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Wife of an Addict - My Story

A Testimony from the Point of View of the Wife

by TM

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Pornography has been a thorn in our flesh for a long time. My husband has been exposed to pornography for 31 years, since the age of 5. When we were dating, I had some knowledge of his sexual addiction, but not entirely. I prayed and thought that his addiction would end after we got married. The devil is conniving in a plethora of ways. He gets to us at our weakest spots and my husband and I have plenty of them. In me, the devil instilled mistrust, despair, judging my husband by hating him instead of his sins, denying him marital relations by giving him the cold shoulder, each time I stumbled upon his ‘secrets’. The internet is like an electronic Pandora’s box. The source of countless evils in this highly technological world. My husband had a problem with masturbation as well. Pornography and masturbation is a sinful combination that kills the mind, heart and soul.

My husband is also in the military. Tragically, the military’s attitude towards pornography is to set a standard against porn, yet still allow its existence. ‘Soft core’ porn magazines like Playboy are available in military exchanges and mini-marts in housing facilities with ease. Not to mention the soft core pornography magazines like Maxim, For Him, swimsuit magazines and many more that are readily available anyone who can reach the magazine rack. Internet-access at military recreation centers pose limits to curb pornography usage among military personnel, yet are usually poorly enforced. Pornographic resources like videos, magazines etc are utilized on military vessels, barracks and so on, even if in the quiet, hidden areas.

Our family is one among millions of other Catholic families affected by pornography. My husband would succumb to his temptations by surfing the internet when I wasn’t around, usually when I’m sleeping at night. Because he was completing his bachelor’s degree, he had reason to stay up late, completing assignments and doing research on the internet. It didn’t help that the computer is situated in an isolated room (our infrequently used dining room…granting my husband freedom from getting caught), I was exhausted by night time, staying up with him (in order to spend time with him) and falling asleep before he was done with whatever he was doing on the computer. When I got angry or upset with my husband, I would also avoid displaying physical affection for him, thus leaving him feeling estranged. Being a night owl by nature, my husband would masturbate to internet pornography or watch late night TV programs like "Wild On" on ‘E’ entertainment channel late at night. He would download images from the internet and e-mail newsgroups and place them into a PowerPoint presentations or a screensaver and even download them onto his palm pilot. On his way back from classes, he would occasionally frequent adult book and video stores to satisfy his carnal desires. When he’s away from home, his eyes would commit a multitude of sins. Occasionally, I would stumble upon the history of pornographic websites that he visited and confront him. I got extremely angry with him of course. But he continued on with his sexual addiction even after our 3rd baby was born.

All this time, I constantly put the blame on myself, wondering if I failed my husband or failed to maintain my physical looks or if I hadn’t sufficiently prayed for him or helped him. What hadn’t I done that could have prevented my husband from falling into temptation? In our many confrontations, my husband stressed that it wasn’t me; it was him. It was his on-going addiction to pornography that is a terrible habit and very hard to break. He would feel sorry and apologize afterwards. The imperfect person that I am, wanting to take ‘control’ of this situation, wondered why can’t he be ‘cured’ immediately. I had illogical expectations of his recovery. I even blamed God…why me, Lord?

Our road to spiritual recovery began December last year. I had installed a program called "Covenant Eyes" that records internet sites visited and gives a numerical scale for sites of pornographic nature. The higher the number, the more pornographic that site is. However, there was a glitch in this monitoring program. It was incapable of recording chats, e-mails and e-mail newsgroups. My husband discovered that by subscribing to pornographic newsgroups, Covenant Eyes could not detect his sin. The loving and ever merciful God, revealed to me one day that my husband was still buried deep in his sexual sins.  Covenant Eyes caused a technical problem on our computer and it had to be uninstalled in order to rectify the problem. When we managed to revive the computer, my husband went to several pornographic websites while I was folding laundry in the living room, just three feet away. When I went to him to ask him something, he quickly got off the internet. I knew what he was up to, so I sent him to do something while I searched the history of the websites he visited. I knew he didn’t have time to ‘get rid of his evidence’. Sure enough, I caught him red-handed. I was livid! I cursed, I took God’s name in vain, filthy words came out of my mouth and I gave my husband a piece or two or three of my mind. He was quiet throughout it all. I told him that if I wasn’t a Catholic, I would have demanded a divorce right away. I was that furious! I told him that I didn’t want him to touch me anymore. Furthermore, I told him that if he needed his ‘needs’ met, he was welcome to seek gratification with someone else but not me. I left him and drove to Our Lady of Good Counsel, for perpetual adoration. I cried in front of the tabernacle for almost 2 hours. I was so mad at God for doing this to me. The more I asked Him what I had to do, the more He told me to forgive my husband and serve Him. I just couldn’t accept what God said to me and I left adoration. I kept on driving until I was exhausted. It was almost 3am when I got home. My husband was asleep in our room…on the floor. I kicked his legs to awaken him and we had another confrontation, mostly more cutting remarks from me to my husband. I didn’t want a separation, so I told him for the sake of our children, I would be amicable towards him. My husband began to cry uncontrollably. He admitted that he didn’t want to hurt me by not telling me how difficult his struggles were in fighting his addictions. He thought he could do it on his own, without my helping him as well. He didn’t realize that his sins could lead to losing me. He wept that he didn’t want to lose me. The sight of my husband, crying inconsolably and witnessing his true remorse melted my heart. At that moment, God was nudging my heart again…forgive. I was moved to go to the kitchen, fetch a bowl of water and a towel. I knelt in front of my husband and started washing his feet. As tears rolled down my eyes, I told my husband that I am here to serve him. To please let me help him with his struggles. At that moment, God granted the grace of forgiveness in me and I forgave my husband. I admitted to him that I won’t be able to trust him for sometime but I will be right here with him through thick and thin, fighting this spiritual battle.

You see, my husband isn’t the only sinner here. I am too. A few years back, I had broken the 6th commandment. Even though my husband had committed adultery only in his mind, I had committed adultery physically, in retaliation to his unwillingness to turn away from sin. I had not confessed this sin and for a few years, I was being sacrilegious by receiving the Body and Blood of Christ unworthily. I have confessed this to a priest since but I still regret to this day, even though I need to forgive myself. I had not told my husband and finally I mustered enough courage to tell him. He forgave me, saying that he had no right to judge me for sinning, considering how sinful he was, compared to me.

We decided to work on a battle plan. We had to come up with radical plan to get to the root of this problem by drastically ridding ourselves of any near occasions of sin.

1) We turned our house into a sanctuary by getting rid of all immodest, immoral secular videos, music CDs, books, comic books, seemingly innocent magazines, romance novels, photography, sports and other books which even had the remote inclination towards sex.

2) We cut off access to TV by discontinuing and disconnecting our cable connection. We do have a TV, but it’s used primarily to watch Catholic and Christian movies, programs, family-oriented secular videos and children’s videos like Veggie Tales, 3-2-1 penguins etc.

3) We have holy water fonts in our bedroom and in the living room. We constantly bless ourselves, our children and the entire house (before going to bed) with holy water.

4) My husband requested that I get him Christian t-shirts so that by wearing them outside the home, he would be reminded to remain holy and avoid going to adult book/video stores.

5) We attend daily mass as a family, as his work schedule permits. Otherwise, the girls and I go to daily mass and consecrate every sacrifice of the holy mass and communion towards the healing of my husband’s sexual addiction, for purity of his mind, heart, body and soul, for avoidance of the near occasions of sin and from committing a mortal sin. We also pray for the deliverance of all sinners, especially those trapped in slavery of sexual sins.

6) We receive the sacrament of reconciliation regularly, at least once every other week.

7) We pray together daily as a family. A family that prays together stays together – Mother Teresa. Recently, our chapel started the Family Rosary Crusade, and our family has prayed the rosary regularly, if not almost daily since May of this year. I must admit, praying faithfully has richly blessed us with abundant graces from God and the Blessed Mother.

8) And I’ve also installed a different monitoring program on both our computers (PC and laptop), that is invisible to the eye but exists within the hard drive that video records every single activity, all the way down to key strokes. My husband knows that even if I’m not physically there with him when he uses the computer, the program acts like having me next to him.

9) We’ve also cleared out whatever unwanted files on both our computers. Whenever my husband leaves for work, I make sure to bless him with holy water.

10) In addition, I also made him a card with the prayer of St. Augustine on one side and a graphic portrayal of Jesus crucified on the other. He keeps it in his wallet so that he may use it in times of temptation.

11) When we go out on dates, my husband and I would make it a point to go to adoration as part of our date.

12) We both take it one day at a time, concentrating on fewer failures, rather than counting successes. God has been so graceful to us by granting my husband freedom from pornography and masturbation for the last 180 days. He is presently away for temporary duty for a week. Though the mistrust is still there, I offer it up to God that He lifts me and my husband up during our times of distress and despair. Though I know the battle is far from over, I realize that God is on our side and that with His help we will prevail.

13) My husband and I play Catholic-related subjects on cassette and cd whenever we travel in our cars. This fills our minds, hearts and souls with holy things rather than the secular world. Moreover, my husband puts a picture of our family visibly near the dashboard, where he see it and still drive safely. All these help us to keep custody of our senses, especially our eyes.

14) My husband has an accountability partner. He is a faithful, Catholic friend from our chapel, who also encounters the same problems. Whenever he and/or my husband are faced with temptations, they rely on each other for support by calling on the phone or meeting in person. Having a spouse as an accountability partner may not work very well, especially since most women do not truly understand the ‘metaphysics’ of the cycle of sexual sin committed by men. I myself, am learning more and more each day why men can be trapped in sexual sins more easily because they are visual creatures.

15) I made a card (business-card size) for my husband to carry with him at all times. Here’s a copy of what I put on the card that I gave to my husband:

Before you give in to your temptation, look at Him…

I caused Him to suffer on the Cross….

WILL I CRUCIFY HIM AGAIN??!!!

I copied a graphic picture of Christ’s crucifixion right below the words. And on the next side, I include the following prayer by St Augustine:

Breathe in me, Holy Spirit, that all my thoughts may be holy,

Act in me, Holy Spirit, that m work, too, may be holy,

Draw my heart, Holy Spirit, that I may love only what is holy,

Strengthen me, Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy,

Guard me, Holy Spirit, that I may always be holy.

Lastly, but certainly not the least, it is vital that we constantly fill our minds with holy thoughts. As St. Thomas More said, "Occupy your minds with good thoughts, or the enemy will fill them with bad ones. Unoccupied they cannot be".

We need to turn to God and Our Blessed Mother, no matter what we do. Jesus, whose most precious body and blood, died on the cross for our sins. In all things, we should do them for the greater glory of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. He gave us His Blessed Mother, Mary, to us, to be the Mother of the Church, Seat of Wisdom, Refuge of Sinners, Help of Christians. Pray for her intercession. She’s our mama. How blessed we are to have the gifts of the sacraments to renew our faith and keep our baptismal vows. We, as Catholics, should be proud of these graces, make use of sacramentals to keep us holy, to lead our families into heaven. The time is now.

As my husband and I reflect on our past, we realize our road to healing would not have been possible with the grace of God. We cannot look lightly upon the role of fatherhood. For those fathers who are trapped in the slavery of sexual sins, we pray for your deliverance. My husband will write a separate testimony. I hope my testimony, as a wife of a sexual addict will touch many lives and convert many as well. Do not lose hope…never lose hope. May our Almighty God continue to richly bless you and lift up your prayers. The devil is constantly waiting to corrupt our soul, should we cease to remain vigilant or fail to immerse ourselves in God. God bless you.

St. Joseph, pray for us!

Mary, Most Pure, pray for us!

St. Maria Goretti, pray for us!

St. Catherine of Sienna, pray for us!

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The following scripture I’ve found to comfort me whenever I’m feeling down:

"For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare not for woe! Plans to give you a future full of hope. When you call me, when you go to pray to me, I will listen to you. When you look for me, you will find me. Yes, when you seek me with all your heart, you will find me with you, says the Lord." (Jer: 29:11-14, NAB)

Vivat Jesus,

TM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

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