Once you understand the nature of addiction, you will understand why watching pornographic movies with him will not “help” him. Such conduct merely feeds his addiction. He goes for a ride on his addiction. Sadly, you are just there as a passenger, usually in the backseat. Submitting to things in the bedroom that you don’t feel good about in an effort to be more “compatible” with your husband is also ineffective. God gave you those feelings in your heart and those thoughts in your mind for a reason; listen to them. Do not go down that path if you know it’s not right. It will not make you happy. It will not save your marriage. It will not cure his addiction. You cannot fix him by sexually acting out with him.
Now, about that hope I promised you. First, you now know what you’re up against. You can put a name on it. You can research it. You can read about it. You can pray about it. It is no longer confusing and unknown to you. Next, consider what else you now understand: your husband has an addiction; the addiction ebbs and flows; there is no cure; it is bigger and more powerful and more cunning than he is. What this allows you to accept is that your husband truly does love you, but his addiction prevents him from fully manifesting that love to you through complete fidelity to you. He does care about the family, but his addiction stops him from being the father he should be. His temple covenants are, in fact, important to him, but his addiction makes it impossible for him to keep those covenants. He wants to be worthy of the priesthood he bears, but his addiction literally puts worthiness out of reach. Where, you ask, is the hope? The hope comes in recognizing that he truly loves you and wants you at the center of his universe. The addiction is the enemy here, not your husband!
To add to the hope, you should also understand that while there is no cure, there is a solution that works! In 1974, a man who had been suffering for years from the destructive effects of sex addiction had the inspiration to attend an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting. He immediately recognized that the 12 Step program used to help alcoholics achieve sobriety could also be used to help those afflicted with other addictions, including sex addiction. He began attending AA meetings regularly and working the recovery steps with a sponsor. He achieved sexual sobriety. A few years later, Sexaholics Anonymous (SA) was born.
Members of SA meet throughout the United States in small and not-so-small groups to support each other in their efforts to achieve and maintain sexual sobriety. They meet in one-hour meetings, usually in the evening, during which they share their experience, strength and hope with each other. These meetings are life changing. At these meetings, the sex addict finds that he is not alone, that others suffer as he does, and that many of them have found the sobriety that has eluded him. The new member quickly finds a sponsor, another person further along in recovery, who acts as a mentor to help the new member achieve and maintain sobriety. In addition to attending meetings, the SA members call each other to check in, to offer support, or to ask for help.
Let me help you understand what is going on here and why it works. First, addiction thrives on loneliness, shame and despair. This is one reason why addiction is so difficult to overcome. The more entrenched the disease becomes, the more isolated and guilt-ridden the addict becomes. It is a downward spiral. Second, the one thing that addiction hates is the light of day. If you think about the times when you have talked with someone about your husband’s problem, you may have noticed that the act of disclosing to another person lifted a weight from your mind and heart, even if only for a short time.
It is the same with addiction and SA. If the addict can talk about the addiction with someone else who knows and understands exactly what he is going through, the power of the addiction dissipates. His resolve to stay sober increases. His desires to act out lose their compulsive power. He begins to address those negative emotions that are at the root of his emotional pain.
[Looking for more insight into the problem and the solution? Check out Andrew’s Blog by clicking here.]