So you have finally decided to start your journey on the road to recovery. Congratulations! If you have just confessed your addiction to your loved ones then you are now a part of the brave few. Sadly many people go through their lives hiding who they really are and what they struggle with. So the fact that you’ve made it this far is great!
In my personal experience and in helping others get free of their addiction there is usually some confusion as to what to do after confessing. It took a lot of courage to do so, and undoubtedly you probably feel relieved finally having this out in the open. All of this is normal, but you should not stop there. As good as you feel right now and no matter how resolved you are about not going back to your former life, the reality is that most eventually do. If you have struggled through any addiction you have probably experienced this cycle, and although you might be completely determined to end your addiction, if you don’t actually do something you will most likely relapse.
So let’s use your new lease on life and momentum to start with these three things:
1) Realize your loved ones are hurt.
Many times when a person finally confesses to their addiction they feel great about their honesty and finally getting their guilt off of their conscience. They are energized and usually positive. However, your loved ones may be shocked and hurt by this new information. So as with any negative, life altering news, allow for some time of grief. Don’t push your loved ones to immediately talk about how they feel because they probably don’t know how they feel. Try your best to get them some emotional help by talking to others in the same situation. Studies show that women betrayed by their spouses pornography use can be likened to PTSD.1 As you can imagine it will take some time for them to adjust and heal from your admission. You feel on top of the world, but your loved ones probably feel like their world has just come crashing down.
2) Don’t stop now.
Like I mentioned above, as great as you feel now, it will fade. If you don’t put in the necessary work now, chances are you never will, and you are setting yourself up for failure. So do your best to set up accountability, establish internet blocks, and get rid of any material in your possession that might trigger a relapse. This is by no means the end all to ridding yourself of your addiction, but it definitely will help.
3) Take it one day at a time.
With an increase of positive energy and a sudden relief of pent up guilt you might want to use this to start planning for the future. Fight this urge! Having goals and envisioning a better future are good things but they can also be huge distractions. Focus on you. Now is the time to get honest and examine your life rather than plan out the big things you want to do. Take it slow, get the help you need, and stay in the present.
These are just some things that I’ve found helpful and hopefully they help you as well. Remember to stay humble. You might have severally hurt your loved ones, but there is help and healing for both you and your loved ones if you seek it out. Use your momentum to put you in a better spot for long term recovery and take things one day at a time.