Addicts, any kind of addict suffers from a kind of Alzheimer’s or maybe they are just members of the slow learners club but they seem to forget their last voyage down the proverbial rabbit hole. For most people, experience is a great teacher but for addicts it just doesn’t seem to work that way. In the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book it says on Page 24 “The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink. Our so called will power becomes practically nonexistent. We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago. We are without defense against the first drink.” That quote applies to gamblers about to walk into a casino, a food addict ogling a cheese cake or a sex addict about to cheat on his wife again.
In each group I run I will have the men write an essay about their “Kodak” moment, when the denial dam broke and change was forced to happen. This is one of those essays. This marriage recently ended and that is sad for sure, yet in the course of the last 18 months this man has dug deep to see his part in a very honest way. The truth is, today is that his now ex-wife refused to join him on this journey of recovery which of course was her right but I do believe that this was a salvageable marriage. But that is just my opinion and I could be wrong. Today he is becoming a healthy man and I believe after a while he will date and partner again and one’s women’s trash will be another women’s treasure. Here is his story.
July 18th 2010…The day my wife’s mother was brutally stabbed to death. Connecting the dots.
“When I was 17 years old, my step dad died. He was the only father figure I had ever known and was the same man who molested my three sisters and abused me emotionally as well as physically over a span of 14 years. From that point forward I avoided death as best I could, never being involved unless I absolutely had to. I feel that my inability to cope was a direct result from the trauma that I had experienced in my life and the confusion I felt when he died. I both loved him and hated him and I was simply never taught how to deal with emotionally challenging situations. I reacted to much of it by engrossing myself in very isolating type behaviors, drinking alcohol or taking drugs in abundance and seeking out sexually gratifying situations and encounters either alone or with others. These coping strategies changed very little throughout my life, in fact they were my go to mechanisms for dealing with the deepest darkest feelings I had no desire to feel or simply did not have the strength to hold.
Back in 2010 merely two days following the death of my then wife’s mother, I found myself lying in the bed of my then mistress and qualifier struggling to grasp the gravity of the current situation. I recall having a conversation with her surrounding the recent and the not so recent sequence of events over the last 17 years leading up to that moment…the moment I realized what I was doing there specifically and the extreme lack of emotional connection with myself and my wife in regard to what had just happened to her mother. That moment is difficult to put into words accurately. My qualifier and I spoke of the idiosyncrasies of the long term relationship between me and my wife as well as the relationship her mother and I shared for many years. I was quick to find fault in both my wife, her mother and the rest of her direct family for the problems within our marriage. The dynamic between her and her siblings and other close relatives was toxic and dysfunctional at best most of the time. I was thrust into the situation of care taking her family, gradually at first and then much more so once we got married. I never really paused long enough to see that there was so much more involved in the reasons for my acting out, until now.
It was this day that I started to really despise myself for the actions I seemed to so willing to embrace that clearly went against my own personal morals and values and hurt so many people close to me, specifically my wife and my kids, all of which occurred without their knowledge in the slightest. I spoke with my qualifier about calling it quits and we agreed to take some indiscriminate amount of time away from each other for the good of my marriage and the good of her life as well. We agreed that what we were doing simply ruined her in a way and kept her from any real happiness and or security. I found it impossible to stay away from her as a result of our raw compatibility and the level of sexual satisfaction I got from her.
The cycle of walking away from each other and then reconnecting mere weeks later, went on for two years until the fateful day when I could not hide my behaviors anymore and my wife became savvy to what I had been doing. For me, that day, was the start of a pattern of shame, guilt, and pain for what I had done to my wife and kids, that my wife would remind me of constantly and without mercy. Her unending pursuit of the facts and her indignant stance left me cowering to her anger and emotionally weakened multiple times daily. I struggled to come up with all the answers to her satisfaction and found little relief in going to work and or involving myself in her organized religion. Even her thoughtful attempts to satisfy me sexually on a daily basis, left me feeling guilty and shameful for my inability to forget about pornography and memories of my qualifier.
It was at this point that I knew something had to be done. My wife and I continued on in the situation for approximately three years, until I had had enough of the emotional roller coaster ride I was on. I could not stop viewing porn and I acted out through masturbation weekly. She could not leave me alone emotionally and took every opportunity to have deeply intrusive conversations about our current demise. I stopped sleeping in the same bed with her and stopped having sexual relations with her, a unilateral decision that infuriated her no end. At her suggestion I started to look up programs associated with compulsive sexual behaviors at which time I found Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA) and No More Secrets. I was scared to get involved and I dragged my feet for a couple weeks. She started to become even more persistent with her attacks on me which forced me to move into our camper for a week or two in an effort to create space between us. She continued her assault on me every chance she got…I finally had had enough. I told her I was moving away. I put the camper on my truck and left my home against every muscle in my body. I did not know that day that I would never live with my family again.
In my mind I was abandoning my family…, but I felt I had no choice if I was going to get away from the insistent and constant pressure from my wife to meet her expectations and start to affect some sort of change within me. That change would come at great cost to me and my family to say the least both financially and emotionally and yet was without a doubt, in order to effect change, very necessary.”
As he read this out loud to his group his words took the air out of the room. Every man there, regardless of their age or personal story, could feel with a capital “F” the sadness, power, honesty and resolve in his words. His words were a gift to us all. I asked him if I could use his words in a blog and he didn’t flinch. He reply beyond yes, he said “maybe this will help someone else”. We both hope it will.
If any of this resonates in you in any way and you’re looking for some initial relief and eventual freedom feel free to call or contact me. Remember misery is optional.