Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Unashamed


Good morning my Hooligans!  It is rainy here.  Here is your warning – today’s post is a serious one.  Run while you can…

This is written for those of you who continue to lurk in the shadows (thank you, I understand), for the ones who feel the need to remain anonymous as partners of sex addicts or as the addicts themselves.  It’s not easy and I want you to know that one day you will feel the same way that I do, unashamed.



If you’ve been following me for a while you know that I am a recovering cocaine addict.  I’ve been sober for twenty years and have tons of stories to share.  I hold no shame for anything I’ve been through.  I’ve let go of that pain and I’ve learned so much about myself from that time in my life.  It’s like a whole different person went through it back then – a whole separate chapter in my life.  It’s closed and done.

The same is coming true for what I did while Devin was acting out. Many labels can be placed on it – enabler, codependent, survival, denial – it doesn’t matter what I call it or label it, as long as I recognize that it is unacceptable behavior for ME

Let me clarify that. My core values had been compromised.

The behavior I’m about to describe went against MY core beliefs.  Please do NOT tell me how fantastic YOU find porn.  You cannot understand this behavior until you’ve been faced with it.  I used to enjoy porn too.  It was a healthy behavior for me in moderation.  However, when you’re left feeling like you’re competing with images on a screen…it’s no longer healthy. 

Here is MY story.  MY shame:

I share this so that you will know you are not alone.  Please understand that as I write this, my heart is racing.  My fingers tremble and every ounce of me wants to hit delete and walk away.  However, I know that there are several of you out there that will be helped by this and for every asshole out there that gets his rocks off by reading this, there is a woman out there who will read this and nod her head and cry and recognize herself and not feel alone and ashamed.  This is for you.  You are NOT alone.  You CAN do this.  You ARE LOVED.

What started out as “normal”, “healthy” porn viewing for me began to escalate through the years.  Devin and I decided that we would only watch porn together.  This was my attempt to control his porn viewing when I became uncomfortable with how much he was viewing it alone.  What I didn’t realize was that I was only fueling the fire of his addiction.  I was feeding his fantasy and at the same time, stagnating that fantasy so that he needed more of a rush to “get off” which meant he went further underground.  It was a recipe for disaster.  I was watching porn on the computer with him, looking at porn sites and thinking everything was just peachy keen in our world.  He learned how to become a master at secrets.

Meanwhile, his fantasy world was getting out of control.  He began asking me to buy high heels that I never would consider wearing but in order to keep up with the women I saw on the computer screen, I bought them to try to make him happy. I ordered lingerie from Fredrick’s of Hollywood and Victoria Secret, and sexy sundresses and more high heels…anything to grab my husband’s attention away from the computer screen.  Away from the women that he was looking at instead of me.  Nothing worked.   I couldn’t dress up sexy enough to compete with these women.  My self-esteem had hit an all time low.  I looked in the mirror and the woman I saw looking back wasn’t 37, 5’2” 115 lbs…she was old and haggard and broken and shattered into a million pieces. 

She was worthless.  She became detached and withdrawn. 

When Devin asked what I thought about attending a local group sex party, I was all for it.  Why not?  What did I have to lose?  I had no dignity anyway.  I emailed the group. Twice.  Once again, God was looking out for me.  They never emailed back.  Of all the things I did while Devin was acting out, this was the thing I held the most shame over.  The What If’s (what if we went?, what if I got pregnant?) ran through my mind endlessly but I was able to let them go, finally…

I was also able to release the shame too.

I had compromised MY core values.  I lost MY core beliefs and allowed Devin’s addiction to dictate my actions.  I had become a passive simpleton of a person.  I lost any backbone I had ever had.  It was horrendous.

Now?  Now? I’m inching towards two years since my first Disclosure Day.  I thought I’d be completely healed by now.  I really did.  I remember going into the first marriage counselor’s office, a guy who never heard of sex addiction, and saying, “Shouldn’t I be over this by now?” and his response, “Dear, it’s only been a few months…” and I hadn’t even been told about the affairs yet, only the online crap – I wish it had just been online - and then being told by my rockin’ counselor, that it would take at least two years for me once I started the steps and it could take FIVE years for Devin…FIVE years…holy shit batman…okay, I’m rambling and as tempting as it is to go back and delete, I don’t do that here on my blog. 

My point, before I went off on the above, out of nowhere tangent, is that as much as I held shame for all the things I did while Devin was acting out, I’ve accepted them now. I’ve learned from my mistakes and I’m moving forward.  

My hope is that by writing out all of this, I have helped someone.  That my shame can show someone they are not alone.

71 comments:

  1. "I had become a passive simpleton of a person. I lost any backbone I had ever had."
    that was the scariest part of the story. I hadn't had the chance to read your whole story since I haven't been following you from the very start, so I was often wondering what did his addiction do to you, and this sentence above is the answer I was looking for. It's very difficult when you become passive and when you lose your personality for other people.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I never, ever, in a million years, thought I was capable of doing something like that. Of losing myself. It happened so gradually and so insidiously, I didn't recognize it for what it was until I was already out of it. Even looking back at it now, I have have a hard time facing it - It goes against everything I see myself as now. I shudder to think of it. In a way, that's good. It's how I know it will never, ever happen again.

      Delete
    2. and it is difficult sometimes realizing when it is good to change for someone in a positive way, and when it is bad to change for someone and lose yourself.

      Delete
    3. especially when you're in the thick of it...

      Delete
  2. Some people forget that time heals all wounds...but the scars still remain. You're still healing obviously, but the scars are now becomeing tools to help others.

    You continue to impress me more and more with your willingness to attack your problems head on and now your desire to use yourself as a platform to help others.

    It's not always easy to talk about the things that hurt us most. You are only human and that is nothing to be ashamed of.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is what this summer is all about for me. I made a promise to myself to spend several days each week to work on myself. Either on step stuff, self evaluation stuff, my book or fun stuff on my blog and then just screw off with the family.

      I have to do this work on myself to make sure that I don't screw up again. You know? I screwed up when I was 18, then again for a few months when Senior died and then when faced with Devin's addiction. I have to beat this shit, these flaws that are inside me and get stronger...so they don't flare up when life gets tough again, because it will. Life always does...

      This was really hard to talk about too..I glossed over it...but you guys got the gist of it, I think.

      Delete
  3. Since it was serious the cat will reframe from poking fun, but are you sure your simpleton days are done? You did join the allaince after all?..LMAO..oops, slipped out.

    Takes a lot to talk about such things though and having slipped so far down becoming so passive, is a testament to who you are that you could pick back up and beat all the odds. Bravo to you and hopefully as you say you help a few out there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL - the cat cannot help himself that is for sure! Don't you know the Alliance is always outwitting you, you stupid feline? You just wait! I'm going to roast your ass real soon!! After that awful picture yesterday!! LMAO!! (BTW - can I put that on my sidebar to link to you, Pat?? I loved it!!)

      I hope I can help someone out there and not come off of this post looking like a pathetic loser LOL

      Delete
    2. So I'm the one being outwitted? You make it waaaaay too easy for the cat. Simpleton, pathetic loser, geez, he can skip the insults and just send the can of poo..hahaha You can do what you wish with the pic, as it is you and your fake eye after all..haha

      Delete
    3. but it is I who have outwitted you...I have managed to steal your picture!!!

      No, wait...that's just me promoting an ugly picture of what the cat thinks I should look like while sending people to your site WTF?? As Dezz would say EBIL CAT!!!

      Delete
    4. LOL Ebil cat wins once more, damn I am good.

      Delete
  4. Very very brave post - I do hope it helps someone.

    One thing I will say (you know my story, I'm a recovering alcoholic), and I was talking about this with a fellow alcoholic the other day. Early on in his sobriety he went to an Al-Anon meeting, without his wife she wouldn't go, but he wonder what that was about. He heard stuff in just that one meeting the strengthened his resolve to "get this recovery stuff".

    On my only "weekend pass" when I was in rehab (ironically given the date) was Father's Day in June 2004. When I arrived home on the Sat evening my wife had arranged for the kids to be out. I sat at our old breakfast bar in the kitchen and said "I'm really sorry love"... She said "So you bloody should be..." She then calmly but firmly told me exactly how it was for her everyday having to deal with living with me as an active alcoholic. It was the most painful stuff I've ever heard... until recently my daughter gave me the same stuff as she remembers is 8 years on as an 8 year old girl frightened by her father on a daily basis.

    We addicts troop off to meetings about how bad it was for us, what about the collateral damage? I'm glad they have told me how it was for them. I can never promise not to drink again, I'm an alcoholic and I can never promise that. But I did promise and continue to do so that if I do ever pick up again, I will not darken their lives with it I will depart and run myself to ground. Luckily today I'm not feeling the need to do that, I hope that is true for me tomorrow.

    Again - immense bravery shown by you in this post - my respect to you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Furtheron, that means a lot coming from you. The collateral damage is both intense and immense. Oddly enough, when I was an active addict, I was active with my partner - we did damage to no one but ourselves. We hid in our own drug infested world for two years. We isolated ourselves from our families but (there's that word, "but") we did holidays and such. This addiction was/is so personal. So very, very personal.

      Thankfully, Devin sees that collateral damage. Recognizes it, calls me after he hears a share that devastates him. We still have pieces to pick up from our past. Healing to take place. Like you, he is confident he won't go to a place that is as dark - for him it's cheating - but he can't promise me he won't slip with his inner circle behaviors...I have to be willing to accept that, and for now, I do.

      Furtheron, you are brave too. Thank you again.

      Delete
  5. Totally brave and honest, I'm sure it will have helped someone.
    I feel so sorry for anyone in that situation who feels the need to compete for their partners attention; whether the competition be on screen, on paper or real life. How can any bloke think it's acceptable to put a loved one through that . . . I'm so glad it's over for you Lovey.
    I can see how this addiction would be harder to deal with in a partner than any other; partners of alcoholics/drug addicts may feel that they compete with the drug for their partners attention . . . but they don't feel that they should BE the "drug" ie, replace the drug. Sex addiction in a partner seems so much more personal . . . And would be a killer to one's self esteem.
    As always, amazed by the amount of work you put into healing . . . Take care Lovey x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lovey!!!

      It was a terrible, awful, place to be. I wish it for no one! I think it's a very personal disease. I can't tell you how many times I've said "I wish he was a coke head like me" but of course that's not true either. I wish no such thing. This is what life has given me and therefore, it's what I must face =)

      Love and hugs!!!!

      Delete
  6. I have more respect for you than ever.
    Living a life as a teetotaller, perfect habits or always rich and perfect family or perfect house isnt a life worthliving and there is nothing to be proud about that or maybe -but your story inspires me and helps me and consoles me in hardtimes and shows me reality of life and lets me compare.

    Your life had been a long tough road, I admire your courage and strength to handle the challenge. Pretty brave of you to acknowledge adress and struggle to work it out and you can never given up. Bravo Elsie.

    You told me not to hate Devin, but I can help it, how can he not realise that he had been hit with a jackpot and offered with something not all men under the sun are gifted with, yet he manages to spring back to original lousy square? Hope he comes to his senses soon and realise the gift and cherish and respect it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think living life as a teetotaler is pretty boring =P I think there are many people who have had challenging lives, some more than others but I think it's what we do with those challenges that defines us. Some people use them as an excuse to bitch and complain. Others use them as an opportunity to learn and grow. I guess I did a bit of both...I decided to do a butt load of cocaine when life got really tough and then my husband died and I was like hmmm, maybe doing cocaine isn't such a great idea after all LOL Guess I'll go back to college instead!! That seemed like a much better idea - so that's the direction I chose.

      Anyway - nah, no need to hate Devin. He didn't choose to be a sex addict any more than I chose to be a coke addict. If I don't hate him, you shouldn't either, but then again, I can't help it if you do, all that matters is that I understand his addiction and I have forgiven him. I understand he loves me, he cherishes me and he's remorseful and at the end of each day, when we do FANOS, I hear his affirmations and know they are true =)

      Thanks MaMTC - Okay, I have got to find an abbreviation for you LOL

      Delete
    2. MaMTC is fine, I like it. :)

      Bravo, agree with you, you balanced everything correctly. You are working towards solution, that is what I would do as well.

      About Devin, maybe I am reminded of my husband. Some guys they dont realise Elsie, do you think any lady would tolerate and put up with what you had to go through. I would try to my fullest to make the marriage work but it needs two to tango. My husband is like rubberband, you can help him and work with him and struggle hard and he would pretend to do all that, but once you feel that it is done, he would go back to his square one. And never ever carries remorse, it sometimes gets frustrating. If I dont check or monitor anything he will just scram away everything, if I leave him one day at home all alone, I need 10 days to clean up the mess. I have twin boys, trust me I dont need to run behind them but I need to keep my hubby on leash to save and protect. How can you not be responsible when you are a dad?

      Some of our friends call me his mommy because of the way he acts, they even mock him and criticise his silly irresponsible dumb acts. Long story, let me not hijack your post with my stories.

      Agree with Mark, damn dame , you are good, like confession stand or something. :)

      Delete
    3. Never ever worry about hijacking over here, MaMTC - that's what we're here for - each other. I think that's why people open up over here...it's such an odd and unusual topic to begin with and such a small following, people know it's safe to share here. So, never worry about sharing anything over here.

      I have said before that if Devin wasn't remorseful or if he cheated on me again either online or in person - I'd walk away. I'd wash my hands of this marriage and know that I did my best. My heart would be broken and shattered. My children would be sad but over time we would heal and we'd be better for it in the end.

      I refuse to stay with someone who will not learn from his mistakes, despite his addictions. I have created my boundaries and I have made them clear and let him know what will happen if those boundaries are crossed. So, if one thing happens, then this will happen as a result. There are no mixed signals. It is a written document. It's called a Boundary Agreement. In my case, it's because he's a sex addict and I had to create it to protect myself and my kids. In most marriages, its common sense. Not all marriages, but most.

      Some women have to say - if you look at porn, I'll leave. Others have to say, if you drink, I'll leave, while others have to say (my case) if you cheat, I'll leave. I have a friend who has to tell her husband not to play video games or play on the internet while she's at work because he ignores their little kids and they run amuck...crazy...

      All marriages take work. If anyone says otherwise - they are lying! It's just that some marriages take more work then others. Then there are marriages like mine that take a whole lotta work =)))

      Delete
    4. That is a smart move - written agreement. I admire your Elsie. Again, Devin is darn lucky, he hasnt realised that yet..
      You - one white woman enough to shove the judgmental Indians and Islamic people who say that western woman maynt try to work the marriage and would opt for divorce instead.

      I truly thank the delete button for not trying to tempt you. You inspire me Elsie.

      Delete
    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  7. I just deleted a whole bunch of stuff that I wanted to say. But I'll just leave it at, thank you so much, for sharing this with us. If it helps at least one person, then that's all the counts. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. aww, lily!! (she says in her whiniest of voices) I sooo want to know what you have to say!! c'mon doc, whatcha got?? No, wait, only if it's nice =)

      Thanks, lily!!

      Delete
  8. My heart was actually racing reading this. I've seen you open up about a lot in the short time I've been reading, but I'm still going to agree with everyone who says that this was seriously brave of you to do. It shows you really have moved on past the shame, and that I still haven't given there are things I won't post about. I don't really like admitting I might feel shame about what happened. But admitting I have a problem really is the first step to overcoming it, right?

    I would say I'm sorry for what you had to go through, but I don't know if you want to hear something like that. It is a shame though you felt you had to compete, you had to be better. As someone who finds themselves physically unattractive, I can relate to that. If I have an interest in someone, I am made immediately jealous when I look at other people, never mind when they do! I feel like they can, and will, leave me or take on someone else who looks a lot better than me. I've actually argued with a girl about it before. The fact that every girl I've been interested in/with has done it really has not helped my self worth at all. It's a long, hard, journey that I am on, but the end result will be worth it. Underneath everything I am is a kind and lovable beautiful man who is waiting to say hello to the world.

    Damn it I started out making a comment and pretty much made a post and confessed some stuff of my own.

    You're good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You made me smile Mark! Yes, I am good! he he he!

      Actually, what I have learned through counseling is that what I ended up doing is what Devin was doing and now I must stop doing: objectifying. It's terrible. Why is it terrible? Well, because I am the one doing it now. I never used to look at a man or a woman and compare myself to them but now I sometimes do. I have learned it's because of my low self esteem. Once it's built back up, I'll stop objectifying other people because I'll be self fulfilled.

      We sound very much alike in that regard - you think?

      Delete
    2. I think we're quite alike in a few aspects, and I'm not too sure how to feel about that. I'm constantly telling people not to end up like me. Though if you're someone who ended up like me, and then came out of it as great as you are, then I don't mind so much :) Though it sounds like you still have some way to go too. We'll get there :) I can't remember what self esteem feels like. I really can't.


      Damn.

      Delete
    3. Don't worry to much, Mark, I'm fairly certain I'm much older than you =)) I'm 42 and I've had two major set backs in life so far. Let's hope this is it for me! I agree, I think we'll get there just fine. We just have to keep working on it. Progress takes work and as long as we don't give up, it won't be so bad. My self esteem is growing again. I use affirmation cards. They are great little tools. I need to do another set this weekend in fact =)

      Delete
    4. You're older than me physically but you seem much younger mentally :) That's not a slight against you btw, just how old I feel inside. Even back when I was 17 people were saying I had lived through far too much for someone my age, and were amazed I was alive. That's a real friggin confidence booster right there. When people are wondering just why you haven't killed yourself.

      Good luck with the affirmation cards though :)

      Delete
    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  9. Really brave for you to write, I hope that you can continue to heal. Like Dezmond I haven't read the whole story or followed you for very long but I find you very inspiring! Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much, Matt. I find it very healing to share.

      Delete
  10. Dressing up for fun or dirty talk and playing around is good every now and agian and to me should ONLY be between a man and his woman in privacy. I would never want another man to touch my lady.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And that is why I held such shame over it...

      Delete
  11. I don't know what to say really. I could feel the pain in your words. I hope you know how far you have come. Every time I read a new post I am more and more amazes with your candor and strength and bravery.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I took a long time for me to get here but I knew that I had let go of the shame when I was able to talk about it during my 5th and not cry anymore. Then I knew I'd be okay =) Thanks, Melanie!

      Delete
  12. Holy shit batman, alright. I think it's a good thiong for you to have written all of this down and not give in to that delete delete temptation button. All I can say is you're right - no need to feel ashamed. Shit happens as our friend Dezzy once said to me, but that doesn't make it less of a burden, I know. I think your a brave woman, a strong woman, and I admire your persistence. :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Shit definitely does happen and it all depends on what we do with that shit that can make us or break us, I think. At least that's my hope and it's whats keeping me going right now! That temptation to hit delete on this blog is strong when I type stuff like this, whew! But, I have to say, I have a great group of followers over here...you guys make it easier to hit publish. Thank you!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. We had a blast in your little home "town" Elsie. What a great trip.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you had a good time, Barfly!

      Delete
  15. here is raining too Elsie a lot!! but we are in winter!

    I love how you write Elsie and think you are really brave!!LOL
    Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tosay you made me think a lot Elsie:)

      Delete
    2. Yuck, rain and winter?! Eeewww!!!

      Glad I could make you think.. =)

      Delete
  16. I am glad you didn't hit delete and yes it is tempting when we are sharing something of our shame but once it is out there then we are one tiny step closer to healing.....
    as you said shit happens if it didn't we would become back loged and that would make us sick.......

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sharing and talking about things that are difficult does seem to make them less difficult over time. I find the more I write about things, the easier it is...the less harmful it seem...the less toxic it becomes...

      Delete
  17. You taught me something right now: What I would normally consider "compromising" is what is really "enabling". I'm definitely going to watch out for that in the future.

    Did I mention your amazing?? :) You are probably helping many woman going through the same thing right now!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, I haven't heard just how amazing I am in the last hour!!?? LOL =)

      I hope I'm helping someone, anyone! No, seriously, I know I am. I can see it in the stats. And, that's what keeps me writing these difficult posts. I see where they come from and know that they read although they don't comment, and I totally understand that. I remember when I did that too - I was so scared - it was terrible.

      It is a very fine line between enabling and compromise. Just follow your gut, Jax. Your gut instinct will never lead you astray.

      Delete
  18. Another wonderfully honest post. It sounds like you've come quite a long way since then and are reclaiming the confident woman inside you again. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! How is the writing going??

      Delete
  19. This was.. difficult. I can empathize some places.. sympathize others.. none of it is really nice, and I can definitely acknowledge the strength it takes to finish all this. I'm sure people will benefit from it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, again, D4. I am hopeful that there people out there who are learning and gaining strength from this post.

      Delete
  20. Wow, what a strong, courageous post. I can see how you would have thought that was a good solution at the time. My wife has a friend who went through a (mildly) similar situation, and it got so bad that the only way her guy would have sex with her was if he was watching porn at the same time. And she just had this terrible revelation, during a moment when she looked up and saw him raptly watching the TV, not paying attention to her at all, and realized that he wasn't thinking about her, he was just using her as the world's most realistic fleshlight while he lived out his porn fantasy. It really, really crushed her, and it took a long time for her to be able to get over it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad that your wife's friend was able to finally get over it. It does take a long time to heal. Hopefully, her ex got help too. (Guessing they broke up). It is a progressive disease that slowly eats away at some people while others remain immune to porn. The experts think it has the same triggers as any other addictions. Heartbreaking for sure.

      Delete
  21. I'm glad you shared this, and really glad you didn't hit delete all the times you thought about it! Reading this really allows me (and I'm sure others) to understand where your coming from! Thanks for sharing it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for taking the time to read it Bersercules. I know it's a tough read for people but I think you're right, it helps people understand just a bit what it's like for me and for others who walk this path.

      Delete
  22. I found this to be a very courageous post. I too was married to a sex addict and know the emotional toll it plays. Before I finally through in the towel, I went from a strong, confident woman to an insecure, low self-estemed, felt horrible about myself and soooo alone. I didn't know about sex addictions or that anyone else suffered similar situations at the time. Unlike Devin, my husband refused to take accountability (EVER) so we ended 7 years ago. It took a long time to get over the hurt, and rediscover myself.

    Finding this post made my day as I know all to well how badly someone in your shoes needs to know they are not alone and that they will get through it.

    Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  23. Awesome insight, you are extremely strong to beat your addiction.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  24. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  25. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  26. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  27. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  28. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  29. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete

Thank you for taking the time to comment. I'm here to help any way I can.