Category: Pornography Addiction

Adding insult to injury

Yesterday I remembered how in my addiction, when I felt emotionally cornered, I would sometimes slip (flip!) into a reactive place where I utilized a wickedly efficient and sometimes subtle skill for targeting my wife’s most vulnerable hurts.   In retrospect, I see that it was these moments, more than the betrayal, that tipped her over the divorce cliff.  Betrayal + Berating = Bye Bye Bob.  

Since my remarriage, I found myself dipping my toe into that place on two brief moments, but could immediately read the actual physical effects of my words (and much more than the words, it is the subtle and nasty spirit of their delivery) this time and retreated, for her safety, until I was at peace and able to deal with the issue out of love.   

We forget how traumatizing we can be to our wives!  One good targeted verbal assault and for years she shuts down every time our voice sounds pressured.   Put your hand through the wall one time, and she shuts down every time you happen to close a fist.  A lot of tenderness and a lot of time is required to re-establish trust.  I can see why a man who has his wife’s trusting heart is a man fit for Celestial Glory!

When You Are Sober You Feel Better

I am going to repeat what someone in recovery have said – “when you are sober you feel better – you feel anger better, you feel resentment better, you feel depression better, you feel anxiety better”  But though this there is an underlying peace when working the program.  For me, I receive little vistas  of various new ways of being and then they fade, but each day I try to spend more and more time in that new way of being and find more and more room in my heart for the good.  Training my mind and heart is kinda like training a puppy to come back on task when it is prone to wander – it takes patience and consciousness of God, what it feels like to wander from Him, and a willingness to come back to Connection.   There are times when I feel as empty or anxious as ever and I have to remind myself of the concept of progressive victory – and practice patience!

Getting Sobriety Into Your Sub-Conscious Mind

I have a couple of recovering friends dealing with rejection from their spouse.  Staying sober and fully connected to God through this kind of pain  (and working on their own and not their wive’s recovery)  is often their last hurdle to experiencing God, and not woman, as their Higher Power.  Sometimes they get to keep their wives in the process.  

Prior to marriage, I wish every man could gain such an affection for their Father in Heaven and their brothers, and make such everyday sexual and fantastical sacrifices to God as necessary, so as to, more and more, rise up and be Men of God.  Then they can truly love their woman in the first place; not having this boyish dependence on her and her perceptions, feelings, views, and actions  that I now so typically see in recovering men.  And thus not have to go through the pain of growing up as married – or soon to be divorced – men.   

Keep working on making the love and fear of God your primary compulsion and joy – and continue to find satisfaction in connecting and standing in the light –  on equal footing – with your fellow man!!!  I believe that more and more your unconscious feelings of obligation will more and more be to do God’s will in all things at all times and in all places!  Be diligent and patient and very prayerful in this ongoing transformation.   

Sponsoring.

Sponsors simply sow.  Their seeds fall on different types of ground and then do what they do on the kind of ground they land on.   Sponsors are diligent and patient in providing structure and guidance.  Our sponsees receive it or reject it one-choice-at-a-time themselves.  We don’t do the work, we provide the program and God does the work through the program to those who receive it.  

The best attitude for a sponsor is “I love my brother, but am doing this as much for myself as them.”   

There is no ego investment relative to how our sponsees do – sadness, perhaps, but never something personal.  

Addictive Thinking: Hypersensitivity

Addictive minds have a hypersensitivity to perceived injustices against themselves. While they see themselves as reacting fairly to an unjust reality, to the outside observer – especially their wives and mothers and other women close to them – they are easily seen as acting like babies.  

For most sex addicts, lust, and self-pity regarding the way we might be treated by a women are so closely tied together that we began to notice that we feel the tone of one as we are tempted to go into the other and visa versa.  As I have practiced letting go of expectations of how a woman should feel about me and treat me, lust has faded into the background of my life.  Of course, as lust fades into the background, I am more and more able to keep my focus on serving without worrying if the woman is sufficiently attending to me or sees me fairly.  More and more then, if I do need to address something, I can do it maturely in an inviting spirit  that builds the relationship-  not with side-comments or subtle slams or anger or coolness or withdrawal.  Conversely, after relapses, I would start to notice “injustices” and take it out on those closest to me. 

Insight on Step 4

I encourage my sponsees toward a brief summary of the “incident pattern” that led to the negative feelings….this helps ensure they stay focused on the character weaknesses that lead to and follow from the “pattern” to help ensure they don’t start feeling stuck in a long negative narrative – but keep the “big picture” perspective and healing.

So for example, one might say:  

My Dad:
Abused me physically from quite young, never paid attention to me or mentored me in anything, regularly betrayed my mom, watched porn with me I was young, made fun of my penis, favored my sister in conflicts.      

My part (not always ones fault, but things they might still tend to do which are outdated now that they are grown):   I was selfish and irritating and self-absorbed.  I wasn’t reaching out to connect with Dad in a mature way, I would do things that I knew he wouldn’t like, I would make insulting side comments.  I punched him in the shoulder, I looked down on him.    

Character weaknesses:   Victim stancing, resentment, self-absorption, isolation, fear of people, retreat to lust, desperately wanting approval from others, feeling God doesn’t care about me.

Doing this step in this way should help us to see the person who may have harmed us with forgiveness, and helps us see our own weaknesses in a kindly way but one where we don’t feel inclined to act or feel in those ways any anymore – but can see other better ways of being..  

Nagging Rejecting Women – and Lust

Note to sponsee:

The feelings you experience surrounding women such as the coworker at the gym are a particularly critical opportunity to come to God for your esteem and comfort – not by winning or pitting yourself against a woman nor trying to especially please her at the expense of your peace. 

This is a wonderful cross.  I say wonderful because it is wonderfully painful to come to this place of respect in the context of nagging or rejection  – and it is wonderfully healing and freeing once you do.   

For some particular addicts, there is a storehouse of self-pity and victim stancing, and resentment, and exaggerated expectations  and fear of rejection, around women  – that can be replaced with respect and patience and kindness and deflated (actually realistic) expectations.   This can occur regardless of whether the woman is being disrespectful, impatient, or unkind.  Once we come to this place, addressing issues when needed to build the relationship will come as second nature. And we don’t push our kindness patience and respect on women who have chosen to reject us – some may not want anything to do with you because they make something up about you – and we respect that too.   

All psychobabble when you see the core of this – that our daily connection to God is both critical and sufficient.  We do not depend on women anymore!  We become men.  We simply love women exactly as they are and bless their lives with little expectation of return.  No more side comments, subtle slams, digs, blow-ups – nothing of the sort.  We are full of living waters.  We can address our desires and hopes and set our personal boundaries in kindness and love and in a way that motivates the feeling of being together and not against one another.  

Keep surrendering these resentments and fears – this is a big one and takes time.

Intellectualizing Recovery

Some men in recovery are intellectuals, and can sometimes be intellectual bullies to their wives and others.  the spirit of intellectualization often gets in the way of their recovery.   Their strength becomes their weakness as so often happens.

I have noticed in my life that when I enter into the spirit of intellectualization I can become particularly cruel and not even know it.   

For me, this spirit is intellectual masturbation – it is all about hearing myself speak and getting myself understood by others – not about who I am speaking to.   I have come to believe that when the sacred writings speak of the “carnal mind” that certainly one aspect of this is the intellectualized mind….and it is very distinct from speaking with the spirit – even when speaking of spiritual things.  Recognizing and surrendering this spirit of intellectualization – which is often self-justifying and promoting and not God-justifying and promoting in its tone –  is a great step toward recovery.  

Your Higher Power Isn’t Your Wife!

(please note that names have been changed below)

Thanks for these thoughts, John.   I am grateful for addiction because to indulge is death, but to not indulge I am required  to come to God each day and immerse myself in the spirit through scriptures and prayer etc.  As I have done this, I have come to value my connection to God and what I get from Him each day, MUCH more than I value what lust gave me at its best!  With this Spirit, I don’t find a need to take a drink of lust anymore.  

You will hate me for this  =) but I am particularly grateful for what is happening between you and your wife, because it is critical to your spiritual transformation to spiritual health.  The fact that Linda seems harsh and you believe she doesn’t make the effort to reconnect, is a perfect crucible for what you need – and what you are ready to achieve as you begin to work step 2.   

Specifically, the core of every sex addicts psyche (and many men in general) is the belief that the free and unconditional love of a beautiful woman will heal and save them – and that this love, symbolized by sex, is the most important thing in their life.   I find this to be more and more true of the addict and many men the farther I get in my recovery.  The fact that Linda is still so capable of driving you nuts while you see yourself as giving and giving and the one making all the effort is evidence that you still unconsciously hold on to this belief.  She is threatening your core even as you with futility work to appease a god that can’t fill you.  Your Father in Heaven, your Higher Power, needs to be at this core, filling you – not the illusion of a woman. Then you can help Linda feel safe and ready to be better connected with you.  My prayer for you and your children is that you don’t have to lose your wife to learn this lesson.  

For me, the wrenching of my ex-wife from my life was an unspeakable hell (how could it be described?)….but by coming to meetings and to God on my face each day (where else could I turn?), I progressively came to have my Father in Heaven and His Son filling the core of my life, and not some imaginary archetype of the perfect woman that I thought I could create or find.  The paradox is that for some time now I am able to love a woman from my heart, and not give with unrealistic expectations on the return. 

I never recognized this when married before.  Instead, I was working my tail off to be a good husband and give my ex-wife everything she wanted in every way and to be this long-suffering guy, SO that I could get her to the place in life where she could finally consistently meet all my emotional and safety needs to be saved and healed.  Much less out of a deep honor and respect for her and who she was and what she truly needed from me to feel affirmed and safe.   She felt this disconnect (women always do) and so never felt fully safe and secure in our relationship.  

Because only Father in Heaven and not a woman could ever meet my souls hunger, I would suddenly and sometimes surprisingly “find” myself looking elsewhere to satiate the illusionary drive that was at my core – the need for some golden, smiling, inviting woman to save me – but that only enlarged the hunger.  In my baseline pride, I only allowed God to replace this core belief from time to time as I went through repentance cycles;  But he didn’t dwell there.  If He had, I:  

1. wouldn’t have been frustrated at never finding some paradisiacal/illusionary secret-garden through my poor human wife. 2. wouldn’t have Impulsively acted out when I couldn’t suppress my core belief any longer 3.  could have loved my ex-wife from a place of internal security –  like a real man should love his wife.  4. would have really listened to find what she was looking for 5. showed greater leadership to bring God into both of our lives together – the only real solution to both us as individuals and as a couple. 

With love and empathy for your stage in this experience, Your Sponsor.