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Don't Delay Even One More Day

How do I get help without my wife finding out?

GYE Corp. Thursday, 09 February 2012

We tried to offer advice to someone who posted for help on the forum and suggested things like phone groups, therapy, partners, etc... He replied as follows:

"My wife knows nothing of my addiction, so any phone group really wouldn't work. Going to a therapist is also a problem. I don't know how I'll be able to get that by without her knowing. And I'm really not ready to tell her everything."

Dov Replies:

Hi, I'm an addict who is active on this forum and in recovery. All I have to share is my experience in more than a decade of recovery. Not expertise, just experience.

I called R' Twerski up in ~1990, described my behavior to him exactly, and he told me I needed to get into a 12 step group or intensive therapy. I said "thanks", knew he was right, and said "forget it", cuz I could never do all that and still keep it hidden from my wife. Same as you. I kept acting out and got worse and worse.

I got caught by my wife five years later, which was hell; and went to a shrink, took meds, tried to work the steps by myself, etc... I kept acting out, getting worse, and the pain just grew. When the pain boruch Hashem finally got bad enough without getting caught again, I pathetically and desperately made a call to a new shrink and she sent me to SA. I have been going to meetings ever since, doing the work, and have been sober since then, as of today's writing. It's been more than 10 years since then, still married, and life is amazing, though certainly difficult at times. But hey, any real life is difficult at times. Now I see that nothing can happen to me that would be so bad that acting out wouldn't make it even worse. It never made things better for me, just a poor excuse for a poor escape, it was.

And the whole experience of getting into recovery was not at all the way I thought it would be. All of my deepest fears about being revealed to my wife were: BS. Besides, my life has become incredibly easier overall, there's no more shame, and it gets easier all the time, as long as I face things (with help from Hashem and my group) and do the work I need to do to stay in real life rather than escape. The whole "double life" and "running" garbage (it sounds like you know exactly what I mean by that) was just a big, smelly lie. I didn't really need it, at all, even though at the time, I felt clearly that if I had to stop permanently, I'd just die. I am now sober one day at a time, with Hashem's help.

So, getting caught now is better than later, especially if what you're involved with ain't that bad yet.

I didn't get better because I tried harder - I did that for 15 years before getting better. It only gets worse if kept a secret. And we all try to save our secrets as long as we can, poor idiots :-)

Why not, with Hashem's help, find some person - or people - with whom you can safely be completely open and direct about exactly what you are doing today and have done in the past, and then go from there? Why delay getting better, even one more day?

Hatzlocha, chaver.
- Dov