Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Rock bottom to rehab

Part 1/2 (to see other parts of the article, click on the pages at the bottom)

by Anonymous (See all authors)

I have been in various S programs for about 7 years now, but like many people, it just didnt seem to catch. Sure, I would get a streak of sobriety here and another streak there, sometimes 10 months, sometimes 4 months, sometimes a week, sometimes less. But even then, my sobriety was never really "clean". Quite often I would look at porn (without masturbating) and even had a time where I was going to massage parlors but felt that I didnt have to reset my sobriety date as long as I wasnt M'Z'L. Quit often, especially during the long streaks, I found myself switching one addiction for the next. So instead of acting sexually, I would drink, overeat, and even take pills. Much of this behavior was on and off, but it created problems nevertheless. I also found myself drinking while I was acting out, which sometimes led to drinking and driving, or even drinking and taking pills. Often this would happen after a long streak of sobriety, which meant that I was binging with my acting out behaviors. So basically, no matter how hard I tried, something wasnt working. Now that doesnt mean I did everything I could. Sure I've been to many meetings, made tons of calls (sometimes over 20 a day), and spent thousands of dollars on therapy, but in all honesty I never got past step 4 in the step work.

Finally, after years of slipping, I started getting caught by my wife (Baruch Hashem) and I decided to really start taking it seriously, mostly for fear of losing my marriage. I got a new sponsor (my former one had lost his sobriety and dropped out of program), a new therapist, and decided to do whatever they told me to do. Ironically, from the very first meeting with my frum therapist, after hearing my story,the first thing he told me was that he wasn't sure that he could help me and that I might need a higher level of care. Now this really scared me, because I knew what that meant and I sure as heck didn’t want to go to rehab. Rehab was for junkies and crazy people, not for nice Jewish boys like me. We decided that if my behavior stopped declining then this would be proof that the combo of meetings and therapy was enough for me. However, if over the next few weeks my behavior continued to decline (I was already going to massage parlors every other week) then we would need to explore other options.

Needless to say, my behavior continued to decline until one fateful day in which I spent the entire day drinking, looking at porn, and hiring prostitutes (driving drunk on my way to go see them). My behavior was dangerous and out of control. I couldnt rationalize it anymore to anyone, including myself. I woke up from what seemed like a nightmare, looked over at my wife and muttered the only words that came to mine "I really need help". The gig was up (just to compound things, I had done something with one of the prostitutes which could potentially put me at risk for an STD). I knew I had to make a disclosure to my wife since now I was going to have to get tested for an STD and would have to refrain from having relations with her for the 6 months or so it would take to get my results back. So now there was no way to keep this a secret from her. Hashem literally stopped me in my tracks. I called my dad that morning and told him everything. I was scared and lonely, and I knew that if I was going to have to go to rehab I was going to need his support. He was surprisingly helpful and understanding (he's been in SA himself for a few years now). The next couple of weeks were a living hell. I made tons of phone calls, even got a prescription for xanax just to combat the anxiety I was going through. Every day was pain and torture. What was she going to say when I disclosed to her what I had done? Was she going to divorce me? I was in a total panic. I knew I had to tell her before mikvah night since she would question why I didnt want to have relations. Sure I thought of ways to lie and somehow get out of it, but it was futile. There was no lie that I could fabricate to explain why I wouldnt have relations for the next 6 months. And besides, I was done lying. I discussed it with a senior member of my SA group. my therapist, and my dad, and the conclusion that I came to was that I should do a general disclosure, without revealing anything that she doesn't need to know. That included unnecessary details regarding the sexual encounter as well as any previous acting out. However, if after the disclosure she asked questions regarding my acting out history, I wasn’t going to lie.

Mikvah night came, and with fear and trepidation I began to disclose to my wife what had happened two weeks earlier. Needless to say, she got upset, REALLY upset. In fact, I've never seen her so angry in my life. And yes, she asked about my previous acting out history and I was honest with her. That night I ended up doing a full disclosure to my wife, and it wasn't pretty. I told her about the massage parlors. The one other time, 5 years earlier, that I had been with a prostitute. I told her about all the porn and phone chat lines. The web cam sites. Everything. (most of this she already knew, but I guess it needed to be reiterated). My worst fears seemed to be coming true, there was no doubt that she was going to divorce me and our marriage was over. I slept on the couch downstairs for the first time in our 7 year marriage. Over the next few days, it just seemed to get worse. The tension in the air was palpable. She wasnt talking to me. I had really done it now. The damage was irreparable. I had nightmares. My kids had nightmares. I started developing a cold sore on my bottom lip, no doubt the result of an STD. It was all over. After 20 years of acting out, Rock Bottom had come.

We started talking a little bit over the next few days but things were bad. We went together to see my therapist, not muttering a word on the way there. In his office, my wife expressed her disgust with me. My beautiful aishes chayil was now nauseated by my very sight. How could I have sunk so low, done so much damage. And then the therapist said the following words which would convince me to make the hardest decision of my life "Since you've fallen so low, you now have an opportunity to do something for your recovery which you might not ever be able to do again. Don't waste this window of opportunity." He was talking about rehab.