There is a mistake I see virtually every man make in recovery. It is the mistake of defending "rightness." Let me explain.
Every man who enters recovery has a history of deception; of others as well as himself. He has told so many lies it would be pointless to try and tally them up. When the truth of his secrets comes to light, the people closest to him recoil in shock and hurt. They feel the sting of betrayal that his lies brought. They wonder if they can ever again believe anything this man tells them.
As the man pursues recovery and begins to experience some healing and freedom, he realizes that the ones he hurt are not so quick to "get on board" with his new life. They remain skeptical, even defensive; even accusatory. And for the man in recovery this causes him to feel the ironic sting of hurt and befuddlement. Few, however, recognize the irony. Instead, they rail against the accusations with a fervor of "righteousness."
This is a bad idea.
To defend being right when your history has been mostly wrong is a fool's endeavor. Even if the man in recovery is totally "correct" in his defense of his new life and behaviors, such defense does nothing to aid in the restoration of the relationship. Sometimes it is much wiser to endure suffering for the sake of reconciliation than to demand rights that will only ensure further relational fissures.
When a man learns to lay down his rights at the foot of the cross of Jesus Christ (the One who understands unjust suffering better than anyone!), there are no accusations that can upset him. Whether the barbs and accusations of loved ones are justified or not, the man learns to find his identity in the grace of Jesus, not in how "correct" he might be in his recovery. This is the humility that leads to repentance and a completely transformed life.
Are you a man struggling with false accusations in your recovery? Do you feel the need to defend yourself? Slow down and follow the example of Jesus. Even when He was perfectly justified to defend himself from his accusers, He chose instead to entrust himself to the will of the Father. While He suffered immensely for remaining silent, His reward was great -- and so was ours: Jesus reconciled us to God!
If you want restoration in your fractured relationships, humble yourself before the Father like Jesus did. You may still have to suffer immensely, but your reward will be great. You will gain wisdom and the blessing of God, which is far greater than simply carrying "rights" -- all by yourself.
Written by Jonathan Daugherty
Founder of Be Broken Ministries
by Dorothy Maryon CMHC
In most cases, there is nothing that can prepare you for when you find out your spouse has a pornography and sexual addiction. To be on the receiving end of addiction leaves many women dealing with a deep sense of betrayal, uncertainty, and hurt. Addiction hits at the core of a woman’s relationship, often at the center of her soul, and damages the marriage. After learning of their husband’s addiction, many women have reported their relationship feels false and empty and many find themselves asking, “who can I trust?” and “who will be there for me now?”
As the betrayed spouse, women often don't know where to turn and often struggle with the deception alone. This type of trauma shatters the internal world of the spouse of an addict and affects all aspects of her life. The betrayal disrupts her ability to function with the day to day aspects of her life, alters her sense of self, and can have a huge impact on her spirituality.
What many fail to realize is the experience of pornography and sexual addiction falls into the category of trauma for the spouse. Responses to trauma can vary widely, and may include any of the following symptoms:
Partners are sometimes surprised that reactions to the trauma last longer than they expected. It may take months or even years to fully regain a sense of balance and equilibrium. You may feel you need to just “get over it” when in reality you need a strong support system to get through the hard and challenging times. Research has shown that one of the key components of successfully navigating through trauma is the level of support an individual has.
Most women feel isolated when confronted with their spouse’s addiction. The statement, “when an addict comes out of the closet his partner goes in,” rings true for many dealing with addiction and because of that, it is important for the spouse to find a safe place to talk about her feelings.
Self-care is another tool to use while navigating through the trauma. Self-care involves finding helpful, coping strategies that assist in nurturing oneself at a very difficult time of life. Some examples might include:
Just like anyone who has been through a traumatic event, it is important that you treat yourself with gentleness and patience. If possible, try not to make major life changes at this time, as thinking and judgment may not be as clear as usual. And again, seek support and information about sexual addiction as this is a very difficult experience to navigate by oneself.
About the Author: Dorothy Maryon CMHC, is a licensed clinical mental health counselor who specializes in partners' issues associated with sexual addiction in marriage. She has worked as a counselor in the LifeStar program for 15 years, focusing on addiction and relationship issues. She is in private practice and has presented at several conferences on addiction, codependency, creating safety for partners, and grief and trauma issues.
by Jeff Hutchinson
We've all heard the term "defense wins championships." Well in football it does, in recovery it does not.
I can't tell you how many times I've heard a spouse say "He just doesn't get it." She's right, we don't get it, we can't understand the terrible pain we have inflicted. The trauma that torments her and the triggers that seem to be around every corner are foreign to us. Most of us can identify our triggers, character defects, resentments, and anything else recovery-based. We continue to live an addict-centric life. This is our biggest failure as addicts.
We seem to think that because we are in recovery and one month, six months, or maybe even a year has passed, that we never have to talk about the past, never have to answer questions about our acting out or recovery. We are appalled when our honesty is questioned and frustrated because she just can't see why all the work we put into recovery of the last month doesn't negate the ten or twenty years we acted out. Sound familiar?
Back to football.
On the offensive side of the ball you are probably doing great going to meetings, using your accountability partners, working the steps with a sponsor, prayer and meditation every morning. It's great to feel like a new man. That is, until you walk in the door and she asks you "Where did you take her to have sex?" Gut punched!
How could she? I just got out of a meeting, I'm doing everything I'm supposed to be doing!
Watch out coach, sounds like you're going on the defensive. A little advice if I may; Stop, breath, understand that while you have sprinted ahead in your recovery she may not be in the same place.
In the Army we have a saying, "Never leave a man behind." Why on earth would you leave your wife behind? Answering questions, getting grilled, or listening while she vents or unloads is part of your job now. You have a duty to support your wife - period. What would it look like if you answered the questions in a calm voice with empathy. Empathy, there's a new concept...
I know it's not easy to comfort someone who is bringing up all the stuff that makes you cringe or cursing you out at the top of her lungs, but in order to help her you cannot play defense. Defense will not win you anything here. Stick to offense, you'll score more points that way.
Get more help from Jeff at www.caribouministries.com.