"MY SECRET LIFE HAD TO END" - JON'S STORY
Even though I spent the majority of the time my wife was out of the house searching for porn on the computer, and much of the time she was home thinking about the next time I would be free to watch more, I never thought of myself as a porn addict.
To the degree I ever thought about it at all, I would allow phrases like “blowing off steam” float unexamined through my head as I found myself in front of the computer screen yet again. While it’s true that porn consumption has been normalized to a shocking degree, I never rationalized my behavior along those lines because I never had to. No one knew but me, and over time I became more and more of a passive spectator to my own actions.
This is not to say that the secrecy was part of the appeal. I wasn’t titillated by the prospect of being caught, and I didn’t push things outside the boundaries of what experience had established as safe. What did appeal to me was the lack of obligation, the freedom from being present and attending to the needs of someone else. Some biological drive was being sated, but it seemed to require next to nothing on my part. I didn’t spend all those hours seeking out variety; it was more about basking in the isolation. Ultimately, though, all the care and secrecy couldn’t mask what was going on forever.
My wife knew something was wrong. While many couples experience less frequent physical intimacy as the years pass, I was disinterested to an extent that raised her suspicions. She accused me of having an affair. While I denied it, I couldn’t come up with any satisfying alternate explanation. In a state of denial that obscured the truth even to me, I agreed to see a marriage counsellor.
During our first session, the counsellor asked if I ever watched porn. After some equivocation, the walls I had built around my secret life began to come down. I felt ashamed and stunned. He recommended that I see someone specializing in sex addiction.
After considering options online, we settled on a place to call. I will never be able to fully express how much Chabad Lifeline helped me rebuild my life. I was able to see my addiction for what it was, and set about dealing with the fear of connection and true intimacy that had set me down an incredibly lonely road. To my surprise, the idea of shame never even entered the picture.
If you’re reading this and feel like admitting you have a problem with porn will brand you as perverse or unlovable, I’m here to tell you that this is not the case. Help is available, and accepting help is the most important thing you can do for yourself and the people you love.
*Names and details have been changed to protect the anonymity of those involved. Additionally, we would note that the reason we were able to attend to Jon immediately is because we are regularly expanding our staff in order to meet the growing demand for our services. As Chabad Lifeline is sustained through private donations, this entails significant fundraising efforts. Making a donation can help ensure that we can continue to provide timely care that can ultimately save a life or set a family on a better course, creating a positive ripple effect on future generations.