Why Do I Need Recovery? My Husband Is The Pornography Addict!

How Do I Find Quality Help To Heal From Betrayal Trauma? 

I thought I was in recovery for a long time, and I wasn’t really. I didn’t know I wasn’t because I was doing it alone.

On my own, I started toying around with boundaries; I was kind of making my way into being in recovery, but not quite there. Just sort of dipping my toe in the water. After my husband’s arrest, I knew I needed to really, really do something. I was going crazy and I didn’t know what to do. So I called someone that I knew and asked her to be my sponsor. It’s ok to change sponsors when the time is right. So I let my first sponsor know that I was going to be having a new person as a sponsor and she was fine with that and I started moving forward with my new sponsor who has been my sponsor ever since. From the Healing Through Christ family support workbook, states, 

“It’s wonderful to have someone to turn to who already knows our story. Someone who has made a commitment to be there to listen and to share with us. Someone who can offer a different perspective in our situations. Someone who respects our privacy and will keep what we have to say absolutely confidential. A sponsor is a friend, a confidant, who has experienced addiction’s devastating effects and yet has learned to find serenity and hope. Sponsorship is a mutually beneficial relationship. When sponsorship is done correctly the Lord can bless both the sponsor and the sponsee to grow stronger in their recovery.”

How Do I Find a Sponsor?

If you’re interested in working SALifeline 12 Step betrayal trauma meetings, it can take time to find the right sponsor.

Here are some things to consider if you are a sponsee, or thinking about finding a sponsor. The main concern with people who start recovery is how do I find a sponsor? 

And the answer for that is to attend a meeting.

When you attend a meeting every week, you are able to go and find someone at the meeting who will be your sponsor. There’s also at the meeting resources for how to find other sponsors. If there’s not someone in that meeting that you think would be a good fit, you can go to other meetings. For example, there are several different meetings online or in person that you can choose from to go to to see what will work for you.

I would say the most important thing is to first get the meeting that works for you and make sure that you attend at least for one month seeing how things work, being committed to the process. Many people have asked me to be their sponsor and then they don’t do the work. They don’t work the steps. They don’t call me to surrender. They don’t do the things they need to do to actually be in recovery.

Now I say that tongue-in-cheek because that was me. When I first got a sponsor I was not committed. With my first sponsor just was kind of going through the motions, I’d call her when I was stressed out, wasn’t really working the steps. I didn’t know how to hold boundaries. So, that being said, just get a sponsor and do as much as you can right now. It’s better than doing nothing in my opinion and hopefully you can choose to be humble rather than be compelled to be humble like I was. I was forced to be humble by my situation.

Since finding a sponsor can be a process, we recommend scheduling a free consultation with one of our coaches. She can begin to help you right away. That way, you can have support during the process of finding a sponsor.

What’s the Purpose of a Sponsor?

A sponsor is someone who helps you work the steps and helps you get God back in your center rather than having your husband in your center or anybody else. I call my sponsor on almost a daily basis to surrender. Sometimes I talk with her and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I just leave a message, but she is a key part of my recovery.

Many people change sponsors as they get more familiar with the program and their group members and as they grow in recovery. And like I said that’s just fine. One thing I tell people is just get a sponsor in the beginning perhaps just to start out and start trying and then as you feel like you need to move on that you might connect more with another sponsor then you can do that later. You’re not going to hurt anyone’s feelings. It will really be helpful to you to find someone who will work for you.

You Are Responsible For Your Own Recovery

The sponsor is not going to call you and check up on you or micromanage you. With me and my sponsees I rarely call, I never call them. They call me and I return their calls sometimes but it’s not that type of a relationship. You need to be responsible for your own recovery and take initiative to call your sponsor and work your program.

I tell my sponsees that they can contact me at any time, especially with a surrender call they can call it in at anytime and I’ll just send it to voicemail and if they need to talk to me that they text me and say hey I need to talk, otherwise I just send their surrenders right to voicemail. I talked about surrenders on an earlier podcast so if this is confusing to you you may want to go back to that surrender podcast and listen to that or I will do another one hopefully in the future about surrendering.

The point of the sponsor is not to say, “Hey you need to be emotionally dependent on me.” God is the most important person in this and the whole point of working the steps is to have God at your center. The point of having a sponsor is to help get you back to having God at your center, feeling at peace with God, and having that connected relationship with God. So I don’t just call my sponsor, I also call several other women in group when I need a different perspective.

My sponsor is still married and is working through her marriage and her husband is in recovery so she is in a different situation then I am. So I often call another woman who is divorced and she is working recovery. She is someone in my safety net. There’s also another woman that I call frequently who she is still married but her husband is not in recovery and is still being abusive. I have different people in different situations that I reach out to as part of my safety network and I am very grateful for that. I will only sponsor women who are regularly attending SA Lifeline 12 Step Recovery meetings because that’s the program I work.

Sponsors Are Not Professionals

Sponsors are just that, a sponsor. Someone who has been through the same thing who is a little farther down the path than you. It’s really important to also prayerfully seek a qualified therapist. The point of sponsorship is to just share your experience, faith, and hope. I forget that and I give advice and then I have to say oops, take a step back, and rephrase, “this is what happened in my own experience. When the abuse escalated for me I, you know, tried to control it, I tried to get my husband therapy, I tried to get him to stop, and then later I just kind of shut down, and then he got arrested, and then I freaked out.”

I just tell those types of things, “these are the things I did. These are the things that were not effective and these are the things that have been effective in helping me gain my serenity.”

Professional help is another piece of the puzzle when it comes to recovery. We recommend that you work with a APSATS coach and a sponsor in your healing process.

You Must Work Recovery To Recover

I often tell people that recovery is kind of like Yoga. You have to do it to understand it. You can’t learn about yoga reading a lot about yoga, you actually have to do yoga. Same thing with recovery. Before I was really in recovery, I read a lot about recovery, went to seminars or retreats, but I wasn’t actually working the program. That has made the biggest difference, and working with a sponsor has changed my life.

So again I want to thank my sponsor for everything she’s done for me, for the hours and hours that she’s spent on the phone. I know that God is working in my life and I am so grateful for her example, really, it’s just her example, that she has been through very difficult things and put God in her center. I’m grateful to know her, I’m grateful for her support.

I appreciate all of you who are in recovery or are thinking about recovery and want you to know that my love goes out to you, and I hope that through this podcast you can be encouraged to actually attend a meeting and start your recovery and as you put God in your center that you can start to find the serenity you desperately need in your life.

Discovering My Husband’s Devastating, Disturbing Secret

Today we have a brave woman sharing her D-Day story.  

If you are interested in sharing your D-Day story please email me at anne@btr.org.

I’d also like to ask those of you who are working the SALifeline Twelve Step Betrayal Trauma Recovery program with a sponsor to consider sharing on this podcast as part of your Step Twelve work. I’m grateful for those who went before me to share their stories and help me find this program. It’s wonderful to help others come to the program too.  So here is one of my sisters sharing her story:

I wanted to do a share about my D-Day, mostly because today is the three year anniversary of my D-Day.

My Husband A Pornography Addict? No Way.

Three years ago, it was a Sunday and I had been at church. At that time I had a young colicky baby. So church for me meant a lot of walking the halls and dealing with sad baby.  But that particular day the third hour of church they had a special kind of visitor come. It was two missionaries from the LDS church’s addiction recovery program specifically on pornography recovery.

They came and talked to the women and the men of my congregation about the addiction recovery program and about their stories. I only was able to hear a little of it because I was in and out with the baby. But I was just thinking at the time “Wow, I’m so grateful I don’t have to deal with that.”  

So we went home after church and we got the baby and my older daughter down for a nap and I was just talking to my husband and I said something like, “I’m really glad that you don’t have that problem so we don’t have to deal with it.”

And he got this look on his face, just this like green, almost sick look.  

And I said, “Am I right? We don’t have to deal with that, right?”

And I had thought, I mean I had thought it wasn’t even an issue. Before we got married I had asked him about it, he had told me he was fine, and so in my mind I had covered that.  But he hadn’t been truthful because, hello, addict!  So we had been living a lie.  

So, his face goes green, and he said, “Actually I have a problem.” And went on to shatter my life. It was three days before our three year wedding anniversary which really pissed me off too, let’s be honest, because it just, I mean I was looking forward to our anniversary.  I can’t even remember right now what we had planned, probably just dinner, but it just changed the whole thing.

I kept thinking. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know what to do. I wondered, “Do I check up on him? How do I check cookies? How will I know if my husband is lying again?”

And after that I just froze – Is My Husband Really Unfaithful?  

I felt like I couldn’t trust my husband anymore that trust was completely shattered and I didn’t know where to go from there. I am one who struggles, who has struggled with emotions.  Dealing with, sharing with, just feeling emotions. I grew up in a home where especially negative emotions were not ok.  We, my siblings and I joke that we grew up in, like our family is British.  We don’t talk about real things. We don’t talk about negative emotion. We don’t talk about depression, or anxiety, or pornography addiction.  

I didn’t know how to handle it, so I just froze.  It took me a long time to start my own recovery.  In fact it wasn’t until this year when my husband had another relapse and I just kind of was done and decided to stop focusing on him and started focusing on me, and that has helped me to be in recovery.

It’s kind of been neat for me to look back on this the third anniversary of my D-Day and see just the crushed person I was back then because I was, I was so crushed and so sure that it would lead to divorce or sadness or just how it effected the next, you know, two or three years of my life where I was terrified to have another child with him or terrified to make any plans because my fear of the future was so great.

But then now, today, being where I am, where I have a sponsor, I’m in good recovery, I’ve found my serenity, and luckily my husband has been working too, I’ve been blessed with that so he’s been in recovery and our relationship is the best it’s ever been.  So I guess I just wanted to share my experience of D-Day those crushing feelings that I’m sure others recognize and just kind of where I am now these three years later that you can have good recovery and you don’t have to let one moment destroy your life.  It definitely works when you work it!  I’ve seen that and I’m just really grateful for the programs available and for the support I have and where it’s led me.

Anne: Those of you interested in scheduling a support call with one of our APSATS coaches, to explore how she can help you in your recovery process, click here

God Can Remove The Blocks To Safety

Thank you for being patient with me, I was out for the last two weeks. With the beginning of school and Labor Day things just got kind of crazy, plus I have a lot of stuff going on with the divorce so I took two weeks off and I’m back!  

And I’m really grateful I have some volunteers working with me now. I’m so grateful for their help. So a shout out to them and all that they do as we work Step 12 together to bring this message of strength and hope to other women in our same situation.  

I Need God’s Help To Recover From My Husband’s Porn Addiction

Today I want to talk about Step 7 which is one of my favorite steps. I love all the steps, but I have seen so much growth in being willing to have God remove my character weaknesses. When I have humbly asked him to do so, it has changed my life.

Step 7 is the part where we humbly asking God to remove our shortcomings.  

The humility really comes from the other steps.  When I started this program I was not humble at all and I still have so far to go. But I’m feeling more humble now than I have ever felt in my life. Knowing that I am powerless and that I have defects I don’t have the power to fix, has humbled me.

Because humility is so essential for change, we go through Steps 1-6 to develop enough humility for Step 7.

Because step 7 is not about just demanding that we are this amazing person. Like “God fix me now!!!”  That is not at all what Step 7 is about.  From the Blue Book: “We frequently misunderstand the word humility. Often we think it implies weakness, lack of character, or helplessness.  In a world that exalts fame and fortune humility does not seem like a desirable quality.  Instead we believe success requires pride and ambition.”  

Now this next paragraph in the Blue Book describes me perfectly… “Many of us spent years achieving the kind of success we can measure in money and material possessions.  We tried to be successful in our careers and thought that it was the way to guarantee happiness.  We acquired comfortable homes and thought that would guarantee comfort. We thought we could guarantee a secure future through hard work and intelligence.”

So that sentence was me to a t.  I thought that I could guarantee a secure future through hard work and intelligence and, so I just attacked everything with that hard work and intelligence thinking I knew the right way to do things.  

“We thought meeting our physical and material needs were the primary goals of our lives.  We were not necessarily wrong, it’s just left out some important priorities.  Even though we meant well, we hindered ourselves with our lack of humility.  We didn’t realize how important humility is in building our characters.  Nor did we see that spiritual needs have to come before any others.  At times, we did have a sincere desire to build our characters, but when we had to choose between character and comfort somehow comfort always won.”  That describes me perfectly.  

“When we had to choose between character and comfort, somehow comfort always won.  In SAnon we learn that pride and fear were the motives for much of our irrational behavior.  We feared that we would never get the things our pride told us we deserved.  We feared we would lose the relationships and material possessions we had.”

Boundaries Are Essential When Dealing With A Pornography Addict Or Betrayal

That’s why for me I didn’t set boundaries because I was very fearful that I would lose my relationship and my worst fears have come to pass and I’m ok.  I’m ok. As we approach Step 7 most of us have learned to call upon God in times of great need.  We really have begun to desire humility instead of just accepting it as something we should want.  We have learned that we can accomplish more with a humble attitude then we can when we are prideful and fearful.  Humility works better not only when we are asking God for help but also when we are dealing with other people in our lives.  Humility allows us to ask for and accept God’s forgiveness.  With that forgiveness our consciences can be at ease and as long as we place genuine reliance upon a Higher Power our humility is at work.  

So I’m going to be doing Step 7 again soon because I’m right now doing Step 4 again. I’m doing Step 4 with the help of the Al-Anon Blueprint for Progress book and I’m really excited now that I’ve uncovered some more character defects to humbly take these to Heavenly Father and ask Him to remove them. I know I’m not powerful enough to do this and I know that I need him to remove them for me as I humbly ask him.  

I’d like to talk about some of these character defects that I am looking at.  Am I aware of others or am I self-centered?  Do I try to become less preoccupied with myself by getting interested in things outside myself?  Can I see that being helpful to others is a way out of my dilema?  ARe my responsibilities to myself kept in good balance with my desire to reach out to others?  With that one I”m kind of right in the middle.  I feel like I am sometimes self centered and sometimes I’m aware of others.  That’s one thing that I’d like to be better at. That’s one of the character defects I will be asking God to remove is my self-centeredness.  

Am I thoughtful or am I self-pitying?  These are some of the questions. Have I considered that others may have had as difficult a time in life as I have?  Do I steer clear of getting others to feel sorry for me? Do I see problems as one of my greatest sources of growth in life, a real gift from my Higher Power?  I feel like I don’t want other people to feel sorry for me, I don’t like that at all, and I do definitely consider that other people have a very difficult time, but where I am having a struggle with right now is do I see problems as one of the greatest forces for growth in my life and I am not there so I am asking Heavenly Father to help me be more thoughtful.  

Am I cheerful or am I depressed?  Do I avoid blaming others for my unhappiness?  Sometimes.  Sometimes I don’t.  Can I understand why Abraham Lincoln said “Most folks are as happy as they make their minds up to be?”  On that I put a “Yes” with an exclamation point I’ve always felt that way that I’m happy and that I choose to be happy.  Do I recover quickly from disappointment?  And normally I do very quickly.  So right now I’m kind of in between being cheerful and depressed.  The antidepressant of course has helped with that.

There are a lot of different things that I am so grateful for that I’m seeing in myself.  At the very end of the section it says “after answering these questions on the subject of character traits what have I learned about myself?” And I put I have a lot to work on.  

Humility Is The Key To Being Free From The Abuse

Steps 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 prepare you to be able to see this with compassion for yourself and in a place of peace.  So now I am looking at these things and I’m thinking ok, I could be more purposeful.  I could use my talents and abilities more effectively.  I could definitely be more grateful.  I could be more willing to seek emotional and spiritual balance.  There are so many things that I could improve on and instead of feeling guilty or shame I am feeling hope.  

As I get to Step 7 where I will humbly ask God to remove these defects of character and replace them with His way of thinking and His way of doing things, I’m really excited about the increased peace I will feel in my life.  

The blue book suggests a prayer for Step 7.  It reads: “My creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad.  I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to You and my fellows.  Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do Your bidding. Amen.”  

Thank you for joining me today for our podcast.  I am looking forward to this Fall.  And I would ask you if you are in recovery and you are working with a sponsor if you will please contact me at anne@btr.org and share your story right now I am looking for D-Day stories. I have found that it’s really important for women to hear other women’s D-Day stories.  Hearing other D-Day stories seems to help women feel validated and understood – like they are not the only woman going through this horrific trial.   

Know The Truth About Yourself & Free From Abuse

In this podcast, I read through several topics suggested in the Blue Print for Progress. Going through these topics has helped me uncover more character defects and get tot he bottom of the character defects that I’m still having trouble with.

Finding Ourselves After Being Hurt By Infidelity And Narcissistic Behaviors

This process has also helped me understand my character assets. From the Blue Print For Progress:

Knowing your weaknesses “can be an essential tool for personal growth. Many of us have been so obsessed with the behaviors of a [sexaholic] that we developed a limited sense of ourselves. We may have lost sight of our personal goals, neglected our potential, and become too concerned with our attempts to change someone else. Often our good qualities lay hidden behind frustration and fear.”

Finding out who we really are “is an exercise in perception, a way to distinguish between what works in our lives and what is no longer useful or necessary.”

There is no perfect way to do it, “but it is important simply to tell it like it is and to identify the areas where we have experienced the most trouble . . . our willingness to seek improvement is one of our greatest assets.”

Taking inventory of ourselves is ongoing. We do it the best we can each time, each time realizing that as some of our self defeating behaviors are removed, others will become more apparent. It is the process that is important.

With the loving help of professionals who have been through the process and deeply care about you, you can take positive actions to bring safety and peace into your life – no matter the outcome of your current situation.

Not Powerful Enough To Heal Ourselves From The Insidious Abuse

Healing From Betrayal Trauma Takes The Help Of A Professional

Healing from the trauma associated with betrayal and narcissistic behaviors takes time. Our APSATS coaches are here to help you through the process.