List of resources for Spouses/Partners of SA
This is the advice and list of resources compiled from past and current posters on this thread dealing with a possible or confirmed SA partner. Educate yourself about SA and codependency. Focusing on yourself and your own recovery will strengthen you to deal with the SA and the impact on your life, whether you choose to stay with your SA or not.
The SA must seek treatment with a CSAT (Certified Sex Addiction Therapist) . The SA must work their recovery on their own. Even if the SA doesn’t get help, the spouse needs to get counseling to recover from the trauma of being married to a sex addict. Be sure that the therapists are CSATs and/or trained in sex addiction and trauma. If you are in a remote area, many CSATs will skype their sessions. Contact some on the list to see which ones are available for this.
12 step meetings are mandatory for SAs. They are also highly recommended for spouses. The IRL support of others going through the same process is invaluable.
First and foremost read these books:
Book Resources for Spouses/Partners of SA
Your Sexually Addicted Spouse: How Partners Can Cope and Heal, by Barbara Steffens and Marsha Means. (An essential read regarding trauma of spouses.)
2. Hope and Freedom For Sexual Addicts and Their Partners, by Milton Magness. (Primer for SA education for both SA and spouse. Great first book.)
3. Stop Sex Addiction, by Milton Magness. (Nice explanation of how the process of recovery ideally works.)
4. Facing Heartbreak, by Stefanie Carnes and Anthony Rodriguez. The new workbook for partners of SAs. (workbook)
5. Intimate Treason, Healing the Trauma for Partners Confronting Sex Addiction, by Claudia Black and Cara Tripodi. (workbook)
6. The Betrayal Bond, by Patrick Carnes. (Good good book for anyone in a dysfunctional relationship.)
7. Mending a Shattered Heart: A Guide for Partners of Sex Addicts, by Stefanie Carnes.
Deceived: Facing Sexual Betrayal, Lies and Secrets, by Claudia Black PhD.
9. Intimacy Anorexia, by Douglas Weiss. (Just the book for both SAs and spouses suffering from Intimacy and Sexual Anorexia.)
10. Don't Call It Love: Recovery From Sexual Addiction, by Patrick Carnes.
Online Resources for Spouses/Partners:
S-Anon (for the spouses/partners of SAs): http://www.sanon.org
COSA (spouses/partners/children of SAs) http://www.cosa-recovery.org
It's likely that you will not immediately find a meeting date and location online. You have to make a phone call which will be returned by a volunteer who will provide you with information. This is for security, to weed out crazies who want to come to meetings.
A website with good info on boundaries for dealing with an SA it:
To find a CSAT (Certified Sex Addict Therapist), look for one that specializes in dealing with spouses and trauma. http://www.sexhelp.com/sex-addiction-help/sex-addiction-therapists
www.sexhelp.com (Patrick Carnes main site, the founding expert of SA, there are many resources and info on SA)
12 steps for S-Anon: (COSA is very similar)
1. We admitted we were powerless over sexaholism - that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Humanist version for AA, can be modified for SA:
The SA must seek treatment with a CSAT (Certified Sex Addiction Therapist]
12 step meetings are mandatory for SAs.
Online resources for SAs:
Find a CSAT: http://www.sexhelp.com/sex-addiction-help/sex-addiction-therapists
Sexaholics Anonymous: (Recommended by most CSATS, more stringent definition of healthy sexual behavior) At this site there is information for the SA and spouse that may be helpful. http://www.sa.org/
SLAA: http://www.slaafws.org/ (for sex and love addicts)
Recovery Nation is an online community with online recovery workshops for both the SA and the spouse. (This should not replace seeing a CSAT (see below) and going to SA meetings (see above) for the sex addict but is a great addition to those things.) http://www.recoverynation.com
http://www.candeocan.com This is an excellent source of information. They focus on the porn aspect of SA.
Book Resources for SAs:
To fully understand SA you both need to do some reading. If he doesn't face his addiction you should still do the reading to help yourself and decide what you want.
Out of the Shadows: Understanding Sexual Addiction, by Patrick Carnes (workbook).
2. Recovery Zone, Patrick Carnes (workbook).
3. A Gentle Path, Patrick Carnes.
4. Hope and Freedom For Sexual Addicts and Their Partners, by Milton Magness.
5. Stop Sex Addiction, by Milton Magness.
6. Porn Nation by Michael Leahy, for SAs that are addicted to Porn.
He should be transparent. He should also have an accountability partner other than you. But if you don't feel safe, that's no way to live.
It's easy to say that you should detach, not so easy to do.
Who IS this man? Who the f--k did I marry? Who did I put my heart soul and complete trust in? I feel like such a silly little fool. I know I need to connect all the dots and face the extent of this.
Today I don't know if I can do this. I am so broken inside. He has destroyed my heart. I haven't really even cried yet. All I feel is horrified and numb. Is that normal? To stay in shock this long? D-day was May 3rd and I still haven't cried. I don't know how to bring the devastation to the surface. Can anyone relate to that reaction and tell me how you got through, how you got the tears to flow? I know they need to. The pain and confusion is at such a deep level that it hasn't reached my heart.
Sometimes life throws shit instead of flowers.
So sorry you have to be here in this little "tribe". Almost without exception we can all relate to how you feel, the shock and grief.
IMO your inability to cry just now is a form of compartmentalisation (WS's don't have the monopoly on it!!). You've had a massive shock and, to an extent, your mind is not quite ready to wrap it around the reality of the situation. When it does, embrace it, cry as much as you need to. Don't be tempted to drink to excess, but be very, very kind to yourself, eat what you can, drink plenty of water, try and exercise and even, if possible, indulge in something luxurious - a massage, a little retail therapy (I know so well, finances don't always allow, but I'm of the opinion if my SAWH can afford a hooker [usually having misappropriated funds from our business], then I should be able to spend at least a little on me ).
You are SO not alone, we do understand. Vent to us as much as you want. Believe me, it's cathartic and the support and resources here on SI are second to none, whether you're crashing or soaring.
Edit - sounds to me like you've got a magnificent counsellor. Can I borrow him please???
[This message edited by Sparkle0504 at 7:34 AM, May 17th (Saturday)]
The truth hurts, but nowhere near as much as the lies
"Sounds harsh, but she's my wife and I'm supposed to be there when she's having sex" Sal1995
safwh has been doing all the stuff to overcome his sa, and for the right reasons and with the right attitude. He has been completely transparent and forthcoming. He has also been supportive with my recovery to the trauma. Our CSAT calls our situation uncommon in the recovery world.
Now, he has said he is not ready to be a sponsor to this woman or anyone else for that matter. He doesn't want to discourage her seeking help and is asking me if I would be okay with him communicating with this woman through text/email and possibly meeting with her before SAA meetings (at the church under controlled conditions) to explain the process.
If I say no, then it is no.... no questions. I am still thinking on this. safwh is 6 months sober and has the right drive toward recovery. I have seen the struggle he has gone through with shame and burring his pain deep. If he can help another person with this, I want him to, but this is a new chapter in his recovery.
His acting out was always anonymous and involved no emotional attachments. I don't worry so much about him, but what if this woman becomes overly attached to him?
I have told safwh that any communication must be completely divulged to me and she needs to understand that as well. I know there should be anonymity in SAA, but she is bringing this into MY house, she doesn't get that luxury with me.
I am leaning toward allowing monitored interaction with her, she deserves a chance to get help. BUT I make the rules here. Any thoughts?
Side note* she is not a small woman, but she has sold her body for money/drugs.
Fyrebird MY answer to him and the woman would be "no". Not a rat's chance in hell. But that's me. We already know they'll sleep with anything available. You should see one of the fuglys my husband hooked up with / it would make you lose your breakfast I believe, open the door - ANY door and temptation can creep in. I could be wrong and others with more experience might say go ahead.
This IS massive trauma! Someone to whom you gave your heart and soul betrayed and lied to you on the most intimate level! You no longer can trust him, and worse,you can no longer trust YOU. How could you be so blind! How could he be so heartless!
Because addicts are just that-heartless. Their only motivation is to feed the addiction. This becomes a little bit easier to understand as you learn more about the addictive cycle. It's never completely understandable.
@fyrebird. My first reaction would be no. My second reaction would be HELL no. Sponsors and sponsees form very close, intimate relationships. Even if he isnt her sponsor he would serve that purpose to some degree, right? Besides that, at six months, he's barely sober. This desire of his to help is part of that KISA,behavior, that grandiosity, I call it the Bigshotitis that SAs have. It's NOT healthy and it's NOT healthy for you to be monitoring them. Do you really want to hear about the slips or potential slips, or hear the story of another SA, female or male? Not to mention it is a HUGE violation of anonymity.
I would veto this one, hands down.
[This message edited by scaredyKat at 8:58 AM, May 17th (Saturday)]
I would NOT be comfortable with a mixed group of SA's. I think that to feel safe, I would tell your SAH that he needs to find a different 12 step group. I realize that sounds extreme, but most SA/SAA groups are single sex, and I think it is highly inappropriate to have a mixed group. And there is no way that he should continue on in any sort of recovery relationship with that female SA, monitored or otherwise.
It doesn't matter how wonderful his recovery has been or what this female looks like (her body size and looks are totally irrelevant; how many of us had spouses that acted out in manners that were so disgusting they defy reason). Recovery is a fragile thing, and avoiding situations where there is a discussion of intimate topics with someone of the opposite sex is important. At six months of recovery he is not in any sort of position to "help" anyone else, male or female. My H is 4.5 years into recovery, and he does not have intimate discussions with females. He does not befriend females and correspond with them (outside of professional communications). Even in our circle of friends, he does not communicate with our female friends, I do.
I realize you don't want to be controlling or you want to seem like you are ok with things, but this is NOT ok. It is not controlling to say, "My boundary to feel safe is that you not interact with other women in a group setting or form friendships with them." This is a boundary issue.
we cross posted. I love how you said this:
This desire of his to help is part of that KISA,behavior, that grandiosity, I call it the Bigshotitis that SAs have.
It is 100% true. SA's do have that mentality. It is part of the addiction, to want to project that image.
Yes, it is completely normal to still be shocked, two weeks after a d-day. In fact, I would say that the after the last d-day, I was barely functional for months, although the trauma was extended by legal issues and FOO drama. I was fortunate to have a large bank of vacation and was able to take the first two weeks off work. I couldn't eat, sleep, or do much other than stare at the wall. So, yes, you are well within the norms for the trauma you have received.
Take care of yourself the best you can. You will process this and work through it in time. Time is one of those dreaded words that people throw out all the time on SI, but it is true.
I wanted to relay that you cannot love, wish, hope, pray, push, or any other verb a person into recovery. I know many people come to SI desperate to save their marriage, and think that the goal of surviving SA is recovery and reconciliation. While recovery is possible for the SA, they have to really want it. For those that do embrace recovery that usually means hitting rock bottom. For some that rock bottom moment never comes. For others, they can acknowledge SA, but they are not ready to go the distance and put in the real work, and they white knuckle for awhile and flounder. If your SA does not embrace recovery, it is NOT a personal failure on your part. You can choose to recover from the effects of SA without them.
We do not have to accept angry outbursts from the SA. It is not recovery behavior, it is addict behavior, and we should have our boundaries. At one time, we had a guide to boundaries, but that must have been several threads ago. Boundaries are not in place to change or manipulate the SA, but to provide safety for us. An example would be, "When you yell at me, I do not feel (emotionally) safe. I need you to sleep on the couch, spare bedroom, etc. tonight, because I need to feel safe." Boundaries are customized for our situation.
Another point that SK made toward the end of the last thread is that living in a household of active addiction has lasting effects on children. Many people want to stay in a marriage "for the children", but if it is a marriage where SA is present and there is no recovery, it is very damaging. My children did not realize that their father was a SA until the last d-day. I had known for years. In fact, almost 10 YEARS before that d-day he had admitted he was a SA, but because it was not his rock bottom he went to a few ineffective IC's and white knuckled sporadically, then went back to acting out with escalating behaviors. I had already been mentally preparing myself to divorce him for years, but I thought because the children adored him and that he had a good relationship with them that it would be better to stay married until they graduated. That idea really blew up in my face on the last d-day. They both found out in a pretty shocking way and as I alluded, there were legal issues that surrounded our last d-day that they could not be shielded from. Even 4.5 YEARS out they do not call him "dad", but rather by his first name or with no address at all. In fact, they have both talked about changing their last name, and both are pretty dead set against the institution of marriage. At times, they still express anger and disrespect that I knew he was a SA and stayed with him for so long.
Just to clarify, safwh does not want to be a sponsor to male or female. This is not a sponsor question (he himself has had to find a sponsor in a family member who lives 1000 miles away due to the lack of sponsors available, with a local cosponsor). This person has questions on the steps. These three women came together to his SAA meeting because there are no female meetings. They have been to other meetings (aa, na, etc) to try and fill the gap for the lack of female meetings.
Not trying to validate/justify (really am not, I recognize this is how it sounds) My safwh's cycle included no emotional attachment.zero.zip.none. He is also very humble in his approach to life....more not feeling worthy of praise or recognition than to be one to feel superior.
My safwh is not committed to helping this woman, he asked me what I thought about the situation because he is leery of only being 6 months but remembers his beginning.... the quest for help, for understanding the process the feeling lost with no guide. He doesn't want to alienate someone else who is feeling lost.
I don't want to allow my knee-jerk reaction to color my outlook. My safwh could have easily not told me any of this and justified by way of keeping meeting anonymous. He doesn't keep any secrets from me anymore. He puts everything out there for me to see. This has been his breakthrough in breaking the addiction cycle... taking the shame out of the equation. He now tells me everything. And I do get nervous when he has an 'itch' but knowing it is there, I can work through it, not be blindsided.
My SA throughout our marriage had addictive behavior with porn and collections of "sexy" pictures of celebrities that he would collect off and on, and frequently threw away portions of it to "prove" his new commitment to our marriage. He neglected our kids if left with them to the point that I didn't feel comfortable getting a job if it meant having to leave the kids with him for an extended time. This is the stuff I knew about.
Once I found out about a profile for an online dating site, but believed him when he said it was a bad choice and he was SO done with that.
Over the last 6 years, I have progressively found out more and more and I am sure I still haven't gotten the full story and don't think I will ever need/want to know all of it. However, I feel like some of it doesn't go along with an SA. One of his PAs was with a woman who had been a "friend" in high school that I asked him to stop seeing even before we'd married. He'd kept in touch with her secretly for over 10 years, and made arrangements to sleep with her on a layover on his way home after he'd been gone for 4 months. When he confessed this to me, he said that she had just gotten divorced and was feeling really badly about herself. ??!! To me, this was premeditated and spiteful and isn't the only example of his behavior I could apply this to.
Additionally, part of what he was doing at the last DD was that he had reestablished contact with a barely legal? that he'd sworn to me he would never contact again. He said at the time that she stalked him and gave him a sob story to reestablish contact, but then later admitted to me that he had stalked her to find her again, tracking her through email, facebook, and a phone number.
I am just now starting to move out of the shell-shocked phase where all I could do was keep putting one foot in front of the other and do what has to be done for the family. I am now working on sorting out reality from what I didn't want to see before, and seeking validation. He says he is very focused on recovery, but his actions aren't lining up yet. He told me that something he was told in meeting was that he never has had any control, that the addiction has been in control, so basically, he can't be blamed for what he did while the addiction was in control. I told him that I'm not sure he's interpreting that correctly.
And I am getting mad. Letting myself be mad. Not a lot, but more than I've let myself in a long time. The more he blame-shifts, the more I just want to move to the other side of the world and disappear him from the lives of me and the kids.
I guess I ask in part for my own validation, am I crazy, being too harsh, overreacting? Should I just lump all of his behavior in as SA? What difference does that make? How hopeful should I be that SA is going to help him?
Sorry to put something so conflicted and confusing up, but I am really stewing, so am hoping I can get something done by getting it out.
D-Day: Too many in 17 years of marriage. LAST time 10/17/2013.
My safwh's cycle included no emotional attachment.zero.zip.none. He is also very humble in his approach to life....more not feeling worthy of praise or recognition than to be one to feel superior.
My H never had an affair. Yes, he acted out in physical ways with other people, but there was absolutely no emotional attachment. That is also common to SA. It is an intimacy disorder, and other people are just objects in the cycle. Also the shame component is common in SA's, and being helpful is one of those self-esteem boosts that SAs feel the need to seek out. At 6 months in, he really is not in a position to help others, even with their question on the steps. In fact, part of the recovery process IS learning to be more intimate with others (not just in the physical sense, but emotionally), and so on that basis alone I think that having a relationship even as a friendship with a female addict is bad news. Part of the 12 step recovery is to foster relationships with others and to learn new ways of interacting.
Is there any reason why these three females cannot form their own group? That would be the more appropriate response. They could find a CSAT willing to lead them as a group. If there is any help he really wants to provide, it should be in referring them to the appropriate CSAT and leaving it at that.
[This message edited by TooManyYears at 10:05 AM, May 17th (Saturday)]
I looked through your profile, as I am not familiar with your story. I don't know how old you are or how long you have been married, but as you have already seen, SA is progressive in nature. The sexy pictures and porn only go so far before the tastes become more deviant and the risky behaviors get further out of control. Within the first two years of my marriage, I realized that my H had a serious problem. It started with finding the sexy more normal porn and frequenting the seedy parts of town. Over the years the d-days were always more deviant in nature. And as far as being spiteful? Oh yeah, experienced that too. Once my H even said he was going to blow his head off to spite me, after discovering online dating stuff.
I don't know what you are doing for yourself, and that is really important right now. Are you seeing a CSAT or IC? Are you looking at ways to become financially independent?
He says he is very focused on recovery, but his actions aren't lining up yet. He told me that something he was told in meeting was that he never has had any control, that the addiction has been in control, so basically, he can't be blamed for what he did while the addiction was in control. I told him that I'm not sure he's interpreting that correctly.
So, you are seeing that he is all talk, and blame shifting. Trust your gut, if that is what you are seeing.
I guess I ask in part for my own validation, am I crazy, being too harsh, overreacting? Should I just lump all of his behavior in as SA? What difference does that make? How hopeful should I be that SA is going to help him?
No, you are NOT crazy, harsh, or overreacting. You are probably even under-reacting! The best part of this quote is "what difference does that make". None. Makes no difference if he is NPD, SA, or anything else you can think of. If he is not in a real recovery and he is not a safe partner or parent you are just going to keep going down the tubes with him. Make no mistake, if he is stalking and engaging barely legal girls, the probability is high that eventually he will wade into more dangerous territory.
You are right to start questioning and moving in a direction. Take steps towards your own health and protection. You are worth it! None of us deserve to be treated this way. It is crazy making.
Total bullshit. Addiction behavior IS compulsive, no doubt. That DOES NOT absolve oneself from responsibility for the actions. As I said on another thread, one can be both an SA AND an asshole. I use that nasty word very infrequently.
My SAFWH has ADD, BP and is an SA in recovery. All three probably contributed to his decisions. They may be partial reasons but they are never excuses.