No one comes into my office on a winning streak. No one comes in after just getting married, having just had a child, buying a new house or getting a promotion at work. Men come in my world when the wheels have fallen off their life. I meet them at their worst, never at their best.

Of the 44 men who have completed NMS 68% [30] came in married and were petrified that they would lose their families as a result of their sexual behavior. I tell them all that divorce is not inevitable. Two things have to happen: they have to stop all of the addictive sexual behaviors and their spouses have to participate in some form of counseling or recovery work.  More often than not the latter is the tricky part.

Of the 30 couples, six of the women were done before I ever met their husbands so there was zero chance of reconciliation. Sad to say that as justified as those women were for divorcing them, they were divorcing a stranger, since they really didn’t know who their husbands were minus the addiction. Life has proven to me that one woman’s trash can be another woman’s treasure.

Of the 24 remaining couples, four more ended in divorce during our program and of those four spouses, two of those women attended our women’s group and only one of them ever attended a SLAA meeting.  The other two did nothing. At the time that the men completed NMS, 20 of the 30 marriages were still in place. One divorce is still pending and one more has ended since ending NMS and that was not due to the resumption of the addiction, but was mainly due to the gap that develops in couples when one partner is in recovery and the other is not.

In five of the remaining 18 couples that are still together the wives have not done any real counseling or recovery work at all. Those marriages are still tenuous at best, anything but blueberries and pancakes. Getting past resentments and betrayal does not come easy or fast. The other 13 wives have done a fair amount of work.

Six of our 44 alumni [14%] came into NMS partnered. Four of them were in very toxic relationships and over the first year in recovery they all ended, and needed to in order for the men to get and stay sober.  In the remaining two relationships, both of the women were willing to do their own recovery work and those relationships are now not only healthy but are on a course towards marriage. I am looking forward to the day when I can dance at those weddings.

That leaves eight men who entered and completed NMS over the years as single men [18%]. Seven of the eight came and did the recovery work just for them. The other man who was a widower had the hammer of his adult daughters becoming aware of their dad’s behavior and threatening to withhold the grandchildren from him if he didn’t get help. Hammers come in all forms.

Six of the eight single men were over 48 years old and two were under thirty. One man in the 48 and over group had never been married nor had kids and one was a gay man who had never been partnered. There is always a price tag on addiction even if it’s hard to see.  Both men in the under thirty category had never been married, never lived with a woman, heterosexual and were both virgins! Most people struggle to be able to see how a sex and love addict could possibly be virgin. Unfortunately thanks to the Internet and coupled with the early on-set of porn addiction it is sadly becoming all too common. [Editorial comment: Coming down the addiction funnel is an entire new generation of under- thirty year old males who have grown up on the computer, never been on a date, never kissed a girl and are social and sexually anorexic, yet totally addicted. It’s a scary thought].

Now back to the topic…  All this statistical data stuff leads me to today.

Today I get to go to a wedding. I love weddings, especially wedding of NMS men who are healed and now able to be in a sharing, committed, affair/addiction-proof and trusted marriage.  This will be wedding #7 for the NMS Alumni group.  The best man at today’s wedding is an NMS alumni recovery brother. They met in my men’s group back in 2006 and today’s groom was his best man at the best man’s wedding back in 2010. We, the men of NMS will have a presence at the wedding today. The groom, the best man plus four other former NMS group men have all continued doing men’s group work together since they completed NMS in 2009, now as members of Man Kind Project, an international men’s program not designed to stop an addiction but rather to give voice to normal men. What a gift it is for me to bear witness and hopefully there will be many more of these blessed events to come. There is joy in recovery.

Recovery is not a death sentence but rather a full life sentence and as I always like to say, “Ain’t life grand!”