Dave Name: DaveLocation: TexasOccupation: SalesSpouse Testimonial: Read Karen's Story HereChildren: 3Discovery Date: Fall, 1998Summary: My story began as a frightened child, evolved into a suicidal man, and continues by the grace of God and through the forgiveness of my wife. I was living a double life and could see no way out, but we have miraculously restored our marriage and want you to find hope to do the same. Story: I made a decision one Friday in July that I was going to go to work on Monday and go into my office where all my personal files were, and I was going to make sure all the insurance I had was in the front file, in the top drawer of my desk. The reason I was doing that was because on Monday afternoon I was going to take my Isuzu Rodeo, which that year that was rated the least safe vehicle of all cars and SUVs, and I was going to drive it up a highway where there was a huge column that held up the bridge. I was going to take the Rodeo as fast as I could and drive into that column. I knew a kid in high school who did that and died so I knew there was a great chance that it would work. By the impact I would die. I was hoping it would look like something in my car caused it. I had plenty of money in life insurance so my wife and my two kids would be set and most importantly, no one would ever know what I had done or who I had done it with and my secret would be forever kept. I also felt that if that happened, then my wife would be able to take the money she had and my two kids and find someone who certainly was better than me, and that seemed like a pretty good plan. I was euphoric about it; I was planning out every detail and it was exciting that I had found a way out where no one would get hurt. The crazy thing is that the day before we had a dinner party at our house, and I was out putting mulch out in my yard and I was out there crying thinking, what an image guy. I’m trying to make my yard look good for a dinner party and I’m going to take my life two days from now. Well that Sunday night as I went to bed I was just rolling back and forth, wrestling in my sleep. I woke up. I couldn’t sleep. I was arguing with myself just saying, “I did all the "right" things, I went to Promise Keepers, and I joined a Bible study. I did everything I was supposed to do and I continue to do the same bad things and this is the way out.” I kept feeling something within me urging me to turn myself in. Come Monday, I hadn’t slept all night. I went to the office and talked to a co-worker who had struggled with pornography before and asked him who I could talk to about my problems and he told me about Rick Reynolds. So after I decided to go to Rick (and I’m jumping ahead in the story a little), I spent three months unpacking my life, trying to discover how I got to this place. I shared with him that when I was a boy, my dad was an alcoholic, and he didn’t live at home. He was in and out of the home. I grew up in south Boston, Massachusetts, which was a tough place, and my dad wasn’t there. Fortunately, later in life when I was 8 he came back into my life. I shared with him that when I was 8 years old I was molested by a guy. When I was 12, 13, 14 years old it happened again with another guy. I turned all that anger and all that shame into becoming a womanizer at age 14. When I was in school I could find a girl who didn’t have a dad and I could prey on that and I could convince these girls to do whatever. They didn’t have the word “date rape” back then, but I most certainly mentally convinced girls to do things. I had been trained by the pros, if you know what I mean, by being molested. So I could talk these girlfriends into doing things. So I took all of that sexual depravity that happened to me as a little boy and I turned it into how I could do that to convince girls to do what I wanted them to do. I lived like that all the way through. Fortunately I was good enough in sports, I got a football scholarship to a football academy, so I went to a private military school in Vermont, played football there and lived this double life. I lived this absolute double life. After graduating college, I moved to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and met my wife three days after I moved there. When I moved to Florida, I was in the best shape of my life and thought I was going to be a single bachelor and play the field. Then I met my wife and my world kind of came crashing in. I felt things I hadn’t felt before. We dated for two years, I’m giving you the cliff notes version here, but we dated for two years. She was in college, and while she was in college I’d start playing around and then right before I was supposed to do something with a girl I wouldn’t do it because I really liked her (my future wife). Then when she moved back I told my friends. “Hey, if I can stay celibate for a year I’m going to marry this girl.” I stayed celibate for a year. Then we got married. We got married, and we lived in Florida, living the high life with great jobs and no kids. She always knew there was something wrong. She knew by the way that I looked at women, the way that I treated her different at times, just through my compulsive behavior about things, that I wasn’t exactly the man I was pretending to be. In 1993 I had an opportunity to move to Austin, Texas. So I became a big shot guy in Texas and worked at this company and Karen soon followed and moved in. She got pregnant and stopped working out of the house. In 1994, I went on a business trip and allowed myself to get overly induced with alcohol and went to the next step and cheated on my wife. I came back and then just pretended normal, pretended like nothing happened. Everything spiraled down after that but luckily Rick and Affair Recovery were there to guide Karen and me through this rough time in our lives. Struggle: I got in this pattern of “Good Dave” and “Player Dave.” I would be going to church, saying all the right things, and then I would slip back into the same things again. When I was doing it before I started going to church I just wrote it off as I was not a Christian but here I was, in church and doing the same things. I just couldn’t live that way anymore. I hated who I was; I didn’t believe that I wanted to continue to do it. But I kept doing as the parable says, “The dog kept going back to the vomit,” I just kept going back to it. Suicide was the only answer I could come up with and God showed me a different way. I was such an image management guy at the time, I didn’t know if I was making up this new image. Like, Transparent Dave the action hero, he’ll tell you anything. I didn’t know if I was making this up like, “Hey, I’m not caught and if I don’t get caught I’ll get extra points, and if I get extra point then she’ll think I’m this transparent guy.” But then I started thinking that I could never last. My will power won’t last. I could white knuckle this for a coupe of months and then I’ll be back to doing what I did before. So I had this debate going on in my mind; could I manufacture this thing long enough, and if it’s really you God you’ve got to show me how to do this. The other part of me was like, if she divorced me and she leaves, she’s going to go find someone new. Then I could go find someone new. I’m going to be the New Dave. I’m not going back to the woman I’ve betrayed, and the new woman I meet and get married to, I’m going to tell her everything and if she still wants to marry me at least she knows what I was like. Now I get to be the new guy and I don’t have to look at this new woman every day and think about what I did to her, because I didn’t do it to her. Then she could love me and she doesn’t have all of these scars. That’s like a re-do. Then the other part of me felt like it was saying, “Dave. She’s your helper. She’s the only one who knows exactly what you did. She’s the only one who feels the pain that you inflicted on her. If you truly want to change, you need to stay.” Then I thought about my two boys and I truly believe God just grabbed my heart toward my boys and I could just look at my boys and I could think, she has already proven that she could pick a bad guy as a husband. What if she picks the next guy and he’s bad and he’s a pedophile. If I’m in the house I know my kids are never going to be touched because I know what that felt like and I know what that looked like and I know God put me on this earth to stop that line of abuse. If I let my wife leave me and I give that away and something happens to those kids... Do I know she won’t marry another knucklehead like me, or worse? Course of Action: Karen and I had been going to a counselor off and on for years and I had been lying the whole time in counseling so it was like I had been paying money to get no help because I wasn’t telling the truth. I called that guy and said, “Listen, you know those issues I told you a little bit about? Yeah well they came up again. I can’t live this way anymore. Do you know anyone I can talk to?” He said, “Yeah, there’s one guy. Why don’t you come see me?” I said, “No, I’ve been lying to you for years, I’ll just keep lying. I need someone different.” He said, “Yeah, how about Rick Reynolds.” So, two-for-two. My co-worker and my counselor told me about Rick so I decided to call his office. Someone answered the phone and said, “Rick only sees people who have had affairs or sexual addiction.” I said, “He’ll see me.” So I went to Rick’s office, sat down, and he showed me this 8-millimeter projector. He didn’t really even talk to me he was just like, “come on in.” I sat in his office, he showed me this diagram that he uses for EMS Weekend and EMS Online and it was the first time in my life, ever, that someone showed me “me.” I never ever in my life understood where I was, how I got there, and if there was hope. He showed this diagram, and then he showed this second diagram. One was a cycle of bondage and one was a cycle of grace. The cycle of grace was something that I could absolutely grab on to; I have never seen anything like that before. Of course Rick did all the talking, I didn’t even get to talk. So I leave the meeting and he goes, “Do you want to come back?” I said, “As long as I get to talk next time.” He said, “Yeah, there will be plenty of time to talk.” He reached out his hand and he said, “Dave, I’m glad you’re here and I just want to let you know that you’re not going to continue to do the things you’re doing.” I said, “Yeah, how do you know that?” He goes, “Because you’re going to turn yourself in. Whatever you do in the future you’re going to have to tell her that too and that is going to suck.” When he said that, “you’re going to turn yourself in,” I knew that the Lord had brought me to the right place. So on October 15, 1998, Karen came to Rick’s office. She knew I had come to see him because I told her I had a little issue with lust and I wanted to be a better guy. Everything was about me being a “better guy” because I was an image guy. Karen walked in to the room, sat on Rick’s couch, sat down with me, and for the first time in my life I became transparent. Lessons Learned: One of the many lessons I learned was that what happened to me as a child was neither my fault nor was it an excuse for cheating on my wife. It may have had something to do with my desires and made me more vulnerable to infidelity, but it certainly didn’t give me any excuse. We’re certainly not perfect. When I look at women I still have to think, “forehead,” because sometimes my eyes will stray and I know that. I have an accountability partner, and I’m in a Bible study and I meet with men. I still do those things that Karen needs me to do and that I need to do. The difference now from when I was doing all these “good” things back then is that I’m not trying to cover up all the secrets I was hiding in the dark by sprinkling in a few good deeds. I live in the light now. I think Rick or Leslie, someone taught us once that you can’t really un-tell something. So really think about it. Really think about what you want to do and how you want to handle that. The way Karen handled it, by telling people about what had happened, was the best thing for me because it was so outside of my nature. I wasn’t worried about her protecting me. I was most concerned about her doing what she wanted and needed for recovery. Another thing I learned about myself that I hated about myself was that there wasn’t an empathetic bone in my body. I was in love with myself. It was my defense mechanism but I was self-in love. To start feeling empathetic for Karen I had to practice. Rick showed me how to become an empathic listener and taught me how to practice because I didn’t have that. I knew that I never wanted to be that guy again and that through God and through Karen being with me, that could happen. I could tell you today, 15 years later, that I still never want so be that guy and there’s nothing in me saying that I can’t be that guy again if I didn’t have Christ in my life or have Karen in my life. Encouragement: Back then all we had was hope. That was it. In fact, the first time we made love again, it was clear to me that it was like a communion. We connected. I wasn’t performing, it was absolutely pure and honest and that is what grew us together. So here’s the great news, we’re still together. It’s been almost 15 years- that’s unbelievable! And we kept those green couches that I slept on during our time of crisis. I look at those couches and think that’s where I belong, but that’s not where I live anymore. Here’s the cool thing, we have our third child. So after 9 months I was finally able to come back to the bedroom and a couple of years later we had our third child. Now we have a 12 year old and she’s a singer. If she was here now and you asked her to sing a song she would sing. We wouldn’t have our little singer if we had not had hope, if we had not found help, if I had not come clean, if I had driven that Rodeo into a highway column. That’s a gift from God. I want to assure you that if God can save me, He can save anyone. There is hope for you and for your marriage.