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 Post subject: Addiction cycle question
PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2018 4:45 am 
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Joined: Sun Jan 28, 2018 3:06 pm
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I understand the general 4 stage or 6 stage addiction cycle as per descriptions by Carnes and Paula Hall texts but I was hoping to have some input from various people regarding some details between what really happens between the cycle being repeated. I will put this in the context of my situation of my addict husband who is clearly not in recovery, but also who I have only just recently experienced D day with, so it is hard for me to wrap my head around what happens in between.
My husband to my knowledge had acted out with at least 60 prostitutes in our 4 year relationship, however I can never recall witnessing a change in personality around the times he acted out. He overall treated me in the same caring, soft natured way.
When we had a large fight however in Nov of year coinciding with when I had just recently found out I was pregnant, he left the house for 4 days at my request for us to cool down and when he returned after those 4 days for the first time I felt like he had been replaced by a different person. I now know he went on a binge of acting out then in response to not coping with a stressful situation and for 3 weeks post his return he exhibited some of the classic addict behaviour. Telling me every 2nd night he ‘couldn’t do this anymore’, me not be able to rationalise with him on any level, him having no empathy for me being pregnant and the stress he was putting me through etc, etc. After 3 weeks or so he began to calm down and I saw him return to his more non-addict ruling self, kind etc.
Since D day, a few days later he said again he can’t do this anymore, wanted to act out and left. For him (and me), D day would be the most stressful day of his otherwise very privileged life. It has been 6 weeks since he has left and still not returned, I am certain he has been binging on acting out again like in Nov. On his way out he was completely horrible and hurtful, again I could tell he was hijacked by his addict self. He has certainly left a trail of destruction in his path. Am I to expect that he is going to remain completely taken over by his addict self lifetime or do addicts go back to a point where after a significant binge do they return back to the more normal people everyone knows them to be, the person they have been infact most of their life except for a few isolated outbursts?


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2018 5:23 pm 
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Amber - I don't know what your husband will or will not do. I do know that in addiction, it is likely over time for the addiction to progress. Not always, but often. That occurred with my husband. His addiction deepened and broadened over the years.

What I do know is that they have to get into recovery, sincere recovery, to make any changes that can make them mature partners.

I don't have an answer for you about your husband. I do know that by focusing on you and your well being, your life will improve. The only thing you can control is you and your life.

I understand, deeply, how much I wanted to know what the future would hold and was there any hope. I can tell you now that there is some hope in sincere recovery, but no guarantee. I can also say, sadly, that without sincere recovery, I think relationships with addicts are hopeless.

But, you....you are worth the investment in yourself.

With compassion,
dnell


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2018 10:19 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 28, 2018 3:06 pm
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Thank you for your reply Dnell and appreciate your words. At the same time it is really hard for me to just be in a place where I can not switch off how I am feeling or thinking about my husband. I am spending now in the thousands to get counselling and seeing psychologists etc, reaching out every which way to get help, but at the same time we are all going to get through these traumas differently and all of our circumstances are unique.
I keep hearing about this all being about me and my recovery and what I can do to get through this and right now I am just giving myself a pat on the back to make it to work or catch up with a friend. At the same time I am not only grappling with my husband’s sex addiction and our relationship being a complete lie but also the trauma of being abandoned and being completely cut off from him. It is as though he has died, I am grieving and lonely and miss him terribly but at the same am having to process the brutal way in which he exited, while I am pregnant not knowing how to get through this alone and also dealing with the abandonment of his parents who were my main support in this city we now live in. It is an immense lot of circumstances to process and the very nature that our child is not born yet, brings in a lot of uncertainty as to how things will look and if they will change down the track. At this point for me I don’t find it anymore helpful to be told this is just about focusing on me. I have paid so much money to be told that and really it is just not entirely where I am at, even though I can do things for myself intermittently.
I still would really appreciate being able to hear people thoughts on their experiences with the addiction cycle with their partners and how they saw them at various stages in and out of the cycle. I get that there is no crystal ball, but this is where I am at and I hope that by posting this someone could helping in understanding this. I am very new to seeing this and so haven’t had the time and years to see what their behaviour can appear like as they cycle through.
Kindest Amber


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2018 9:01 am 
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Amber - I hear you. I'm not saying, "Oh, just go focus on yourself." The trauma of discovery is profound. I have PTSD and have been in therapy for over three years now, and it has been very helpful. Right after D-day I was in incredible emotional pain and turmoil. It took me some time just to get to a sense of equilibrium. And I had all sorts of thoughts and feelings about my husband.

I think continuing the lessons will help provide some of the answers you are looking for about addicts and their behavior. They helped me.

I remember early on the advice I got to detach and focus on myself....I just didn't understand it and didn't know how to do it. But, slowly, very slowly, I did just that and it has really helped me.

dnell


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:07 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:08 am
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Amber, you’re situation is heartbreaking. It’s impossible to “focus on yourself” so soon after discovery and more so given your pregnancy and the implications of going it alone as a single mother or remaining married to a sex addict in the hope he can turn his life around.

Speaking from my own experience, sexual addiction will progress over time if the addict is not proactive in his recovery and makes a commitment to quit and (re)build the marriage. The behaviour doesn’t burn itself out. The addict doesn’t get bored with his behaviour and gives up. If anything the opposite happens. When what was once exciting to the addict becomes boring and predictable, the behaviour tends to escalate. In other words, the longer it goes on unchecked, the greater the potential damage to the individual, the partner, the relationship, the family and sometimes even the addict’s employment.

Does the addict ever wake up and say, “No more”? Sometimes, yes. But for an addict making the decision to quit, it’s usually a lot more complicated.

Just trying to think back... within a year or so of his internet porn addiction he became extremely aggressive towards me in a way I’d never experienced before. Shouting at me, putting me down because I couldn’t do anything right. If I cried, he’d shout at me for crying. I’d never experienced anything like that. When I walked in on him using porn he told me I was the one who was creeping around the house and bursting in on him, as if I was the one in the wrong. So that was an obvious shift.

If he was acting out he wouldn’t be interested in sex. Early on he might take the opportunity if I offered it, but that didn’t last. Sex became a rare occurrence because he was sexually absent. As his addiction progressed he refused sex. On the occasions he accepted my availablity, because he’d be turning me down a lot, he could only finish if I faced away from him. Soon after it got to the stage when he’d go limp and couldn’t finish. All the time, I had been the one initiating. He never did.

Now, some people find their addict partner wants more sex, wants a particular kind of sex, has specific demands, etc, as if he wants to act out “addict” sex. That didn’t happen in my relationship. My partner had a clear compartmentalisation of sex where I didn’t figure at all.

Other red flags of escalation were workaholism, increasing emotional distance and not really communicating in meaningful ways. He didn’t tell me what was going on in his life though he was willing to dump all his bad news, his stress, his office politics, etc on to me. Like I was his garbage can to dump his shit on. He told me no “good” news, like he won some money in a workplace competition and he didn’t tell me. In itself, not a big deal but it was a symptom of how emotionally disconnected he was.

His addiction was escalating and his mood was getting worse. I suspected that he was way beyond a porn habit by that time. (“Christmas shopping” in a red light area? Really?) However, there were times he’d meet me after acting out and if it had gone well for him (in the addict sense of getting a high) he’d be the happy loving husband for me.

My husband was an addict for perhaps 20-25 years and although his addiction was less severe in terms of his acting out repertoire, he wouldn’t have quit of his own volition. He had no clue about the consequences of his behaviour. It was making him unhappy by d day, but even so he would not have quit until I became the catalyst for change. The tragedy is that I had to sink so low in order for that to happen.

OK, here’s what I’d say:
If I knew that I’d have to go through this experience I wouldn’t have married my husband.
When I reached the point of deciding whether or not to leave my husband about 13-14 years before d day because of his aggression and his sexual absence from the relationship, I have regretted not leaving.
Recovery is tough. Nothing is guaranteed.
The experience has changed me forever, whether the relationship lasts or not.
I’m older now and I missed out on so much of my younger womanhood
My sexuality is damaged as a consequence

It’s too late for me to start over now. Some may say that’s not a healthy attitude but I’m more protected from the negative realities of life if I stay. My home is safe, my finances are safe, and at this stage in life, security has greater importance. I know I have a relationship that could work if we both commit to it but it needs a lot of work.

But to a younger person I’d say, Don’t throw your life away on a sex addict. Give him a chance by all means but be realistic. It’s a very tough nut to crack.


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