Welling up with tears, I experienced a feeling so strong that it would stick with me: I was irrelevant and invisible. I ran to the phone to call my mother, pleading with her between sobs to pick us up. When my mother got the call at work, she told me years later, it confirmed her growing fears that my father was using again.
She was working long hours and, I suspect, hoping that ignoring the signs would make the problem go away. You know when you have a gut feeling. But I felt it was important that you see him, so I was torn between protecting you and letting you and your brother have a relationship with him.
The addict initiates confession
The problem was now too big to avoid, so my mother obtained a restraining order against him. After that, my father disappeared from my life for close to eight years, from when I was six until I was But I remember, even at such a young age, feeling shame that he was so odd and unpredictable. He was too busy fighting wildfires in Yosemite or saving cats from trees to be around like other dads. Fortunately, my mother had a successful career and was able to provide for us on her own.
Once my father dropped out of the picture, she attempted to create an environment completely free of the chaos of my early years. I continued to attend private school, where I took gymnastics and joined the Brownies. But there was one central fact that ensured our harmony.
Beating the Odds: 10 indicators your marriage will survive porn addiction - Focus on the Family
In my upper-middle-class enclave, it was embarrassing enough that I had a single mother, let alone a father who was banned from seeing us. Even into adulthood, I really thought my story was uniquely humiliating. Over 8. Called the Adverse Childhood Experiences ACE study , it asked over 17, patients to answer a host of questions about their physical health and childhood experiences.
In almost 27 percent of the cases, the study found a history of household substance abuse. People who had experienced an ACE—like growing up with an addict—had an increased risk of STDs, obesity, heart disease, cancer, chronic lung disease, skeletal fractures, and liver disease. They also showed an elevated risk of alcoholism, drug abuse, depression, and suicide. Looking back at his research, Anda told me he is most proud not that it proved a link between childhood adversity and physical health issues, but that it inspired a greater conversation about the psychological impact of trauma.
I became an extreme hypochondriac, seeing tumors in bug bites and seeking doctor visits—I was convinced and secretly hoping that I was dying. I was extremely quiet and overly sensitive, sometimes not talking for hours and then suddenly bursting into tears. My anxiety was palpable, and my teacher grew so concerned that I found myself in a therapy class for kids of divorced parents.
We sat in a circle reading Dinosaurs Divorce: A Guide for Changing Families , and one by one, we told the group our feelings. In fact, I was more disturbed by the therapy session itself. One boy told of his father throwing his mother into a wall and described going with her to the hospital.
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Heroin and the Secret Club of Addiction
I thought our family code of silence seemed preferable to stirring up old horrors. Study after study shows that children of addicts develop anxiety, depression, issues with over-achievement and people-pleasing, and psychosomatic illnesses at a higher rate than others. I was astonished by how many of the symptoms applied to me.
In those days, a couple of sips of beer and a bong hit would render me temporarily soothed, but the effects never really lasted. The nervousness would always resurface in the form of an upset stomach or anxiety attack. In the midst of my emotional turmoil, my father called to let my mother know that he was clean after one last stint in Walden House, a rehabilitation facility formerly located in Haight-Ashbury. He wanted to rejoin family life and make up for lost time. Rating details. All Languages. More filters. Sort order. Denise A. Ross rated it liked it Jul 02, Vickie rated it liked it Apr 27, June Hutchinson is currently reading it Mar 17, Michelle is currently reading it Mar 28, Radio Cruz is currently reading it May 12, Brandi is currently reading it May 20, Michelle added it May 28, Jessica Fields is currently reading it May 30, Newby is currently reading it Jun 03, Chanda Norvell added it Jul 21, Jacqueline McNeal is currently reading it Jul 26, Lisa cornathans!
LaToya N is currently reading it Nov 02, Gabrielle is currently reading it Mar 04, How did anger show up in your marriage? Jonathan: In every possible way. I mean—just irrational responses to very small things. The thing is, getting married began to expose some of these areas that showed just how broken I was, but I was still staunchly committed to not—. Jonathan: Yes, it was probably about five to six months in.
The thing is, I mean, the honeymoon phase was awesome. This sort of dates ourselves; right? We got a computer, got on—this was when dial-up internet was just coming out—and I got on and got back into pornography. Then it eventually led to other things as well. Bob: This was all hidden from your wife? She knew nothing about what you were looking at. Jonathan: Yes, because eventually…they came out with chat technology, and then I started using chat rooms to eventually set up offline encounters and be sexual with other people.
Dennis: I want to go back to when you fell in love with Elaine. Jonathan: I probably would have given him maybe the party line that I had given my wife when I had confessed to her previously about not being a virgin. I probably would have pretended.
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Jonathan: To a certain degree, absolutely. The fullness of it—absolutely I would have kept it a secret—because that was the paradigm that had been established, was this secrecy that kept me in the center and tried to have everything else revolve around me.
Bob: I remember seeing a series of accountability questions that—I think Chuck Swindoll wrote about it in a book one time—. I appreciate you sharing with me. Is that all?
Silent danger: Living with a secret addiction
Is there more here? This is—as you said earlier, Bob—it is an epidemic in our country. But I think one of the reasons why it is—is that fathers and mothers have allowed too much distance to occur between their relationship that they have with their son or daughter and are not probing. I pray for my grandkids—I tell you—and I pray for my adult children as well, because no one is exempt from this. I heard some ruckus going on down in the darkness. Jonathan shares his story but also shares help and hope for people who have found themselves where he found himself in his marriage and in his family.
Go to FamilyLifeToday. Our website again—FamilyLifeToday. Moms and dads have been getting in touch with us—giving us their email address—and we have been sending out a regular daily prayer prompt for your children as they head back to school. How many young men and young women are finding themselves tempted or exposed to pornography in a school classroom—.
This is something we need to be praying for for our children—as their parents and as their grandparents—and I hope the moms and dads who are listening—or the grandparents who are listening—will sign up for this day back to school parenting prayer challenge. You make that possible when you support this ministry, when you partner with us and help cover the cost of producing and syndicating this daily radio program, helping us get the word out to more people through more platforms—like the Amazon smart speakers, where you can now hear FamilyLife Today.
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Hope you can tune in for that. I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today. We are so happy to provide these transcripts to you.