From Addict to Best Friend

My addict. Those were the words I used to describe my husband in the title of my previous post “Untangling From My Addict.” In the days following the post, I found myself wondering how and why I had so unhesitatingly attached the addict label to him.

In the beginning of our recovery program, it was a relief and validation to be given a name for our crisis. Sexual addiction and sexual betrayal trauma were the answers to the question of “What the heck is wrong with us and our marriage?” Once the problem was identified, our therapist followed through with the solution.

I accepted that my husband was a sex addict. I acknowledged that I was the partner of a sex addict and a victim of his behaviours. The admission was a breath of fresh air to me. Denial was a thing of the past. It was a blow, but not a defeat. It was freeing, promising, life giving to know I wasn’t crazy. It was hard confronting my wounds. Oh, the effort was gruelling. But it is necessary to call it what it is if you truly want to release its power over you.

As I dove further into recovery resources, I began to feel uncomfortable wearing the labels that had been affixed to us. Addict. Yes. Victim. Yes. That was a part of who we were. Of who we still are today. But only one component. It is not the entire picture.

I spent many weeks struggling with our classifications of addict and victim. I was being careful to ensure I wasn’t returning to any state of denial. But I was also gaining an awareness that we were so much more than these labels. This was not my identity, nor his.

For me, wearing a sticker tagging me as a victim, as a partner of a sex addict, only encouraged and validated that role, and I had no intention of giving my husband that much power over me anymore. I was victimized by his addiction, but choosing not to stake the victim claim.

At the same time as God was gently opening my heart to hope and healing, He was showing me how unconditionally and extravagantly He loved me. Revealing to me my value as His beloved daughter, wonderfully created in His image to bring Him delight. I was finding a new identity in Christ.

God also began slowly changing my heart attitudes towards my husband. Uncovering the truth that my husband was also passionately loved and designed by God. Hmmm. If I was more than a victim, then logically my husband was more than an addict. We were both broken humans being called to healing and wholeness.

The check in sheet being used by my recovery group began to trouble me. It didn’t seem right to identify myself as the partner of a sex addict, giving him a label that both of us were required to wear. I suggested a change in wording to our group leader. She agreed. The check in sheet was modified to introduce us as the partner of a man recovering (or not ☹) from sex addiction. It is amazing how such a small transformation and choice of words can make a difference in the views of ourselves and our husbands.

My husband is a new creation. I am a new creation. And so I am still not sure what drew me to using the words “my addict” in the title of my previous post when I was so uncomfortable applying that label to us. Maybe the key is in the “my”. Recovery has become a lifestyle for us now. He will always have to utilize his recovery tools to remain sober. I will always have to rely on God, my Higher Power, for my health and sanity. But we are doing this together. He is mine. My addict. My husband. My best friend.

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

11 thoughts on “From Addict to Best Friend

  1. This is really positive. I applaud you for being so accepting in all aspect with your husband. I wish I could do the same but I guess Im stuck somewhere. Do you still ask him questions about what he did? Does he get annoyed when being asked?


    • Yes, it is positive and it is true and real! I was able to see my husband has a broken man loved by God partly because he openly showed his pain with me and began taking steps to change his behaviours and heal. If your husband isn’t doing that, it would be difficult to see past his hurtful and destructive behaviours.

      I do not ask my husband about past behaviours anymore. They honestly do not matter to me anymore. It is gone. As painful as that time was in my life and marriage, with the healing God has brought us, it truly has been washed away.

      What I do still ask every few months as per the recommendation of our therapist is about the behaviour he is engaging in now. When is the last time you looked at sexually arousing images? I was told to use this wording, not ask about porn, because men often have a different idea about what porn might mean. He may not have been trolling the internet, but if his eyes lingered a little too long on a Facebook ad or photo, that counts but technically isn’t porn. When is the last time you masturbated? Etc. My husband doesn’t outwardly show any annoyance over these questions. He has accepted that it is a consequence of his past behaviour and he owns it and does what he has to do to keep me feeling safe.


    • Thank you Julia for reading and commenting. Your words just brought a smile to my heart. I love this journey I am on. The old has passed away and each day is full of new promises of abundant life!


    • Thank you so much for this encouraging and affirming comment. It is nice to know that someone can make sense of my jumbled thoughts and my words are conveying what I hoped they would. Yes, through our daily hard work and effort, the changes in myself, my husband, and our marriage have been tremendous. I never imagined I, or we, could be in such a beautiful place. But here we are. It is possible!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • It was, but worth every moment of working through the wounds. I am so glad that once I started I just kept going. But really, there wasn’t any other option for me because standing still or going back would have hurt me more than pushing through. Thank you for your warm, kind words.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. You called me a courageous woman…but I believe you’re the courageous one! Your commitment to your husband shows us younger wives, (young in marriage) what for better or for worse truly means. Commitment to your vows and commitment to your husband. In a day where so many values and morals are easily thrown out, you choose to stay and heal with him! And bless you, husband, as I see you read your wife’s posts. God will and probably already is using you to help the young men plagued by this readily available tactic thrown at our children today. God bless you both!

    Liked by 1 person

    • We are both courageous women! Fighting our demons, seeking God and doing the hard stuff every day.

      I am committed to my husband and my vows now. But when I first began recovery I was committed to God and to my healing journey. When I began, I really didn’t know what would happen to the status of my marriage. At that time, I didn’t make any decision to stay or to leave. It is truly miraculous what God can do with an open heart though. As we both sought our personal healing, grace and love began to flow as a result of the restoration God was doing in our hearts. And then I came to a realization that God was healing our marriage too. It was then that I began making a more conscious effort and commitment to my marriage.

      I have come to believe that it is essential for the individuals in the marriage to become healthy and focus on their healing first instead of making the marriage the priority. It seems that when that happens there is a stronger, more sustainable ability to heal the marriage because the garbage has been thrown out and dealt with. The two hearts can now meet with love, grace and forgiveness to mend the brokenness of the marriage. And that is beautiful.


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