Rick Reynolds, LCSW
by Rick Reynolds, LCSW
Founder & President, Affair Recovery

Why Did They Cheat? Part 4: The Problem With Addictions

Why Did They Cheat? A Four Part Series

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In the fall of 1980, I took a course on problem solving at the University of Denver. At the time, I found it difficult to believe there was enough material to teach about this subject to warrant a three-hour course. In hindsight, however, it was one of the best graduate courses I've ever taken. It taught me to stop assuming that I knew what was wrong and, instead, assume that I have no earthly idea what the problem is.

What's The Real Problem Here?

Failure to identify the actual problem leads to a lot of wasted time, effort, and resources. It causes people to do the same things over and over again only to wind up with the same results. When it comes to betrayal or other self-destructive behaviors, it's natural to focus on behavioral change. But there are times, regardless of how hard you try, that the behavior stays the same. When that's the case, there's a good chance the behavior is a symptom of a much deeper, possibly even unidentified problem.

Over the past three weeks, I've explained why people cheat from a neurobiological perspective. I'd like to restate that this perspective is NOT an excuse for bad behavior. My hope in examining the problem through the neurobiological lens is to provide some explanation as to why someone who has done something this destructive continues the very behavior they say they want to stop.

If the behavior you are dealing with meets the criteria of the four C's mentioned in last week's newsletter , then rarely will willpower alone be sufficient to stop the behavior. When it comes to addictions, trying to "just stop it" is a recipe for disaster. Those seeking to stop addictive behaviors by mere force of will only create further destruction for those they love. With good intentions, they will continue to try, only to discover that you don't control addictions; rather, addictions end up controlling you. And, when the consequence of failure is continued betrayal of a loved one, the damage done only increases.

I remember one 12 step meeting when someone said to an old timer (a person who has years of sobriety) that they believed they finally hit bottom.

"You haven't hit bottom yet," the old-timer replied.

"How do you know whether or not I've hit bottom?" the other man asked defensively.

"Because you're still wearing a watch," said the old timer.

Can You Really Create A New Life?

Finding sufficient motivation to do what it's going to take to change doesn't come until most addicts have hit bottom, but bottom doesn't have to be a moment in time where you lose everything. Addiction is an elevator that continually moves downward, but we have the ability to get off at whatever floor we choose. All it takes is a desire for a different life and seeing the problem for what it is. You have to accept that, strange as it may seem, you have an addiction. You don't overcome addiction by stopping the behavior; instead, you create a new life where it's easier not to act out. You find something worthwhile to live for.

If you struggle with addiction, there are many resources available: 12-step programs, SMART Recovery, addiction counselors, and support groups. The one thing those in recovery need are others who will walk with them. As I mentioned in the second week's video, the addiction's powerful motivational engines will overcome reason and logic. Unless the addict can find others who understand the problem and are willing to come alongside them to help direct their recovery, the power of the addiction will return and, once again, drag them into a living hell. So, please don't try it alone. Find others who can keep you on the path of healing.

If your spouse struggles with addiction, I hope you'll consider enrolling in Harboring Hope. This course helps betrayed spouses heal and find hope in whatever circumstance. This course helps betrayed spouses heal and find hope in whatever circumstance. Rebuild your confidence and give yourself room to thrive by registering today: https://www.affairrecovery.com/product/harboring-hope.

Harboring Hope Registration Opens Soon!

The wait is over at last. This online course for the betrayed spouse is the healing protocol you've been looking for. Please note: groups can sell out in 1-2 hours.

"I just completed the Harboring Hope program. My husband was unfaithful to me emotionally, physically and sexually with a co-worker. What I wished I would've known is that forgiveness and reconciliation are two different things. People who refuse to forgive can never live their own lives, they are too busy obsessing about the life of the one who hurt them. They are stuck. They are unable to enjoy friends, family or even their children. They imprison themselves in a bondage of their own making. I definitely recommend the Harboring Hope program as a support for healing. To be in a safe community with other women who know what you're going through and how you're feeling is comforting. Whether you're able to reconcile or not, there is hope." — M., Michigan | HH Participant, April 2021.

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Hi my name is Kelly, I cheated on my husband about four years ago but he found out a year ago not making excuses for what I did but he have an addiction he's an alcoholic and he have looked up p*** for over 20 years that I know of hurt me deeply. On November 5th it will be a year what she calls D-Day that day he grabbed our house so bad that he ended up going to jail. Sorry I'm sorry my question is if it's been a year and he is still obsessing over wanting to contact this person which I have not seen over 5 years is that normal or should he move on? Don't get me wrong I understand that it's going to take longer than a year I've read your programs

Thanks for reaching out Kelly

Thanks for reaching out Kelly! For any questions please send them to info@hope-now.com :) 

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