Almost Died; Alive Now In Recovery (Brian M.)
Tell us a little about yourself?
I’m 42, have 2 boys (14 & 18 – who do not live with me full time), and with my current wife a 2 year old daughter.
I’m separated and going through a divorce. Because of the poor choices I made. Because of my selfish, controlling & manipulative ways.
I’m a sex addict, and have been for decades. Porn, sexual chatting, and affairs
Tell us about your struggle with acting out and what led you to seek transformation?
My addiction planted its seeds from the age of around 12, starting with the discovery and self exploration of myself. My lying to protect my newfound hobby started a trend of lying and deceit that I’m battling today.
This grew into looking at pornographic magazines my friends showed me. And then computers. The first computer we had was in the early 90’s, and connected to AOL. I thought I discovered a treasure chest. Staying up all night and getting no or next to no sleep was regular while in high school and early 20’s.
The Internet is what did me in. My addiction spiked in the mid 90’s and I was starting to exclude friends from my life and not go out as often. Any excuse I could justify to myself to stay in and binge for hours and hours.
This was the height for many years, and I was introduced to smart phones in the early 2000’s. My sexual chatting habit started and fueled its way to craigslist and multiple affairs, one night stands when I traveled alone for work. I would walk away from these experience with shame, guilt, depression, and certainly nothing that came close to feeling happy or satisfied. Every time was a huge letdown and promise to myself to never act out again.
Sometimes I would go months of being clean, and the porn habit kicked in again when I illogically would convince myself I could handle just porn and not progress any further. What a lie. Over and over I proved it impossible. But again and again I did. And many times would very quickly progress into chatting and even casual hookups. Sometime just days in time would elapse from porn to chatting to affairs, ultimately to disgust, shame, and feelings of worthlessness. Same result every time.
My wife suspected, I always denied and made her feel like she was crazy. Few times she would catch a chat, some with pictures. And confront me. Somehow I always convinced her that I would never again. Counseling sessions that I gave no effort to. Just the minimum to get her to think I was clean. I always did intend to get clean, but it was never very long before I was back to my ways.
This went on for years and she finally warned me after finding a sexual chat that one more time and she would leave me. I don’t think I really believed she would deep down.
She finally caught a sexual pic share that I accidentally sent to her friend, who told her and sent her evidence. My life instantly was turned upside down at that moment. Divorce is the path she’s chosen and we’re in the midst of that process currently.
What were some of your low moments along the way?
My lowest point is when my wife caught me and it was the last straw. She immediately packed up our daughter and two dogs, and drive to her parents farm a few hours away.
She said divorce is imminent, she blocked me from any of her social media stuff (Facebook, etc), stopped communicating with me for a while, and I was devastated. It was like I was in a bad movie watching this play out in slow motion, in agony knowing it wasn’t a dream. I was literally in shock for a couple days.
I came clean about my habit to her by text (she wouldn’t answer her phone), and told her about all the other things I did including the affairs, which she did not know. I laid it out on the table. Needless to say she did not take it well, and it was like a second missile hit her, and drove her even lower.
Just a couple days after she left I attempted suicide using alcohol and some prescriptions I had on hand. Living alone from the moment she left was not a good idea. I would have died except for a post I made on Facebook somehow indicating i did what I did. I was too out of it to remember posting it, but my wife and sister independently happened to see the post, deleted it (wife has my password), and had my parents who live near rush over. I was rushed to the emergency room and was saved just in time. I wouldn’t have made it more than another hour I was told if I hadn’t have made it to the ER. After stabilizing, I was sent to the psych ward for a week for evaluation. It was in this week I was born again.
I was diagnosed with bi polar II, which I likely had since my 20’s. This didn’t excuse me if my choices I made to act out, but certainly explained the tendencies towards impulsive behaviors and money issues.
My wife came back to our house a couple weeks later, and I finally convinced her to give me 3 months before she made the decision to divorce me, and she agreed. She waited the 3 months, and chose the divorce path. She said she could never trust me again. I don’t blame her for feeling that way. What I did to her mentally and spiritually caused her to have PTSD. I destroyed her self worth. She felt worthless and inadequate as a person.
This is the season I’m in currently.
What are some of the things that have helped you the most on your healing journey?
My biggest help has been a mix of multiple supports. I firmly believe that I needed, still need, and will continue to need a mutipronged approach to get (and stay) clean.
God is amazing. I still find myself doubting him regularly, but He always comes through for me when I let Him be in control. Easier said than done. That’s a work in progress as I still try to control my life thinking I know best. God is a huge part of my healing process. And prayer works.
I’ve never journaled before, but started to journal nearly every day. It’s incredible how freeing and therapeutic journaling is! I highly recommend journaling as a way to capture and make sense of your thoughts, feelings, and actions. Invaluable.
I see a counselor that specializes in sex addiction healing. Going into the counseling process and really investing myself in the process has been integral to my healing.
I meet weekly with a Pure Desire sex addiction support group at my church. The Pure Desire approach works very well if committed.
My family has been out through a lot because of my choices. But they have been so supportive of me, and encourage me regularly. I didn’t have a strong relationship with my parents growing up. I’m creating bonds now that are growing my family structure.
My 2 year old daughter is on my mind constantly. Happy she’s so young and won’t remember this. But break down crying thinking of all the time we won’t have together. Because of my selfish choices I lost a lot more than my marriage. My wife’s family will not speak to me to this day, and strongly pushed my wife to the divorce decision
What words can you offer those who are reading your story and feel stuck?
There is ALWAYS a way out when being tempted. Temptation isn’t a sin, it’s how you react to the impulse to act out. Initially this took sheer willpower and over time gets easier little by little. It’s hard to walk away from the temptation, but every time I have I immediately feel relief, satisfied, happy and proud of myself. Not much time elapses from the point you turn away from temptation to when it disappears.
Never give up. Never think you are worthless, unloved, lesser of a person, or that the world would be a better place without you. The most selfish act you can possibly do is go down the suicide path. Nothing ever is worth that. The pain and suffering you leave behind is cruel.
You can’t look back and continuously dwell and hyper focus on the past. It is the past. You can’t change it. You can change today. You can’t read the future so don’t be anxious about it. You can only control today. So live well today, and you create an environment around you that fosters a future in which you’re healthy, clean, happy, and accepted.
Be. Patient. Be…….Patient……..Be…………….Patient…………… I’m not a patient person. I want what I want and I want it now! It’s only been about 5 months since we separated, but even that seems like an eternity. In reality, very very few if any really get through this in under a year. Many take 2 or more years. You will not beat the odds. So if you want to be healed and clean for the long term, be ready to dig your heels in and WORK! Getting clean is nowhere close to effortless. This will require a lot of hard work and effort. Be patient.
I’ve been sober and clean from my sex addiction for 106 days. One day at a time. It does get easier. I promise.
Brian, Thank You for sharing. We appreciate the openness and thought you put into writing this down for others to learn from. Much of what you have shared for “Others who are stuck”, is exactly what we hope the readers of this story will be able to learn and accomplish.
Alex, Josh & the rTribe Community
P.S. Want to share Your Freedom Story? We’d like to publish a new Freedom Story every week and if you have something you want to say to the entire Tribe, let us know.