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PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2016 1:39 pm 
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Exercise One:

A. Because the discovery of your partner's addiction will no doubt reflect many commonalities with others, it is at the same time uniquely devastating to you. Take some time to share your background in relation to the discovery of your partner's sexual and/or romantic compulsions/addiction. Share an unadulterated version of your partner's addiction with someone you trust; or, anonymously in this forum.

Nearly 1 year into our marriage, my husband went out for a drink with a friend while I was home sick with a kidney infection. I was feeling awful and was considering taking a trip to the ER after a bout of vomiting. I tried calling my husband, there was initially an answer, but it sounded like his pocket answered, he was not there. This followed by my calling repeatedly trying to get him to answer, ringing and ringing and ringing, all to voicemail and messages left. Then continued calls, all going straight to voicemail as if his phone had been turned off. I sent text messages, all unresponded to. I panicked as nothing like this had happened before, I began to wonder if he had been in an accident, had been arrested for DUI, or????? He finally arrived home later to tell me some weird story about how he was walking and dropped his phone in a puddle and it stopped working. Several weeks later, our bank statements arrived. I reviewed his, which which showed 2 purchases had been made at our local sex book/novelty store. This store also has booths in the back where you can put coins in to watch porn. I questioned him about this and he initially lied to me about what he was doing there, then he told me had gone in the back to watch some porn.
I don't remember when he first told me what "really" happened (to this day I still don't feel confident I know the full truth), but he had an encounter with another man who had walked into his booth where they masturbated together. He swears this was all that happened between them, I'm still not sure what to believe.

Not long after this, I discovered he had been emailing random men through craigslist ads about hookups. Graphic details about sexual things he was interested in doing -- all to men. This shocked me to my core. He revealed to me at the time, that he had 2 homosexual encounters exchanging oral sex with men when in his early 20's, which he attributed to men being more willing to participate in casual sex than women. He swore he did not believe he was gay, that he was sexually attracted to women, that he loved me, was sexually attracted to me. He swore up and down he had never been to meet any of these people in real life, that it turned him on to exchange these types of messages and he masturbated while doing this, but that was it. He tried to tell me that none of the people posting ads on craigslist looking for casual sexual encounters were real, so it was not big deal. I know better than this and told him if that's what he really thinks, he is fooling himself.

After this discovery, I insisted we go to marriage counseling. He made statements during this time that seemed out of touch with reality to me, it was confusing. While under stress he made statements like, "I thought it was okay because you would never know". What? doesn't he understand that that is exactly what TRUST is about??? During the counseling, the therapist explained he was compartmentalizing this behavior, which was not ok to do in a marriage. I set firmer boundaries (that I thought were implied when we got married, but obviously not) -- my new boundary: no sexual encounters of any kind with people that are not me. Not texting, not emailing, not in real life. We talked about his trip to the adult bookstore that happened when I was sick and why he felt the need to go watch porn at this location. My thought about this at the time was -- we have the internet at home, if you want to watch porn do it at home please. At the time, I had no clue how absolutely destructive internet porn can be, how people's brains are rewired by it, etc. I had no clue as to the escalation that occurs when consuming a lot of internet porn. Our marriage counselor did not say anything about the dangers of consuming a lot of porn. I think she should have, BUT.... woulda shoulda coulda....

I have a lot of friends who have struggled with their sexuality, going from being gay, then deciding maybe they're not "all gay", and switching back and forth between genders for relationships. While I was shocked that he was participating in these things with men, he was so ashamed, but yet seemed so honest about his confusion and telling me of his past sexual encounters with men, I felt sympathy for him for this piece of the puzzle. He grew up in a catholic household. His parents NEVER talked to him, or his siblings, about sex at all EVER. I figured no wonder he's confused. I also told him that if he wanted to explore this side of his sexuality, that was fine with me, as long as he did it within the new boundaries that I set, and he agreed to. Watch gay porn if you want to, but if you feel yourself wanting more than this, please talk to me about it. Did he? Nope. He made his own decisions, never talked to me, exploited my trust, and crossed the boundary I had set many times. And I had no clue..... I feel stupid for not recognizing this, stupid for marrying someone that would exploit me in this way, stupid for being this understanding and having this lead to what I am now dealing with.

So, my husband starting watching porn at home. I never had a problem with this, but I did start noticing he was spending more and more time with it, and less with me. Eventually, he stopped initiating sex. Occasionally, when I would initiate, he would say he was too tired. I have a stressful job, and was tired a lot, so it didn't bother me too much for a while. The marriage counselor we saw told him that the primary way to restore the trust that had been broken was for him to be an open book - I had access to all emails, facebook, and he was under no circumstances to delete internet history. Initially, seeing porn sites on his browser history made me feel safe, but as time went on the list on the browser history got longer and longer and longer -- so many sites and videos visited per day, I could not figure out how he could watch so many, this is hours and hours of time per day. I recently watched the video called "your brain on porn" at www.yourbrainonporn.com - what an eye opener! It helps make some sense of all this madness on an intellectual perspective.

At any rate, I was looking at his phone a few months ago and noticed a kik app (I had no clue what this was) - I opened it and found a long graphic sexual text conversation he had with a woman. Him describing in disgusting detail all the things he wanted to do to her. I lost it. I felt like I disconnected from my body in that moment. I immediately confronted him about what the hell this was? He lied and lied and lied. Then I noticed that this kik account was associated with an email address I was unaware of. I asked him to open the email account so I could see what was inside, he tried to lie, but realized he could not lie his way out of it this. I remember him saying, "ok, but this is going to suck". He told he me that all the porn sites he had been visiting are always advertising dating hookup sites and that he would go to these sites and have communications with various people like the ones I saw on kik. He swore up and down that he had never met any of these people in person. He started to cry and said, "I'm so tired of feeling like this, I want help, I don't want to feel like this anymore. I want to be honest, I want to be a good husband". The following day, he researched therapists online and found one that specializes in addiction, got authorization from his insurance, and made an appointment.

I felt as though my whole world had shattered, I could not understand how he do this again when we had agreed it would not. I felt I had started to be able to trust him again, only to have this happen. What the hell??? He has been seeing this counselor on a weekly basis since then and they have invited me to their sessions twice. I am the kind of people who needs have as much information I can get my hands on when dealing with uncertainty. It makes me feel more in control, knowledge is power. I started reading about porn addiction, sex addiction. Bought books, read them, searched the web and read more. The more I read, I had this nagging feeling there was no way he had told me everything. I also read suggestions that repeated from various sources, when you find out you are married to a sex addiction, give it a year to see how things go instead of making a knee jerk decision to divorce, which initially felt like my only option. I told him I would give him that year, see how he does, and see if we should try to work this out, or cut our losses and move on. I eventually told him of my nagging feeling that he had not been completely honest -- when I left for work one morning on a day he did not work -- I told him that I did not believe that the only stuff he had told me about, which was stuff I discovered on my own, had been all he was engaged in. I knew there was more, and if there was any hope at salvaging our marriage, he had to come clean and tell me BEFORE I found out on my own. One more lie regarding this behavior that I discovered on my own, that was it, I would be out the door and there would be no hope for a future together. I went to work - I felt like I was in a constant state of anxiety all day, nearing full blown panic attack. That is a horrible way to feel for such a long time when I'm trying to focus on my job. I came home and he told me he had not been completely honest. Through those dating sites he had been using, he had had about 10 encounters for casual hookups, all of them with men. I went into shock, this was worse than my worst nightmare, an here it was in front of me. This was maybe 6 weeks ago now, and while the shellshock is wearing off, I still feel like I'm losing my mind. I have good days and bad days, although the bad days seem a little less bad and the good days are a little more good.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2016 2:11 pm 
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exercise 2: Write out your vision. Use any format you would like. As a general rule, the more personal, the better. Post this vision in your Healing Thread. There is no right or wrong to this vision...though it should be comprehensive enough for a stranger (in this case, me) to read it and have a pretty good idea as to what you value and the life that you want to live.

I see myself being kind and patient with myself, putting myself first more often, recognizing that my needs are important. I see myself communicating my needs to those around me and seeking understanding and support from others. I see myself expecting that my needs will be taken seriously by people that seek my affection and care. I see myself treating only those who demonstrate that they genuinely value me as a human-being to my affection and love and caring. I see myself disconnecting from people that exploit my trust and do not honor me as I deserve to be honored. I see myself managing my personal responsibility to honor my own right to be happy. I see myself being patient with myself when I do not behave in a way that is becoming of the person I want to be. I see myself seeking peace and calm in natural spaces, and in my home. I see myself honoring loving myself by doing kind things for me every. single. day. I see myself talking to myself with kindness and love. I see myself trusting myself and my judgment. I see myself loving myself and giving me what I need to be whole, without expecting that love and care to come from someone else. I see myself laughing easily. I see myself finding joy often. I see myself feeling light. I see myself taking life in stride. I see myself feeling confident. I see myself feeling proud. I see myself reclaiming my power. I see myself..... at peace.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2016 5:11 pm 
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A) Brainstorm the times when your 'gut feelings' have been right about your partner's sexual and/or romantic behavior. Include times when you feel strongly that you were right (though it may never have been proven either way).

B) Identify as many major situations as you can where you allowed your head/heart to override your 'gut feelings' in relation to your partner's behavior.

I found a text message from an unfamiliar number in my husbands phone discussing plans to meet. the conversation was not sexual and seemed off to me somehow, so familiar for a number that was not programmed into his phone. I asked him about it and he told me some stupid story about how it was a friends burner phone that he used when selling pot, that this friend did not use his regular phone for these types of communications. He has now confirmed for me that this was someone he previously hooked up with and that was what the conversation was about.

when I was home sick and he was at the adult bookstore masturbating (or who knows what else) with another man. I called and texted close to 40-50 times with no response. Told me he dropped his phone in a puddle, or some nonsense. I knew this was not true, but was so sick that night and so relieved he was alive that I let it go. He has now confirmed for me that he lied.

When discovered emails he was sending in response to craigslist ads for casual sex and told me "these are not real people" (convinced myself he was being naïve - turns out I was!) and he told me he had never gone to meet any of these people and had no intention to - it was harmless and he was only masturbating. This seemed totally off to me, but he was engaged in treatment with a psychiatrist and a therapist and convinced me he was working on these things in therapy, so I convinced myself he was actively engaged in working on this behavior.

C) Relying on the experience you have gained, make a list of likely behaviors, situations and/or feelings that may trigger a conflict between your gut instinct, your value system and/or reality.

My husband says he's trying hard at his recovery and he seems more sincere than he has ever seemed to me about anything. Yet, he has lied to me so many times about so many things and I feel stupid for believing him in the past because I should not have. Is his sincerity real? How can I believe anything he tells me, ever again? My gut tells me I can believe him one minute, but not the next. This is how absurdly mixed up I feel. I feel like I cannot trust my intuition. My intuition feels broken. I am desperately hopeful that the information and exercises on this site can help me resolve this problem because it makes me feel like I'm going crazy.

I feel like I can't trust myself and my judgment and intuition in situations that occur in other aspects of my life. Like at work, I recently had a significantly less experience coworker challenge a decision I had made. I have been doing this job for 17 years, he for only 7 months. My gut told me I am 100% confident I did the correct thing, how dare he challenge me on this, then okay.... this is a training opportunity, I should help him learn and give him some education. Just being challenged on such a minor level and having to defend my judgment to a newbie gave me so much anxiety. I questioned my judgment about something I have NEVER felt questionable about.

Ugh.... I hate this! I feel like I'm living in a house of mirrors. I don't know what's real and what's an illusion. What is up and what is down. I am questioning so many things that I have always taken for granted. It's maddening. This whole situation has undermined my confidence nearly completely.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2016 6:43 am 
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Hello magikalfairy,

Welcome to RecoveryNation and great start on your workshop!

Quote:
He tried to tell me that none of the people posting ads on craigslist looking for casual sexual encounters were real, so it was not big deal. I know better than this and told him if that's what he really thinks, he is fooling himself.
Good for you for holding your ground-of course they are real people! They may or may not be seeking in earnest, but they are still real people. It is sad how the apparent distance provided the internet gives people the illusion that their actions do not have consequences.

Quote:
Our marriage counselor did not say anything about the dangers of consuming a lot of porn. I think she should have, BUT.... woulda shoulda coulda....
It is possible that the counselor didn’t know. As experienced as she sounds, there is likely not a large body of research on the subject of how brains can be re-wired by porn (and other sensory input) and frankly, some remain in denial.

Quote:
And I had no clue..... I feel stupid for not recognizing this, stupid for marrying someone that would exploit me in this way, stupid for being this understanding and having this lead to what I am now dealing with.
You were trusting and there is nothing stupid about that (i.e. before you had any concrete reason to not trust).

I am so sorry you are going through what you are going through. His coming clean on what he was probably going to take to his grave is a good thing, but unfortunately it does not mean that he has turned the corner. Complete honesty is one aspect that will move him toward a health based recovery, but it could also be used as a means to manage a crisis such as the potential threat of being left. Time will tell. You have been wise to educate yourself (knowledge is power).

Good work on your vision, so far. There is a lot of great self-care in your vision, which is a very good thing. Now, think a bit more concretely-what/who/where do you value and see yourself doing/involving/surrounding yourself with/in that would bring you joy/make you feel light/make you feel proud of yourself, etc.? Reflect on this as you continue through the workshop-no need to answer here.

Quote:
My husband says he's trying hard at his recovery and he seems more sincere than he has ever seemed to me about anything. Yet, he has lied to me so many times about so many things and I feel stupid for believing him in the past because I should not have. Is his sincerity real? How can I believe anything he tells me, ever again? My gut tells me I can believe him one minute, but not the next. This is how absurdly mixed up I feel. I feel like I cannot trust my intuition. My intuition feels broken. I am desperately hopeful that the information and exercises on this site can help me resolve this problem because it makes me feel like I'm going crazy.
It is not absurd that you feel mixed up-it is to be expected given what you have been through. Also, he may not always be lying when you think he is, and he may not always be lying, and you may not always sense when he is lying. This does not mean that you can’t trust your gut. Coach Jon once said to me “your gut may not always be right, but it is likely closer to the truth than his word”. The point is that a person with an addiction will lie if they have anything to protect. Even past behaviours can be seen as something to protect (out of fear of imagined consequences). There are lessons in the workshop that help you sort out what kind of recovery he is in (sincere, crisis management, and his likelihood of recovery (continue to struggle, succeed in transcending addiction completely, etc.).

Please continue with your work. The vision and values work is work, but it will be an invaluable resource in helping you restore confidence in yourself. Great work so far-keep going!

Be well.

_________________
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. (Viktor E. Frankl)


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2016 10:14 pm 
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Exercise Four

1) Make a list of those values in your partner's life that — in your gut — you believe is a part of him. Set aside the addiction and the behaviors that were a part of that addiction. Focus on what values you believe will survive the recovery process. Post these in your Healing Thread. If there is a time when you are feeling close to your partner, share these thoughts with him — so that he knows that you are beginning to separate the addiction from his core identity.

- he loves animals, especially our cats
- he cares deeply for his mother
- he takes care of me when I'm sick
- he is serious about his goal to finish school and getting a good job
- he cares a lot about the people that are close to him in life

2) Make a list of those qualities in your partner that you believe will continue to pose as obstacles throughout your relationship.

- he leaves trash laying around the house instead of throwing it in the garbage
- he doesn't help with the house as much as I would like
- he smokes more pot than is healthy
- he has a lot of anxiety when traveling and in social situations


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2016 10:52 pm 
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Exercise Five

Addiction is a rational way to manage life using irrational behavior. Meaning, there is a very logical purpose for the existence of addiction in a person's life. Though to all, the actions/choices associated with that addiction are often completely irrational.

A. How do you manage your stress? What would it take for you to become so emotionally overwhelmed that you would turn to irrational behavior to produce enough intensity to escape from that stress? Can you think of a time in your life that you have turned to such a measure?

I manage stress in many different ways, sometimes with exercise, sometimes with yoga or meditation, sometimes with zoning out and watching TV that does not require any thinking, sometimes by playing silly games on my phone, sometimes with food, sometimes with alcohol, sometimes with music and dancing, sometimes with a hot bath and soothing music. I have been very emotionally overwhelmed in my life on numerous occasions to the point that I felt like I understood why people participate in self-mutilation to ease their pain. I remember feeling at a time that cutting myself would have felt soothing. The thought of this terrified me, and I did not engage in this behavior, it scared me enough to snap me out of that trance and start engaging in healthier behaviors like exercise, hiking, being in nature, doing yoga, taking hot baths.

B. Consider a compulsive behavior that you have engaged in. Break it down thoroughly. Get a sense for the anxiety that you experienced prior to engaging in the act. Imagine the continued anxiety that you would have experienced had you not engaged in the act. Describe that anxiety in your own words.

The only thing I can think of, although I don't know if it is compulsive, but frequently when I'm stressed I use food as a treat to calm myself. Sugar and salt..... cake, chips, French fries, chocolate. It eases stress, but only very temporarily, then it returns and I have to search for something more constructive to make things better. such as exercise, yoga, getting a pedicure, taking a hot bath. Real self-care.

C. In contemplating the role that addiction has played in your partner's life, imagine what his/her life would be like without this life management skill in place. To be clear, the task here is not to imagine his life without the consequences of the addiction, but to imagine how he would manage his emotions without having the compulsive act to engage in. How would he stimulate himself emotionally? What would he use to regulate his stress? Not how should he, mind you, but how would he?

I am struggling to understand how to respond to this question. I don't know how he would regulate his stress. I would assume he would do it like other people, by drinking, using drugs, exercising, eating, spending time with friends/family.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2016 11:27 pm 
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Exercise Six

Understanding the sexualized mind will go a long way in allowing you to better relate to what you are currently experiencing. The more objective insights and awareness that you develop, the stronger will be your ability to maintain confidence and control in your life. And, the faster it will be achieved.

A. If you have not already done so, consider reading the first half of He Danced Alone.

B. Quite often, many sexual behaviors occur with such subtlety, such consistency and/or are so well disguised (through humor, anger, guilt, etc.) that it is not until you filter these behaviors through a net of sexual addiction when you realize that they are indeed woven from the same cloth. But the reality is, the majority of sexual addicts have positioned themselves within a cocoon of sexuality that is not related to their personality, but rather, their addiction. With this in mind, think of your partner's behavior over the course of your relationship. Describe the patterns that you suspect can be attributed to a sexualized mind.

C. Of the four areas discussed in this lesson, which have you observed in your partner?

He frequently chooses instant gratification and does not seem to consider the longer term consequences of his behavior. He has been working with a therapist and I am learning more about his childhood experiences that seem to have led to his addictive behavior. He has an older brother who has suffered from drug and alcohol addiction since his early teens. He also seems to have some kind of psychiatric issue. When he was young there was a lot of chaos in the home due to the brother's behavior, he would physically abuse his parents, destroy the home and all things in it, etc. My husband would come home from school and there would be police at the home. His parents would lock him and his brother in their rooms, but would NEVER ever talk to them about what had happened. My husband talks about discovering masturbation as a coping mechanism discovered during this time and that he has used it as an emotional manager ever since. He also witnessed his parents cope with their stress by over-consuming alcohol and smoking. His mother is a devout catholic and sex was NEVER discussed in their home. His parents never had the birds and the bees discussion with him which left him to learn about sex on his own. His parents were so busy numbing their own realities that they withheld affection.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2016 7:40 pm 
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exercise 7

A. Consider the role that you have played in your partner's recovery to date. In the field below, describe these roles as they relate to:
I. Effective communication
II. Managing your partner's recovery
III. Empowering/disempowering a pursuit of health

I have gone through my own personal healing through individual therapy with a counselor shortly before I met my husband. During this therapy I learned to identify that I am not responsible for others choices and how to communicate more effectively. For the most part, I feel I do this. However in reading through this exercise, I recognize I am guilty of some of the "do nots". While I try to remain positive and communicate in an effective manner, I have been guilty of having moments of hostility and yelling and blaming. My husband did not try to defend himself or explain away my anger like he would have in the past, which I really appreciated. He recently had a slip, and initially I was able to have a productive conversation with him about it and help him reframe the situation for him. I was really proud of myself for this, and he found it to be very helpful. However, the slip drudged up a lot of uncertainty for me and I fell apart later, like a week later I had a bit of a mental/emotional breakdown where I was feeling like divorce was an unavoidable option. When he asked what I needed from him to help alleviate my distress, I told him I needed him to make his recovery more of a priority than I was able to witness such as spending more time on the forums here, I bought some books online I asked him to read with me. I should mention he goes to a therapy session weekly and I really have a lot of confidence in the counselor he is seeing. I try to resist the urge to mange his recovery. I find this to be very challenging. I am an adult child of an alcoholic, this is a learned behavior for me (feeling responsible for other peoples choices/actions). I am trying very hard to let go of trying to control everything. It is a struggle for me. I have days where I am able to maintain my cool, model healthy communication, empower his positive choices. It seems once I am doing well, I collapse. The collapses seem fewer and farther between I really hope that trend continues.

B. Consider the focus and attention that has been offered to your partner in recovery; are you gaining equal resource to heal your own wounds? If not, what can you do to ensure that your healing is considered every bit as important as your partner's recovery?

I have not sought equal resource to heal my wounds, meaning I am not actively in counseling. I consider it on and off and may eventually choose to go. My husband has found an excellent counselor that specializes in addiction. I am a bit hesitant to find someone to see myself given the widespread lack of understanding regarding this specific problem. The more I read online and in books and here, the more I realize I could accidentally seek help from someone who will lead me astray, even if it is with good intentions. I feel happy I have found this forum and it is the most grounded, well-rounded resource I have found. For now, I plan to go through this workshop and if something occurs that pushes me to seek my own individual counseling, I will do my homework to make sure I find someone that is able to genuinely help me through this.

Aside from that, when my gut tells me I need something, I ask for it, and my requests have been granted nearly 100% of the time. when I ask for space, my partner gives it to me. when I need a day to do nothing but lay around and watch TV, I do and my partner does not judge me. Days like that are really helpful to me, just to be and indulge in the escape of a dumb TV show that allows me to laugh.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2016 8:18 pm 
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Exercise Eight
While this workshop is about rebuilding your life, you are nonetheless impacted by the ongoing behavior of your partner (unless you have completely broken away from the relationship). For those who continue to be impacted by their partner's behavior:

If you were to identify three issues relating to your partner's recovery that you would like to see changed, what would they be?

To steal from the examples provided: He communicates only positive aspects of his recovery, that type of selective disclosure worries me.
I have told him that his recovery can't just be going great and that there are no problems and I want to hear about it all. The good, the bad. He worries about giving me more bad news and putting more on my already loaded plate. We had a very honest conversation recently where he shared some of his fears, stresses, how he is feeling and coping that included some pf the less than rosy stuff. I really appreciated it and it he was surprised to hear that this disclosure made me feel more comfortable and less anxious. After reading this exercise and reflecting, I think I need to try to encourage this type of discussion on a more regular basis, for both of us.

He is a student in an RN program. The program is very intensive and time consuming and stressful. I have concerns that he is so focused on school that he is not spending as much time as he should on recovery. I have asked him to spend time to do one exercise from this forum each week. He initially agreed to this, but has not been doing it. I feel conflicted about this. He does see his therapist weekly and makes time for that, I just know from talking to him that he found the information on this forum to be extremely helpful and was a very useful tool in supplementing what he is learning in therapy. I struggle with this because I don't want to manage his recovery. I know he is busy with school, BUT I also think this is a small thing to ask, especially when he has told me how helpful he found it to be. If someone reads this post, I would really appreciate some feedback about this particular issue - thank you)

He goes through periods where he seems very committed to recovery, then seems to sort of drift from the course. Although, he may not really be drifting, perhaps he is just not communicating with me, which kind of goes back to my first point.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2016 3:24 pm 
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Exercise Nine
A. What are the key signs that you have observed in your partner that lead you to believe that he/she is engaged in a healthy recovery?

He meets with his therapist weekly, schedules his own appointments without me reminding him or helping him do it, he comes home from his appointments and offers to discuss with me what was discussed in his session. I have brought up things I feel he needs to discuss with his therapist in session, he does this and comes home openly ready and willing to discuss with me his therapist's thoughts, suggestions.

B. What are the key signs that you have observed in your partner that lead you to believe that he/she is NOT engaged in a healthy recovery?

He had one slip about a month ago. I caught him masterbating to porn online. When I asked what the thoughts were that went through his head before making the decision to engage in this activity, his response was that he had worked really hard all week and that he would "reward" himself. We had a long discussion about the fact that I think he needs to reframe this decision. It is not a reward to engage in activity that he says is destroying his life and that he desires to stop.

C. How have you communicated your observations to your partner? Have you communicated the healthy observations as well as the unhealthy? How has your partner responded?

I have communicated what I see as positive, but probably not as much as I should. I have tended to report my observations of the negative. There have been periods that he seems disconnected and not communicative. We had a lengthy discussion about this, and he really opened up. He was afraid of telling me how he was feeling because he knows how much he's hurt me, he didn't want to add to my burden. I told him that what hurts me most is him not sharing with me what he is thinking and feeling, even if it will be painful. He told me some things that he thought would be painful to me and add to my burden. He seemed surprised that I was relieved and happier having the information shared.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2016 4:03 pm 
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Exercise Ten
Return to your vision created in Stage One; Lesson Two. Select the three most important values that you need right now to help you stabilize your life.

1. Being kind and patient with myself
2. Doing things for myself, things that make me happy
3. Being confident and trusting my gut

B) For each, think about the meaning and fulfillment you are getting compared to the potential meaning and fulfillment available.

1) I have been more kind and patient with myself lately, but am still critical of myself and my choices. I have some work to do in this area.
2) The primary things I have been doing for myself are allowing myself to be lazy and have quiet time without responsibility to others. I would like to expand this to things aside from allowing myself to be lazy sitting on the couch watching TV and playing on the internet. I would like to exercise, get outside and go for walks, do yoga, and practice other forms of self care. I know I will feel much more better than I do sitting around.
3) My confidence has been improving lately, I feel like I am questioning myself less, but I still have a ways to go in this area as I am still questioning myself and my choices more than I believe is healthy.

C) Develop a specific plan that will allow you to maximize the potential in each of those three values.
1) Be more aware of my thoughts and feelings so that I may catch myself being unkind or impatient with me. When I notice I am doing this, I will stop and have a dialogue with myself about what I can do to address why I am being unkind to myself.
2) Start by adding yoga at least one day per week and slowly increase my physical activity to include aerobics and weight training. Set my goal low and realistic so that I do not fail and feel defeated.
3) Being mindful of situations in which I lack confidence and catching myself responding to a situation by not trusting my gut. When a situation arises that makes me feel out of touch with my gut values. Stop. Observe. Why are you feeling this way?

D) List the steps you will take in the next 24 hours to begin strengthening each value.
1) Take deep breaths and reflect. Be patient. Recognize you will not change overnight and this is not a race. Take things slowly as you are able. You will get there when you are meant to get there.
2) Do yoga tomorrow morning before work. See how much different and better you feel after.
3) Be mindful of your gut. Make an effort to listen to it without judgment. Why is your confidence wavering? I think the yoga practice will help in this area as well as in the area of #1.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2016 4:47 pm 
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Exercise 11

A. You know I have difficulty trusting people and in knowing this, you assured me I could trust you. You led me to believe it was safe for me to lower the walls I have had up for years. I let these walls down, I felt safe, I felt secure and just when I was realizing this brand new way of living, that I had never known before, I discovered that you were no different that the others. You were worse because you told me I could trust you and that you would not exploit my trust. Then not only did you exploit my trust, but you did so in the most dispicable way. You made the biggest promise to me of your life on our wedding day, then nearly immediately started lying to me, deceiving me, deceiving yourself. You built and underground life that you did not share with me, that you lied about. When things got tough, instead of turning toward me as your partner, you turned away from me and to other people, strangers, to help you deal with your feelings. And for what? I feel completely destroyed. I am not the same person. I had finally learned to be myself, be open with the world about who I am and not hide my true self. I liked the freedom I felt living in this way. Now I feel that has been robbed from me by you. Now because your repulsive behavior, I have to wear an emotional mask every time I step outside our home. I must pretend to the world that I am okay, because no one understands. I lived most of my life this way and stopped doing that when I went through my own therapy about a year before we met. I was able to continue living this way for the first several years of our relationship. Then one year into our marriage...... I feel I have suddenly been robbed of this freedom, of this joy. I feel resentful that this has been taken from me. At times, I hate you for it. Then at times, I feel such compassion for the pain I know you are feeling that led you down the path you chose that I want to take you in my arms and tell you it will all be okay. It is confusing. I have dealt with pain all my life. You made me believe it was possible to be in a relationship where pain was not the expectation, but happiness and joy was. You lied. Now I feel like I will never trust again, just when I learned to trust. Who is there to trust if not you? Apparently no one. Why are other people so f**king selfish? Why does no one ever put my feelings first? Why did you minimize me in this way? How could you treat me with such insane disregard? You have exploited me in a way that I could NEVER have imagined being exploited. I feel broken and unworthy of love in a way I never thought I could. Your behavior has demeaned me in a way you will never understand. I have felt low at other points in my life prior to this, but this is worse because you tricked me into believing these were things of the past. You made me feel valued by another person more than I ever have before, then devalued me more than anyone else ever has. You have taken me for granted and for this I am pissed off. However, even with all of this, you tell me you are resolved to change and I want more than anything to believe that you mean it. That you really will conquer this. But I am scared. I am scared to trust you. I am scared to believe you. Because what has that gotten me? It has gotten me this. This horrible thing that I never wanted or even knew could happen. Please don't let me down. Please do what you say and say what you mean. Please turn toward me when things get tough. Please stop running from yourself.

B. I am so sorry I have hurt you. I wanted more than anything for you to feel safe with me and feel like you could trust. I am in pain an d have been since I can remember. I have managed my negative emotions with addictions my entire life. Addiction to drugs, addiction to alcohol, addiction to masturbation, addiction to pornography, addiction to sex. I thought I was protecting you by keeping these things to myself. I now realize I was wrong. I now know that in order to be a whole and happy person, I must not only be honest with you, but honest with myself. I don't know that I could ever understand the devastation I have thrust upon you, but I will spend the rest of my life working to be an honest man who lives his life with integrity and honesty. In the future when I am feeling low and am tempted to turn away from you and toward my addiction, I will be mindful of what I want for myself and our life together and make a conscious decision to turn toward you and leave the addictive behavior behind. I will recognize that shielding you from my pain is not helpful to you or to our marriage, that it is damaging and destructive. I will work to live my life in the light and not turn toward the darkness. I realize there is nothing there for me that will make me the person I want to be and it is not the partner that you deserve.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2016 5:22 pm 
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Exercise Twelve
A. Describe where you are now in terms of your response to the discovery of your partner's addiction. Not where you were last month, or where you hope to be next month. Where are you right now?

I still obsess about where he is and what he's doing when I don't know. While I believe there is a way through this and toward a happier meaningful life together, I worry we won't make it. Really more that I worry he won't make it and will let me down and I will be in a different hell than I am now. I worry if he doesn't make it that we will divorce, which will spell financial ruin for me. I worry if he doesn't make it that I will have wasted time, hard work, and resources to improve his life at the cost of my own (I have been working extra hours to pay tuition for him to go to nursing school). I worry that I am feeling like I am standing on more solid ground, only to find out that in reality I am standing in quicksand. I want to trust, but don't know that I really can or should. I have truly been traumatized and feel like I'm doing the best I can in light of the circumstances I find myself in.

B. Because you have experienced a traumatic event in your life — and the discovery that the foundation of your life has been jeopardized is severely traumatic — there are common patterns that you should expect and even prepare for in the months and years to come. Discuss what these patterns might be and how you will deal with them. There are no right or wrong answers here. The goal is to begin looking ahead with a realistic and constructive eye. To realize that with even the best healing process in place, the trauma that you have experienced will have a lasting — albeit not permanently destructive — effect on your life.

I think this will be a 2 steps forward, 1 step back experience. I think I will start to find some peace in my life, only to start to distrust the peace and go searching for reasons why the peace is false. I think I will begin to trust again, only to try to protect myself and begin to distrust. I think I will start to fall in love with my husband again, only to push him away and seek space for myself out of fear. I feel myself moving forward in this way so far. I hope that as he becomes more trustworthy, that the times where I hesitate and waver will become fewer and father between. I recognize that things will never be the same. Although from what I am learning in RN, I am hoping things will not be the same. I believe that with hard work and learning and healing that our relationship has the opportunity to be what I thought it was, and even better than this because it will be real.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2017 12:07 pm 
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Exercise Thirteen
A. One of the first steps on the road to healing is to take inventory of all the ways that your partner's compulsive behavior has affected you. Begin listing these consequences and post them in your Healing Thread..
Given the complex nature of addiction, especially as it relates to family and relationships, this process should take several hours, rather than several minutes. It will be important for you to consider the affects to your physical, emotional, social, spiritual, economic, interpersonal, potential selves — as well as any other area that you feel is relevant. There are no right or wrong answers, only ways that you believe this behavior may have impacted your life.

B. Rate the affect of each consequence from a 1-10. "1" will represent the most significant consequence that your partner's addiction has had on your life. Do not worry bout which consequence might be a "6" and which might be a "7"; or which is "1" and which is "2" — what is important is to gain a general idea of the impact (or potential impact) they have had on your life.

1 - depression (1)
2 - reduced self worth (1)
3 - anger (5)
4 - I am withdrawn from friends (4)
5 - I am carrying around this huge lie that I feel I can't share, feel like I'm carrying an elephant on my back everywhere I go. Feel like I'm lying to the world in which I pretend I am fine, when I'm not. A general heaviness of my being. (1)
6 - confusion - am I being true to myself by staying in this relationship? Is it beyond repair? am I being foolish? (1)


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2017 1:03 pm 
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Exercise Fourteen

*Over the next month, how much time do you intend to spend focused on managing, tracking and/or assessing your partner's addiction/recovery? 4 hours-ish. I will attend a therapy session with him and his therapist next week for 1 hour. I will check in with him regularly to ask him how he is doing/feeling. I will spend time talking to him about how his lessons are going on RN and how his therapy sessions are going each week.

*How much time do you intend to spend secretly investigating his actions? If none, how will you manage those times of mistrust and/or doubt? < 1 hour.

*What personal values are you willing to allow your partner to continue damaging over the next month? If none, how will you protect these values? None. I will point out passive aggressive behavior and gaslighting when exhibited. I will not internalize responsibility for poor choices made by him. I will not allow his behavior affect how I feel about myself or my own worth.

*Over the next two months, what mistakes are you prepared to tolerate from your partner and why? What mistakes (if any) are intolerable and will serve as the catalyst to end the relationship? The one mistake that is intolerable and will serve as the catalyst to end the relationship would be ANY sexual contact with anyone outside our marriage. Period.
Mistakes I am prepared to tolerate may be slips where erotic photographs are viewed online, or in print. His therapist, and RN, says that slips are a natural part of recovery and are opportunities to learn more about yourself and recovery process. They are not signs of failure. I am also prepared to tolerate poor communication as he is in the process of developing these skills and has not yet mastered them. He has a history of passive aggression and gaslighting, I am getting better at identifying this when it is occurring and I think he needs someone to identify these poor communication tendencies when they happen.

*How much responsibility do you intend to invest in changing your partner? Versus placing the responsibility for change on them? How do you envision communicating your observations about their motivation/responsibility — both positive and/or negative? For those positive observations, how will you make them seem genuine? For those negative observations, how will you make them seem non-punitive?
I will not accept responsibility for "changing" my partner, however, I will accept some responsibility for helping him acknowledge how and when mistakes are being made to make sure he is viewing behaviors through the appropriate lens. I envision communicating my observations in a calm, rational, and mature tone so that my observations are heard and not reacted to defensively. I will try to communicate my reason for bringing it up is because I care for him and want to see him succeed in recovery and for us to succeed as a married couple. If I identified positive observations, all I need to do is verbalize them. I don't think my husband would doubt my sincerity.

*Do you intend to motivate change in your partner by threats and/or rewards? Or by simply sharing your needs and allowing your partner to find the motivation to meet those needs? If the latter, how much clarity do you have in determining and communicating your personal needs? I don't intend to try to motivate my partner using threats (this would be terribly in-effective in practice and not in line with my personal values). I don't know that I intend to motivate change through rewards either, but I will make my needs known. This one area that he has made significant strides. When I have voiced needs related to his sex addiction, he has responded by meeting every one of these and I appreciate his effort in this area. I think I need to share with him how much I appreciate his demonstrating respect for my feelings in this way.

*How do you envision moving beyond two individuals in recovery/healing to becoming a team in overcoming those areas of your relationship that have been damaged? What changes will YOU need to make in your own perspective to regain a sense of teamwork? What changes do you need to see from your partner for this to happen?
Yesterday and today, we have started reading the couples workshop and both feel ready to begin working on this soon. I have agreed to attend a therapy session with him next week. I need to let go of some of my anger and resentment. I fear I am making the wrong decision by staying with him because I already had trust issues before this, I learned to trust him, and now this has happened which has completely shaken my foundation. I also fear that if I leave I will be making the wrong decision by not giving him a chance to change and be the husband I deserve. I need to accept that I have fear, but not let that fear guide my decisions. The fear is present due to trust being broken. Everything I read says that trust can be restored with the appropriate work. I need to trust in the idea that trust can be restored, even if I can't see the path back to trust clearly at this time. I will be shown to my by my resources and I need to trust my resources. Changes I need from my partner include talking to me more about how he's feeling and doing. He has really started to do this well, but the frequency is too little. If not offered to me, I need to ask and trust it will be provided because it has in the past. I need him to learn better communication skills when conflict arises (ie, learn to stop gaslighting and passive aggressive communication styles).

*Apart from your partner's addiction, identify the current major obstacles that your relationship faces. For each obstacle, seek out any patterns that will eventually need to be worked through as a team. For instance, communication. We have fallen into a pattern of dysfunctional communication that must change. Here is what I can envision doing to bring about change to these dysfunctional communication rituals:
I need to identify when gaslighting is occurring and I need to help him identify it when it's happening, so that he can learn to avoid it. I also need to identify when he is using passive aggressive communication and point it out when it's happening, so he can learn to choose a better style of communication. I need to try and not react emotionally when he communicates this way as it only escalates the situation.

*Should you find yourself struggling to manage your own life (intense emotions, undefended boundaries, deteriorating values, neglected values, etc.) how do you envision getting yourself refocused and back in balance? List this general plan.
I'm really struggling to come up with an answer to this question. My difficulty in this area is something I really really need to work on. I think this is why I'm feeling so bogged down at the moment. I feel I'm having a hard time finding my way back right now. Restarting work on RN is helping. Perhaps that's something I need to participate in more. I think I will also need to ask for personal space to be with myself to clear my head and remind myself what is important.

*What signs will you look for in your partner to generate confidence in the sincerity and stability of his/her recovery?
Honest, calm, and vulnerable communication about how he's feeling and how his recovery is going. Not surfing porn sites or communicating with people online in a sexual fashion. Not visiting the local adult bookshop. Attending therapy sessions regularly.

*What unique signs will you look for in your partner over the next few months to generate warning of imbalance and/or insincerity?
Defensiveness, secrecy, lack of transparency about where he has been and what he is doing with his time.


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