Brian and I sat on our kitchen floor, hugging each other and crying. I felt compassion and a love for him that I had never felt before. In his humility and brokenness, I actually saw strength. It took courage to tell me that he had a problem and didn’t know how to stop. And as I said, I knew that the person who went behind my back, who lied to me and betrayed me was not the real Brian.
We didn’t know what to do from here, but I had hope. I felt that if Brian could be honest like this and that I had more and not less love for him, that things would be okay.
I would love to say that this is all it took to get over this and we’ve lived happily ever after ever since — but it only started here.
From that day, we picked our selves up and moved on, hopeful that Brian would change. I hoped that my love and understanding would help him. He hoped that if he just tried harder and exercised more will power that he would get over this problem.
Once again we continued on with life as we knew it.
In the Summer and Fall of 2003 just after Brian’s confession of his problem, we hit some other very difficult times in our lives.
I was not handling the stress of everything that was going on very well. I didn’t really have anyone to talk to about my feelings, I just didn’t really do that sort of thing. When something happened I would struggle through it and move on.
My obsession with my appearance and health intensified during all of this.
I started seeing a nutritionist, psychologist and psychiatrist. Over the course of treatment, I was told I had obsessive/compulsive disorder, body dysmorphic disorder, anxiety and depression. I went on medication.
Brian was amazing during this time. He was completely supportive, patient and loving.
I write about what I went through because it went hand in hand with Brian’s addiction. I was a co-addict. Looking back, I can see that the issues I struggled with came from stress and trying to cope with Brian’s addiction.
As I was tending to my own issues, Brian slipped back into his addiction. He continued the same behaviors. When he would act out and watch porn or go to a massage parlor, he would feel shame and guilt, but he still just could not stop.
Brian remembers trying to hurry through his work so that he could come home early to either watch hours of porn or go on a massage parlor search before I got home from work.
As I mentioned before, the addiction for Brian became about the “adventure” and rush of it. He knew where all the massage parlors around the city were to go get his “fix”. He says that the adrenaline rush going to those establishments was intense. However, once he went through with it, the shame and guilt would set it. Looking back now, he knows that the guilt and shame would drive him right back to it the next day. He needed to cover up the feelings he had about himself with another rush of the “feel good” chemicals his brain would release with more porn, phone sex or massage parlors. The vicious, dark cycle continued.
All the while he got better at adapting to his normal every day environment. He could be steeped in a day of sexual debauchery and then be totally normal with me. He didn’t give me cause to suspect that anything was going on…and frankly I was somewhat in denial that things may still be bad. So, we didn’t talk about it. We did what we did best; hope that everything would just get better.
In the Part 2 blog, I said:
“In any addiction, you develop a tolerance to the “dosage” of whatever the chosen substance is. New things that provide stimulation to the brain produce floods of feel good chemicals in the one addicted. Brian’s “dosage” was not giving him the same rush anymore, so his addicted brain and flesh started finding other, new things that would provide that rush again.”
Once again, the tolerance leveled off. Brian entered into a new depth of his addiction that he never thought he would get into.
Brian put out an add in a local sex magazine to meet a couple — swingers. He got a response from a couple that wanted to meet him. Brian started a sexual relationship with a husband and wife.
Brian also started hooking up with men. On local phone chat lines, he started chatting with men…something new. Then he found that other men would meet each other, they would initiate hooking up somewhere. He remembers feeling very bothered by these encounters. He knew he was not attracted to men but women wouldn’t hook up outside the chat lines and men would. He never had sex, he just couldn’t bring himself to, but he did everything else. He would prefer to meet with women, but other men would do this and it provided the new rush, so Brian went with it.
Brian knew he was getting into darker areas and it frightened him. He knew something was very, very wrong. He didn’t tell me, but he started contemplating doing something about his problem. He stared thinking about counseling. After several months he ended up breaking things off with the couple he met. He actually told them that he had a problem and needed to stop his compulsion with sex. He knew in his heart that this was not the way life was meant to be lived. There should be more to life than this.
Then, at a family Christmas gathering, Brian met Jesus.
I was sitting in my parents living room with my aunt and mom. I couldn’t remember what Christmas was really about and I asked them. I had went to Sunday school when I was younger but had forgotten. So we started talking about Jesus’ birth and Christmas. Then, Brian entered the room. He saw that we had a bible out and talking about Jesus. Brian wanted to turn and walk out but he was already there. He really had no interest in spiritual things at all but thought it would be rude to leave. My aunt mentioned Jesus’ death and that it was for the forgiveness of all our sins. Brian perked up. I remember very clearly Brian asking more about this… “You mean anyone can be forgiven, even murderer’s and evil people?”
Brian was sitting there contemplating the idea that he could be forgiven by God for all the bad things he had done, and it touched him deeply.
A coupe days later, Brian came to me and asked if we could start going to church.
I was stunned. Like I said, Brian had never shown any interest in spiritual things. Since everything that happened with us and my own personal struggles, I started wanting to pursue more of a spiritual life. I read a lot about various religions and spirituality, but I never considered Jesus. When Brian mentioned going to church, it came to me…Jesus. Jesus was the answer. Everything that we were going through, all our pain and struggles were going to be answered in Jesus. I just knew it.
Brian told me that he was tired of his addiction. He was weary of just trying to make it through each day and that there had to be something more to life.
We held each other and cried. We were hopeful that this would be an answer to our pain.
In the new year of 2005, we started attending a local church. We were reading the bible together and learning all about God and Jesus. It was a whole new way of life for us. We sensed that this had meaning and purpose in it.
Brian wanted to experience more of life.
Within several months, Brian completed a marathon. He put his heart in it and through pain and wanting to give up at times, he completed it with God’s help.
He also developed a heart for children (something he thought would never happen) and he became a mentor.
Brian wanted to fully heal from his addiction and started realizing that value in confessing. He sat me down and confessed that he had been with men. He was terrified what I would think of him but he wanted to get it off his chest.
He didn’t fully confess everything though. He thought that this was enough.
I was quite shocked but thankful that he could tell me. So, I once again forgave him. I could see the Brian I always knew was there was starting to emerge. I was sure that our struggle through his addiction was finally coming to an end.
Brian had heard before of people stopping addictions the instant they came to believe in Jesus. So, he thought that this was finally what would change him for good.
And Brian did stop, for a while. Jesus would eventually heal Brian, but Jesus also wanted all of Brian. It would take Brian a little longer to realize why he didn’t magically get cured the day he chose to believe in Jesus. In fact, things got worse for us for a time until we came to realize who Jesus truly was and who we truly were in Him.
We were using Jesus for self-help when Jesus really wanted us to have a relationship with Him. He wanted us to rely fully on Him, find ourselves and our identity in Him – He wanted to make us whole. The process of making us whole would mean that we would have to endure some more challenges.
“…just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” Romans 6:4
….To be continued in Part 4.