By Floyd Godfrey, LPC, CSAT candidate
Sometimes wives get confused about their husband’s recovery. I’ll hear things like, “He says he’s not acting out… but something doesn’t seem right.” Another common concern is, “He says he’s doing fine… but how can I know this won’t happen again?” Most wives have a variety of concerns about their husband’s recovery from sexual addiction. Sometimes these worries stem from trauma the wife has experienced as a result of his addiction, and other times it stems from the reality that their husband is not really in recovery.
I tell women to watch for a few key factors to help soothe their minds about their husband’s recovery. They are indicators of lasting recovery. Don’t ever use sobriety as a way of gauging whether or not he’s doing well. In other words, just because he’s abstinent from the acting out doesn’t mean he’s doing well in recovery. Abstinence simply means he’s stopped the behavior.
One of the key factors to watch for is TRANSPARENCY. Is your husband talking more? Does he share on a daily basis how he is feeling physically, emotionally, and spiritually? Do you see him share more openly with other men? This might also include new support friendships. Transparency is critical. Long-term recovery requires this ability. If you husband is becoming more transparent… this is a good sign.
Another key factor is REACHING OUT. Is your husband reaching out more? Do you see him calling his support network? Does he attend group meetings or support gatherings? Do you notice that he asks other men for help when he’s having a difficult time? Reaching out will break the addiction cycle. It is critical that he learns this skill. If your husband is reaching out on a regular basis… this is a good sign.
Another good indicator of lasting recovery is your husband’s ability to USE TOOLS. In other words, does he seem to know specific things he can do under pressure to pull himself away from addictive triggers? Has he memorized specific tools that he talks about with his sponsor or other support members? When you’ve asked him about how he handles sexual triggers does he explain some of the tools he uses? If your husband is using tools… this is a good sign.
A final indicator of good recovery is INCREASED SELF-AWARENESS. Does your husband seem to be learning about himself? Does he share with you any insights he’s learned about his inner world? Does he seem to know himself better than before he started recovery? Is he identifying the deeper layers and acknowledging that he’s learning much about himself? If you husband has an increased self-awareness… this is a good sign.
There isn’t any magical guarantee that your husband will never act out again. But don’t be fooled by empty talk about his sobriety. He can promise you he’s doing good until the cows come home, but if you don’t see any of the previous indicators… then chances are he has only stopped the behavior. “White-Knuckling” through his temptations will not bring lasting success and you’ll have good reason to worry.
If you need help with this sensitive topic then give us a call for a free 15-minute consultation. We offer specialty programs for sexual addiction counseling in Mesa Arizona. (480) 668-8301.