Friday, May 2, 2014

Letter From The Wife Of A Porn Addict


This was passed on to me from a priest who received it from one of his parishioners.
Dear Father:

I write to you in an anonymous fashion because if I were to tell you who I am, I would be ashamed to come to the confessional, to Mass, to the place where I am gratefully being nourished. I thank you for the wonderful priest you are and for the pastoring you provide to all of us.

Anonymously in your pews are women holding families together against the destructive forces of pornography on our husbands and sons. We are hurting and ashamed, tolerating – not enjoying – marriages and dealing with our inadequacies and depression. Personally, I feel like the 15 years of my marriage before my discovery were one big lie; that I have been “duped” by an otherwise faithful, church-involved, Knights of Columbus husband. In the three years since my awareness was heightened, I have come to believe that an affair would have actually been easier to tolerate; for perhaps I could compete with flesh and bones, but not with this. That pleasure and satisfaction can come to my husband from something so 2-dimensional has shaken me to the core; my very sense of who I am and what I am worth is utterly destroyed. My world was turned upside down and I know if not for our children, I would have left the marriage. Unbecoming of me, I daydream about that day when I might still.

I am certain you are hearing it in the confessional from the husbands; my own husband has now been forthcoming in his challenges with pornography and about his frequent confessions of the sin. He initially felt great relief that I knew and somehow thought that my knowing would give him greater resistance against the temptation. Unfortunately, I think it just makes him deceive and “hide” more. If this doesn’t destroy our marriage, I fear my “response” will.

The other side is the woman’s side: our sin is the profound anger and inability to forgive because it doesn’t stop; how do we trust it even would? Some husbands regret their failure to stand up against this temptation; many do not even think there’s a problem, but it has them held captive. I have heard another woman say she would rather her husband were doing drugs; at least there are programs to get past that demon. I am confident this is affecting my husband’s ability to do his job, and I imagine it is threatening the security of his employment. My now sinful thoughts and giving in to anger; my energy expended trying to keep our home free of the temptations that come with every latest technology; my “revengeful spending” – these are not what God has called me to. I constantly replay Jesus on the cross saying “Father, forgive them, they don’t know what they do,” but I answer myself with a “but, no one told Jesus they would love him and honor him all the days of their life.”

I have sons who serve at the altar, and I fear for them and their futures; for their future wives. I try to teach my teenage boys about purity, the value of their sexuality, and the Theology of the Body, but they know the magazines and websites of their father, who is a “good man” and “receives the sacraments”—so I am just the “old-fashioned” prude of a mother. I feel constantly under attack, and it doesn’t seem there will be an end to my hurting.

I wish there were a support group for the women suffering this way, but we are all so ashamed that we can’t satisfy our husbands enough, and afraid to make it public and destroy our husbands’ reputations, that none of us would come. We simply suffer and die inside alone. I am not offering any advice or asking you to do anything about this. Perhaps you can just say a prayer now and then for the wives in your parish trying to hold a family together. Thank you for tolerating my rambling here.

Thank you.
Further Reading
**What Is Wrong With Porn?
**Porn Hurts Others
**The Science Of Internet Porn - What Happens To The Brain & The Body
**The Cost of Porn
**Pornography Research
**Porn Is More Addictive Than Cocaine or Heroin!
**Porn & Support For Same-Sex Marriage
**If You Aren't Convinced Porn Is Destroying Our Culture - Read This!

18 comments:

Christie Arnold said...

Thank you for sharing this. It's so sad. I hope you can encourage the priest to give a sermon series on biblical sexuality at his parish. Or host a lecture series on the same. Men need to hear how God views their sin (that it IS a sin and not harmless fantasy/natural release) and that they should seek professional help and counseling to rid them of this bondage. This breaks my heart.

--Christie
(www.seekingtofindhim.wordpress.com)

Sophia said...

Priests MUST address the pernitiousness of this type of situation...if only by being willing and available to offer active support to the families, wives and children, suffering in situations as discribed above and providing real moral support to women trapped in this type of situation. This is nothing less than another form of sexual abuse!!! This poor woman should in no way feel guilty for how she feels...for her anger and hurt and suffering from living with such behavoir. It is poison to the human soul. Because he is under the power of an addiction, her husband may not be able to help himself; but as with other addictions, it is the innocent who suffer while the addict numbs his conscience with more of the "substance" he is addicted to. and so the suffering and distruction go on and on. There is no reason for guilt over anger on this poor woman's part. The trick is to hate the sin, but not the sinner...be angry over the source of distructiveness becuase it is distructive to all . The anger is a VERY appropriate responce to pernitious distructiveness. When the behavoir is distinguised from the personhood of the person who is being distructive, it is easier to direct the anger at the appropriate source... here, pornography. What is needed is recognition from the outside that there is VERY REAL reason to be angry and hurt and feel trapped in this type of situation. Priests and members of the Church as a whole, MUST address this...if only by recognizing and admitting how wide-spread and pernitious this problem is so that those suffering by it do not feel so alone and ashamed and unsupported!!! It IS another form of sexual abuse of the innocent (on so many levels)!!! It should not be ignored!!! The Church in this country and others has already lost so much credibility because her members chose to knowingly hide rather than protect the innocent from other forms of sexual abuse (also perpetrated by addicts).

I am sooo grateful this woman had the courage to write this letter. My heart aches for her. What comes to mind over this is the old addage that "evil prevails when good men do nothing"!

Philip Frederick said...

I have struggled with pornography since the 7th grade, and it wasn't until my senior year in college that I finally got solid help for overcoming it. For someone such as myself who has developed this habit over so many years, the hope of being 100% free of it is small. But there is hope that it will become easier and significantly less frequent over time. This is true for myself. What helped me was a free computer program called K9 Web Protection. It works. You must have an accountability partner, but it has prevented me from succumbing to pornography on my computer for at least a year now. That is my advice for anyone who is struggling, or knows someone who struggles. Changing external habits changes the heart.

theresagnes said...

This is heartbreaking. I wish more people were aware that there is a 12 step program that can help pornography addicts and their families: www.sanon.org/‎ , www.sa.org
Like any addiction, addicts and their families need real programs and support to work through this problem. May the Lord be with us in this battle.

misterd418 said...

Thankfully, there are programs for both the addict and the spouse. Sexaholics Anonymous is the place for the porn addict and anyone addicted to any form of sex. S-anon is the program for spouses and family members of sex and lust addicts. Both are 12 step programs, based on the principles, steps, and traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous. Both organizations have meetings all over the US and overseas. These meetings can be found by searching the SA and S-anon websites. If there is any way to communicate this information to the woman who wrote this letter, please pass it on to her. Please pass this information on to anyone else for whom it may be useful. Anyone who thinks he may need one of these programs should just go, introduce himself as a newcomer, and talk to the people there. They are not all trench-coat wearing perverts; they are men and women who have developed a disease and are trying to get well.

Barry Peratt said...

As a recovering addict myself, I would like to encourage you to consider that this type of addiction is almost never about sex. And it is not about you. It is not about you not being good enough to meet his needs. It is not about you having to compete with other women who are somehow "better" than you.

It is about legitimate needs and wounds that the addict has learned to medicate in unhealthy ways. You are not "competing" against the 2-D women, because to him they are not women, they are objects that provide pleasure, relief, and a false sense of well-being -- a way to medicate deep wounds, insecurities, and anxieties which, at their core, have nothing to do with sex. But, the addict, through years of conditioning, has learned to turn every need and every problem that is overwhelming to him into a sexual need, and then satisfy this sexual need by acting out. His way of coping will handicap him emotionally and inter-personally, if it has not already.

There is hope for the one who wants to recover. Really, really. Groups like Sexaholics Anonymous, or Catholic recovery programs like RECLAiM (reclaimsexualhealth.com), that address the brain science underlying addictions. Books like Overcoming Pornography Addiction by Bransfield or An Affair of the Mind by Laurie Hall can help provide perspective and understanding.

There IS recovery from this, but it requires God's grace, a firm conviction, and some understanding about the underlying causes of it. I will keep you and all who suffer from this great evil in my prayers.

M. Prodigal said...

I have also caught my husband with porn more than once. I put a strong filter on his computer. I was and am still shocked at the last time I discovered this and it was XXXX with the click of a mouse. I saw it for only an instant and it burned into my brain.

That intimacy part of our marriage has become a great burden for me. I am angry at myself for not having more desire but I have none.

Don Warden said...

"As one wife of millions who has been affected by her husband's pornography compulsion, I know firsthand the anguish it can cause in souls and marriages. By sharing my story, I hope to show you that you are not alone in this and that you will get through this most difficult time. I believe you can find an even more beautiful life than the one that has just been shattered. I know this because I have lived through the infidelity of pornography, and now my marriage is better than it was before - sanctified and whole. Yours can be too. With all my heart, I want you to know and believe this."
From the booklet "Fighting for Your Marriage - A Catholic Guide for the Wife of a Porn Addict" - http://reclaimsexualhealth.com/

Unknown said...

This women's letter is quite moving and I just could not stop thinking about the tremendous harm her husbands SIN has caused her. And it is the sin part that makes me write. When I used pornography and confessed it in Penence most priests just never gave any direction. Then I met a good one who would not give me absolution until I made a committment to break the porn habit. He also pointed out the utter disrespect porn has for women -- knowing that I had daugthers. That did it for me. No way I am gonna lose my soul for this trash. So, I just quite cold turkey thanks to the grace and help of Our Lord. My point is it is time the men take some responsibility here for their own actions.

Jimmy Navarro said...

It always saddens me that no one dares to speak of demonic activity and how God, Our Father, Our Lord Jesus and The Holy Spirit, have given us the means to bind the enemy and cast him away. It is not easy but not impossible either. We must come to Love God deeper than we love ourselves and those around us. It takes a lot of prayers and support. I will pray for you and yours, please pray for me and mine. God Bless you.

Beth Meier said...

This is a devastatingly painful issue within marriage. I would know, my husband and I have been working through his internet addiction since 2001. There is help and there is hope. For wives, counseling and support groups can be very helpful, even if you do it once a week or every other week for 3-6 months. Regardless of your husband’s recovery or lack-there-of, you need to get some tool to help heal the wounds the addiction has inflicted. Dr. Peter Kloponis in PA is an excellent Catholic therapist to contact. Sam Meier in Kansas City, KS is as well. He leads the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas Freedom from Pornography program where he helps men gain freedom through Catholic 12 step programs, counseling and brain science info regarding the addiction. RECLAiM also does great brain science information. Brain science helps both husbands and wives understand how difficult this addiction is to stop. The chemicals released in an orgasm are more powerful than heroin and b/c it is an image and not a person, oxytocin in not released during orgasm so the pleasure is spiked and them plummets making them want more and at a higher intensity. This is very different than making love with your spouse where there is eye contact, positive and affirming conversation, the giving of self with the other in mind and with skin to skin contact there is oxytocin released which causes less of a spike in the pleasure yet a gradual fall which makes the pleasure last longer and more fulfilling. Dr. Laurie Heap in Kansas also speaks to this at her website www.AreYouHealthyAreYouHappy.com. There is a new website for Catholic women needing support called www.CatholicWomenNotAlone.weebly.com. Lastly, don't give up.

Beth Meier said...

Also, Speaking with priests is great, yet not many have been trained and could give detrimental advice to either husband or wife. This is a relatively new addiction/problem as the internet has only been mainstream for about 13-15 years. Protestants have been very on top of this issue yet don't have the full vision of human sexuality and therefore there are some Christian books and information that can be harmful and confusing such as a man needs a sexual release every 72 hrs. This is not true. Protect your home with accountability software such as Covenant Eyes. They are nice b/c they have developed a Catholic focus now hence why they hired Matt Fradd. TOB is amazing, stick with it and open conversations with kids, even as young as in the womb are a must. We have a 2 and 4 yr old and from the moment we found out we were pregnant we affirmed their bodies and their future vocations. They are boys and so we pray every night that they respect their bodies as God created them male and that they grow up defending women and children. We pray for their future wives or future bishops depending on their vocations. We guard their eyes and discuss things such as immodesty and that we must pray for the young women who chose to dress in such a way. Sam and I recently spoke to the students at the University of Notre Dame about the issue of pornography in marriage. Feel free to check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZmSeXyNGK2Y. We speak with Donny Pauling and Chrissy Outlaw, both of which have retired from the "adult" industry and now share their stories. Donny just entered the Church this past Easter! Their stories are amazing. We've spoken with them a few times over the years and first were paired together through a talk that That Man Is You set up. The students were blown away and really received it well. After the talk about 20 young women came and wanted to talk to me about their boyfriend's struggles with porn. We need more women to speak out about this and to unite to first of all get the support we need and to protect our children and hopefully to heal our marriages. Our marriage is stronger than it ever would have been b/c working through this addiction, yet it was difficult and I wouldn't wish this on anyone. I feared starting a family with him and I struggled to trust. That is not a marriage. Working through past wounds and getting to the why of porn for him was vital along with finding support for him (guys cannot do this alone) and putting boundaries in place for him (no cable, no flipping through TV channels, no sports pages in newspaper-there are escort ads, no walking down magazine aisles in stores, etc) and for me (I developed anger issues) such as have a coping tool to keep me from getting into brain stem mode where I wouldn't have much control of what I said or did-yikes. We went to Marriage Encounter, Retrouvaille, Living in Love, Dr. Mark and Debbie Laasers' 3 day retreats, counseling (marriage and individual), EMDR work for trauma-it has been stated by Dr. Stephanie Carnes that wives can go through a PTSD-type experience, recovery (for him) and support (for me). I pray for you and please reach out for more help as it is there. Blessings!!!

Doug Pearson said...

If this husband and father has these magazines in his home and is still looking at these web sites he is not able to licitly receive Holy Communion. Doubly so if his boys knows about their fathers indulgence in this serious sin.

I do not envy the parish pastor who stands before God on judgement day who did not address this vigorously from the pulpit. Even if the father/husband refused to desist his boys would know the truth of the matter... which is that their father is not a "good man".

I feel terribly for this poor woman and these children. The man, I have no sympathy for because he is not being attacked by pornography, he has to seek it out. Sure it's a real problem in our culture but that just means we need real men to stand up and tell the truth... including parish priests!

Tina said...

THANK YOU to the people who mentioned SA and S-Anon. These two programs saved my marriage and my life. Anyone who is struggling with porn addiction (or sex addiction of any kind) will absolutely find help in SA. Anyone who is struggling with living with someone who has a sexual addiction will absolutely find help in S-Anon. I can't say enough about these two organizations. This woman DOES NOT have to suffer in silence.

Emily B said...

Thank you for sharing. I will pray for you and your family. Here is another woman's story of the struggle with porn in her marriage:
http://www.conversationwithwomen.org/category/pornographyhealing/

743deffc-de25-11e3-b02a-000bcdca4d7a said...

MD here, grateful recovering sexaholic. After 9 years of looking at porn, trying to stop, begging God to heal me, 3 discoveries by my wife, and a visit to a counselor, I was told to go to SA. I asked if he thought I was an addict. He told me to just go. It turns out I have an addiction. Thankfully, by the grace of God, there is hope. My wife goes to S-Anon, and our marriage is better now than it has ever been. If you feel like you might have a sex addiction of any kind, get to a meeting. Just introduce yourself and tell them you are a newcomer. I assure you that we are not a bunch of wierdos. We are teachers, lawyers, plumbers, doctors, professors, contractors, and we are a very accepting and welcoming group. Don't worry about being embarrassed; you won't say anything we haven't already heard.

Sober Kenobi said...

I'll join the choir of voices about SA. It saved my sanity and life.

I couldn't understand how I could go to confession week after week for over a decade, in tears and with a firm resolution to stop, and yet would be acting out again within a few days.

The problem isn't stopping; it's not starting again. That's where a 12 step group like SA comes in to provide a community of persons and a series of actions to get at the addiction from the root.

I was enslaved to the addiction for 14 years, and by the grace of God and the help of counseling and a 12 step group, I've been sober for over two years now.

Ryan said...

Please, I beg every family to start taking your role as parents seriously and protect your loved ones online. Please subscribe today to Covenant Eyes (www.covenanteyes.com), get accountability and filtering software for all the devices where your loved ones access the web.

The image of this mother with red eyes and a tear is so familiar to me. As a Covenant Eyes employee I meet with Mom's everyday who are truly suffering because of porn.

Bishops, Priest, Deacons, please encourage the people you have in your care to get Covenant Eyes.