Am I cured?
By change4good
8/8/2012 10:59:46 AM
I apologize for the length of this post but I appreciate any of your comments.

It was not until recently that I associated my sinful life with an addiction. I seem to fit the profile. I have had a fixation with pornography and mb for many years and it started out in my teens. I have tried to stop several times in my life and I recognize that it is wrong and that I need to stop. I have kept it a secret from everyone except my bishop 9 years ago who I confessed to. He offered forgiveness without a disciplinary counsel. About a year after the confession, I fell back into the trap. It seemed to be a one time relapse, and it was for several weeks until I started acting out on a regular basis. I stopped again and felt such a shame inside that I couldn't bring myself to admit to the problem a second time. It was hard enough to see the bishop in the first place. Since then I have gone long periods of time without seeking it out with occasional slips that would last for a months at a time. The temptation to go back would frequently come up and I would sometimes resist and sometime falter. I thought that there had to be something wrong with me because I knew what I was doing was wrong but at times it seemed that my morals would just shut off temporarily.

When I met my wife and I knew that I wanted to marry her, I had a big choice to make. I could tell her about this problem and have a high potential of losing her or I could keep it to myself and try to stop once and for all. I chose the latter because I did not want to lose her and because I felt that if I got married that the need to sexually act out on my own would fade away. Well, I did not act out for our engagement and well into our marriage but for some reason that I cannot remember, I started up again and couldn't seem to stop myself for several months. Maybe it was due to the fact that I was not reading my scriptures daily or having personal prayer. That seems to be the key to my failures in the past. After falling again, I kept thinking, "Why? Why am I doing this when I have a great relationship and I love and am attracted to my wife?" I have since stopped myself and I have not felt any desire to go back since stopping. It has been about six weeks since I stopped. During those six weeks I have been on an emotional roller coaster. At first I just felt empty inside like depression. Then I felt an overwhelming guilt and terror at the pain that I had caused my wife without her knowledge. I have been begging God for his forgiveness and have wept bitterly that I could have done this to someone so pure and wonderful as my wife. There was a pit in my stomach that would not go away for several weeks. I have thought of nothing but the sadness and betrayal that I have committed with my wife. I have lost weight, sleep, appetite, and the joy in my life. The ironic thing is that while I was acting out for those months, my relationship with my wife seemed fine. I felt happy and content with life and spent time with friends and family on a regular basis. It is like I was a sociopath during those times. That is what really scares me. I feel that my wife will think that I have no conscience or regard for her feelings. I still loved her and I still did everything for her to make her happy, and we were still regularly intimate with each other. Thoughts of porn did not ever enter my mind when I was with my wife or when we were intimate. It was like I had two separate minds at work. Currently, I feel neutral. I feel neither happy or sad. It is a strange feeling. Some days I am close to tears constantly and other days I feel like I wouldn't be able to bring myself to emote anything. Sometimes I pray for God to send me guilt and pain because those emotions will not come to me automatically and I feel that I need to feel them.

I know that I should confess to my wife and maybe I need to meet in groups like SA or the church group. However, I cannot seem to get myself to confess. It seems impossible to confess because of the pain and anguish that she will go through, most likely for the rest of her life. Right now she loves me and she is happy with me and I have this secret that will rip out the essence of our relationship. I have read many articles and stories about spouses of sexual sinners and none of them end well. Even the ones that "end well" don't really end all that well. The best that I have read is that wives will tolerate their husbands and always have their minds on what their husbands have done. Wives will have to go to support groups of their own for possibly the rest of their lives in order to maintain any semblance of happiness. It seems like such an unfair consequence but I cannot chose consequences of my actions. Forgiveness does not come easily to wives or sometimes it doesn't come at all. Forgetting the past sin seems like it never happens in these accounts. These stories and accounts make me feel like I am damned if I do and damned if I don't. I feel like it is impossible for me to confess. I have often had thoughts of just living my life with this guilt for the rest of my life, or at least for many years so that my wife will not feel any pain. Sometimes I am afraid that if I did confess that on my "emotionless days" my wife would think that I felt no sorrow or remorse.

The reason I titled this post "Am I cured?" is because I truly feel like I could never fall back into my old ways again. This might be a trap since I have felt similar feelings in the past but I have no attraction to the sin at all any more. In the past when I promised myself to stop once and for all, the temptation was still there afterwards. Now it seems like the temptations are dead to me. It is like these past bitter weeks have made an association in my mind that to sin is to inflict pain on my wife and so the temptations do not even exist anymore. When I am walking downtown and I see things that used to set my mind off, they look vile and detestable now. I have begged God in the past to make the temptations go away and I feel like that is what has happened. Anyway, I'm not sure if anyone who has had similar issue as mine has ever been able to give it up for good after this experience but that is how I feel. From what I have read it seems like the only way to get over my sins is to confess and go to groups that do 12 steps. I feel torn and horrible.


I hear ya    
"I totally get where you are coming from. A couple of thoughts came to my head...

First, the 6 weeks or up and down craziness is most likely from detoxing. Most people don't associate detoxing with sexual addiction but it's very real, much like coming off of an illicit drug. Your brain is craving the dopamine levels it's been used to and when it doesn't get that fix it basically throws a tantrum.

Also, the not feeling anything is numbness. It's not a healthy state to be in. It's spiritual limbo. It's a hardening of the heart. So as comfortable as it may feel at times (because in that state you don't feel pain either) it's not a good place to be.

Also you mentioned that you asked yourself/God the quesiton, referring to your wife "How could I do this to someone so pure and wonderful?" This may seem like a stretch, but it's not your wife that that question should be asked about... it's you. Innately you are pure and wonderful. The addiction hurts you first and foremost.

Also - I am a wife of an addict myself (and I'm an addict)... and I have heard many revelations from my husband. Yes it hurts, but I forgave him. Remember, the Savior's Atonement works for your wife just as much as it does fr you. Don't ever think that she will hurt forever. That is a lie Satan is telling you. Don't believe it. There are lies he may tell her too that she will have to choose to believe or not to believe, but that is surely a lie.

I know this is terrifying. It truly is. But also consider talking to your Bishop before talking to your wife. Seek his counsel... get a blessing. He represents the Savior and can guide you not only through the repentance and healing process but also guide you on how to talk to your wife.

Back to your question of if you are cured... no. Unfortunately not. But like Hurt said, we all think that. You've described the addiction cycle in a nutshell. You got your fix and feel guilty and will swear to never do it again... until the fix wears off and the guilt fades away and the triggers come back and you are again faced with an opportunity to act out and the adversary starts whispering "just one more time" in your head.... and then you fall again. It doesn't go away. Not doing it on your own anyway. But it can be manageable... by utilizing the repentance process and relying on the Atonement. By giving all you can give to give it over to the Lord and letting Him do the rest. That's the beauty of the 12 steps... it teaches you how to do that.

Also Hurt made some good points about getting a therapist, or at least a sponsor. Sponsors arekey to recovery. If you attend LDS 12 Step meetings, especially in the PASG program, there should be sponsors available.

I commend you for your courage and thanks for letting us in to hopefully help a bit:-)

posted at 11:48:24 on August 8, 2012 by siouxsie
Thank you for your words    
"I felt a lot of emotion when I read your comments. It felt so good to hear about my personal experience from you and your experiences and I couldn't help shed tears as I read your comments. It felt good to cry again. What can I expect my wife will do when she finds out? Will she be inconsolable? Will she want to know every last detail of my sins? Will it take a long long time for her to talk to me about anything besides my transgressions? Will she ever think that it was not a personal assault on her? Will she ever come to an understanding of what this addiction is and why it was so difficult for me to abstain?

I am trying so terribly hard to gain the courage to face my wife and the consequences of my actions and to promise her that I want nothing more than to live my life to be worthy of her after we pass away. I am willing to do everything necessary to maintain change in my life but it is so so very difficult to kick start those actions because of the unknown. I fear that if I keep it to myself that I will just constantly slip over and over and try to hide my misery for ever.

Have you done the 12 step program? Do you repeat the steps over and over or is it a one time thing? How to do continue to abstain if there are no more steps to do? I am curious how the program works. If you don't mind sharing, are you in a program and have you found that you have rid yourself of acting out?"
posted at 12:15:14 on August 8, 2012 by change4good
Take the 12 Steps with a sponsor...    
"repeat, until dead."
posted at 13:45:16 on August 8, 2012 by Anonymous
Your dis-ease is incurable.    
"The SA white book says the disease is progressive, fatal, and incurable. It also talks about the dangers of thinking one is cured. So work the 12 steps. The program works if you work the program.

Stay sober, just for today."
posted at 14:55:22 on August 8, 2012 by Anonymous
I am starting to get the picture    
"It seems that 12 step programs simply work. That is, if the person is willing to completely and willingly participate. The reason that I asked if I was cured was not neccessarily because I believed that I was going to get a yes response. It is because I was wondering if other people had such a powerful reaction after abstaining during marriage. I have tried many times in the past to stop and I have not been able to do it for good on my own but I feel very different in my resolve to stop this time. I feel that temptation is no longer there where as before I was married and I promised myself to stop, I was still immediately tempted. I am not trying to argue that yes, I am cured. I am just feeling different this time and I was wondering if anyone has had a similar experience. I am still planning to confess and go through the 12 steps because whatever works (and it seems that the 12 steps work) then that is what I want. I want to be rid of these sins once and for all!"
posted at 18:09:12 on August 8, 2012 by change4good
Awsome Post!    
"I loved your brutal honesty Change4Good. You told us your fears worries and commented on what you thought would happen if you confessed but are hesitant because it scared you. So you considered simply not and told us what you thought. I love it because we ALL, have those same thoughts but don't necessarily write them because we might not want to look foolish. So, you are a breath of fresh air.

Ok. I agree it seems grim because of some of the scary stories here. Right now, everything is great in your relationship and why would you want to go through turmoil. Why would you want to light a ticking time bomb that can blow up later right?
Well that's just it, WHY. Ask yourself, Why am i going to confess to my wife and bishop. If the reasons aren't good enough, then don't confess to them. Life is amazing right now, a little more time of good couldn't hurt, technically anyways. But ask and answer yourself, why do you want to confess. And maybe write the reasons down so you can look at it.

I think if you decide that confessing to your wife and bishop is the way to go because of the reasons you wrote, (i think that's what you'll choose) then start preparing yourself. This is the hardest part i believe because we easily convince ourselves not to confess. "oh if i just simply don't ever do it again it won't be a big deal" Crap like that, we will figure something out so we don't confess. Why, because we might not be prepared for it. For the consequences and changes after confession. You might sleep on the couch, she might not want to touch you, she might not talk to you for a while. I don't know, but you could prepare for that so you don't come crashing down into your addiction again. And guess what!? If that happens everything gets 100X worse because now in your wife's mind, she is expected to forgive you for your past and a practicing addict.

So, i believe it would help if you first, list out the reason WHY you feel should confess? And if it helps, list out why you shouldn't; although the why you should is more important. Then DECIDE that you are going to confess, if that's what you decide. Because then, you don't have to keep debating whether you will or won't, its decided that you will. I think the next step, and probably the most important step is to PREPARE for the aftermath of the confession. Many people here call it D Day, and i think it fits.

I think this might help, try it if you want to. Let me know if it helps or not so i stop giving out bad advice.

As for your latest post. I think the choice of words is the issue. Nobody is cured, the Prophet is not cured. Cured from what? A diseases right. well how can the prophet be cured if he was never infected. Then what is this disease? I think the disease is the temptation for porn, and how far we delve into the temptation is how infected we are. So can we as people really say our prophet is cured, because then we say he has never been tempted by porn. if he has been tempted, does that mean he is cured now?? No, no one is cured so we shouldn't worry about being cured.

But I know what you meant, I wrote that paragraph more for the other commentors than for you.
You are basically asking if you can be a normal husband who hasn't gone so far into porn. Or in contrast, will you be a person who is constantly struggling with porn like some people on this site. And I say, if you believe you can be a person who can be a great husband who is washed away by his passed aims and only look forward, where you aren't telling your wife every so often that you slipped up again, you DEFINITELY have the ability to do so.

You could live you life as a roller coaster, with your highs of clean and your lows of slip ups. Well if you are at the top of your high right now, you feel great and clean, derail the coaster and blast off into a great life.! Don't do back down! You don't have to go though a long difficult slip up process, don't give into the idea that you will always be dipping into porn. Yes you will be tempted, yes you will technically be an "addict" for life, yes yes yes. But nobody said you had to live like an addict. You can be just as great as the bishop or prophet, the atonement allows that. But if you get into the mentality that you will always be struggling and your wife will probably always be disappointed with you, that's what you'll get. If you think as a winner of this battle, you'll come out a winner. DONT sell yourself short.

Good luck god bless."
posted at 21:39:35 on August 8, 2012 by moronidenovo
Never Fall    
"Never fall into the trap of thinking you are cured. As natural men and women, we must constantly seek the healing and curing power of the atonement. The atonement in its entirety was not just a once occurring event. It is rather a ongoing agreement. We must constantly and consistently tap into the power from Christ's healing love. The adversary is a master of disguise. He may convince you to believe that your length of time away from your addiction must somehow mean you are "cured." The danger of this, among many others is that you may believe this lie and let your guard down. You may mistakenly think that because you are "cured" you no longer need to pray so much, or be as stringent with internet safety protocols and filters. My dear friends the addiction of which I speak is as powerful as any and you must not fall into the "cured" trap. Doing so may create a false sense of pride, a spirit of "yes, I did this" when what the ARP program and the gospel in general teach us is that we must seek Him and depend on Him constantly. Be cautious, be alert, be aware, and understand that Addiction is like a serious illness that may go into remission. Perhaps it may stay this way with great effort and faith. Yet as one who cares and one who knows, we must be ever aware of our weakness and in doing so, tap into that divine power that may make our weaknesses our strengths."
posted at 14:18:43 on November 18, 2012 by Anonymous
I agree with annonymous    
"We sex addicts are Prisoners of war. When a prisoner of war is liberated they are always haunted by the images of the encampment. I had a neighboor he was so shaken up by his tour through iraq. I asked him would he go back if it was safe. He said no the memories there are to scary. The same with us we are never really free. I was free for 224 days I fell just recently hence why I just joined this site. Although you may be free you still have to be on your guard. I also want to add something to this I would tell my wife. I have someone who I really care about and I know there will be a time when I have to tell her. Here is how I plan to do it. I am going to pray fervently that I will go on a walk with her tell her my life story and have her judge for her self. I believe your wife will help you if she loves you she will help you."
posted at 18:24:01 on November 20, 2012 by minininja
The Savior    
"He is the only one who can help you. Do not look to a wife or a girlfriend to help you. This is yours, not hers, you will only cause her pain, guilt, confusion, grief.... minininja part of healing from this addiction is standing up and being a real man. Take responsibility, be accountable, then you will find freedom."
posted at 01:33:16 on November 21, 2012 by Anonymous
My husband has helped me    
"He helped me by holding onto the sim card for my phone for awhile. He also gives me prirsthood blessings, which really help. I also know another man whose spouse helps him by putting a gps tracking device on his car. But, I've learned that my husband cannot fix me no one can fix me. I had to really want to heal for myself. I had to allow the Savior into my life to heal me."
posted at 02:23:03 on November 21, 2012 by G1rlie
Repentance is a way of life    
"I have learned in my recovery from my addiction to pornography that I need the Savior every day. I need to cry out to him every day to apply his atoning blood, as did Alma the Younger. I have learned that for me, repentance needs to be a way of life. Repentance is turning away from mortal comforts, whether it be sex, food, money, work, TV, gaming, or anything else, and turning to the Lord for comfort, peace and guidance.

I have participated in an early morning LDS online recovery meeting through that has been a wonderful blessing in my recovery. In fact, I have come to regard my addiction as an early warning signal from the Lord. That is, he doesn't just want me to "read my scriptures and say my prayers". He wants to have a two-way conversation with me EVERY day, even all day. Joseph Smith and Brigham Young both promised that every member of the church can have the same kind of revelatory relationship with God that they had.

I have found that kind of relationship, and have found that my only safety from my addiction lies in maintaining constant conscious contact with God.

May you be blessed in learning how to apply the steps of repentance in a daily, heart-deep way so that you may feel the Lord's love and spirit as a constant blessing in your life is my prayer."
posted at 10:12:46 on November 24, 2012 by KeithH

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"In recent years, as I have sung the hymns of the Atonement, it has been with an especially full heart—and also with full voice, when I can continue to sing—lines such as “How great thou art,” “I scarce can take it in,” “To rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine,” “I stand all amazed,” and “Oh, it is wonderful!”"

— Neal A. Maxwell

General Conference May 1987