Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Well: A Guest Post About Pornography Addiction

To say I've had an overwhelming response to my request for guest posters on pornography and sexual addictions would be an understatement. I took last week off to contemplate how I can use my blog to get these stories to those who would take comfort in reading them. I've decided to use the spaces left in February to post some of these narratives. 

For more information on natural addictions (including sex and food) and how they change the shape of our brains watch this, for information on how internet pornography is addiction watch this, for hope and healing consider this. For an LDS perspective try here, here (with forum) and here.

Thank you to our brave guests telling their stories.

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by Anonymous

“Well, okay.  He’s already conquered that, so that’s one less thing we’ll have to deal with.” 

This is what I thought to myself when the man I was going to marry in a few short weeks told me about the addiction he had to pornography when he was a teenager.  He was honest with me about his past addiction and told me it hadn’t been a problem for years.  I was glad he was honest with me.  And I honestly thought it was something in the past, not needing to be dealt with again.  He’d conquered it.  It was done.    

That’s what I’d thought. And I was wrong. 

We got married and my husband’s addiction was something it the past.  I didn’t think about it very often.  It wasn’t a problem for many years.  Then one day, it was a problem. 

My husband had gone out of town on business for a few days and when he came home everything was great.  He played with the kids and we had dinner as a family.  We put the kids to be that night and we made love.  But it was different.  At least it seemed different.  I still to this day don’t know if anything was actually different, or if my intuition kicked in and told me something was off.  After we made love a voice said to me “check his computer.”  I knew exactly what I was going to find in the history of his internet use.  And I found exactly what I knew would be there.  The hotel he stayed at had slow internet connection, so he’d clicked around trying to find a pornographic video that would load faster.  There was quite a list of filth on his computer screen and my heart dropped into my lap.  I couldn’t believe this was happening.  I’m now grateful for that slow internet connection.  It made it obvious.  I couldn’t reason it away. 

I took his computer into our bedroom and showed him what I’d found.  I asked him what it was.   He just stared at me.  I asked him again.  Nothing.  He just kept looking from me to the computer and back again.  We sat there in silence for a while.  I asked him how long it had been going on and finally he answered me.

18 months.

I asked him why he hadn’t told me.  He said he was afraid I’d leave him.  He kept his relapse a secret tried to stop by himself.  He said he would stop for a while, but then he’d start again. Nearly 18 months this went on and I didn’t have a clue.  He was afraid, so he kept it a secret.  He was so sorry and ashamed, but he didn’t know how to stop.  He cried and told me how sorry he was.  At that point I was sad too.   I couldn’t believe he’d been going through this all alone for so long.   We stayed up talking most of the night and at that point all I felt was love for him. 

The next day I woke up devastated.  He was at work and I was home with the kids.  I couldn’t get out of bed.  I think I probably got up to feed them.  I don’t know, I can’t remember.  

I just stared at our bedroom lamp and didn’t move.  All I could do was puzzle over everything.  How did I not know?  Did he love me anymore?  Was I not enough for him?  Why would he do this to me?  How could he do this to our family?  What were people going to say?  Why did he want these women instead of me?

By the end of the day, I was angry.  I wanted to hurt him.  Hurt him a lot.  When it was almost time for him to come home from work, I put the kids in the car and left the house.  We drove around for hours.  I didn’t answer his calls or text messages.  I didn’t want to be anywhere he was.  He hurt me.  I was going to hurt him back.  I was going to leave him and take the kids too.  I was going to take everything he loved away from him.  That would be his punishment. 

Then the thought came:  “Are you going to give up just like that?  Are you going to let the pornography win?”

Luckily, I’m a very competitive person.  When I thought about all those fake women on the computer screen breaking my family apart a fire burned in my heart.  They were not going to win.  My family was worth fighting for.  My husband was worth fighting for.  I, and my life’s happiness, was worth fighting for.  There was no way in Hell, I was going to let Satan win without a fight. 

So fight we did.  We confided in our church leaders and our families.  My husband started going to a support group, which I wasn’t quite ready to attend.  

That seemed to work for a while, but then it didn’t.  We knew what we wanted our end result to be, but we didn’t know what to do next.  I still didn’t trust my husband.  I didn’t know how to trust him again.   Somehow, I didn’t want to let myself trust him again.

When we realized we were stuck, we finally went to see a counselor.  That’s when the healing really started.  With his help, we learned to communicate again and I learned to trust again.  

We set up a plan that works for us.  I put security and passwords on all of our electronic devises.  My husband lets me know if he’s had some temptation and we deal with it together.  I still check his internet history all the time. We still see our counselor on a less frequent, but regular basis.  That’s the thing about addiction, you can’t be done with it.  Ever.

We finally won this battle, but the war is still going.  The war will always be going.  Addiction is a war that you fight the rest of your life.  But my husband is worth the fight, my children are worth the fight and I am definitely worth the fight.  

Yes, thank you Valentine!
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