Have you found us on Instagram yet? A few weeks ago, we took to our Instagram community to collect questions for our co-founder, Rhyll Croshaw, to respond to. Thanks to Rhyll for being willing to share her strength, hope, and experience with all of us.
Here is the first Q&A from our Insta community!
Q: What would you suggest to do with the feelings of betrayal and disgust over the hardcore porn that a spouse spent hours watching in another relapse? How do you not feel sucker punched each time? How do you ever get back to feeling safe let alone even being intimate? The disgust factor is so strong for me as he says he is so sorry and is back in recovery and I am over here wounded and weary and mortified at what he is filling his heart and mind with. His CSAT reminded me in a joint therapy session this week that his sex addiction is not about sex…but it sure feels like it is a sexual betrayal to me.
A: You should feel “sucker punched and disgusted” at the thought of the hardcore porn your husband has been using. I am reminded that in our 12-step work book it talks about the difference between irrational rage and valid anger.
I believe that unless we allow ourselves to experience valid anger at the behavior that anyone is doing within our homes and families, we will enable a life-threatening disease that will continue to destroy our homes and families. In that way we transgress ourselves.
Irrational rage is a different thing. I lose control and choice when I am irrational. However, I am not going to let an addict mind/brain tell me that I am irrational. I’ll take it to God, my sponsor and someone who is experiencing recovery to help me see reality.
A person who continues to relapse is not in recovery. Sobriety is the first requirement for recovery and if a person is not willing to be honest, humble, willing to surrender to God and accountable then there is no recovery.
I do not know the extent and history of your husband’s relapse but I hope that he is not only going to his therapist but actively working with his sponsor who is willing and able to hold him accountable for his behavior. One does not just jump back and forth from addiction to recovery. It doesn’t work like that. Recovery requires humility (not acting like a victim) and total honesty….everyday. It’s not perfection but there is progress and you as a wife will be able to see, hear and feel that progress.
That brings me to the most important point: your own recovery.
As you focus on your recovery you will begin to have a sense of confidence, peace and direction that the addiction has robbed you of. At least that is the way it has been for me.
For so long my husband got into my center. Where is he? What is he doing? How can I help him? How can I be “more” for him so he won’t want to act out? I am so angry at him. He makes me so frustrated…. Him..Him…Him…
The key for me is to learn how to put God in my center and trust that He wants me to be happy and peaceful. And He will help me. Steps 1,2,3. I can’t. He can. I will let Him.
The surrender process has been a miracle many times in my life. On my knees, on the phone, in the box. Whenever I lose my serenity I ask – Who is in my center? Then I get to choose to use my “tools” or not.
Just learning to recognize what I feel when my serenity is gone is the first step. I have learned to “listen” to my body. Tightness in my chest or a pit in my stomach is a sign it is time to put God back at my center..Knees, phone, box.
My sponsor also helps me to see where I am at. We don’t give advice but we do share our strength, hope and experience. What a gift!!
Now, lest you think that I am suggesting that you look the other way when your husband acts out…Absolutely Not!
After I strive to put God at my center, I ask myself: is there a boundary needed here? I can have confidence that with God at my center, I will make and Hold boundaries including the necessary consequences.
When I do not feel safe, I speak my honest needs and emotions (be direct, do no harm) and then I state that for my recovery I must hold the boundary that I have for safety and that means that I must ________.
For me, when I am not feeling safe, my husband and I sleep separately. That gives me time and space (away from being triggered by him) to work my recovery, make a phone call, do some reading or just rest.
It’s true that sex addiction is not about sex. It is a toxicity to lust. Sex addicts do not know how to be intimate. They have used lust to medicate their unmet needs. It is a crutch that they have leaned on for years and often many decades.
The fact that he has an addiction is not an excuse for the betrayal and trauma that he has dumped on you. You don’t deserve it. It’s not your fault. You can’t change him.
As you work your own recovery, things will change in our life. That is a promise. I don’t know what that will mean for you and I can’t guarantee the happy outcome of your marriage (it takes TWO to make a marriage) but recovery is healthy living and the Gifts of the program are real.
Serenity, direction, courage, confidence, loving relationships and many more.
None of this is easy and it is not a quick fix. There is a small army of women who are discovering who they really are and will stand by you as you make this journey.