Donna Meredith Dixon

CLC, CPSAS,

APSATS  trained

Board member

Christian Sex Addiction Specialists International

(C-SASI)

Privacy Policy

The Life is Ahead website  does not share personal information with third parties, nor do we store  information about your visit to this blog other than to analyze and optimize your content and reading experience through the use of cookies.

You can turn off the use of cookies at anytime by changing your specific browser settings.

We are not responsible for republished content from this blog on other blogs or websites without our permission.

This privacy policy is subject to change without notice.

  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Twitter Icon
  • White Pinterest Icon
  • White Instagram Icon

©2019  Donna Meredith Dixon 

 

I can't stay here any longer

September 19, 2017

 

Walking into the sanctuary, Susi’s pulse soared, her throat constricted. Scanning the rows ahead, she quickly moved toward an empty one, her husband trailing behind. Settling in, she tucked her phone in her pocket, then retrieved it.

 

Anything to look busy, appear normal.

 

“Whatever that is,” she muttered as the worship team walked onto the platform. Folding and unfolding her clenched hands, Susi swallowed. Hard. A quick, sideways glance toward her husband confirmed what she already knew.

 

“Hijacked brain,” she whispered to no one but Him who hears our slightest whimper.

 

“Again.”

“Always.”

“Wherever pretty ones are.”

“Here. At the store. The restaurant.”

“Or … on his laptop. Phone.”

 

Fighting the urge to flee, Susi fought back tears as the pastor prayed and the worship team began singing.

 

Once again Susi endured a church service. Trying to remember to breathe. Feeling isolated. Something was different this time, though. She made a decision.

 

“I can’t stay here any longer.”

 

Removing barriers

In the first post of a series describing ADOH Peer Facilitator training, I introduced the “why” behind it: Women who are partners of sexual addicts experience a number of barriers to moving forward in their healing:

  • They (and others) lack understanding about sexual addiction as well as its impact on partners.

  • A lack of emotional and spiritual empathy from those previously relied upon for support

  • Limited finances along with increased need for practical assistance

  • Limited access to partner-sensitive therapeutic/pastoral care providers.

 

Responses from a survey of the ADOH peer facilitator community (excerpts below) support anecdotal comments heard from women across the Christian community.

 

  1. After discovery or disclosure did you turn to your church for support

     Yes: 80.95%                     No: 19.05% 

  2. Did the pastor/minister or church leader demonstrate a basic understanding of sexual addiction/compulsive sexual behaviors?

    Yes: 21.05%                      No: 76.95%

  3. Did the pastor/minister or church leader inform you of appropriate resources in your community or elsewhere?

    Yes: 10.53%                      No: 89.47%

  4. Does attending your local church help you feel emotionally and spiritually safe?        Yes: 42.06                         No:  57.14%

 

Please read those responses again. Eighty percent turned to their church for support. Yet, 77% said their pastor/leader did not have a basic understanding of sexual addiction. And, according to question three responses, less than 11 percent could suggest helpful resources.

 

Sadly, although fictitious, 'Susi’s'' choice isn't surprising. Feeling invisible, misunderstood and alone many women simply leave the church. A recent email promoting a DVD/study guide series for men may help us understand why.

 

 “Men are in the Battle of Their Lives...This is How You Can Help”

"The latest statistics on pornography show that your church members may have a dirty little secret that is not so little. Chances are, on any given Sunday morning, 68% of men attending church will be struggling with pornography. The church is currently ill-equipped to deal with this epidemic. Only 7% of Pastors say that they have a program at their church to help those struggling with pornography. Are you at one of the 93% of churches that do not have a program for men? The ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­____________can help your church overcome the devastating effects of pornography and lead your men to victory.”

 

Those statistics came from a joint JoshMcDowell/Barna survey released in 2016. The quote describing the discrepancy between leadership awareness (93%) in contrast to the percentage of programs offered (7%) is troubling, right?

 

 

Another troubling statistic? If 68% of men sitting in church struggle with pornography with only minimum programs, what is available for women in the church?  

 

How might the church come alongside partners?

Start by recognizing partners already attend your church.  And like Susi, they feel invisible. Listen to their stories. Seek ways your community can walk alongside them, becoming more than just a safe place, but a people who collectively help reduce the barriers.

 

And then listen, look for and equip women who are already moving ahead in their recovery. They exude passion for becoming wounded healers.

 

 

Helpers. A well-known quote from Fred Rogers (from the Mister Rogers Neighborhood television series) can point the way.  “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping."

 

The discovery of a husband's sex addiction is very scary. Yet stories I hear from partners doing the hard work of recovery,  often through support groups, not only demonstrates resilience but the value of informed, equipped facilitators.

 

Church leader? Want to be a helper? You can start here

If that's you, and you’d like to know how to help partners: 5 Common Mistakes When Helping Wives of Porn Addicts in Our Churches   Author: Catherine Etherington from the UK

 

Interested in learning more about ADOH peer facilitator training?

 

In my next post I'll be highlighting content from the first module in ADOH training: A Crisis of Faith.

 

 

 

 

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Please reload

Featured Posts

A Door of Hope... the backstory

February 16, 2017

1/1
Please reload

Recent Posts

September 22, 2019

July 8, 2019

March 18, 2019

December 21, 2018