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August 09 • Data Surprise

Day 762

I'm on another road trip, my second in the past week. This time it's just my wife and I making a ten-hour trek to see family in Virginia. As we've often done, we're listening to an audiobook. As we've often done the past two years, we're listening to an audiobook about sex addiction and recovery. WooHoo!

was recommended to my wife months ago by our counselor. I wish we had read it two years ago, and we do recommend it to anyone in the early days following discovery.

Even two years into both of us knowing more about my addiction than either thought was possible. It has been an encouragement, a safe re-visiting, and a validation of some of the things we did right and some things that we wish we had done differently.

I'm not going to do a book review here or detail where the book spoke to us and where we were easily distracted, but it is worth mentioning in my journal because I think we'll probably be talking again about some of the things we're hearing.

There are two pieces I'll write about briefly as they've made an impact on me. First, I am again stunned at how clinical my addiction is. It's been a recurring theme of my writing, but I can't get over how predictable are the behaviors, how common are the lies, and how treatable this disease is. When I see myself among the stories of books like this, it gives me hope and confidence in the path to recovery that they describe.

The second item of note really surprised me, but again, it's also my experience. When I was debating with my counselor whether or not to disclose my addiction to my wife, I just knew that it would be the end of my marriage. I did not want that and was willing to do anything to avoid that. Anything. But Dr. Carnes' data suggests strongly that the odds were on my side all along, or I should say the odds were on OUR side. My paraphrase from the book is that most wounded spouses threaten to leave, but few do. Of those who do leave, a strong percentage return when recovery is an honest element of the addict's life.

I know too many addicts who have lost marriages to say that this is what everyone should expect. But those are not the ones that have surprised me in recovery. It's the majority of guys I've gotten to know that are still married to the same woman and are still working together in recovery that amazes me. Even though I've seen the data and witnessed the lives before me, it is still outside my expectations.

I believe that if I had had any idea that my wife would have stayed once she knew about my acting out, there would have been a lot less acting out; I believe I would have stopped and disclosed much earlier.

What I believe about this doesn't really matter, and my believing it doesn't make it true. Maybe I would even have taken longer to get desperate and pushed past that point of no return. I do not know.

But, I do wish that I had known sooner that my self-destruction was not the necessary end of me. But I guess no one knows that until they've survived.

Is that what I've done? Survived?




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