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.

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?


  1. Wow...Mac! Amen to that:) Great comment! Thank you for sharing!

  2. As a recovering addict that is so true! I did try to justify and make excuses. Only when I turned to God, started the program and tried to let go of pride (this is a continual process), was I able to stay sober and clean. It's so amazing!

  3. Wow. This is powerful.

    I'm reminded of what Rhyll Croshaw says about what recovery looks like, and it's everything that is opposite to what the bishop says are the true warning signs.

    I think he's hit the nail on the head. I think it's consistent with the gospel message -- there is always hope where there is humility and honesty -- which are keys to repentance and change in any sense, really, no?

  4. I read this comment on the real post before you put it here and what I find strange is that right now I feel like my husband is in the middle of these two men. Almost like he is straddling the fence as to WHICH of these two he is going to be. I guess only time will tell which way he will lean and where he will fall.

  5. I've wondered a thousand times about how my husband is still doggie paddling through the sludge instead of sinking like a "normal" addict. I've always heard that pornography would ruin my marriage, that addicts lie, cheat, and steal to get what they want, AND the behavior gets progressively worse. That has not been the case for my husband. So I loved this comment, because it gave me a category that fits my husband's actions. Yes, he looks at porn. He's done it for 3+ years now on a semi regular basis. BUT he struggles, works, and fights against it. It gives me hope to know that there are non-progressing addicts. And I still hold on the the hope that somewhere along this path, we'll get to a better a place.

  6. My husband is a wonderful man. He works hard for me and our children and treats us well. He lies. He lies about his porn. I have caught him many times now and it has only been a 4 year relationship. I knew he watched porn when I met him but I had no idea that he was an addict or that sex addictions existed in that way. When I first caught him I was livid..and pregnant..I wanted to leave him so bad but we had just got married and were expecting a child so I stayed when he promised to never do it again. A year later I found out that he had been doing it while I was at work and on his phone while he was at work. When I found out he denied and said it was not him?? It makes me mad to think about it. Eventually he admitted that he was caught and promised to never do it again.A month ago on mothers day morning my toddler got a hold of his phone and got on the internet...I decided to look at the history for the first time in a long time. There were sooo many porn cites. I am disgusted. After lying and denying for a long time I broke down and bought a porn channel for our TV stupidly thinking that if he watched it with me everything would be fine. A couple weeks later i noticed him hiding his phone and acting funny so I looked at it and there it was again...what is so weird is that even though I can see that he did it and it is right in front of me he still lies and says he did not. That is what hurts me...the lies..the betrayal...I have noticed recently that we can not go anywhere in public without women waving to him or smiling..on occasion they have walked up to talk to him before realizing I was there. Hate to think of what happens when I am not around. A couple months ago a girl walked up to him and said "hey I saw you looking" she got so red when she saw me walk up. I wish he only had eyes for me as I do for him. I wish that he did not lie. Now I am no longer in love with him but I will try to save the marriage but I know that is impossible if he keeps lying to me...it hurts so bad...