My relationship with my wife was almost ruined when I read an article in Recovery Continues about abstinence in marriage. That was exactly for me, a real insight! After discussing this with my wife, she accepted my suggestion. We began various non-sexual activities, including walks. Things we hadn’t done together for a long time and which gave me a new kind of joy and satisfaction. The sexual abstinence was for about ten months and the warmth between us was reappearing. I began to feel hopeful our marriage would be OK.
But then I found out that my wife was visiting a psychologist and discussing the possibility of a divorce. I became resentful and confused. I called my sponsor who helped me calm down and I began to have hope my wife wouldn’t divorce me even if only for the sake of our son who was about to start school. Soon after, my wife found my SA Step notebooks and the next day she told me about the planned divorce. Panic, pain, despair and frustration took hold of me. It felt unreal. Why does she do this, I thought. How will I pay alimony? How will I see my son? We can still fix everything! I admit I did a lot of bad things to my wife, but how could I live without her and without married sex (to which I was addicted). Self-pity set in. Looking back, I know now that my wife took the place in my life that I should have given to God.
After more discussions with my sponsor, the decision was made to let her go and, due to financial pressures, I moved in with my parents. Solitude and sorrow became unwanted guests of my soul. Around this time, I learned my sponsor had been divorced by his wife and realized I was not the only one in the program with this problem. I began to feel God’s support. More support came when I met a sexaholic at an SA convention and he offered to do sobriety renewals with me. Then my home SA meeting moved close to where I lived. I saw God in all of this – He was starting to take my pain away. It was as if He was giving me a hug!
Hard months passed and I made lots of calls to my sponsor, other trusted people and to God. I still had turbulent emotions towards my wife and worried she would find another husband. My wife was now succeeding in much of her life, whereas I saw myself as a failure. I found I simply couldn’t accept this and was tempted to turn to lustful fantasies to deal with the pain. I even became resentful towards God. But I continued to pray and call others and made a decision to live “one day at a time”.
I came to see God allows me to go through painful circumstances as part of His plan to change me. I realized He was working patiently with me and would bring good out of the bad – in His timing. The divorce happened and there was fear about how I could enjoy life without sex. But I realized I would have to turn my whole life and will over to God’s care and that victory over lust would be a progressive thing. Sometimes I felt like I was a “dry drunk” but I continued to aim for complete honesty with others about my condition and tried hard to avoid isolating myself.
After about ten months of pain, I came to accept I can be without my wife and accept life without sex now or into the future. Desperation was leaving and hope was coming into my soul. I wrote this article on my wedding anniversary and was afraid of being hurt by the nostalgic feelings of the day. But this didn’t happen and today life is good and I feel fulfilled. I can now actually thank God for all that has happened to me. It has been a time of “growing up” emotionally and spiritually.
Today, I share my experience with my seven sponsees (one of whom is overcoming a difficult divorce himself). Also, I have started to work on my physical health, something I neglected in my marriage. I started to eat proper food, do exercises and lost 30kg in weight. My teeth needed attention and I had them fixed too. I improved my relationship with my son and try to be a good father.
For those of you struggling with divorce, I’d like to tell you that everything can be OK. The darkness in my life has dissipated and hope has returned. I don’t know God’s plans for me and whether or not they include re-marriage. But I am so grateful that in SA, we have this Fellowship of the Spirit where we can continue to recover and heal.
Aleksey A., Russia