Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Wife of an Addict

I was beyond excited to get married. I was incredibly stressed but at the same time excited. I was giggly and demanding and emotional and just hoping everything would be perfect. In the end we did have a beautiful wedding. There were tears shed, jokes made and delicious cake. But let's rewind a little bit... or a lot. Let's rewind back to when I realized I wanted to marry my husband.

I was driving home from a fun week with my friends in Vegas. I had partied and enjoyed the single life. Sure I had gone on dates with many guys over the past few weeks but I was in Vegas and wanted to enjoy my single life. On my drive home with my friend we were talking about what fun we were going to have next New Years as single ladies and all the single lady fun we would have during the new year. We were laughing and joking and then I had this feeling, "No, you don't get to have more single lady trips because you're going to marry that boy back home." CRUD!

Want some details on the boy back home? I met this boy online while doing a research project. Our first date was the Sunday before Christmas. We planned on our second date being the Saturday after Christmas but Monday I asked to see him again. Tuesday I asked to see him again. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday we saw each other. This relationship was sparking! We saw each other every day for a week until we both had our New Years trips. After a week of talking to this guy I was excited about him but I didn't want that to get in the way of my trip so we decided "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas."

After I returned from my trip I went to his house and we talked. I was ready to start a relationship with him but he was very tentative. He told me every dirty secret he had just to get me to back off. Unfortunately even with the secrets I knew I was stuck. (But I wasn't really stuck I wanted to marry him too) One of his dirty little secrets was not so little. It is something many men have struggled with and many more will continue to struggle with.

He confessed to me that he addicted to pornography.

At first I just took it at face value. I told myself, “He says he is addicted but he probably isn't.” But being the crazy girl I am I dug deeper. I asked those when, where, why, how (meaning downloads or streaming, computer or phone) and tried to find a way for me to fix this little problem. He was shocked at how I took this information and decided that maybe we should start dating.

The information I got was heart wrenching. I learned he was exposed when he was extremely young and he had tried many times to overcome this sin. He successfully stopped long enough to go to the temple and serve an honorable full time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. After he returned home he stayed clear of it for a long time until one day it was triggered again. Since then it has been an on again, off again pattern.

We started by seeing his bishop. He had already started seeing his Bishop for it before but now that I was in the picture he wanted me to join him. I suggested we see a therapist that specialized in sex addiction. This therapist was wonderful we really enjoyed him but due to lack of money we could only attend a few sessions.

From then on we decided we had to figure out how to overcome together. We made plans for him to contact me. To sleep at normal times. To eat healthier. To take care of himself. To try to relieve stress in other ways. These have all worked for a short period of time but in the long run have not helped us.

We have been married for three months now and the addiction is still there. We are doing what we can (still too poor for therapy) and the addition is still there. Even if he isn't looking at it and he has gone on a "good streak" the addiction is still there.

Part of me says "I should have listened to my family and turned the other way." But I know that I am here because I am learning and growing with my husband. Even though it seems like we are constantly battling each other the person we are really fighting with is Satan. We are fighting evil temptations. We are struggling to fight every day and to remember why we are together and who we are fighting. When we are united we are stronger.

Truth be told, if I hadn't married him, he'd probably be in the same situation only he would be on his own. He wouldn't have a physical reason to overcome the temptation. He wouldn't have a cheerleader supporting him. He wouldn't have the desire I have given him.

I tell people not to marry addicts. I them it is hard. I tell them they may end up regretting it but if I could, I would not change my decision. Not for the world.

Because I married him I have someone that is dedicated to me. He loves me more than anyone ever has. He loves to serve the community. He stands up for what he believes in. He makes me breakfast in bed every morning. He makes me lunch on my lunch break. I am treated like a queen. He is not some slimy, grimy, gross man. He wears suits to a job where he could wear shorts. He works hard just because I asked him to. He loves to be around people and entertain. I married the man of my dreams. I married up in many ways.

Yes, the man I married is an addict but that is just a small portion of who he is.

Just to clarify, I am not looking for pity. I am not looking for advice. I just want that other wife out there to know that she is not alone. I want her to know that there is someone out there who is having the same thoughts as her. There is someone who is crying because of the way the addiction takes control.

I’m writing this knowing that there is hope. I know this is a war not simply a battle. I know that even when he is “clean” he will still be an addict. I know that we will have to stay united to eventually overcome. But I also know. 

We will overcome.

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