If you are struggling with pornography or other sexual addictions this video will rock your world. It could also change your life forever. I watched this video the first time with my jaw hanging open. I could not believe how honest, how open, how raw, and how real this video was. David (the main subject) does not pull any punches in his message. His life was falling apart and he finally recognized he did not want to live that way anymore, that he needed help, and that he had to tell others – including his wife.
That is a difficult conversation. I remember the first time I opened up to my wife about my addiction. I was afraid she would not love me anymore. I was afraid that I would hurt her. I was afraid it would make things worse. Turns out none of those things were true. (That’s not to say that your wife may not leave you – that may be part of your recovery.) I may not have hurt my wife when I told her the first time, but I certainly began to hurt her in the future the more I tried to quit and the more I failed. It took time and practice but I have learned the value of complete honesty when it comes to our addiction – no matter the price we may have to pay.
Honesty is hard to learn as an addict. We lie to ourselves that we don’t have a problem, that it’s not as bad as it seems, that we’re not hurting anyone else, and that we don’t need help from others. None of that is true.
There were two lies I told myself for the longest time. One was that I was not hurting my wife. The other was that I did not need anyone’s help, that I could fix this by myself. I definitely was hurting my wife and her pain grew bigger and bigger over time. Also, no matter how I tried or how long I tried, I could never beat my addiction on my own. Not even with God and myself (for the record, God was always there to help me, I just ignored his recommendations to seek help from others).
When I finally hit my bottom, when I admitted to myself that I was cheating on my wife, and when I admitted that I needed professional help – that was when I was finally being honest with myself and was ready to receive the help I needed from God, friends, groups, and others.
Each Monday for the next week I plan to talk about my thoughts on the twelve steps of the 12 step program from Alcoholics Anonymous as adapted for Sex Addicts Anonymous. I have a lot more to say about this step but in the meantime, hopefully it has started you to ask yourself, “Am I being honest with myself, others, and God?”
If you have any experiences or questions with being honest, please post them below. I’d love to hear them and discuss them.
Until next time, my name is Mike.
One thought on “Step 1: Honesty”
I need to look at ways in which I am honest and ways in which I am not honest. It is definitely true that being honest with my wife has been the most profound catalyst for change in my life. At first it was extremely painful and difficult. At first, SHE didn’t want to admit that I had a problem. When I first told her I was addicted to Internet pornography she used to say things like, “maybe you just need to cut down a bit,” or “you’re being too hard on yourself. All men look at porn.” It wasn’t until, after I had asked her to put a block on our computer and then went through her personal address book looking for passwords so that I could get past the block that she started to realize how serious I was, and how serious the addiction was.
That was almost a decade ago. Things have changed a lot. I now find it virtually impossible NOT to be honest with her. Partially because I feel so guilty about it, but also partly because she can almost always see right through me. She knows what I am like when I use. How my moods get all weird, how I can’t look her in the eye. She asks, “Is there anything going on?” She knows and I tell her.
She used to be very forgiving. For a long time, this is what I needed. But after a while it wasn’t enough. It was almost like I knew I could get away with looking at porn once in a while, and so I did. A few months ago she told me, “I know you struggle with this and that’s okay. But it won’t always be okay. At some point, it’s just going to be too much, and I won’t love you anymore. This isn’t a threat, this is just what I see happening if porn continues to be a part of our lives.”
That woke me up.
I am now dead serious about quitting porn. I am much better than I used to be, and it kills me when I am not. There is no longer any such thing as a slip that I feel okay about. Even very small slips, not looking at actual porn but just doing a Google search that’s a bit sketchy, can wreck me for days.
Me being honest with my wife eventually led her to this honesty with herself, and with me. Our relationship is better than it’s ever been, and it is because we know each other better than we ever have. We also know that a relationship is a fragile thing, and we know what can kill it. I don’t want to kill it.