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Starting to learn the truth


Clare41
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I have been married for 15 years. I lived with a husband who drank everyday (he is now seeking help with AA groups for this) and watched porn a lot and encouraged me to watch it (it bored me after a while the novelty wore off). Last march whilst tracking down my password for an auction site I discovered through his email a long succession of sex site contacts from mostly men with whom he had been communicating. On finding out I challenged him as quickly as possible (he reached out to his alcohol to deal with the exposure) he was in denial and downplayed his actions. What I have found out through interrogation (no other way to describe it) was he had placed an additional asking for cyber sex and received lots of contacts, more disturbing was he was exchanging naked photos of himself. This had mostly gone on whilst I was at my evening job and had spanned for approximately one month (this was as far back as the emails stretched).

He sought help with his drinking as he said this was part of the problem after blaming me and the children for making him feel lonely, he blamed the slaughter house where he works but he also confessed he had problems talking to people, hated the world, hated himself, the way he looked etc. I struggled to understand but took him through the alcohol removal programme with the help of hospital support, went to a lot of AA meetings with him but felt there was something else more deeply wrong but couldn't put a name to it. We had a previous healthy and adventurous sex life between us to struggling to have anything. I had no trust in him but tried not to check up on him as it made me more anxious.  Fast forward to almost a week ago to find yet again in the same circumstances that he was seeking sexual cyber contacts. Same denial, that it was just friendship but had escalated, etc then he relapsed with the alcohol again. Difference this time - I checked out sex addiction and finally I had a name for this feeling that he was holding back all these years. The reasons and causes for it to trigger in some people is shocking but his sexual abuse history (he was sexually assaulted at 13), losing his dad at 6 and having an emotionally detached mother fed the problem.

As soon as I found out, I told him in no uncertain terms what he was - a sex addict and his world crumbled - hence the relapse into secret drinking. I told him to go to a sex addict anonymous meeting, which he did (at that point I could track his phone before I removed the app) but he drove back over the limit with alcohol. I refused to share the bed, refused to accept any part of blame for his addictions (both alcohol and sex), he has slept downstairs for a few days until I had enough as he seemed lacking in acceptance and made him go to his mum's (which I thought would help).

After being in contact with his mum, I realised that she was struggling to help and couldn't cope with his problems (he had spent all night out to avoid her whilst there) so I have him home with me knowing he is ill and sick in his addictions but thinking may be this place is better start to his healing or am I kidding myself again? All I can say is only he can help himself, he has agreed to go to meetings, talk to the fellowship on the phone each night (I hear him do this) and pray for his soul but hold no responsibility and letting go of this is the healthiest way. When and if he relapses again then he needs to find a room so I don't see or hear it. I hope there is salvation but it is what it is. Hugs and kisses to you all who have read x

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Hello Clare

I am a counsellor and one of Paula Hall's Associates

I can feel that this is an extremely distressing and difficult time for you and your husband right now. It seems from what you write here that you are being as supportive as you can be, whilst trying to facilitate your husbands facing up to his problems and taking responsibility for seeking help and aiming for recovery. 

It does indeed sound like sex addiction and trying to get him to go regularly to a group programme will hopefully get him on the road to working through his recovery.  12 step groups like SAA or SLAA can be very helpful. Or trying to encourage him to attend an intensive programme, like the kind that Paula runs (or other similar providers) 

You mention some underlying difficulties that your husband has from a troubled past. I tend to agree with your view that they may have led to his addictions. Seeking some one to one Counselling could help him work through these. 

I feel that you need some support for yourself to help you get through the pain of the impact his addictions are having on you. There is a 12 step group called COSA or other partner programmes. There are some very helpful books for partners such as Paula's or Stephanie Carnes called "Mending a shattered heart"

Taking care of yourself is really important at times like these. 

Good luck. 

Geraldine

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