Stories of Hope – Michelle’s Story

In 2003, I discovered that my husband of two years was addicted to pornography.

It was a heartbreaking time, filled with a lot of shame and embarrassment.

He went through 6 months of meeting with the Bishop and I thought it was done. I was wrong. This continued for several more years like a very painful merry-go-round.

What I did not know was that my husband’s addiction was far more than pornography. He had, in fact, been unfaithful to me for our entire marriage. This came to light in September 2014. My husband was excommunicated from the LDS Church and we found Life Changing Services

As my husband began seeking real recovery, he disclosed more and more of his past. I felt like a broken, waster, worthless, shell of a person. I was angry. By the time he finished disclosing, I thought my spirit had burned and died.

How could I possibly ever find joy after this? How could I make peace with this complete lie of a life? What about our five children? 

I began attending WORTH meetings in October 2014. The skills there gave me hope. I learned that this was not my shame.

I began to release the anger and turn to my Heavenly Father. I found great comfort and strength in the Book of Mormon, particularly in the book of Alma. I began to recognize the manipulation that had been part of my marriage for so long. I learned how the Spirit speaks to me, and learned to trust that above all else. 

My husband attended Men of Moroni weekly and developed friendships there. His group members pushed him out of his comfort zone and encouraged him on his low days. 

Month by month, the fog lifted.

Suddenly, he was seeing things through new eyes. He began reading the Book of Mormon. That has expanded to the entire standard works. His prayers became substantive. His demeanor changed with the children.

He became genuinely interested in me as a person. He learned how to be empathetic with my pain.  He learned to take responsibility for the pain he caused. My husband has since been re-baptized and is hoping to have his priesthood and temple blessings restored soon. 

Our marriage looks nothing like it did before, and for that, I am grateful. I would not wish the pain of this addiction and betrayal on anyone. I also would not go back to the marriage I had before, even if it would erase the pain I felt and still feel at times. I would not change it because it made me who I am today.  

In the two years since my old world shattered, I have experienced the healing power of the Atonement. 

I have shared my story with many women and had the privilege of walking with them as they navigate this road that is all too familiar to me.  I have seen the spark return to countenances. I found my purpose. I went back to school to become a master’s level social worker in order to help others in this situation as well as others who have not yet found their voices.