14 May 2013

Trouble in Paradise


Over a year and a half ago, Pete and I were probably sure by May 2013 our troubles would be [nearly?] over.  We planned a trip to Hawaii for our tenth anniversary. 

One month ago, I was feeling hopeful.  Ever since I took off for a weekend in January, things had been rough around here.  I'd executed a major detachment, which may or may not have been a major wake-up call for Pete.  He turned a corner.  SA meetings two or three times a week.  Talk of a sponsor.  Flickers of empathy.  An amorous flame sparked again between us.  Hawaii was going to be our second honeymoon. 

Two days before our vacation Pete had a quick trip out of town for business.  It was overnight, but he would be gone less than 24 hours. 

Cue the foreboding music. 

He called me in the morning.  Crash and burn.  Porn and masturbation. 

I crumpled on my bed and cried it out.  A confession hadn't hurt that bad in a really long time. 

There was so much on the line. 

He was supposed to be getting better.  Couldn't he have just white knuckled it through? Did he really choose porn over me?

And the question that is the demon that haunts my soul.


I had so much to do that day that I made myself busy and before I knew it we were sitting on a plane together flying over the ocean. 

Hawaii was amazing.  Beaches with sand as fine as flour, exotic fish that dazzled my eyes, papaya and mango for breakfast, hikes in the jungle with real Tarzan vines, girthy Polynesian women whose beauty was only outmatched by their love. 

I told Pete that even under the circumstances there wasn't really anyone I'd be more comfortable traveling with.  I was glad to have him there.  But our vacation in paradise was stricly platonic.  It was romantically and sexually anemic. 

We only talked about "it" once.  I told Pete that this time had hurt worse than usual.  I told him that I had seen so much change and felt so much hope.  He asked if I had assumed he would never act out again.  When I answered I said

"No, I figured there would be slips, but not this soon."

But what I was really thinking was

"Yeah actually.  Isn't that the goal? To quit looking at porn? Someday, won't there be a time when you really don't ever look again?"

I don't really want to get into those questions.  Now that we're back and I have to face real life I feel overwhelmed with those and even more confusing ideas.  What now? More detachment? New boundaries? Is progress real? What is recovery? What am I doing right? Wrong?

I tried out body boarding and loved it.  When I'd catch a wave just right I'd glide across the sand until the water was gone from beneath me. I'd keep my eyes on the beach, seeing if I'd come father this time than I had the last time.  I would get cocky with my wave-riding skillzzzz. 

But then, if I let myself forget the ocean was behind me, I'd wait a second too long and BAM the outgoing tide and the next incoming wave would knock me to my knees. 

Friends, I swear I will never figure this out. I just want to say here that addiction suuuuuucks.


  1. oh jane im sooo with you.

    you are not alone.
    keep writing girl.
    you are strong and powerful. you can do this. it will be revealed to you day by day, step by step.


  2. I read Pete and your posts - he has comments disabled so I'll comment on your page instead if that's ok. Perhaps you could relay my message to him? sounds like a really rough one. Timing couldn't have been worse. I can only somewhat imagine the pain it caused.

    I don't know the answers to your questions better than anyone else, but I had a couple of thoughts while reading both of your posts.

    First of all, Pete was right on when he said the moment he relapsed was when he chose to walk in the book store. The fact that he didn't act out in the book store was all the more dangerous, because he learned that he could play with fire and not get burned. We addicts sometimes get tricked into thinking those were victories, but in reality they are great defeats and sirens should be blaring. Confessing and seeking serious help right after those instances is crucial. Perhaps the moment was even sooner when he felt tempted and decided to try and deal with it on his own.

    Either way... one thing that helped me was to make it so I got burned by those things. Change the definition of 'acting out' to any decision that moves him in that direction. And learn to turn to God the moment he begins to feel an urge to go that direction. God provides an escape for me to take every time. Easier said than done. But that's what has helped me.

    Hang in there and good luck to the both of you. I just had those thoughts and really wanted him to know, whether or not they help much.

  3. Seriously I find myself feeling the same way...is there ever an end when my husband will completely stop looking at porn or lusting, etc...I hate this addiction too, it does STINK!!! I have heard though that men can get to the point when the thought of even looking at porn makes them physically ill. I guess I need to hear that first hand :) my husband says it does but he's still tempted...I'm ready for the next things to overcome, like the what do we need to do to perfect ourselves??? I am so OVER these big sins...but sin is sin...I wish I could be more hopeful but where this journey is such a roller coaster ride, some days I am really hopeful and other days I feel like this addiction is constantly knocking on my door! I am so ready for camp scabs

  4. I'm so sorry! This addiction does suck! But, his choice to act out does is not because you are not enough.

    I'd put money on the fact that you are doing more things right then you are doing wrong....

    love you my friend. I'm glad Hawaii was at least relaxing...

  5. I just read both of your posts and I feel for both of you. I haven't acted out since I told my wife about my addiction, but that is my biggest fear. How is it going to affect things when that happens. People keep telling me that it isn't a free pass, but that slips will happen. I feel similar to a comment you made though, there has to be a last time at some point, right? So, my hope is that I already had my last time.

    The reason I really wanted to comment was to answer one of the questions you asked. What is recovery? I have thought about this quite a bit. I feel that recovery is the period in which you are actively trying to overcome your addiction. As long as he keeps working at it, I feel like he is in recovery. Is he making progress? Yes, I think he is, I think he recognized a situation he needs to avoid. He realized what started him down the path. This is one more thing he can remember and stay away from in the future.

    In know that the pain is real, and that it will take some time. I agree that this is a hard thing to go through, but I don't think that means that recovery has stopped, or even gone backwards. Keep up the hard work, this too will pass.

  6. This was a heartbreaking post to read, but I appreciate you sharing the realities of addiction. So happy for you that you still made the most of your trip despite the relapse. You go girl!!!