I'm a wife dealing with her husband's addiction to pornography. I hope to be a resource for wives (and family members) dealing with similar struggles. Please join in the conversation and leave comments--even if you are here for curiosity's sake and are just learning about this kind of struggle! You can read my story here and the 4 things I think every addict's wife should know here.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

carry on, girls and boys

Been thinking of you all. Here's our theme song for tonight. Carry on.

(Also check out the non-acoustic version, which I like better, but like the video itself less.)

Well I woke up to the sound of silence
And cries were cutting like knives in a fist fight
And I found you with a bottle of wine
Your head in the curtains
And heart like the Fourth of July

You swore and said,
"We are not,
We are not shining stars."
This I know,
I never said we are

Though I've never been through hell like that
I've closed enough windows to know you can never look back

If you're lost and alone
Or you're sinking like a stone.
Carry on.
May your past be the sound
Of your feet upon the ground.
Carry on.

Carry on, carry on

So I met up with some friends at the edge of the night
At a bar off 75.
And we talked and talked about how our parents will die,
All our neighbours and wives.

But I like to think I can cheat it all
To make up for the times I've been cheated on.
And it's nice to know when I was left for dead
I was found and now I don't roam these streets,
I am not the ghost you are to me.

If you're lost and alone
Or you're sinking like a stone.
Carry on.
May your past be the sound
Of your feet upon the ground.
Carry on.

My head is on fire but my legs are fine.
After all they are mine.
Lay your clothes down on the floor,
Close the door, hold the phone,
Show me how no one’s ever gonna stop us tonight.

'Cause here we are
We are shining stars
We are invincible
We are who we are
On our darkest day
When we’re miles away
Sun will come
We will find our way home

If you're lost and alone
Or you're sinking like a stone.
Carry on.
May your past be the sound
Of your feet upon the ground.
Carry on.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

I reserve the right to change my opinions whenever I want.

Dealing with and understanding addiction is a process. A process in which we are lost and know nothing. And then we think we know everything. Then our world flips upside down again. And people give us advice that we think sounds ridiculous. Then we end up giving people advice that we think would work for everyone, because, you know, it worked for us. And then something changes. And we realize we know nothing once again.

Interestingly, today, a year and a half later, I re-read my very first post and made an edit to the 4 things every woman should know. I deleted "And if you and your husband both depend on Him together, He will strengthen your relationship" from #4. (Sadly, we can lean on Christ all we want, but that doesn't mean our relationship will be okay in the end. But we will be okay.)

I think we can all agree that we have gone through different stages and different ideas of what will work for us. I see some women say things that don't make any sense to me and it makes me want to shake them and fill them with my "wisdom" (bahahaha!), and I'm sure my opinions sound ridiculous to them. They may change their minds eventually. And so might I.

And that's okay.

Because we are human. And we are learning. And no one really knows what to do about all this, because it depends on the situation. Are you bursting with confidence? Did you come into this situation already insecure? Is your husband truly an angel in every other aspect but this addiction? Or is he, in the words of a friend, a total douche bag and asshole? Because, you know what? Each of us has to do what's right for each of our situations.

But we're here to support each other. And to push each other. To consider what others have tried. To consider advice that sounds crazy. To recognize the crazy in each of us.

So I reserve the right to change my opinions whenever I want. And you should, too.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Does this mean I'm out of the club?

What are your initial thoughts when I say that I'm doing really well, that my husband is doing really well, and that we're happier than we have been in a long time?

Do you think, "Oh! I'm so happy for Mac!"?

Or do you think, "Ugh. I don't want to hear about her doing well. My life is crap right now. Shut up."?

Be honest with yourself.

A year ago I would have probably leaned toward the former but with tiny voices in the background yelling the latter. If my situation had been really bad, I'd probably lean almost entirely toward the latter.

I know some of you are. Don't lie.

So the question is: does this mean I'm out of the club?

I was chatting with a friend the other day about this. If my husband is doing well and in recovery and I'm felling really mentally healthy, am I out of the club until lying creeps into our marriage again and I have another meltdown? Because it kind of seems that way.

Survivor's guilt. You know you've all felt it at some point or another.

But the truth is that I've been there. I've felt the pain. I've felt the hopelessness. I've longed for something better. I've felt sick over what he's looked at. I've had harsh thoughts towards women on the street with amazing bodies. I've been paranoid about internet use, browser history, his coworkers.

And it can all come back in an instant. That's what's scary.

Am I doing well because I'm a stronger person and am in a better place mentally? Or am I doing well because my husband is doing well and I'm unaware of how codependent I really am?

I'd say it's 60% stronger, 40% codependent. Maybe 70/30. Maybe. I'd love to say 90/10, but I can't know that until the next relapse. I'll be sure to keep you posted. ;)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Son of a *%!#$ that was hard!

I'm back. It has been a while, hasn't it?

The early-morning scripture study class my husband and I were teaching this year ended last week. My thoughts? Son of a *%!#$ that was hard! It was good. Yes, it was good. I enjoyed studying the New Testament. I enjoyed the students. I enjoyed having a joint calling with my husband. But do you know what? That's about it. My testimony in our church actually weakened throughout the year. Yikes. That's not supposed to happen, right? Interestingly, my testimony of Christ and his teachings were strengthened and I loved that. But my annoyances with the culture and modern-day guidelines of my church also grew. That's an entire blog post in and of itself, but I probably won't write it since this blog isn't about that.

My husband got a job! After 3 years of under employment, he's back on the right track. Let me say this again: Son of a *%!#$ that was hard! His confidence took a serious blow during that time. My confidence in him crumbled. Crumbled, people. It consumed us. It shook our marriage. And now it's in the past (at least for now). We don't even know what to do with ourselves and all our free time in the evenings. The change in both our countenances was practically tangible the day he started his new job.

I think we've made it past the 8 year hate. Take unemployment crap, mix it with trust issues and pornography problems, add it to the 7-year itch, and you've got the 8-year hate. Once again, son of a *%!#$. Yes. That was hard.

And last, but not least, I think we're doing really well on the porn front. I'm in a really good place. He's in a really good place. (Disclaimer: he has lied to me plenty about this in the past, so I take this with a grain of salt. But my heart says he's doing well.) My reaction to the idea of or mention of porn now? It's ridiculous. The industry, the intent, the portrayal of women. All of it. But I don't feel sick inside at the thought of my husband looking at it. My views have evolved. It's the bigger picture that annoys me now. The actual boobs and vaginas are the least of my concerns. Took a long time to get here and I'm sure I have much farther to travel. (Can I mention that *%!#$ and &*^% and $#*% again?)

We may be in the eye of the storm. Who knows. But I'll take it. I'll sit here for a while. It's 11:15pm on a week night and I'm blogging? Do you know why? Because I don't have to get up at 5:30am.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

sick day and letting go

I think Scabs got me sick through Instagram and her blog. Darn those internet germs. So here I sit having a self-proclaimed sick day. Actually, I have to go to work this afternoon, but this morning I'm forcing letting my kids watch TV while I lay on the couch.

This last weekend the stars aligned and I made a small change in the way I'm approaching things in my life. I'd love for this to be a permanent change, but I know myself. I'll enjoy it while it lasts.

Sometimes things drop into our lives in rapid succession to teach us a lesson:

1. First, I read this Rowboats and Marbles post on sex being a choice (thanks to Jaded who linked to it in her post this past Saturday). You guys know I like to flip everything around and apply it to my own vices. It got me really thinking about my needs versus my wants and what I'm letting get in the way of my goals.

2. Second, at our church's Stake Conference (broadcast meeting from some of the leaders of our church), Elder Perkins spoke about removing distractions in our lives: those distractions that are keeping us from meeting our goals of both spiritual and temporal self-reliance.

3.Finally, a friend of mine wrote a post about meditating and clearing her mind of all the things that weren't important in her life and concentrating on herself and her family.

So what did I do? I took some time to sit on the floor and meditate. I cleared my head, focusing on the white light caused by the sun shining through the window onto my closed eyelids. Once my head was clear, I thought about what was important in my life. I thought about the distractions. I said to myself, "I will eliminate the distractions." Immediately, the thought came to me, "No, I will let them go." It was such a simple yet peaceful difference. Elimination sounded harsh and difficult. Letting go sounded calming and uplifting and easy.

Let them go.

What are my distractions? Trivial things that keep me from getting enough rest, from paying attention to my kids, from being physically healthy, from being mentally and spiritually sound, from spending real time with my husband. Facebook, email, Instagram, blogs, picking at my skin, eating sweets, and so on. (I mention sweets because I don't get a sugar high. For me it is a straight low. It impacts my entire day--energy, mood, etc. It induces depression in me, yet I keep eating it.) These might sound like silly distractions, but they really are keeping me from my goals. Some are time suckers, some drain my energy, and some keep me from being fully present in my family's life.

So I'm letting them go.

When I see sweets, the words "Let it go" immediately pop into my head. They aren't a need, no matter what my sugar-addicted brain is saying. "Let it go." And it works. I've found myself choosing to eat sweets periodically, but in small quantities and consciously. I start to pick at my skin and immediately think, "Let it go. It's not necessary." I go to bed at night and my instinct is to check Instagram. "Let it go. It won't matter if you miss a day's worth of pictures. You don't need them. You need sleep."

In the last few days I haven't been down or stressed or thinking about the pornography issues, but I'm hoping that by the time it comes I will be able to say "Let it go. You don't need the stress. The insanity in your head is not helping you in any way. Let it go."

Monday, February 4, 2013

Two types of addicts?

If you've ever been over to AskMormonGirl, you'll know that there is a commenter named NDM who often gives great advice. I don't know him, and I don't read AskMormonGirl consistently, but the times I have read his comments, I am always impressed by his way of thinking. I have pasted below his comment from a recent post about pornography addiction:

As a bishop, I learned a) that experience with pornography is now so common among young men as to be practically universal; and b) that pornography addicts fell into two surprisingly clear-cut categories: Those who struggled against the addiction, and those who struggled against everything that got between them and the addiction.
If you’re waiting for the Sunday school answer, I’m sorry to disappoint: The difference was not that one group succeeded and one failed. Indeed, I became (perhaps heretically) convinced that there are some men who will never be able to shake the addiction no matter how much prayer, fasting and self-control they exert.
No, the difference was that those who were honest about it – with me, with their wives, with themselves – stayed committed to their families and their faith.
Those who tried to justify it, in every case I dealt with, turned their homes into a living hell. They became to some degree emotional abusers. They blamed their wives for not satisfying them. They blamed the Church. They began placing demands on their wives to engage in acts that I am sure virtually any woman would find degrading. They wanted their wives to pose for photos and videos to be posted on the internet – one man even did this surreptitiously. In a true Jekyll-Hyde transformation, they progressively became emotionally, verbally and often physically abusive to their children – not just in occasional outbursts, but as a constant dynamic. Eventually, each of them committed adultery. And each took pains to ensure that the inevitable divorce was as bitter and nasty as possible.
Now let’s go back to that first group, the honest ones. None of them under my ecclesiastical care – and they were many – ever cheated on his wife. None ever neglected or abused his children. Interestingly, unlike the other group, their addiction seldom if ever “progressed” into harder or more deviant territory. For them, it was a constant cycle of struggle and remorse.
So what am I saying? Pornography is not necessarily the danger sign. The real danger signs are deceit, self-absorption, self-justification, and callousness.

Question to my readers--Have you seen this in your own life? Do you think there is hope for the self-absorbed and often emotionally abusive addicts? Have you seen them change?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Advice for the single ladies?

Okay friends. It's time to extend some advice to the single ladies. Knowing what you know now, what would you tell a single girl who is dating a guy and just found out that he has a problem with porn? Would you tell her to write him off? Give him a chance? If you suggest she give him a chance, what signs should she look for to determine if he's worth sticking it out?  If you were young and single again, how would you approach it with someone you were dating?

I am very curious to know what you all think. I'll let you have a say and then I'll chime in at the end.