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12 Steps and Relapses
By sierra
2/10/2010 10:39:39 AM
Hello everyone. I'm wondering if I might get some help/clarification from the addicts on this site who are using the 12 step program. I'm currently finishing up my nursing degree and working on a research project that is due very soon. I decided to research addiction and have been attending a 12 step meeting weekly for recovering alcoholics and drug addicts. This is my question....during the meetings as I sit in the back and listen I've noticed some inconsistencies between what is taught at the meetings and what is said on this site. I've come to this site many times during my own trials with my husbands addiction (part of the reason I wanted to research addiction) and I've read over and over where people have posted that relapses are okay and that relapsing is just part of recovery. The facilitator (I think that's what he's called) basically, the guy that leads the group who has had 20 years sobriety was talking about relapse in the meeting yesterday and he stated that relapsing is NOT part of the 12 step program and if you start the program with the mindset that an occasional relapse is part of the process then you are bound to fail. He said that you have to stay far,far away from drugs and alcohol and not even allow yourself even so much as a sip of a drink. One sip will lead you down a slippery slope to the very bottom and you'll have to start all over. What he said made sense (and I didn't even write a portion of it) but it got me thinking about this site and some of the things I've read here. So I started wondering if maybe the 12 steps are set up differently for different addictions? I assumed the 12 steps were the same regardless of the addiction but maybe I'm wrong? I just want to get it straight in my head so when I write my paper I'm being accurate. The leader of the group did say that relapses DO occur but if they occur it's because you weren't working the steps properly and an occasional slip is not part of the program. He stated that you have to let it go completely from your life and not even give yourself any kind of "out" or permission to just dabble a little and then get right back to the steps. He said "If you're going to dabble you might as well just drink. You can't be sober and an occasional drinker. Most people can have an occasional drink but addicts can't!" He was a very good speaker but again..contradicted what I've always read on here. It makes sense that allowing yourself permission to relapse once and awhile and "dabble" as he called it, is always keeping one foot in addiction and one foot in recovery. I liked his statement that you have to make a decision once and for all that never again will you touch even a sip and then work the steps each day to keep that commitment.

Also, I'm really not trying to be contentious but I genuinely want to know for my research and for my own curiosity. Any thoughts?

Comments:

It really depends on who you ask,    
"My Bishop and therapist tell me that relapses are part of the program and the 12-step process, but my Sexaholics Anonymous sponsor - he's been in the program for 20 years and helped write the LDS addiction recovery manual - tells me that there is absolutely no excuse for relapses. Which person is right? I have absolutely no idea, but as far as the 12-step material goes, it basically states that if you follow the steps, then you'll stop relapsing.

It's also important to remember that sobriety is only the beginning. You can be perfectly clean from your addiction, but still be filled with the same negativity the addiction brought into your life. This is why the 12-steps are so important. They encourage people to change their behavior AND their character.

I hope that helps. Good luck with your report."
posted at 10:57:28 on February 10, 2010 by ETTE
My Opinion    
"Those are good observations and questions, Sierra.

In my opinion, planning to relapse is NOT part of the program. Expecting to relapse is NOT part of the program. (If anything I have said contradicts this, I am sorry.)

Expecting perfection is also NOT part of the program. Tearing yourself down and beating yourself up when you relapse is NOT part of the program.

Preparing for what you will say to yourself IF you do relapse IS part of the program. Creating a team of supporters who can help you when temptation comes, whether you falter or not, IS part of the program.

Trust in God, faith, humility, sincere repentance, and receiving forgiveness EVERY TIME you do relapse IS part of the program. Learning from your mistakes and looking forward with hope because of Christ and your past successes--no matter how small--EVERY TIME you relapse IS part of the program.

"Yea, and as often as my people repent will I forgive them their trespasses against me." Mosiah 26:30."
posted at 11:17:02 on February 10, 2010 by BeClean
another POV    
"I absolutely agree with the statement that planning to relapse is not part of the program. It should not be encouraged at all.

However, having had experience in both AA and the LDSAR groups, here are a few differences:

- In AA and other substance-abuse related 12 Step programs, sobriety is clearly defined. Either you drink alcohol or you don't. Either you smoke marijuana, blow coke, etc. or you don't.
- In LDSAR, it is a little harder to define. If I happen upon a website with a pornographic picture, but I immediately close the site and walk away, did I have a relapse? If I'm watching a movie with a nude scene but I hesitate before I turn my eyes away, does this count as a slip? Am I still "sober"?
- Human beings have a natural genetic urge toward sex. We do not have such an urge built into us for alcohol or drugs, even though some have developed it. I'm not saying that those addictions are easier to deal with. They aren't, and can be much harder. But it does lend itself to a more murky area where we are very likely to have lustful thoughts even years after being clean from pornography.

This is not to mean that the least bit of sin should be tolerated, and we should stay as far away from it as possible. But in this type of addiction (pornography and masturbation) it is very common to come close to a relapse, on a regular basis, even for someone who is clearly working all 12 steps.

Just food for thought."
posted at 11:55:57 on February 10, 2010 by hk-47
Nice Distinction    
"Agreed.

The "natural urge" distinction is a big one. Some addicts can use their spouse to indulge their unholy addictions and still claim to be sober, but is that right? The line between sobriety and acting out is sometimes hard to see.

Consequently, we do not plan or expect to relapse, but we need to be patient with and forgiving of ourselves when we do."
posted at 12:15:03 on February 10, 2010 by BeClean
Go Right To The Source    
"Sierra,

The best way to get an answer to your question may be to go right to the source and read the LDS addiction recovery manual. You can find it online at http://bit.ly/dCJUFM In my experience as a pornography/masturbation addict in recovery, sobriety is the goal--but not always achievable, especially at first. Telling addicts that relapses are part of the program is a bad idea--it just gives them another excuse to indulge. But telling them perfect sobriety is required to continue to participate in the program is setting the bar too high. I've read other posts about the recovery process--and experienced myself--where addicts talk about days of sobriety. If an addict goes 2 days and has a relapse, then makes it 9 days, then makes it 20, then makes it 75, is he on the road to recovery? I would say yes.

I once had a bishop tell me, when I'd confessed yet another relapse but had experienced many days of sobriety prior to the relapse, "Clinically you're improving, but spiritually you still have a problem." He's right, since no unclean thing can enter into God's kingdom. But I was--and still am--on the road to recovery. At one point I made it 5 years and then had a relapse. Now I've been sober for 7 months. Am I recovering? I think I am. And if I learn something from every relapse--about what I really want in life, about what my triggers are, about how important it is to remain vigilant and turn my life over to God--then I'm still on the path to recovery, whether I relapsed years or hours ago.

The most important thing is never giving up on yourself or on God's power to heal you. Everyone's road to addiction is different, and every addict's road to recovery is unique. 12-step programs provides structure, support and guidance, but recovery is a personal process. I would think twice before attempting to judge who "is" and "isn't" working the program. The topic of recovery is too complex, in my opinion, to be addressed in terms of black and white."
posted at 19:21:56 on February 10, 2010 by finallyfree
Thank you    
"I did get my hands on the LDS Addiction Recovery manuel but I didn't see where it said anything about relapses. Thank you everyone for your comments and help. It seems that the issue of relapsing isn't clearly defined. I guess it's a matter of opinion. The gentleman that leads the AA meeting was saying something interesting about relapsing at the meeting this week. He was explaining how the primary relationship in most addicts lives is the relationship with their "drug" whether that's heroin or vodka or porn. It the one relationship that is always there for them and will always make them feel better (for a time). Then he said that anytime we have to let go of an important relationship in our life it creates extreme anxiety. Everyone has felt anxiety so we all know it's NOT fun. It's a horrible feeling. So when an addict decides to let go of the most important relationship in their life...anxiety is sure to follow. He made this analogy...It's about a man whose wife is leaving on a trip. She'll be gone for awhile but he knows she'll be back eventually. The man feels some anxiety as he puts her on the plane because he's not sure when he'll see her again but the anxiety is managed by the thought that she will eventually come back. If he really needs her he can call her and she'll come back right away. Compare this to a man whose wife has died. He's at her graveside as she's being lowered into the ground. The anxiety he feels and the sense of loss and fear is extreme because he KNOWS she's not coming back. Ever. He has to work through that anxiety and fear and loss and eventually come out the other side and be able to carry on with the business of life. He will probably occasionally miss her but he'll move on and be able to function if he can just make it through that period of high anxiety. It's unlikely that he'll ever go and dig up her grave just to be with her again. He'll move on and be okay. So he compared these two situations to the whole issue of relapsing. Addicts who have the mindset that relapses are a "part of the process" are like the gentleman that just puts the wife on the plane. They have anxiety but it's managed by the thought that if necessary that wife can fly home. He said that to truly recover...forever... you have to bury the wife. You have to feel that extreme anxiety and deal with it. Mourn it. Whatever. You have to accept that it's gone for good, no matter what. He said many times addicts will just say "I'm just getting through today. Tomorrow we'll see what happens." That's how they deal with the anxiety. Their "wife" is just on a trip and the option is still left open for her to return. Which eventually she will. On the other hand, addicts that want this gone forever have to be willing to face that anxiety and loss, and deal with it. Eventually, it fades and that's when the addict can be considered "recovered". I wish I could explain it as well as he did. It really made sense. He did stress how hard it is to "bury the wife" and many addicts just aren't ready to commit to a permanent change. The good news is that every day the anxiety lessens and new relationships are formed to replace the addiction. If you can just hang on through the high anxiety phase it will gradually get easier and easier. Anyways, I'm rambling on now. Thanks again for all the help and comments. I'm grateful that the majority of you don't want to banish the "loved ones" to the loved one side of the blog. I think addicts already know how other addicts feel and loved ones already know what THAT feels like but what we DON'T understand is how each other feel! I think it's important to try to understand the other side. So hopefully we won't get kicked off.....:)"
posted at 12:26:10 on February 11, 2010 by sierra
Burying My "Wife"    
"I'm so glad you shared that analogy, Sierra. That is exactly what I needed to hear. I'm on day 95 of sobriety, and I still feel really anxious about letting go and saying "never again."

I think it's still important to do my dailies (call my sponsor, say prayers, do step study, read scriptures), but maybe I need to change my mindset from the I-can-only-promise-today attitude.

I'm glad you're still blogging, and I also think the loved ones and addicts should be allowed on the same website."
posted at 13:34:38 on February 11, 2010 by ETTE
Adddiction - Is a spiritual sickness    
"In the church addictions of any kind are looked at differently than anywhere in the psychological community. Any addiction is seen as a symptom of a spiritual sickness. Or rather your spirit is weak from not listening to and feeding it. You have a body and a spirit each with their own desires. If you listen to and indulge your body it becomes the more powerful force in you. Thats why the cure for addiction is spiritual growth. The things that are suggested in the 12 steps (and the 12 traditions) help to first heal the individual and the set them on a course of progression.
Just as a child stumbles while they are learning to walk, an addict will stumble in their attempt to overcome their addiction. Mistakes are never a good gauge of progress, succeses are. If Someone is growing spiritual and doing those things that bring the Holy Ghost, then they are doing the 12 steps (and ulitimately repentance)
Relapse is part of recovery, and their are great learning experiences when we fall. First and foremost, is we recognize how much we need the Savior."
posted at 17:24:54 on February 11, 2010 by Anonymous
Great post!    
"Sierra, I love the analogy. I think it's great you are doing this research...please keep sharing the information you find out. I'm with you on the whole addicts and loved one's need to talk to one another...at least that is what I need. I have received valuable help from the points of view shared by our addict brothers and sisters. I can't thank them enough for being so willing to share their stories! I hope we don't get voted off too! :)

Ette-
Day 95!! How awesome is that!! You made me smile. I am so happy for your and the progress you have made and continue to make. You give me such hope. I have a question for you? If it's too personal and you don't want to answer, no big deal. Is there anything that your girlfriend can do that can help to support you? You are doing so well and I'm just wondered if your girlfriend can help in anyway, or if this is your road. You speak so highly of your girlfriend, she must be really great. She is a lucky lady to have such a great guy! I'm trying to figure out my place in all of this. I want to help my husband, not hinder.

Thanks for all your encouragement. Things go up and down for me...but Sunday was the best day I have had since this has entered into our life...Thank you for pointing out how far I have come, I took a step back and looked...and you're right I am doing better...I was a huge mess when I first started blogging here, I'm still a mess but at least I'm a smaller mess. I still have a long way to go...but at least I see progress is defiantly possible. My husband and I took a trip together to spend some time with just the two of us. It didn't solve our problems, but it helped remind me why I'm with him. My husband is worth the pain I am going through (wish it wouldn't have happened, but the past is what it is), he is a Child of God and has great worth. I'm so grateful I didn't throw everything away...we'll get there someday. "
posted at 18:27:37 on February 11, 2010 by summer
Summer,    
"I'm so happy to hear about how much better you're doing! You might feel like a mess, but I know you're also a wonderful, kind, Christlike person. Whatever you're doing now, you should keep it up because you are making so much progress.

I'm kind of glad you asked about my girlfriend. I can't explain how lucky I am to be with her, but I might be able to explain how she supports me through the recovery process:

The most important thing we've done so far has been sharing our feelings and experiences with each other. I've done my best to tell her how strong my addiction really is and how long I've struggled with it. After I shared the most important details of how my addiction affects me, I told her about what I do to stay clean when I'm tempted (surrender the temptation through prayer, call my sponsor, go to recovery meetings, etc.).

My girlfriend is relatively tough when it comes to my addiction since she's a convert to the church, and she grew up with the mindset that all men look at pornography. Because of this, she honestly doesn't mind if I tell her all the details of my temptations and behavior, and we've agreed I should tell her about my problems and temptations as soon as they come.

After I tell her that I'm having a problem, she just listens to me, and then she asks me to explain all the benefits I'll receive by staying clean. By focusing on the positive things that happen when I'm clean instead of the negative things that will happen if I mess up, we're able to crush my temptations and urges together. Once I've explained everything to her, she tells me to call my sponsor and tell him what happened.

It really is great to be able to turn to my girlfriend when I'm having a really hard time with temptation, but my girlfriend also supports me at all other times as well. She encourages me to go to at least one meeting each week, she loves to admire my sobriety chips, if I'm having a really bad day of temptation, then she just holds me and encourages me, and she recently surprised me with a beautiful card and three white roses for my three month mark of sobriety.

Overall, the main way my girlfriend supports me is by encouraging and reminding me to do the things I already know I should be doing. My guess would be that you can help your husband by encouraging him to read his scriptures and pray, and you could build his self confidence by telling him how proud you are of his efforts.

I hope that helps, and I also hope it wasn't too mushy. Good luck, Summer. Keep up the progress!"
posted at 03:01:30 on February 12, 2010 by ETTE
Can I say something?    
"Sierra - That analogy was excellent. Thank you for sharing. A key part in the analogy, I thought, was to be able to mourn the dead wife (the addiction). I think some addicts may think they want to bury the wife, but then they fail to mourn and show pain; they think they should look happy about it. This could prevent them from actually burying the wife; they are just hiding her somewhere. We should acknowledge our dependence on the addiction and how hard it will be to lose it, and then we should truly bury it. The analogy is also similar to the experience of the people of Ammon.

Summer & Sierra - Please understand that I, at any rate, NEVER voted for or hoped for spouses to be "banished" elsewhere. I am completely in favor of letting you stay, and I appreciate all you do for me and us. I just wanted to make sure that spouses ALSO have another place where they can share their most frustrating thoughts and get advice from each other, since we addicts do a terrible job giving advice when we have already hurt you so badly. I hope that is clear, and I hope you haven't felt that I've been pushing you away.

Summer - It is wonderful to read how well you are doing. Thanks for sharing. You are letting the atonement heal you as well as your husband, and I'm so glad.

Ette - I think your girlfriend has exactly the right attitude, and you ARE very lucky. It's ok that she thinks "all men look at pornography." I don't think I'm far off when I guess that 95% of men or more have masturbated and 95% of men or more have SEEN pornography at least once. Unfortunately, anyone who thinks they are dating or marrying a man who has NEVER seen another woman naked or who has NEVER masturbated is, I think, naive, and in for disappointment.

That DOESN'T mean, however, that 95% of men are addicted to either pornography or masturbation. I bet the number is closer to 40-50%--which is still terribly high, and the world should understand how addictive this stuff is to guys.

Anyway, your girlfriend has a healthy attitude, in my opinion. She believes most men struggle with this, which is OK, but she is very supportive of your trying to stop, which is exactly what she should be. When you come to her, she just listens, and instead of judging you to be a terrible person who has intentionally hurt her, she judges you to be a great man who has intentionally come to her in order to overcome your temptations, which is something most men wouldn't do. She holds you to show you she still loves you. That confidence and unconditional love she provides to you strengthens, helps, lifts, and builds you. Finally, she encourages you to take the right step by calling your sponsor, she sincerely congratulates you for your success, and she avoids tempting you further in your weakness (of course, if she were married to you, this part of her support could be done a little differently, I think). She is truly a model of understanding, forgiveness, and support.

I hope I can be like that when my spouse and children struggle with a problem. That is exactly how I want to be, no matter the problem. She's a keeper!

PS, Ette, as your grilfriend believes, you ARE a great man. Although MANY men are addicted to this, you are one of the few trying with all your soul to overcome. That makes you great."
posted at 10:00:31 on February 12, 2010 by BeClean
Summer,    
"I think you should ask your husband the best way to support him. I think that my husband is a little different in that he doesn't want me to support him in the usual ways of asking how his day was or talking about struggles or anything like that. In fact, he HATES it when I even bring it up. He's buried his wife (who he hated) and he doesn't want to think or talk about her ever again. He told me once that the only time he ever even thinks about porn anymore is when I bring it up. So I support him by not talking about it. Even though it probably would be helpful to me to hear once and awhile that he's still doing great. I have to assume he's still going strong because he promised me he would tell me if he ever slipped. It's been almost two and a half years since the last relapse so I definitely think he's mourned the dead wife and let me take her place."
posted at 15:11:09 on February 12, 2010 by sierra
Ette    
"I think its very commendable that you were so honest and straightforward with your girlfriend. Your early disclosure to your girlfriend was likely very difficult, but I am so happy it has strengthened you as she has been supportive. I just wanted to say from a loved one's perspective how much I respect your decision to tell her about your struggles. That must have taken a lot of humility."
posted at 01:40:13 on February 13, 2010 by CLO
Ette-    
"Thank you for sharing! I would love to be a strength for my husband and have him be one to me. Having such amazing honesty between you and your girlfriend is so wonderful. The world views are so different from our church standings…I can see why your girlfriend being a convert could assist in her understand of your addiction. I grew up LDS, but quite frequently hung with the wrong crowd…I adopted many of their ways of thinking. Chastity was pretty low on the qualities I looked for in a guy. I always felt it was dumb luck on my part that I met and married such an upstanding guy. He seemed totally devoted to me and our family we now had. Yes we did start a little early, with me getting pregnant as a teen. I don’t think people were too surprised that I got pregnant…but my boyfriend was too good for that kind of thing. As I look back I realized I earned my reputation…I was who I was and didn’t hide anything. But my husband was a little ashamed about the situation (as normal people would be), people would comment to me that my boyfriend was saying it didn’t happen that much or that we were “careful”…what I said was completely opposite…I would say, “it happened and it happened a lot”. I really didn’t care, I was pregnant…it was obvious I wasn’t very chaste, so why minimize. Throughout our marriage my husband was the positive driving force…we got to the temple because of him, I wasn’t in any rush. I asked him about things like masturbation…I was under the assumption that all boys at least tried this out. His response was, “then I guess I’m the only one that hasn’t masturbated”. I never really thought much about it but one of my friends brought up the point that most men’s eyes wonder. So I asked my husband he told me, “I’m lucky my wife is pretty enough I don’t have to look anywhere else.” When this kind of stuff was drilled into my head…I felt so important to my husband…I felt like the luckiest woman on earth. I really thought I had it all. So when I find out my husband has an addiction to pornography and masturbation...I was blown away. I didn’t expect the world of him, but that is what he portrayed…and I believed him. It’s been really hard to try to figure out what’s real and what’s not. I’ve been with my husband for about 13 years…and I feel like I need to get to know him. I want to get to know him better; he has such a beautiful heart. So Ette, with all this rambling I want you to know that your honesty has done so much for the beauty that is in your relationship. Your girlfriend is wonderfully understanding and you are very blessed to have her, you in return have given her the priceless gift of honesty…she is blessed to have you. Way to go bro!"
posted at 13:09:17 on February 17, 2010 by summer
Sierra-    
"It sure is hard to find the right balance as to what would help our husbands. My husband goes back and forth on this one. Sometimes he wants to include me and sometimes not at all. There have been a few instances where he has told me of things he ran into accidentally, but that he didn’t feel right about it until he told me. We cried and hugged and as much as it hurts that he has this trial, it helped me feel a little better that he was sharing this with me. One time I ran into an old CD that had some inappropriate images on it. I told my husband, he took full responsibility…that conversation has meant more to me in our recovery than any other words spoken. My husband admitted he has seen horrible things, to have him be so honest with me made me feel important to him, like I really mattered.

I have a question for you. In your first post you wrote on this site you said you haven’t told anyone. I too am in that boat. You said that people would be shocked if they found out? People wouldn’t believe me even if I could muster up the courage to tell someone…they would probably ask if it was me with these addictions not him. :) I feel like I have a secret, one that I don’t want to share but it’s eating away at me. Has it gotten less “heavy” for you?...I feel like I’m being weighed down.

I have read through a lot of your blogs and replies…thank you for sharing your story! I think you are amazing! Keep it up Sister!"
posted at 13:11:54 on February 17, 2010 by summer
Beclean-    
"Hey, I hope you didn’t think I was offended! Honestly your post made me feel like you really get it, the pain loved ones go through. I felt like you were just trying to protect the loved ones from any more hurt feelings.

I don’t have access to the loved ones side. I don’t go to any groups, no friends or family know about our situation. So the only person I really have to talk to is my husband, I am starting to see the downside to that. I had a situation happen at the gym about a month ago…Some man was being inappropriate to me…he actually apologized for his behavior…I was mad, but I didn't dare stick up for myself…all I could say was, “don’t worry about it, it happens.” I just wanted to get away from that guy…later he began to be inappropriate again…probably because I didn’t stand up for myself. I just left and went to the locker room and cried. I had no one I could lean on for this…I feared my husband would take the man’s side…maybe I was wearing something too tight, bending in the wrong way…I don’t know?...but I kept it in. UNTIL!!!...I blew, I was having a bad day, and unfortunately took it out on my poor husband. I unfairly put him in the same category as this man…my husband didn’t blame me, he apologized that it happened (even though it had nothing to do with him). But I hurt my husband’s feelings by labeling him…Maybe if I wouldn’t have let it fester in me…maybe if I had other loved ones to talk to, feelings could have been spared. I feel terrible for hurting my husband’s feelings.

I have a major problem with husband bashing…I never contribute, and I feel very uncomfortable when women talk bad about their husbands. But I feel this incident that happened, had nothing to do with my husband, I could have shared privately on the loved ones side...no one there would have been offended, and feelings wouldn’t have been hurt. I’m going to try to set up a new account on this site, so that I have the option of getting support from other loved ones who understand my pain.

Thank you for being such a great brother and looking out for us. I love all the support you have given to me and so many others. "
posted at 13:17:02 on February 17, 2010 by summer
Summer    
"Thanks for your comments, Summer. I am so sorry for what happened at the gym, and I'm a little scared for you, based on your description. I'm going to share my thoughts. I'm sorry if you have already resolved this issue and moved on.

I recommend you avoid that person at all costs if you ever see him at the gym again. I'm not sure it's fair to make you leave the gym or change your schedule just to avoid him, but if it's not too difficult, you might consider both those options.

Whether you alter your routine or not, if he ever does ANYTHING inappropriate again, I strongly recommend you ask for his name and number, write it down, and then tell him point blank, "Do that again--or anything like it--and I'll call the police and have them arrest you for harassment." If he does anything again, call 911 and tell them you feel repetitively threatened and harassed by the man.

A majority of men struggle with inappropriate thoughts. Many men struggle with masturbation and pornography. But only a few can't control themselves in public...and I believe they need immediate, forceful help before they hurt someone. The police can arrange that. Yes, that man is your brother struggling with his own issues, and we should probably pray for him...but standing by while he harasses and victimizes us is NOT the Christian thing to do.

I'm glad you and I have learned about the "loved ones" side of this site. If you haven't already, I suggest you re- sign up as a loved one, using something similar to your current user name, so we will still recognize you. If there is any way you can meet with other loved ones, that would certainly help you out during this difficult episode in your life.

PS I did not think you or Sierra were offended. Thank you for your friendship."
posted at 13:40:24 on February 17, 2010 by BeClean
No reason to be worried…    
"Honestly. I was being vague with my description of what happened because I know on this site we need to be careful so we don’t cause any triggers. I was more so just annoyed with this man. I go to the gym to work out not be gawked at. This guy is harmless; really…he just struck a nerve with me. I think it was more so that he apologized, but then continued. That guy is not a regular…I have seen him a few times. And being that I am a regular at the gym, I could totally take him :)…But I wouldn’t take my chances, I would ask for help.

Thanks for the concern and advice."
posted at 14:07:38 on February 17, 2010 by summer
Secrets    
"Summer,
To answer your question...I still to this day have not told a soul about what has happened. The only other person that knows besides me and my husband is our bishop. I promised my husband that I wouldn't tell anyone and I haven't. For the most part, I'm glad I haven't told. I think it would be awkward at family parties or ward functions if people knew. We live in a gossipy ward and I would just really struggle if I thought people were talking about us. I'm glad I've kept the secret. I do know what you mean about it eating away at you. At first it was REALLY really hard. I needed to talk to someone so desperately. The only place I could vent was this site. I became good friends with Robin who had such a similar situation to mine that I felt someone actually GOT IT. I realized I'm not the only one this has happened to. This April marks the three year anniversary since I found out. It was by far the hardest thing I've ever experienced.I almost told my secret on three seperate occasions. We went through quite a few months of constant relapses after I initially found out and after about 5 months...I was done. I had made the decision to leave my husband so I drove to my parents house to tell them the situation. I didn't really feel honor bound to keep my promise to not tell after all the broken promises that he had made. I drove all the way over to their house only to find out nobody was home. I sat in the driveway for a LONG time and they never came home so I finally just left. I'm grateful now they weren't home. I think it was divine intervention. For one thing, I think it would have given my mom a heart attack. She thinks my husband is General Authority material. She thinks he practically walks on water. This is the impression he's given to everyone that knows him. It would have broken her heart and caused her to really suffer if she knew. So I'm glad that I spared her that. The second time I was tempted, we were at a big family gathering. A party at the beach. I was sitting with a family member who just seemed down. Eventually she opened up to me about some problems with her husband. She didn't come right out and say he was having a problem with porn but I could read between the lines. She was saying that it's really hard for her to see all the perfect women in their bikinis knowing that her husband is probably looking at them. I was really tempted to share my own problems but I resisted. This family member is a talker and would have told everyone in a matter of minutes. She told me stuff about her husband that I wish I didn't know. I know it's wrong but I look at him differently now. I'm trying to be better about not judging people but I'm not there yet. One of my many flaws I'm working on. The third time was just recently. A fellow nursing student is going through a divorce. She's also LDS and married for three years. She recently found out about her husbands porn addiction and they are divorcing. She's heartbroken and I came really, really close to telling her about my situation. I wanted her to know she's not alone and it gets better. It really does! Ultimately, I just told her I "knew" someone who had been through a similar situation and that she got through it. While there have been many times I wish someone close to me knew, I'm really glad that I kept my word to my husband and it is just between us. It's nobody elses business and it's eliminated the possibility of feeling awkward around people we know. For awhile my husband was EQ president and now he's got a calling that is...whats the word...not prestigious.. but a higher calling in the ward. If people knew I think he'd be judged by past sins and maybe people wouldn't respect him as much? Does that make sense? He does a lot of good in the ward because he's highly respected and people value his opinion and think very highly of him. It's always been like that. That's what was really hard at first. I relate to a lot of what you said about how your husband portrayed himself to you. Like you, my husband completely misrepresented himself to me and I think that was harder to get over than the actual watching of porn. He made me think he was the ultimate pillar of virtue when we got married. The funny thing is...I didn't EXPECT him to be! I'd had plenty of boyfriends and I pretty much decided that men were all pretty much the same. I thought I had hit the jackpot when I found this guy that loved me for my inside, my heart, my personality, my values. It wasn't all about trying to sneak a peek down my shirt with him. He told me he was a virgin when we got married and I believed him. Why wouldn't I? In fact, I remember one time we were on a date and he got out a napkin and made me write down all the boys I had ever kissed. Hello...awkwardness! I did it...and then he called me a tart! He was upset that I had kissed quite a few boys. Just kissed. No sex. I felt that I wasn't good enough for this man that had kept himself so pure for me. I wished I hadn't kissed anyone but had instead waited for him. I felt really, really BAD! Turns out he had slept around a lot in high school. I've pretty much gotten over the pain of the porn addiction but I still really struggle with how thouroughly I was tricked. I doubt I'll ever fully trust him again. I love him. I want to be with him. But I take everything he says with a grain of salt. I know how well he can act. I remember sitting in Fast and Testimony meeting one Sunday. He had just had a really bad relapse and I was in extreme pain. He got up and bore his testimony and was making himself sound so righteous. I sat there rolling my eyes. Afterwards, people were coming up to me telling my how lucky I was to be married to such a man and how he just had such a great spirit about him. I just smiled but I was upset. The hypocrisy! That's what got me. I know I'm a sinner,too but for heavens sakes! On our wedding night he pretended he had no idea what to do. I should have seen right through it. I just felt so bad for the guy! I was an innocent and even I knew the general idea of what was supposed to happen! He now has told me he didn't want me to suspect how experienced he was so he fumbled around pretending to be lost. And I bought it hook, line and sinker. I have no idea why I'm writing out all this. Sorry. I got off on a tangent. It probably seems like I'm still bitter but I'm not. I've forgiven him. I don't trust him. But I've forgiven him. Is that even possible? Can you forgive but withhold trust? I think you can but this is one point on which my husband and I disagree. He thinks until I trust him fully, I haven't forgiven. Anyways...enough rambling!!! Did I answer your question? This reply probably would have been more appropriate on the loved ones side but since you don't have access I wrote it here. Hopefully, nobody was too offended."
posted at 11:48:17 on February 18, 2010 by sierra
Sierra    
"Thanks for the response. It sounds like we have a lot in common. I actually have no desire to tell anyone…but I still have this heavy feeling. I feel like I’m somewhat deceiving people. Everyone thinks I live this perfect charmed life…my parents, siblings and friends. I have a big blessing in that I live far away from my family, so they are not able to see me go through the challenges that I am going through. It would be noticed...I went through a time where I lost an extreme amount of weight (I was already a small person to begin with). If my Mom ever found out about our situation, it would crush her…I can’t do that to her…And I really think it would be so hard for her to forgive my husband…I can’t put this burden on her, or anyone for that matter. My friends started to notice the weight loss…I had a few close friends do somewhat of an intervention on me, just being really great friends and trying to help me. I made the decision to distance myself from my friends. I feel bad that my connection with these great women is not as deep as it once was…but I can’t keep answering the same questions…”What’s going on with you?”, “You’ve lost a lot of weight…we’re worried…What’s going on?”. I’m a very honest person…so I don’t feel right lying to them… it’s just better it I keep everyone at a distance.

Forgiveness and Trust have to be separate. The way I see it is I really can’t be shocked like I have been. I thought this was impossible, well it’s possible and it always will be possible. So do I trust that it will be impossible to happen again?...No, I fell like it’s just not feasible to think us invisible to the problems that have already occurred in our marriage. But I would love to get to a point where I really trust day to day that my children and I are in a safe/clean environment…I am getting closer than I was to feeling that…Someday :)! I am working like crazy on the forgiveness thing…It’s kinda weird, I must be a lot tougher on my husband than anyone else, I hold him to a higher standard I guess. My Dad (honestly a great man, and we have a wonderful relationship) used to hit me when I was a child. He never said he was sorry when I was growing up…but I forgave him without the apology…I knew what happened wasn’t right and I didn’t deserve it, but as I became an adult and I saw he really did love me (but he obviously had anger issues)…I found it in my heart to let go of the pain…COMPLETELY! Well the day came when he called with a formal apology, I just felt awkward...it was over for me but it wasn't over for him. I told him I forgave him...and I truly meant it. With that being said...I have never let my Dad watch my kids when they were little...I'm sure he probably wouldn't hurt my kids, but that's putting him and my kids in a environment, that has in the past been a recipe for disaster. So for me forgiveness and trust are different. Honestly at the moment I really trust all that my husband is saying to me. He has been using his priesthood...he actually gave me a husband's blessing, to help me through this. And I felt completely at peace with him using his priesthood to bless me. I'm actually tearing up as I write this...that was the most wonderful moment I have had in years.

I wanted to respond earlier...but I was feeling really down...I try not to post when I am too depressed. I don't want to take anyone down with me. I am feeling really good at the moment. My emotions are on a roller coaster...I one day hope this cycle will end...Sierra your story gives me hope...thank you for sharing, you are a strength for me to look up to."
posted at 07:55:14 on March 16, 2010 by summer
Finally got it written    
"I really can’t resist any more. I started this response back in Feb. and then got too busy, but since Summer popped it up again I really am going to add my thoughts…

OK, I’ve been thinking about responding since you first posted this Sierra, but Ette, BeClean and HK-47 shared a lot of the same thoughts, I also went for a few days without time to get on the site. After reading some of the latest entries I can’t resist anymore. I’ll share my thoughts starting with the last one.

I don’t think a spouse ever has to trust the addict they are married to. It is completely separate from forgiveness. I’ve been in recovery for a number of years and have been doing really, really good for a while now, but I don’t think my wife trusts me completely yet. I don’t trust myself completely either even though I am at the point that as long as I do my dailies and ask Him for my daily reprieve I don’t even feel like an addict. After all I had lied to my wife off and on for 14 years before even getting into recovery; bad, bad lies. Particularly when it seems like your husband’s reputation is THE most important thing to him. I would always be concerned that if he did relapse even after a very long period of sobriety that he wouldn’t confess it in order to keep up your impression of him. Addicts can’t demand or even expect forgiveness and trust. From my experience those in true recovery are characterized by humility and understanding of the damage they have wrought and don’t put demands on their victims such as, “Don’t tell anyone.” “You need to forgive/trust me.” The truly repentant will allow you whatever latitude you need to work out your recovery and healing. If it makes them uncomfortable, TOO BAD! They just need to accept it as part of the consequences of their choices. To quote my kids, “They started it!”

I suggest you find a sister that you can share everything with. When the church’s first pornography meeting started there was only a men’s meeting. Soon they were pushed to start a women’s meeting simply so that they could have someone to talk to that understood. Sierra and Summer you might even use each other, but find someone. This is an awful burden to try carrying around on your own. You could also look at the women’s meetings associated with the men’s pornography meetings or at S-Anon or Al-Anon meetings. Please find someone you can vent, cry and laugh with. You deserve it.

The 12 Steps are the same regardless of the addiction. From my personal experience the only time I relapse is when I’m not working them. I am sorry if I have given you the impression that relapses are just part of the program. I guess it is like the Gospel plan. It doesn’t include returning to sin, but it is designed to take care of it. I had an LDS therapist tell me that for addicts relapse was a part of the repentance process, but then he also declared me cured back in 2001 or 2002, so he was obviously full of hooey. Unfortunately relapse is very common. The forward to the second edition of the Big Book states, “Of alcoholics who came to A.A. and really tried, 50% got sober at once and remained that way; 25% sobered up after some relapses, and among the remainder, those who stayed on with A.A. showed improvement. Other thousands came to a few A.A. meetings and at first decided they didn't want the program. But great numbers of these—about two out of three—began to return as time passed.” I have probably added to your opinion that relapse is part of the program when I try to encourage those who have. I don’t want them to get so discouraged that they give up. I don’t want them to fall prey to Satan’s lie that they are the only one this screwed up. Planning to relapse or excusing yourself is not part of recovery though. Picking yourself back up, figuring out what you did wrong and coming up with a prevention plan is the way to eventual recovery. I am not making any excuses for us that deal with sexual addiction, but relapse seems more common. I once heard someone that was involved with the judicial system say that it takes a drug addict 6-9 months on average and it takes a sexual addict 3-5 years. I also heard a therapist at one of the church’s ARP conferences say that in his 35 years of dealing with addictions he found that the two hardest addictions to overcome were sexual and gambling. I haven’t thought much about why gambling falls into that group, but I have come up with two on SA. 1) It starts with a God given desire that Satan misdirects. We don’t have a built in desire for drugs and alcohol. 2) It is so easy to get a sexual “hit” so to speak; driving down the freeway or a city street, going to the grocery store or even to church. We don’t have to leave our home all we need is just the click of a remote or mouse to go from something innocent to a full bore venous injection. The problem with porn is that unlike seeing a beer ad, if we see something suggestive we have already taken a sip. It is already in our system. It used to make me angry that I couldn’t even find peace and safety going to sacrament meeting. Too many girls, and women, don’t really get what is required to be modest, covered but tight definitely isn’t the same thing.

One thing that I have noticed is that my mindset makes a BIG difference on how powerful triggers are. If I happen upon them by accident and quickly turn away even the worst things can be very insignificant, but if I am looking for them or linger on them it is death. Minor things can lead to a major relapse. Even the worst ones that I faced in the past when my addiction was stronger were nothing if I turned to the Lord, asked for His grace and gave it to Him. He could take them from me for the rest of the day and I could quit obsessing about them and be free. I think every addict that really recovers has to come to a point where they draw the line and say, “No more. I am never going back there again.” Then they have to set a higher standard for themselves than the average person has to live by. They may have to avoid old friends. They may have to avoid gatherings where alcohol will be. Like me, they may need to avoid some of their nieces at family get-togethers. I got out of a business trip once because I wasn’t ready to handle that yet. Later, when I did go for four days I had to make all sorts of plans to keep me out of trouble. There are only three PG-13 movies that I can watch and some PG movies I need to avoid. It is just something I have to accept. I didn’t go to the gym last week because I felt like it was having a lingering effect. Once an alcoholic we can never be social drinkers again.

Anyone can recovery if they are willing to do whatever it takes."
posted at 14:37:15 on March 19, 2010 by justjohn
Just John    
"What you wrote was really, really nice. Thank you! You made me laugh…I love you quoted your kids…”They started it!” How many times have I heard that from my kids! I understand I don’t have to trust my husband again…but I really want to! I wonder if that might take away some of the heaviness. He has been honest about saying that he knows this will be a life long struggle…Will I trust that the possibility of this happening again has disappeared? No…but I want to trust him enough to know that he is doing absolutely everything in his power to keep us safe.

The media is a tough one at our home. My husband loves movies…but he has been really, really careful about the ones he watches. He checks out their ratings and reasons for the ratings in detail.

It sure is a tough thing on both sides of this problem.

Thanks for being so understanding!"
posted at 15:36:04 on March 19, 2010 by summer
HOW I GOT MY LOVER    
"

i am amanda by name. Greetings to every one that is reading this testimony. I have been rejected by my husband after three(3) years of marriage just because another woman had a spell on him and he left me and the kid to suffer. one day when i was reading through the web, i saw a post on how this spell caster on this address salvationlovespell@gmail.com , have help a woman to get back her husband and i gave him a reply to his address and he told me that a woman had a spell on my husband and he told me that he will help me and after 2 days that i will have my husband back. i believed him and today i am glad to let you all know that this spell caster have the power to bring lovers back. because i am now happy with my husband. Thanks for Dr.paul . His email:salvationlovespell@gmail.com"
posted at 18:00:43 on July 25, 2015 by Anonymous


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"One of the false notions of our society is that we are victims of our appetites and passions. But the truth is that the body is controlled by the spirit which inhabits it."

— Terrance D. Olson

“Teaching Morality to Your Children,” Ensign, Mar. 1981