APPENDIX

THE DISCLOSURE PROCESS

Disclosing the extent of our sexual history is challenging. We may struggle with wanting to free ourselves from the burden of our sexually compulsive and addictive behaviors; and at the same time, wanting to bury the truth of our behaviors deep within our soul, so that no one ever discovers our secret.

However, one truth remains: to carry secrets is to carry shame. 175 The more we hold on to our secrets and shame, the more our addiction will control us. Disclosure is an essential part of the process by which we find lasting freedom. It is key to regaining healthy control in our lives.

FORCED DISCLOSURE

There are different forms of disclosure. A forced disclosure happens when our addictive behaviors are discovered by our spouse. This is the worst case scenario: no one— ourselves, our spouse, or our children—has the necessary support and tools they need to handle the situation.

A forced disclosure may become necessary in some cases: if we have been caught in the act; when illegal activity has occurred; when our sexual activity involves other people and we have put our spouse at risk of STDs; when our spouse is unable to move forward in the relationship, despite our involvement in a recovery group.

STAGGERED DISCLOSURE

At times, especially early in recovery, we may feel an urgency to tell our spouse some of our sexual history. We may choose to leave out pieces or specific events because they are too terrible or we may not be healthy enough to remember the full extent of our sexual history. This is very common. We have learned that honesty is a part of the recovery process, but have only become dangerous. We fail to understand the extent of how this form of disclosure, a staggered disclosure, continues to retraumatize our spouse every time we reveal bits and pieces of our sexual history

FULL DISCLOSURE

The best form of disclosure is defined as a full, fact-based reporting of our sexual history and is usually recommended after we have established six months of sobriety. When possible, disclosure should be done with a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT) or Pastoral Sex Addiction Professional (PSAP). Many couples, however, will walk through disclosure as part of their group experience.

Although the full disclosure process happens after sobriety has been established, it is critical to recovery that we learn to be transparent while working toward sobriety. Relapse that occurs during the recovery process should be disclosed to our group members and our spouse. Immediately after relapse occurs, our Recovery Action Plan should be implemented. Breaking free from our sexually compulsive and addictive behaviors requires us to live an honest lifestyle, break isolation, experience consequences, and give those we have hurt the respect and dignity to make informed choices. If our spouse is involved in this healing process, they will have their own Recovery Action Plan. If we are working on our recovery but still keeping secrets, then shame will keep us stuck.

In many ways, disclosure is beneficial to our healing.176
• It destroys the secret life we’re living.
• It makes our commitment to accountability real.
• It enables us to let go of our shame and guilt.
• It empowers our spouse to make healthy choices.
• It allows our spouse to face the trauma our addiction triggered.

The disclosure process is difficult, not just for us, but for those we’ve hurt through our addictive behaviors. It is important that we take responsibility for our behaviors, which is possible after we gain an understanding of our addiction, break denial, and establish several months of sobriety. We need to be in a place of accountability and honesty.

While much of this information pertains to disclosure among married couples, these steps should be followed for dating or engaged couples who choose to go through the disclosure process. As you prepare for disclosure, use the following steps to walk through this process.

Write out your full sexual history and discuss it with your group leader thoroughly before you engage in the disclosure process with your spouse or family.

  • Include the time frame when referring to each incident where you acted out and how many incidents happened during that time frame.
  • Include sex acts that don’t involve a physical act, such as flirting or planning to act out.
  • Include financial information.
  • Include health issues or health risks such as exposure to STDs
  •  Acknowledge if there is someone else who the spouse may know or run into.
  • Refer to the spouse in the second person (I betrayed YOU when…).
  • Stick with information sharing—do not justify any of your addictive behaviors.

Work with your spouse to find a time for disclosure that is conducive to an honest conversation. Allow time following the disclosure to process it emotionally. If it is not possible to meet with a CSAT or PSAP as recommended, both parties should have their group leader or support person there during the disclosure process. Including outside people in the disclosure process should always be at the choosing and comfort level of the betrayed spouse.

STEPS FOR YOUR BETRAYED SPOUSE

Write out questions that are needed to establish truth, understanding, and forward motion in recovery. Keep in mind that restoration and healing, not curiosity, should be the driving force behind the questions. Examples of commonly asked questions:
• In what ways have you lied about or hidden behaviors from me?
• What are the addictive behaviors you are/were involved with?
• What are the time frames of these behaviors?
• What was the frequency and duration?
• Has your behavior involved another person/people?
• How many other partners were there?
• Where did these encounters take place?
• Do I know any of the people you were sexually involved with?
• Have you cut off all contact with your other sexual partners?
• Has any of your sexual acting out included same-sex relationships or behaviors?
Share your questions with your spouse before the disclosure, so they have time to formulate honest, thorough answers. These may be shared through the group leader or trusted advisor.
If you’re not already in a Hope for Men group, join one for support and empathy. Share questions with your group leader or another trusted advisor familiar with the disclosure process. This advisor might suggest omitting certain questions to help you avoid questions that are overly detailed or hold more potential for pain than healing.

DISCLOSING TO YOUR CHILDREN

 PD Podcast: Episode 021 – Disclosing to Your Kids
At some point, this process may include disclosing to your children. Your children may not know exactly what’s happening, but they can feel the tension between their parents. They don’t need to know all the details, but they need some information to feel safe in their environment. Use the following guide to help disclose to your children in a way that is age-appropriate.
FOR PRESCHOOL CHILDREN:
• They need to know you are not going to leave them.
• They are not in trouble and they did not cause the problem.
• They need to know you love them.
FOR ELEMENTARY CHILDREN:
• This is not their fault.
• Will something bad happen—separation or divorce?
• Are you going to leave?
FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL CHILDREN:
• What will happen to me if you divorce?
• What is so bad about sex? (Help them understand healthy sexuality.)
• How are you going to get better?
FOR TEENS AND YOUNG ADULTS:
• How could you do this to our family?
• How does this relate to me? (You ruined my life.)
The best time to disclose to children is when you and your spouse have experienced some healing, and can engage in this disclosure process together. This helps defuse their fear of divorce. Here are a few more things to keep in mind when disclosing to children:
• Let your child’s level of interest be your guide. They may need fewer details than you think.
• Let them know what the recovery process looks like, so they don’t think they have to become the caretaker.
• If needed, provide emotional support for your child through the church or a counselor.
• Create a culture of healthy sexuality in your home from what you have learned in the recovery process.
• If your child is struggling in life, wait for disclosure until you and your spouse agree that the time is right.

We can’t let our shame and fear keep us stuck in our compulsive and addictive behaviors. As we have learned, facing our fear is a huge part of recovery. If we want to continue on the path toward lifelong health, it will include the disclosure process. This will keep us moving forward as we continue to learn how to manage love, sex, and relationships.

PAIR INTIMACY PROFILE—EXAMPLE GRAPH

Cheyenne requested marriage counseling for herself and her husband, Derek. They have been married 12 years. Cheyenne complained that she does not receive any support from Derek. She feels she is “not important” to him and that she “doesn’t count” in the relationship. Although Derek admitted that he is not as involved in the relationship as Cheyenne wants, he doesn’t know how to change the situation.

The graph below reflects the degree of perceived and expected intimacy in each category for Cheyenne and Derek.

Based on the results, Cheyenne demonstrates a severe difference between her perceived and expected scores on her Emotional, Intellectual, and Sexual intimacy scales. A clear difference also exists for Social and Recreational intimacy

Derek’s scores indicate a severe difference between his perceived and expected scores on his Intellectual and Sexual intimacy scales. His perceived and expected scores are more closely aligned in the other areas.

When there is a severe difference in the perceived and expected scores, this indicates that an individual is not receiving what they would like to receive in this area of intimacy. These areas of unmet needs are a great place to begin building intimacy.

Their Conventionality Score indicates that the information can be trusted: Cheyenne, 37; Derek, 24. The Conventionality Scale score needs to be within 18 points of one another for a trustworthy score. This score assesses the truthfulness of each partner’s answers, indicating whether they are trying to make a good impression or “faking” their answers.

PERSONAL ASSESSMENT OF INTIMACY IN RELATIONSHIPS (PAIR)177

PHASE 1:

In my relationship now…
____ 1. My partner listens to me when I need someone to talk to.
____ 2. We enjoy spending time with other couples.
____ 3. I am satisfied with our sex life.
____ 4. My partner helps me clarify my thoughts.
____ 5. We enjoy the same recreational activities.
____ 6. My partner has all the qualities I’ve ever wanted in a mate.
____ 7. I can state my feelings without him/her getting defensive.
____ 8. We usually “keep to ourselves.”
____ 9. I feel our sexual activity is just routine.
____ 10. When it comes to having a serious discussion, it seems we have little in common.
____ 11. I share in very few of my partner’s interests.
____ 12. There are times when I do not feel a great deal of love and affection for my partner.
____ 13. I often feel distant from my partner.
____ 14. We have very few friends in common.
____ 15. I am able to tell my partner when I want sexual intercourse.
____ 16. I feel “put-down” in a serious conversation with my partner.
____ 17. We like playing together.
____ 18. Every new thing that I have learned about my partner has pleased me.
____ 19. My partner can really understand my hurts and joys.
____ 20. Having time together with friends is an important part of our shared activities.

____ 21. I “hold back” my sexual interest because my partner makes me feel uncomfortable.
____ 22. I feel it is useless to discuss some things with my partner.
____ 23. We enjoy the out-of-doors together.
____ 24. My partner and I understand each other completely.
____ 25. I feel neglected at times by my partner.
____ 26. Many of my partner’s closest friends are also my closest friends.
____ 27. Sexual expression is an essential part of our relationship.
____ 28. My partner frequently tries to change my ideas.
____ 29. We seldom find time to do fun things together.
____ 30. I don’t think anyone could possibly be happier than my partner and I are when
we’re with one another.
____ 31. I sometimes feel lonely when we’re together.
____ 32. My partner disapproves of some of my friends.
____ 33. My partner seems disinterested in sex.
____ 34. We have an endless number of things to talk about.
____ 35. I think we share some of the same interests.
____ 36. I have some needs that are not being met by my relationship.
 Complete the following calculation to obtain your realized level of intimacy in each category. Add the score for each numbered statement as listed below. After calculating each category score, obtain the correlating percentage from the table below.
EMOTIONAL INTIMACY | Add scores for 1, 7, 13, 19, 25, and 31: ________________ Percentage: _______
SOCIAL INTIMACY | Add scores for 2, 8, 14, 20, 26, and 32: __________________ Percentage: _______
SEXUAL INTIMACY | Add scores for 3, 9, 15, 21, 27, and 33: __________________ Percentage: _______
INTELLECTUAL INTIMACY | Add scores for 4, 10, 16, 22, 28, and 34: ___________ Percentage: _______
RECREATIONAL INTIMACY | Add scores for 5, 11, 17, 23, 29, and 35: ____________ Percentage: _______
CONVENTIONALITY SCALE* | Add scores for 6, 12, 18, 24, 30, and 36: __________ Percentage: _______
PERCENTAGE CONVERSION TABLE
Percentage conversion: the following list indicates the corresponding percentage based on the potential inventory score. The percentages are round to the nearest whole number.

*The Conventionality Scale is included and scored separately in order to assess how much the individual is attempting to create a good impression.

PHASE 2:

In my relationship, I would like it if…
____ 1. My partner listens to me when I need someone to talk to.
____ 2. We enjoy spending time with other couples.
____ 3. I am satisfied with our sex life.
____ 4. My partner helps me clarify my thoughts.
____ 5. We enjoy the same recreational activities.
____ 6. My partner has all the qualities I’ve ever wanted in a mate.
____ 7. I can state my feelings without him/her getting defensive.
____ 8. We usually “keep to ourselves.”
____ 9. I feel our sexual activity is just routine.
____ 10. When it comes to having a serious discussion, it seems we have little in common.
____ 11. I share in very few of my partner’s interests.
____ 12. There are times when I do not feel a great deal of love and affection for my partner.
____ 13. I often feel distant from my partner.
____ 14. We have very few friends in common.
____ 15. I am able to tell my partner when I want sexual intercourse.
____ 16. I feel “put-down” in a serious conversation with my partner.
____ 17. We like playing together.
____ 18. Every new thing that I have learned about my partner has pleased me.
____ 19. My partner can really understand my hurts and joys.
____ 20. Having time together with friends is an important part of our shared activities.
____ 21. I “hold back” my sexual interest because my partner makes me feel uncomfortable.
____ 22. I feel it is useless to discuss some things with my partner.
____ 23. We enjoy the out-of-doors together.
____ 24. My partner and I understand each other completely.
____ 25. I feel neglected at times by my partner.
344 Appendix
____ 26. Many of my partner’s closest friends are also my closest friends.
____ 27. Sexual expression is an essential part of our relationship.
____ 28. My partner frequently tries to change my ideas.
____ 29. We seldom find time to do fun things together.
____ 30. I don’t think anyone could possibly be happier than my partner and I are when
we’re with one another.
____ 31. I sometimes feel lonely when we’re together.
____ 32. My partner disapproves of some of my friends.
____ 33. My partner seems disinterested in sex.
____ 34. We have an endless number of things to talk about.
____ 35. I think we share some of the same interests.
____ 36. I have some needs that are not being met by my relationship.
 Complete the following calculation to obtain your expected level of intimacy in each category. Add the score for each numbered statement as listed below. After calculating each category score, obtain the correlating percentage from the table below.
EMOTIONAL INTIMACY | Add scores for 1, 7, 13, 19, 25, and 31: ________________ Percentage: _______
SOCIAL INTIMACY | Add scores for 2, 8, 14, 20, 26, and 32: __________________ Percentage: _______
SEXUAL INTIMACY | Add scores for 3, 9, 15, 21, 27, and 33: __________________ Percentage: _______
INTELLECTUAL INTIMACY | Add scores for 4, 10, 16, 22, 28, and 34: ___________ Percentage: _______
RECREATIONAL INTIMACY | Add scores for 5, 11, 17, 23, 29, and 35: ____________ Percentage: _______
CONVENTIONALITY SCALE* | Add scores for 6, 12, 18, 24, 30, and 36: __________ Percentage: _______
PERCENTAGE CONVERSION TABLE
Percentage conversion: the following list indicates the corresponding percentage based on the potential inventory score. The percentages are round to the nearest whole number.

CREATE A PROFILE

Use the percentages from each inventory to create a profile on the graph below.. Make sure to use a different line designation for the results of each inventory (e.g., solid, dashed, or dotted lines; various colored pens or pencils).

Based on the numbered scale on the edge of the graph, place a dot at the appropriate percentage point for each vertical line indicating a category of intimacy. After all five dots are positioned on the graph, connect the five dots with a line. Complete this process for your inventories and for your partner’s (additional PAIR Inventories are located in the appendix). See page 341 of the appendix to see what a completed graph should look like.

Mark on the graph the Conventionality Scale score for each partner, but do not include this plot point in the drawn lines. The Conventionality Scale score shows that the information can be trusted when partners score within 18 points of one another.178 This score assesses the truthfulness of each partner’s answers, indicating whether they are trying to make a good impression or “faking” their answers.

INTIMACY PROFILE OF PAIR SCORES