Whether you are a recovering addict or a partner, sex addiction is difficult to talk about, even with people you normally trust. Unfortunately, our society still stigmatizes most mental health issues, so even more conventional illnesses like depression or anxiety disorders are too often met with skepticism, ignorance, or judgement. Sexual issues can be especially sensitive, for everyone involved.
As a result, the long and difficult journey toward recovery can feel very lonely and isolated. Even if you have the fellowship of a 12-step program or other support group, it probably feels like most of the people you encounter in daily life have no idea what you are going through, and probably would not understand.
Please remember that you are not alone. Many people struggle with sex addiction, especially pornography use, and nearly as many spouses struggle to live with the impact of a partner’s addiction. A 2000 study conducted by MSNBC, Standford, and Duquesne found that 25 million Americans used porn for ten hours or less every week, and 4.7 million used porn for 11 hours or more every week. Since the majority of porn addicts are married men, that also means that nearly 25 million spouses suffered the emotional fallout of this kind of infidelity, and nearly 25 million marriages faced a critical turning point. In 2003, 47% of families in a Focus on the Family poll said that pornography was a problem in their households. Think about that statistic; whether you’re a partner or a recovering addict, almost half the people around you right now probably understand your situation much better than you think they do. You are not alone.
Just like you are not alone in facing this addiction or its impact, you are not alone on your path toward recovery. If you are reading this, you have found a compassionate, supportive, encouraging community of recovering addicts and their partners here at Feed the Right Wolf. You probably also know that there are many other communities based on recovery and encouragement – worldwide groups like Sex Addicts Anonymous, COSA, and Recovering Couples Anonymous, among others. These people all understand the struggle to recover from addiction, to heal after a partner’s infidelity, or to repair a relationship. You are not alone.
You don’t have to tell your mother-in-law or your nosy neighbor. You don’t have to survey every family at the grocery store to find out which 47% have been in your shoes. Just take comfort in the fact that you are not alone in this struggle, the knowledge that no one else has the right to pass judgement on you or your family, and the certainty that there is a large and growing community of people dedicated to gaining control of their addiction and living clean, healthy, wonderful lives. You are a part of that community. You are not alone.