I am BS and an alcoholic with 25 years sober. I say that to let you know that I have some knowledge of addiction and addicts. I hope what I have to say is helpful and know that it is meant in a loving and supportive way. My husband is a drug addict and a sex addict. He was diagnosed by a certified sex addiction therapist (CSAT) and has also self-identified.
First things first, as we say in AA. You said in your post that your therapist has diagnosed you as having a sex addiction. If your therapist is not a CSAT, I would strongly recommend that you participate in treatment with a CSAT. They have specific training in how to deal with this kind of addiction, which is a process, or behavioral addiction (like gambling). Sex addiction commonly (but not always) begins with compulsive online pornography use. What usually ensues is a progression of increasingly risky, sexualized behavior, which means that compulsive thought processes may well be present - one of the symptoms of an addiction. Although it is recommended to get a diagnosis from a CSAT, it IS possible to self-diagnose as an addict in order to begin the process of recovery, not as an excuse to rationalize dysfunctional behavior. The disease of addiction explains inappropriate behavior but it does not excuse it in any way. The SAA (sex addicts anonymous) website has a lot of information which might be useful to you in the area of self-identification.
My FWH is a sex addict. He was clean and sober from alcohol/drugs for 20 years. He stopped doing the things he needed to do to stay sober and to maintain a healthy spiritual condition: stopped going to 12-step meetings and stopped working a program. It took a few years, but he began an addictive relationship with pornography. I caught him a few times and finally began to see that it was becoming a problem for him and for our relationship. Since he had so many years clean and sober from substances, I felt that he could get the help he needed on his own. Sadly, I swept it under the rug and, like all addictions, it progressed into a physical affair. When my husband was caught, he was actively planning a second affair. Progression is the name of the game with sex addiction,
Sobriety from addiction is a LIFELONG process. If you are not actively working on the emotional and behavioral dysfunction that enables the disease, then it is almost a guaranteed path to relapse. You need to learn the tools necessary to sustain long term sobriety and you can only truly learn those tools through work with sober addicts. In my experience, sustained sobriety is only possible with active participation in a 12-step program. Period. Not for a week, not a year, FOREVER. Sex addiction also requires individual therapy as it is a process addiction, which means it is a compulsion to continually engage in certain behaviors despite the negative impact on one’s life. Sex addiction, like eating addictions, are especially tricky since sex and eating are behaviors that humans engage in which are necessary for a healthy life. If you want a healthy relationship, then sex is usually part of that. If I, as an alcoholic, had to take a drink on a weekly basis in order to maintain a healthy relationship, then it would be extremely difficult to stay sober. This is why there is so much relapse for SAs and why it is so important to participate in a 12-step program with fidelity, consistency, and for the long term.
As your wife has likely discovered, an addict, when in active addiction, is constitutionally incapable of honesty. Your ACTIONS over time will tell your wife if you are serious about being safe for her (or any other woman you want to be in a relationship with) and for yourself. Stop talking and take assertive action. If you are not willing to do whatever it takes to get and stay clean, then you are not serious about recovery. I have been working with addicts for many years. They, like cheaters, follow certain patterns of behavior. They commonly promise a LOT of action while waiting for the commotion to die down so they can continue to use. Unless you actually follow through with your promises, then it is addict bullshit. You have "used"/cheated before and still remained married after discovery. Addicts can understand this as a "free pass", and will manipulate the situation so that they can continue to comfortably do what they want to do. It may be too late for your marriage, but you need to be aware of this if you want a successful relationship in the future.
If you do not commit to the necessary work consistently and for the long term in order to make meaningful changes, anyone you wish to be in a relationship with will be a hostage to your active addiction. Life in active addiction is guaranteed to bring chaos and misery to your life and to the lives of those you love. Addicts do not find sobriety until they hit their "bottom". Hopefully, you have found yours.
Below is a list of the work my husband does consistently. DDay was almost 8 years ago.
1. 12-step meetings multiple times per week. They are online, so no excuses. You should start in AA since this is a much more stable program with a ton of history and people with long term sobriety, but you should also attend SAA meetings so you do not forget who you are.
2. Work with a sponsor. You will need to find one with some sober time (at least 5 years).
3. Ongoing therapy with a CSAT. My husband works with his twice per month. In the beginning, it was more frequent.
4. Taking the suggestions of your therapist and sponsor and ACTING on those suggestions willingly.
5. Complete honesty at all times.
6. All electronics are open to your wife’s review (if you are staying married) whenever she needs to see them and your whereabouts are verifiable. This is ACCOUNTABILITY. If you are misbehaving online, then computer use only when your wife is present or when you are at work. If you are single, leave the computer alone when you are not at work until you can safely use it. Remember, addictions progress. Online porn is a certain way to make your life very complicated.
I am an outspoken gal, and I will tell you that there is not much hope for a relationship if you do not get willing and honest. You will almost certainly continue some sort of addictive behavior and your loved ones will bear the brunt of that. Addicts tend to take advantage of kindness and understanding, which they see as weakness, to manipulate in order to continue to do what they want. It is counterintuitive that kindness, mercy and compassion will enable an addict, but that is the truth of the disease. You do not want to be that person.
No one can control your actions or the outcome. You and only you can decide to get better. If you have kids, they need to be far away from active addiction. As I said before, addictions progress and if not treated can move into illegal activities (exposure, peeping, etc.). You don’t want your kids around any sort of inappropriate sexual behavior. I am not saying that you will abuse them, but if your addiction is in control, they will likely be exposed to some inappropriate content. In addition, as a teacher (I am one as well), this can potentially be risky for your students (not sure what age they are). Active addiction takes you to places you would never imagine you would go. Please also be aware that your school computer is monitored as well as internet use at school.