This is the fifth of an on-going series by Susan about her experience in the Spouse and Family Support Group.
Four years ago I was seeking support for myself after discovering Jeff’s pornography addiction. I attended the SAnon meetings in our area of Ohio and learned very valuable information. But I felt something was missing for me. I wanted more than to lean on a “higher power;” I wanted the healing that came through Jesus Christ. So I continued to work the 12 steps of the ARP until I finished my first time through the book. Still, I didn’t feel this book was written for the spouse of an addict as it often says “your addiction.” So I went to Utah to seek out a friend that I believed could help me.
She was experiencing good recovery from an addiction of her own. Now an active member of the church she leads groups, shares her story, and supports others in recovery. One Sunday I found her at church and told her of my situation. Within minutes after church she came to me with a whole list of support groups that I could attend. She explained how the Spouse Support groups worked and offered to attend with me. I told her this was all good, and I would certainly attend, but Jeff was really the one that needed to get fixed. She tried to explain to me that it wasn’t my job to make sure that Jeff got the help that he needed, that was his job. I shouldn’t be owning it. I didn’t think I was owning it. I had read the books! I read about surrender and thought I was well on my way…as long as I was making sure he was well on his way too.
Obviously, my friend saw the disconnect in my thought process and finally said “Susan, you can’t save him. He already has a Savior.” It was in this moment that I saw what I hadn’t before.
Oh. Yes. I finally began to see. My recovery is my recovery, Jeff’s recovery is his. The words of SAnon came ringing back, “The 3 C’s: you didn’t CAUSE it, you can’t CONTROL it and you can’t CURE it.” And more importantly, I can’t save him.
Boy it’s hard to let go! Especially when you are a wife and mother, and your main job is to fix and take care of things. When the biggest thing in my life is broken, how can I let go and “let God?” I can’t save him. I can’t save ME. I needed Jesus Christ and that is what I said I was out to find, healing that comes through Jesus Christ, and I have found it. This moment, for this purpose is the reason that the Savior came. One of the many reasons, but personally for me, I needed him for this. The price IS paid. The way IS possible. The healing IS real.
The original 12 Step ARP has been powerful in my personal healing. After that first time through I went back and started over. I didn’t let it bother me that it talks about “your addiction” and inserted other words like “trial, character weakness, hardship, anger, hurt, pain,” etc. I continued to go through the steps, starting again after step 12. Just like the scriptures, I learned something new each time I went through it. I don’t see it as 12 steps and done, I see it as 12 steps and start over.
Today I use the Spouse and Support Guide from LDS Family Services. Patterned after the 12 Step ARP Guide, it is directed to me, the spouse of an addict. Step 5 is “Working Out Our Own Salvation.” For me this is the surrender step. An especially helpful section is “Accepting That We Cannot Control Our Loved Ones or Heal Their Addiction.”
Another very impactful resource for me is “Healing Through Christ”
There is so much hope. There is so much healing. And it is all possible because of our Savior Jesus Christ.