Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Filters, Smartphones & Anonymous Questions

Mountain Bike Trail

...I do have another question to pose to you, Scabs. I have no forum or means of asking this and hoped maybe you could open it up to your readers for feedback. How do you handle the smartphone? My husband has to have it for work. He previously told me there was a filter. Tonight I asked to see the filter, so I could feel more comfortable. And "somehow" the filter doesn't work anymore. He is an addict walking around with his drug in his pocket. What do others do with the curse of the smartphone?

Dear Anonymous,
Sometimes, fighting against my own rationality, I throw my hands in the air and decide to be brave.    
In October, my cousin took me to the top of a rocky, craggy mountain in Idaho.   It was crisp and gorgeous!  Heart-stoppingly beautiful.
At the tiptop of the mountain is a steep down hill mountain bike trail.  Perched on the teetering top of the trail my cousin and I straddled our bikes, clipped our shoes in the peddles and with all the un-natural surrender it takes to muster that kind of courage, we kicked off and bolted down the breakneck trail! 

Like wreckage flailing down the mountain, my bike violently bobbed between rocks, over logs with near misses, white knuckles and scraped shins.  If you've ever been down hill biking, you know that ridged control of your bike always ends in disaster.  You also know that staring at the rocks only leads you straight to them.

This is what I think of when I think about letting go of smart phones or computers or ipads or whatever ails you.  It takes all the un-natural surrender you can muster to find the kind of courage it takes to let go and stop staring at the rocks.

Staring at our obstacles, handicaps and our partner's web history is only natural.  Letting go is a  learned art.  In the beginning, if you feel a bit crazy and you hold tight to controls, filters, passwords or demanding frank conversations, this is normal.  With all the rocks that might be on the path, letting go is a terrifying thought.  We're teetering on the mountain top with white knuckles.  

I can't help but think, "How can we let go when we don't know what it feels like to hang on?"
Opposition in all things, right?

Halfway down the mountain, I came skidding to a shaky stop.  I had to change.  Blood was trickling down the back of my leg, I had swallowed a grasshopper and was covered in dirt.  And, I was scared.  Really scared.  So scared I could barely breathe.

After a deep breath, I mustered all the un-natural courage I had, put my feet in the peddles and looked forward to the clear paths ahead of me.  I knew if I stopped staring at the rocks I'd stop crashing straight into them.  

After all, I only have control over myself.  

At our house, there's a filter on our family computers.  Mr Scabs laptop is his responsibility.  One day, about a year ago he asked me to put a filter on his laptop for him.  I did.  Our smart phones aren't filtered.  They are unlocked.  Our boundaries include not deleting history, text messages, emails etc. and transparency in disclosing mistakes.  The unfortunate consequence for continued breaking of our boundaries is detachment.  

This is me,  with all the un-natural surrender it takes to muster the kind of courage to let go.
I throw my hands in the air and decide to be brave.    


p.s.  I have more to say on this topic but that is the part I have chosen not to publish.  For those of you who have asked, I sent the email as a continuation of this post.  If you didn't get it, email me again.  


  1. You put it so well -my husband has had a smart phone for years, and I had to just let it go. It wasn't easy, but letting it go was much easier than checking, checking, checking and finding. You can't erase those images once they're there. It's funny how letting go of trying to control actually makes you feel more in control... of yourself.

  2. This is a fantastic analogy! I'm trying to stop staring at the rocks. It's getting easier. Hopefully one day I'll be there. :)

    I'm curious for the rest of your message. healingbymm@gmail.com

  3. My hope is since it's a work phone there would be some internal filter since they would probably lose their job if they were looking at porn on the phone. For me the stress is in him using the maps to get to brothels and texting escorts to meet them. And the YouTube app-cause that is not as noticeable to a company as the Internet porn. It's tough, somedays I hate it and other days I say screw it-nothing I can control. Plus the triggers are not the phone it's in the street or at the store or in their head. So it doesn't matter, if they don't process the trigger and stress they will find their drug of lust whether its with a phone, computer, strip club, laptop etc being married to an addict sucks. I don't have it figured out yet-Indont know how to live with an addict and feel calm. I hear its possible.?!

    1. I get what you're saying here. you don't feel safe and that causes anxiety and fear and the lack of "calm" you're talking about. i remember feeling there was no way i could even attempt to reconcile our relationship without knowing he wasn't hunting hookers. When I felt this kind of anxiety, I pushed away from him. I detached. Like you said, it's nothing you can control. Sadly, some people choose to destroy everything around them--our calm comes from knowing who we are and trusting our hearts. take care. xoxo

  4. So, I am interested in some feedback if anyone has some.... My husband would of course like a smart phone and had one in the past for work and according him, it was not a problem. I feel safer with him having a smartphone when he is going to meetings and working on his recovery. When he gets lazy about it, I don't feel so safe. Part of me feels like I want to set up a system where if he is going to meetings then he can have it. Once he stops, the phone goes away. (He has a pattern of stop and go, as far as meetings go) As I am writing this I think I already have my answer. Any thoughts? I am open to this totally being one of those moments where I am staring at a rock up-close, cause I just slammed right into it...

    1. This reminds me of the monday morning porn habit that Mr Scabs was nursing for awhile. At night before we go to bed our cell phones rest on the side table of our bed. I work monday mornings and often get up and out the door before anyone else. And when I'd get home from work that afternoon I'd see all the signs. The anger, the distance, the shifty eyes etc. I'd ask him about it and he'd finally tell me about his monday morning smart phone porn. It became such a regular thing that it was kind of a sad joke...the monday morning porn.

      We were talking about it one day, I was expressing my frustration with the ground hog day feeling of the monday morning porn and Mr Scabs expressed how sorry he was and that he was going to try harder. blah blah blah...right? It was the same conversation we always had. same pattern.

      No progress so I began to detach

      Another time, while talking about the monday morning porn something different clicked. I asked Mr Scabs, "what are you going to do to keep yourself away from the problem on Monday mornings?" He said, "I won't sleep with my phone by the bed." He suddenly realized how to protect himself. How to set up safety nets...it was so simple. Stay away. His brain had changed enough that he set his own boundaries, his own safety nets.

      I think getting invested beyond what he invites you to be part of is staring at rocks. I've stared at enough rocks to know this. But don't be too hard on yourself we all slam into rocks sometimes!

  5. I thought I'd jump in on this one. My husband is an electrical engineer in a company where they do not allow any outside technology past the secured area gates. All computer systems are monitored within his workplace and everything he looks at is seen by a third party. However, about a year and a half ago he relapsed. And the worst place he could possibly relapse was at work. There were some very stiff consequences and he was lucky to squeak by in keeping his job. He has a very close watch on him at work and his computer.

    At home, we have monitoring systems on his computers and updates are sent to me every two weeks (this is how a lot of you-know-what hit the fan when I came to understand how deep his addiction really was). His tablet is open to both of us to look at. I have my own personal laptop that he'll use from time to time and it is password protected not just for this reason, but because I have very sensitive info on my laptop that I wouldn't want a thief to get a hold of.

    As to phones, we have never had, nor will we ever get smartphones. We both know and understand that this would be an added temptation (after all, the alcoholic doesn't keep liquor in his cabinet just so he can stare at it) and he feels it would be best to avoid something that would lead him back down a dark path. The addict does need to know and understand his temptations and weak areas for he/she to know how to avoid them. We live in an age where it seems so many are apologetic that they don't have the latest technology, but when somebody scoffs at my dumbphone, I tell them why it is the way it is and they sober up pretty quickly. Plus, it's an opening in case they are suffering from a spouse's addiction and have no one else to talk to.

  6. My husband works for a large company, the household-name type. All of his porn use was on company owned laptops and phones. They all had filters and firewalls to prevent access to porn and it is against company policy to use their devices for such. My husband is not a computer genius by any means and he was able to easily download software to work around all the filters. He downloaded this software from the internet before he looked at porn and then removed the software afterward. It was easy. He heard about the bypass software from coworkers. The only purpose of this software for him was to get look at porn. He also used to tell me that he couldn't look at porn on his work phone/computer because of the filters. Obviously this provided me with a false sense of security. FYI - if he's going to act out he will find a way, don't make the mistake I made in trusting that the work owned devices are safe. That's all.

    1. this is something i learned to take seriously...we have no control over other's choices. If they want to do something they will do it or not do it. Getting out of their way and letting them fall or soar is the best thing we can do.

  7. Thanks Scabs:) I love your analogy!

    As far as smartphone go...we use Norton Safeminder and it gives out a weekly report to me through email. He asked to have this put on and it's password protected. This is just for him to keep him in check...although I wouldn't say it's 100%. I am sure any tech savvy guy could figure out his way around it.

    My opinion is detach, they have to find their own way. We cannot force them to change or monitor everything. Been there, done that, got the crazy wife of the year trophy to prove it.

    Honestly I haven't been checking the weekly reports, because I trust him to be open with me and if he messes up, then he will have to come up with his own boundary and I'll continue to detach, because it's not my problem, it's his.

    For example... (This is a little TMI, but it fits perfectly into the idea of detaching...letting go of control.

    Once my daughter was sick and woke up in the middle of the night. I guided her to the bathroom and she didn't make it in time to the toilet and puke went everywhere. I seriously needed a HAZMAT team to clean it up. I proceed to clean it all up... My husband woke up, walked by the bathroom, and said, "You got this!" and walked back to bed. Not that he was insensitive, it was the plain fact that he can't handle puke and if he smells it his stomach turns. The last thing I needed was more puke to clean up.

    I hope that if it my husband relapsed, I would be be strong enough to walk away and say, "You Got This!" Not that I would be insensitive, it's just that I can't handle his addiction and if I intervene and try to control, it will be a bigger mess for me to clean up.

  8. Please email the second part of this post. What is your opinion of someone who is a true artist shoots nude photos of women yet has a porn addiction? I don't know how he separates the two. This is where I think I'm supposed to laugh and say I'm a fool. Why? It doesn't make sense to me.

  9. Mind you, he is successful. Brilliant. Amazing. Unfortunately I can't see his work without my insides being gutted from within. He keep telling myself I over reacted but he is the one who told me to walk away and not trust him. I'm still trying to move on.

    1. I think your heart tells you what is real and what isn't. You know the answer to this question Ang. in my opinion porn and nude art aren't the same but if i was struggling with a porn addiction and I photographed nudes all day...i think it would trigger me.

  10. Hmmmm Very interesting Snowy.

  11. Scabs, I think your measures are rational, appropriate, and mirror those taken at our home. The real controls are internally, not externally applied. I have not been tempted in the least by my smart-phone since finding recovery.

  12. The smartphone has been contentious issue between my husband and me. I hate it. I ended up moving out because I felt that if he wasn't willing to get rid of it or lock it down then he wasn't really committed to recovery. Lock it down means putting on a filter that I can monitor if I choose, letting me have the password to the ability to download and install new aps, and letting me have the password. And in seeing scabs post I wish I had been clear about not deleting things being a boundary. My husband had his smartphone on "safe browsing" which doesn't record any websites. When he did have a filter, which basically replaced his primary web browser he later downloaded another browser or the backpage and Craigslist aps themselves. When I found directions to prostitutes in his maps history after Christmas I called it quits. I cant be in a relationship with someone who isn't honest. It's like trying to build a house on sand... You'll never get the foundation right. Btw, my husband uses it smartphone instead of his work computer because most companies won't monitor the smartphone... His doesn't. There is a point that you let go, and I get that, but you also don't give someone suicidal a gun and letting a porn addict walk around with an open smartphone is doing just that. The fact is, my husband knew his smartphone was the gateway to his fantasy world. If he really had been committed he would have wanted it locked down in the same way I hide my chocolate bars at the back of the cabinet so I'm not tempted.

    1. You are so right. We don't need to stay. We deserve honesty. 100%. We're not required to work it out. We have a right to know the truth. We have a right to find it. We have the right to protect ourselves and our children. I don't blame you for calling it quits after seeing his maps. There comes a point where you drown with him or you jump ship. I get that.

  13. I would be interested in the rest of your message - crushedwife@gmail.com

  14. please e-mail me the rest of your message! millsmgee@gmail.com

  15. Please email me the rest of your message as well! findingthedaisyinme@gmail.com Thank you for so bravely telling your story. Your advice on detaching was just what I needed tonight!

  16. I would love to read the rest of your message Scabs...you have such a great way of putting things. Thanks.

  17. I would also love to read the rest of your message...rachelmarie0512@gmail.com


  18. Hi I would love the email too!! zaida2468@gmail.com thanks for all you do!!!



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