Dr. Magness On Treatment Of Sex Addicts And Their Traumatized Partners

I received this e-mail yesterday from Dr. Magness asking me to add his link and interview to the Married To A Sex Addict site. I have put his interview at the end of this post for your review. Please listen and tell me what you think. He does talk quite a bit about the partner and how we have been traumatized.

After I replied to his e-mail he sent me a link to another new video that explains a bit of his philosophy about partners of Sex Addicts. I have also included that interview at the end of this post. He is also sending me a copy of his new book for review. After I have read it I will post my review here and on the Sisterhood of Support site.

Dr. Milton S. Magness
to JoAnn

Thanks for your blog and for the help it gives men and women in recovery.

My latest book was just released. I wonder if you would mind posting something about it on your blog. I have written something below in hopes that you might find it useful for your blog:

New Recovery Book

Thirty Days to Hope & Freedom From Sexual Addiction has just been released by Gentle Path Press. It gives a step-by-step approach for recovery for those who are just entering recovery and those who want to raise their recovery to the next level.

Several unique features of this book include:

· Introduction of the Recovery Points System: a way of tracking recovery progress by earning recovery points. This tool not only helps get a person firmly established in recovery but it is a powerful relapse prevention tool.

· iRecovery—An iPhone app is coordinated with this book. It utilized the Recovery Points System and also allows the user to bring all parts of their recovery together into one easy to use app. A free version is this app can be found in the Apple Store and also at www.RecoveryApp.com.

· All worksheets in this book are available online. Readers are given the URL of the website that contains fillable PDF files of all the worksheets.

· The thirty day plan has one chapter for the reader each day. Following that plan will ensure that readers are solidly in recovery and have eliminated the typical causes of slips and relapse.

Thanks for giving this your consideration.

Take care,

Milton

 

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Responses

  1. Betty here……

    Asking the partner, or requiring the partner of a sex addict to commit to staying in the relationship for 12 months regardless of what happens puts this in the same category as the bull shit that emanates from Carnes.

    No. Any questions? You f around, you’re gone. Any questions?

    Dick brain….they all suffer from dick brain.

  2. I only listened to a portin of the partner video, so I might be off base when I make these 3 comments but here it goes.
    1. First of all they are SEX ADDICTS. Not sexual addicts.

    2. I have been married to a sex addict for over 27 years- I am currently separated from him. In my experience, they are always sex addicts. They will have periods of sobriety, but they are usually short lived.

    Sex addiction differs from other addictions such as drugs, alcohol alcohol and gambling because because those particular addictions are not a viable part of a relationship or marriage. Sex is. Or at lease for me it is.

    Sex addicts are delusional in thinking they can continue have sex with their wives and their wives only – with out being triggered. They – or at least in my experience- mine cannot. One can live with out booze and drugs and gambling. But I put sex addiction up there with eating disorders- you have to eat to live!!! Food is a major trigger for my friends with eating disorders. They live with the constant battle of checking in if they are eating to sustain their lives with nutrition or if they are eating to medicate feelings.

    Sadly, the other person in that relationship has no idea if the addict is lying about what they are doing or not.

    It is very confusing and such a painful process for both.

    3. Until the sex addict faces a serious consequence, they will not recover from this addiction. Those consequences might be contracting an STD, getting fired from a job, filing for bankruptcy, divorce or getting arrested. I stayed with my sex addicted husband for nearly 10 years after discovering his addiction. We went to 12-step meetings, which we both regularly attend. We went to individual counseling, couples counseling counseling sex therapists, spiritual retreats . . .but he never faced, never faced, a consequence. In fact, he became more successful in his business, became a leader in our community . . . and all the while his disease progressed until I asked for a divorce. It was not until then, my sex addicted husband became serious about his problem. Unfortunately, it is too late for me.
    While my husband was getting sicker – (I did not know this while we were “working on it”) I was getting recovery.
    Odd how things work out that way. I am a much healthy person today. I am no longer in the shadows of his addiction.
    He is a great person with many great attributes and we have a child together. He will always be a part of my life, but not my intimate life.
    He stole a part of me and I am getting that back, one day at a time.
    It has not been easy. I have had days of fear and anxiety. But I know I am on the right path today.

    And yes Betty, Dick Brain, they all do suffer from Dick Brain!!!!!

  3. I guess my frustration with all of these ‘clinics’ is that they cannot support their success rates with hard data. These places are huge ‘cash cows’ for the owners.

    I feel some hope when I hear someone like Dr. Magness acknowledge the trauma of the partner, but the rest of the story is the same old, same old.

    The vast majority of Sex Addiction clinics are strongly religious (Christian) based and as long as they formulate their goals upon biblical, patriarchal philosophy their treatment will always be tainted with their core beliefs about marriage and women.

    Dr. Magness, just like Doug Weiss, was a preacher. They have both studied under Patrick Carnes and the training is based around the 12 step philosophy (which, by the way was based on the evangelical ‘Oxford Group’ religion).

    Spirituality can be helpful for many in recovery but it is foolish to believe that god offers the only successful path. There is NO statistical evidence that any of the 12 step programs have any greater success than the 5% spontaneous recovery rate.

    I just can’t help feeling that these clinics give us false hope while fleecing our pocketbooks.

  4. I think Dr. Dick Brain acknowledged the trauma of the partner just long enough to attempt to open the pocketbooks of the partner. He’s jumping on the band wagon that Barbara Steffens and Marsha Means started rolling. That’s all.

    Anyone who asks a partner to commit to remaining in a relationship for 12 months regardless of what the addict does has demonstrated the following:

    1. A clear bias toward the addict.

    2. A fundamental lack of understanding of what the partner has gone through.

    All of us have lived with the physical and emotional consequences of the unilateral decisions our husbands have made. Neither the therapist or the Sex Addict is in any position to dictate terms of treatment that include unconditional committment to the relationship. The wife of the sex addict must feel free and be free to exercise unfettered discretion with respect to whether to stay in the marriage or not. She must be free to leave the relationship at any time, particularly if the relationship threatens her physical, emotional or financial health.

    Dr. Dick Brain, you are DISMISSED as just another quack.

    1. Hi Betty,
      Just wanted to respond on this:
      “He’s jumping on the band wagon that Barbara Steffens and Marsha Means started rolling.”

      Is this not what we want? If no one “jumps on the bandwagon” then frankly us partners will forever be labelled as coaddicts and codependants. I hope millions of therapists jump on the bandwagon.

      What exactly is it that us partners are susposed to do? Not all of us are strong enough that we can just wake up one morning, find a porn video and file for divorce that afternoon. Some of us want to try to work through it, and even if we leave the relationship, we still have to heal from the deep wounds somehow.
      As for pocketbooks, well, I’d love to become a therapist for partners, but sadly, if I did, I’d have to charge for my services. Seems the education isn’t free, nor is the rooms where the sessions are held. I too require food and shelter, which takes money, and I am entitled to make a living.

      I’m not being b*tchy Betty, I guess I’m just putting forth my opinion and trying to explain it. Every woman in this position is in a different “stage”. For someone who has been badly burned, yes, the bandwagon thing makes total sense, I get that. FOr others that are still hanging on by a thread, or new to the problem it offers hope, what is wrong with that?

      As in my other post, I believe the 12 month thing is making the assumption that the SA is actually recovering and trying with every thread of his being. In that case, she should not have pysical threats ect, and things should improve as time goes on. For those living with an active addict, the 12 month thing is impossible, and I don’t think he means it to be in that case.

      Be well
      Starry

  5. Dear Ladies,
    I have never posted my story. Its been almost two years since my husband’s confessions and his diagnosis as a sex addict. I wanted to share with you all a website that I happened upon it is http://www.sexualcontrol.com it is a book written by Joe Zychik and he deals directly with making men understand that twelve step programs and conventional therapy do not hold them accountable for thier choices. It has helped me to be a stonger woman, and my husband knows that any acting out of any kind means and end to our relationship period.

  6. Attagirl, REESE! Don’t take any nonsense!!!

    Thank you for sharing your find!!!

    Love to you and all my sisters!! Betty

  7. The whole “starying in a relationship for 12 months” thing:
    A counsellor of mine advocated this, and I entered into this agreement with my H.
    Thing is, the commitment is meant to be “stay in the relationship for 12 months as long as NO party is taking actions to hurt the relationship”.
    Its suposed to give each other an oprotunity for openess, where the other partner cannot constantly threaten “leaving”. For example, it would allow me to say what I needed to say and my H would not have the option of saying” screw this, I’m outa here” type of thing.
    The thing that was heavily stressed though, is that acting out is to be considered as hurting the relationship. So, even one slip is enough cause to break the 12 month agreement.
    Haven’t watched the full video yet, but already strikes me as the same old thing. Everybody bow to the cult of the addict..How about just grow the f*** up and start being a decent human being.. (my opinion only..take it or leave it as you wish)

    1. I’m going to revise a bit, was a bit cranky this morning, so rewatched the video’s.

      If you take the approach that this guy is talking about addicts who WANT to recover and are willing to do whatever it takes, then his words are fairly sound. Unfortunatley a lot of us seem to have experienced the opposite. So, if we have a perspective from the point of the SA in recovery who doesn’t do a dang thing and keeps slipping and lieing, well lets face it, its all a load of cr*p no matter who is saying it.

      I’m just being realistic here. He talks about patience and such, and thats what it takes, on both sides of the relationship. No one is fixed in a week. We as partners wait around to see what happens. Some of us see changes, some don’t. We can only decide for ourselves how much patience we have. I would say that if month after month, nothing changes and nothing gets better, the acting out is still happening, what are we waiting for? No Dr, no counsellor, no expert can tell us how much patience to have with the SA. I know this may seem bizzare, but at some stage, I think, we have to see things for what they are. Why does a dog chase a car? Because its a dog. If we hold on for years, hoping the SA will see the light, at what stage do we take responsibility for ourselves?

      Regarding the video about the partners, well, he sounds a lot more balanced than most of the “professionals” out there. Regardless of his reasons for saying it, wether it be money or not, at least he’s saying it. I;d rather pay to see him, than some idiot who tells me I’m a co-addict.

  8. Starry,

    You’re putting words in Dr. Dick Brain’s mouth. He didn’t say: “agree to stay in the relationship as long as no one is hurting the other party.” He said: “stay regardless of what comes out or regardless of what happens.”

    I refuse to stay regardless of what comes out or regardless of what happens. Every victim of a sex addict must feel free and be free to exit the relationship at any time for any reason. The addict has to “grow the f*** up” and disclose fully regardless of the consequences. We, the wives of sex addicts, cannot and must not allow ourselves to be manipulated or cajoled into agreeing to remain in the relationship. If the addict can’t/won’t grow the f*** up, be a man, accept unilateral terms, then the wife would be well advised to leave.

    Neither the therapist or the sex addict is in any position to dictate terms to those of us who have been forced, without our knowledge or consent, to live according to the terms dictated by the sex addict. GAME OVER. We must claim power and responsibility over our own lives and that includes refusing to accept terms dictated by the f-ing therapist or the sex addict that include staying in the relationship for any period of time.

    The condition of our participation in treatment must be this: I’m free to walk at any time, for any reason. Deal with it. Grow the f*** up, both of you. Be a man for a change, both of you. You’ve dicated the terms of my life for the last “X” years without my knowledge or consent. Game over. If you can’t accept those terms, then I leave right here, right now, you will hear from my lawyer. Any questions?

    If you wouldn’t ask a rape victim to stay in relationship with her rapist, don’t ask the victim of a sex addict to stay in relationship with her abuser. This guy is clueless.

    1. Betty,

      Sorry, I think maybe my post was not as explanatory as I thought.
      When I said:
      “A counsellor of mine advocated this, and I entered into this agreement with my H. Thing is, the commitment is meant to be “stay in the relationship for 12 months as long as NO party is taking actions to hurt the relationship”.”

      What I meant was, I attended a counsellor, who introduced me to this concept. However, MY counsellor said that no party was to injure the relationship, or the contract was null and void.

      I don’t appreciate being told I am putting words in someone’s mouth, as it was not my intention. I can now see my post wasn’t very clear, but I had hoped that another sister would perhaps clarify before accusing me of such.

      You are completley correct that no one can dictate if you live with the terms of the addict or whatever. It is everyones personal choice. I highly doubt the therapist in question advocates abducting the partner and forcing her to stay in the marriage. What I took from the video was that IF the partner and the addict WANT to work on the relationship, then he uses a specific path for that. If the partner CHOOSES to exit the relationship, then why in heavens name would she attend the relationship counselling offered by this therapist? Surely he is speaking about couples who are TRYING to work on it together.

      Add of course you are correct that if the man refuses to grow up and straighten out, then the wife should leave. Of course she should. But what about the SA who does put in honest work at recovery, and is doing well? Should I leave my H right now, even though things are pretty good? Sure maybe I’ll find out differently in 6 months, who knows, howver is it not my right as a human being to choose to stay in my marriage for a few more months to see how it goes?

      As for asking a woman to stay in a relationship with the SA, many women choose to on thier own behalf. They are not asked or coerced. They will decide what is right for them when they are ready. Everyone has thier own reasons.

      I am simply speaking my own opinion, as I am entitled to do so, I am not right, I am not wrong, its simply my opinion.

      Be Well
      Starry

  9. Dear JoAnn,

    Perhaps it would be advisable to ask the good doctor for a clarification regarding his approach to treating the couple. In his video somewhere, he clearly states that he is interested in healing the relationship. I take that to mean that he is interested in preventing divorce at any cost, not in considering what is truly in the best interest of the individuals or in the best interest of the victim. I think he meant what he said with respect to asking the wife to “have patience” and to agree to stay regardless of what comes out or what happens. Perhaps you could ask him if there is any qualification to that statement that he neglected to voice.

    If he meant what he said, then I think his “work” can easily be relegated to the dumpster.

    Best, Betty

  10. Interesting stuff – in my own recovery from my sex addicted husband I have found healing through finding the strength and resolve through the church and its ministry.

    Even more exciting was that the pastor found the courage?/grace?/freedom? to preach about sex addiction and pornography and the evils thereof in our church – perhaps after meeting me, perhaps not? But the word is getting out there. The Lord certainly works in amazing ways! For me, I am fortunate that our church accepts everyone in whatever state they arrive in. And the church has been instrumental in giving me the strength to stay separated from my husband and not go back, even though my husband really desires that, because they feel as I do that there has to be real consequence for him to heal his addiction.

    I dont know what the future holds, but I do know that I don’t have to be a puppet in his addiction, I can be his friend and supporter through his recovery and I may be part of his future if he can demonstrate change and sobriety. I do love him, but I love the Lord more, and being God’s daughter means demonstrating his love, grace and forgiveness towards my husband, but it doesnt necessarily mean I have to keep my side of the marriage vows that my husband smashed the first time he looked at pornography / booked an appointment with a prostitute and lied to me about it.

    In the meantime, lets just pray that the word gets out that we are not coaddicts – not dependent on the SA but definately victims. I can cope with some of the accusations that have been levelled at me – about overlooking / not confronting / and possibly even “enabling” but then – if someone has undertaken marriage vows – who the hell would contemplate that the person they love and have devoted their lives to would do what they were doing and lie about it to the point that they drive you to believe you are the crazy one?

    God bless each and everyone of you – may you find your path to peace – whatever that may look like for you x

  11. These comments have been great.

    I have come to find for myself in regards to the “SEX ADDICTION WORLD” – there is little or no REAL validation for the Partner of a SA. SO anytime there is a an acknowledgment or mention of trauma sustained to the partner that doesn’t land as a “fault based system by association” or somehow that that partner by being in direct relationship had a “participation factor” “hidden or not” agreement with their SA. Call it the labels if you will, but most in this industry do not honor the partner’s trauma in a way that validates with sustainability. So any form of acknowledgement and or some reflection to validation to the partner (which I had only seen in Barbara’s book, and now the video in the realm of PSTD Model) ok great kudos. Yippee yeah, someone out there is acknowledging us, the collateral damage of someone else’s destructive.behaviors.

    It is insufficient and lacking huge amounts of compassion for the partner of the SA abuser/abusive behaviors harvested and used upon another (unknowing or not) human being for the self serving of another’s actions/disease with intent and malice.

    Whether the SA is aware, or not they most likely can “try on” the “impacts” but to fully grasp the fundamental impacts they have caused another person. Nope I believe not possible. This of course being evident with the results of 5% recovery.

    In regards to therapy, trained professionals I believe they have a duty to educate all the very grave, dangerous levels of this disease and it’s wrath. It is my personal opinion a huge dis-service is done to all, when at anytime the “deflection game of accountability” gets diverted away from the destructive behaviors of the active SA, hence the “already designed” way of labeling co-addict and codependent of this tragic dynamic of sex addiction.
    Until this profession of trained professionals fully educate the severity of Level 2 and Level 3 of Sex Addicts, rape, molestation (which in my world is just an easy name than saying rape) the escalation of the potential and in some ways the enviable, just isn’t said, stated and made important as the progression of this disease. This model of codependent/co-addict is bankrupt and obviously insufficient treating this disease.

    I believe every single relationship has a dynamic, and should two people choose to work at that dynamic than I wish nothing but the best for both people in your healing.

    I will wholeheartedly state, in my opinion this is NOT a two person together kind of therapy. A SEX ADDICT must, need, and can only be responsible for themselves, their actions, their own past trauma history, behavior traits and what lead them to this road of destructive behaviors or “acting out” and the other unacceptable behaviors of lying, purposefully withholding, intent to not be straight about their present demons running the show. This was their make up long before their partner came into the equation. How dare this profession fall prey to the predator aspect of this tool “deflection” harvested by an active sex addict and include the other person as some value to this system of participation by both.

    I am 6 months divorced from the person whom I married who was a Level 2 SEX ADDICT on his way if not already to a Level 3. There is absolutely NOTHING about me, with me, was me, could be me that had anything to do with his behaviors and the actions he has taken or act in which he collected his victims. I know not all SA’s from level 1 turn and progress to level 3. But there is a lack of acknowledgment of this escalation and without a doubt lack of support for those of us who have been partners to Sex Addicts that have collected victims.

    A healing journey for me greatly to reflect on the choices I made, why I made the choices and why I tolerated boundary violations repeatedly. I am not saying I am without my own character flaws and personal growth for some reason as life smashed me on the head with a frying pan about 100 x to learn hard life lessons this way, giving me this pain I was to endure and work through. Just incase the good lord is listening, I got it, I get the message loud and and I gave myself a clear look within b/c my inner meter of love, self esteem, self honor was a bit wacky and off track – I adjusted and fast…..

    This SEX ADDICTION not only about cheating, not about a person sleeping with prostitutes, not about lies, not about husbands/partners staying working out some personal issue about infidelity, chronically unfaithful. It is a series of events that have taken place in life of a person utilizing sexual compulsion to escape from their inner traumas and or demons. Over time certain tools develop to continue to be able to use the compulsion tendencies at all costs as for whatever reason, this ill person lacked the gift of accountability. Slipping by people throughout their lives, without getting the technique of personal responsibility or accountability via consequences.
    Honing, developing all kinds of skill sets to masterfully keep their “inner main objective” from anyone and then using others for their personal purposes at all costs. They lacked the structure to allot for accountability, not me. It will not be my job, nor should it be my job to police another person’s behavior, actions and or somehow believe I could be the direct source of influencing another person’s actions or choices. Even in the vows of marriage this abuse unacceptable. Period Full Stop!

    This industry of professionals need to wake up, get accountability to the severity of abuse caused to another via sexual compulsions, the acting out may be with others verses their actual wife or partner. However. it is the other deceitful traits/destructive behaviors, lies, gas lighting, emotional abuse that is the deadliest part of this disease. Then heightened to another level and where they collect their victims.

    This profession needs to re-evealuate their context of the word “victim” and truly see the abuse as it is. A rape victim isn’t held responsible due to their abuser. There is a breakdown in how this profession literally ‘treats” the SA and in their therapy treatments for a SA. And there is a major skewed view of “a fault base” look into the way in which the partners of these abusers are viewed, spoken about, receive treatment. It is bad enough with the “gas lighting” component of the useful tools harvested by the “active sex addict”. Whether married or not, it is not ok to emotionally abuse another for one’s self serving illness.

    Kudos for the doctor mentioning and granting a validation of the trauma brought to the partner of a SA. But that is about the only bonus thing I came to get from the interview. And given this is a vital part of the partner of a SA, I guess any validation is like blood to a thirsty vampire, I mean seriously, why wouldn’t one soak it up after what one has endure being with the impact of hurts and harm brought on by having a generous heart to love a broken person. But it’s not enough clearly.

    Sending all my sisters who have/had the capacity to open your heart, shower way much love, more then the SA cared for, to the SA who has a dark side, can’t help themselves but could only steal the light that was offered and then some.

    Two things I would like to leave with:

    1) if the SA that I married 11 years ago, said I would lie to you, hurt you in ways that are unimaginable, “rape you, your sister, your friend, use you, and then blame you to serve my illness, then convince you – you had a part why I behave the way I did and did the things I did? Seriously would I have really said “I do”. I think NOT!

    2) I once made this analogy to my brother: Imagine your wife was playing a secret game on you, and every day you came home for work placed your belongs down, she would take your keys, wallet, things and move them to another spot. She did this for year after year after year. After awhile your own inner reality is altered, you could no longer trust yourself. You question yourself constantly, you are sure you did place them there, you were sure you did x. This is an impossible form of abuse, the silent intent game of hurt and to think that was just keys, and a wallet. Imagine the pains, times, things that have taken place in your marriage or time with the SA in your life. It was a secret intent “game” using someone without their will. That is no ok.

    Dear Trained Professionals, I am a recovering person with codependent tendencies healing, learning my right to have boundaries that I didn’t even know I had a right to have in the first place. There is not ONE thing, NADA, nope nothing at ALL, that I did in my time with this Sex Addict husband that can ever lend it’s self to justify his abuse of my will. I am not responsible by ANY account of him collecting victims, acting out, using myself or others to feed an illness. So STOP telling me that I was a co-addict or codependent.

    Lovingly Sharing C….

    1. Wow, C! Thank you! I would really love to talk to you sometime if that would be possible! Soooo many things you said hit home with me. Like you, (and all of us) I didn’t sign up for this when I took my vows! Not in a million years would I have imagined my life/marriage to my SA of 17 years would have turned out this way. 🙁 To find out the entire marriage has been a fraud (on his part) sometimes makes me wish I could get an annulment! However, I’m sure with 17 years under our belt, that obviously would never fly! I often fantasize about suing for pain and suffering as well. I have known for years that something wasn’t “right” and to say we have had an interesting marriage would be an understatement. It wasn’t until January of this year that I finally installed a key logger and found out everything I would ever want to know (or maybe not, ugh!) and finally realized exactly what I was dealing with and the enormity of his problem (disease, addiction, etc). I have just been sick about it for almost 3 months now. Spent the 1st two months obsessing over my new found passwords, email accounts, singles sites, his profiles on single’s sites, all his correspondence with women all over the country, etc. I could throw up every f’ing day! I haven’t confronted him yet but I do have my brother whom I trust on board and I have consulted an attorney. Now, I just need to pull the trigger so to speak…. I am completely lost right now and need the help and support of all the lovely, caring, and mostly understanding ladies on this site. I have yet to tell my story which I intend to do on SOS soon.
      I am searching for the right therapist for me at this time. I have been to 1 so far but definitely no connection and I won’t be going back to him. He was a general therapist and now I understand that I need someone who specializes in SA. I have a million things going through my head every day and I could really use some help and some friends who truly understand the condition I’m in, the abuse I have endured, and the sadness in my heart. Not to mention the overwhelming tasks ahead of me and the fear of the unknown! No wonder I can’t sleep at night! I’m about to blow! I hope to post my story in the next few days because I am at some crucial decision making times and I could really use the advice and expertise from all of you! I feel like you are my sisters already…..

      1. C…
        Your comment is awaiting moderation.
        April 6th, 2011 at 8:12 am · Reply
        HI Silver Lining,

        Thank you for your words. I am so sorry for what you also have to endure, and your next phase confronting discovery. Be ever so gentle with yourself there are many many spaces you will go through in your journey. But what I see is amazing courage, you have the strength it’s there keep pulling it. IN the beginning I do think there are great books, Codependent No more and Out of the Shadows, Mending a Shattered Heart to understand disease. And once understood, I think sometimes people get too over in the court of the SA Journey and must keep on track for themselves. Even for me to keep staying in the COSA world also keeps me in the court of the SA sometimes. Everyone’s healing and needs are different so I honor everyone’s path. Although I believe it is very important for the SA to find a CSAT therapist, I didn’t not follow that route for myself, and found an incredible lady who offered me much amazing healing who understands SA but also helped me to stay out and off the court of the SA’s world if that makes sense. I know you might not want to express your location, referrals are sometimes helpful – ask around your community to find someone that you feel safe with. So so important for your healing. You know on JWC I see there are therapists that actually have / married SA’s and also been manipulated. I am forever clear that I was equipped to deal with something could have never known the full capacity to understand. Given there are trained people who also get that degree of manipulated shows just how damaging this disease and it’s traits are.

        I shared my story on Joann’s site in Dec. http://marriedtoasexaddict.com/miss-cs-story-how-i-made-my-decision-to-divorce-my-sex-addict-husband/#more-4611

        If you wish to read my blog let me know and I will unlock for you do so. Sending love and kindness on your healing journey, you are not alone and you did nothing to deserve what has taken place. (HUGS)
        C

      2. Dear Silver Lining,
        I too am facing similar situation after 22 years of marriage. I am still in “discovery” mode. While my husband seems to have used his work cell for his more recent porn and sexting, I can’t help but wonder what a key logger is and what I need to do to get one. sounds as if it’s for a computer. Can it be put on more than one computer? And do they make them for Cell phones?

    2. I just found this website and posting opportunity and I am hoping to have some folks to chat with. I learned about his addiction a few months ago and I am divorcing him. He has known before we were married and he has been lying to me and everyone else for years. I am shattered but I have support and I know this is the right thing to do. I am just starting this process and am wondering if anyone has any advice for me. Thanks and be sure to take care of yourselves.

  12. [oops! I just typed a response here & hit preview — it must have gone in the black hole.]

    O well, I was saying that I refuse to be labeled a Co-anything! Why do these addiction “experts” define ME by my husband’s behavior/choices/addiction? That’s nonsense! I have little tolerance for these “expert” white-males-of-European-ancestry & their Co-addict sh** …

    I attended a day-long recovery event by Patrick Carnes last year, and his wife died a month after we heard him speak. I’m geniunely sorry that she suffered cancer — but does Dr. Carnes want to be called a “Co-breast cancer-somebody” ???

    I am heading to Houston in a couple weeks for the Partners’ Seminar sponsored by Dr. Barbara Steffens and Silvia Jason, LMFT.
    [JoAnn, hope it’s o.k. to put this URL here.] Check out http://partnersofsexaddicts9.blogspot.com/

  13. Hi Unwound,

    My thoughts exactly. I am in the process of reading Dr. Magness’s books right now, and I should have a review up after I get back from a much needed two week break in Florida.

    Feel free to put resource links up at any time. The only thing I will delete is personal e-mail addresses (too dangerous) or links to personal blogs. The only blog links I allow are those that I have approved and they go in the resource links area.

  14. I am NOT codependent. I may have been trained from birth, by my mother, my father, my step father, to mistake hate for love, misunderstand when people are lying out both sides of their mouths, and be acclimated to people who choose to hate themselves to death. My signals growing up were pretty damn messed up.

    But I don’t WANT to live that way! I actively discussed my needs, I tried to communicate, I tried to be an active participant in my relationship. I was working to have a relationship with him. He was working on having a relationship with his misery and addictions and gave me some fraud he had perfected with lies over the years. I TRULY believed him, and I don’t give my trust easily. I was completely traumatized by this betrayal. I would rather have been raped and beaten than what he did to me. I died the day I found out. I’ve wished I were dead every day for nearly a year. Emotional, psychological, sexual abuse all hidden beneath the guise of a loving, sweet, honorable kind facade. Ugh.

    The thought of his actions and what he was capable of make me physically ill. Did I have secondary gains from his emotional distance? Sure. Did I sign up for this level of abuse? Hell no! This was no affair of the heart, no moment of weakness, no middle aged crisis. This was calculated, twisted, constant abuse to keep his life and his supply and his sex safe and offer nothing in return.

    I fervently believe all that crap about male brains ‘compartmentalization – men can separate their love from their sex life’ is just a pile of patriarchal rationalization psychobabble for men not being raised to have a conscience. Dissocation from childhood trauma? Sure. Hiding your inner self due to emotional incest? That is a very sad way to grow up. But choosing to lie, deceive, cheat, expose to deadly disease, head games? That is absolute evil, to know your choice will do harm to another, and choose to go right ahead and do it.

    His brain is so warped that lies feel good and truth is painful. He thinks with his emotions and his emotions are trapped at the level of a 3 year child. Do three year olds care about anyone else? Hell no. Do they think the world revolves around them and all punishment is unfair? You bet. Do they feel remorse for the power they wield over others? Nah, they feel all giggly inside.

    I am not staying because I love him. The man I love never existed. I am not staying with hope that he will someday recover. He is so skilled at lying that I doubt a lie detector test would ever discover it. I am not staying because I have hope. I am staying until I get my shit together, to stand face to face with the demon I married and learn the signs and recognize the tricks of narcicisst speech and teach myself how to grow up another notch and blossom. Then, when I am good and ready, I will leave him to his misery and his porn and his loveless life.

    Stick that in anyone’s codependant hat and smoke it.

    1. Am….I’m with you on that one!!! Seriously!!! MY SA husband lied for 23 years!! I gave my WHOLE LIFE AND SELF to him…all of it..open raw and innocent. Only to be raped and gutted and murdered by my loving husband who according to him loves me more then anything in the world and professes that I am first in his life and always WAS!! Wanna talk about RAGE….I told him I would have prefered to be HATED AND LAST if that is what being loved and first in his LIFE was like! God reading your post hits home… I am MAD AS HELL that they get an unlimited “get out of jail free card” because of thier Sex Addiction…afterall they HAVE NO CONTROL. So there is the permission to relapse and slip after all…they are in RECOVERY and NEVER RECOVERED!! To me Co-Addict or Co-dependent is defined as a spouse of an addict THAT STAYS WITH THE ADDICT KNOWING THAT THEY WILL ACT OUT AT SOME POINT OR SLIP SINCE THEY HAVE NO CONTROL OF THEIR ACTIONS AND IT IS A DISEASE……so you know it will happen…..and yet you stay and babysit the addicts actions and are suppose to what ….. follow him everywhere… no your suppose to TRUST the addict to be HONEST and tell you of the slip or acting out…LOL Uh HUh….like that will happen. If the addict can’t control himself, then how the hell is he suppose to have enough control to tell the truth.. isn’t that part of the disease and addiction…..Uh…YES. Insanity!! Flippin Insanity …. when they are aware of what they are doing and accept responsibility for their actions then they must CHOOSE to make the right choice…. NO SLIP NO RELAPSE…no sorry no way. It is accountability for actions and consequences for them. I will not stay with a broken man…. I will not tolerate him screwing anyone real or on the internet. If he has trained his brain to be addicted to porn then he DAME WELL CAN TRAIN IT TO BE ADDICTED TO ME!! NOTHING CONTROLS US BUT US…..WE CAN RETRAIN OUR BRAINS AND HABITS AND WITH AN ACT OF OUR WILL WE WILL OVERCOME. It boils down to WHAT IS MORE IMPORTANT…WHAT DO YOU REALLY WANT….. I know it is hard it has to be, but LET ME TELL YOU THERE IS NOTHING MORE HARDER THEN BE IN MY SHOES HAVING THE ABSOLUTE LOVE OF MY LIFE …. MY HEART …MY EVERYTHING…..GIVE HIMSELF TO ANOTHER WOMAN AND LIE SO HE CAN CONTINUE TO DO IT ……. The masturbation to internet porn is more then revolting and makes me want to VOMIT thinking about him getting off on another woman he is fantasizing about screwing while he jacks off. God just saying that makes me SHAKE.. The emotional and physical stress is killing me….no sleep, constant crying, its affecting everything. You know, I would just love to turn the tables and let him see how it feels for him to know that some rock hard studs I had been viewing for years on the internet porn sites made me so hot I became addicted and masturbated while I fantasized about being screwed by THEM….. Are you kidding….he would be so enraged ……he would never accept it was not my fault and that I couldn’t stop due to the addiction …and that I would cotinue to slip and relapse and that he would just have to love me through it and acccept that as the new norm. Do you think he would be able to wrap his mind around the fact that it had NOTHING TO DO WITH HIM or how he looked or how endowed or not endowed he was……NO WAY!! No, it is a choice he has a choice….me or the porn/women. Not settling or sharing. I am currently experiencing the last few breaths of what used to be my life and marriage as it dies in the last stages …… it is a death and part of me went with it. I am forever changed and my heart has been re-written….my safety has been replaced with fear and doubt…..my security with deception…..my innocense with filfth….my affection with repulsion…….my love with hate……my trust was raped…. My life has been forever changed and I want this to have never happened to ANY OF US!!! Like I have said before…everything they are looking for has been there the WHOLE TIME LAYING NEXT TO THEM……WE are what they need …. if they will only open up and let us in ……LOVE COVERS A MULTITUDE OF SIN!! I am on my way out of this marraige….I told him he needs to give me a reason to STAY!! I am going to make sure I have everthing i want and need and then some before I divorce …. I am walled up and ready for battle ….. I will not let anymore of his choices hurt me … When things are in order I will exit stage left ….. if I am what he wants then he will have to do all the work. If I stay ……at the first slip or relapse I will leave no question about it. There is NO ROOM FOR ERROR!!

    2. Bravo, AM! Thank you for saying so eloquently what we all feel. Thank you.

      I had a phone melt down last week. I used his phone to send myself some contact information on family members. I happened to see that he still has his paramour in his phone….after he’s professed that he didn’t sleep with her, that it was just an emotional affair, and it’s over.

      I’m done. When I get my shit together, I’m outahere.

  15. Hey guys, my husband and I went through Milton Magness’s couple’s intensive three years ago and have had two follow up intensives with him since. I’d like to explain a few things. First and most importantly, Dr. Magness is selective about who he allows to participate in his intensives. The addict must be in recovery and he must see a great deal of motivation on his part to remain in recovery. He puts the addict through a lot, both before the intensive and during. Secondly, going through his intensive is a choice a person can make or not make. Dr. Magness has the right to require whatever he wants in his intensive, just as you have the right to choose whether or not to participate. The 12 month contract was not an issue for me and I understand why he requires it. But I knew in the back of my mind it was not legally binding. I knew that if I chose to leave I could and would. He is a good guy with a good heart. He is also very good at what he does. I sometimes feel he overcharges, but I have also heard of him working with people who couldn’t afford it. He worked out a payment plan with us. I also know that he has donated generously to Marsha Means’ organization for partners of SA, A Woman’s Healing Journey. Dr. Magness did label me codependent before he ever met me and I challenged him on that during the intensive, as I am not codependent, but don’t think I got through. Yes, it does seem he has “jumped on the bandwagon” of Barbara Steffens and Marsha Means, but as another person said, isn’t that what we want? I would prefer to phrase it that in spite of his training on the co-sex addict model and many years working from that framework, he was open minded and flexible enough to really listen to what those amazing women were saying and take it seriously. It takes a big person to change his ways, in effect admitting he was wrong. Dr. Magness is not perfect, but no one is. Having not gone through being the spouse of a sex addict, I respect his willingness to be open to what Barbara and Marsha have said. In spite of the co-addict label (which was not so hard for me because by that time I had already spoken with Marsha on the phone and she had exaplained the trauma model to me, so I let it go in one ear and out the other)during the intensive I felt empathy, respect, and valued. I was actually sad when it was over. The intensive is definitely not for everyone. As a Licensed Professional Counselor, I now conduct couple’s intensives, modeled after Dr. Magness’s (he is aware of this and has given me his blessing). There are many differences in our approaches, but I would not be where I am if it weren’t for Dr. Magness.

    BTW, I went to the seminar in Houston a couple days ago with Barbara Steffens and it was WONDERFUL!!! She is just an amazing person and the information was invaluable and way overdue! I typed up some of my notes from the seminar into both of my websites. Just click on “Trauma Model for Parnters”.

    http://www.comfortchristiancounseling.com

  16. I just read this today- yikes…So, this guy, Dr. Magness, was recommended to us by my PA husband’s therapist. We signed up for this thing in the fall. It is a lot of money. I better not be labeled a co-addict/co-dependent! I will go to this thing because my h has to disclose and get a lie detector test to back it up. Then, if I feel the need to pack him up and send his a$$ out the door, I will- agreement or no agreement. My H is a liar and a cheat, not me. I will not be blamed for this crap. Good thing I saw this page. I will be much more “on guard” now that I have this info. Thank you very much for sharing this.

    We were screened by Dr. M on the phone before we signed up. He was very vocal about the trauma model and how he follows Barbara Steffens’ trauma model. It better not be BS…

  17. I’m really curious to know what you ladies think about the trauma model being true for a man, an addiction specialist himself, knowingly getting involved with a sex/love addicted female, who works her program, rearranges her life once denial has broke, and stays sober through the relationship?
    Is he able to be excused for going through her things, her phone, her computer? Is he allowed to shame her for her past?

    I am a sex/love addict who has never cheated on my current partner, yet I deal with this behavior. I can think of no trauma I have imposed on him. I believe his responses are PTSD, but I believe they are from his previous relationship with a sex addict.

    What label does he get?

    Also… addicts have gone through their own traumas. The majority being sexually abused as children. I see that you look for support from each other here, and you are allowed your feelings (rage), but remember these are reactive, secondary emotions. They help nothing, but to keep you in a sense of being without control.

    1. This is hilarious, Lana, and why sex addicts aren’t invited to this site. WE, the victims of sex addicts, aren’t interested in your opinion or in your patronizing “recovery speak.” You have GOT to be kidding me. I’m both a recovering addict (alcohol) AND the partner of an SA. I’ve had PLENTY of trauma in my life, from childhood sexual abuse, to date rape, to domestic violence, but I’m here to tell you NOTHING was as traumatic as discovering my husband and the father of my children had been living a secret life and that my own life had been a big fat lie. We ARE allowed our rage here–our justifiable rage. Go get your advice somewhere else.

    2. Lana,

      I wholeheartedly agree with March above – I am the victim of incest as a child and physical and emotional abuse as an adult. I am also a recovering SA – have been sober for nearly 10 years and was 18 months into it when I met my husband. I was extremely promiscuous as a teenager and young adult as a result of my childhood. I could not maintain a relationship or marriage because of my inability to remain faithful – and I was involved with some amazing men. My husband, the addict, knew all of this during our courtship – he was the first person I was FULLY AND COMPLETELY open with because I wanted the relationship to have a solid foundation, if he chose to stay. He knew of the infidelities, both on my part and my previous partners’, and the trauma that was the root cause of my behaviors. He never once spoke of his addiction – even when I discovered it after 4 years of marriage, he denied it. It was the most traumatic experience of my life to find out all I believed to be true and good was fake. I had given him a part of me that I’d never shared with anyone.
      Get off your soapbox and go find sympathy among other like minded individuals. As an addict, you need to understand the effect you have on partners – if you can’t/won’t, then don’t stay. Once an addict, always an addict – even now, after 10 years, I fight impulses everyday, but am able to identify them and work through them. Since discovering his double life, the fight is daily fight is harder than anything I’ve ever faced. But I like the person I see in the mirror and I don’t want to let her or GOD down, so I don’t give in. I have been an open book with my husband. It’s a shame he wasn’t able to take advantage of my experience, and love, to admit his addiction and start his road to recovery. But then again, until someone wants to change, they will not. An addict is selfish and will remain so until they look at, and address, the damage they do to those who love them IN ADDITION to addressing themselves.

  18. Some pretty harsh comments here about Dr. Magness. I realize the comments are pretty old now, but when I happened upon them, I felt like I should add something to it. Every partner of a sex addict is entitled to their anger and rage. I get it. I’ve been there.

    My husband and I did a three day intensive and several follow-ups with Dr. Magness beginning in February of 2008. Dr. Magness can see straight through any bullshit an addict puts in front him. He looked out for me through all of our therapy and taught me so much. There was a lot of work and healing done by both my husband and myself. He has had three or four minor slips with porn since 2008 and they were dealt with by using tools we learned from Dr. Magness. Our marriage and family has come a long way.

    I recently relalized my husband had a relapse. I’m hurt and angry, but personally in a much better place than I was before 2008. I don’t know if we’ll stay married. I do know that if there is any chance of keeping this marriage together, it will involve Dr. Magness.