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August 18, 2022

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WhitneyMay 19, 2016

Free Of It, I am sorry to hear of your experience with SA. My husband's experience has been vastly different than what you describe, and the meetings he attends do not include what you feel SA meetings focus on. What you describe definitely does not sound like the 12 steps to me. I am glad that you found in your AA meetings the true principles of the program. Like Michelle, I think there are probably good and bad versions of 12 steps all over, and it may take awhile for someone to find a good fit.

Michelle LinfordMay 18, 2016

For those who have had bad experiences with a certain type of group -- don't give up! ANY branch of 12-steps will have a higher likelihood of failure if there isn't good recovery in the rooms. Not all meetings -- including sometimes those in the Church -- have good recovery. Being surrounded by people who understand recovery and for whom recovery is palpable is so important to having the hope for change.

Michelle LinfordMay 18, 2016

Note about the series: The author's husband is aware that she is writing for the series. Note that her name is also a pen name...not her real name, so even as she is sharing the story publicly, she is protecting anonymity here.

LorenaMay 18, 2016

Roxanne, we do address that in other articles in this series, imparticular the article called "what I wish i had known the first time I caught my husband looking at porn". We explain that porn is just a branch on the addiction tree, there are loads of other sexually compulsive behaviors like the ones you listed. Excellent point.

Free of ItMay 18, 2016

Whitney, I attended SA for a full decade and these are my observations: SA obsesses on the problem, not the solution. Meetings are characterized by constant discussion about sex, methods of sexual acting out, fear, and the problem. That is not recovery. In all the meetings I attended throughout Southern California, I saw very few ever maintain sobriety, and those that did left the program — because they became weary of the program's obsession with sex stories and the Problem. SA uses shame and fear — it is all though the White book. And fear is what keeps addicts IN the problem. That is why the Steps deal with fear. The church of Roy K is flawed, fatally so.

WhitneyMay 18, 2016

Jim, sexual addiction has many similarities to other addictions, including alcoholism, and support meetings for those with sexual addictions and their family members are just as important as meetings for alcoholics. If you feel that too many details were being shared in the meeting that you attended, then you should address that with whoever leads or facilitates the meetings, and they should speak privately with the person who may be going in to too much detail. David, often less sex, at least in the beginning of recovery, is the answer for many couples. Those who are struggling with addiction are often using sex with a spouse as another way to act on their addiction to lust, so they must relearn how to be sexual in the context of love, not lust, and sometimes this takes time. Also, a spouse is often so traumatized that couples need to go back to the beginning and learn other forms of healthy touch before reengaging in sexual activity. Trust must be rebuilt before a spouse may be comfortable being that vulnerable with someone who betrayed and hurt them so deeply. Dr. Adam Moore has a great article about navigating sexual intimacy in early recovery on the Togetherness Project blog if you are interested in reading more about this. I think everything else you wrote in your comment is right on. Al-Anon Supporter and Free Of It, limiting spouses to telling only ONE friend is silly. Of course this should not be broadcast to "the whole world," but a spouse should tell whoever he or she feels prompted to tell. This subject has such a strong taboo that sharing with a few people when we feel prompted can help others immensely. Often they are struggling with the same issues and are scared to tell anyone. Free Of It, have you ever attended an SA meeting? I can tell you that they can be just as powerful as AA meetings. They are not all about "blathering porn experiences" or "tales of angry wives." Those with this addiction deserve the same as alcoholics--to be in a room surrounded by those who have walked the same path, who have found recovery and happiness, and who are sharing with others how to do it. I agree that a sponsor is key and the AA book can be great for all sorts of addictions--my husband reads from it frequently--but AA meetings aren't the only place for real support and healing.

RoxanneMay 18, 2016

Great article - thank you. Something that is alluded to but not discussed in detail either in this article and unfortunately others, is the fact that it's NOT JUST viewing pornography. Pornography leads to masturbation - leads to strip clubs - leads to lap dances - leads to kinky massage parlors - leads to hiring "escorts" or otherwise seeking actual illicit sexual encounters. Don't blindly think for a moment your addicted spouse is only viewing naughty pictures and videos. Even if this is currently true, it will grow into full blown infidelity if left in the darkness of distraction and denial.

GoodwinsMay 18, 2016

Great article. I'm glad to see more discussion on the facts and myths of pornography. We seem to be even making progress in treating it. One of the best recent programs is in the book Power Over Pornography. It's very different than most programs but it works.

Free of ItMay 17, 2016

I agree with "JimMay 17, 2016" below. Except that I would suggest that the wife include ONE of her closest friends in her circle of support. And Jim, I also agree with you that going to porn addiction programs is a worthless exercise. There is no recovery in blathering porn experiences and tales of angry wives in a room full of sex addicts. Get a sponsor who knows all about you, and then attend AA and use the AA program of recovery. The AA Big Book is THE roadmap for recovery for addicts and alchies.

Al-Anon SupporterMay 17, 2016

This 'Myths' article contains a myth: That in order to heal, a wife must broadcast her husband's problem to all her friends and the world at large. That's incredibly ignorant. There are other ways she can get support (which is the real issue), which the article itself mentions: support groups, a Bishop, ONE very close friend. It's not necessary to advertise her husband's struggle to the whole world in order to be “not responsible for maintaining [his] facade.” This article sounds like it was written by angry women. Instead of this misinformation, I would strongly suggest wives attend Al-Anon. Yes, it is for spouses of alcoholics, but every word of that program is transferable to all other addictions. The goal is not to cure her anger by humiliating her husband -- rather, it should be to get support for herself.

DavidMay 17, 2016

How about Myth #A: Having a sex addiction does not mean you don't love your spouse. It requires lots of love and understanding to overcome this issue together. The atonement of Jesus Christ was made for this purpose. Regarding Myth #3, Neither is having less sex the answer. Demonizing sex is devastating for a sex addict. Sex is a gift of god and should be cherished between husband and wife. Shame is of Satan, Guilt is of God. You can't improve someone's performance by making them feel worse. To err is human and to forgive is divine. Obsessing about this issue will never make things better, understand that an addict has lost his self control, and that the addiction is actual a coping mechanism of self medication. Addiction is an escape instead of confronting the root cause. Find out the root cause, and talk about the sex addiction open and honestly, without demonizing the sinner. Addicts need to not use the victim card and assume responsibility for their actions. Maturity from both sides is required. The fact that is is taboo does not help. Keeping the sin in secret does not help. Each persons recovery will be different and unique, but being able to talk with other people that have already overcome this problem is a huge help, and provides hope for those in the gutter. Let's not make this harder on us men either, as for women affected about this problem... seek the healing that you need too. Perhaps its part of God's plan to help your man recover and bond intimately with him. We need to feel unconditionally loved. Conditional love or only loving your husband when he is sober is not the answer. Although, I do have to agree that husbands need to own up to their problems and take the necessary steps to recover, by understanding that their addiction or use of porn is hurtful to themselves and to true love. Porn kills love. Wives need to handle this topic with maturity and not be over alarmed or sensitive to this type of sin. It's not the end of world, please don't treat it as such... it doesn't help.

JimMay 17, 2016

As the parent of an alcoholic I have attended the church program for family members. Family members of all types of addicts met in the same room. I have no morbid interest in knowing about someone's addiction to pornography. In fact, whenever the family members of pornography addicts shared their stories I was so bothered by the salacious details, that I had to tune them out. This may be cathartic for some people, but I have no interest in hearing it. I strongly feel that the person, the immediate family members, and the bishop are the only people who should be privy to this addiction. As an aside, the program coordinator told us she has had much more success with pornography addiction than alcohol addiction.

kateMay 17, 2016

Excellent article. Please keep a focus on this topic! It is so important.

O.L.D.May 17, 2016

This has been an interesting series, just one two more myths. MYTH #6: Only men have sex and/or porn addiction. MYTH #7: Pornography and sex addiction are interrelated. These myths also need to be explored and debunked.

AliMay 17, 2016

Fantastic article! Thank you for debunking these harmful myths! Hopefully many women who struggle privately can read this article and feel some hope.

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