How Do I: Tell My Spouse I’m an Addict

by Jay H. on July 3rd, 2013 in Women

Some of the most challenging things we find ourselves having to deal with in our lives are not necessarily the adversity itself, but how we respond to it.  A great example is how we react to thoughts that pop into our heads almost constantly. Sometimes, those thoughts are not becoming of us. If the world could see what we were thinking, everyone might not think so highly of us. We often dismiss or put aside thoughts that don’t mesh with our character. The thought still occurs, but we have to choose how to deal with it.

For a platform like this one, I think it’s important to realize, we can’t overcome addictions to sex or porn by ourselves. We need the support of people close to us and most importantly (if possible), the support of a spouse. It’s imperative to disclose your addiction with your spouse.  It’s not optional. To overcome an addiction, you must be willing to speak to your spouse about it. They need to know and you need their support.  

There is no good way to reveal this information. Nothing you can think of is going to make this easy. It’s going to be tough to talk about with your spouse. The fact that you care about your spouse and don’t want to hurt them is going to make it tough because you know it’s going to impact their lives. I think you have to be aware you may feel anxiety and embarrassment.  If you are at this point, in a way, it’s a good thing. Realizing the detrimental effect to you and your spouse may help you to see there is actually a problem. Don’t harbor guilt but don’t be blind to the fact this disease needs treatment.  This addiction often lives in the dark and we can only get help if it comes to light.  

After you share, you want to step back for a moment. Allow the other person time to process. Processing may take five minutes, or it may take a couple of days…it depends on the person. Some people may be so overwhelmed, initially, they feel like they can’t give you the support you need. Some will jump right in and try to assist. Some people know they can’t give you the support you need, but they will want you to seek a helping professional.  Whatever their answer and level of support is, take it with gratitude. You may have put someone in a position they can’t deal with right now and it’s not their fault. Also, be fully aware that if you have a problem you are ultimately the one responsible for dealing with it at its core.

Relationships aren’t easy. Nothing worth having is easy. Your relationship is worth the difficult truth. Sugarcoating, making excuses, blaming others…none of that is acceptable. Be real, be straight up. Also, choose a setting where once you disclose this information your spouse can process privately (not publicly, for their sake).   

Revealing addictions aren’t a walk in the park for either party. Keep that in mind. It’s clearly not easy for you, but it’s not easy for your spouse either.  Giving them space to process is a high priority. For the addict, being willing to accept help is another high priority. Often, it’s not about having a big “family and friends” intervention to change you, but it’s more about having a willing heart and spirit to allow God to change you. 

We can’t overcome addictions in our own power. We can only overcome addictions through God’s strength, guidance and grace. You have to be willing to allow people to help you take steps toward recovery, one at a time, in God’s Grace.You may not be able to see Grace as clearly as I see the keys on my keyboard as I type this, but you can feel it. You feel it in your desires changing. You feel it in your thoughts changing. You can feel His Grace in your life turning for the better. Eventually, you will feel it in your spouse’s new level of trust for their healed mate.

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