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Me and my mess
By brighthope
7/9/2010 2:03:01 AM
My husband, who was rebaptized, about four months ago, is doing great. That's the good news-more than good. He still has hard days, but it's amazing to watch the atonement remake him. He has been forgiven by the Lord, and I have forgiven him.

So why am I still such a mess?

I have always struggled with my weight, but in the year and a half since he told me, I have gained 20 pounds. Four in just the last month. We hardly talk about it, but I know it matters to him. His "flavor" was fitness types. I've never looked like that, but I really don't now. Tonight his let his feelings slip, saying to my daughter that if she didn't stop drinking so many shakes, she would fit in my clothes. We both cried. He apologized profusely, and I don't think he really meant to say it that way, but deep down I know it bothers him.

It bothers me too. I know I should be healthier. I do exercise, but I just eat too much of the wrong things. Perhaps part of the reason I have been able to forgive him is that I know what it means to resolve to be better, to swear not to do something again, and to blow it the very next day. I'm not comparing our sins, just saying that I think I understand addiction a little. You do something to take the edge off the pain, and that something causes more pain, so you do more, to take the edge off that...it can go on forever.

So why do I overeat? to punish him? "OK, I'll stay but you don't get the best me. You have to put up with a chunky wife. I dare you to complain!" I pray I'm not that petty. I don't think I am.

To cover myself in case he falls again? "He didn't reject me. He rejected my weight." Quite possibly. In the back my mind, there's always that possibility, and rightfully so. An addict is an addict, even after 557 good days. Sometimes they slip, and I try not to think about how that would feel.

Because I have unresolved pain and scars to my self esteem, complicated by guilt because I believe if I really had faith in God they wouldn't be there anymore, and stuffing down a whole box of cookies temporarily numbs it all?
Bingo!

He is better. He is healed. Why aren't I? There's such pride there isn't there? Sounds a little like the Brother of the Prodigal Son "I'm the good one. Where's my fatted calf?!" I know it's not true. I know when it comes down to it, none of us are "good" but maybe I feel a little jealous that he seems completely healed , and I'm not quite there yet. But I have healed- in so many ways. It would be ungrateful to my Father and my Saviour to deny that. I've come so far- but sometimes it seems like I still have so far to go, and I don't want to admit it, not to my Bishop, or my husband, or even myself. I'm fine. I'm doing great! Anybody got a doughnut?

Sigh!

Not sure where to go from here. Maybe it's time to start working the steps for real, not just showing up at the meetings for the comfort, but really working towards my own healing. Thanks for listening to the crazy lady.

Comments:

Thanks for your thoughts    
"Thank you for posting your story, Brighthope. You've given us a lot to think about with the comparison of your own struggles to your husband's addiction. I'm so glad your husband is doing so well. He is more evidence that recovery IS possible. Years ago, I used to wonder if it wasn't, but now I know so many who have recovered or been clean for years...

I really like your idea of seriously working the 12 steps for yourself. Personally, I think EVERYONE should seriously work through them, not just the addicts of the world. Step 6: Change of Heart is, "Become entirely ready to have God remove ALL your character weaknesses." Step 7: Humility involves, "Humbly ask Heavenly Father to remove your shortcomings." I think those steps easily apply to your situation, as do all of the other steps.

Please keep us updated on your growth and progress. Thanks for posting!!"
posted at 15:21:01 on July 9, 2010 by BeClean
I'm a lot saner than this sounds    
"That's what I get for posting in the middle of the night. Things always seem better for me when the sun comes up.

Still I'm glad I wrote this down. It's been bugging me for a long time, and it's easier to let go of things when I write them and send them somewhere. My bishop would be glad to know that I've found another outlet for such rants :)

Beclean, I think you're right about those steps.

I do have a question to put out there, and it may be a tough one:

Do other wives out there have fears that their personal appearance contributes to the problem? If so, how do you deal with that?

For those struggling with addiction- and please be honest- to what extent does your wife's appearance affect the problem, if it does?

If you're willing to share, I thank you in advance."
posted at 16:41:12 on July 9, 2010 by brighthope
My wife's looks have nothing to do with my addiction    
"My wife is, and always has been, gorgeous. She is beautiful, sweet, patient, understanding, charitable, selfless, amazing...she's perfect.

And that's exactly how she was when I was in the throws of my struggle with porn.

And my struggle with porn started at least 10 years before I met my wife.

My wife's appearance has never had even the most remote impact on my addiction. My addiction was the symptom of an internal spiritual disease; it did not reflect my feelings for my wife at all.

Of course, I don't want to gain weight, and I'd rather not have my wife gain weight. But if she ever did, and if I ever returned to my addiction, the two would not in any way be connected. My returning to porn would again come from my own failing relationship with God, and it would have nothing to do with my wife's actions or appearance. No matter how my wife looks (and I think she will always be gorgeous to me), I must stay close to my Father in Heaven."
posted at 17:33:31 on July 9, 2010 by BeClean
brighthope...    
"You just don't know how much reading your post has helped me. Thank you so much. I feel a little less alone and I feel a little hope for both of us."
posted at 19:15:06 on July 9, 2010 by Anonymous
Body issues    
"I am thin and have been told that I am very pretty. I am middle aged and get unwanted attention from men. My husband has told me that his porn issues have nothing to do with me. Still I do have issues with my body. Although I am the right weight, I freak out if I even gain a couple of pounds. I do not feel that I am taking care of myself like I know I should.

I was not always like this, but since my husband's problems got worse, I got worse. I have stomach problems and it is very weird, but my problems always get worse when he was looking at porn. Sometimes I am not even aware that he is having relapeses, but my body knows.

Is anyone else having these problems. Do any of the spouses feel physically sick at times especially when your spouse is indulgng?

Keep moving forward brighthope. Be your best for you and God. That's what I am tying to do too."
posted at 21:33:27 on July 9, 2010 by Anonymous
There is Great Hope!    
"Anonymous, for both of us, for all of us. It lies in our Saviour, Jesus Christ. He has borne even this pain for us. He will prepare a way through, if not immediately out.

I prefer to see these doubts and fears as a temporary insanity, not a permanent condition. The Lord loves me, and you. He will heal us. But it does get lonely sometimes, doesn't it? Thanks for letting me know you've been here too.

Anon #2, I know. The pressure to look "right" whatever that means, weighs down on so many of us, even in the best of times, but in this situation, it can be devastating.
I will do my best to be my best. Thank you."
posted at 23:34:13 on July 9, 2010 by brighthope
The ugly truth is what we're runnin from...not you.    
"Not only are my wifes looks, near as i can tell, irrelevent in consideration of my addictions/actions but so are the looks of all my would be harlots, concubines, supermodles, comediens, porn stars, movie stars, soft spoken, loud mouthed, erudite, dittsy, bubbley, boring, fat and ugly. Give me any woman in this world and I'll cheat on her...I hope to one day have the confidence to add to that sentence...without God.

King David had it all:

"Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; And I gave thee thy master's house, and thy master's wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things. Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight?"

Lust is not surfeitable by the things of God (you) I reckon...but it is overcomable by and through Him...in theory *fingers crossed*"
posted at 03:56:52 on July 11, 2010 by They Speak
My Comment is for "Body Issues"    
"Yes, I can feel it physically, too, when my husband is sinning. It is confirmed when I question him... I don't understand how the spirit works in such circumstances as these, but I know that the spirit cannot dwell with any unclean thing. It has to affect us when we are so closely linked. They must understand that what they do affects all in the home and those around them. It isn't as hidden as they think."
posted at 10:23:01 on July 11, 2010 by Anonymous
I know exactly how you feel    
"I think that is one of the worst consequences of this addiction on us spouses is that our self-esteem is destroyed. I do not know how it can not be, when your husband is attracted to a certain body image (voluptuous woman ) when you are so skinny!!!!! It frustrates me and angers me. Although I know that it has nothing to do with me, I can't, but be hurt when I know just how much he has been indulging on the women who are so different from me. How can I believe that he can love me entirely when he had me all those years but everytime he had a free time he will fantasize or wacht other women much more volutpuous than me!!!!
I do not think that such a man really believes that his wife is perfect and everything!!!! I'm sorry I just don't buy it at all!!!! I don't believe that such a man really loves his wife. What ever he calls love is definetely not love. I certainly do not feel loved and special and perfect when I know just how he is attracted to other women, especially women whose body are totally different from myne!!!!
I think we all desearve to be entirely loved, and I can not feel loved by a man who can not get his eyes off another women. I went to a period of time when I thought it was me. But I know it is his problem, but I am still so upset because I feel he has wasted and is wasting my time. Where I could have been loved and cherished. I know I am beautiful in my own way and desearve to be loved, and I refuse to think that it is God's will that all my beauty, my heart, my youth, is wasted on such a......."
posted at 21:15:19 on July 14, 2010 by Anonymous
I am sure it is hard to believe...    
"But I feel certain your husband did not waste the last several years of his life in front of a computer, selfishly serving his insatiable lust, a slave to addiction, unable to turn away, just to spite you, Anonymous. He was probably trapped like a fish on a hook long before he met you, and each time he tried to get away, the hook just gouged him deeper.

To be sure, you are in a terrible position because of your husband's actions, because of his selfishness, and because of his dishonesty. I can't imagine how you feel; but you might describe it as feeling trapped in hell.

Interestingly, that's probably how your husband would describe the last several years of his life.

Only the Savior can rescue and save either one of you. Only He can rescue and save me from the trials, temptations, and sorrows of this life, whether inflicted by myself or by someone else. Thankfully, I am completely certain that he can and does understand each of us, and he will rescue and bless us when we submit ourselves completely to his will and follow him with all our hearts. He lives. He loves us. He will never betray us. His atonement can heal us."
posted at 12:42:48 on July 15, 2010 by BeClean
Thanks Anonymous    
"You voiced something I was feeling too polite to say. It really is hard to believe, although neither of us is married to Beclean, ( as far as I know :) ) so it's not fair to doubt his sincerity. Still, it’s hard to believe a man who repeatedly slaps you in the face when he says "This has nothing to do with you! I love you and think you're wonderful!"

To be fair, Beclean ,Anonymous never said her husband's whole addiction was a plot just to hurt her. Only that it did hurt, and that someone who hurts their spouse that way must not truly love them. I believe this is true. I believe that a person who is breaking The Lord's commandments cannot truly love anyone because love is a gift from and function of God. It doesn't work when we are being disobedient to Him. (There’s a great conference talk by Elder John Groberg on this, but I can’t find it right now.)

I don't think this is an all or nothing proposition: either the addict engages in the addiction entirely because of the appearance of his spouse, or her appearance has nothing whatsoever to do with it. It my case, at least, I know my husband sometimes justified his actions by looking at my failings, including my physical ones, and rationalizing that he “deserved” to do what he was doing because I was not all I should be.

The bright side of all this for me, is that as he has turned his life and his addiction over to God, he has begun to really love me. He hasn’t said I’m perfect, but I prefer honesty anyway :) . I'm still struggling to believe him when he tells me I’m beautiful, but I recognize this as primarily my problem, albeit one made so much worse by his previous actions.

If he was still struggling, still constantly lapsing, I don’t know how, even with the Lord’s help, this wound could heal while being constantly torn open. This is why many women eventually leave."
posted at 15:49:07 on July 15, 2010 by brighthope
But what about responsibility for one's use of agency    
"Dear Beclean, I would have understood so much better if there had been absolutely no choice. But there was a choice, the Lord never gives us a temptation without the strenght to resist it. I believe that. It hurts to know that he chose for so long to remain in this state, to waste not only his time, my life and our children's. He has chosen his addiction and himself over and over again. He did not want to stop and kept it to himself for years and got it out only because he felt I was going to leave him. How can someone I loved be so selfish and cruel to me and the children? I understand that with an addiction our free will is remove in some ways, that is why we ask for help, as soon as we can!! Not only years and years of indulging and doing horrible things. My problem, really is that he had a choice, may times and he repeatedly chose himself and his addiction, sunking every year deeper and deeper into grosser sins. Beclean if I was trapped into anything, I would everything I can to get help so it doesn't destroy those I love and especially innocent children!!!! IT is NOT A TRAP HE FELT INTO!!! IT is one he chose over and over again. And one he refused to leave until he'd destroyed our family. That's what bothers me!!!! Especially, in the church we have so much knowledge, help, so much is available to us...... The Lord promises us that we are never going to be tempted above our strenght... do you not think that it is true? Every spirit is born with free-agency!!!! At least the one when trapped to ask for help....

thanks for responding"
posted at 15:52:51 on July 15, 2010 by Anonymous
.    
"My husband first became involved in porn when I was pregnant with our first child. I gained a lot of weight and he stopped touching me in any way. I found out later he turned to the internet to satisfy himself. After the birth, I worked like crazy to get my body back and I did within 3 months. He began to be attracted to me again and stopped the porn. The next pregnancy and weight gain resulted in my husband turning away from me again and back to his fantasy women. Again, when I lost the weight he stopped the behaviour. This happened with every single one of my pregnancies. So when the Bishop tells me it has nothing to do with how I look I'm sorry I don't buy it. My husband even admitted it to me. He felt really bad but he did tell me that when I'm pregnant and bigger he just wasn't attracted and he got satisfaction elsewhere. As long as I'm fit and thin, he has no porn problem because he can come to me. How degrading to me as a woman. And the fact is I was fulfilling my divine role on earth and bringing his children here to have mortal bodies. I sacrificed my body to give this man children and he had the nerve to tell me it wasn't attractive to him."
posted at 16:01:29 on July 15, 2010 by Anonymous
I have to agree with the ladys    
"Lust suffereth short, and is mean, and envieth everything he doesn't have (even if what he's got IS perfect) is totally frickin puffed up, only seeketh his own, is ultra easily provoked, thinketh evil all the damn time, and sometime even rejoices in iniquity and shutters at and recoils from the truth, beareth little, believeth hardly, hope is turned to despair in all things, and he finds himself unable to endure...

that doesn't sound like love to me. but that doesn't mean you guys aren't perfect. or that he can't love you. or that your unlovable. or that he doesn't love you a lot some of the time. im telling you give your husband what ever you or he thinks he wants, ANYTHING (the "perfact specimen"), and if lust has anything to do with it he will soon find himself only wanting what he doesn't/shouldn't have...even if what he shouldn't have is gross and detestable and on the other hand he has every babe in the kingdom like David...not that Bathsheba was gross but you get what im saying.

...and maybe im being all to optomistic here but remember that to he whom is forgiven much loveth much and perhaps the day will come that your husbands will love you more then your "perfect specimens" ever could have. and thats not an effort to galvanize you to forgivness either...i personally think you should throw us all to the wolves but thats just me."
posted at 16:28:28 on July 15, 2010 by They Speak
to last anonymous    
"im no pyschologist but i feel like its a safe venture to say though so far thats been the only time he's acted out the problem probly goes deeper then that. your being "unattractive" was scap goat though he probly believes it himself. i know im being presumptuous and im sorry if im way off base. but again a pro would be better at assessing.

my wife and i have went to a program called life star maybe it could help you guys some on this subject. maybe not i dont know. i feel like its help my wife a ton. like a ton ton. shes not even the same person honestly.

anyway, ive really struggled lattly with the love lust what hell is it and which and who do i feel it for and why? and the guy who runs the program in utah has actually been pretty hepful in explaining to me how the brain works and what chemicals are at play ect ect. anyway...in the end i do believe my wife holds all rights and reservations to my charity....which is the only love that will never fail provided i have any. its nice to lust and to be lusted after but it will never last.

p.s. i hope Just John is reading and comments. Wise dude.

here the life star link
http://www.lifestarnetwork.org/"
posted at 16:46:45 on July 15, 2010 by They Speak
I am with They Speak    
"Though I would hope for fluffy poodles than vicious wolves.

Love is something I am learning about now, the pure love. Lust is something I burried months ago.
I do not know whether they can coexist in the same heart but I do know that the fact that I have no lust right now persuades me that the love I had for my wife was insignificant perhapse nonexistant. I don't know I really do not and what is it going to change if I were able to get an acurate measurement?

Thus she is justified in feeling all that anger towards me.

If the addict is doing the best to rectify that and destroy lust in his heart to feel love for the one who has sacrificed all for him in the home, surely that is something to be encouraged.

While the spouse is justified in those feelings of unforgiveness and anger, is it not true that mercy should carry more weight than justice? Why can the addict not generate mercy from the loved one when he is cleaning up his act? I know why but still woth pondering"
posted at 16:53:56 on July 15, 2010 by ruggaexpat
Spouse and Savior    
"Should the spouse have mercy for the addict?????????
We know the savior does and always will but he is not the only one we seek forgiveness from."
posted at 16:55:25 on July 15, 2010 by ruggaexpat
Two Anonymous posters up (the choice poster)    
"man peeps are postin fast i can't keep up. good stuff actually.

anyway, about choice and asking for help. Agreed! Again King David; he would not have been guilty of murder had he not been trying simply to hid his baby i.e. his sin. Had he just come out with it or reached out perhaps it would have forced Satan into a change of game plan at least. I find myself eeriely unable to exempt myself from the ability to do the same in his shoes. I am the man also 2 Sam 12:7. David, whom i love, was decieved through a process of tiny steps. Had he had the presents of mind to ask for help after his roof top walk about perhaps things would have been differnt. But he forgot "the seceret of his strength" -Bible dictionary under Kind David or maybe its just under David"
posted at 17:18:01 on July 15, 2010 by They Speak
We have to forgive    
""Of you it is commanded to forgive all men." We aren't given a choice there. It doesn't say "all nice men" or "all men who have repented." So the option of throwing you all to the wolves is apparently not given to us :)

The question is not whether the spouse should forgive. She (or he) must, and through the power of the atonement, can forgive. The question is wether or not the spouse will stay with the addict, and that depends on a lot of things, and should be a matter of fasting and prayer."
posted at 17:25:17 on July 15, 2010 by Brighthope
indeed    
"well said."
posted at 17:39:15 on July 15, 2010 by They Speak
by the way    
"brighthope thank you for your posts. i believe you once posted on one of my blogs. if that was you who commented it was and continues to be a subtle beacon for me. either way you are a light house and i can feel your spirit and the Spirit through your writing. thank you."
posted at 17:50:41 on July 15, 2010 by They Speak
Yes    
"I understand that yes sure.

I am just hoping the misses can forgive me because right now she has not. I believe she will leave me all is pointed in that direction but I made her life hell and just want her to know I am sorry and hope for her forgiveness. I must also add that my recovery is not dependent on her forgiveness. I have my own salvation to worry about but worry about hers too.


Anyway this post is getting retarded. I just want peace!!!"
posted at 18:10:45 on July 15, 2010 by ruggaexpat
No post is retarded    
"...or we woulda kicked beclean out a long time ago! ha! jk beclean. i like your posts. always got a good hard gospel kick in the pants to um. never ever stop. any of you."
posted at 18:52:24 on July 15, 2010 by They Speak
Speaking for myself    
"I think we have a little problem here. Too often people (myself included) tend to post as if their experience is the only possible experience. If I was hooked and trapped by pornography at a young age, then I figure every addict was. If my wife's looks never influenced my addiction, then I comment as if wives' looks never play a role in addiction. If I mention that I didn't require a therapist, then someone assumes that I am saying therapists are never required. If a wife believes her addicted husband doesn't truly love her, then she suggests that no addicted husband could possibly love his wife. If one man's problem is lust, he figures every man's problem is lust. The list could go on...

In short, I think there has been an awful lot of generalizing and stereotyping on this website of late. Here's the only valid generalization about life I know: Every life is different. Every experience is different. Every addiction is different.

I can only speak for myself. I cannot speak for any other addict or any other husband, and I apologize if I ever tried.

Speaking now for myself, and not for other addicts -- As hard as I want to understand, it is obviously very difficult for me to fully understand the position and the feelings of many of the spouses on this site. I absolutely love to read the spouse's comments, and I think they help me a great deal. However, since my own wife's experience seems very different to me (and she admits to me that her feelings are different than most of those she reads on this site), I find myself struggling to comprehend some of the feelings that are posted here. I just think I don't get it.

Furthermore, since I am so utterly sinful, and since I need God's forgiveness desperately, I find myself wanting to forgive everyone and to take offense at no one, which makes it even more difficult for me to understand the people who are so full of rage and hate that they cannot bring themselves to forgive their spouse or even any addict. Surely, no one has ever hurt me as deeply as the people on this site have been hurt, and so I truly cannot comprehend how difficult it is to forgive others for such deep scars and wounds. Since I cannot understand the difficulty required to forgive, I should probably consider not asking others to forgive the people who have hurt them.

By the same token, I am starting to see that it might be very difficult for a non-addict to understand the struggles of an addict. (Not every non-addict; remember, I am not trying to stereotype or generalize.) Just as I may never understand why some loved ones have such a hard time forgiving, perhaps there is a loved one out there who may never understand why I have such a hard time quitting my addiction. I mean, even I don't understand why it is so hard to quit; I just know it is. Some days, it just feels impossible. I bet it feels impossible for at least one loved one to forgive, too.

In my own experience, I have come to realize that my addiction was (and is) a symptom of a spiritual disease that truly had nothing to do with my wife, her looks, or how much I loved her. I was spiritually sick, starving even, having long ago separated myself from God--the bread and water, the staff of life. While sick, I was trying to "medicate" myself with a "drug" that made me feel good, but it only made me worse--in fact, it was killing me.

Only when I finally gave myself to the care of the Master Physician and committed myself to follow his plan in every aspect of my life could I BEGIN to be healed. I had to switch medications completely and focus my life entirely on God before I could ever go a year or more without pornography.

Furthermore, although this spiritual disease was my own and had absolutely nothing whatever to do with my wife, I know that working sincerely to overcome this disease has greatly enhanced my (already marvelous) marriage. As my wife and I have worked side by side with complete honesty and transparency, I believe my wife has also seen that she has her own spiritual disease that can be cured only by following the Master Physician's complete prescription for life. She and I are now working together to put God first in every aspect of our life and our marriage, and it has blessed our lives and our marriage immeasurably.

That is MY experience. And I freely admit it might not apply to anyone else."
posted at 19:10:04 on July 15, 2010 by BeClean
PS Thank you, all of you, ...    
"For your comments and thoughts.

BrightHope, you are so positive and uplifting; it is marvelous to read!

RuggaExpat, I am so glad we have been able to work on these issues side by side with two very different experiences. It has opened my eyes a great deal.

They Speak, your insights into King David on this post have been thought provoking and on point. You belong here, and I'm so grateful for the lessons I'm learning from you. (Believe me, more than once I have considered "kicking myself out" of this site in order to stop my retarded posts. I can't bring myself to do it. I think I'm addicted to this site. Gah!)"
posted at 19:17:21 on July 15, 2010 by BeClean
Beclean spot on mate spot on    
"My wife has also said this site is a new addiction well that is the best compliment she has given me in 6 months. Derek you are have provided a medium for us all to bash all the emotional garbage out of our minds and hearts as well is being able to learn from each other God Bless you buddy.

Thanks all it is just fantastic to be able to write and get support at the same time from all you faceless saints."
posted at 19:35:09 on July 15, 2010 by ruggaexpat
agreed.    
"concured.

truth be told today i too traided in the ol addiction for posting, my personal thoughts and experiences, a thousand million times on brighthopes blog...i guess any time spent away from the underbelly of sociaty is time well spent...even if it annoys the he...ck out a ya'll ;)"
posted at 19:57:54 on July 15, 2010 by They Speak


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"Just as the landfill requires dedicated work and attention, laboriously applying layer after layer of fill to reclaim the low-lying ground, our lives also require the same vigilance, continually applying layer after layer of the healing gift of repentance.…Our Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ, feel sorrow when we choose to remain in sin, when the gift of repentance made possible through the Atonement can clean, reclaim, and sanctify our lives. When we gratefully accept and use this precious gift, we can enjoy the beauty and usefulness of our lives... "

— Shayne M. Bowen

General Conference October 2006