How do I support my husband who has a porn addiction?

How do I support my husband who has a porn addiction?

Question

Dear Gramps,
My husband of 5 years is addicted to pornography. He told me about it while we were dating but I thought it would be a non-issue if we married because then his needs would be met within the marriage. It didn’t even occur to me that this would carry on into marriage.

My husband has not viewed it in months. He has been advised to talk to me because a wife can be an addict’s best support. But when he tells me deep pain comes with it. I feel greatly betrayed, heartache and sorrow to the point where I can’t hide it while he is opening up. He feels anger and resentment towards me for not supporting him. I want to support him in all his righteous efforts but I feel so much pain from it. I don’t understand how I can support him on something that is hurting me so much. I don’t know how to not be hurt. Do you have any advice?

Jennifer

 

Answer

Jennifer,

I am sorry that you and many others like you are hurting because of a spouse’s addiction and/or habits with pornography. You have asked how can you not be hurt and that is a very hard question to answer in the limited space we have. I would recommend that you try to find a support group for people whose spouses are struggling with this issue. In such a group you can begin to understand that you are very much not alone with this problem and see how others are handling it to get better ideas and understanding.

I will seek to address but one issue of the many that are present here. You need to understand that your spouse’s porn use is not about you. Let me repeat that. It is not about you. You think it is. You thought that marriage would make the problem go away. It did not and so now you take every relapse of your husband as a personal failure with you. You assume that if you were only sexier, more desirable, more skilled, or whatever, then your husband would have no desire for anything else. This is the wrong messages to be telling yourself and I believe it is a big cause for why it hurts you so much.

But it is not about you, you can not make this magically go way for your husband. If he is addicted then he has re-wired his brain chemistry to respond and seek out the stimulus of porn. It was done before you met and it will most likely take professional help to undo it.

If it is not at the level of addiction, then it is most likely that your husband has turned to it to cope with stress and feel like he has some measure of control over his life. Add to that a strong sex drive and your husband has a habit whose underlying cause is masked. The need to deal with stress and feel like you have some control over your life many times become even more important after you are married then it was before. If this is the case then your husband has poor coping skills and needs to learn new ones before the problem can really go away. Because in times of stress he will turn to what he knows works until he learns a better way.

Hopefully as you learn that your husband’s faults in this issue are not your fault you will be able to gain the insight needed to be less hurt by your husband’s struggles. Then when your pain is much lesser and you understand it is up to him and not you, then you are in a better position support him in his effort to break free. Encouraging scripture study, prayer, both individually and together, plus just being there for him can go a long way to help him get free of this problem, but you need to have a better understanding of what it is you can and can not do for him.

Gramps

How do I stay with someone who has addictions?

How do I stay with someone who has addictions?

Question

Gramps,

My heart aches as my husband recently asked for a divorce after many years of marriage and 4 kids later. I have stuck by this man as he has struggled with porn addiction and has acted out a few times. This past 6 months he has turned into a workaholic spending countless hours at work and not being there for our kids or I. Seems like he switched from one addiction to another all though I may be missing something. For now he has decided to wait on his plans for divorce stating he is confused. The kids are being affected and so am I by his absence but he won’t talk about what he is going through and I am tired of dealing with his troubles. I am just trying to be a strong mom. I don’t know that divorce is the answer but this has gone on for so long and I wonder how it’s going to affect our 4 children. Would love your thoughts on this matter.

Lacy

 

Answer

Dear Lacy,

My heart sorrows over the trials your entire family is facing right now. Addiction is a terrible burden for anyone to carry, and the weight sadly ladens loved ones as well. You must act on what the Lord reveals to you personally for your situation, but in the meantime you have turned to me for counsel so I will share my thoughts.

Your husband should be congratulated on his porn sobriety. It is a difficult habit to break and relapses are not uncommon. The very nature of addiction is self-sustaining as it cycles from a trigger (or stimulus) towards craving and eventually a release. But the release is short-lived and guilt follows. I’m sure you recognize that guilt can be a powerful emotion, leading to all kinds of negative stimuli, and eventually feeding the very indulgence that induces the guilt. Interrupting that cycle is life-altering and commendable. But if your husband has only replaced one harmful release with another one, then he has even more work still ahead of him to break the cycle. There is no shame in turning to support groups and programs to aid him in identifying his triggers and coming up with plans and strategies to bypass the cycle’s stages. I would encourage him to seek such out.

I would encourage you to learn more about addiction just so you can understand better what your husband is going through and how you can assist him. As he progresses in his journey, you will become an accountability partner for him. It can be a difficult to learn the balance between helping him stay clean without him feeling shamed back into the cycle. I would recommend for you to also turn to support groups and programs to aid you in assisting him. One of the things you’ll learn is that addiction is not generally about the substance so much as it is about the release. That is, a man will turn to porn (or excessive work, or overeating, or smoking, or shopping, or any other vice you can think of) to avoid an unpleasant conversation, or to feel like he’s in control of his life, or simply because he feels stressed, or some such thing.

Even if he doesn’t share his stressors and triggers with you, let him know that you fully support and encourage him in his recovery. You want him to attend his meetings and talk to whoever he needs to talk to because you like the better husband and father it makes him. And you show this by giving him the time he needs for these meetings and helping him with whatever solutions he presents to you. Conversely, you need him to support you and encourage you as a recovering addict’s wife. You need to attend your meetings and talk to therapists or whomever because it will make you a better wife and mother. And you need him to show his support by giving you the time you need for the meetings and educating you in some of the experiences he’s having as he’s recovering (for instance, “I just learned about the addiction cycle, do you often feel guilt after a relapse? What does that feel like for you? Can I do anything to ease that guilt so it doesn’t send you back into the cycle?”).

Like any marriage, you both need to be invested in it to make it work. Your children are not oblivious to what goes on in your home. You can talk to others in your support group about what it’s like to go through recovery with children and what pitfalls should be avoided.

The Church has a recovery program, complete with meetings for addicts, as well as family and friends. You can read more about it (or even find a meeting near you) at the website: LDS Addiction Recovery Program

Gramps

 

Dating a Former Addict

Dating a Former Addict

Dear Gramps,

I have a lovely daughter who loves the Lord and does her best to bless the lives of others. Recently she met an RM who was addicted to pornography for many years. He is clean for the first time in his adult life and wants to pursue a relationship with her. He is a bright young man with many good qualities. My first instinct is to tell her to run away as fast as she can. On the other hand, what good is Christ’s atonement if people are unable to repent and change their lives? Thoughts?

Concerned Mom (more…)

Is caffeine okay in small amounts?

Is caffeine okay in small amounts?

Question

 

Gramps,

I recently read an answer in which you stated that one should not consume something, even if it is healthy, if they cannot get through the day without it. I understand that there are limits, as anyone knows that even if you don’t NEED alchohol, it is still bad for you. But does this mean that caffeine in small and not frequent is okay?

Jamie

 

Answer

 

Jamie,

Caffeine is a stimulant, and can be found in some prescription medicines. As such, it is not forbidden, because medicine is intended to increase our health.

The trick comes in at ‘small amounts’. What exactly is a ‘small amount’? One can of Pepsi every other day? Perhaps some tea on occasion? This line of thought strikes me as a ‘how close can I get to the line without crossing’ approach. Instead we ought to be avoiding the line by as wide a margin as possible.

It is common knowledge that caffeine can be habit-forming for many people. Why take the risk? What can caffeine give you that you cannot obtain any other way?

My personal take is this; our bodies don’t need it unless we give it so much it learns to depend upon it rather than use the natural chemicals made by the body itself. I’d rather let my body work the way it was meant to instead of depend upon outside chemicals to do it.

 

Gramps

 

 

Naturally occuring caffeine

Naturally occuring caffeine

I have been reading a lot about the problems with energy drinks out there and the high amounts of caffeine in them. I drink a shake in the morning from a mix. The ingredients at the bottom say that this contains a natural caffeine. I called the company that makes this and they said the natural caffeine is from organic guarana. Can you tell me if this caffeine is really a natural source or as bad as the caffeine we see in energy drinks?

Carla (more…)

LDS family struggling with Word of Wisdom

LDS family struggling with Word of Wisdom

My husband and I have been married for 5 years. We are active members & served missions. My husband has recently struggled with the use of marijuana.  As a teen, he smoked marijuana consistently but he stopped, went on a mission and moved on. After he lost his job and our house he started smoking again. His ideas are:

  •  Marijuana is an herb from the earth.
  • It’s not specifically prohibited in the Word of Wisdom as “tobacco” is
  • Marijuana its better than tobacco anyway
  • Use of anything in moderation is ok
  • There are overweight people on the church that have very obvious addictions to food and they’re permitted to go to the temple why wouldn’t I be?
  • Marijuana relaxes the mind and doesn’t cause impairment of judgment.

I stand strong on my conviction that marijuana is harmful for the mind, the body and is prohibited on the scriptures. I don not agree with him using it. What do you think?

Angelica (more…)

Putting burdens on Jesus

Putting burdens on Jesus

Hi Gramps,
Thanks for all that you do. I had a question… I am confused on what I should do when apostles, prophets, and other church leaders say, “Lay your burdens and/or habits on Jesus Christ and he will help carry your burdens and/or take away your habits.” Should I pray to Jesus instead of Heavenly Father? How do I go about asking Heavenly Father for Jesus help? I guess, that he will help us bear trials like poverty, loss of a loved one, etc., but what about habit? How does Jesus do this? He cannot carry our habits… can he make them stop completely? If so how?
Thanks,
Confused (more…)

One Must Overcome Addiction of Pornography

One Must Overcome Addiction of Pornography

Dear Gramps,

I know someone who want to do whats right.  He has been endowed and has confessed to the bishop several times  about his addiction to porn(Because he really would like to free from the chains of satan). Because he is a repeat offender and he needs confess to the bishop again, he is scared.  He doesnt know if the bishop will disfellowship him or worse.  He wants to be a good person.  He cares for other people and he is really sorry, but cant quit on his own.  Will he be disfellowshiped or worse?  What can you tell him to
give him courage to talk to his bishop again? He is really ashammed of his weakness and that is another reason he is afaid to talk to the bishop about it.
Please help.

Rene (more…)

What the Word of Wisdom Prohibits

What the Word of Wisdom Prohibits

Dear Gramps,
I was helping my dad bring in some new green tea into the house and he said I could have a case of it. I said “sorry I won’t drink it.” He just looked on and said, “Why not?” I said, “Its against the Word of Wisdom.” We got into a big discusion and he in my opinion justified that it was ok for him to. He then said that I was wrong sense I drink soda. So my question is this if drinking green tea is against the Word of Wisdoom does that mean that drinking Soda is also against the word of wisdom? Because soda is by far more poisonous for our bodies than Green tea. I have read a few of your Q/A already and I have decided for myself that I shouldn’t be drinking green tea, but is my dad correct in
saying that I’m taking the Word of Wisdom, in a way, too far?

Kenneth (more…)

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