Originally Published: April 28, 2018 6 a.m.
Dear Annie: My husband and I pretty much agree on things, but we disagree when it comes to where to vacation. I grew up skiing. Some of my best memories as a kid were family ski trips. I want to give the same experiences to my kids. The problem is that we live in Chicago, where the winters are brutal, so my husband always wants to vacation where it’s warm and never wants to go skiing. Every time we discuss where to go as a family for the kids’ breaks, there is a fight over location. I want to hit the icy slopes, while he wants to bake in the fiery sun. How do we settle this disagreement? — Fire and Ice
Dear Fire and Ice: Wanting to re-create the happy memories of your childhood is a great goal to have in mind. Don’t give up your desire to have some nice family ski trips. Your husband might like the coziness of warming up next to the fire and roasting marshmallows. After your family has a nice ski trip, plan on going on a beach trip. Continue compromising in this way -- alternating between one ice trip and one fire trip.
Dear Annie: “Ashamed in Kansas” wrote to discuss his pornography addiction.
I am in recovery from a 20-plus-year pornography addiction myself. Though there are noteworthy differences between his story and mine, the problem is very much the same. I never once thought that what I was doing was problematic, let alone addictive. I always simply told myself it was my chosen form of entertainment. Not sure whether that was the depth of my own denial or just ignorance.
Regardless, because of the nature of the content and social stigma associated with it, my addiction ran rampant and completely secret for years and years. When my wife discovered my behavior and its accompanying lies and deception, my entire world crashed down around me. I never meant to hurt anyone by it, but I did — in monumental ways.
What I’d like to tell “Ashamed in Kansas” is that recovery is possible. But simply acknowledging there is a problem, though a great first step, may not be enough. I applaud his efforts to seek help, but I want to say to him: Don’t give up if you hit dead ends. For me, I had to reach a point where I was faced with a life that was no longer manageable and a future that I could not accept.
“Ashamed in Kansas”: The bottom line is that help is available, but you have to be willing to go to any lengths to get it. Install filter programs on computers. Destroy or throw away any magazines, movies, hard drives, etc. Find a Sex Addicts Anonymous meeting. If you have to drive three hours to get to it, then drive three hours to get to it. If there is only one specialist in your area, do what has to be done to see this person, or seek a more general addiction specialist if necessary. I, too, scoffed at the cost of a counselor, but I quickly came to realize I was simply making another excuse to not do what needed to be done. (We addicts are great at making excuses.)
I have been “sober” since August 2013 with the help of my therapist, my family and my Sex Addicts Anonymous “family.” There is no way I could have done it by myself. I wish you well, “Ashamed in Kansas,” and sincerely hope you find something that works for you. — In Recovery in Indiana
Dear In Recovery: I love hearing from people in recovery. You’re living proof that no problem is too big to be managed when we find help. Thanks for sharing your story.
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