Addiction is Real.
Slamming the door behind her, Jennifer sunk to the floor in despair and let out a wail. How could 15 years of what she thought was a good marriage go up in flames -- in an instant? Jason begged her not to give up. He said he’d get help, that he would do anything if she didn’t leave him. It was impossible for her not to think about what Jason had been doing behind her back for years. It made her sick to think about it. What was Jennifer going to tell the children? What if they found out the truth? She didn’t want him around the kids right now. How careful had Jason really been? What if the children discovered the websites Jason had been visiting? There were many unanswered questions. And, it was going to get even worse as the children started asking their own questions. Jennifer wondered how this will affect the children? Maybe it already had.
Jason always had been on the fast track in his financial services career. Promotion after promotion, he was running the most profitable division in the company. Until he got found out. Until his boss confronted him with the hours and hours he spent on internet porn every day at his office. And now the fast track was over. He packed his family photos, the numerous sales awards and left the office. For good.

The shame was overwhelming, and feeling like he couldn’t control his compulsive behavior kept Jason from asking for help. His humiliation and fear kept Jason from talking about it with his wife. Now she knew about the porn, but she didn’t have a clue about the tens of thousands of dollars he’d spent on escorts and mistresses over the years -- even dating back to before they got married. Jason tried many times to stop his behavior, but he couldn’t. And, now he felt like he was about to lose everything.

The story of Jennifer, Jason and their two children is far too common. Substitute alcohol, drugs, internet, gambling or shopping in the story, and the result is the same. Addiction decimates families, careers, health and hopes. In fact, when you take into account the toll addiction takes on children, productivity and communities, addiction is our country’s #1 public health problem.

This is why the American Foundation for Addiction Research (AFAR) works to create lasting solutions to addiction through research, education and advocacy. Our vision is to create a world liberated from addiction -- all addictions, including alcohol, drugs, gambling and sex.

The story of Jennifer and Jason demonstrates the wide impact of sex addiction. It ends up becoming a family disease because everyone is affected. The emotional costs are staggering -- husband and wife and children. It’s also one of the most stigmatized addictions filling the addict and his family with enormous shame and fear. Shame that keeps the addict from seeking help. Financial costs add up too -- company loses employee productivity, the addict racks up debt and a lost job sets the family on a downward financial spiral. Legal fees further tax the family. And, divorce is a common outcome.