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5 Questions About Addiction Recovery You Need To Know The Answers To

By February 16, 2024No Comments
questions about addiction recovery

Many women, just like you, ask questions about addiction recovery when their husbands struggle with porn.

Or maybe you classify them as your beliefs. Looking back, I realize my opinions were beliefs, not based on facts.

Few topics are as sensitive and nuanced as the impact of pornography use on your marriage. It’s a subject often clouded by stigma, judgment, and misunderstanding that deeply wounds relationships like it has yours. I’m thankful for education groups like Fight The New Drug, Christian Living Institute, Authentic Intimacy, Pure Desire Ministries, and Faithful & True Ministries, whose mission is to help men and women dealing with sexual addiction issues and related trauma find lasting recovery.

As a woman like you who has traveled this betrayal recovery journey, I encourage you to look for redemptive possibilities to these common questions.

Wherever you are in your recovery process, please take a deep breath and agree for this moment to approach these five questions about addiction recovery with kindness, empathy, openness, and grace.

    1. Can someone who struggles with watching porn quit watching it?

      The quick answer to this question is yes. Quitting is possible, and many individuals have successfully overcome their struggles with pornography.

      Like most addictive struggles, the journey to quitting pornography challenges the struggler and their partner. You didn’t watch the porn or force him to watch it, but you do deal with the aftershocks and effects.

      Please recognize that consuming porn can become habitual and even addictive due to various factors, including stress, boredom, or underlying emotional issues.

      Not everyone exposed to porn for the first time becomes trapped by it. But for those who do, breaking this habitual cycle involves a combination of self-awareness, motivation, and seeking professional help.

      Research shows that individuals who engage in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or join support groups experience positive outcomes in their efforts to quit porn consumption (Kraus et al., 2016). Quitting any addictive behavior is a process and not an overnight success.

      Celebrate small victories, and remember, setbacks do not erase progress. You know what it’s like to change a bad habit. Work to extend grace to your husband as he seeks sobriety.

    2. When it comes to an addiction, is it ever truly gone?

      This question compels you to understand the true nature of an addiction. Because an addiction is often described as a chronic condition, even though individuals may successfully quit their addictive behavior, they may always be susceptible to a relapse.

      However, it’s important to emphasize that addiction is a manageable condition. Individuals can lead fulfilling lives in recovery with the proper support, coping mechanisms, spiritual grounding, and a commitment to ongoing self-care. Recognizing the potential for relapse is not about being pessimistic but about being realistic and prepared.

      According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), addiction is a complex but treatable disorder. Long-term recovery is achievable through therapy, support networks, and lifestyle changes (NIDA, 2020). This perspective can provide hope and encouragement for those on the journey of overcoming addiction.

      My husband continues his recovery journey to this day. He knows his triggers, has put safeguards in place for when he feels triggered and uses internet monitoring software and reporting. We pray together for each other every day. In the evenings, we check in with each other about more than just the day’s activities.

      Recovery from these struggles requires regular positive choices. My husband and I celebrate every victory, no matter how small.

    3. Why can’t my husband just quit watching porn because I asked him to?

      As a coach, I get this question often. And I asked the same question. But I learned during our counseling and coaching sessions that, for most people, you don’t just quit something cold turkey when it has a genuine grip on you. Yes, some people can walk away.

      For most of us, though, we need assistance, support, and encouragement to make a significant change, such as not watching porn. Addictive behaviors contain many layers, which often include emotional issues. That’s why my husband couldn’t just walk away, even though he wanted to and had tried repeatedly over many years.

      Part of my healing from learning about his porn struggles required me to develop empathy for others. Rather than jumping to quick judgment fueled by anger and hurt, I had to walk in his shoes for a bit. No, I didn’t look at porn. But I needed to understand the deep wound he carried and what drove him to use porn to medicate that pain. Counseling and coaching helped us learn ways to talk about the most profound pain we both carried. The more we openly communicated, porn’s stranglehold lessened.

      Leaving porn behind can happen if the person desires to make the change. Like most difficult changes, it probably won’t occur immediately. Can God miraculously remove any desire for porn? Absolutely. Sometimes, God allows you to carry that “thorn in the flesh” to show his grace to others as you trust God to get you through every day.

    4. Is someone naive if they believe a person struggling with addictive behavior can leave the addiction behind?

      Believing in someone’s capacity to overcome addiction is not naive; it’s a powerful form of support. You are not condemned to repeat behaviors, nor is your husband. If you can change, then so can he.

      The Bible refers to this change as transforming into the person he created you to be. I believe that God brings a change in people if a person submits to God’s way and process. This God-miracle is the transformation I experienced and watched my husband experience.

      While I fully believe every person can change, whether they do or not is their choice. Overcoming any addictive behavior may involve slip-ups. No one lives a perfect life. The only man who did was Jesus Christ, the God-man. Expecting another person never to make a mistake is unrealistic and cruel. You set the person up to fail and then criticize them when they do. How does this help a person sincerely trying to leave a negative behavior behind? Would you like him to treat you that same way?

      An ugly caterpillar doesn’t become a beautiful Monarch butterfly overnight. The transformative process (metamorphosis) takes time. That butterfly emerges as a different thing altogether.

      I love to tell about God’s metamorphosis in me and my husband. I look back to who I was and am filled with gratitude and awe at what God has done. He met me where I was and my husband where he was. We got the needed help and then submitted to the process to seek and find lasting change. This process wasn’t without backward motion at times. I still struggle with depression. Dave remains vigilant against porn’s temptation. We support each other in our recovery journey. There’s also the beauty in the addiction journey—mutual respect and support. What’s the difference between temptation and acting out?

    5. Understanding the difference between temptation and acting out is crucial in the context of addiction recovery. Let’s define these two words: temptation and acting out. Temptation refers to the desire or urge to engage in addictive behavior while acting out involves giving in to that temptation.When it comes to life, you face many temptations throughout your day. Did you not sleep well? You might be tempted to turn off your alarm, roll over, and sleep until you wake up. But you have an important meeting, so you drag yourself out of bed without hitting the snooze button. When your husband hears about your temptation to sleep in, how do you think he’ll respond to the action you took? How would you react if he were in the same situation?For some reason, when it comes to addiction recovery, you change the definition of temptation. I know I did. In the Lord’s Prayer, you and I recite, “. . .don’t let us yield to temptation.” God knows you face temptation. But he provides a way through that temptation without giving in to it.

      Triggers come with any addictive behaviors. Anytime a person uses something to medicate the emotional or mental pain instead of facing the issue and getting to the root of it, you develop triggers and responses to those triggers. Recovery allows you to put strategies into place to recognize the trigger and face the temptation but not succumb to taking action on that temptation.

      When someone equates temptation with still being an addict, that person deepens the guilt and shame the struggler feels. How would you like your best friend or husband to respond to you when you confess you got triggered today?

Ask your questions about addiction recovery.

You need answers so you can recover and learn to trust again. We rebuilt trust when Dave and I learned and applied understanding, compassion, grace, humility, forgiveness, respect, and love toward each other. He experienced victory over his temptations. I developed a stronger empathy muscle. I experienced loving support during depressive episodes, and he recognized my struggles weren’t his fault. We had issues to resolve individually and together.

Look back at these five questions about addiction recovery.

Where do you get stuck? What’s keeping you from growing in your understanding and empathy related to that question? Please spend time processing these questions. Then, get the help you need to get unstuck.

Have you heard other statements related to porn addiction recovery that cause you to wonder if it’s possible? Please download this FREE resource, 11 Shame-Provoking Lies People Tell About Porn Addiction.

Talking about recovering from discovering your husband’s porn addiction feels weighty because it is.

But, from personal experience, I know you can recover—I’d love to show you how.

Every person recovers uniquely from addictive behavior.

That might be why it’s so hard to be the spouse of the one struggling with porn. You cannot change their mindset, heal their wounds, or fix their behavior. Only the struggler can choose to heal or not. His recovery is possible and probable if he receives the support he needs and does the personal work. You can recover, too. Let’s do this.

References:
Kraus, S. W., Voon, V., & Potenza, M. N. (2016). Should compulsive sexual behavior be considered an addiction? Addiction, 111(12), 2097–2106.
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). (2020). Understanding Drug Use and Addiction. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/understanding-drug-use-addiction
Kelly, J. F., Greene, M. C., & Bergman, B. G. (2018). Do drug-dependent patients want to recover? A systematic review of the change talk literature. Substance abuse, 39(4), 413–428.