Feeling a bit better today, now that I've had a couple of days to remove myself from everything that happened on Wednesday. Basically just realizing that I have a month before we have to worry about it again so I can at least relax for a little while. D and I had a bit of an argument last night, which really ended up turning into a big rant for him to complain about things he was frustrated with from his therapy class and life in general. It was probably really good for him to get it all out, and he actually said a couple of things that did help me see how far he's come even in the last month--things that were much more mature and thoughtful and aware than I might have expected. Trying to take it one day at a time and not think about things, because then I can feel much more normal.
Court date was today. I drove up with D and went in with him for his meeting with the PO, which, though I was extremely apprehensive about attending given my reaction the last time I went, was actually alright. The PO was not as intense as last time, in that he didn't ask personal questions of me or anything like that, but seemed more disconnected, which worried me a bit since we were gearing up for the court session later in the afternoon. Last time we were there and D asked about what would happen in court today, the PO had been very open and kind about answering his questions, telling us what he was going to recommend to the judge, telling us what D would/would not be doing on this date, etc. Today, he seemed rather distant and just told us that he couldn't give advice, and when D stated that from what he remembered, he would just go in, plead not guilty for the time being, and request a public defender, the PO's response was a gruff, "Well, she (the judge) doesn't have to grant you that. If not, when you come back the next time you might have to hire a lawyer or just wing it on your own." And then he really wouldn't say much else. When D asked if the PO would be coming up to the hearing, he said he "might swing up there" but was usually not needed at such things and so probably would not be there. We left the appointment, got lunch, and came back for the hearing.
D counts things as a relative success, but I'm not so sure...and here's why.
We arrived in the courtroom with the ten or so other people who had hearings to revoke probation or something similar at the same appointed time. The judge was half an hour late in getting started, and by the time she did arrive, several many other probation officers were also in attendance. Those people whose probation officers were present were called up to the judge first. With each one, the judge brought them up, stated that they were up for petition to revoke sentence, and then asked the PO what they were recommending in this case. In almost every situation, the judge didn't even have the person give a plea, but went with what the PO recommended right off the bat. Even in a case where the person had apparently violated probation several times by not showing up to meetings and failing a urinalysis--a case where the PO stood up there and recommended that this person should probably go to jail for a little while because he seemed to have no motivation to correct himself and the external motivation they had given him wasn't working--even then, the judge told the guy to report daily for urinalysis between now and december 1, and if he stayed clean throughout that time, she would consider alternate sentences. She seemed nice, kindly, and like she believed that each person there was a good person who could do better if they just tried.
Then, at the end of the hour, those without POs present were called. The first girl went up, stated she wanted a public defender, was asked about her income and told to go make an appointment. Quick and clean and easy. Then, it was D's turn....
When D's name was called, the judge told him that he was there for a petition to revoke suspended sentence, asked him if he had any questions about the petition, and saw that he wanted a public defender. She opened his file, saw that for his initial offense he had a (very good, and quite expensive) private lawyer to represent him, and asked (rather accusingly) why he was not using that counsel this time. He stated that he did not have the money to pay for a private counsel, and when the judge asked why, he answered that he had a new job that did not pay as much as previously, and that he was paying off a house, his car, his student loans, and my (his wife's) current schooling. The judge's response (again, rather harsh and accusing sounding to me, compared with how she had dealt with those before us)..."Those are not reasons for getting a public defender. How much do you make?" When D answered, she simply told him he did not qualify for a public defender and that his next hearing would be next Monday and he needed to either get a lawyer or represent himself by then. The only positive thing was that D requested to have the next hearing moved so he could provide adequate notice to his employer that he would be missing work, and though the judge at first said no, reconsidered and moved the next hearing to December first. That was it. We walked out with nothing to go on, no money for a lawyer, and (for me) a distinct feeling that the judge was not feeling very inclined to be kind, merciful, or lenient in his case.
D felt like things were a success because he had at least gotten the next hearing date moved and will now at least have time to find a lawyer. I felt like we were back in hell because of the judge's attitude. I'm extremely angry at his PO right now, because everyone else who was there with their PO was simply granted the PO's recommended sentence without even dealing with a lawyer or another court date. We know that D's PO is recommending another year of probation and some community service, so I can't help feeling that had he been present, we wouldn't even have to worry about anything else. But here we are. We really don't have money for an attorney...right now we're using my student loans to pay for D's student loans and even a couple of assorted small bills each month, because D's salary doesn't really cover all of our expenses. Yet because we aren't living out on the street, we are going to either have to come up with money to get representation, or have D represent himself. I can't help but feeling that representing himself is not a very good idea, given the judge's disposition today and the fact that the ultimate "bad" that could happen here if he does a poor job is that the judge ignores the PO's recommendation and sends him to jail.
So now tomorrow we have to call a) D's previous lawyer to see if he will represent him again for a reduced price since the case is so short and simple and b) as many other lawyers in town as possible to see who can represent him decently without charging out the wazoo. Also, I'll probably be heading up to financial aid to take out a further loan to pay for all this. Again. Back at square one. Back in hell again. Meanwhile, I'm terrified of what will happen on December first and between now and then, and so it's hard to act normal now that we're back home. I'm trying to just not think about it and to take one step at a time--call the lawyer, etc.--because I can't just focus on nothing but this for the next month. But it just seems that this time it might be even harder than ever.
Meanwhile, D has another opportunity to go to SAA tonight, but doesn't seem to be going. When I asked this morning if he planned on going tonight when we got back from everything, he said he would see depending on timing of everything. When I asked him half an hour ago, he said he was hoping to just spend the night with me since we actually have some time together, because he had told everyone that he really wouldn't be able to start attending regularly until next week due to his work schedule. I find this a little discouraging because today at the PO appointment he made a really big deal out of how much he got out of his first meeting and how he hoped to be pretty regular about going on Mondays and Wednesdays, but at least this time I'm not super stressed about it. He said he would go if I want him to, but I told him it has to be something he wants to do himself, so it was his decision. We'll see from here, I guess.
Right now I am fighting my own battle, because throughout this process I have been able to remove myself enough to keep from truly experiencing the kind of fear and pain I am now. Right now I feel a bit like a wounded animal...alone and unsure where to turn. I know there's a month to go before our next step, and I know I will probably (hopefully) feel much better before then, but right now all I know is that my husband--my beautiful, thoughtful, gentle, caring, compassionate husband, who (though flawed) remains at some deep level the charismatic teenager I fell in love with--is making me dinner. He is taking care of me at the most basic level, because I am so engrossed in my growing depression that I feel like I am only functioning halfway. I have spent my night studying (making up for the fact that last night and today I have not done what I should, being consumed by our other activities), yet only half of my brain is concentrating. The other half cannot stop hearing the judge. Cannot stop picturing some indefinable future scenario when my husband calls and tells me that this is his one phone call because he is going away for six months, or a year. Cannot stop wishing with every fiber of my soul that we could just wake up from this nightmare and go back to three years ago and prevent this from ever happening.
I have often, throughout this long and harrowing process, thought that I should just give the whole thing up and leave. There were several times, back when it all first began, that I came very close. It would have been so much easier then, before we were married, to just break it off in the name of incompatibility or boredom. But I stayed, believing that if half of our relationship was wonderful, I could maybe live with just that half. Things are so much more complicated now, being married. I fear that if things turn for the worst, I will be left alone and friendless. That I will have to disclose the secret life I have led for the past two years to my family, and be humiliated. That I will have to sell my home, that we have worked so hard for, and move in with my parents. These are the fears that I struggle with every day, and these are why in my mind I sometimes wish I had left long ago before things got so deep and crazy. But then, like yesterday, I look through our wedding pictures, and I remember how insanely, irrationally happy we both were (and still are, aside from this mess), and our promises to be here through everything. For better or worse. How much worse?
I read stories of other women whose partners are sex addicts and have participated in sex with prostitutes for years before they discover the addiction. The very saddest thing about all this is that sometimes I wish, if it were going to be dictated that I travel this journey, it could have been so simple as that. I almost wish that my husband had told me he had been with a hundred different women in the privacy of our own lives rather than one "less serious" action that has cost us so much to the legal system.
Things are so very dark right now, but we both continue to pray. Eventually, things have to get better--or so I must believe, or lose myself.
Things have continued to go well for the past week or so. We actually had an entire day off on Saturday and got to spend the whole day together...ran some errands, went out to dinner, the works. It was great. Not really too much to report otherwise, except that tomorrow is the court date, so I'm starting to get a little nervous, but continue to pray for peace and that everything will work out. Probably sounds stupid, but in a way I actually look forward to the days we have to go to class or to meet the PO, because it gives us some unadulterated driving time when we can actually talk about the things that worry me, how D's been doing lately, etc. It's kind of like my one chance a week to really get into the nitty-gritty details of how I've been feeling, whether good or bad, whether related to the recovery process or not. Somehow there always seem to be questions that come up in my head throughout the week, and there isn't always a time that's good or available for us to talk about it (and talk about it to the point of resolution), so this provides a good time for me to sort of save up, write everything down or remember it, and have a solid batch of time to discuss it uninterrupted.
As a follow-up to my codependent post the other day, just wanted to say that I feel like my prayer is definitely being answer. I'm feeling much less worried about every little thing D does, and have come to a relative understanding that I don't need to push him into going to more meetings or anything...in fact, we had a great conversation yesterday and he was extremely positive about everything that he's been doing, so I don't think I'll even need to if I want. Still waiting to see if he's going to meeting tonight. Will update later.
I've been struggling for a few days with the idea of co-addiction. I've taken "quizzes" that are supposed to test whether or not you exhibit co-addict tendencies, and I feel like those attributes are not very much where I am. I am not a classic co-dependent. I consider myself to be a smart, independent, strong person. But at the same time, I do exhibit some of those codie behaviors. The worst one, I think, is that I desperately, unbelievably, painfully want to control D's recovery. I want him to want to get better probably even more than he wants to get better--and I do believe he does. He went to his first SAA meeting on Monday night. This morning, when we "celebrated" his one month of sobriety, I asked if he was going to go to another meeting this week. He said he didn't know, would see if he could schedule-wise. When I pointed out that he gets off of work early enough on Friday to go to a meeting, he seemed to kind of brush it off, saying that he thought we already had plans for Friday (which we sort of do, but nothing is in stone and I would be fine with his going to SAA instead for an hour and a half). Part of me (the part that I think might be the codependent) got a little upset about this, because I felt like he wasn't taking his recovery seriously. I've been doing so much reading about recovery lately--started reading other blogs of SA's and codependents, checked other 12-step groups' websites, etc.--that I think I've got this crazy big picture about how it's all going to work. What I have to keep reminding myself is that we're just not there yet. The fact that D's been sober for a month is a HUGE milestone. I can't exactly expect him to be picking a sponsor and working the steps and all when he's only been to one meeting. All I can do is pray that God will make him want to go back. When he cam home from Monday, that seemed to be the case. It's just hard for me to sit back and let him control it, because I so want him to just want to go all the time.
The other part of me that I think might be a codependent is the part of me that continues to want to check up on D. The part of me that still believes that there's something he's hiding somewhere. That he's only saying he's sober, that he's lying about not acting out. There's still part of me that thinks it can't just be that easy, and so that part of me checks our cell phone bill once a day to see if there have been any questionable texts or calls. Part of me that must be restrained from checking even his work e-mail, which has never revealed anything suspicious since it's firewalled. These are the behaviors that I'd really like to stop. I think it will continue to get easier once D is more firmly into SAA. I (like him) would really love if he could stop going to his counseling classes (that are required for his probation) and be able to switch over to SAA instead, especially once he finds a sponsor and starts working the steps seriously. I doubt the powers that be will let that happen, but he just doesn't seem to be doing much in classes any more since his counselor has stopped giving him official assignments, and I am hopeful that doing a first step presentation, making a list of the people he's hurt and how he can help them, making that moral inventory of his character defects, all the other things I read about people in SAA doing...I'm hoping (and really thinking) that will do more than anything he's ever done in classes, even when he was being honest in his assignments.
God, give me peace. Help me to realize that as much as I can encourage, I cannot control others. Help D to want to go back to SAA and to gain encouragement and support and strength to continue in his sobriety. Help us both to seek you as a source of help to take on each day.
Today is one month sober for D. He says he hasn't acted out since the last time I found him texting. He didn't seem as excited as I was when I mentioned it this morning, which kind of disheartened me a bit, but still...it's a big step. I'm hoping he goes to SA again on Friday.
D attended his first SAA meeting tonight, and was very positive about the whole experience. He said it was very welcoming, he finally felt like he was in a place where he wouldn't get judged, and could be up front and honest about everything and get some help he really needed. I think the biggest thing that impressed upon me, though, was one particular thing he said. He said that one of the things that impressed upon him was that people were talking about things they had done and where they had been with their addictions, and he said it was amazing, because all of the things they were saying were things he could relate to--things he had done. He said people talked about how they lied by omission, manipulated those around them, etc., and he was just like, "yes! yes! that's me!" I felt really encouraged by the fact that he saw himself in their problems, maybe because I think it will help him to even more fully confront his addiction. He also seemed much happier to go to this group because there are more people of his age and socio-economic background than in his counseling group. Also, I think, it's nice for him to go to a group that is there just for support--one that is there not to fix him, but to help him and support him as he fixes himself. His counseling group is so centered on the idea of "making you better," I think, and so focused on the offenses of those involved, that it's hard to get around that. I'm hoping that the fact that this is separate from the offense will help him to fight the addiction for the sake of fighting for the addiction, and not just because his counselor or PO is breathing down his neck. He seemed very excited also that the SAA groups were so available--there are several during the week that he can attend very easily around his work schedule, and he himself made the comment that he likes the idea much better of being able to go to one of those very quickly and get support after having a rough day or temptations or slip-ups rather than having to just muddle through a week to report in at a group that will see those things more as failures or even crimes. I'm hoping he stays as happy about it as he is now, and continues to want to go. He's been "recommended" to go twice a week...but part of me is holding my breath to see if he ends up going even more just because he wants to. This week that probably won't be possible because he's still working closing shifts almost every night, but maybe in the future.
Still unsure of whether or not I'll drive with him to his next PO appointment and court date. Part of me really wants to go just for the drive time--it's almost 2 hours away, and so it's one of the only times a week we can really sit down and have long term discussions, usually about how things are going with the addiction/acting out/the offense/etc...and that usually helps me to not think about it so much the rest of the week other than when we check in each day. On the other hand...I have class that afternoon that I would have to skip (and probably could, but would feel bad about ditching my group), and I'm not sure how I would be able to handle waiting on the court thing to be over. We'll see when the time comes, I guess.
Things seem to be looking up a little. I talked with D yesterday about how weird and scared I've been feeling since the meeting on Thursday, and we both agreed that things have been very on edge the past few days, mainly because of the fact that we are barely seeing each other right now--he's been working late shift for almost a week straight, and I've had exams this week and been studying constantly--and so we've just been a little off in general. I think I've made the decision that while I am fine driving with him to PO meetings and classes, I don't think I'll go back in with him again (or at least, not for a long while). It's just easier to process when it's one step removed. Part of me feels like this is somewhat cowardly, but I can't live with the picture of the PO's face in my head all the time. It's just not healthy. I've been trying to think of what it is that is making it so strange for me, and I think what at least part of it comes down to is the fact that I feel like he was telling me that I can't do things. It's not just D who can't go certain places, it's me. And now I feel like I shouldn't be doing certain things, watching certain tv shows, crossing the state border to do my shopping, things like that. I feel guilty for things that I am not even accountable for, because of the way the guy looked at us. And so, I'm just not comfortable with that. Hopefully this feeling will pass with time and not return if I don't go back in for a while.
This morning was a really good morning. D didn't have to work til one, and he came to church with me for the first time in a long while. He's not really a church person, and I'll admit that the church I've been attending I certainly don't agree with all (or even any, on some days) of what is said in the sermon, but I feel much more comfortable disagreeing and just taking what speaks to me. Also, the music is better, and the people are at least relatively genuine and caring (as opposed to the church I grew up at, where I'm pretty sure half the congregation is dead and no one's realized it yet). He actually took it pretty well, considering it was not a very good sermon (in my opinion) today. I think the fact that we talked about just knowing how it was and taking it for what it is, even if that's not really your thing all the time, helped. I'm hopeful that he'll come back the next time he has the ability. I pray for him constantly the whole time I'm there every week. I don't expect him to be "saved" or anything (mainly because I don't really get along with the whole neo-conservative evangelical idea of "getting saved"), but I do hope that he'll find God on his own terms, and that doing so will help him to seek God as a means of healing. I pray for his healing every day...I guess I just hope someday he will too.
This morning was also a bright note for another reason: it's probably tmi, but for the first time in over a week, we were actually comfortable enough to have some intimate time, and I didn't even have problems of thinking about what was going through his head or picturing something he's done in the past. I asked him later if I was the only one he thought about, and he said yes. The bigger thing, though...I asked how long it had been since he could say that...and he said about two weeks or so. He said that he regretted it hadn't been longer, but for me, hearing that was like water for a dying man. It let me know that he's not just going to blow sunshine up my ass about the fact that he's been perfectly clean for a month now, but it also let me know that there's been progress. He's thought about other girls since he's stopped texting and chatting...but for two weeks, I've been the only fantasy. And that's a huge step for us.
For some reason, the past two days have been really rough on me. Ever since the last big discussion D and I had about his texting women, things have actually been quite happy at home...he checks in daily, has had no access to computers, and my daily checks of the phone bill haven't shown up any crazy new numbers (and in fact, are almost solely dedicated to texting and calling either me or one of two friends whom I know well. Every week when we drive him to therapy class, we've been discussing the week's happenings and how things are going in general. He has claimed to be working very hard, let me know that there are some mornings where he wakes up "in the mood" and I'm not there, and he has consciously made efforts to divert the energy by running around outside with the dog or playing a video game or reading. So I'm hard pressed to explain why all of a sudden yesterday made me depressed again. (Because that's what this is...I can't be happy right now, and I'm just not sure why when there doesn't seem to be anything going on.)
He was edgy this morning, and edgy always scares me because he always used to get edgy when he was hiding something from me. So I think part of it is that I'm afraid something has come up that he's not sharing. But at the same time, he explained why he was edgy--he's been working almost nothing but closing shifts recently and is frustrated about never being home and never seeing me and having to run around in the mornings to do anything he needs to do. Still, I worry. Like I said in my previous post, part of me just wishes that something would go wrong just so I would know that he would tell me about it. That's horrible to think.
I think the other reason I'm feeling so down these past couple of days is the fact that I went to the PO meeting on Thursday. The PO had suggested it on the previous visit because he had never met me, and I agreed to go with, and part of me is glad I did. But... always that but. It's one thing to discuss with D what is said in meetings and things he needs to work on and how he's accomplishing them and things he's having trouble with. It's another thing to have a very intimidating, older man (who was not how I pictured him at all, and rather...well, I don't know how to describe him other than kind of rough looking and not very kindly...and not to get on a tangent, but I know he's not there to be a friend, but it still just made me kind of uncomfortable) look at your husband and ask him if he was spending money on porn or just looking at freebies, reminding him of the fact that he's trying to keep society safe and that the things D was doing were gateways to really horrible offenses. It's one thing to hear about those things and it's another to actually hear them straight from the source...and it's even another thing to have the PO ask me if I knew about all of this before we were married, to comment that he's sure it's difficult to deal with this early in a marriage, to ask if we're still intimate sexually and make a pointed comment to D that you can have intimacy without sex. It's weird, but the thing that got me the most was when D asked for permission to cross state lines for work and for SAA, and I asked if he could also cross on occasion to do things with me like go shopping...and he just smiled and shook his head. That made it personal for me. It made it real.
It's so much easier to be one step removed from the process and to hear about it from D and then discuss only with him. For some reason, hearing this very intimidating person talk about how he has no reason to trust my husband (which, granted, he doesn't) and ask such personal questions of me made things so much more real. It's like for the first time (well, not the first...but getting it fresh again) I'm realizing that D wasn't just casually looking at porn, he was actively doing something very, very wrong. He broke the law. He's a criminal. And it doesn't just affect him, it affects my life too. And today, I just don't know how to deal with that. Part of me really wants to go with for the next meeting and court date in a couple weeks, but part of me never wants to go back to see the PO again, because it just makes things far too real. I can't just be the unknown wife of someone who screwed up, I have to be a face that (whatever he may say) is judged for sticking with a person who has done something bad. And it makes me angry. It makes me angry that for so long I thought we were done and past this, and now (even though it is, hopefully, finally getting us some progress) we're back at square one.
I don't want to be angry. I liked being able to talk about everything with D at night and have that be the extent of dealing with the problem, because the rest of the time I didn't have to be reminded that there was a problem. We could live our lives in relative normalcy. But now I'm haunted by the PO's face, the PO's words, the things he said and the way he said them every waking moment. I can't get it out of my head. Yesterday, I was sick to my stomach almost all day at the thought of the court date and jail and not being able to hire a private lawyer to help, but now I'm just haunted by the reality of it all. I can't get his face out of my head. I keep praying that God will just give me peace about the whole situation so we can kind of get back to where we were a few days ago, but I just can't stop thinking about the meeting. And thinking about the meeting makes me double think what's going on with D. I'm starting to get suspicious when I don't really have a reason to be. And that makes me angry not only at D for getting us in this mess, but at myself for not being able to accept that over which I have no control.
Here's a question: Is it possible to go from acting out one day to sober for a month with no relapses whatsoever? D says sometimes that he still gets urges, but I just imagined that they would be much more frequent and urgent than they seem to be right now. Maybe I'm just over thinking things. I really want to be less angry so that we can somehow begin rebuilding the trust that has been so destroyed by this addiction. Hopefully with time.
I think if you ask the partner of anyone involved with sex addiction, you will find that their biggest problem with the whole thing is the lies. For me, this is certainly the case. The fact that D has been involved with porn, internet chats, dating websites, and texting other women for several years now has much less of a devastating affect on me than does the lying. The number of times that I would find some evidence of his behavior and he would somehow explain them away, and then accuse me of being untrusting, or accusatory, or snooping, or intrusive. The pain that I experience now comes mainly from the fact that some days it is so easy to believe what he says about his new steps to recovery, but some days I am distraught with the idea that he may yet still be lying. He still may not fully have admitted his need for help. He may still just be only going through the motions. He may still be finding new, secret ways to act out. The fact that we are doing daily check-ins and he shares any urges or problems with me is helpful. But there are still times when the little voice in the back of my mind says, "what if?" What if he is only telling you this to make you think everything is getting better? What if he is only saying this to make it seem ok? But yet, if I can't ever believe that he has had a good day, I don't know how we will ever recover from this awful mess.
Today is a hard day. I am really down because of the idea of the upcoming court date. D claims to have been sober for almost 4 weeks with no acting out. I almost wish he would tell me he has had a relapse, just so I would know if he can actually bring himself to be honest with me if that happens.
The good news: Yesterday in the car on the way to the PO meeting, he admitted that he had never fully taken responsibility for his offense. He had always in some way justified it to himself that while he had made a mistake, his victim was partially to blame. Yesterday he said that he was the adult, and at some point he made the decision, and that was fully on him. Here's hoping he really does mean that in his heart.
So. Here we are. I decided to start this blog because it has become to hard, too painful, to keep this secret to myself. I cannot share with friends or family because much though I know they love me, they will never be able to comprehend what I've been through, and they will probably judge. So instead, I commit my secrets to the internet universe and anyone else who might be going through the painful process of dealing with sexual addiction--whether addict, spouse, significant other, family, or friend. I guess I should start by giving the general story of how my husband and I got to where we are today.
I first met my husband, D, when we were both in high school. We were friends for a while, started dating and were together through college. From the beginning, D was a wonderful friend and partner, and our relationship was, though not perfect, a wonderful time for a long while. We moved to college together, stayed in the same dorm. Around the middle of freshman year, D started showing certain changes in his character. He became much more secretive, defensive, and started hanging out with a lot of other people rather than me. He asserted his independence often to the point of hurting my feelings. We had a lot of discussions about his behavior, he agreed that he was being hurtful and immature, and our relationship resumed as ever.
A year later, things again took a turn for the worse. D became secretive again, especially about his activities on the computer. When confronted, he would deny that anything was wrong, even after I began to find e-mails from internet dating and "rate me" sites that he had visited. There were excuses for everything--that he was looking for a friend, it was nothing, I was wrong for snooping, etc. He finally agreed to delete his membership from the sites and life moved on.
About a year later, things continued. I continued to find incriminating evidence from dating websites, even online chats that were sexually explicit in nature. As always, he denied that anything was wrong, made up ridiculous excuses that I knew were probably lies but accepted because aside from this, we were happy and things were great. Unfortunately, About a year and a half ago things took a turn for the worse when D shared with me that he had been chatting with a particular girl online for quite a while, and about a year before (the admission) had ended up going to her house and exposing himself to her and fondling her breasts. The girl was underage, and he was arrested for sexual misconduct. He of course begged forgiveness, asked me to help him because he would never put himself in such a situation again, he had been a stupid kid who made a huge mistake but nothing more. Our relationship deteriorated, he made his way through his court case and was convicted of a misdemeanor and sentenced to a year probation and mandatory therapy classes.
After beginning classes, D was a whole new person. He truly seemed to be turning his life around, regretted his mistake, and was a star performer in his classes and with his probation officer. Both of us, thrilled with his progress and finally free to move on with our lives, began to rebuild our relationship. Over the course of the next year we got engaged and married, and generally we have begun a wonderful life together. About two months after we were married, D was set to graduate from his therapy class and finish his probation, and of course, we were both very much looking forward to finally moving beyond this horrible chapter in our lives. For the end of his class, he was required to take a polygraph test that was supposed to determine if he had been completely honest and forthcoming with his class and PO. Unfortunately, he failed the test. The entire time he had been working through therapy, seemingly making wonderful progress, he had in fact been continuing to visit inappropriate web sites, chat online with strangers, and even begun to use his cell phone to text message other women (almost always with sexually driven conversations) that he either already knew or met online. He looked at porn almost daily, and had been masturbating usually two or three times a week. All of this while all of us--his PO, his counselors, and myself--were convinced that he had really been taking to heart all of the things he had been learning about how to prevent a relapse, how to stay clean, etc.
Two months ago, my heart was completely broken. I didn't know what to do, whether to stick around or face the shame of divorcing my husband two months after we got married, whether to support him as he continued to deal with the consequences of his actions, etc. The day he came home from his first meetings after the polygraph results, he admitted to me that his class recommended that he begin to attend SAA meetings, and that his behavior was the result of a sexual addiction. Part of me was devastated---part had known all along that his reclusive behavior, the way he would get edgy whenever I entered a room when he was on the computer, his adamant proclamations that there was nothing I needed to worry about, was all a signal that he was back to his old behaviors. Once he admitted the addiction, his first step was to ask me to remove his computer from the house. He claimed (once again) that he was really going to try to fix things this time, try to prove to me that he loved me and could be a better person. A week later, I found another text message. It was at that point that we had "the discussion." I let him know that I thought he was addicted, that I thought he was too arrogant to admit that he needed help, and that his problem all along was that he was going to these classes, knew what to say and how to say it, but didn't think it was really something he needed to act upon. I told him that I was willing to stay and help him fight this--but only if he was really, finally, actually going to seek help and put forth the effort to get himself straight.
It has now been a month since the last text message was sent. I check the cell phone bill daily for any signs of unusual numbers being called. He still has no access to a computer except for work. And things have actually been doing better. We have worked out a relapse prevention plan where he identified the situations when he was tempted to text people or get on the computer, and devised plans to deal with those situations when they arise. If he feels frustrated at work, for example, and begins thinking about acting out, he will call me to explain the situation, turn his phone on full volume so that any incoming text will get him in trouble, and if all else fails, will take his phone to his car and return to work without it. We have daily checkins where he lets me know if he has had any inappropriate thoughts or has been tempted to do anything during the day, and if so, what he did about it. He is beginning to become the person I once knew again.
The problem is, addiction is a powerful thing. It has so completely overtaken our lives that it is hard for me to even comprehend sometimes. Some days I feel like we are doing the right thing, taking steps, moving forward, and some days I am overcome with fear that he is still lying about his progress, just as he used to. Some days I worry constantly that he might find a new way to act out that is less easy to catch or keep up with. I am constantly afraid that when he keeps track of how many days he has been clean, he is telling me what I want to hear instead of the truth. I am very, very proud of him for taking action to right himself. But I am also very, very scarred by everything I have been through to this point. And what makes it even scarier is the legal aspect of everything. Because he violated probation by not completing his class on time (because he failed the polygraph), and also because he admitted during the polygraph that he had crossed state lines without permission for work, he is now going to have to go to a hearing to determine if he will be violated. When he first went to court for his initial offense, we hired a very good private lawyer. Now, because I am in school and we are living off of his income alone, we do not have enough money and so would have to accept a public defender. For the first time yesterday, I went with to one of his probation meetings, and I feel like it was relatively productive. Unfortunately, the PO also gave us a rundown of what would happen at his court date. The options are: plead guilty to violating the probation (at which point the judge will decide punishment) or plead not guilty and ask for a lawyer (at which point there will be a date set for another hearing). The probation officer is recommending to the judge that D be given another year's probation and community service because of his lying. The judge, however, does not have to accept the PO's advice, and could send D to jail for up to a year for the violation. While this seems unlikely (from what everyone, including the PO, has said), I am terrified that D will end up in jail just as he seems to be truly beginning the recovery process. He is going to his first SAA meeting on Monday night, and I am hopeful at that prospect. Also, it will be impossible for me to pay our bills without his income. And so...right now I am extremely stressed and don't really know what to do. It helps to put this all out there, somehow, even if no one will ever read it. I only hope I can somehow find the courage to make it through the next couple of weeks.