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My Name is Karen and I Have a Secret

By KM

Hi. I’m Karen. I’m a betrayed partner, but I can’t tell just anyone because they might judge me- not because of what my husband did, but because I didn’t leave him. My coworker made the comment last week that if her husband ever cheated on her, she’d divorce him. That’s what most women say and I used to be one of those. My daughter says the same thing. She wouldn’t make the same choice I did even though she doesn’t judge me for it. When my coworker said that, I wanted to crawl under my desk and hide. I felt shame. I consider her a friend and some day I may tell her my story, but not yet. I feel like I have to hide a big part of my story from my family and coworkers. I even felt like I had to hide my name on this blog. My close friends know and I’m thankful I can trust them. My husband has said it would be better if he had been an alcoholic because then I would get sympathy if I told people. If he had any other compulsive behavior, it might not feel so shameful for me. But for now it is and I’ll keep my story inside my trusted circle.

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What Marriage Means to Me

By KM

I changed the title of this post and decided to take it in a different direction than originally planned. I was going to give my thoughts on why marriage shouldn’t be hard, but I realize it will be hard for some (women especially) because of belief systems. While JP has given up all social media, I still have Facebook and follow some pages that give me food for thought. I’m amazed at how differently Christians view marriage depending on denomination and cultural influences. I haven’t read very much about marriage beliefs in other religions.

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If it wasn’t for the past…

By KM

In my therapy session last week, I said “If it wasn’t for the past, JP would be the perfect husband (now)”. My therapist said maybe this is what it took to get him there. Hmmm. I think she tries to get me to see the silver lining to this whole ordeal. I’m still not to the point of thinking this all “happened for a reason”. She is right, though, in that the last D-Day was the final straw and the catalyst to my husband’s change.

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Update

By JP

It has been too long since I have shared my thoughts. I have become a different person and I like the person that I have become. My journey through recovery continues but it looks different now. Life is still challenging but I no longer deal with it in an unhealthy way. I love my wife more than ever, but the pain that I have caused her is still sometimes there. It makes me sad to see her hurting. She still has questions and there will never be a day when there are none. My addiction and what it did will always be a part of who I was, but it will never define who I am. I am still in counseling and I probably will always be. My only group now is my church men’s small group. We meet as men and share our experiences, thoughts, and feelings. I have a vision of a hopeful future where I can help other men defeat this addiction and live the life that God designed us for.

Posted in Her story, Our Story

Happy New Year

By KM

I’m wishing everyone a joyful, peaceful, healthy, and prosperous 2022. As I’m reflecting back at 2021, I realize much has changed in my life. JP and I haven’t been posting as much because, well, we’ve just been living our lives. We’ve settled into our new “normal”. Recovery work isn’t the focus anymore, but we’ve integrated healthier habits and connection into our everyday routine. We were just discussing today how long it’s been since we watched TV and we don’t miss it. We spent more time last year with our daughter and her family. I reconnected with a dear friend, had some unexpected opportunities at work, and went through the Rescued workbook with a group of friends. Last week, I added a Resources page to our site. Everything isn’t “perfect” because life never is, but I’m even more hopeful than I was at this time last year.

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Defining Recovery

By KM

It seems that there is no single definition for what recovery from compulsive sexual behaviors look like. I’ve read books and blogs, listened to podcasts, completed courses, and spoken with other betrayed partners about what recovery is. Most of what I’ve read and heard seemed too lenient to me. I didn’t want to settle for “good enough”. I didn’t want to be married to a man who still struggled every day to remain faithful to me.

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Stepping Off The Hot Coals

By KM

I finally feel at peace. I’ve been in therapy for almost two years. One year and eleven months, to be exact. When I told my trauma therapist that I feel peace and that all the mental background chatter has stopped, she said it’s like I’ve been walking on hot coals for the past two years with very intense therapy sessions and now I’ve finally stepped off.

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Sunday – Trust

By JP

Day 7 of my week of every day posts and today I want to talk about trust. My addiction destroyed trust. I didn’t even trust myself. I know that the trust my wife had before my addiction came out is long gone and will never come back. My wife will never trust me the same naive way that she did in the past. I have accepted that she has a different trust now.

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Saturday – Change

By JP

It’s day 6 of my week of daily blog posts. Today I’m going to talk about change. Change is one of the hardest things to do. It is never too late to make the necessary changes in your life.

It doesn’t matter how many years you have been enslaved by your addiction. Change is always possible if you truly want it. You must be willing to let go of all the unhealthy habits that fuel your addiction. It will not be easy, but as long as you keep moving forward you can change your life for the better. I am not the same person that I used to be. I’m a better person and better husband now.

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Friday – Faith

By JP

It’s day 5 of my week of every day posts and I want to write about faith. My faith is stronger than ever now. But that was not always the case. I let my addiction not only get between me and my wife, but also between me and my faith. It drove a wedge between my belief in God and made me doubt His love. I rediscovered my faith in 2014 and I was baptized. My faith was stronger than my addiction. I wish I could say that I prayed it away, but it doesn’t work that way. I never dealt with the root cause of my addiction and it slowly crept back in. By 2019, my faith was severely lacking. I believed that I was bad and there was no hope for me. In this state my addiction thrived with my false beliefs.

I don’t know the exact point that it changed, but once I made the choice to change, my faith became stronger each day. I realized that I could never pray it away, but I could pray for strength to seek help. I found a 12 step group. I found a therapist to help me resolve the root cause of my addiction. I found other Godly men. Throughout my journey God put people in my path that helped me fight this addiction and change the man that I once was.

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Wednesday – Maturity

By JP

Day 3 and I am going to write about my maturity. I was a full grown adult man so why wasn’t I mature? Once the fog of my of my addiction was lifted and I got to the root cause, I realized the truth. My early exposure to porn stunted my maturity. Instead of maturing in a normal manner, I became stuck at about 13. My body changed but my mind did not.

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Monday – What is my outlook on life today?

I told my wife that I was going to write a post every day this week. I had no specific topic. I just wanted to write about what ever came to my heart.

I’m not the same person that I was 2 years ago. I have resolved my childhood trauma and it has no power over me. I try to be a better person and better husband everyday. My life is better than it has ever been. I love my wife more than ever. I have a positive connection with my daughter and my granddaughter. I am more mature as a man and I no longer have poor coping skills. I am not too proud to admit when I am wrong. I have a good job where I can have a positive influence on people.

Life has its challenges, but I am able to face them and deal with them in a healthy manner. I know that there is freedom from this addiction and nothing will ever make me want to return to that broken way of living. My journey has not been easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is. I want to be able to share my message of hope and freedom to all those who want to change their lives.

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The Wrong Message

By JP

I am at a point of my recovery that I now see how certain ideas were toxic and counterproductive. I was an avid reader of Every Mans Battle. It was the first book that I read when I first admitted that I had a sex addiction. I re-read it again 5 years later. It must have worn off because here I was in the same place again. The truth is that the book hindered my recovery. It led me to believe that all men struggled with lust because that’s how God wired us. One therapist that I saw because his credentials said that he specialized in sex addiction, pretty much told me the same thing. I was a man and I couldn’t help it. He quoted the Coolidge Effect, which was a reference to chickens. So like a dumb ass I go home and tell my wife this. Instead of helping her heal, I dumped more trauma on her.

I know without a doubt that God created us in his image and men are not wired to treat their wives like anything other than their equals. So why is this message that all men are wired to look at other women so prevalent? Why are men using this as an excuse to continue this abusive behavior? I don’t have the answer to these questions. I can only look back at my own abusive behaviors and see that they were influenced by this polluted message. I hope that other men can see how their behavior has been influenced by this message and see the pain that they have caused. While you can not go back and change the past you can live a life of freedom where you honor your wife as God designed.

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In God’s Image

By JP

In my recovery journey I have continuously come across the false theory that men are wired visually. Men are therefore not capable of controlling themselves around women. Every day we must navigate through a maze of land mines because the sight of a woman causes us to become bumbling idiots. We can’t help this because this is how God wired us. I do not believe this poor excuse for being a man. God created us in his image. I don’t believe that he created man with this debilitating impediment. This is a fool’s excuse to be less than a man. I am not an animal that cannot control his behavior. I am not powerless. I am in control of myself. I choose to be a Godly man that honors his wife. I challenge all men to wake up and be the men that God created in his image.

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Unstuck

By JP

I don’t understand why this is so hard yet so simple. I am not the person that I used to be. I made the choice to make the changes and work on being the husband that my wife always deserved. It wasn’t easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is. My old life was toxic and it infected those around me. My life now is much better than it ever was. The choice to make the changes was easy. The work to make the changes was a challenge, but not impossible. Why are other men stuck in the process? Why do other men believe that they are wired differently and can’t change? There’s no secret or magic formula. It takes time and deliberate work to change your life and live in freedom. It takes having a vision of the life that you want to have and making it happen.

Posted in His story

The Hard Road

By JP

I believe that the only true way to recovery is the hard way. I have come to understand that my addiction was created due to my inability to deal with life. I learned to escape my painful emotions by filling my head with unhealthy garbage. Even after I understood that I had a problem, I never really faced it. I did just enough to get by and fool myself into believing I was better. I even had a therapist tell me I was cured.

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Triggers

By JP

I can never forget the awful person that I used to be. I don’t want to ever forget it because going back to that old broken life is not an option. I see what I have done and how it is still affecting my wife. We are starting our third year on this journey of recovery. Our marriage is better than it has ever been. We have the connection that God designed us to have as husband and wife. Things are better but there are still triggers for her.

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Who am I

By JP

I have reached a point in my life where I can look back and see who I used to be. I don’t like the person, but I am no longer that person. I made the hard choice of making a permanent life change. My previous life was influenced by my addiction and it was broken. I gave up that life and made the choice to do whatever it took to live a healthy life. I didn’t do it alone. My wife was with me and never gave up on me. I do not identify as an addict. I am a husband, father, grandfather, son, brother, and friend. I do not deny or will I ever forget my past, but it doesn’t define who I am.

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Honesty

By JP

I have spent most of my life lying about things. I’m not sure when it all began, but it went hand in hand with my maladaptive coping skills. I believe that I lied to myself as much as I lied to everyone else. My lies fed my false beliefs and kept me emotionally stunted. I am not proud nor am I bragging about my ability to lie. I became so good at it that I could make things up in an instant. I chose a profession where my ability to make things up quickly was an asset.

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Too good to be true

By JP

I realize that it is a challenge to believe our recovery has progressed this far this quick. When we first started it was all doom and gloom. There were no positive stories. We believed that we were stuck with this addiction and that I was going to have to live the rest of my life surrendering and attending meetings. This is not how we wanted to spend the rest of our lives.

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Why do we talk about childhood trauma?

When writing or talking about his recovery from sex addiction, JP always mentions how his CSAT helped him resolve his childhood trauma. So why would a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist treat childhood trauma? Why wasn’t she focusing on his porn use and other acting out behaviors? I decided to make this post a Q&A to help explain those answers.

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Spoon-fed Recovery

By KM

I’ve had a front row seat to watch my husband’s recovery journey. It wasn’t always smooth and the first few months included him breaking through denial of how just how bad his addiction was. Once he realized how much damage he’d done and found the resources for recovery, he dove in. But some addicts want to be spoon-fed their recovery without doing much work. You only get out of recovery what you put in to it.

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Normal

By JP

I have reached a point in my recovery where I have more clarity. I have made it this far by making drastic changes to my way of living. The addict’s dream is to move on and get back to normal. “Let’s focus on the future and forget the past.” Forgive and forget was a common theme. All of these were lies and part of the denial in active addiction.

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Getting it out and beating it up

By JP

My wife had questions this evening about a specific acing out incident. I immediately stopped what I was doing and gave her my full attention. I answered her questions to the best of my ability. I fully owned what I did and expressed my sorrow for causing her pain. I can never change what I did but I can be present in the moment and hold her pain. This has been a major changing point in my recovery.

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Relapse

By JP

Relapse is a word that is used way too often in recovery. Early on in my recovery my wife and I agreed that that there was no room for relapse in recovery. Relapse is just another excuse for more betrayal trauma. It’s a built in excuse to act out. It is part of the addiction cycle and not part of recovery. True recovery is getting to the root cause and resolving it. We must face our trauma that led us to our addiction and kill it. I have done this and my addiction is no longer part of my life. I have found freedom in my new healthy way of living.

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A New Marriage: The Wife’s Perspective

By KM

My husband and I had to start over with our marriage. We didn’t try to rebuild it, because the foundation was cracked and faulty. We had to tear it down and start from the beginning. Is our marriage better now? Yes. Would I go through all of this again to have a better marriage? No way. But this is where I’m at in life.

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Never Left Out

By KM

I feel like it’s been extremely beneficial for me and our marriage that my husband has included me in his recovery. JP never believed in “stay on your side of the street”. I’ve never read about or heard another wife who said it was beneficial for her addict husband to work his recovery while leaving her in the dark.

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Regaining My Sanity

By KM

It’s been 13 months since my husband confessed the extent of acting out in his addiction. I refer to that as our “informal disclosure”. We had never heard of Formal Therapeutic Disclosure at that time and I didn’t have a therapist, so I was left to muddle through the range of emotions that followed. I thought I was going insane. I was overwhelmed with anger and sadness. I couldn’t sleep, barely ate, couldn’t concentrate, and had almost constant intrusive thoughts.

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Changes

As I have progressed through my recovery I have become a different person. I have made changes in my life that have led to a healthier way of living. A little over a year ago I was tired of the way I was living and the trauma that I was causing my wife. I chose to stop watching all television. I got rid of all social media and limited my use of the internet. I didn’t know the long term affect that it would have on my recovery.

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Connections

By JP

I am not alone nor will I ever be. My journey through recovery has showed me that the opposite of addiction is connection. I chose to isolate myself a long time ago when I was a child. I developed a false belief that I was alone and I could never ask for help. I developed a false belief that asking for help was a sign of weakness. A year ago I found myself alone in a crowded world.

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How Did I Get Here?

By JP

When I started this journey last year, I didn’t understand my addiction. I thought is was as simple as me being a bad person who wanted to watch men and women have sex. I didn’t have the capacity to understand the full extent of my addiction and how it hurt my wife. Fortunately my wife kept pushing me to get to the “why” of my addiction.

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Forgiveness

By JP

A year ago I did not have the ability to forgive myself. I hated myself and the awful things that I had done. I finally saw the price that my addiction had cost. It was in the pain and trauma that I put my wife through. I finally got the bill for my addiction and my wife had to pay it. How could I ever be forgiven for what I had done? There was not enough pain and punishment for my sin.

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My beautiful wife

My wife is the most beautiful woman in the world. My addiction tainted my view of my wife and kept me from seeing her beauty. My addiction kept me in a place of shame and darkness and I couldn’t see my wife for who she was. My first major step was by letting go of my illusion of control. Once I brought out my addiction to the light it began to lose power. I started to tell the truth. It was painful to tell my wife how much I manipulated and lied during our marriage.

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