Our real life love story of finding hope and recovery from addiction

A few years ago I took the time to write up our “love story,” where I shared our ups and downs of meeting, courtship, engagement, un-engagement and finally marriage and a “happily ever after.” I alluded to some of the struggles we worked through but for anonymity and privacy, left out some gaping holes in the story. And at the time that was the right thing to do.

For a long time now, Neil and I have had strong feelings about sharing our story of recovery from addiction and healing from the aftermath, but we've waited until the time felt right. We had said, let's get through all 12 steps, and then talk. We both completed the 12 steps (patterned after Alcoholics Anonymous) within the last couple months, and have continued to pray to know when it's the right time.

We didn't plan for this to all come out on Valentine's Day, but last night on our way home from our 12-step meeting, the Addiction Recovery Program (that I'll refer to as ARP) hosted at our church, Neil and I called each other since we had driven separately (meeting up after the gym and the mall – I'll let you guess who was where!) and after hearing some really raw and real shares, we finally decided it was time. It's time.

This story was told with Neil's permission and support. He read through and approved the entire post before it was published.

I'm going to take a page from my sponsor Mandi's story (who I have to thank for our awareness of ARP because she bravely shared her husband and her story years ago) and say this: if you know us personally, or if you feel like you've known us from the years of reading my blog, I hope you can read this story with an open heart and that you will love us (and especially Neil) even more after opening up about our struggles. But if not, that's okay too.

We are sharing this because someone else shared before we did, and that brought us hope. That brought us to a meeting where we found hope and healing. And so I hope that by sharing this story, we can inspire hope in others too.

When I met Neil I fell and I fell hard. He was kind and fun to be around and charming (he actually CALLED to ask me out on each date instead of text!!) and most of all, he openly talked about his belief in the gospel of Jesus Christ. His openness about religious beliefs attracted me to him more than anything.

We dated for a few months and I kept falling for him until he dumped me, just like he had every other girlfriend before me, right on cue around the 3 month mark – also 3 days before Christmas. I was devastated.

I honestly felt completely blindsided – everything was going SO perfectly. I was even the first girl he had said the big 3 words “I LOVE YOU” to (well, since high school) so I really felt like this was it! I couldn't stand that it seemed so out of left-field so I finally called him and said, “I think you owe me an explanation.” And for some crazy reason he agreed with me and said, “you know what, I do. Let's go on a drive tonight.”

He picked me up to go on a drive on a night when huge white snowflakes were softly falling, and I'll never forget him telling me these words as we sat in his car: “I have a problem with pornography.”

It turned out I was one of maybe 3 people in his entire life he had ever opened up to about this, other than bishops (his ecclesiastical leaders). And I remember feeling a little surprised by his admission, but even more surprised that I wasn't immediately scared off. It was weird but I had this calming peace come over me that almost made me feel like “don't freak out. Just listen.” We talked for quite a while after that and he opened up about how he had struggled with this since he was a young kid, but had recently started going to 12-step non-denominational meetings.

That was the beginning of a LONG road of various attempts to find recovery from addiction.

Now I know that pornography is, to some people, a normal part of life. In our faith, we believe very strongly that having a pure mind and clean thoughts is a vital component of staying connected to God, and that fidelity in marriage includes your thoughts and what you consume, just like Matthew 5:28 says, “whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”

I'm not here to debate whether pornography is a good or bad thing, whether it's healthy or damaging, in your personal belief system, but there are many scientific sources and studies out there that provide evidence that when people are addicted to pornography, it's as harmful to the brain (or more) than drugs like cocaine and heroin. I just want to point out that whether or not you believe pornography is good, bad or you're indifferent, someone struggling with a pornography addiction is struggling just like someone who is addicted to alcohol or any other controlling substance.

So anyway, Neil was fighting to overcome his addiction, which included continuing to attend a non-denominational 12-step meeting and eventually, after hearing good things about a paid outpatient program for pornography addicts, he invited me to go check out this outpatient recovery program. I won't say too much about this because I honestly don't have great feelings about this recovery program in particular. I know people who have had good experiences in rehab programs, and Neil still feels like he learned some good things from this experience, but I don't have warm fuzzy feelings overall about this outpatient rehab program. Mostly because we spent a few years of very, very expensive monthly payments for us to be part of this program, that ultimately didn't work for us. I can only speak from personal experience though.

I remember a neighbor from my hometown, who was running an ARP meeting, telling me of a girl who had been through that very same outpatient program with her husband, before they found ARP. But in ARP they had finally found the solution, they finally found real recovery, and that she believed you shouldn't have to pay to find recovery. Something about that rang true with me, but I still wasn't ready to believe just another church meeting was going to be enough.

Well again if you go back to our love story, you'll read that we got engaged, and unengaged. That's because with ANY addiction comes lies, and Neil had lied to me about being “sober” (not actively participating in his addiction) when he really was not, and I caught him in a lie. The heartbreak of what I knew I needed to do, break off our engagement, was unlike anything I had ever experienced. I loved him so much and that breakup was utter devastation for me.

After an excruciating engagement break-up, and a few weeks of not talking to each other, we began speaking again, and dating, and eventually talking about maybe getting back together. I knew I loved him, and I knew that I had received a CLEAR answer from God that I was supposed to marry Neil. How in the world that was going to work out with all the obstacles we faced with his addiction, I didn't know. But I knew I had received a very clear “YES” when I prayed about marrying him. So I followed that feeling and took my time to trust him again. In the meantime Neil worked really, really hard to get clean and be ready for us to be married.

I remember so vividly the day we got married that I felt 1 million percent right about it, I knew God was happy, and I knew he was totally worthy to be in the temple with me that day. I knew it in my heart and in my gut and right down to my bones.

Unfortunately, that wasn't the end of it. As addiction likes to do, when you haven't gone through a thorough recovery process, it creeps back in because, well, life happens. And when an addict has had a lifetime of “numbing out” anytime life is hard or challenging, anytime they're depressed or anxious or bored or lonely or feeling fear, if an addict has been used to numbing out those uncomfortable feelings with any type of addiction – drinking, drugs, sex, porn, over eating, gambling, you name it, that's most likely what they're going to turn to, because that's what they've been doing for so long.

It didn't take long before we were struggling in our marriage. Neil was trying, but he was slipping a lot. Lapsing, relapsing, sometimes lying, and hurting me over and over and over. I started to emotionally detach myself from him, and it was easy in Utah to do that because I had all the support I needed. I had my family, I had friends from high school and college and before marriage and after marriage and we had a baby who became my whole entire world and I just found a way to not “need” Neil.

That unhealthy behavior on both our ends led us to when Anabelle was 18 months old and we had been married for almost three years, and I wasn't sure we were going to make it. Around this time, I was sick and tired of all the failed attempts at recovery and reached out to my blogger friend Mandi, who had published her story of recovery through ARP, and asked some questions about how to find our first ARP meeting (hint: right here!). They were free and open to addicts and family members supporting the addict, and she highly encouraged me to go with Neil to one of these general ARP meetings. So we did. And it was awkward.

The first ARP meeting Neil and I attended was just an older couple who had volunteered to run the meeting, and Neil, and me. That's it. We read through the 12 steps, read through that week's step, and “shared.” Awkward actually doesn't even begin to cover how uncomfortable it was at first.

BUT.

I remember feeling “the spirit.” I felt something. I knew there was something special about these meetings.

About the same time, while in the temple one evening, I had a strong impression we needed to move to California (which was so out of the blue) and soon after, Neil got a job offer that took us right to Southern California. That move was the beginning of some changes that ultimately saved our marriage.

Things weren't perfect right away though. Not even close.

We moved here and Neil pretty quickly found his way to the local ARP meeting and started attending weekly.

I want to make something really, really clear: Neil always had a desire to overcome his addiction, at least from the moment I met him. He has such a good heart and a desire to do good and be good.

In one of the best books I've ever read, Melody Beattie says in Codependent No More,”We don’t have to take things so personally. We take things to heart that we have no business taking to heart. For instance, saying “If you loved me you wouldn’t drink” to an alcoholic makes as much sense as saying “If you loved me, you wouldn’t cough” to someone who has pneumonia. Pneumonia victims will cough until they get appropriate treatment for their illness. Alcoholics will drink until they get the same. When people with a compulsive disorder do whatever it is they are compelled to do, they are not saying they don’t love you—they are saying they don’t love themselves.”

And although it sure felt like all those years of lapsing and relapsing were so personal, and designed to hurt me, they really weren't. Addiction is pain management. And when someone gives in to their addiction so many times, they lose the ability to choose anymore. This loss of ability is called “powerlessness.” I used to resent this term so viciously. I hated that addicts labeled themselves as powerless, like it was an excuse for them to play out as much of their damaging, hurtful behavior as they wanted without any accountability.

It wasn't until Neil had invited me over and over for weeks and months, and I finally agreed to attend the local ARP meeting in Southern California, and not even until I had attended for a long time, that I finally started to feel compassion and love and understanding toward other addicts, and eventually, toward him.

It was by hearing the raw and vulnerable struggles of other addicts, from hearing people I was getting to know and love, say “I'm so tired of hurting the people I love and I want to stop so bad but I just don't know how,” that my icy heart started to melt a little and I began to feel true charity toward the addicts in the ARP meeting rooms we attended.

But Neil continued to struggle, up and down, all while I thought he was doing okay because he just covered up his addiction with lies. Until about a year and a half ago. I was at September Fashion Week and upon my return, I caught him in one more lie and I didn't know if I could do it anymore. I completely fell apart and had an emotional breakdown, crying for a several days. I finally called Mandi and said “I literally can't do this anymore.” And she said to me, “well, are you ready to do the steps?” And that's when I finally gave in, because I was tired of my life being out of control.

Step 1 of the 12 steps says “Admit that you, of yourself, are powerless to overcome your addictions and that your life has become unmanageable.” I realized that although I didn't have an addiction, I could no longer control Neil's. I couldn't control whether he was going to stay clean or keep acting out! I had to get hope and healing myself, as I had heard people share their experiences of finding after doing the 12 steps over and over and over in these meetings we had attended for a couple of years at that point.

I dove in head-first and started working the steps. And in those ARP 12 steps, I found the most thorough repentance and healing process I've ever found in my life. I found out how to not fear the actions or even the events of life anymore. I found how to have hope in a Savior. I found the action steps to REALLY trusting God, that He knew me individually and had a plan for ME. I found that peace and happiness was something I was entitled to, regardless of Neil's choices.

And the funny thing about me finally not worrying about Neil's recovery or trying to “help” him or be codependent about his recovery (trying to control all the circumstances in our lives to make everything just right so he could get better), he was finally free to do whatever he wanted. Go all-in on his addiction, or go all-in on recovery.

He chose to go all-in on recovery.

Neil got serious about doing the 12 steps too and for the first time in our marriage, I saw a real change in him, while I was seeing that same change within myself. In our own separate recovery processes, we found hope, we found healing, we found the REALITY of the atonement of Jesus Christ and its complete ability to actually heal a  person from a lifelong paralyzing addiction, its ability to heal a family, to heal a marriage.

I used to walk into the ARP meetings feeling so much resentment. I resented addiction and the ugly, awful, terrible way it ripped families apart and ruined lives. I resented the people who were supposedly in recovery who came into the meetings laughing and joking with each other, seemingly so happy. I resented my husband for putting me through so much.

Now? I feel more love for the people in ARP than anyone I ever have other than my own family members. I feel deep compassion for the struggle they're facing, and an overflowing gratitude for the people who attended and shared their stories of hope that gave me the tiniest flicker of light at the end of what felt like an eternal tunnel of darkness in the shadow of addiction.

I want to make it clear that although our ARP meetings are held in LDS chapels, where we talk about God and Jesus saving us, these meetings are open to ANYONE, of any faith, and the only requirement is to have a desire to stop participating in the addiction. They're held in strict confidentiality and are a safe place to be open about what you're struggling with, and a place where you'll be inspired by other people who have found hope and healing from addiction.

How do I know Neil will never relapse again? I don't. But I know that I've never seen him happier, or felt more trust and love in our relationship as we have after doing the 12 steps.

How do I know he's not lying to me anymore? I know because I can feel it in our interactions, and I know that God will confirm to me what's right and the truth of all things. And most of all, I know that Neil is ultimately only in charge of his recovery and it's no longer my job to make sure I keep tabs on him. He gets to determine his happiness in life, and by freeing myself from obsessing over whether he's okay, I can be okay. And most of all, it's not my job to save Neil, I can only save myself.

(in Hawaii together, our happy place)

The 12th step in ARP says, “Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, share this message with others and practice these principles in all you do.”

At the risk of alienating friends or people in our community, or receiving criticism or even backlash for sharing this very personal story, I hope that we help at least one person. I hope that by opening up, some other wife out there doesn't feel like she's terribly alone and that no one in the world could ever understand the endless hell she's living in by suffering in the silence of her husband's addiction that she's keeping a secret from everyone around her. I know what that's like. And I know that every story doesn't end as happily as ours does. But this I know for sure: there is hope, and happiness, and peace available to ANYONE who wants to find it. And I found it in these meetings.

To anyone whose heart is broken today because of addiction, or feels like it's never going to be better, and it's never going to end, if you need someone else's hope to lean on, you can lean on ours. Change is possible, even in the gripping plague of addiction. The Savior can help you, and His atonement can heal the worst pain and the most broken hearts. The miracle of recovery is available to anyone who has a desire.

I know that we have a Heavenly Father who loves each of us more than we can possibly imagine, and I always said to Neil through the 7 years he struggled constantly to break his cycle of living in his addiction, that there's no way a loving Heavenly Father would allow so many of His children to suffer with addiction without a way out. I am so grateful we found the steps that showed us the way, and so grateful for Mandi for bravely sharing her story that ended up changing our lives completely. And I hope that by sharing this, we can bring even one person hope.

  • *read part two of our addiction recovery story here, including our podcast interviews that go more in depth from each of our perspectives and some helpful tips and resources for those struggling with addiction in their marriage or family.

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Comments

Layne:

Wow! So brave and courageous to share these vulnerable experiences. Thank you for loving boldly and honestly. I appreciate you sharing and draw strength from it as well.

Reply
Kelly:

What a beautiful, vulnerable and raw post. Thank you for your strength and courage in sharing your story and Neil for his strength and courage to fight the fight!

Reply
Rachel:

Thank you for sharing, I can only imagine how much courage this took for both of you. I’d admire the way you openly talk about God’s love, being LDS it’s not always easy to share our faith because there are many people with very strong opinions of it, but it is one of the reasons I follow you. Best of, I don’t want to say luck because it’s not, it’s hard work, so best of everything to your family.

Reply
Brittney:

What an incredible read! Thank you so much for sharing your story. I’m so happy that you and Neil are happier than ever and I pray that your love continues to grow and get stronger and stronger! xoxo

Reply
Chelsea:

It takes a strong person to share this and I admire you for doing so. Thank you!

Reply
Shannon:

You are amazing for sharing this Corrine. I’m sending to a friend I know needs this so much. You are my hero … so strong through everything.

Reply
Andie:

Wow. This is as real as it gets. Thank you for sharing this personal and heart-wrenching journey you’ve been on. My heart goes out to Neil. Addiction is a terrible disease with such an unfair stigma attached to it. Your truth is powerful and will get you through this. I’m certain you two will help so many people by sharing this. What an incredible gift. I wish you and your sweet family all the best. You both have a fan in me and I will be cheering you on from afar. 💕

“It passes….until then it teaches.”

Reply
Bailey:

This is beautiful. It hits home in many ways. Thank you for being brave and sharing your story!

Reply
Jamie:

Thank you doesn’t seem adequate enough but nonetheless THANK YOU for sharing your story. I too have a very similar story and after a girls night last night of hearing everyone share their “perfect” love stories, I came home and felt defeated. Although my husband is currently attending 12 step program for the past 8 months (after struggling on and off for 25+ years of porn addiction) and has been sober since attending it’s still been hard and I have inconsistently attended ARP myself, Anyways I came
Home just feeling like I couldn’t do this because I would
Never be able
To trust again after 12+ years of lies. Anyways I’m having a hard time writing as I sit in my
Car in the gym parking lot with my 2 year old (my youngest of 4). I NEEDED your story today. I NEEDED to be reminded once again not only was I not alone, but that my husband was truly trying to change and was slowly changing and we could have a beautiful marriage again, and to not give up when I so
Often feel like everyone around me has something I will never have. The Atonement of Christ is the most precious thing we all have and it would be such a devastation to not fully utilize it and learn about it. Anyways THANK you!

Reply
Phoebe:

Sending love to you and your husband. Maybe in that small group of girls you are alone but there are many others dealing with circumstances similar to yours in one way or another. You can be strong and do whatever you need to do, I know that!!!

Reply
Jessica:

Thank you for sharing your story. Addiction is real, and it is hard! I hope all of your friends and family love both of you through it all.

Reply
Natalie:

My heart goes out to both of you. Neil, especially because he’s opening himself up to judgement by those around him by allowing his struggling to be seen by all. I think this is wonderful though. My personal belief is the more we share about addiction – pornography addiction especially – the less shame and isolation will be attached to it and then hopefully less of a vicious cycle of shame and acting out. I’m so happy for both of you! This is what this life is about right? Slowly perfecting ourselves and loving others through it all.

Reply
Phoebe:

Totally agree!!! I think a huge factor for this addiction in particular is the shame attached to it! Everyone makes mistakes/sins and lots of good people make a lot of bad choices. The more we share and connect with others the more, I believe, healing and love can come into each of our hearts for one another.

Reply
capturing joy with kristen duke:

What a beautiful story, thank you for sharing, I think Valentine’s Day is the perfect day for this love story. I know many dear friends affected by addiction, and I’m going to share this out to as many as I can think of, bless you and your husband for sharing your story…I love Mandi, and I love that she inspired you. Her story is equally beautiful.

Reply
Jodi:

Thank you, thank you! I have always loved following your blog and love how open you are when you don’t have to be. I needed this today, Valentine’s Day seems to always bring up feelings of betrayal and anger and this is a great reminder that everyday my husband is striving to be better and that is enough. Thank you, thank you.

Reply
Holly:

Oh my goodness- most courageous couple award! I am so impressed by your willingness to share. I am sure this will be an answer to prayer for many struggling people. You are both truly amazing. 💞

Reply
Melinda:

Beautiful. ❤️👍🏽 I love honesty and bravery and we need more of this in our world.

Reply
Carissa:

I can’t read this without commenting. You’ve shared so much truth. Opening your life this way can be so scary, but it’s your love for others that allowed you to do that, and that is the definition of beauty. I wish we talked about these things more because they are in our lives (everyones life) on different levels every day. You and your wonderful husband are so loved. I pray that you will both continue to find the love and access to our Savior in whatever ways you stand in need. Healing is a lifelong journey because we will ALWAYS need our Savior, and as long as we remember that every single day, we WILL endure and have joy. Happy Valentine’s Day to you both. Please also thank Neil for being brave enough, but especially
Kind enough, to share this part of your lives ❤

Reply
Kathleen @ Carrie Bradshaw Lied:

Thank you for continuing to be so incredibly brave and use your platform as a voice to show people that we are all flawed sinners but that there is hope for everyone. You are one of the most INCLUSIVE women I know and I admire your strength and courage!! Lots of love to the fam xo

Reply
Bridget:

❤️

Reply
Craig H:

Love you, Neil! you guys are shining examples!

Reply
Kristen:

Thank you for your courage to share your story. Although we don’t struggle with addiction everyone and every marriage has problems. Thank you for reminding me to not try to change my husband but to change myself, because I am far from perfect. Love to you and your family!

Reply
MA:

So proud of you for posting about your journey with pornography addiction. It takes a lot of courage to come forward and be open about your experience. This post will reach someone who needs the strength to continue in a similar situation. Pornography addiction has become epidemic and there are so many people who need this support and way out. ARP is an amazing program that changes lives. So glad it has changed yours ❤️

Reply
Lucy:

Your faith, strength, and love blow me away!

Reply
Jessica:

I love how we can grow and be blessed from our worst experiences! I don’t know you personally, but just from social media it seems that you have grown closer to God during this time and have taken the opportunity to become more like Him! Thank you Neil and Corrine for being open about something so personal! Shame and secrecy from something similar tore my parents apart. I think the more people are open about not being perfect, the more we don’t feel alone in our struggles. I’m know this post will give hope to others. Lots of love for your family!!! 😘

Reply
Anonymous:

This was absolutely beautiful and brave and just amazing. You have helped at least one person today. Me. I have followed you for years, and have loved it. Tears down my face as I read this and felt that someone else feels or has felt like me. Thank you so, so much for being willing to connect over this addiction that plagues so many marriages. I wish I was as brave as you and your husband, and I want you to know I feel the same exact way you have. This was beautifully written, and it gives me hope and happiness to hear of another who has also found hope. Thank you

Reply
Jen:

Your bravery, honesty and vulnerability is inspiring! No marriage or person is perfect, but owning those imperfections and working on them is the best thing we can do. Bravo to you and Neil for sacrificing your own privacy so others can heal too!

Reply
Mallory:

Thank you for sharing! I know how hard it can be. My ex husband had a pornography addiction which I didn’t find out about until I found out it had led to an affair. I attended addiction recovery classes while we tried to work on our marriage, but ultimately, we were on different paths in life. I am so grateful for the programs they do have. Not only for the addicted but the ones that are hurt by the addictions as well.

Reply
Shayla Robinson:

My parents are Missionaries for the ARP program and their testimony of finding success in those meetings matches with your post so perfectly. Thank you for sharing and being vulnerable, sounds like you and your husband were meant to be in each others lives for a reason!

Reply
Anbre:

You are an amazing woman and Neil is an amazing guy! Thank you for being so vulnerable and sharing something so personal yet more common than is perceived. My husband is one of the founders of Fight the New Drug so we are very aware of the toxic nature of pornography but also of the beautiful healing process. We are co-teaching a couples dinner tomorrow about how to strengthen our homes against pornography and I found some great quotes from you that I hope you’d be ok with me sharing. Thanks again for sharing your story.

Reply
Conrad:

Thank you for sharing! I am one with a similar story! Glad I am not alone.

Reply
Marcie:

THank you so much for sharing! You both are so brave and no doubt inspired to share your story. Love and prayers to you both and continued success! ❤️

Reply
Rachael Allred:

My friend, I’m proud of you and your husband for sharing your story. It’s hard for those affected indirectly and for those addicted to feel like they can succeed when they feel like they’re one of a few “monsters” who are in this mess. It’s powerful to find out that you’re not the only one with this struggle! I have a BIL with a pornography addiction, and he has hurt my sister terribly. But I have hope for both of them because of the atonement of Jesus Christ, and because of couples like you who share these incredibly personal stories. You’re awesome. In one way or another, we are all just trying to fight the good fight, and are all hopelessly flawed. We all need the savior. Love and prayers to you both in your continued recovery. XO

Reply
Corbie:

Love you even more.

Reply
Wendy:

Never a more true love story than the love Jesus Christ. Thank you for sharing your true love story.

Reply
Camille:

Thank you for sharing. These experiences and trials can never be easy to share with the world. I appreciate your bravery. I have been through a very very similar experience with my husband as well. We have found recovery and strength through the church’s 12 step program, counseling, and an amazing online program called Candeo. As hard as it can be it has also brought us closer and our marriage stronger, through communication etc. and with 3 young boys I feel that this experience can only help open my eyes for what to be aware of, and how to protect my home and them. Best wishes to you both. Xo

Reply
Rachelle:

My heart aches, and relates to not only your pain, but also your joy! I have seen the most redeaming beautiful miracles happen associated with addiction and recovery. Something so ugly, made inginately beautiful in mercy and grace, that is love and charity. I love you (and now Neil) even more for having the courage to share. The ARP meetings are amazing and haggling if we open our hearts to them. There is sadness, but so much hope! Thank you sister!

Reply
Hannah:

Aww I just LOVE you both! Neil has always been a person very near and dear to my heart. I have always admired him and loved him for who he is, and this just solidifies my admiration for who he has become! SO many (including me) can relate to you both. THANK YOU for calling attention to this, and bringing it to light.

Reply
Haylee Gunnerson:

Corrine! You are one amazing lady! I have no doubt that this post will bless the lives of countless people! Love to you sweet friend!

Reply
Keri:

This type of vulnerability is so desperately needed in the world and it’s the Gospel, the greatest love story of all time. Thank you for this. Cheering you and your husband on.

“They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.”
‭‭Revelation‬ ‭12:11‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Reply
Andrea:

Thank you for sharing! I work at a domestic violence shelter where there are lots of addictions that I see our residents deal with on a regular basis. I feel like I have a good grasp of their thoughts/feelings/actions, but it’s hard seeing people struggle, and this makes me feel helpless. Thank you for the reminder of hope!

Reply
Kelly:

If I could hug you both right now I would! Thank you for your true whole hearted story! May God be with you now and always! Pray for me and my family!

Reply
Brooke:

So beautifully said. Thank you for so bravely sharing.

Reply
Holly:

Corrine, you are such a light. Thank you to you and Neil for being so courageous and brave to share something so personal. Words cannot describe how much admiration I have for you. I know you will help save some many today through sharing your story. May Gods blessings rain down on you and your sweet family.

Reply
Caitlin:

Such an inspiring story of love, faith, honesty, and perseverance. Thank you for sharing!

Reply
Kara Layne:

This only made me love and respect you and your family more. Thank you for having the insight and courage to share it so others could feel less alone as well as empowered to be able to overcome their own addiction. So much love and respect to you and Neill!

Reply
Erika:

Oh Corrine, your story couldn’t have come at a better time. You’ve answered a prayer I couldn’t even find the words to say this morning.
I married the most beautiful soul, happy and loving person- just like you described, 5.5 months ago. My husband never told me about his addiction, I found it myself. He thought he had taken care of it and we were sealed. Two months into our marriage I thought my life was going to fall to pieces because my heart did. We are still going to the meetings but since his most recent relapse I keep feeling like everything before has been without any heart. We want a family. We are both 33 this year, and in the church that is practically a geriatric age to even be married at— I guess Idaho is not so crazy as Utah, but close. I’m scared to move forward with this man. And I bawled reading your story but was so inspired by your grit and patience. Thank for being brave, for being open, and for your why. I have the MOST compassion for addicts/recovering families in the world. You have given me so much hope 💜 the best is yet to come

Reply
Holly:

Thank you for being brave enough to share your story. I know it will touch and help so many lives. ❤️

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Amber:

Wow Corrine. I so much admire yours and Neil’s vulnerability and courage to talk about and post this to the public. For anyone to read, judge, or whatever they so choose. Thank you for posting it! Especially when majority of social media users are unfairly judging people’s lives as perfect based on IG pictures or blogs or whatever, I think the raw and not so easy to talk about things are incredible and show much more as a human. Personally, I don’t have experience with an addiction in my marriage, but I think this goes beyond addiction. Overcoming obstacles TOGETHER, understanding, love, & we only control our happiness, not anyone elses. That is GOLD! When I learned this I became a happier, lighter, better version of myself, but I think I’ve still got work to do and reading this reminded me of the importance. I loved reading your story. THANK YOU BOTH FOR SHARING

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Holly:

I love this so very much. My life is forever changed from my ex-husband’s pornography addiction. I am a single Mom of seven amazing children and my ex after years of struggling and two years being divorced is my best friend. It has been excruciating work but I have found so much peace in my Savior. Sharing is so powerful. Bless you and your hubby.❤️

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Anonymous:

Big thanks to you & Neil for your vulnerability in sharing this story. Addiction & infidelity in my marriage have taken such ugly tolls on my health, faith, & love.

I don’t doubt that you know the loneliness & isolation I feel right now. What a blessing to see that even beautiful, successful women like you can end up in situations like these. Surely it’s an even greater blessing to see that you found the hope, healing, & recovery you sought.

Twelve step meetings are intimidating. Thank you for sharing that your first time attending was challenging, but working the steps brought you where you are today. You’ve given me the courage to attend an ARP meeting.

Thank you.

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Anonymous Man:

I don’t follow you but I was sent this story this morning and I’m so glad I was able to read it. Our story so closely follows yours that you could almost substitute our names for yours in your post. I appreciate you sharing your story. I have been attending ARP (and non-LDS 12-step groups before that) so I know how hard it is to reveal yourself to a group of strangers, but to do it publicly is incredibly brave. It’s wonderful to hear success stories! For those reading this who may be reluctant to attend a meeting, I say JUST DO IT. If you’re curious about how things work there, there are recordings of meetings you can listen to to get an idea. In the MormonChannel App (for iphone and android) go to Audio > Audio Programs > Men’s Pornography Addiction Recovery Group. There are 12 recordings (one for each step) from a group in Utah I believe. It’s not a substitute for real meetings, but it’ll give you an idea and they are good to listen to while driving, or if you can’t attend a meeting for a while.

I don’t know if you respond to these posts or not, but if so I’d be curious to hear what was your method for “working” the steps? I’ve noticed the LDS groups don’t really use the sponsor system like other non-denominational groups do. Did you just sit down with the handbook and read through it and record thoughts, etc.? I’ve been “in recovery” for a long time and attending meetings but haven’t fully worked the steps, and I know I need to.

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Neil Stokoe:

Anonymous Man,

Well said brother! I love the mormon channel app 12 step meetings. I listen to them while working out at the gym and they’re amazing. There are some solid shares and stories in there. Robert is one of my favorites, it’s all about humility! (which is a constant struggle for me).

I thought I’d chime in because I know Corrine has a lot of amazing comments to get to. I’ve been reading them all day and feel a new level of peace and strength in my recovery that I’ve never felt before, THANK YOU everyone for your encouraging words and for sharing pieces of your story. I can’t even begin to express my heartfelt gratitude and love for everyone.

In answer to your question, there’s a solid culture in our area ARP group that is similar to AA. We do chips, talk about where we’re currently at and what steps we’re actively working on. We have sponsors and sponsor others. (The ARP manual mentions a “trusted advisor” which I interpret as a sponsor). The way I worked, and am working the steps, is to throw out everything I thought I knew about recovery before ARP and prayerfully work the steps in the manual with as much sincerity of heart and real intent as I possibly can. It took COUNTLESS relapses and failed attempts to recover on my own before I finally realized that I had no chance without God’s help. I had to be compelled to be humble but I’ve found it to be one of the greatest blessings in my life. It was only going to happen through the atonement of Christ, not because of any knowledge I thought I had or tools I had learned in my recovery program. (John 14:6) The tools never worked until I surrendered first (i.e. yield to the enticings of the spirit, Mosiah 3:19).

I started with step one and only worried about step one until I was done with it before moving onto the next. I prayerfully studied the step in the manual, highlighted what stood out to me, then answered the questions at the end the of the step as honesty as I could. I made a conscious effort each week to follow what the Action Steps portion of the manual said to do. Then I would meet up with my sponsor after completing the work in the step to talk about it. I also would have (and still strive to have) a standing monthly meeting with my bishop to stay accountable. I’ve tried to be as thorough and rigorously honest as possible in working the steps, leaving nothing on the table. Each week I strive to share honestly in the meetings about where I’m at and the step I’m currently working. It’s a pretty simple program but I’ve found it’s made all the difference for me. It took me a year to work through all 12 steps (everyone has their own pace). Now I’m working the maintenance steps (10-12) and will, God willing, for the rest of my life, one day at a time.

I think of all of it the same as the bible story about the children of Israel getting bitten by the snakes in the wilderness. All they had to do was look at the staff to be healed. But people thought it was too simple and they were too prideful to look and be saved, so they died. My addiction/recovery works basically the same. All I have to do is look at the staff (work the steps as I outlined above) and I get a “daily reprieve based on maintaining a fit spiritual condition” (Big Book AA). As long as I’m willing to take the actions, God does the rest. Someone told me ARP also stands for the “Action Required Program”. I couldn’t agree more. That’s been absolutely true for me.

Hopefully this helps answer your question. This is just my own experience, nothing more. Corrine has worked and is working a similar program. Email me if you have questions, neil@mintarrow.com.

PS: If your wife’s not attending already invite her to. That was HUGE for us and a turning point in my recovery.

Thanks,

Neil

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Tamara:

Thank you for sharing. I struggled earlier on in my marriage with similar issues. This is a good reminder to me of how far my husband and I have come. And that God is faithful through it all.

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Carie:

This is beautiful. When I learn of other people’s heartache, struggles and trials, I always think “Are we all not beggars?” We ALL need the atonement in our lives. There is no shame in imperfection, only shame in trying to battle it alone or thinking we can’t change. Your courage to share your story gives us permission to all be more authentic and open hearted. ❤️

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Andrea:

This will touch so many people’s lives. Thank you for your inspiration, examples of love, forgiveness, and devotion to doing good.

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Susan:

Corrine, yours is a story that I would never have believed if you hadn’t written your story. My husband and I served in the ARP a few years ago. We came to love those who attended. There were amazing stories of drug addicts that were so in over their heads that they should have died. It was pretty rewarding about a year ago when a man came up to my husband in the temple and said, “do you remember me?” And he was one of those who attended a couple different meetings a week trying to keep his life straight. But the saddest addicts and biggest majority that came to those meetings were those addicted to pornography.. Some were college students, some were returned missionaries. It was enough to break our hearts but they at least we’re trying by coming to meetings. So although you and Neil seem like the perfect couple—this addiction can happen to anybody and you won’t even be able to read it on their face or have any indication. So I wish you well in attending the meetings and thank you for sharing your personal struggle and offering a solution. ❤️

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Julia:

Thank you this helped me ❤️

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Shirley:

I don’t know you, but I have always felt uplifted and blessed by your posts – and that is saying a lot for a fashion blogger! I can’t say that if any other fashion blog I know. This post left me teary – so thankful for your courage, your faith, your example, and mostly for our Savior who makes it all possible. You are beautiful and inspiring in every way, and I wish for the most beautiful blessings for your family.

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Mandy:

I think this is so wonderful of you both to share. I admire you and Neil so much after reading this. I don’t have anything insightful to comment, but I wanted to tell you how brave, committed, and wonderful I think you both are.

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Roxanne:

Thank you both for sharing your story. Honest, beautiful and filled with hope! ❤️

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K:

God bless you in your journey. I have walked a similar path, with a different outcome. Wishing you peace and strength in the days ahead. Thanks for being brave and real enough to share, I know first hand it isn’t an easy thing to open up about. Wishing you all the best.

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Alessandra:

You and Neil should be so proud of yourselves. I’ve always followed you for surface things like fashion sales and baby suggestions, but it feels so right to follow a couple with such a profound love for Christ and such real experiences you’re willing to share with us. Thank you for your bravery and for spreading God’s word in a world where it is silenced unless seeked.

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Trisha:

Wow your simply incredible, so proud of you and your husband for sharing your very tough story and life together. Your brave and willing to sacrifice so much to help others. Thank you

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Debbie:

Thank you! You have touched my heart and answered my prayers. You wrote my story and gave me hope. Feeling a little less alone today.

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Lindsay:

Thank you so much for sharing your story. My dad has struggled with pornography since I was a kid, and he continues to struggle with it. It has torn my family apart, and I wish he could get the help he needs through this program — but I don’t think it’s in the cards right now. I love that you went through the program, too, and I’m thinking I probably need to just to figure out how to forgive and love my dad again. I have so much respect for you for sharing this story!

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Rick Thomas:

Thank you for your courage, faith, and patience. As a Church Service Missionary assigned as a group leader in the ADR program in the Phoenix area, I wish every person attending my groups could feel what you and your husband have felt. I tell my groups that I can describe the ADR program in three words: “Surrender to Christ.” May the Lord bless you and your husband to sustain your joy.

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Sydney Bishoff:

Thank you so much for having courage and sharing your story. You are both inspiring.

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Alisa:

Thank you for telling your story! I’m dating a man who just shared his addiction to pornography and am questioning if I can be strong enough for this challenge. Your words are Encouraging and I appreciate you sharing what you have learned. ❤️

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Joanne:

You two are the most strong and courageous people I know. Thank you for sharing your story!

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Kristy:

That took GUTS. Thank you. Thank you for having strength for me to draw from. ❤❤❤ Much love to you BOTH this Valentine’s.

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Michelle:

I am so moved by your bravery, vulnerability, and message. Thank you for having the courage to share your heart. Your words are powerful, honest and inspiring.

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Dawn:

Sharing that took a lot of courage and faith on both of your parts! I’m always so impressed by how honest and open you are with your faith! Reading your blog and following you on instagram is refreshing and uplifting and I really appreciate what you share!

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Katie:

This was just the post that i needed to read today and the timing of you posing, was meant to be. Thank you for sharing !!

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Chari:

Corrine! I knew the minute I met you, you were something special. You’re always so full of hope and light. Isn’t it funny how we have no idea what others are going through!? I had no idea. It’s scary being this vulnerable, but those of us watching your life unfold via social media have so much more respect. We can say “me too” instead of “poor me”.
I sure love and adore you!!!

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Haylie:

Corrine, you continue to share your light and the light of Christ in such brave ways. You remind me of the kind of woman Sharon Eubank and President Kimball talk about in her talk “Turn On Your Light” from the Oct 2017 RS Meeting. Very simply, thank you both for such inspiring examples. Big hugs.

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Anon:

Many true and beautiful things were written here. Loved this! One of the most touching things was reading Corrine’s awareness that she used to see it as a burden and hate that she had to go through this because of her husband’s imperfections…then change to see things in a new light and feel so much love and compassion and forgiveness. So many people don’t have that change of heart, they continue in their darkness and hate and pride. It’s really beautiful to see. Thank you!

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Suzanne:

I’ve been following you for years and wow, you have so much courage to publish and share this personal experience! All the best to your family!

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Josie:

This meant the world to me. I have had many similar feelings, and I have gratitude for you being so open. I hope you receive all the love in the word.

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Lori:

My husband and I attended the LDS ARP, it was so awesome and the spirit was very strong at those meetings! it is so refreshing to have someone be real and share real life struggles! Your post will help many! Very brave of you!!

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Katie:

Wow!! This was an awful nspiring read!! You are both so strong!!! I wish you nothing but the best in your continued journey, because I know how some days, will always be a struggle!! Blessings, hugs, and prayers to you both!!

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Katie:

*inspiring!* not awful!!! So sorry!! Stupid spellcheck!!

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Kari:

That was incredibly heart warming. I have so much respect for both of you. For your struggle and your choice to improve and for your courage to share your story. From the bottom of my heart THaNk YoU for speaking out.

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Jenae:

This must’ve been really hard to write. I applaud you for sharing this with everyone. I love how you’re real and how you tell it like it is (with everything, not just this). You’re still my favorite blogger and it’s because of how real and raw your posts can get. My husband and I don’t have the same struggles you and Neil are facing, but we have our own. I wish you two the best and hope you continue to be strong together. Thank you for sharing your story. You’re amazing, Corrine! xo

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Trisha:

Thank you for sharing your story. No matter the hardship, relatable or not, it’s helpful to know that others struggle too. I suffered from PPD after having my daughter and finally someone shared their TRUE experiences with me – they felt similar fears, resentment and lack of connection with their children. Hearing just one person be real about it helped me find solid ground and get the help I needed. From that moment on, I vowed to always be honest and frank about what I went through in hopes that other moms can find comfort (or help) if they need it. Again – thank you for sharing, you are amazing!

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Shea:

I can’t even begin to express to you the amount of respect I have for you both for sharing this! Thank you for sharing your “realness” even when it’s messy! It’s endearing and it just proves you two were meant to be!

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Ida:

Thank you for sharing your story and being so open. You are both truly courageous and such wonderful examples of love and light.

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Anonymous:

I can’t thank you enough for sharing this. My daughter and her soon-to-be fiance are literally living your story right now. I have no doubt you wrote this for them, and many others just like them. Also, as her mother, you’ve helped give me peace in knowing that they’re going to be okay. Thank you again!

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Audrey Hunter:

I’m so happy you shared this story. I have family members that struggle with addiction and through them have found so much compassion for those dealing with it in its various forms. I think sharing our struggles brings us together in the most meaningful way. I know with 100% certainty that you have helped more than one person through posting this.

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Jessica:

Thank you for your faith and vulnerability in sharing this! I grew up in a family with addiction issues that so needed this kind of healing.

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Tiffany Hatch:

Addictions have plagued my family my entire life. Currently struggling with my 25 year old sisters relapse of heroin after 16 months in jail and not being able to afford any counseling or programs after her release. I’m praying to God that my sister will choose sobriety again and my family will feel what you’ve felt. I thank you for sharing this 12 step program information. Maybe it’s what my sister and our family needs.

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Brian:

Great life story. Struggled off and on with this addiction in teens and twenties. Now in late thirties and am very thankful it’s been better for many years now. Pornography addiction is not an easy road. It’s not fun. It’s not glamorous. It’s lonely. Sad. Depressing. Isolating. The adversary causes us to dig a deeper hole each time we relapse. And it’s hard to see when you’re in the middle of it.

In the end I’ve come to learn one significant lesson in all this: no more secrets. Virtually all closely held secrets are damaging to US. The Father of Lies wants us to keep secrets and never reveal who we really are. And yet after this life, all will stand before our Maker and there will be nothing we can hide behind.

Stop the secrets and the sin will likely stop as well. Encourage others to share their truth and don’t run when they share. Mourn with them and reassure them that being open and honest is always best.

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debbie:

I have truly enjoyed following you and especially now as I had served 2 1/2 years as a missionary in the ARP program in Arizona. I also lived in Laguna Beach so I can relate to the beautiful area in which you now enjoy but I am home in Arizona where all my family is and where I need to be. Serving in the calling of missionary service for ARP was life-changing. You could not have expressed it any better than you did, I wish I had time and space to tell you the stories of lives that were changed in the most unbelievable ways possible. Everything you Posted is real and true and the sanctification of lives really do occur in the ARP program within the LDS church., I am a witness and testify of its truthfulness and the power and miracles of this program . Much love to you and your sweet family

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Melissa D:

I follow you but never comment. I just need to say I respect you so much for sharing something so difficult for the sake of helping just one other person. I believe this will help many, even those struggling with other addictions. You are BOTH so brave. Thank you for your transparency it is a rarity in your profession.

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Melissa C:

This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

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Lisa:

Thank you so much for having the courage to share. I have no doubt you will bless many lives with your vulnerability and openness. My family has been deeply affected by alcoholism, including the loss of a brother. Addiction is real and painful, but there is always hope. Bless you and your family!

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Alisa:

Just wanted to say THANK YOU for sharing this. I know it must not have been easy, but believe it will give hope to so many-and a reason to not feel as much shame. My ex-husband died of a drug addition to pain pills several years ago, and I will firmly say that the roller coaster of addiction is the hardest journey I have ever experienced. I think if there was more awareness and open discussion about addiction (as you bravely did here) more lives and marriages could be saved.

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Jenny:

Like so many of your readers have said, I
could not read this post without leaving a comment. Recently I have deleted my social media apps because the overly perfect display of lives on constant loop was making me despise my own. Luckily, I still receive your posts via email and I am so grateful that I do. Reading this was REAL, and quite honestly I was just thinking that I needed to unsubscribe from your posts because you too were an overly perfect blogger who I had no need for. But boy was I wrong, I had such a great need for you, and this post was such a great need for so many people. You should both stand proud in how far you have come, this type of vulnerability does not exist in our perfectly posed instagram world, but you have taken a stand together to show how your faith has saved your souls. What a blessing it has been to follow you and to learn from you. May your love continue to grow and be an example of what real love is.

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Neil Stokoe:

Thanks Jenny! I really appreciate what you said. I’ve felt the same way about much of what is portrayed in the social media world. I realize being a part of it in the way Corrine and I are can add to that to that perception. A big part of the reason in coming out with this has been to break that perception and be real about life’s struggles.

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Mel:

This shows me once again that I can never pick out a couple and say to myself “not them…those happy people would have no idea what it’s like to go through what I’m going through.” We never know what kinds of battles others are fighting, so I’m learning to just assume they are tough ones and extend kindness everywhere.

I wholeheartedly agree about the ARP meetings being a place of healing, even for the suffering spouse. At first I was reluctant to attend, thinking I didn’t have time for “one more thing” to support my husband. I soon realized that this meeting would be for me and my own learning and connection to others and my Savior.

Thank you for taking a risk and helping eliminate the stigma attached to people in addiction. Thanks especially to Neil.

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Neil Stokoe:

Thanks Mel! I always think of the quote from a talk given by Henry B. Eyring (LDS church leader) where he said, “When you meet someone, treat them as if they were in serious trouble, and you’ll be right more than half the time.”

The more I have real conversations with people the more blown away I am by what they’ve been through and overcome. I think we’re all more alike than we think in that way. Maybe it’s not an addiction to pornography but I’ve found everyone has a hidden battle they’re fighting.

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Rochelle:

Thank you for your vulnerability and for this whole post! Though I thankfully haven’t struggled with a spouse or myself having an addiction, its so refreshing to see someone bring awareness and hope for this awful addiction that so many face and to know that you are real and with real struggles. Marriage is anything but easy and free from trials so it’s always nice (does that sound horrible?) to know that we are all struggling together and no matter how perfect someone’s life might look- everyone has their own trials and demons to overcome! Thank you to your husband and you for your bravery! Instead of alienating me- you’ve made me more invested to follow you and your story because of your realness! Plus we are due around the same time!

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Angelina:

A good friend shared your story today and I thought I recognized your husband. We went to elementary school together! This post was brave and encouraging. I appreciated it! My husband struggles with an eating addiction and I’m constantly obsessed with his weight and what he eats etc…. We need to look into the 12 steps. So many things that you said opened my eyes. Thank you again and good luck 💜

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B:

I’ve been sitting here, crying as quietly as I can so that I don’t wake up my husband, as I’ve read your post and gone through the comments. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for sharing your story. My husband didn’t tell me about his pornography addiction until we’d been engaged for a month… now we’ve been married for 3 years. The road to recovery has been a long one. And an intensely lonely one. Your story filled me with so much hope. And helped me to feel a bit less alone tonight. So again… thank you ❤️

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Tiredofporn:

I’m still in the anger part of that cycle you described. All the church and world classes and “helpful” bubbly people haven’t actually been helpful, and I just want to leave my husband so he can figure it out himself. I keep staying because of the children, but it’s been 14 years and I’m tired of the lying, hiding, criticism, and negative vibe in the home. How you found the courage and humility to keep going to the temple is beyond me- I feel like a hypocrite when reading scriptures or walking in the temple doors. Oh, and it’s so fun to take the family to church and pretend to be perfect in the pews. Haha sigh. We’ve done numerous things, including ARP (no privacy, the bishop told everyone during a testimony meeting) and LDS marriage counselors. Basically, why should the wives stay and try to make it work when the husbands will never ever get out from under Satan’s chains?

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Corrine:

Hey there. My heart goes out to you, that is an incredibly difficult place to be and I have been there. I know all too well the “putting on a happy face” and just being tired. I remember when I had that emotional breakdown that I mention in the post that I told Neil I was “7 years tired” from his addiction causing me pain.
I am so sorry that happened to you guys with your bishop violating your anonymity without your permission. People who attend ARP generally really take that seriously. I do know several people who have tried going to nearby ARP meetings for a few reasons: a little more privacy (you might have a smaller chance of seeing people you know by going to a nearby town instead of your own), and just to try a different meeting out. I don’t know where you live but in our area, there are now 4-5 big meetings held within a 30 minute drive Tues – Thurs night that we can attend. Each meeting has a little different vibe depending on the group leader and facilitator, and unlike the congregation you attend because of your location, it’s totally okay to travel a little to another meeting when possible just to find a better fit. I really have found so much hope and healing in this process, for MYSELF most importantly, and I hope and pray the same for you. <3

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Tiredofporn:

7 years tired and putting on a happy face- yes, yes! That is truth. Thank you for the tip on attending a meeting in a different location- I should try that. Not sure if my husband would ever again, but at least I could be proactive…many friends who stayed in the marriage for years and then divorced say they wish they had left. Incredible that you are in it for the long-haul, because that takes strength and courage, and I’m impressed. Some days I just want to shut down the world’s internet and break all the computers and cell phones. Hahaha.

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Mel:

My heart breaks for you and the pain you are in. I’ve been there as well and I found it incredibly helpful to talk to a counselor just for myself who opened my eyes to the possibilities of divorce. I am not divorced but just knowing for myself that I am willing to make that difficult choice-with God’s direction-if the situation gets bad enough is actually liberating and allows me to be all in right now, knowing that I don’t have to commit to forever, regardless of circumstances. At the first few ARP meetings I attended I heard from several women who felt they had stayed too long in the marriage (30 YEARS seemed to be a common theme) and I vowed NOT to white knuckle it that long “for the kids” or any other reason. I think if you truly treat yourself with compassion and look for healing yourself you will be in a good place to make decisions. It sounds like your Bishop isn’t the one who can offer the personal support you need right now. Sorry to hear about the breach of confidence. :-/

Oh, and I second Corrine’s advice on the out of town meetings. I’ve visited several in my area; my favorite group feels like family and is worth the 30-minute drive.

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Jessamin:

Corrine, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing this! Someone shared it with me and it was like you were talking to me! My husband and I have been married for 9 years and he has had many addictions. It has been hard coming to the realization that he is an addict. Neither of us really knew that he suffered from this when we were married. I wish I had known then what I am learning now about addictions so that I was better able to handle it myself and to get him help sooner. But something in your post struck me. The word codependent describes what I have been trying to be our entire marriage. I am coming to terms that I cannot save him. I am freeing myself from keeping tabs on him and allowing him to work out his own salvation. I am not sure how our story will end up since he is currently addicted to something he doesn’t see as an addiction or bad and still feels he is worthy. It is the scariest of all his addictions for this reason. But he is in the middle of it and can’t see it as clearly as I do. He is getting help again and we will see where that leads us. I know that I can find happiness and peace no matter what. I am entitled to it as a daughter of God! I am no longer basing my happiness on him but in the Atonement of my Savior. I am so grateful for the gospel and for the ARP of the church. He attended them for about a year and it was the best year of our marriage. It was when he stopped attending that addiction started to creep back in. If he is willing I would like for him to go back to them and go with him this time! I feel hope in my Father’s plan for me and for my husband. I know that he will guide us to the place we need to be. Thank you soooo much again for sharing your story. I am grateful it was shared with me.

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A:

Thank you so much for this. My husband has struggled with his pornography addiction since he was pretty young, and I know that he hates it. I had the same feeling that you described when he told me about his addiction while we were dating – I wasn’t afraid or angry. I know that he loves me and that he would never do anything to hurt me. I trust him to tell me when it gets bad, and I make sure to never get angry when he opens up to me. I definitely want to look into those meetings, because the 12 step process could really help both of us.

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Heather:

I wonder where an Agnostic or Atheiest addicts can do a program like this and not feel annoyed, pushed away, or in disbelief of the program because of the difference in core beliefs. Any info appreciated!

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Corrine:

There are many non-denominational 12 step programs that only refer to a “higher power” to be inclusive to agnostic or atheist people. You can google “your location + 12 step meetings” to find options 🙂

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Mel:

Many, many agnostics and atheists find healing through AA and it’s reiterations! Some choose to use the “higher power” of the group, or its synergy to inspire them if they don’t believe in a Supreme Being of any kind.

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A:

Thank you for sharing this. My story is very similar to yours and I’ve lived through a lot of pain and betrayal trauma. My husband and I just started working real recovery through ARP a few months ago and we’ve come a long way but the journey is tough. Seeing your progress and hearing your hope gives me so much strength. Thank you.

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Dev:

Thank you for sharing this. I needed this to help thaw my icy heart after trying to recover from a horrible relapse and the related lies. My anxiety has progressed to having panic attacks whenever I see something related to his addiction and so I’ve been avoiding dealing with it. I saw this post and was going to not read it because of that but felt I should. Thank you for following the prompting to share.

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Eliza Thompson:

Bless you! Honestly this was so so beautiful and tender. We need so much more of this loving courage and compassion. You lighting the way will give so much comfort, validation and hope to people who feel so alone and scared and angry and heartbroken. If more people did this, the shame and darkness and perptual cycle, I think, would be greatly lessened. Seriously you are doing so much good, thank you so much.

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Tracie:

You have such a talented way of writing to make me feel like I was right there with you through the whole journey. Thank you for sharing!! And knowing you both, I feel I can say confidently you are both amazing people and I’m SO proud to call you my friend. xox

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Gina:

Pornography is so terrible. It has caught so many good men. Thank you for sharing your experience & testimony. Thank you to Neil for being open also. He must be a good one to keep fighting through such an addiction.

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NG:

Oh Corrine, thank you so much for sharing this. Thank you for being raw and real and sharing your story. Praying for you and Neil. May God comfort you and strengthen you both. Thank you for sharing your light. I love you both even more now.

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Jeff:

After more than 25 years of struggle I finally found hope 5 1/2 years ago.
ARP saved my marriage and my soul
Recovery from pornagrapht addiction is possible!

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Jennifer:

This post was like a balm for my heart and soul. Thank you for sharing. The part about “distancing yourself from your husband” because of everything going on rings true. That’s where I’m at. I think my husband is doing pretty well right now (maybe?) but I have distanced myself from him so that I don’t need him, won’t be hurt by him. I never realized the need for ME to do the twelve steps. Maybe that’s what I need to do. Your post just wrapped around me like a hug. Thanks again for sharing.

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MRB:

What an inspiring blog on ARP! PG Stapley sent this to me to read. There are more lives for the Stokoe’s to positively change:) Thank you for your courage and example.

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Karlee Migliori:

Thank you for sharing your story. Unfortunately my marriage fell apart from addiction, but reading your experience makes me feel less jaded, hope for others and more love for myself xoxo 💜

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Leslie Nelson:

Corrine, I’m sure your husband feels like you “Rewrote the stars” for him with your compassion and long suffering. I know though, you couldn’t have done that, without him rewriting his own first…..which really is a beautiful love story. One of determination and togetherness, despite the pain and heartache. Happy future to you two!

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Fara Akhay:

Thank you for sharing your story. It inspires me to be a truer disciple of Christ by relying more fully on Him and also being better at not judging others and being more patient with those around me. I especially like the part where you share about the importance of taking care of what we have control over, which really is only our own choices. My parents are ARP instructors here in Hawaiʻi and I forwarded this story to them in hopes that your story can bless the lives of the participants here (if needed) as well as my parents as insturctors. Mahalo!

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Cali LDS:

Corrine, I admire your courage and compassion.
Neil, count your blessings brother. You married a wonderful woman!
Sadly I am an addict myself. Got exposed to pornography when I was about 10 years old and have struggled with it since. I wish I did not have that problem. Stupidly enough I hid it from the world including my now wife of 20+ years. She discovered my addiction years ago and hates me and who can blame her right? Sadly she finds compassion for everybody else and says the Atonement is real except when it comes to me. I have been trying hard to stay clean. Today I was in the depths of despair and was about to turn to my addiction to “feel better”. Thankfully I ran into your post, and it stopped me in my tracks. You already helped one person today, me. Thank you.

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Neil Stokoe:

Thanks for your comment brother! I absolutely agree with you on marrying a wonderful woman. I’m extremely lucky for that and don’t take it lightly. It’s been a very delicate process to work through and has only happened through Christ. Thanks so much for sharing the affect our story had. It’s comments like this and several other similar ones that have made it all worth it. We wanted to help even just one person realize they’re not “terminally unique” when it comes to the atonement of Christ. If all we did was help you get another 24 of recovery today, we’d do it all over again. Much love my friend.

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Lesli Bonanni:

God bless you and Neil for your candid, raw, real and important message. You are brave and intelligent, and no doubt will help so many people. I respect the heck out of you both for your dedication, hard work, and true love for each other. You are making a difference in the world. How beautiful.

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Jared:

Thank you for bringing the conversation into the light!

This is an all-too-familiar story in my household in my 14-year marriage. I appreciate your willingness to “break anonymity” and believe wholeheartedly that being willing to be perfectly honest with ourselves and also not hiding in shame is one of the biggest keys to breaking the addiction and truly living in recovery rather than just abstaining from the addictive behavior.

I have found that attending ARP is an important step, but truly focusing on the actions in the step each week and being willing to engage in the conversations like this one has led me to a level of recovery I have not had in previous attempts.

Even with a growing period of recovery, I am not completely free from the addiction, but I have hope. Do I know I will never act out again? I don’t. But, I know I have a larger group of people, including family, friends, and others at ARP, that I can rely on that love me even after I have told them of my struggles. As the shame lifts, my power to overcome temptation increases.

I want to add my testimony that recovery is possible and is real and that the love I feel for my loving, patient wife is deeper than I could have ever imagined, and my love for my Savior has also grown in a way I didn’t know was possible.

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Neil Stokoe:

Thanks for sharing Jared. I’m always strengthened when I hear another person share about their experience, faith, and hope in recovery. Amen brother!

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Phoebe:

This is powerful truth!!! “As the shame lifts, my power to overcome temptation increases.” Thank you for sharing! I am proud of you for trying and then trying again! Really that is what this life is about.

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Jocelyn:

Words just fail to describe how much your story and shining example of recovery have impacted me. You are strong and courageous. Thank you for sharing that strength.

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Phoebe:

Thank you for sharing. I personally was more inspired by your transformation Corrine than the story of your husband. He has done a great job and I hope he continues to have success in the future because pornography is no joke!!!
We ALL need to see others for who they can become. I love how powerful your words were about the choices you could make because of your agency. Whether we are addicted to something or know someone who is. We all sin, struggle and take steps backwards on this journey and it is necessary to feel love and acceptance from the Savior to heal but it is really amazing to feel it from our peers as well.
I have this written in the front of my BOM “Satan defines me by my sins, the world defines me by what I achieve, the Savior defines me by my potential”. Thank you for reinforcing that today! Sending love to your family and I’m going to go love on mine!!!

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Jenn:

My husband has been in prison for almost 2 years now resulting from ponzi scheme type behavior due to a severe gambling addiction. He left me with a 4,3, and 4 month old to raise alone, on one income.
I without a doubt give God all the glory to my, not only survival, but that I am actually doing an okay job as a sole parent and provider.
I would like to say, I think addictions like pornography and gambling and viewed very differently in out society than say alcoholism/drug addiction. For the past 2 year I found a lot of judgement and misunderstanding. Most simply ant like he never existed, including my immediate family. It’s very surreal and heartbreaking. I wish I had a community (or even 1 person) that I could relate to. I do not. I am in tears still from reading your story and wish I could turn back time to understand and truly realize the addiction that was not only consuming, but stripping my husband of his life.
No matter our struggles, he was an amazing father and the void is palpable on a daily basis.

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Lacy:

Hi Jenn. I am going through a very similar story and would love to connect with you if this is at all possible. I don’t know how to leave my information but would love to somehow get in touch with you.

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Anonymous:

I wish I had read and shared this before addiction ended my brothers marriage. My heart breaks for him and the thought of what could’ve been.

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Whitney:

How I stumbled upon this post, must be divine. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It has brought great comfort to me. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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Jordan:

Corrine! You and Neil are angels. Brave, beautiful, angels that were put online for a reason. Thank you for sharing your story, your heart, and your story. I just admire the heck out of you both!! Love you girl!

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Laura:

I’m very grateful that you shared your story. My story is much the same and it’s been hard to suffer in silence because of the stigma and feeling embarrassed and not wanting people to know our challenges. The last two years have been the best and most healing but I’m still very guarded and not trusting completely

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Mahana M Ortega:

Thank you so much. I don’t know why Jordan Page reposted this today but it reached me when I needed it most! Last night I was thinking how in the world can I do this, and I feel your hope and love that there is that hope! Thank you so much!

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Anonymous:

Thank you for sharing. There is so much power in knowing others have felt such a similar heartache and struggle. I too am going to a 12 Step group for wives of addicts (SA Lifeline) and my husband is slowly trying to change. The 12 steps have completely changed how I handle life and I wish everyone could benefit from the things learned there. Betrayal trauma is a very real struggle for so many. I too am LDS and pray that my story can have a simile ending but thanks to these 12 Step groups, I know that I will be ok even if the turnout is now what I hope for. I just watched a documentary on Netflix called The Heart of Man and I highly recommend it! So good about pornography addiction. Thank you again for being so vulnerable and sharing your hope with everyone.

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Anonymous:

My marriage too has been plagued by this addiction. I was ready to throw in the towel and leave my husband. I believe this post is an answer to my prayer and helped me see my husband in a different light. Feeling understanding and compassion for Neil through your love brought me to feel compassion again for my husband. If you ever have doubts about sharing this post, know it saved one marriage and saved one woman from feeling so alone. So much love for both of you!

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Becca:

Corinne,
I can’t even tell you how powerful your words and story is. Whether you struggle with addiction, have a friend/family member that struggles with addiction, people need to hear you and your husband’s story. I am humbled and blessed by the two of you. Thank you for your story!

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mari:

just beautiful. Thank you for sharing. I know although some will take this and want to use it against you and your husband the rewards in helping others are so much greater.

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Heather Luczak:

I love this. My husband and I went through the the same thing for years and years and years. I resonate with your recovery process so very much. Nothing got better until I started to get better, and tend to my own salvation, without obsessing about what he was doing. So much peace and healing and love to be found in the Savior.

I have so much more compassion, especially for addicts honestly struggling to overcome. I have such a testimony of the healing power of love. And my husband, the kindest, best person I know has been a strength to many others in their own path to peace. Thanks for sharing Corrine. It’s funny that we were probably going through the same thing, at the same time, and yet the advisary tries to make you feel so isolated in your pain and struggles. Much love to you both!

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Corrine:

Thank you so much Heather, lots of love to you too!!

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