“The spouses who have shared their journey have given us great pearls of wisdom.” (SOSA, p. 172 )
As part of my story and healing, after discovering that my husband had an addiction to pornography, in a 33 year marriage, I chose to write a workbook "Spouses of Sex Addicts: Hope for the Journey, Workbook." I never imagined that sex addiction would ever show up in my marriage, an intimacy disorder. Yet, it is so pervasive, secretive, shameful, and destructive. It destroys relationships and intimacy, and can go far beyond curiosity, to addictive behaviors that are compulsive and destructive to the body, soul and mind of the addict. In many cases get to a place that is out of control on many levels of infidelity.
My husband is the the recipient of my healing, grace, and forgiveness for his actions that caused a rupture in our marriage. He took the hard road to healing himself and owned the consequences of his actions
that violated my ability to trust the integrity of his word and his actions.
I am thankful that I am able to work with a population of women and men who suffer from the trauma, and impact of sexual addiction.
I am grateful for the education that I have pursued and experience in this field, trust from my clients, as a working certified specialist and how they teach me what presence, attunement, resonance and trust means to the core of our being.
My story is not over yet, I trusted that God had plans to use me in this capacity and He has not failed me. One of the blessings for me personally, has been to experience God turn “my mourning into joy.” I have seen women and men move forward in a direction that is healing and best suited for them. Their strength and courage has given me hope and meaning to fulfill God's purpose in my life as part of this journey.
Progress comes in bits and pieces, all of what what we need on a daily basis for healing and movement for the future. Experiencing the moments of clarity and connection is integration for mind,body and spirit in its best intention.
When I hear the words “That makes sense, I get it, I am experiencing relief, I feel heard, I am seeing the bigger picture, I know what I need and I know what I must do to take care of self ,” I know that the hard work of expanding their awareness of need and capacity of a greater internal self will help in managing their level of functioning when their facing their fears.
I spoke with Bella this morning. She sounded strong as she told me that she had filled for a divorce. The last thing in the world she wanted was another divorce. Now she faces having to sell her home, find an apartment that is suitable for her children, and yet, she is peaceful. “My children and I have not experienced this in a long time, and we are so much better because of it.” Bella was the quiet one in the relationship, and would acquiesce to her husband’s wants and needs, regardless of her feelings. She hoped he was being honest about his recovery, she believed it was her duty and life mission to make him happy, even at her expense. This often left her feeling like she didn't matter. And yet, her inner wisdom told her that he was being unfaithful, and lying to her about his recovery. She attended a women's group for partners of sex addicts and it helped in finding her inner voice; it felt risky, but willing to do what she needed to do to get clarity,truth, and peace of mind, she stated “Whatever it takes I will do it for my kids. We'll live in a two bedroom apartment if need be." It initially took her children to motivate her to do something so different and out of her realm of comfort. She found her inner courage and was able to face the fears she had of being alone. Her authenticity showed up in her principles and values as she stayed true to what she felt and believed as truth. Soon after Bella asked her husband to move out, she found that he had lost his sobriety and continued to be unfaithful to her throughout their marriage. It was a difficult process, because of the hard work she had done on her self in therapy, she was able to be at peace in her decision to move forward with out him.
A friend of mine once said, “You will only get as far with your clients as you are willing to go yourself.” My prayer to God ....., “I am willing, teach me, make me to be more like Thee......"
do; show me what you want; direct me, open doors, close doors,” and the only way I know to be in His will and experience that level of attunement with Him is to be in His word. My greatest sense of stability is the maker of all of what I am and who I am.
I wanted to be a resource and means of using my pain in helping women get through their toughest times and offer the support they needed. I wanted women to know that in most cases, this addiction existed long before the relationship with their spouses.
You are not to blame, and what you are feeling and experiencing is real, honor yourself; your needs, thoughts and feelings. Please do not dismiss yourself. You are worth the time it takes to experience the peace, as Bella found in her life.
There are times in my office I take the liberty to share parts of my story, when it is appropriate. I remember one client tearing up after telling her that I too, am a partner. It meant a lot to her that I could relate. Some of the stories I hear are horrendous. The betrayal consist of much more that I experienced. However, I remember a dear friend of mine, whose husband had an affair, saying to me as I compared my loss to hers, “it doesn’t matter; the betrayal hurts regardless of what it is.”