We didn't start going to the LDS 12-step addiction recovery program right away. In fact, it wasn't until a little over a year after I found out about my husband's addiction that we went to a meeting for the first time.
I wanted to go right away. After the initial shock, I was completely set on trying to find ways to help my husband. And myself. I don't remember what exactly I googled, but I found the addiction recovery program, and I wanted to go. My husband, on the other hand, did not. He kept saying that it wasn't a big deal, it wasn't as bad as I thought, and that he didn't feel like he needed to go. Well, I was new to this, so even though I saw that there were family support meetings, I didn't feel like I should go without him. So I told him we didn't have to go. I wanted to wait until he was ready and he wanted to go.
Let me clear up something that might be confusing. When I say "family support" or spouse support, or whatever, it's a support group for the friend/family member/spouse/etc. I thought it was a group we went to as spouses to show our support for our loved one with addiction and make them feel supported by their family. And it is that, but it's much more. If you have been hurt by someone's addiction, that is normal. That is okay. And there are groups out there to support you. To help you recover. And that is what I am talking about when I say "family support." If I had understood that, I might have just started going without him, which could have been really helpful to us.
I started my last post by saying that I was in denial of my husband's addiction. Well, he was also in denial. He really was against going to addiction recovery meetings because he didn't fully consider himself an addict. Or maybe he just didn't consider himself an addict enough to go to recovery meetings. He thought he could do it on his own. He thought he could recover on his own and that somehow this would all just go in our past and maybe we could laugh about it in the future. I sincerely hope that happens.
I couldn't force him out of his denial. I didn't even understand what he was going through. When he said he was fine, I wanted to believe him. When he promised he was stopping, I wanted so badly to believe him. But I couldn't force him to go. I couldn't shake him and shout, "No! You are not recovering and so we have to go to this recovery program!" I couldn't do that. But I am grateful for the tender mercies of the Lord that led us to the program when the time was right. I've learned that you can't rush these things. Oh, you want to so badly. You want to do everything in your power to shake your addicted loved one into soberness and recovery. You want to do everything you can to take whatever control you can get because if you are in control, things will happen the way you want them to. But you can't get control. God has control, and He has a plan. Yes, He has a plan, even in the recovery of one's addiction. I can tell you right now that we would have had a much different experience had we started the addiction recovery program sooner--not that our experience wouldn't have been good. But I feel like the timing of things has been perfect for us.
When the timing was right, my husband was humble enough to admit that help was needed. And I was grateful and willing to accompany him to meetings, attend my support group while he attended his, talk about what we learned after, and help hold him accountable for his actions. We're still in recovery. But the place we are in recovery is very different from where we were one year ago. We have made so much progress! It really excites me! Because one year ago, we didn't have very much hope. I wanted to hope, and had a slim hope, that we would be free of the chains of addiction. And that our marriage would survive this. But now I know that we will be free of this one day, as long as we are faithful. As long as we remain true to God and do what He wants us to do, He will help us be free of this bondage when we have been refined enough from this trial.
In my last post, I talked about my theory about two types of trials. Some of you may have been thinking, um, hello, a pornography addiction is definitely the first type (where you suffer as the result of someone's agency). And that is true. My pain is a direct result of my husband's use of agency. BUT--at the young age when he became addicted, he did not understand the consequences. We often don't fully understand the consequences. But a 12 or 13 year old boy really doesn't understand the consequences of looking at that first pornographic image or video. But, that's not all. The other type of trial, the trial that is because God wants to test you, also applies in this situation. The reason why I believe this is that type of trial is because my husband has done so much to rid himself of this addiction. He even cleaned up more than a year before serving his mission, served a great mission for the Lord, and returned honorably. He thought he was free. But it kept coming back. And when we got married, he thought he had freed himself already. But it kept coming back. And last year, he thought he had sobered up, but it came back again. He really tries so hard to be a faithful servant, but he hasn't been able to really become free of this addiction yet. He still has refining to do. He has learning and becoming to do. And as for me. . . well, I didn't choose this. This was not on my checklist of things that would make my happily ever after. But I'm getting through it. And I'm realizing the strength that God is helping me gain every day.
So, yeah, I know that we will be free of this one day, as long as we continue to be faithful. No matter how hard it gets, I have learned to turn to the Lord and see things with an eternal perspective. I trust Him, and I know that He will not let me down as long as I keep my covenants and serve Him to the end.
**Note: Even if my husband was not in recovery mode, I firmly believe that I would still be healing. Because it's really not about my husband recovering. It's about my relationship with the Lord. And in my case, I feel extremely blessed that my husband is trying to overcome this. But not everyone is to that point. And not everyone's marriages work out. I wish they did, but some marriages can't survive stuff like this. My hope in sharing this blog is ultimately to share my experiences coming to Christ and understanding the gospel better. And hopefully, whatever you are going through, you (and your spouse, if applicable) will have hope to come unto Christ too.**