WILL VS. WILLPOWER

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Step three of addiction recovery is…

Turn my will and life over to God.


That is a powerful statement if we understand what ‘will’ means.

Will is our desire, or our choice. Turning our desire or choice over to God means we will let him direct us to a different life. 

However, I hear a lot of addicts speaking of willpower… the ability to control ourself… often through strong determination.


My concern is that if a person had the ability to control their behavior, they wouldn’t be an addict.

Perhaps that is why step 3 instructs addicts to turn their life over to God.

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WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?

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I can see that my husband is trying very hard to improve our relationship. He made plans for us to go out this weekend. He even sent me a loving text in the middle of the day.

So What’s the Problem?

I am afraid… afraid that he is on his best behavior that won’t last… afraid that the more I open my heart the more he will hurt me… afraid that he is just going through the motions…


Why Would He Just Go Through The Motions?

Maybe it is easier than the financial hardship of divorce? Maybe he is trying to ‘fake it until you make it’.

I question if a porn addict knows what love really is. Since he is desensitized and detached, can he actually feel for someone else?

I want to believe he can.💛 

HONESTY:

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Step 1:

Part of my frustration is my husband is still on step one in the addiction recovery program… Which consists of two parts:

  1. Admit that you are powerless to overcome pornography.
  2. Admit that your life has become unmanageable.

It begs the question… Does he really think he can stop any time he likes? Or is his life just not ‘unmanageable’ or ‘miserable’ enough for him to make a change?

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I can see how unmanageable his life is. His family relationships are in shambles. He doesn’t have any close friends. He can’t advocate for himself at work. Some of his children are also addicted to pornography.

Since our recent ‘Come to Jesus’ meeting where I pointed out that he had been lying to me for a long, looong, looooong time about his sobriety date, I don’t believe a single word he says about his addiction recovery success… and because I do not have a good poker face… he knows it.imageI swear I am not getting in his face and pointing my finger between his eyes. I usually just listen and say nothing. Nevertheless my unbelief is just as offensive to him 😦

I really believe that part of the recovery process for the addict is recognizing he has been a JERK and a LIAR and the people who love them have the right to be a little skeptical until they can begin to see a change…

My Sexy Side Packed Her Bags…

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… And Went On Vacation Without ME!!!

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Yesterday my husband mentioned how long it has been since we made love. I was surprised at the length of time… not only because I generally have more of an appetite than he does… but because I hadn’t even noticed it had been so long.

When I first discovered he was a porn addict, some of our intimacy patterns suddenly made sense…

* His genitals are his only erogenous zone.
* Sometimes he is unable to achieve an erection.
* He avoids intimacy if he has been home alone for a while.
* Other times he said he had an orgasm, but his body gave no sign during lovemaking, and there is no evidence of ‘his seed’.

For the last two years while we both attended addiction recovery groups I fought really hard to at least maintain the physical intimacy we shared. However when I recently discovered he was REGULARLY relapsing, and lying about his sobriety date, something changed inside me.

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Obviously it is important we share physical intimacy. It is just so hurtful that at bedtime he would rather roll towards the wall, put his earphones in so he doesn’t ‘keep me awake’, tell me he is listening to music on his iphone, and gorge on pornography instead 😨  More and more I find myself curled up alone on my side of the mattress.

I need an aphrodisiac.

 

 

 

The THORN of Porn

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I started a new class at the gym, so yesterday I was late getting home. The dirty dishes on the table announced that everyone else was there, but only my husband could be seen, still in the dining room, fiddling with one of his guns.

I understand that children need to be reminded to get their dishes in the dishwasher. Nothing tips me over the edge faster than returning to a dirty kitchen, and the other parent ‘on duty’ is not directing the little devils.

I was tired and hungry, and in a snotty tone huffed, “I guess I will clean up the kitchen. ” He stood up, but I was already gathering dishes, quickly rinsing, and slamming them into the dishwasher. He called for the son in charge of the kitchen, but I was already wiping off the counters and washing out the sink. Our daughter walked in with the mop so I retired to the master bedroom.

He came to bed three hours before the morning alarm. THREE HOURS! Of course I was long asleep, but that was the point. He didn’t want to see me so he waited. If there was any way he could sneak in bed without raising my awareness enough to look at the clock, believe me, he would!

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Today I come home to roses, and I am furious. We have discussed that flowers are not an apology! Give them to express love, appreciation, celebration…

Then I remembered… Oh yea… We can’t talk about issues.

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My husband is a porn addict, still new in the recovery process. Arguing is a trigger, so we just don’t. I am too afraid to talk about anything controversial right now.

That is the THORN of PORN: Recovery takes time, but stress can cause a relapse, so while he spends years recovering, don’t stress him out…

Gratitude

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Recently I considered auditioning for the next NyQuil commercial. My immune system’s preparation was allowing me to experience a tenacious virus that has left me in a horizontal state all weekend.

My sweet husband has been fabulous; cooking, fetching beverages, doing dishes. He even ran to the store for hummus and Emergen-C.

He also sat next to me on the couch, stroked my unwashed hair and ignored my protests to quarantine me. Why would he expose himself to the plague any more than necessary?

Because in spite of his addiction, he loves me. He knows when I am very sick physical touch is EXACTLY what I want.

One thing that has been difficult about the discovery of his porn addiction is my love language is physical touch. Initially, when I was hurting, the last thing I wanted was to be touched in any way. Thankfully as I have begun to heal we have discovered a new intimacy. Part of my healing was his understanding that physical touch is just as important when we are not making love.

I am so thankful I am married to a man who is willing to be sick next week so I can feel less miserable now. Next week I will be a great nurse too.

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New Life & Dead End

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When most of us find out our partner has a porn addiction it is immediately clear the life we shared is not what we thought it was. Soon thereafter we ask the next question, “What will our life be now?”IMG_1085.PNG

When I first discovered my husbands dirty little secret, when I was overcome with anger and bitterness, I didn’t know what I wanted for my new life. I didn’t know if he belonged in it.

An addict in recovery is carving out a new life every minute of every day… but a life with limitations and a few dead ends:

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Meetings: Addiction recovery meetings are WONDERFUL… necessary in my opinion… but reality is the time commitment is substantial… especially when the addict is struggling and attends daily. My husband and I have missed a lot of social gatherings for group meetings.

Family: Not everyone agrees with the increasing number of studies around the globe on the dangers of pornography. Extended family functions become very unpleasant when in front of everyone siblings encourage an addict to, “ditch the conservative religious freak spouse because there is nothing wrong with you.”

There is definitely a learning curve for the people who love the addict to learn about pornography addiction. It is appropriate to be kind and patient while they learn. If, however, the addict is really seeking recovery, and extended family members or friends are trying to persuade otherwise, the addict may choose to limit an unhealthy relationship. If the other party is offended it can mean the end of family party invitations.

Vacations: Some porn addicts are not triggered by copious amounts of nearly naked bodies on a beach, but some are. An addict dedicated to recovery may need to skip some recreational spots, at least for a while.

Electronic Devices: One problem with pornography is the easy availability. Every person with a smart phone has a porn player in their pocket! A porn addict surfing the Internet can be like an alcoholic walking into a bar. Addicts may need to cancel cable and find a ‘dumb’ phone during recovery. Lack of cable frustrates everyone in our house during football season.