C.C.’s Story of Hope
Shortly after the birth of my first child, I learned that my husband struggled with an addiction, that led to him being unfaithful. I was devastated and felt completely crushed.
After several months of pain, anger and no changes, after much prayer and through the guidance of the spirit, we separated.
I didn’t know how I got into this mess, and even worse, I didn’t know if I could ever be happy again. I didn’t think I could ever even like my husband again, and the idea of ever being happily married was incomprehensible. There I sat, with my 6 month old baby, devastated and feeling completely alone.
Through divine guidance, I’m sure, I was led to the WORTH group. It was then that I started to receive the tools and information needed to create my own happiness, regardless of my husband’s choices.
Between WORTH group, the book “What Can I Do About Me” by Rhyll Croshaw, and most importantly, a renewed commitment to stay as close to my Heavenly Father as possible, I began to heal. I learned how to be happy again. I learned to appreciate and love myself. I learned to trust God. I learned that I could handle whatever trials I faced. But… For months, I made that journey alone.
Eventually, my husband decided to fight. He joined Men of Moroni and learned the tools necessary for him to fight his addiction. Results were not immediate. It took time and a continued, consistent effort.
Eventually, as we stayed anchored to God, and kept focus on our own journeys, we began the process of healing our marriage…something I did not think was possible.
It was not, and is not, easy. It takes a lot of work, as all good things do. Through daily consistency, plenty of learning moments, therapy, and reliance on God versus reliance on each other, we are now in a very different place. I never thought I would be able to even like my husband again. Now, not only do I love him, I actually like him! He’s earned my respect and continues to do so on a daily basis. Our home is full of the spirit, love, kindness and lots of smiles and laughter. Of course, it still holds the occasional tears, heartache, frustration and opportunities to learn and grow, but mostly, my home is full of peace. In the beginning of this journey, I didn’t think that was possible.
It hasn’t been easy and everyone’s story looks different, but here’s what I do know, no matter what my husband’s future choices hold, I will be okay. My happiness isn’t based on what he’s doing, although he can add to it. I’ve found my strength, through God and others, and because of that, I can be okay and I can be happy, no matter what anyone else chooses. Right now, things are good, and I truly believe they will continue that way, but even if they don’t, I know I can be okay, and even happy
My husband has been back in our home now, for one year. We have two beautiful children and there is a peace present, that I didn’t think was possible. I’ve learned to love myself, again. I love the spirit in my home and I can genuinely say that I am looking forward to my future. The journey of healing looks different for everyone, and it is entirely possible for every one of us, no matter the depths of despair that you feel now. Reach out. Get help .Stay close to your Father In Heaven. You can do this.
Emily’s Story Of Hope
D-day was just over two years ago. My husband and I had planned to go to the temple that morning, but instead he woke me up early to tell me that he was addicted to Pornography, and then sent me off to the temple alone. I was in shock that whole day. It wasn’t really registering. My initial reaction to him had been to love him, comfort him and tell him we would work through it together.
The next day the questions started rolling through my mind. What did this mean about him? Us? Our relationship? Me? Did this mean all of our covenants were worthless? How far had his addiction gone? How many times in our marriage, had I been deceived? Was I just an object to him? Was this a factor in some of the most painful and difficult fights we had? Why had God told me to marry a man with an addiction?
He wanted to talk to the bishop, but felt no-one else should know. That would just be “airing dirty laundry.” I was feeling sick to my stomach, weak and achy. I needed to talk to someone, too. Finally, he agreed I could talk to my sister, whose husband we knew had had an addiction, but we assumed he was “recovered.” She took me to a park and we walked and talked and she held me while I cried. She told me her husband was not healed yet. She told me of the pain, and difficulties it has caused her marriage. She stayed with me until she had to be somewhere else. I was such a wreck at that point, I didn’t want to go home to my children and husband. So she took me to my in-laws. I knew they loved me and my husband. I knew they would have calm wisdom. They did. They were totally shocked and heartbroken, but gentle, loving and hopeful. Eventually I was calm and went home.
The next day I started researching. There had to be help, resources to help us. Jonathan’s mom called with a suggestion that I encourage Jonathan to check out Men of Moroni. I looked up the website, and while on it, was offered a chat window asking if I needed help. I told them I had just learned of my husbands addiction. She recommended I visit with Jennifer, the counselor for wives at Life Changing Services, as well as have Jonathan come to Men of Moroni that week.
I wanted healing and relief from the intense pain, and Jonathan wanted to be free, so although very nervous, and at my pleading, we did both. I took every recommendation for a book given me and read it, and tried to apply every instruction I was given. I was writing profusely in my journal. We started both attending L.D.S. addiction recovery. Jonathan for the addicts, and me for the family of addicts.
We had many fights and breakdowns, especially after classes or reading. I had days where I completely didn’t function, and stayed in my room or asked Jonathan to take the children so I could leave and think and get away. Jonathan was trying hard, I could see that. I struggled not to police him. He struggled to give me the space I needed. We had many a “discussion” about crazy-making that turned into my calling a boundary after both of our emotions were peaked and hurt.
I asked him hundreds of questions, wanting to know about his past. Had his addiction cost us money? Had there ever been real women besides me that he was involved with? Had he looked at child porn? Where and when and how did he access it usually? Sometimes he was defensive – which I now see as the root of crazy-making, and sometimes he was strong, yet humble as I pried and cried. Usually he was apologetic.
I went through a long period of needed to find myself again. I asked Jonathan to move out of our room and stay in the basement. – He did reluctantly. I asked him to please tell our 5 children that he had hurt me, and that was the cause of my not being available to them. He did, reluctantly. We struggled to find boundaries and then to keep them. We had very good and close conversations, and very gut-wrenching conversations where I would eventually ask him to leave me alone. He always did, but sometimes I had to ask several times or walk away and lock myself in a room. I wanted a period of abstinence in our intimacy and then when we felt close I also wanted to be held and loved – I was inconsistent, and frustrated at myself for my fickleness.
It took time for his defensiveness and the layers of bad habits to wear off. But they slowly did. It took longer for me to find forgiveness and healing. I remember wondering if his healing would be complete and he would move forward powerfully in life, and I would be left behind, a used and broken piece of his past. I struggled to understand how much of my years of deep depression was caused and triggered by his hidden addiction and the way he had treated me because of it, vs. how much was just me, and my lack of mental stamina. I wanted to blame him for all my ugliness. As I read through years of journals and then questioned him, I could see a very strong pattern of his addiction and my depression. Most of my depression spills had be triggered by a fight with him, and the worst of those had been about intimacy, and my saying I didn’t feel loved or respected or a part of our love-making. Twice I had been suicidal, and both times as I read back through my journals were triggered by fights about intimacy. So I felt justified in blaming him for my depression. But I also knew deep in my heart that justification meant I was not being humble, nor owning my own responsibility for my choices – choices of thought and action. If my happiness was dependent upon Jonathan and his words and actions, then I was in bondage. I was co-dependent. I was denying my gift of agency. I was listening to Satan’s lies, and I knew it. But I needed the atonement and the power of Christ to help me change.
I received the powerful gift of healing, and a forgiveness for Jonathan as a very clear and powerful personal revelation. It came on a morning shortly after Christmas, 3 ½ months after D-day. I was at the funeral of a good friend who had died of cancer. I was made whole, by a power beyond my own.
From that time on, triggers have been few and far between, and when I am triggered the intensity is less and know solidly in my mind that Jonathan’s recovery is still in tack, and that it is an effort of the adversary to make me miserable. Sometimes he succeeds and I am miserable for a while, but there is never any doubt that Christ took my pain, and gave me the power, or ability to forgive as a gift beyond my own capacity.
Things that made a difference:
Jonathan started his Men of Moroni class grudgingly, reluctant. I begged him to try it because his mom had felt inspired to share it. He came back the first week, hopeful that it was a tool that could help. He had read the entire 12 step manual a few times on his own, before disclosing his addiction to me, so he was unsure if it would be powerful enough to help him change, However he also attended ARP for several months. And both were good. Men of Moroni offered him a set of new tools. He started his MAN PoWeR immediately and never once has missed a day in the last two years. He has not once had a relapse. He tells me he still has dude moments – temptations occasionally – but he is repulsed by the idea of going back to where he was, and they are much more infrequent than they used to be. He leads a Men of Moroni group and now helps me teach Eternal Warriors classes so that we stay focused on the fight, and going the same direction.
I went to Worth and the L.D.S. Addiction Recovery Program for about 4 months. Both were super helpful. Then I took the Eternal Warriors training and started my own GiRL PoWeR. I have continued to teach classes since then, to keep me strong and motivated and focused, as well as to help others. In that time, both Jonathan and I were working diligently to learn, understand and apply the principles of repentance and change and healing. We both knew it was up to the Savior.
Lots of books were helpful. Read everything. Learning and study changes our thoughts and paradigms. This helps us change.
Two+ years later Jonathan is on day 751 of putting on the Armor of God. Our marriage is stronger and closer than it has ever been. I still fight the demons of depression sometimes, but I know what they are – demons, not me. Jonathan still gets grumpy or inward sometimes – though not nearly as often, and if I confront him, he soon becomes contrite and quick to try and serve our family. He is alive and motivated and incredibly strong in his willpower – he now is focusing on improving his health and has made some miraculous strides.
The hardest, but most crucial pieces of recovery for us have been humility and going to God. We both needed to change. We needed the atonement of Jesus Christ for healing, strength, and cleansing. We both have changed. We both have a long journey of changing yet ahead of us.
Michelle’s Story Of Hope
In 2003, I discovered that my husband of two years was addicted to pornography. It was a heartbreaking time, filled with a lot of shame and embarrassment. He went through 6 months of meeting with the Bishop and I thought it was done. I was wrong. This continued for several more years like a very painful merry-go-round. What I did not know was that my husband’s addiction was far more than pornography. He had, in fact, been unfaithful to me for our entire marriage. This came to light in September, 2014. My husband was excommunicated from the LDS Church and we found Life Changing Services.
As my husband began seeking real recovery, he disclosed more and more of his past. I felt like a broken, waster, worthless, shell of a person. I was angry. By the time he finished disclosing, I thought my spirit had burned and died. How could I possibly ever find joy after this? How could I make peace with this complete lie of a life? What about our five children?
I began attending WORTH meetings in October, 2014. The skills there gave me hope. I learned that this was not my shame. I began to release the anger and turn to my Heavenly Father. I found great comfort and strength in the Book of Mormon, particularly in the book of Alma. I began to recognize the manipulation that had been part of my marriage for so long. I learned how the Spirit speaks to me, and learned to trust that above all else.
My husband attended Men of Moroni weekly and developed friendships there. His group members pushed him out of his comfort zone and encouraged him on his low days.
Month by month, the fog lifted. Suddenly, he was seeing things through new eyes. He began reading the Book of Mormon. That has expanded to the entire standard works. His prayers became substantive. Hi demeanor changed with the children. He became genuinely interested in me as a person. He learned how to be empathetic with my pain.
learned to take responsibility for the pain he caused. My husband has since been re-baptized and is hoping to have his priesthood and temple blessings restored in 2017.
Our marriage looks nothing like it did before, and for that, I am grateful. I would not wish the pain of this addiction and betrayal on anyone. I also would not go back to the marriage I had before, even if it would erase the pain I felt and still feel at times. I would not change it because it made me who I am today. In the two years since my old world shattered, I have experienced the healing power of the Atonement.
I have shared my story with many women and had the privilege of walking with them as they navigate this road that is all too familiar to me. I have seen the spark return to countenances. I found my purpose. I went back to school to become a master’s level social worker in order to help others in this situation as well as others who have not yet found their voices.
T.R.’s Story Of Hope
My husband confessed to me that he had a pornography problem about a year into our marriage, after a temple recommend interview with our bishop. Pornography was something he’d turned to as a pre-teen when his parents got divorced, and he’d figured that once he got married he’d be able to easily stop looking at it. Not so.
I was newly pregnant with our first baby and the thought of leaving him or getting divorced terrified me more than the prospect of dealing with my husband’s addiction. Now, looking back, I had no idea how difficult of a challenge this would become, but I’m so glad I didn’t call it quits and that we stuck together.
We spent the next decade battling the addiction together, with periods of marginal success broken by heartbreaking defeats. We had more children. Life went on. And life was good, except for this one thing. I felt more and more helpless with each setback as I watched my husband struggle. Eventually, I came to realize that no amount of planning, supporting, brainstorming, or even nagging on my part did anything to help. Really all I could do was be there and assure him that he was still of great worth both to me and to our Heavenly Father. I always believed that my husband was a choice spirit and that he could beat this with the Lord’s help, but neither of us could figure out how to obtain that change of heart spoken of in the scriptures that we both so deeply desired.
I realized, at length, that since I had no control over my husband and that I couldn’t change for him, that I had to focus on myself. I started going to the church’s Addiction Recovery Program and went through the twelve steps for myself. During this process, which was painful and long, I was able to let go of the resentment I felt toward my husband, his parents (whom I blamed for not catching the addiction when it started), and Heavenly Father (for sending me strong spiritual confirmation that I should marry this man who would hurt me so deeply).
Once I was able to forgive, the healing process started in my heart. The walls I’d built up to protect myself came down and, while it was incredibly painful to let myself feel emotion again, along with the pain came an outpouring of love. I came to understand the atonement in a way I never had before, as I experienced, for myself, what it felt like to allow the Savior to carry my burden and be a balm for my sorrows.
I have been okay for several years now. I have been happy for several years now. My husband is still fighting and I am still standing by his side, almost two decades later. For our situation, that is where I feel I need to be. We have both experienced a renewed sense of hope since finding the Men of Moroni program. I can see that it’s giving my husband a set of tools that he hasn’t had access to before which are making a huge difference in his fight against Satan. Satan wants to take my husband down because of his great potential, but I refuse to let the devil win. He will not have me, he will not have my husband, and he will not have my children.
If there is anything good that has come of our struggles, it is that my husband is extra-sensitive to the temptations our two teenage boys are now facing. These boys have access to a staggeringly greater number of evils than my husband had growing up in the 80’s and, because of what my husband has been through, he knows how to recognize when our boys are struggling. He knows how to talk to them in a way they will understand and that will help. If going through this pain has taught us something that will save our kids and their future spouses from experiencing the same pain, I would take it all on again.
There is hope. There is healing. The Savior is real and he truly does know how to succor His people. It will take time, but He can ease your pain. He can and He will.