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Hi, This is my journey through addiction, I hope it can help others see there is a way out. I first struggled with alcohol addiction and went to rehab in 2006, there it was quickly identified that my primary addiction was indeed sex addiction. I was hoffied and in complete denial. I refused to accept it and labeled myself an alcoholic. I carried on relapsing with alcohol and stayed in complete denial about SA until July 2007. Then my partner found out about my affairs and I told him I had been told I was a sex addict. But really I wasn't ready to accept it myself. After another two trips to rehab, I finally managed to stop drinking in September 2009, and started my recovery in Alcoholics Anonymous using the 12 step program. I managed to be faithful and not act out until February 2012. Then because all I had done in my recovery up until then, was deal with some of the symptoms (ie drinking) and I had been too afraid to look at the root causes and deal with the real issue,which was sex addiction I relapsed into SA. I tried to convince myself it was actually a new love of my life (even though I desperately loved my partner) and that it was not me using men to deal with my fears,shame, insecurities and pain. It escalated over the next 4 years to many sexual encounters and I came more insane and irrational. Eventually my partner found out again and I was ready to accept my real problems. I went to Paula Hall (as my partner had previously had some partners counselling with her back in 2007 when I was using 12 steps for my recovery). There I was introduced to my therapist and started my real journey into getting well. Too begin with I was still holding onto bits of the truth and lying even to my therapist, but she was patient and she helped me see the need for absolute total honesty. To be honest I didn't know what true honesty was and it took me a while to learn how to be completely honest. I was so ashamed and so afraid to face all what I had done. But I knew that to deal with this meant dealing with the causes of my addictions, not just the symptoms. I had to accept why and how had I became so dependant on sex and lust to fill the pain inside me. The journey was painful and extremely hard at times, but I had the most amazing therapist and I was able to totally trust her in a way I had never trusted anyone. Over the years I have had some many people try and help me but she was different, she understood me and my issues totally. i will forever be so grateful to her. I spent 20 months going to see her once a week and I believe I needed that much time to really process my issues. One thing I did regret was D Day and trying to go through disclosure with my partner on our own and too early. As I took so long to be able to be completely honest, each time I tried to tell the full truth to my partner I either hide something or lied about something or denied it. This caused so much more pain. I wish we had waited until I was honest enough to do it properly. Eventually we did a therapeutic disclosure with two therapists from Paula's practice, which went very well. So I would advise using the therapists to help with this totally. My partner has been amazing and we are still together, I know I have been extremely lucky to have someone who understands my issues and believes in me overcoming them. I am just about to start seeing a new therapist from the practice who is relationship trained, who hopefully can help me further with some of my lasting relationship issues, and take me to a further place of healing. There is a way out, if you can be honest and face yourself and your shame. If there are any other females who would like to talk, I love to make contact, unfortunately the one draw back at the moment is there are not many women coming forward for help, so it can be lonely journey. Cat
Back in January 2020 we started a blog series which focussed on the partner of a sex addict. We covered many different aspects of the partner’s journey from discovery, management of self-care, understanding emotional triggers and setting personal boundaries through to thinking about the relationship – do you leave or stay and rebuild? We wanted to finish the blog series with two real-life testimonies from partners who have walked the painful path. We hope the testimonies will give you encouragement that the thoughts, feelings and reactions you are experiencing are normal. We also wanted to give you hope that relationships can mend after the discovery of sex addiction or porn addiction. Please find below the first testimony. Our second testimony will follow next week. At the bottom of the blog is a link to some further help for partners. Testimony It has been 5 years; I had a knock at the door from a lady from HMRC. She told me that she had come to assess the assets in our house after a long line of unpaid tax debt from my husband. As the day unfolded, the story that my husband put forward made less and less sense, and by the early hours of the following morning, I turned to his emails to desperately try to make sense of the fact that we were close to losing our home. It was there that I saw the first email about booking an appointment with two sex workers. Over the next few weeks, I felt as though someone had unzipped my world and I was watching it fall apart around me. I felt completely out of control! I did not trust that anything was as it seemed anymore. My husband drip fed me a disclosure. Just when I thought I had found out all there was to know, I would discover something else. “That’s everything” he would say, there was always more. This felt incredibly cruel to me. I felt shock, disgust, shame and horror both at him and myself; how could I not have known about this! I had been planning our babies first birthday one minute and then sat in a sexual health clinic the next. I think one of hardest thing for me to process was the grief. The loss of the husband I thought I knew and a feeling of losing who I was. So how did I move forward? Well, my husband agreed to attend a rehabilitation programme as well as receive individual therapy with a trained sex addiction counsellor. We also attended couple counselling. The day my husband packed his bags to go into rehab, I remember feeling intense fear but also a sense of relief. I had been so swept away with the addiction that I was becoming more and more unwell. In a traumatised state of fear, I was trying to control the addiction. I became a detective and my husband’s personal rescuer! It was my personal one to one therapy with a Laurel Centre therapist that helped me realise two vital things; 1 - I did not cause the addiction and 2 - I could not control it. I had to learn to let go and take care of my own journey of recovery. The hardest part of recovery for me was looking in on myself. In order to empower myself I had to open a closet of childhood trauma and dysfunctional relational problems. By looking at my past, allowed me to find the control over my own feelings and gain the tools I needed to recover. I realised that the only person I had any control of rescuing was myself! We gradually started to break down layers of defences in our relationship, we have become aware and respectful of our individual triggers. We have now found healthier ways to communicate our pain. The biggest issue that we both had was our fears. In facing the things that are holding us back, we are now able to communicate our fears and our needs to each other in a way that allows us to have a truly emotional and physically intimate relationship. And the best part is that we can now model these to our child and help break any cycles of shame going forward to our future generation. Through a structured therapeutic list of boundaries that were constructed by us and our therapists, I started to learn to take small leaps of faith to enable me to trust my husband again. But most importantly I began to learn to trust myself. If I could give you some advice from someone who has walked the path before you….it is this be kind to yourself; you are more than just a partner of a sex addict. Seek the help of a trained sex addiction therapist that really understands addiction and the trauma it causes a partner. Be willing to grow from this and not just stay a victim to it. If you have a desire to hear about details about your partner’s disclosure, do it in the safety of a therapy room if you can. I found that my husband was a professional in the art of denial. Trying to make sense of it was soul destroying and futile. Trying to reason with denial left me feeling crazy and that I was losing my mind. My therapist would gently remind me that recovery is a process, just trust in it one day at a time. It may sound unbelievable at this stage, but you will be ok (with or without your partner) and you may even feel grateful one day from the lessons it brings you. Click here to find further support for partners of sex addicts and porn addicts