Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Dear Addi, How Can I help My wife Heal? Step 3, Get Into the Game!

Get Into The Game!

3. Be Engaged in the process

When I was in Middle school, I was an awkward dorky kid and I had no athletic skills whatsoever. I felt out of place and unequipped to participate. I eventually figured out that if I just played near the edge of the field, that no one would pay me any attention and the game would simply go on around me. I would hide in plain sight, never wanting to face my biggest fear of all… playing the game.

During the last 15 months in my recovery process, I have met some amazing men working through the pornography addiction recovery course. I have heard many of their stories and seen them go through many phases of the process. I have a great deal of respect for these men for simply showing up at all. They have taken a step onto the field of play. 

However, every once in a while a brother will come through who you can tell is only there because they were drug there by their wife. They are not excited to be in the game at all and would prefer to simply stay on the sidelines.

One such Brother came for several weeks and each week simply ‘Passed’, when given the opportunity to share in group. He seemed distracted while group was going on. I often caught him playing video games on his phone, sketching pictures, or texting. It seemed very disrespectful to the others and it was obvious he didn't want to be there. Over time I got to know the brother and his wife. I eventually asked him if he felt he was getting anything out of group. He said, “No. Not Really. I'm not ready to give up my addiction yet. I just go because my wife yells at me if I don't and it's easier to just go then to fight.” I watched him after group each week as he would meet his wife in the parking lot and could see the look of hope on her face that perhaps today he heard something that would inspire him to engage in the process. But, up to that point, he hadn't. He seemed sad, depressed and generally negative. He put zero effort into his recovery and she could see it.  

Its time to play the game. Do not be a side-liner. 

After a few games, on my middle school team, one of the older boys pointed out an area of field that he wanted me to be responsible for. He said, “If the ball comes into this area, its yours.”. I was petrified. I spent most of my time hoping it never came near me. Eventually I learned that if it did come into my zone, it was easy enough to kick it on to the person in the zone next to me. On one occasion the ball came into my zone and I immediately passed it on to the adjacent zone, hoping that the more experienced player would know what to do with it. It rolled into his area and then to a stop. My teammate was no where to be found. He had gone to block for me. He hoped that I would follow the ball and continue on toward the goal. But in my mind, I had done my job. I had covered MY zone. Could he really expect me to cover his too? Needless to say, the opposing team got the ball and returned it for a goal. I was chastised and reminded after the play that, this was a team sport and that we have to be willing to back each other up when needed.

Another way we sit on the sidelines is to assume you have done your part and the rest is up to your wife. I know this sounds callous. How could anyone treat their spouse this way after all the damage we have caused? It does happen though and is an easy trap to fall into. The problem is, we are really fighting two separate battles. His is a battle to overcome sin and fight off the demons that pull him into a world of filth. Hers is to piece back together her life and try to find a way to both forgive and continue to live with, this new knowledge. 

The other difficulty is that each battle has a different definition for success. Your success comes when you feel a sense of control over your life. You see a long stretch of sobriety as winning the war and start to feel like you can conquer your demons. Her success however is based on whether or not she can overcome the pain of your revelations and your weaknesses. Can she learn to cope with this new knowledge? Can she trust you again? She will undoubtedly have a longer battle to fight before she sees the the victories. 

Simply because he is doing well at defending his zone, doesn't  mean she is always successfully defending hers. Our victories do not always happen at the same time. We can not simply sit back and enjoy our spoils while our wives are in the midst of an epic onslaught. The ball is still in play and it still needs our attention. Remember, this is a team sport. It requires both of you to overcome the opponent.

Unlike my middle school experience, this game will come to an end. Those who either don’t get engaged or are satisfied that their job is done, will eventually be defeated.  The truth is, you, the husband, are the MVP of the game. You are the only one who can make the critical plays to move the ball in the right direction. If you never get engaged or only engage in your zone of the field, the game will come to an end and you will be left on the side line.


  1. Nicely written. I hope some people in your position get it!

  2. Thank you for sharing your story and experiences! I am really enjoying these detailed steps and look forward to reading the next!


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