Most likely, he does not know he is addicted even though he is aware that what he’s doing is wrong. He wants to stop. He wishes he could. He thinks he can if he just tries hard enough, just commits with enough resolve to stop. Be assured that doing what he does makes him absolutely miserable. Every time he recommits that he will never do it again, he means it. Those tears in his eyes are real. That resolve on his face is genuine.
His addiction, however, is bigger than he is, and it will beat him every time. Every time. Not some of the time. Every time. No matter how hard he tries, no matter how much you try to change his behavior, no matter how many visits to the bishop’s office, it will drag him back down. Every time. Remember, however, that I said there is hope. We’ll get to that.
Here is something else that you need to understand: This is not your fault. You didn’t cause it. He probably brought his addiction with him into the marriage. You can’t cure it. Really. Try all you want, you can’t cure it. You can review the computer’s history and install blocking software, and he will still be an addict. You can check the credit card statements for strange and cryptic charges, and he will still be an addict. You can follow him around in your car to see where he goes after work, and he will still be an addict. You can break down in tears and spill out the anguish of your soul to him, and he will still be an addict. You can threaten to take the kids and leave him, and he will still be an addict. You can shame and embarrass him in front of friends, family or priesthood leaders, and he will still be an addict. Whatever you do, he will still be an addict.
His addiction is not rooted in his dissatisfaction with you. You might think it is. He might think it is and even say so. You are both wrong. If you dropped thirty pounds, he would still be an addict. If you got an augmentation and liposuction and collagen injections so you looked like a porn star, he would still be an addict. If you did things in the bedroom that you really didn’t want to do, thinking that maybe this way you can keep him from looking elsewhere, he would still be an addict. If you think that viewing internet pornography together or watching raunchy movies together will “enhance” your marriage or at least make him less likely to indulge in pornography on his own, you need to know that he is still an addict. Nothing you do will cure him.
One other thing. If anyone tries to tell you that your husband looks at pornography because you’re not giving him what he needs, look that guy straight in the eye and ask, “Won’t he still be an addict no matter how much sex I give him?”
Addiction is a disease. It has no cure. You may have been told otherwise. I am asking you right now to change your thinking. I am a sex addict. I know what I’m talking about. I know this in a way that others without my addiction apparently can’t know. For the rest of my life, I will always have the disease of sex addiction. So will your husband. This does not mean, however, that the disease cannot be managed and controlled. This does not mean that we cannot find peace, happiness and complete freedom from acting out. Gratefully, there is a solution.
It is important to see the disease of addiction as it really is. Believe it or not, this is part of what creates the hope you will soon begin to feel. What if your husband was a diabetic and you told him, “If you really love me, you’ll stop being a diabetic”? What if you said to him, “Get over your diabetes, or I’m taking the kids and leaving”? What if you cried to your bishop, “I just don’t understand why he picks his diabetes over his family”? Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? You would never do that, right? Why? You wouldn’t because no amount of badgering, pleading, crying or bargaining would cure your husband of his diabetes. It would always be there. Notice, however, that I am not suggesting that you ignore the diabetes. I am only saying that you can’t cure it. Your husband can’t cure his diabetes either. There is no cure! While he can be careful about his sugar intake, watch what he eats, get proper exercise and take insulin shots, he is monitoring and regulating—not curing—his diabetes. The disease of addiction is the same. I can’t say it enough: there is no cure! There is no cure—but there is a solution!
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