We have a big family. Jason has six sibling and I have 3. Over this last year, a few of them have found out about our struggle from people that did not have the details and wanted to gossip. But a majority of our family members are clueless as to what we have been going through this past year. Now that the first 12 months have been completed and Jason's membership has been restored, we have felt a need to fill them all in on what has happened.
There are a couple of reasons for this. The most important one for me is to feel like I could stop lying to everyone. Last summer I attended his family reunion in Nauvoo. (Jason stayed home) A couple of times, the brothers-in-law would ask me how Jason was doing in his calling in the Stake Presidency. After that inevitable moment of panic, I had to lie to them and say, "he's doing great." Had I told them he had been released, they would have asked what his new calling was and I would have had to either invent a new lie or let them ask more questions that would surely lead them to realize what was going on. We didn't want to taint this wonderful reunion with this kind of news and disappointment.
The second reason for telling our family now is that we feel like we have achieved some success (despite last week's minor setback) and we worry that perhaps members of our family are struggling with similar things and are just afraid to come clean about it. Perhaps a full disclosure from us could help one of them have the courage to come forward.
Jason was insistent that we wait until he could be re-baptized so that he could speak with some authority on the subject and not as an excommunicated addict. So, we waited and prayed that in the meantime, no one would ask us questions that were too deep and probing.
So, with courage and faith in the love and compassion of our siblings, we moved. Jason wrote a 13 page letter to each of them and sent it...of course, calling each of them beforehand to let them know a letter was coming. Once sent, we could only nervously wait for the fallout. I have to tell you, the repercussions of the letter have been wonderful and healing. Both of his sisters that did not know called almost immediately, so grateful for our story and so compassionate. Instead of asking "how could you do this?" or expressing their disappointment, there was only love. His brothers sent emails back also expressing their love and support. I kind of wish we had done this sooner.
One of Jason's brothers is a bishop and he was right away able to share a part of Jason's letter to a member of his ward that is struggling with addiction. We invited our siblings to share the letter with their married children in hopes that they can start their new marriages free of pornography.
It has been good and it has been a huge weight lifted.
I hate keeping secrets. I hate not being able to speak freely to those I love the most. So, this has been healing for me and I know it is a relief to Jason. I know that for a lot of you, telling your family is not a good option. Perhaps they will judge you too harshly or encourage you to end your marriages. I completely understand the need for many of you to keep this addiction private.
If you are interested in reading the letter that Jason sent to his family, you can find it in our Dear Addi blog. Here is the link: http://dearaddict.blogspot.com/2015/03/how-do-i-tell-my-family-about-my.html