Wanted: advice, thoughts, feelings, experiences
By Humbled32
7/27/2015 5:44:10 PM
I've been thinking a lot about my situation. Being the spouse of an pornography addict is hard. I don't quite understand all of this but it has felt like something is off in my marriage. As my last post, I stated that our marriage therapist has expressed his feelings of confusing regarding why my marriage isn't quite working. He also implied that he doesn't want to created a witch hunt but he is perplexed why things are not working at this point.

So I've been praying about this asking God for help. The weekend was pretty horrible, all because I was bothered with something of the past regarding my husband and someone he took a liking to at work. Anyway, to get down to the point my husband denies he is an addict. He is aware of the pain and outstanding problems it has caused to our marriage. We have fought endlessly about it. As a matter of fact, women and anger seem to be the only problems we actually fight about. Today I was thinking about empathy and how it doesn't even appear that he has any. When it comes right down to things when he feels remorse it's about himself still. Such as "I'm an awful person. I can't stand myself". This makes him sad. I've seen him cry because of this. But I've never seen him cry because of the pain I feel. I've never seen him actually upset because I feel sad. Strange for me.... Because I'm quite the opposite person. I know he has a problem. I see it. I've read about it. I know how it has personally taken a toll upon my marriage and family.

So here is where I would like advice from others suffering addiction. Do you think it's possible to behave as an addict if you're not indulging in your addiction? I have prayed and received confirmation that my husband is true to his word (no pornograoby for 6 months). He denies he is addicted dispite our reoccurring problems. He has never sought recovery.

I kind of feel the missing part to this, and the reason why it appears to be by his behavior that he is still indulging, is because he refuses recovery. He is in denial and won't be responsible. He is still selfish and lacks empathy. If you are not using, can you automatically heal? How important do you feel like working on recovery is? Do you think it's essential to do the steps? Please offer any insite or personal experience.


A couple of thoughts    
"-- OP: "my husband denies he is an addict.... He is in denial and won't be responsible."

Yes, I think we addicts all deny it at first. I convinced myself for over 15 years that I just had a bad habit I needed to keep working to break. I didn't like the word "addict" because it made me think of scumbag drug addicts living on the street, whereas it was easier to view myself as an active member of the church that just had a bad habit. There is a reason why Step 1 in the recovery manual is to admit that you have a problem.

-- OP: "Do you think it's possible to behave as an addict if you're not indulging in your addiction?"

Yes! At least in my opinion. Addicts usually indulge in addiction to cover up character weaknesses and/or pains from the past. Until we find healthy ways to deal with our shortcomings or unresolved pains, these underlying issues can still cause us to be buttheads... even if we aren't currently acting out on the addiction."
posted at 23:31:48 on July 27, 2015 by rmww
"Can you be an addict without using? OH YES!!!!! In AA the call it being a dry drunk. It is very, very common. Sobriety and recovery are hugely different things.

Additionally, you can have more than one addiction. You can be a porn addict and have a temper addiction and be a codependent and be hooked on cigarettes. I've seen it work that at times gaining sobriety in one helps the addict gain sobriety in other areas. I've also seen sobriety in one area make the addict cling more tightly to the other addictions. Everyone is different.

Personally, I knew the difference when my husband went from simply being sober and entered a recovery phase, and similar to your situation my husband had been an angry and very selfish person. When his eyes and heart started to open then he started to really love for the first time. He can still be a poop head sometimes but it is 'normal' jerky stuff/thoughtlessness that we all do, instead of the chronic soul consuming selfishness that made it literally impossible for him to actually see another person unless they did something for him.

In my opinion it is impossible to recover without the 12 steps. Now that doesn't mean that you have to work the ARP manual exactly as it is set up. People recovered before that manual was printed, for goodness sake!....what I am saying is that the principles of hope and change and the soulful honesty are essential for a person to recover. It doesn't matter how the person comes to those principles, but to recover an addict has to accept them into their lives. The 12 steps program of AA or ARP or whatever is just an accessible road map for those who don't want to "reinvent the wheel" by trying to recover on their own with trial and error. They work. They just do. You cannot recover by white knuckling sobriety. You have to have understanding to recover.

Recovery for me was seeing reality. I don't know how else to descibe it. I saw what was around me in a new way. I saw what was really there and not what I had imagined was there. For a long time I thought certain things were my fault or my problem. When I started into recovery I saw for the first time that this was not true. I thought my husband was a bad person. In recovery I can't see that anymore. I see a wounded person. It is all summed up in Jacob 4:13 "Behold, my brethren, he that prophesieth, let him prophesy to the understanding of men; for the Spirit speaketh the truth and lieth not. Wherefore, it speaketh of things as they really are, and of things as they really will be; wherefore, these things are manifested unto us plainly, for the salvation of our souls."

This is awesome truth. Maybe your husband just doesn't see right now. Maybe he can't see you or your pain. It's like a physical disability and literal blindness. Yelling at my husband wasn't ever going to give him sight. I tried. Trust me on that one. Only the Savior can heal the blind, And the best part is it is one of His specialties."
posted at 22:06:05 on July 28, 2015 by maddy
maddy, you're awesome!    
"Sorry to interrupt, but I just wanted to say that I love reading Maddy's words of wisdom on this site.
And I agree!
Without recovery, the negative cycle/feelings/etc will still be there.
Also, I think it's been posted about elsewhere, but there is a difference between guilt and shame, and it seems like your husband is feeling more shame than guilt ('I'm such a terrible person') Guilt motivates us to do better, to repent and try harder. Shame would have us wallow in our mistakes and believe we are awful individuals, hopelessly flawed and lost."
posted at 18:00:37 on July 30, 2015 by Anonymous

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"Now brethren, the time has come for any one of us who is so involved to pull himself out of the mire, to stand above this evil thing, to “look to God and live” (Alma 37:47). We do not have to view salacious magazines. We do not have to read books laden with smut. We do not have to watch television that is beneath wholesome standards. We do not have to rent movies that depict that which is filthy. We do not have to sit at the computer and play with ographic material found on the Internet."

— Gordon B. Hinckley

General Conference, October 2004