Advice from spouses
By benjamin
4/2/2010 4:08:36 PM
I am new to and still finding my way around here. I have a question and would like some insights...especially from any spouses out there. About two weeks ago I had a relapse, after some time of being clean. I know that the most difficult part of relapse is finding the resolve to be honest with my wife and this was no exception. When I told her about my relapse, she walked into the bathroom and began gagging herself to induce vomiting. Knowing in the past she has struggled with such difficulties, so I had to restrain her physically from continuing. After discussion and crying from both of us, my wife disclosed that if I relapse again she would still love me, and continue to strive to be a part in our marriage, but she would take the children and move out.

This was a difficult expirience for me and I quietly resolved to myself that it would be better if I did not go to her for support, or tell her of my struggles for fear of loosing my family. I am torn because I still continue to struggle and I desperately want my wife to talk to, and to be completely honest with, but I am afraid that if I do she will hurt herself further, or (perhaps deservedly so,) take my family away.

I have spent several hours reading several of the other posts of those of you who have gone through similar circumstances and have gained some inspiration from them. I know my wife deserves to know, and I want to tell her everything despite knowing the hurt it will cause. But I also know that being honest may cause her to harm herself further and potentially be an end to our relationship. If you have any thoughts feel free to comment.

Thank you.


I am not a spouse...    
"But my first three thoughts after reading your post are

1) I agree with you that your wife deserves to know...I believe honesty is absolutely necessary for you to overcome AND for her to overcome.

2) Is your wife attending 12 step meetings, working the 12 steps, and receiving counseling even as you are? You should BOTH be getting outside help to bear this burden.

3) Our "drug" of pornography is extremely enticing, hard to resist, and hard to give up. But you must KNOW without doubt that you CAN overcome and learn to leave it alone as you turn your life over to God and fill yourself with light.

Are you willing to do WHATEVER it takes to turn your life over to the Lord and to rid yourself of this vice forever? I don't know what it will take for you, but I know that each of us must be willing to do it all. We must each ask ourselves: Am I willing to get up early to start every day with scripture study and prayer? Am I willing to attend church and hold family home evening every week and fast sincerely every month? Am I willing to change the music I listen to and the media I watch? Am I willing to attend group meetings, where people might recognize me and identify me as a sinner? Am I willing to get counseling and to be completely honest with myself, my spouse, my counselor, my bishop, and the Lord? Am I willing to eliminate the internet from my home, if necessary? Am I even willing to lose my church membership or my family for a time--because I have broken sacred covenants--if it means I will finally overcome and draw nearer to my loving Father in Heaven? Am I truly willing to give up pornography to be close to God? Or do I love my pornography more than I love him?

Again, I'm not saying you or I will ever have to do all of those things. We must do some of them. We may have to do more than the things I've mentioned. But until we are willing to do EVERYTHING it takes...until we are willing to completely turn our lives over to the Lord and trust him...until we finally fear God more than anything else...we will not overcome.

But, I think in the same moment that we are truly willing to turn ourselves over to God, he rescues us with his atoning grace, mercy, and power. We may still suffer for what we have done, but He will rescue us from bondage and eventually deliver us home to be with Him.

Benjamin, I feel for you. I am grateful that you desire to be honest with your wife, and you desire not to hurt her. I am praying for you and for her. I add my tears to yours and your wife's.

posted at 16:51:12 on April 2, 2010 by BeClean
My two cents...    
"I think your wife is healthier than you think. It's the right thing to do to protect herself and her children if you're not done with active addiction. She has every right to expect honesty from you and she has the right to move out if you fall into your addiction. It's YOUR responsibility to recover. Are you doing everything you can to recover? Are you attending ARP meetings and working the 12 Steps with a sponsor? If not, than you can expect to fail and she doesn't have to stick around for that. If you are already doing those things and still fall, she will most likely afford you some forbearance. You can't expect her to stick around and take emotional hits when you're not doing all you can. If she leaves with the kids, maybe that will be the wake up call you need to get serious about recovery. This addiction is REAL. It destroys families. It's not something we can handle by ourselves. It's way bigger than us.
Your wife's unhealthy way of dealing with stress has nothing to do with the decisions you make about your addiction. There's never a good reason for dishonesty and there's never a good reason for procrastinating recovery. Believe it or not, we're the lucky ones; Twenty years ago the church didn't have a program to address pornography addiction.
Another thing, your wife doesn't need to attend the ARP program for you to recover. If fact, if you expect her to support you in ANY way, you could be setting yourself up for failure. This is your deal. You should be the one to seek out help. If your wife decides she's in enough pain to attend meetings herself, all the better. But insisting on it will probably come off as insulting.
Finally, I don't know why so many addicts on this sight insist on asking advice from other spouses. All the help you need lies with other addicts who have found recovery and can tell you how they handled similare situations. What are our real motives when asking advice from spouses? If you can answer that question and seek out help from someone who is recovering from this addiction, you'll be in good shape. Good luck to you. You can recover. You don't have to relapse again."
posted at 17:56:29 on April 2, 2010 by Anonymous
You listen to any advice you can but take those that move you to righteous action    
"Ok I just want to say that Benjamin is fearing his family is going to freaking leave him, so there is one really good motive to move him to action. Anonymous, let me let you in on a not so secret fact:

Us addicts have destroyed our emotional capacity to feel. When your spouse is on the toilet inducing him/herself to puke those are desperate times for eveyone. I had a similar experience two months ago but I have not relapsed I dropped the bomb and it was hell. Hell, HELL HELL!!!!!!!!!
I HOPE YOU GET THE FACT OR RECALL THAT IT IS HELL and no one at that point can think straight. So it makes a great deal of common sense to reach out to us especially if the guy is new to this place like I am and cannot turn anywhere else. Us addicts can turn to the Lord and he is there but revelation is hard to come by in such a situation especially after sin.

I have gone your proposed route and asked recovered addicts but asking another dude to enlighten me on his wifes needs is like a dog asking a monkey in the tree for permission to take a pit stop. I needed help here from spouses and I tell you it has blessed my life more than most other advice from books and recovered addicts.
On the side I just hope you are not one of those dear sisters who took the time to help me out.

To you Benjamin, hang in there, here are the biggest lessons I have learned so far with my relationship with my wife:

1) Our addiction is to lust and porn is only one tool to convey lust. As I understand it he antidote to lust is love, service, that is it simple as that. Step 12 and the motive for present and enduring action. It helps me to know that Lust is selfish, secret (sounds like porn does'nt it?) and Love is open, unselfish (Charity Moroni 7). If I lift as much of the burden off my wifes shoulders by serving her and giving her the time she needs to heal, I will not want to lust because I am demonstrating love, it works I promise.

2) Honestly is non negotiable, don't even try to hide. I will not to talk too much about sacred things outside the house of the Lord, but think about what Satan says to Adam and Eve right after they have partaken of the forbidden fruit. He says only 2 words and it sounds like he is playing with your mind and encouraging you to do the same thing and you must not do it, be honest, Beclean is spot on. Hiding is not the Lords way, he is in the open and our thoughts, words and deeds must be in the open (for the wife I am talking about here) for true repentance to begin.

3) For me most important, I am so happy my wife is not taking any of my rubbish, I do not expect her to but this is my view. It makes me so much more serious in challenging this disease. I know that if I do not overcome this now, by relapsing, I will lose my wife. There is a boundary she has put in place and I respect it because I know what hell I have created for her. I cannot expect to have any mercy from her, and rightly so, she is not the savior and deserves a life free of this crap! I only have been clean for 2 and a half months but I just have decided I will not relapse, my wife and family and more importantly my savior is more important to me than that miserable smutt of lies.

God bless and look to the savior, have your eyes fixed on him, he is our strength."
posted at 19:47:34 on April 2, 2010 by ruggaexpat
"I just reread that entry and want to say that I have not replaced my porn addiction with alcohol, serious typo issues. I also think it may have been a bit harsh but I feel it is necessary to hear from the spouses. In fact, I try to read as much of the spouses stuff as possible, they are indirectly teaching me how to think and act is these difficult times. I may even go overboard a bit when I take notes and study their writings because I think they are writing for therapeutic purposes and there si valuable stuff."
posted at 19:59:02 on April 2, 2010 by ruggaexpat
"I just reread that entry and want to say that I have not replaced my porn addiction with alcohol, serious typo issues. I also think it may have been a bit harsh but I feel it is necessary to hear from the spouses. In fact, I try to read as much of the spouses stuff as possible, they are indirectly teaching me how to think and act is these difficult times. I may even go overboard a bit when I take notes and study their writings because I think they are writing for therapeutic purposes and there si valuable stuff."
posted at 19:59:04 on April 2, 2010 by ruggaexpat
New website for LDS Pornography Addiction    
"We just launched an updated version of our website last week. The site provides valuable information on every topic that is mentioned here. We also have individuals that can answer your questions directly, and / or get you in touch with people that have been successful. Donald L. Hilton author of He Restoreth my Soul has written a marvelous book on the topic, that explains the science behind the addiction. The book is available on our site, and is a must read for every family in the church. The new site is I hope it helps."
posted at 10:59:47 on April 4, 2010 by Anonymous
Thank you    
"I appreciate the feedback that has been given. It is insightful and I can feel your empathy from where I read. It is humbling to see that there are so many of us who are together, and I feel your prayers in my life, and return them to you. This weekend I took my wife out on a date one on one and I sat down with her and expressed to her my fears. I apologized for ever becoming defensive when it comes to my addiction, and told her my plans on recovery, including several of the points listed above. We both cried when I told her how sorry I have been for not striving to see this struggle from her point of view. Afterward I listened to her, without trying to interupt and interject of what she would like to see happen, and we made plans together as to what needed to be done to keep this addiction out of our lives. Right now I feel the strong humility that comes from being in recovery which is heavy, emotional, but feels good and empowering as I start to see the hand of the savior in my life. Humility and power comes from striving to live the commandments and I know I canll recieve divine and temporal help to live my covenants, if I but ask of it.
I have realized this weekend after watching powerful conference talks and checking out the new church website ( that I know that I am READY to change, but recognize that there is a still a deep part of me that is struggling with WANTING to change. It is a difficult thing for me to admit to my self that after half of my life of seeing the destruction pornography has caused that there is still a part of me that does not WANT to change. I think it is the part of me that is not willing to truly see the damage and wishes I could still live in ignorance of it. Thank you for your advice, and my email is always open to any of you if you wish to talk."
posted at 10:39:00 on April 5, 2010 by benjamin
Pray for the willingness    
"I really appreciate your honest post. I think we all go through that phase of not quite wanting to change. It's natural. Our addictions, as bad as they are, have become comfortable. While recovery can seem daunting. We just do it anyway. We can pray for the willingness to recover. We can take the actions to recover and our heart will eventually follow. Maybe you could shoot for attending an ARP meeting this week. Nice job on honestly sharing and listening to your wife. Now comes the work! You can do it. Good luck."
posted at 11:45:52 on April 5, 2010 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