I think working the 12 steps is a great plan. Do you have an S-Anon group for spouses nearby?
I truly believe there is absolutely nothing in the 12 steps that could harm a persom who is working them, whether they need to or not.
I am not a big believer in the idea that every SA has a co-addict. I do firmly believe that a lot of co-addict behaviors get used to try to cope with this highly abnormal situation. Just like drinking doesn't make one an alcoholic, exhibiting some co-addict behaviors doesn't make one a co-addict. To me, the differenece lies in being able to recognize the behavior as unhealthy for you, and to be able to stop it. So, full-blown co-addict or not, the 12 steps can help you recognize the unproductive and harmful behaviors you may have adopted in response to his unhealthy behavior. And help you stop those behaviors, and replace them with healthier coping skills. That can be nothing but good, in my experience.
I guess the same thing could be said for your H. Even if there are some question marks on his "official diagnosis", what harm will come to him if he works the 12 steps?
I really do feel like I have to climb up on my soapbox on two points, and I've learned these the hard way -
1. A CSAT has been vital to H's recovery. Before the CSAT he saw an IC who was covered by our insurance plan - for 8 months. In that 8 months, nothing of any lasting significance was accomplished. This IC claimed to be experienced in treating SA and had many clients who were SA. He hadn't a clue in how to effectively help an SA to or through recovery. We made the decision to go out of pocket with a CSAT and it was a stretch and a sacrifice. But it has been incredibly worth it. So much so that we are going in deeper to pay out of pocket for me to get some help with my recovery from this CSAT group, as well as get some MC there. H has been with this CSAT a year now, and I can't harp on the benefits enough.
2. An SA group is key, provided it is a group with enough members who have been in succussful recovery for a long time (years, not months). H tried other church based groups, and found them to be more "cheerleaders" than accountability helpers. And SAA groups allow m-bating in recovery, and IMO, that is simply ridiculous. It as a lot harder for my H to make himself go to any group than it was to get him to fork over the $ for the CSAT. I think the shame made him really uncomfortable with the idea of it. Once he started, however, it has been a real gift of support, acceptance and accountability. And he really feels good helping the newbies, like he has something great to contribute. H has been unable to go to actual meetings for a number of months since he's been on chemotherapy, and he really misses it. He can keep in touch by phone with the guys, but he does miss going to the meetings, he feels it really helps him. And I found the same in the spouses group. Understanding. Help. Healing. Accountability.
So, long post even longer - Do your 12 steps. Find a group. Heal, heal, heal!!!
edited for typos (I always have to!)
I am 3+ years out from my WH's last affair - the one I found out about that caused me to find out about the others (he's in SA therapy now, sort of).
I have been unable to really recommit to the marriage. He's tried to show consideration and love - on his terms. Those terms do not include sitting still for questions or my lapses of confidence in us. Those terms also do not include not lying - I found out several months ago that he was lying to me about a financial matter of some importance. I asked him over and over in such a way that he had a chance to tell me the truth about it, and he never did. Ergo, he still lies when it suits him. As a result, I don't consider him to be in serious recovery or someone that I can trust to tell me the truth about our marriage or who he's involved with.
My question: I feel in my gut that it's time to call it quits, at a minimum of getting a separation. (We have a 17-year-old daughter.) I just don't have the heart to try anymore.
From you veterans out there, what am I missing, what should I be thinking about, and what do you advise?
It's very hard for me to take this step. He has a horrible temper - which is another reason I have trouble recommitting - and it's likely that asking for a separation would guarantee hostile behavior and a divorce. I don't know. Sometimes he crumbles - it's hard to know what he will do.
But my question is about what's best. Should I still be in this "plain of lethal flatness" after three years? I really wanted to make it work, but my gut won't go along.
I posted on your thread in recon., I won't get redundant here.
What you need to look at is what is best for YOU, and let go of the outcome. It is really hard, but nobody is going to look out for CAT except CAT.
If you've never visited this link, check it out, it is about setting personal boundaries - and I think it is very, very helpful:
[This message edited by JustWow at 7:09 AM, February 24th (Wednesday)]
Oddly, we discovered that he was an SA because of earlier boundaries I put up. If I had not, I would have been forced into a situation of doing things with which I am not personally comfortable. I thought I was going crazy - and I felt much better when I found out that I "just" had boundaries that I was making clear.
I do want to say, though, that my SAH does go to SAA, and the M-bation question is a moot one for him.
He knows that is something he can never do again and continue to call himself sober.
I really don't think the question of whether M-bation is ok or not has come up at a meeting. SAH has defined his inner and middle circle behaviors himself (as he should) with his sponsor and it was never a question.
I just wanted to put that out there in case anyone has no other 12 step for SA in their area except SAA. I wouldn't want someone to give up what a long term 12 step group can share with them.
I've been doing this for almost 4 years...You can PM me if ya have any more specific ?'s...
I KNOW how hard this is...S-Anon has been my Life-saver, as has MY individual counseling every 2 weeks...
I've been separated for almost 7 months now...LIFE is so much more peaceful w/out an active/lying sex addict living w/ you...
His anger is his problem...do NOT let that dictate what you need to do for YOU...but get any support for safety, etc...
Stay strong...don't try to do all this ALONE...
I want to second what you said about SAA. It is the only option for my H in our area, and he belongs to a good group. His sponsor has been a member of the group for over 10 years. My H considers masturbation and viewing porn as a loss of sobriety, as he defines it. He knows that it leads to other acting out behaviors. It was really hard for my H to go to the group at first, too, but he is making connections with the other guys and developing a support system. This is the first time in his life that he has opened up to other men.
Me: BS (29)
Him: WH (30)
Married: 3 years
Kids: 1 baby at home
When he disclosed his infidelities, he said he scored high on a sex addiction quiz. He talked about past experiences and needing a "high" from sex - a high that required a bigger and bigger fix in order to be satisfied.
I learned he had been unfaithful early in our marriage by kissing his best friend (a girl he'd known since high school), then kissed a coworker, then developed one online "friendship" after another - involving exchanging pictures and video chatting. He rated women on some program on Facebook; he downloaded porn onto his phone.
He continued these "patterns" until he met current OW - met her in the same way online, became "friends", then he took it to the next level and had a physical affair with her while I was pregnant and after.
He said she was "very free" sexually and that he didn't feel the need for an additional high when with her; that she fulfills his sexual high. He went to SLAA at first, but after he broke NC and reestablished contact with her, I filed for divorce and haven't spoken to him since. I don't know if he continues to go, if he really was a "sex addict" or if she cures him of that, or if he's working on "recovering" for her.
All I know is that I feel ashamed - I know it's not my fault but knowing that your husband had so many different variations of cheating, it's so hard to stop those feelings of complete shame and failure with your spouse - who may or may not be a sex and love addict.
aNewReality--good for you that you decided you would not tolerate this man's behaviour any longer. This OW will be enough for him...for awhile. She soon will not be and he'll be looking for a bigger high, which could involve things you may not want to know about. Are you in IC? Please consider it. You need to get some semblance of your identity back, so you can let go of the shame that you feel; undeserved shame, btw. But that's how being married to an SA feels.
I no longer feel that shame, but it took me over 3 years to let it go. Three years of hard work; IC, Al-Anon type meetings, working a 12 step program with a workbook on my own, daily devotions focusing on my individual relationship with my God, developing my own goals, hobbies, etc. I am still together with my SA. He's done some work although it is difficult here with no SAA or SLAA available. He should be doing more, but that's his issue, not mine. I'm kind of in limbo here and have been for awhile. But I'm not sweating it. We travel together, and enjoy other things as a couple. But it's not a real marriage in the real sense of the word. That's okay for now. I'm trying not to settle and leaving is always an option. Sometimes I wish he just go out and have another affair so it could be settled. I have no idea if he's still using on the computer. I don't check anymore and if I do, I find absolutely nothing. He's kind and he's caring and he's growing spiritually. So....there it is.
[This message edited by 1Forward1Back at 10:32 AM, February 28th (Sunday)]
as he started to tell me how much he missed her and how in love they were, I knew I needed to give up any hope of dealing with this mess. It feels so unreal hearing your husband talk about another woman right after you have just given birth to your first child - a child we planned and tried for for over a year.
When it's his time with our son, we exchange eating, napping info and that is it. I don't know what his new life is like, I don't know if his sex addiction claim was valid or not. His behaviors sure seem like it, but I don't know if he's pursuing
information and healing in the right way, or if she is his remedy.
The shame part is overwhelming!
The shame part is overwhelming!
I know. It sure is in the beginning, and all I can say is hang in there; it will get better. But it takes time; lots and lots of it.
I knew my H used a lot of porn all my marriage. I found out about an affair he had when we were engaged, while on our honeymoon. I dealt with that alone as he made me feel responsible for it in his sick way. The shame I felt for becoming immune to it was overwhelming after D-day. As I reflected back on what I had accepted, I wanted to hide and run. I felt stupid and immature and totally dirty. It took a lot of work to get out of those mindsets. I could not believe a well-educated woman such as myself could have accepted all that behaviour over 3 decades.
It cannot be easy with a new baby. I feel for you.
I can't imagine managing the betrayal, hurt and pain at the same time having young babies to care for and love. As I read your posts I wondered if your WHs are fearful and anxious about becoming fathers. I know my WH had a lot of issues when our two boys were born, but he wasn't able to articulate them and instead withdrew into himself. It wasn't until later that he could tell me about it.
I hope you both can surround yourselves with loving friends and family.
[This message edited by twokids at 9:09 PM, March 2nd (Tuesday)]
thanks for your guidance. I'm working my 12 steps and am in IC and 2 COSA groups. The groups have given me so much support and insight.
Even though he doesn't necessarily buy into a SA diagnosis, my WH regularly attends an SAA group. He
actually took a newcomer under his
wing at his last meeting!
He drags his feet around IC, but attends sporatically.
I'm worried about us long term, but lately have begun to hide my fears and pain from my WH and try to focus on the positive. As a result things have begun to improve between us, and I'm able to feel his love and feel less fear.
Sounds crazy, but I'm feeling better than I've felt in many a moon.
Im so glad to read your comment about not every SA having a co-addict, though I going to the COSA meetings has really helped me pay more attention to the unhealthy coping mechanisms I have developed over the last 5 years. And I second the need for a CSAT. I LOVE our CSAT. At least for me, b/c at this point H's recovery is his thing and Im staying way out of it.
On an unrelated note, I failed my 3 hour gestational diabetes test and my OB is going to make me test my glucose all the time. What a pain.
7-8 and counting. I SO cant wait! Im tired of being pregnant. And cant wait to meet my little boy.
I too really liked your comments on co-addicts. I've labeled myself the ultimate co-dependent/co-addict, but I'm starting to wonder if indeed I was. I certainly exhibited those behaviours, but I always knew something wasn't right; that these behaviours were borne out of reaction. Once I understood SA and the dynamics surrounding it, I set out to stop these unhealthy coping mechanisms.
Whatever the case doesn't really matter to me anymore. I'm doing the right things now and that's what matter.