Several months ago, my wife traumatically found out about my addiction to pornography. I had hidden this secret from her through 35 years of marriage. Because of the shame and guilt I felt, I lied to my wife to keep this secret hidden. I was also lying to myself. I told myself I could quit any time I wanted to and this wasn't bothering anyone else.
How wrong I was! I couldn't stop. I had tried numerous times. I had gone to the sacrament of reconciliation and confessed my sin of pornography and masturbation. Some priests told me it was natural. Other priests told me I needed to try harder and pray more. That did not work. Neither did a pilgrimage to Medjugorje. To people on the outside, my life looked great! I had an amazing wife and kids, as well as the sweetest grandchildren imaginable. I had my dream job. My obsession with pornography continued and it was escalating. I wanted to stop, but couldn't. My life was out of control but I couldn't tell anyone of my secret, especially my wife.
But she did find out and was devastated. After 35 years, she wanted to know who the real "me" was. She wanted to know why and how I could be so wrapped up in pornography and self sex, yet have the facade that I did - going to church and being a devoted husband, father, and grandfather. I didn't have answers; I only knew I needed help and, so far, praying more and trying harder wasn’t working. Eventually, I learned that I needed to fight this battle on multiple fronts, not just on the spiritual one.
I had been caught before, but I had been able to lie my way out of it and was able to hide it and continue my lying and destructive behavior. This time I finally recognized I was addicted to pornography. By reading articles on Catholic websites from around the country, I became aware of my ADDICTION and that my life was out of control and I needed HELP. Recognizing I had a problem was the first step in my healing.
My wife began a relentless search for help for both of us. At the time, my parish here in Portland was unable to offer support. My wife finally found help for me at another Christian church in a For Men Only group. I have discovered from this group that there are a lot of men suffering in shame and guilt with porn addiction. But there are also a lot of resources. You just need to know where to look: Archdiocese of Detroit & our own "Fight Pornography". Break out of the denial and get help and begin working on "becoming the best version of yourself". In the process, you and your spouse can experience God’s love and mercy.
Ask for help! God is waiting to show you a new, sexually sober, way to live in His mercy – and without any secrets. Feel free to leave a comment or ask a question, or reach out to Jason Kidd at the Archdiocese of Portland, like I did. If you find yourself in a situation similar to mine, I would be happy to connect with you through Jason. We can support each other in the healing process. Pope Francis has instituted a Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, reminding us of God's extravagant mercy for us and the need to share that mercy. The journey isn’t easy, but don’t postpone taking that first step. And I’m confident that you’ll find support and company along the way.