Surviving (and Thriving After) Hitting Rock Bottom
Hello, my name is Paul and I am a grateful believer who suffers from anxiety, depression and pornography addiction. Hello, my name is Susan and I am a grateful believer who suffers from my husband’s addiction and it’s effects on our family. This is our testimony.
Paul: I was laid-off from my job in 2003. I expected the lay-off but not the difficulty in finding another job. After several frustrating hours of job searches, it became easy to relax by surfing the web. This soon led to surfing pornography sites. Eventually, I found a new job, but it proved to be a high-stress job. Add to that the everyday stress of life, maintaining a house, and two growing children, pornography became my means to “escape” for short periods of time. By 2010, my casual use had become a full-blown addiction.
That year, I crossed a line I thought I would never cross and I downloaded some child pornography at work. I was shocked and ashamed at what I had done and quickly deleted the files. However, I was caught, fired, and reported to the authorities. I felt like I was at the bottom of a black hole. I even considered ending my life, but God spoke to me and brought me back to reality. I contacted a lawyer and later that day I told my wife what had happened. To my relief and joy, she did not tell me to leave the house but forgave me after my tearful confession. We both prayed for guidance that night and God answered our prayers. I felt a huge weight lifted from my shoulders and I knew that things would work out. It was that start of our journey with God.
Susan: My husband and I had been married 22 years when he was caught. Between working full time in a stressful job and raising 2 children along with being involved with their school and various extra-curricular activities, I barely had enough energy for anything. I had noticed my husband’s mood had been getting progressively worse. Something was wrong. Other things occurred which pointed to my inclination that something was up, but when I asked him, he brushed it off.
I do remember that a few years earlier, I had read an article about Internet Porn addiction in our Catholic newspaper. So, in 2010, when my husband had confessed to me about what happened, I had remembered the article and I was surprisingly calm (which I attribute to God). I knew my husband needed mental help and this didn’t define him. I know how good my husband had been to me and our kids. I knew it was going to be a rough journey, but I knew God would see us through this.
The next day or two, I was watching EWTN. I saw an interview with Dr. Kleponis. It was as if God had me tune into the channel at the right moment! I wanted my husband to see him, but his lawyer had him go to another therapist. I always had it in the back of my mind, that when all this was complete, he could see Dr. K.
Paul: My journey through the legal system lasted 18 months and ended with my guilty plea and a sentence of 1 year in prison and 10 years of probation. Just prior to my sentencing, my lawyer of 25 years’ experience commented that he had never had a case go as well as mine. After what had transpired the past 18 months, I could only see the hand of God guiding us. I used my time in prison to get closer to God and to do my best to help others. I spent much of my time tutoring other inmates with their GED classes.
Susan: The time before he was sentenced, was excruciating. I lived with fear and shame. I would have to totally support our family. Both my kids would be in college when he was in jail. This was an extremely humiliating experience. I had never prayed as much as I did during those years. It was a total surrender to God. During his legal experience and his incarceration, we continued to have the support of our families and friends. It is times like this where you learn who your true friends are.
Paul: During my journey through the legal system prior to my incarceration, I was hired by someone I had known for 25 years. I confessed to him about my legal predicament. He kept me employed up to the day that I reported to prison and had me back at work the day I was released! My Probation Officer told me that I was very fortunate to have an employer like this. God was still looking out for me. In addition to my probation, I had to attend a court-ordered treatment program. This program left much to be desired as the group was much too large to be effective, actually discouraged using faith, and the therapists were constantly changing.
After two years of frustration with “treatment”, I had a moment of weakness and I watched some R-Rated videos on my computer. The problem was that my computer was monitored by Probation and my Probation Officer did not approve. I ended up with 6 months of home restriction, work and church being the exceptions, wearing an ankle bracelet that monitored my location. It was at this point that I realized that I had to do something more for my recovery. My wife and I began to see Dr. Kleponis on a weekly basis. He recommended Celebrate Recovery to complement my recovery efforts. I attended my first meeting in the spring of 2015, and I have been a regular attendee and group leader ever since.
Susan: After my husband was released, things got back to normal, as normal as they could be. My father passed away around the holidays in 2014 and I was busy cleaning out my parents’ house when my husband had a slip. I insisted he go to Dr. K. He did so, and in addition, has gone to Celebrate Recovery. He now goes weekly. I attribute surviving our ordeal totally to God. It’s been scary and difficult at times, but He can use us, to tell you that there is hope, you can survive this and come out stronger than ever before. You have to be dedicated, don’t dwell in the past, but learn from it.
Paul & Susan: It is now 2019 and our journey continues. Susan now attends Celebrate Recovery with me. We have grown stronger in our marriage, our relationship with God, and with each other. We can both say that if you are ever faced with a crisis you need to remember that you can get through it with the strength that you draw from each other and from God. A day does not go by that we do not see Gods hand in our lives.
Unfortunately, one has to go thru various bumps along this journey, but it was the impetus that drove my husband to true treatment. I had wanted to see Dr. Kleponis for several years and between treatment and Celebrate Recovery, it was the help both of us needed. I attribute surviving our ordeal totally to God. It’s been scary and difficult at times, but He can use us, to tell you that there is hope, you can survive this and come out stronger than ever before.
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