Advice to My Younger Self
This is not your fault. There is nothing you could have done or can do to change him—he must choose it himself. There is nothing you can do or could have done to prevent this. It has nothing to do with you. Your husband’s addiction is not a reflection of you and does not diminish your worth. Repeat that often. You won’t believe it for a long time, but it’s the absolute truth.
Trust your gut, follow the Spirit, find truth. You’ll never be led astray. This addiction is a mental behavioral condition—treat it as such.
● Get help!
● Educate yourself to know what you’re dealing with.
● Go to a qualified CSAT (certified sex addiction therapy) counselor,
attend 12-step groups, reach out to others who have walked this
path—they are all around you.
Priesthood leadership, although well-meaning and sincere, won’t always get it. Not everyone will understand the far-reaching and devastating effects. Don’t let anyone’s lack of understanding deter you; don’t let it shake your faith. I know you feel like this isn’t your problem and you shouldn’t have to deal with it or fix it, but this is now a part of you. You must deal with it. You can’t “fix” him, but you must find recovery for yourself.
Work—work on your recovery, work on yourself, work on your marriage, work on your friendships. Find a meaning for the pain. You’re going to do things you never thought you could, and you are much stronger than you can ever imagine. Try not to be afraid; I know it’s hard. This is going to be hard—get ready to fight. Take care of yourself. Be kind to yourself. It’s okay to not be okay.
You will feel anger, fear, betrayal, overwhelming heartbreak and sadness, confusion, worthlessness, loneliness, bitterness, darkness, hopelessness, and doubt. You’ll wonder how it’s possible to feel so much physical pain. This is normal and it is okay. But it is not okay to remain in those feelings. You will feel like you are all alone, that no one else is dealing with this, and like no one will understand. At times you will feel like the darkness will never lift and there is no way it can ever be made right. Don’t ever give up. Trust in God. Give it all to Him. He will take it all, and He can make you whole. Have hope in Christ, in the Atonement.
● You can do this.
● Reach out.
● Get a sponsor. (Believe me, yours is amazing and will change your life.)
● Love yourself.
● Pray, pray, and pray some more.
● Help others.
Don’t let this addiction take anything more from you. Choose recovery, choose hope, choose resilience, choose happiness, choose to fight. You won’t regret it.
You are going to become someone you never knew you could be. You will know love like you never have before—from yourself, your family, your support people, and your husband. I know it’s hard to believe. Just hang in there. You got this.