Ghosts of bad behavior past

I am shaking. Back around 2007 my addictive behavior had settled on promiscuity and sex. I am not proud of that period in my life. My husband and I were seperated because of it and I was seeing someone else. It all ended up with me in the hospital psych ward and a reconciliation with my husband. I was wild during that time. Drinking too much, going out all the time and this someone else. He was in a band. I was out to dinner tonight with my husband and a couple we know. In walks members of this band to set up for the night. I finally realized what was happening and that “he” would be walking in any moment…with my husband there. I felt near a panic attack. I said “oh hey the band is setting up maybe we better call it a night”. We just missed this guy…who I no longer have contact with and who I would not want to run in to.

I’m so ashamed right now. I haven’t acted out in that way since then and I’m damned lucky and blessed my husband forgave me. I did tell him about it but never who. Haven’t out of control drank since then either. Now my addiction has jumped to compulsive spending. I have never been thankful for the fact that, that is all it is now until tonight…when I’m remembering just how bad I once was. The ghosts of my past got WAY too close tonight. Thank you for letting me vent. There is nowhere else I can because of the shame. I’m thinking some of you will understand.


I would tell my spouse why I decided to leave early. I bet he would appreciate that you value your relationship enough to avoid that situation.

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Thanks for writing. I see where you’re coming from, but I’m afraid it would open up old, long-closed wounds. He is upset at me already about the compulsive spening/hoardind so I don’t want to remind him of that past mightmare as well. Paying the piper kind of evening that I hope won’t be repeated again soon.

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Gotcha. Yeah, seems like theres still a lot to work on. Are you in counseling?

Yes and in Debtor’s Anonymous. Have a counseling appointment next week. You better believe I’m bringing it up.


Thanks for writing. And thanks for the validation on my course of action. I really do believe I did what was best in the situation. I definitely have some work to do around self-forgiveness. It’s really hard to live with regret over past mistakes. Hope you have a good day.


I can totally relate. Keep sharing your journey, it may help others, and hopefully you will get some help/support here :pray:

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I went through the same.

I went wild after a fall out with my wife and just didn’t care anymore.

I have been rebuilding since… and learned to forgive her which lead to me being stupid but I also learn that it was my own actions.

At times out of nowhere I just shudder on how stupid I was.

I never regret anything but I regret that time in my life…

You have to know, that as long as you are fixing yourself now, your past is just that, your past.

Move forward and that will be your sentence.

Thanks for that reminder to live in the present. I am pretty good at doing that but last night the past got too close and I relived the shame. I’m glad things are better with your wife. It’s wonderful that our spouses hung in there long enough to give us another chance. What a blessing that is

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Thanks for writing. I do love this forum.

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Very much agree with the power of this forum.

Shame is a tough one. Here are a couple of books I found helpful over the years
Perhaps a bit will resonate with you as well…

The Gifts of Imperfection
Healing The Shame That Binds You
Conquering Shame and Codependency

I hear you Stephanie. Shame and addiction are so tightly wound up. Shame and sexual acting out is doubly so. That is a hard spot.

It’s good you have someone to talk to about this. You’re not alone in having times that you’re deeply ashamed of in your past. Count this event as a lucky one.

It is worthwhile reflecting on a disclosure circle, of people whom you trust and whom you need to have as supports. Shame and secrecy are tightly connected; that feeling of “Ive gotta get out of here now just in case my secret is revealed” is a deeply triggering feeling. Disclosure doesn’t have to be now, but I would advise you consulting with your therapist about a plan to disclose to your husband in an appropriate way. Your therapist can attend as a third party.

You are right that this will open up wounds. The men in my sex addiction recovery group have been through the same wounds with their wives. However most of them are still with their wives. The relationships are affected, and trust needs to be rebuilt. It is possible to do that with time and sincere effort.

The risk of not disclosing to your husband, your closest companion and lifelong partner, is that this secrecy - which is so much a part of shame and addiction - will underlie future, continued addictive behaviour. You need a disclosure plan, and a timeline, but the risks of not disclosing are serious (as you saw the other day).

I hope you can forgive me for this unsolicited advice. I know you were looking for empathy and understanding. For what it’s worth, I do understand, and I feel your shame. I hope you are able to learn from it and use it as a place to grow from. Shame can be a starting point for learning :innocent:

Take care & best of luck this week

Thank you for the book suggestions @SassyRocks… I have heard of some of them.

@Matt advice is always welcomed. I did disclose the behavior while in the hospital back in 2008. He forgave me but I never saw the benefit in disclosing who. I still don’t to tell you the truth. Why put a face in his mind? It would just open up the wound again? I just didn’t want to have them come face to face. My behavior would have betrayed me. I think I have shame because what I did was wrong. We were having problems and instead of facing them, I chose to escape them. My husband would not go to therapy although he did when it was revealed. I will be addressing this with my therapist but as of now, I don’t think I will talk to my husband about it further. Thank you for writing. I will think more about what you said. Perhaps I am missing something.


I understand. Only you know your journey and your place right now. Thanks for being kind enough to reply! Wishing you peace and stability this week and for many weeks to come, and looking forward to sharing more of the journey over the next little while :innocent:

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I completely understand the feeling of regret for past behaviour and struggle with forgiving myself for past stupid and self harmful behaviour.
When those thoughts come to me I choose to think that I did the best I could with what I knew at the time and that now I am a completely different person with strong values who seek meaningful and honest connections and solid sobriety. I understand why that makes you uncomfortable try to remind yourself that you are not the same person that dated this guy from this band, you chose a different path and have different priorities.
That said, I would also try to avoid seeing him again if that was an option.

Thank you that is very helpful @Baiana. I do that to excuse others’ bad behavior, why not use it for my own? I don’t see this guy, haven’t in years and have no desire to…hence getting out of there quick last night!