From an Anonymous Contributor:
I think there is not a single Woman who has attended the 12 step meetings in Heber City- who has not felt this way. I was one of them. Here is the condensed version of my story.
I am an older Sister. I have children still at home- and some married children. I am a Grandmother, active in the LDS Church and the wife of an addict. My Husband has struggled with sex addiction since his early childhood. Only I did not know till about 2 years ago that he was an addict. 10 years into our marriage I discovered that he was looking at pornography- but I did not realize that he was an addict…I did not know then that there was such a thing. I thought he was just doing something he shouldn’t- and he needed to confess, repent and move on. I could never understand, as this problem kept coming up – WHY didn’t he just stop? The problem seems to be “cyclic” with him. So just when I would believe that he was better and it was all in the past….it would happen again…and with it- all the pain and distrust and agony would resurface. The last time this happened, my husband began attending the 12 step program sponsored by the Church. Then he went to the Bishop, and started the repentance process yet AGAIN. A few weeks into his attending the meetings, he told me there was a meeting for the wives. My FIRST response was: I’m not the one with the problem!! YOU ARE!!!…I wasn’t going to those meetings!!! Besides….I was sure someone would recognize me. We have lived in Wasatch County for decades….someone was sure to know me…and I DID NOT want anyone to know!!!
About seven months into his attending 12 step, he brought home a letter from the Sister who was serving as the facilitator for the women. It was encouraging the wives to come to the meetings. She also talked about the help that is there and the support. I kept the letter, and read it several times. There was a part of me that was drowning. The pain I had suffered and was still suffering was eating me alive. One of the most difficult things about this kind of addiction, is the fact that you CAN”T openly discuss it. You are left with no- one to talk to. Even though I had counseled with our Bishop, and received a Priesthood Blessing from him, I needed healing.I had over 2 decades of carrying this burden around deep inside- and years of saying when people would ask- how are you? “Oh I am GREAT!! Smiling on the outside- and self destructing on the inside. The idea came to my mind one day after reading the same letter- which included the e- mail to the facilitator, that I could e-mail her. I would FINALLY have someone to talk to, and still maintain my anonymity.So I did it. What followed, were days and days of conversation with her. She e-mailed me the 12 steps and began working them with me, one on one. The first step was really hard for me….I couldn’t understand why the focus was on ME and MY ISSUES! Hey! It was my husband who had all the issues!!! I hung in there- and honestly approached that first step. It was SO PAINFUL, and yet so freeing to talk to someone. I cried more tears than I thought was physically possible. But in this experience I was brought to the depths of humility. I experienced more love from the Lord and felt HIS power MORE tangibly than I think I ever have in my life. We moved on to step 2….and a miracle happened. I began seeing and feeling that it was possible for me to heal. I had the most amazing spiritual experience- that honestly – I can not even find words to describe. I felt the desire to forgive my husband. Prior to that – I was not sure I was staying in the marriage, I was so without hope. Step Two is “HOPE”….As I began working this step via e-mail, the facilitator said: “You need to come to the meetings! You will get so much more if you do”. I KNEW she was right. But I still had that FEAR of people knowing me- and my “secret” would be out. Day after day, the facilitator worked with me, and kept trying to encourage me to come. The Holy Ghost was also working on me at the same time. I KNEW I NEEDED those meetings. I had a taste of what was there in the steps and I WANTED more. So I FINALLY decided to go.
The night of my first meeting I could not eat the dinner I prepared for my family. I was sick to my stomach, and REALLY wondered if I would make it thorough the evening. I was nauseated and also feeling faint. We rode over to the Church together and I went in through the doors. As I got closer to the room we met in, I really felt like I was going to pass out. I was SO AFRAID. But I took a deep breath, prayed and walked in. Immediately I recognized one of the Sisters there and one of the Missionaries. Yes- it was true…I saw people I knew. BUT…..what followed, was the best experience I have ever had in my life. How was it possible, that something that had been an excruciating source of pain, was now such a blessing? I became closer to my Savior through this than I could ever have imagined. My testimony of the Atonement has grown and my life and my marriage have been blessed. I will never be the same. I look back now- and think- what if I had never gone? There IS a chance you may know someone. But the healing I have experienced has made it all worth it. I feel a love and a bond with those sisters, and it does not matter to me now that they know. I have support- and I will always have support. I will never be without someone to talk to again.
I have a testimony of this program. And I will be FOREVER grateful to the Lord for helping me find it. I have thought to myself – it is unfortunate that EVERY member of the Church can not go through 12 step. It will CHANGE your life. But you have to choose to do it. You have to GO…and you DO have to WORK the steps. The blessings that come are beyond your imagination. I want to assure you that your privacy is highly regarded and protected. ONLY the sisters in those meetings know my story. That has never been compromised. I also know that I am not alone here in our beloved Heber Valley. The need is great. It crosses all ages- it is not a “young person problem”. The problem of pornography addiction affects all people from all walks of life. Your husband may be in a Bishopbric. He may be well known in our community. But sooner or later, you will have to face the fact that YOU CAN NOT HEAL ON YOUR OWN. We are so blessed to live here and have access to this program. Sisters have been called to serve as Service Missionaries and Facilitators, because the Lord KNOWS we NEED them. They are among those angels that Elder Holland has spoke of. I hope my story will inspire you to take YOUR deep breath, and seek out the help that is there for you. Prayers have been uttered in your behalf. You are loved, and you are NOT alone. PLEASE take that step. You will NEVER regret that you did.