AddictionFamilyHealing 5 minutes to read

When I look back at the person I used to be, I see a miracle. I struggled with self-medicating my stress and boredom from a very young age. As I went into my teenage years, I was exposed to pornography and simultaneously felt more and more like an outcast at home. Despite not looking at pornography again until I was 18, I searched for things to medicate with; often it was masturbation since that had become a familiar way of coping. However, the older I got, the more I was drawn to substances.

From the outside looking in, someone might have thought everything was fine. Unfortunately, I was breaking on the inside. By the time I reached 21, I was a functioning addict who would grab on to anything to help me survive each day. As the years went on, I found that I was only happy if I was with my husband, at a party, or working. So that’s what I filled my life with. Each day, I worked until I couldn’t work anymore, I partied until I couldn’t party anymore, and I leaned on my husband for support. It was a very selfish life I led, but because I was trying so hard to hide the pain from my past, I thought I was doing what was right. Little did I know, I was hurting myself and those around me.

Once I reached my late 20s, radical things began to happen. God was moving in my life in ways that were unseen at the time. Within three years, my husband and I moved across the country twice and I gave birth to our first child. I put the substances aside during my pregnancy but still struggled with my love and sex addiction. There was so much denial around my love and sex addiction that I didn’t realize it was an issue until I was entirely sober from substance abuse, which took over two years. Around this time, I worked through Pure Desire’s teen material, Behind the Mask. Going through this material helped identify my unhealthy behaviors and the root cause. 

Understanding where my addictions and struggles came from was the key to finally facing my past. I began to partner with God and work through other Pure Desire group materials. God used the leaders in my life and materials to speak to me. I learned that He didn’t want me to live a self-serving life. Instead, God showed me how I could feel both positive and negative emotions, process the things that happened to me and the choices I made, and find true freedom in knowing that I have value. 

Years of hard work and choosing God’s will went by and then my husband decided he would also like to go through a Pure Desire group. I thought I knew everything about him and was so excited for him to find healing as I did! However, what I didn’t know was that he had struggled with pornography in a similar way to me. After a year of group, the time came for us to share our full disclosures. It would never have crossed my mind that I could feel so hurt by someone I trusted so much. Seeing a person I placed so high on a pedestal come tumbling down was a betrayal I never thought I would experience. I felt I had the only perfect man in the world; but at that moment was confronted with the realization that he, like everyone, was broken.

How did I continue working on my sobriety when I felt so broken and betrayed?

After my husband and I shared our full disclosures, we continued talking. It is too easy to feel hurt and close that door of communication. However, raw and vulnerable moments are the ideal times to stick in the un-comfortability. There was a lot of crying, a lot of praying, and a lot of talking. Despite both being hurt, we chose to face these issues as a team. The next step we took was for each of us to join another Pure Desire group. He joined a Seven Pillars of Freedom group again and I joined a Betrayal & Beyond group. 

I felt nervous going into a group I knew would be full of betrayed women, knowing that I was an addict like their husbands. After praying about which steps to take, I ultimately decided to attend the group anyway. By joining this group, I continued working on my sobriety with the beautiful support of the ladies in the group. I was also able to work through the pain I was feeling from my husband’s betrayal and the shame I carried for my betrayal. Being in a group was exactly what I needed to focus on my healing and avoid playing the blame game or being codependent toward my husband.

How was I able to move forward and trust my husband again?

Building trust is challenging and complicated! It is something I could never do alone. To trust my husband again, I had to practice letting go. I frequently told myself, “I can not write his story.” Only my husband and God can write his story; just like no one can write my story except God and me. When I realized I was putting all of my faith and trust in my husband, an imperfect man, I learned what needed to change. 

If our faith and trust are in a broken person, we will feel broken. But if we put our faith and trust in God, who is perfect, we can be confident in knowing He will take care of us. My faith was in the wrong place, and it wasn’t until I put my faith in God that my trust in my husband began to heal.

What did I do to create a safe environment at home?

Whether at home, work, church, or elsewhere, a safe environment all starts with us. I can not expect my home to be safe if I’m not a safe person for my home. The more I have worked on living a healthier life, the more I have realized how balance impacts my day. If my day is hectic and chaotic, I will naturally feel on edge (aka, living lower on my FASTER Scale). 

In contrast, I can truly breathe if I can prioritize quiet time with the Lord and balance my priorities for each day. Bringing myself to a place where I can communicate and share my emotions in a healthy way allows others in the family to do the same. As a mom of two little girls, I have now begun implementing two minutes of silence with a Bible verse as something we do after school. Honestly, they don’t really like it, but whether they are aware of how they feel or not, I can see the positive effects on them and me. 

Sarah Peters

Sarah is the International Groups Coordinator Assistant for Pure Desire and is a certified Pastoral Sex Addiction Professional (PSAP) through the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals (IITAP). She is a group leader and speaker who has a heart for helping women and students who struggle with trauma and addiction—passionate about bringing Pure Desire to women’s prisons and juvenile detention centers.

3 Comments

  1. Randy

    Great and helpful information me (a husband that has betrayed my wife and wants to help her recover and heal from the betrayal trauma I have and sometimes continue to cause her.

    1. Sarah Peters

      Hi Randy, I’m so thankful that you found this helpful!

  2. gencamoon

    Thank you Sarah for sharing your story. It is refreshing to know that your healing wasn’t instantaneous but rather a journey that has happened over several years. I appreciate that you’re still on that journey and your support means a lot to me and the many other ladies you have helped along the way. Thank you for your example of continuing to trust in God more than your husband or yourself.

Add a Comment

Recommended Posts