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, 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.