When I began my private practice several years ago I was astonished to discover how many of those coming to my doors was either struggling with or struggling because someone they loved had a pornography addiction.
For the men the stories were pretty much the same. Years ago as a young man and sometimes a boy, they had an encounter with pornography. Usually in printed materials they found in a garage or attic, discovered over at their friend’s house or shown by an older brother. Their curiosity was peaked. They felt the first stirrings of desire that filled them with a mystery they did not fully comprehend. But they never forgot the experience. Through the coming years there was more exposure and along the way they coupled the viewing with masturbation. The pull toward the experience was increasing and so did their participation. As they got older they began to feel the pull of the addiction and the cravings for participation, especially as their feelings of insecurity, frustration and stress increased. As the addiction took hold they found their thoughts constantly turning toward the addiction and felt powerless to stop participation. Oh there were times when they “white knuckled” for a while through sheer determination and will power. For those who are religious they turned to God in their struggles with increased prayer, scriptures study, and service to others. Yet the addiction still managed to find its way into action again. They tried everything to distract their addiction…. yet nothing seemed to keep it at bay for long. They realized they had a problem but did not know where to turn for help. To admit this problem is to give voice to the shame. So they kept trying with the knowledge they have, and mostly failing to keep it inactive.
For the women their stories are pretty much the same too. They married their sweethearts. Most had no idea that a young man, who had served a two year mission for the church and married in the temple, would have this kind of a problem. They did not even consider it and most did not even know they might want to have that conversation before marriage. How they found out about the problem varied. One wife discovered it on the second day of her marriage, when she walked into their hotel room after a shower to find her husband acting out. One found out when she discovered an un-closed screen on their family computer. Another realized the problem when unfamiliar charges appeared on their credit card and when she called to complain was told the nature of the charges. Many of them reported they had known for some time that “something was wrong” but could not put their finger on it. Many discussed with me how the addiction had come into their bedrooms in the intimate moments and they had felt like their husband was not “with them” but in his head instead. How each found out is different, but their reactions to the new information were similar. They were devastated. They wondered what they had done wrong. They feared it was their fault. They had no idea they were battling an addiction that took root many years before they met their husband. Many reported they felt their husbands had 1000’s of affairs… with each image they viewed. And they did not know what to do to heal their hearts or help their husbands. . And they grieved their marriages lost to the feelings of betrayal and deceit.
If you have similar stories, please know there is help. There are programs that can help you and your spouse. You do not have to suffer in silence and figure out how to fix this. There are those that have been prepared and know how to help fight this battle. If you need more information… please contact us at j9n.83e.myftpupload.com. We are here to fight along your side.