of time to be clean and sober it is not. It doesn't surprise me that she lies to you. Honesty takes some of us YEARS to get! I will tell you my personal opinion and you can take it for what it's worth but I base it on many years clean and sober myself and also having been around other addicts in recovery. Newcomers aren't emotionally "well" enough to have a healthy relationship. period. I am trying to think of someone who has proven this theory wrong over the years and I can't think of one. What is the definition of a newcomer? It's a matter of opinion but, I would say anyone with less than 2 years clean and sober. I would tell you the same thing if you had written about how wonderful she's been but you say she is already lying to you. I hate to be the one to break this to you but if you guys are serious she's already kinda stickin' it to you. She's going out to dinner with a male friend? Alone??? Run for your life, my friend. This is someone who is not ready for a healthy relationship. She still has much work ahead of her and frankly, she's not out of the woods as far as relapse is concerned, either. The first couple of years are extremely precarious. Good luck."
posted at 15:44:11 on March 24, 2008 by Anonymous


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"Freedom from your transgression will come through sincere faith, true repentance, willing obedience, and the giving of self. Why the giving of self? Because selfishness is at the root of your problem. Where selfishness and transgression flourish, the Spirit of the Lord can’t enter your life to bless you. To succeed, you must conquer your selfishness. When your beacon is focused on self, it does little more than blind your vision. When turned outward through acts of kindness and love, it will light your path to happiness and peace. "

— Richard G. Scott

General Conference May 1990