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.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Secret to My Success

I'm having a good laugh about the title of this post. Success? What does that even mean in this context? I am successfully happy. I guess that will have to do. And a secret? Oh, how I wish I had a secret for all of you. Instead I've been thinking about what has led me to how well I'm doing mentally. Let me try to put it in words for you:

Success tip #1: I practiced Step 1. I'm sure the other steps in the 12-step program are wonderful and all, but really, I can't even tell you what they are. I can, however, tell you what Step 1 is: admitting I'm powerless over the actions of others and letting go of control. How do you do this? You just start. Even if you don't believe it yet. Start with small things. Do you have the urge to check the history on the computer every other day? Stop. Let go. Do you ask your husband what he did every day in order to point out all the ways he could have better spent his time to maximize recovery? Stop. Put it in his hands. It's not your addiction. Let go. Does your mind race and race and race thinking about his addiction or what you'll say to him the next time it comes up? Stop. Clear your mind. Stop the racing thoughts. Let go.

Success tip #2: I will not let it ruin my day. Oh, this takes so much practice. SOOOO much practice! I loved this post by Faithfully Jaded in which she talks about breathing slowly and forcing herself to not become despondent when hard things hit. When my mind starts racing and my heart starts pounding and I want to become a raging codependent, I sit back and think, "What did my day look like before I started having these thoughts? What was I hoping to do today? What kind of a mood did I plan to have?" Chances are I was going to have a good day. I was going to do something fun. I was going to be happy. So I make a very deliberate decision that this will not ruin my day. I will not let one more day of my life be ruined by this. I want to look back on my life and see good memories. I do not want to look back and see that my life revolved around this ONE thing. My husband is so much more than this one thing. Our relationship is more than this one thing. My life is amazing and I will not let the rest be overshadowed by this one thing.

Success tip #3: I trusted my gut. No, I don't mean that I trusted my gut and knew he was lying to me. I was never sure if he was lying or telling the truth. I wish I could tell you how to know if he is lying or how to trust again. I don't have those answers. I'd like to know them myself. However, I trusted my gut when it came to reacting. You see, when I found out he had been lying, my gut told me not to freak out. My gut told me that things were okay. My gut told me to roll my eyes and have a little heart to heart talk with my husband. My gut told me to reassure my husband that I will support him if he will just come to me in honesty. From what I can tell, my husband really is doing much better, and my gut confirmed that quite clearly. He is making progress. I never expected him to stop cold turkey. I knew he would have relapses (and that always drove him crazy--like I didn't believe in him). My gut told me not to freak out over this. So I didn't. And I'm fine.

Success tip #4: Support. Oh, friends, this is such a huge player in my progress and well being. Are you still silent and doing this alone? Are you still lurking in the shadows here on the blogs? Come out of the shadows. Say Hi. We don't need to know your real name. Pick a name for yourself and start commenting. Connecting to others who know exactly how you feel helps more than I think any of us every realized. I can tell you with everything in me that having a support group has made me all the difference.

I really am doing well. I did not get to this point over night, and it may change in the future. But for now, I am happy. I am proud of how far I've come and hope that many of you are on this journey with me.


  1. This post is so awesome. It's a different way to live and it's liberating. And you articulated it so well. It needs to go on my wall in a frame along with Scabs post about detaching.

    Go girl!

  2. Love this! You captured exactly where I'm striving to get to (I have awesome days and some spectacular failures) :-) Love it!

  3. I love the part about trusting your gut...even in the middle of when I overreact I've started to catch myself and think...oh, man, this is small beans, don't start WWII. I'm in need of finding a coping mechanism for the small things. The big "confessions", I've got down...we go straight to the bishop and start hashing it out...the small things, like seeing he's on youtube for no darn good reason as he shows me some funny clip...that's what makes me spiral downwards quickly. And the silly thing is he's openly sharing his youtube watching, it's just the thought that it could lead to other things that makes my mind race and the negativity start. By the time my concerns come out of my mouth, I've already gotten to the HEAT of it and he feels like it's coming out of left field. So that's my goal is to conquer the reaction to the small things. One thing I'd love to have addressed and it has come up a few times in 12 steps...how do us moms in the middle of our child bearing years or rather (why)...do we have the prompting to have more children...why do our hearts ache to finish our families in the midst of this addiction/nightmare. Do husbands and spouses with pornography addictions have more kids...is anyone in the midst of an addiction or recovery suppose to bring children into this battle...that affects the whole family. I know it is a prayerful topic...but i've heard a few women sheepishly admit in the support group their urge to finish their families and have more babies and I feel so guilty having this urgency and thought. Take away the other trial of infertility that plagues some of us women dealing with porn addicted husbands...the conflict in my head about bringing more children into a family with such ups and downs of this adiction is troubling to me. I feel guilty for asking HF to bless us with more children when just a month ago I wanted out of the marriage with his last relapse. It's such a rollercoaster of emotions and it's so hard to sort out. I do believe our HF is all knowing and will bless children if and when he wants them to come to our family...I guess the guilt is on my end of desiring more children after or during this never ending cycle/addiction. I know God blesses children to people who aren't fit to be parents even...really this is such a battle in my head...a conversation and lucid comments from women who are also struggling with these thoughts would be so great. Thanks! :)

  4. Ok, so this is my first time commenting on this blog since finding it a month or so ago, and it feels like a big step to me. First, I have to say, I really appreciate this blog. It's exactly what I've been wanting/needing in the year-ish since I found out about my husband's pornography use.
    I specifically want to speak to Anon's comment about having children. I had been having feelings about my next child the few months before I found out about my husband, and less than 3 weeks after finding out, I KNEW we needed to start trying again. So we did. We got pregnant on our third month (as opposed to our first shot with our first child). I think the Lord didn't want me to have to worry about getting pregnant too long, but wanted us to keep trying for longer than a month because for my husband and me, frequency of sex has been a huge issue. It's weird to me that some women are ok with their husbands sleeping on the couch when they have slip ups. After my husband made excuses to sleep on the couch for years (I was so naive), our bed is the only place I want him to sleep. Anyway, our marriage is not perfect, and we are not perfect parents, but we are good parents and good partners in a lot of ways, and our baby has been a huge blessing for us. I understand your dilemmas though because I study the topic of marriage and family and I know all the research about what is ideal for kids and families. But I also know that the Lord's plan for my family is right and that the Atonement is what gives us some wiggle room when our life situation isn't perfect. But if I have learned one thing it is that desire to have a baby does not equal it is not necessarily right to have a baby (we were married for a while before we had our first child). Sometimes our desires can be inspired, but sometimes our desires, even righteous ones, are not the Lord's will. So I've tried to become much more sensitive to finding out what the Lord's will is. Not always fun. Ok, this is a rambling mess. Sorry!

  5. "I will not let one more day of my life be ruined by this. I want to look back on my life and see good memories. I do not want to look back and see that my life revolved around this ONE thing. My husband is so much more than this one thing. Our relationship is more than this one thing. My life is amazing and I will not let the rest be overshadowed by this one thing."
    Mac, I loved these words! Thanks for sharing the things you are doing right. I love it.

  6. Anon, I am right there with you. We have two children ages 6 and 3 and although life is chaotic with my husband, I cannot stop thinking about having a third. It drives me crazy and I don't know what to do. Although I would honestly like to "feel" done having kids, I KNOW there are more. I have prayed about it and the Lord has let me know several times. But I feel so dumb getting pregnant with a situation like this!! What to do??!! Pray. Then open your scriptures, start journaling, and listen to what God is telling you. My answer from the Lord was to have faith in HIS plan, not mine. My plan is a plan of fear and confusion. I believe that if God wants me to have another child, then He will help carry this burden. I'm not saying its right for you or anyone else, I just know that God indeed answered my prayer and I know that I need to have more.

  7. you all must be kidding!!!! Apparently your husbands are not as bad as mine, cause he quit having sex with me, he only has sex with himself and his fantasy women, from porn sites, open your eyes, why would you purposely bring more children into such messes, baffling!!!!!!!!!!!1

  8. Anonymous--If there's one thing I've learned through all of this, it's that each situation is different. Your situation is not mine, mine is not that of the people who mentioned wanting more children, and theirs is not yours. If your gut is telling you not to have more children, then you need to listen to it. In fact, someone might even wonder why in the world you are still with your husband if it's so bad that you would never bring children into the mess. But that's not our decision to make. It's yours and yours only. We all have to listen to what's right for us, but not assume that we know better than someone else in a different situation.