I just fought off a very strong, and one of the only, close calls I’ve had to a relapse since I started my recovery, the thing that brought me back was checking my profile and seeing that badge “83 days no PM”... one week until the 90 dream! My addiction was mainly porn, but that often extended to online chat rooms with other men, Hookup apps, pic trading, and on three occasions since I met my wife... actual encounters with other men. I tried and failed so many times to beat it in secret, it always made me feel terrible, but then the guilt of my actions would lead to stress, and the stress would lead me right back to craigslist. After over a month of reducing it to just hetero porn in January, something snapped one day and I hopped on one of the hookup apps with a fresh new fake email address, messaged the first guy in my area that was online... and half an hour later I was in his room performing oral sex on him. I stopped for a moment right after it started, I thought about my wife, my kids (2YO and 4 month old at the time), I wondered if they would ever forgive me if they learned what I was doing... if they knew what I really was like deep down... my future flashed before my eyes, but not a future of divorce, lonely weekends and missing big moments of the kids growing up, and depression that I had thrown away what makes me happy.. no I didn’t see the life I was heading towards, I saw the life I was throwing away! I saw anniversaries, giant birthday parties and family gatherings, my kids graduating and teaching them to drive! It was the kick in the teeth I needed to grow up and fight my way out of that cycle, whatever it takes, no matter the cost. I ran back to my hotel (working out of town), had a good long cry in the shower while I psyched myself up to tear down the castle of secrets and lies that I had built up over the last years. Sending my wife that “we need to talk” message was harder than getting on one knee with that ring in my pocket, it was harder than the first I love you, it was, at the time, the hardest thing I had ever willingly subjected myself to in my life. Fast forward a little, I initially only told her that I was addicted to porn and that there had been sexual encounters with men in my past, before her. After pondering that partial disclosure and having a few weeks of sobriety to get my mind right, I decided that I had to tell her EVERYTHING, it was the only way to be free. We saw a therapist for a while, worked on things, and I gave her a disclosure with the whole uncensored truth of where my addiction had taken me during our relationship. This woman, this wonderful, beautiful, incredible INCREDIBLE woman that married me... she held my hand and looked me in the eye while I cried through my confession, she touched my face and whispered words of love. She saw how badly I wanted to change and gave me the benefit of the doubt that I didn’t even know how to give to myself anymore. We came out of this with a new closeness, a better sex life, and a deeper happiness than we have ever known together. I don’t know what it was last night that triggered me so close to a relapse. We had a small argument that lead to me storming out to work, and after a subpar day at work and coming home to kids already fussing early in the morning was all just enough for me to crave some relief, but then I saw that badge, I looked at my family all back in bed, and I remembered why this is so important. I’m a week away from 90 days of sobriety, no porn, no masturbation, just healthy love for myself and my family. It’s a place I literally didn’t think was even possible for me 6 months ago. I was honestly incapable of imagining a realistic outcome that had this much light in it! But look at me now, a week away from 90 days! You can beat this. You should beat this, no matter how loudly the voice in your head says you don’t have to. Think about what matters to you, focus on it, go for it, you are worth the effort it takes to get out of your addiction, the life waiting for you at the other end of that tunnel is worth the effort. Don’t relapse, and if you do, stop and ask yourself why you don’t want to relapse again, then remind yourself of that reason every day until you can’t recognize the life you had before you fought your way into the life you want, the life you deserve, the life that is better than you ever imagined.