Joanne's Story

The Power to Heal All

My husband's addiction to pornography and masturbation began shortly after we were married. It was gradual, and he was always quick to confess to me as he slipped into more frequent and severe episodes. It took years before we started using the word addiction and before he became committed to seeking help outside our home.

My husband’s addictions affected me in many ways. I felt betrayed by his behavior, my self-esteem was hurt, and I felt inadequate. Although he never directly blamed me, I felt like if I were a little better, he would be happier and would not turn to his addictions. I walked on eggshells when he was irritable or depressed, worrying constantly that he would give in to temptation. I became suspicious and paranoid, feeling ashamed because this was not the man I thought I had married or the life I had expected. For a long time I believed that the problem would eventually go away, so I didn’t want to share our secret with others by seeking support. I was incredibly lonely.

I felt guilty and lived in fear and anxiety about the future, taking responsibility for my husband’s addictions. I began making rules for him as I tried to manage his choices. But I finally hit the point where I felt like there was no hope for my situation. None of my personal efforts to change him were working. Despite setting up filters, controls, and increasing our spiritual activity, his addictions became worse instead of better. I tried begging, sobbing, and shaming him to change. And no matter my efforts to be more intimate, he still had relapses. With each episode, I became more disappointed that I was failing and that he wasn't trying hard enough.

After some time, I discovered the Addiction Recovery Program and began blogging anonymously with a few other women about my experiences. My online friends and the women at the ARP support groups brought me out of the dark and lonely place I had been suffering in.

After carefully learning about steps one through three, I finally realized that God was in charge. My husband had agency. Although I could not control him, I felt confident that Heavenly Father loved me. I am His daughter, and I knew He would sustain me through whatever was ahead. The Addiction Recovery Program teaches the same process of repentance and healing we learn through the gospel. The Atonement’s healing power applies to all who suffer. I found hope through my Savior and was able to turn my sorrows and fears over to Him.

Since I have been participating in the addiction recovery program, I have learned that my husband's addictions are not my fault; I did not cause them. I do not want to waste my energy anymore worrying about what he is doing each hour of the day. I can love him and, with the help of the Savior, forgive him. I have learned to turn my will over to the Lord. Even if the worst-case scenario were to take place, I know I would be okay. The Lord will not abandon me. I have hope that the Savior can heal my husband as well, in His time and with my husband's willingness.

I have learned that no matter what the circumstances in my life may be, I am responsible for my own happiness. Peace from my Heavenly Father is always available to me, regardless of the choices of any other individual. I have control over one thing in this life, and that is the way I will respond to the trials that come my way. God will not remove the difficulties from my path when it would infringe upon the agency of another, but I can have the strength I need to endure such trials through the power of Jesus Christ.

Today, my husband still has relapses, but I have learned how to turn my feelings of disappointment over to the Lord. I can love my husband in spite of his addiction, and we are a better, happier couple because of it. I have been blessed to meet and develop relationships with other inspiring women who have sustained me through my difficult times. I have a new understanding of the Atonement, having received frequent manifestations of my Heavenly Father's love for me. I am so grateful for the superior blessings I've received at the hand of God during this difficult experience.