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10 Things I Wish I’d Known When I First Got Sober

by Frank Honess on May 16th, 2015 in Men

10 things I wished had know when I first got sober blogpostThinking back, I can see clearly now more than ever how much my addiction hurt my wife. I’m thankful today for my continual sobriety AND for my wife’s continual healing, but if I could go back 5 years ago to my former self and share some of the lessons I’ve learned since then, I would do it in a heartbeat. Specifically, I would share with my past self some serious steps I needed to take to show my wife that I was for real about recovery.

Here’s a list of 10 recovery steps I wish I would have taken before I got sober:

1. Be 110% honest about your addiction. One of the byproducts of being a sex addict is that you’ve basically become a complete liar. And while I told my wife about my addiction, I wasn’t continually honest with her about porn relapses and chose to cover up, minimize, or even justify my actions.

2. Confess everything. The major idea here is that we as men are afraid to bear all of our weaknesses to a complete stranger, let alone our wives! But the more we deceive and try to skirt the truth, the deeper we go in our addiction and the more distance we put between those we love.

3. Don’t hesitate to give up all sources of struggle. Believe me when I say this: You can live without your computer, phone, and tablet. You can’t afford to lose your marriage, your family, or yourself. (Tweet This!) Even if it is for a season, ask yourself: “What am I willing to give up so I can be free?

4. Find support NOW. While you are always accountable to your wife, it’s probably not wise to use her as your sole source of accountability. Finding men who can encourage you and ask you the hard questions is the key. Accountability partners and a good support group can make all the difference between success and failure.

5. Learn where the addiction came from. Most likely, porn hooked you when you were young. It’s important for your own life (and the welfare of your marriage) that you know the source of the addiction.

6. Give your wife a brief weekly update on your progress. My wife loves to know how I’m doing. And far too often, I just “assume” she knows that I’m doing good when I may not be. You don’t necessarily have to go into extreme detail, but keeping the lines of communication open is always a win.

7. Pray for your wife’s continual healing. Your addiction has devastated her. As you take action against sexual struggles, ask God to help her see the difference in your life. Encourage her to seek out healthy outlets where she can work through her pain, too.

8. Be sensitive when she is triggered. This was a very difficult one for me at first, because I translated it as her being upset or unhappy with me. But just as you’re triggered by sexual stimuli, she will be triggered by a painful memory or feeling. Be understanding.

9. Remind her every day of her beauty. So many wives think their husband’s porn use arose because something is wrong with them or that they are unattractive. And while we know this is untrue, our wives don’t.

10. Never give up pursuing sexual integrity. Your wife needs to see that you’re in this for the long haul, not just for a few months. Yes, it will be difficult at first to stay sober and there will be relapses. But becoming sexually pure is worth fighting for. Your marriage and your family are worth fighting for.

X3_Groups-Small.pngRecovery is a journey for the addict. But it also a journey for the spouse married to the addict. If you are pursuing recovery from porn addiction sign up for an X3group. Then sign your wife up. We have support groups for men, women, and spouses. Isn’t it time to live free? To get open? To make a change? Sign Up Now!



  • Check out Frank’s X3group on Thursday nights @ 9:30pm!

  • Struggling wife

    I like this post. In # 10 everyone says this all the time. There WILL be relapses. Is that always the case for everyone. Is there a story of anyone that quick cold and never looked back?

    • Struggling addict

      While I cannot speak for all men I can speak for myself. Quoting cold turkey was not an option for me. It is certainly “possible” in the most literal definition of the word. Everyone has struggles and there is something much deeper to the issue of porn. I’m not saying it is impossible but If someone quit cold turkey they would have to be in an impossible perfect position of working through their life issues and finding a new outlet for their stress. In short, porn is a big deal. It will take awhile to get through it. But it will bring out more in your husband than pure eyes. It will make in him a pure heart and he will grow beyond measure. Good luck to you. Stick with him.

    • Matt Coker

      I’ve counseled and swapped stories with hundreds of men who’ve tried to overcome porn addiction and have yet to meet one with a “I just stopped and never slipped up again” story. Some were close, with maybe only one or two slip-ups, but the VAST majority (more than 90%) go through it in stages. They have a string of sober days, then relapse, then a longer string, then relapse, on and on until finally they reach a point where they’ve developed better habits and proper attack strategies to avoid temptation and can move on with their lives. I’m coming up on 4 years clean, but I didn’t trust myself with computer until 2 years ago, and even then, I had monitoring software on it just to keep myself honest. But everything in this article is 100% accurate. I feel like it could have been written by me.

      • Struggling wife

        Thank you

    • david

      Dear Struggling wife,

      I am a testament to cold turkey. I was addicted throughout my high school years. Near the end of my senior year, a friend of mine shared for the student week of prayer about “big” sins (referencing porn) that we often hide and try to work out by ourselves. At the end he gave everyone a piece of paper to write their sin on and tack it to small wooden cross that he had made… a symbol of Christ dying to take away the sins of the world. Not only could Christ forgive, he want to cleanse us as well. For four years I had battled by myself. I wrote my addiction on the paper and tacked it to the very center of the cross. From that point on, it was as though porn addiction had lost its grip on me. The devil tried to recapture me, but the Lord brought that symbolic act of my sin being nailed to the cross to mind… nailing HIM to the cross. The Lord CAN give “Cold Turkey” deliverance, but as long as we rely even 1% on our own strength we will fail. There is too much “soft porn” everywhere that you look, the grocery store, tv, billboards etc, which only re-awakens interest that serves to re-enslave us. The spirit is will, but the flesh is weak… with man it is impossible, but all things are possible with God. What I was unable to do for 4 years, God did in one day. God gave me victory over 10 years ago and it is by His grace that I haven’t relapsed… but everyday, every glance diverted away from magazines in the checkout line, away from advertisements by victoria’s secret in the mall, etc, is the foundation of lasting victory

      To God be the Glory.

      • David Sandvik

        Dear Struggling Wife,
        I would like to clarify a couple points on my previous comment (cold turkey success story):
        1: overcoming addiction… especially pornography which is probably one of the most difficult because of its prevalence in ALL forms of media takes 100% of our effort. I mentioned not relying on ourselves… this is true, because any man’s effort, even if it is 100% is not enough, we need Divine help. So in essence it is 100% our effort, but without the help of the Lord our 100% effort will end in failure, EVERY temptation requires the help of God.

        2: Every man that has had victory quit “cold turkey”. (Probably) None of them quit by watching 4 video clips per day last month, 3/day 3 weeks ago, 2/day 2weeks ago, etc… They make a decision to quit cold turkey today, and then to keep that up tomorrow.

        3: In one sense, my attempt to quit porn started in my friends house the first time I was exposed to it. I struggled without success for 4 years before my final victory came.

        4: Relapse doesn’t mean failure, quitting trying means failure. Porn exposure, especially in the west is SOOO prolific, it is like a spiders web that covers everything. Almost every movie, tv show, magazine etc is filled with sexual innuendos and worse. Advertisements/commercials use sex to sell their products, whether shampoo, clothing, cars, candy, etc. It also doesn’t help that the west’s standard of clothing for women is extremely suggestive, whether that is swimsuits, workout clothing, tight pants, shirts, etc… Imagine you were trying to quit smoking and everyone, friends and strangers alike offered you cigarettes… 150x per day!!! All these things are just snares that turn the mind to illicit sex.

        Please support your husband… Tell him how much you respect him for his efforts. Be the beautiful women that God made you to be (1 Peter 3) and let God do His work. God can and will give victory.

        In Prayers for Victory,


    • Makemyburdenlight

      There doesn’t have to be relapses. Although very very common, there doesn’t HAVE to be relapses.
      I quit cold turkey from everything: porn, masturbation, drugs, and alcohol, and I have been sober for 7 years. No slips. No relapses.

  • J

    Hi, you’re sensitivity to your wife’s feelings is a testament to your commitment to her and to your relationship. I hope she recognizes that and, more importantly, recognizes that this is a universal vice (at least in healthy males) — it exists when you’re single, it exists when you are in a fulfilling relationship with an engaging partner, like the urge to eat fatty foods and sweets, and that your succumbing to it is not a reflection on her, though women often can’t help but feel that it is. I hope she appreciates your consideration and sees it as the true measure of your character and commitment, extraordinary virtues that say more about a man than his ordinary vices.

  • Jamie

    I know that this has been awsered in a way. I’m wanting to know about the relapses. I’m on round 3 of finding it on our computer. It has always been lied about even when its a point blank question. This last time I had to figure it out by seeing the cookies history was deleted. So he just gets better at figuring out ways I will never know. I feel like this beeing the 3rd time its time for me to move on. Also with him never beeing honest about it until I have the prrof in my hands. I would like more insight on this issue since its not the first time.

    • Faythe

      I know what you mean. Round one I heard about the quilt and shame, round two I heard about the guilt and shame. Round three I did not hear that. I heard that it has gone from 50-60 downloads to me only seeing 3. Notice I said that I only saw 3. He is figuring out ways that I do not see any activity. History is cleared and the videos get deleted…except some get missed…oops. At this round there was more accusation towards me that I should not look on the computer as it is an invasion of privacy. I look because I do not really want to be with someone with an escalating addiction that is not at least willing to get help with it and depending on the material content I cannot accept it. So far the preference is the amateur videos and no evidence of anything involving children or the movies. I will continue to observe and if there appears to be no change at all in a positive direction, I feel that I will need to end the relationship. I go to a 12 step meeting and it definitely helps me to cope with this.

      • Makemyburdenlight

        There is an article on my blog that may be helpful called “Warning signs your partner is addicted to pornography”.

        Makemyburdenlight.blogspot DOT com

    • Makemyburdenlight

      If you want some good filtering/monitoring programs email me [email protected]

  • styx

    why and how DOES men get addicted to porn ? if any of you out there that try’d this could you plz give me a good testomniol??

    • Zahk Man

      To answer your first question: Basically being addicted to porn is when a person would try to quiet looking at porn and can’t or won’t. I was addicted to porn for about 20 years. I got sober over a period of basically 6 months, the turning point for me was after coming to Christ and joining a church, I found their addictions group and finally got honest, got support, got my computer blocked and X3 installed, and got a sponsor. Except for a couple of relapses, I have been totally “sober” now for 4 years, and now lead the addictions group at my church. Christ is the only one who can empower a persons decision to quite, but all the things in this article are the methods Christ uses to accomplish this. I agree with every point in the article and would only add #11 completely daily dependance on Christ.

  • Hurting wife

    My husband watches porn from time to time and we both are Christ followers. We have had marital issues for a long time now and I will be honest, I can go weeks without intamacy w him.

    Just yesterday I asked him if he has watched it recently and he admitted that he did and told me it’s my fault Bc we have not had sex. He asked if I would rather him watch porn or go out and cheat?

    I don’t know what to say. He told me sorry and that I need to get over it but I feel betrayed and he doesn’t want to hear how I feel or how this effects me.

    I need help Bc I am the one that is made out to be the bad person. He told me he doesn’t have a problem and watches it from time to time. He says all men do this and I need to accept it. Should I? Please help!

    • Makemyburdenlight

      He’s lying to you, and he’s just redirecting and manipulating you so you get off his back. Addiction thrives best in secrecy. It has NOTHING to do with you. You could look like a model and he’d still be lookin at porn.
      There is an article on my blog that may be helpful called “Warning signs your partner is addicted to pornography”, and also “What do I do if my husband blames me?”

      Makemyburdenlight.blogspot DOT com

  • Susantrs

    I think this is a great article but feel like there is something missing with #9. While a wife’s attractiveness may not have anything to do with a man’s porn temptation and use, porn use frequently does end up altering a man’s attraction to his wife and his standard of beauty and arousal. This can be hard to overcome and is devastating to women. I appreciate the article trying to make women feel “better” about themselves but I think there also needs to be a hard acknowledgment of what happens to a man’s attraction after using porn. You can’t sugarcoat that.

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