Husbands vs. Wives or Husbands and Wives?
  Breaking Free Chizuk #1374  
In Today's Issue
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Rabbi Twerski: Should an S-Anon threaten the spouse to get help?
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Daily Dose of Dov: Don't Delay Even One More Day
Chizuk: My Shooting Instructor
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Rabbi Twerski
Should an S-Anon threaten the spouse to get help?
By Twerski, Rabbi Dr. Avraham

Dear R' Twerski,

Lately we have been having some machlokes on GYE regarding what advice to give wives who discovered that their husbands are addicts and the husbands are not motivated to get help.

One view claims it's best that the wife "force" the husband to get help in any way possible, including threatening to leave the house or divorce. This way the addict will hit bottom hopefully. This is based on the idea that the addict will only seek help when it hurts enough, and the wife can make it hurt... And also that the wife should insist on getting the Internet out of the house or put in a good filter.

The other view claims that the S-Anon approach is not to try to control the husband, but that the wife should first deal with her own recovery and she can decide to stay or leave, but pressuring the husband into getting help is not productive.

Can you help us get more clarity on this issue?


Rabbi Twerski Responds:

I don't believe in threats. If a wife feels that she cannot live with her husband because of his behavior, she should tell him so, but not as a threat. And she should not say this unless she means it. Very often, when she threatens, she later backs off.

So, go to S-anon and decide what you want to do for yourself.


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Daily Dose of Dov
Don't Delay Even One More Day
How do I get help without my wife finding out?
By Dov

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

My Shooting Instructor
By Kanesher

Direct anger and frustration at the addiction and use that energy for recovery.

My shooting instructor once told me, "there are people in this world who need to be shot. When that time comes, you want to be able to help them".

We owe him. Now it's your bullet. For every smashed dream, for every moment of guilt, disgust, fear... we owe him a blood debt, one that we won't forget. Every time we say no, every time we help someone else say no - it's payback time.

Do you think you may have a porn addiction?

Do you have a problem with obsessive and compulsive porn use? Have you seriously tried the tools on GYE and feel that you are not getting better? Maybe it’s time to consider joining a 12-Step program.

Porn Anonymous (PA)
If you’re compulsively acting-out with pornography and masturbation we suggest you explore joining Porn Anonymous (PA). If you need help deciding whether to join PA, call Michael at 347-699-2368, or email to schedule a time to talk. For more information visit (Hebrew: / Yiddish:

Sexaholics Anonymous (SA)
If your compulsive acting-out has progressed beyond the screen (with other people, paid sexual services, etc.) we suggest you explore joining Sexaholics Anonymous (SA). To figure out if SA is for you, call Dov at 917-414-8205, or email Dov at to schedule a time to talk. For more information visit

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