Tag Archives: Recovery

ALL I WANT IS THE TRUTH, THE WHOLE TRUTH and NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH

 “I would rather know the truth; I can deal with the truth much better than not knowing. If I only knew the full truth from A to Z, I wouldn’t feel like I’m going crazy.”

I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard statements just like this, from partners of sex addicts. So often, partners have been sad-couple deceived time after time and trust in the relationship was bruised and battered.

After an initial disclosure, a partner may feel the affects of being traumatized. Hurt and confusion dominate every moment of the day. As time passes, partners may come to accept a small portion of their new reality and commit to working through this difficult situation with the one they love. They may believe that they have the whole truth and affirm that they can work through this.

Down the road there may be yet another disclosure, which turns their world upside down. Although the first disclosure was painful, they were re-assured by their spouse that they had all the information. Yet they find themselves, again struggling to make sense of it all. They begin to question everything they knew about their former life.

Again, promises are made and many partners agree to continue in the relationship hoping that this is now the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Yet, in their mind and heart, they worry and question everything. Feelings of uncertainty about LS011997themselves and their love relationship are always with them, as they wonder if there is more that hasn’t been told.

These staggered disclosures are extremely damaging and painful to the partner. Partners deserve to have full disclosure. There are several decisions that need to be made and they need to be based on truth.

Full disclosure is an opportunity to help heal the relationship in a real and authentic way. Although the very thought of this can be paralyzing for both the partner and the addict, full disclosure holds the key that unlocks the door for developing real connection and emotional intimacy. There are no more secrets, no more hiding, only truth and transparency.

The process of full disclosure is so significant and important to the couple’s healing that it is not to be taken lightly and should be guided by a trained professional. A therapist trained in disclosures can assist the addict in preparing his full written disclosure. This preparation can take months, as they identify truth and accountability.

During this time of preparation, the partner also works with the therapist to identify specific questions that need clarity. When the day of full disclosure comes, the partner, addict and therapist meet together. The therapist assists and guides the session while supporting the couple.

This disclosure process, when done properly, can be pivotal for a couple’s progress. The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth is a gift of renewal and empowerment for both the addict and the partner as they journey down their path of recovery.

Jennifer Thibodeau MSW, RSW

Clinical Social Worker, Certified Sex Addiction Therapist-Supervisor

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HALT

Halt Sign NewHalt, read this! The word HALT is a great acronym that can help anyone struggling to overcome an addiction or for a partner of an addict trying to heal and be in recovery.

When you are tempted to act out in your addiction or feel that your recovery is in jeopardy, remember HALT. Ask yourself if your uncomfortable feeling or actions could be attributed to these other factors.

Am I hungry? When we are hungry we can experience mood swings. Just like an infant, we can be irritable and demanding. 3219197135_e2b8a35a03_mWe often can’t think clearly and may appear irrational. Be sure to take care of yourself and be aware of when and what you are eating.

Am I angry? Yes! There is a good possibility that anger has reared its ugly head couple-arguing-about-politics and you just don’t know what to do with it. Some people stuff it down and try to pretend everything is just fine. Others lash out in inappropriate ways by acting out or shaming others.  It’s best to recognize and accept that you are angry and to find ways to express that anger in healthy ways. Talk to a therapist or a friend, journal your feelings or exercise.  Anger isn’t the problem; it’s what we do with it.

2653175663_bf1faa46d0_mAm I lonely? The addiction itself has been your pretend friend for so long, it’s squeezed out other real friends and relationships. It consumed your time, emotion and energy. The person you may want to reach out to now for a sense of security and comfort may be the person that’s been hurt the most by your actions and unable to give you what you need.

You may be a partner of an addict and feel like the addiction has been your rival for intimacy and connection. Feelings of isolation and detachment can be powerful, but not permanent. Be committed to your recovery and reach out to others. Talk to a trusted friend, share with your therapist, and get involved with activities.

Am I tired? Our thinking can be impaired simply by lack of sleep. Sleeping on decisions, or going to bed and finding out in the morning that our situation feels less urgent and more manageable is a common experience that we often forget. Again, we can be like infants irritable, inconsolable and irrational without sleep. Be mindful of your sleep times and patterns.

As you work through recovery, there are going to be challenging moments.  Fortify yourself in every way that you can. Remembering HALT and asking yourself these questions can help ground you and keep you in recovery.

 

For more information about our leading out patient program go to www.lifestaralberta.com

Jennifer Thibodeau MSW, RSW,

Clinical Social Worker, Certified Sex Addiction Therapist

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Living With A Stranger

 

How could this be? This isn’t how you saw your life unfolding. You were in love and believed that you were meant to be together. This is the man that you have felt so attached to and been building your life with. He was your rock, your soul mate and above all you committed to be true to one another.

But now things are different. You caught him in a lie and one thing led to another. You’ve discovered that the problem is much bigger than you could have imagined. He has an addiction to pornography and he’s been chatting on line with other women. Your heart feels like it’s been shattered into tiny pieces. There are a million questions that you want answered. How long has this been going on? Why am I not enough? What else has he done? Has he told me everything? What do I do now?

sad-coupleHe’s seen how devastating this has been for you, the tears you’ve shed. Your mind is consumed with worry and you are preoccupied wondering what he is doing on the computer when your away or what he might be thinking as you stroll through the mall together. Does he really understand the trauma you have experienced?

Yet, he says he loves you and wants things to be better. He’s going to try really hard to conquer this addiction. After all, he is a good person in so many ways and you said you would support him and help him. Every fiber in your being wants this to be true and at the same time your heart and spirit are broken. You just don’t know if you could survive one more disclosure. So, you start checking his emails, his cell phone and computer history. This can’t happen one more time! In some strange way this gives you a false sense of control for a moment in what feels like your out of control life. But this isn’t you. This isn’t the person you use to be. Somehow you’ve lost yourself through all of this. You didn’t find anything in your checking and searching this time. Things settle for a short while but then you find yourself preoccupied again with all the hurt and worry. This is called the fear cycle.

This is a familiar story for partners of sex addicts. Partners do experience trauma and often require professional help. You can heal and your relationship can heal. Recovery is not just for the addict, partners too have to experience their own recovery. If you would like more information about our recognized leading out patient program go to www.lifestaralberta.com

 

By Jennifer Thibodeau MSW, RSW

Clinical Social Worker, Certified Sex Addiction Therapist

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