What’s in a Name?

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”

Romeo and Juliet (picture found on Shakespearequotesandplays.com)

Shakespeare nailed it. It doesn’t really matter what we call ourselves. It’s the person we are and not our name that defines us.

I have a real name and it’s not Avalon Vic. I bought some lotion at a boutique and it had the name “Avalon” on the bottle. I liked the lotion and I liked the name. When I looked up the meaning for “Avalon” I found the following:

Urban Dictionary: Avalon is derived from the welsh name “afal”; often associated with the island that King Arther’s sword Caliburn was forged. The island of Avalon is also often associated with an island that yields beautiful apples. The name “Avalon” as used in the context of a feminine name, describes one who possesses beauty unrivaled by any other. In the modern context, those who possess the name Avalon are seen as ‘One who is as rare as the legendary sword forged for a king Arther’, thus, “Avalon” is one of a kind- a woman .

I also like the name, Vic. It sounds strong and reminds me that I can be the victor over the trauma of betrayal.

Though I think my pretend name is pretty, anonymity is not. In fact, anonymity stinks. It limits how I tell my stories. Sometimes I feel like I’m split into two people: the real me and this other “Avalon Vic” person. So, why do I, and so many other women, choose pseudonyms for our blogs?

For me, anonymity helps limit the number of people involved in my husband’s recovery efforts and my healing. I love my ward members and neighbors, but sorting out the messiness of betrayal, addiction, trauma, and everything else, . . . well . . . it is something that the two of us need to do without too much outside help. We get plenty of assistance from professional therapists, church leaders, and therapy group members and they are the only ones, beyond our immediate family and one close friend, that knows about us.

Anonymity protects me from the ignorance of others. It’s been almost two years since D-day and I’m still not ready to hear the ignorant remark, “If she had only taken care of her husband’s needs, this wouldn’t have happened.”  It may be unwarranted, but it’s a fear I have. My husband is popular and he knows a lot of people. Most people would never believe he is capable of doing what he did, so I assume they will simply blame me, the less-known and more reserved one in our relationship.

Having my husband’s Priesthood blessings restored is very important to me and my extended family. I feel safe keeping our story under wraps until those blessings are restored. And then . . .

And then, I hope to have Avalon Vic merge with the real me. I hope I can be brave, come out of hiding, and tell the world that sex addiction is real and it’s spreading like a plague. There is so much more to me than this pornographic sex and lust crap. The reality is, I may have to join the fight against porn, despite my desire to rid myself of everything associated with it and never look back. I don’t know what the Lord has in store for me. ME. Not Avalon Vic. But I do know that the time will come when Avalon Vic will fade away and the real me will emerge as one person . . .  with one name.


Let’s Talk About It!


“If your husband says he hasn’t looked at porn, he’s lying!”

Ouch! I was listening to my favorite radio talk show when the host laughed and again emphasized his previous thought, “Every guy and a lot of girls look at porn!” I was incensed! I pushed the “off” button and arrived at work feeling uneasy. I couldn’t wait to talk with my husband later in the day and prove to myself that the radio host was talking craziness.

The end of the day couldn’t come soon enough. I told my husband about my morning experience and then innocently began quizzing him. “So, what do you think about what that guy said?” “Do you think it’s true?” “Does every guy look at porn?” “Have you looked at pornography?” My husband patiently listened then looked at me with a half grin and reassured me with his smooth words. “I don’t look at pornography.”

Whew! I knew it. I knew the radio man was off his rocker. I knew my husband didn’t look at porn. He was like all the other guys at church. None of them looked at porn because that’s like . . . it’s like digital adultery! No church-going, temple recommend-holding, always-serving-others type of man would ever take a look at smutty stuff. I wanted to call the radio station and tell them how wrong they were. Instead, I went about my daily routines with a notion that I should always remember this day – the day I confirmed that my husband was definitely not viewing pornography.  After thirty-some years of marriage, it was a good thing to know.

I was living in a little pornography-free bubble where, except for radio personalities,  nobody was talking much about sexual addictions or the harmful effects of the sexual fantasy world of pornography.

It was over a year later that I learned the truth about my husband. The truth: He saw his first pornographic printed magazine when he was ten years old. He had free access to dirty magazines at his friend’s house and indulged in a steady diet of porn for over a year. That’s when it all started. He was too young to understand what was happening. And then it was too late. He was hooked.

As a young boy, my husband wasn’t hooked on the dirty pictures he was seeing. Like most sex addicts, he was hooked on the feelings he experienced, the physical arousal and the feeling of well-being that happened when he viewed seductive images. It’s important to understand that “pornography addiction” is really an addiction to the rush one gets when endorphins are released in the brain.

“The reward of this endorphin release is so powerful for the sex addict that he finds himself willing to pursue his activity in spite of the negative consequences he knows he will experience as well” (New York Pathways).

Looking at pornography is the easiest way to get this rush but it can also happen when you read a romance novel, stare at an attractive individual, or engage in secretive online conversations with old boyfriends or girlfriends.

My husband was too young to understand what his body was experiencing and his story is not unusual. Statistics show that the first access to porn usually happens by the age of thirteen. By the time a person is old enough to fully understand the magnitude of their habits, they are often already in the throngs of addiction. Most people who struggle with pornography issues feel an immense amount of shame, so they make an exerted effort to hide their sordid habits. There is no smell, no visible physical reactions, and no obvious odd behaviors associated with pornography viewing, so an addict can easily keep his or her problem a deep dark secret.

My story is also not unusual. Many spouses and partners report that they had no idea there was anything going on with their loved one. In hindsight, there are red flags, but in a society where there is little talk of digital infidelity, most companions choose to believe the lies rather than face the awful truth. Until my husband’s addiction was discovered, I was a complete ninny about pornography. I didn’t even know how easy it was to find. Really. A complete ninny.

It’s time to shake things up. It’s time to save the next generation from falling into the tight grip of pornography. It’s time to educate each other. It’s time to talk about it at church, at school and definitely at home. Therapist Paula Hall warns that we should waste no time talking about this issue. She said, “Easy access and no education of risk means that more and more people are getting addicted without knowing it’s happening.”

I’m encouraged to see more discussions taking place. There are an increasing number of talks at general conference and in church literature that admonishes members of the dangers regarding the addictive nature of pornography. I love how organizations like Fight the New Drug are making presentations at schools to educate children. I’m grateful that Meridian Magazine has agreed to publish a series of articles written by wives of sex addicts, like me! I am especially grateful for the Hope and Healing Forum that allows wives of sex addicts to talk through our challenges and rejoice in our triumphs.

I am no longer the ninny I used to be. I have read, researched, and learned all I can about the demonic nature of the addiction that plagues my husband. My husband and I have talked with our children about the things we’ve learned and through our discussions we discovered that one of our sons is battling a pornography habit. Now, he can get the help he needs instead of trying to solve his issues in isolation because we openly talk about pornography, lust, shame, and addiction in our home.  As I continue to discuss these issues with various others, I have been introduced to miraculous stories of hope and recovery. As I observe my husband’s stalwart fight with his addiction, I’ve been able to witness the miracle of forgiveness and repentance. I have personally experienced the healing hands of the Savior as He soothes my wounded heart and shows me the path to joy.


Armed with knowledge, we can fight this plague. As Paula Hall indicates,

“If you’re not someone who’s struggling with sex addiction, then you probably know someone who is….”

Let’s shed some light on this dark subject and start talking about it.



Picture Credit: Christ Comforts Mary and Martha found at:  www.lds.org





I’ve been down in the mulligrubs. Yes. Mulligrubs. It’s a word my aunts would use and it seems to be the best description for my current condition. I haven’t been feeling physically well and have been cooped up in my house while the sun-filled outdoors is calling me. I’ve had too much time on my hands to think. With too much thinking time, my thoughts go dark and that has landed me in the mulligrubs.

I figure there must have been some lowly wife that lived way back in history that felt like I do now. She wasn’t depressed, she wasn’t super sad, she was just: meh. So, she pulled a ridiculous word from her head and declared to her 16th century peasant children, “Ye ought not to cause hindrance to ye mum this eve. She is in the mulligrubs.” Her children, no doubt, had no clue what she was talking about but the mere sound of the horrendous word, “mulligrubs” caused them to act with extreme caution. Thus, the 16th century mum got some peace.

OK. I obviously made that story up, but where do words come from, anyhow? Somebody invented them, I think. So, I am inventing my own new word: Dupid.  It rhymes with “stupid”. It’s a combination of the words “duped” and “stupid”. I am in the mulligrubs because I’m feeling like I have been dupid!

Let me give an example of my dupidness. I have a friend, I will call him “Farmer,” that is helping me with some gardening. I live in a very arid climate and the soil is rocky. Farmer told me that he could make my property green and blossoming with flowers. I said that we don’t have enough available water on our property to get everything green. I pointed to three small areas that I wanted to be “green and blossoming.” Farmer said, “I can green up this place and my irrigation system will be water efficient.” I doubted his claim, but he was so persistent. In fact, the more I protested, the more he dug in his heels. I decided to let him do things his way and I began to dream of looking out my windows and seeing green verdant landscapes.

We tested his watering system.

We ran out of water.

gardenHow could I be so dupid? I know better. Farmer told me what I wanted to hear. When I doubted his claim, he told me more things to verify his story. I think he actually believed his own story. I don’t think he has the ability to self-analyze and be honest with himself. Many addicts also lack the ability to do honest self-reflection. How can somebody be totally honest with others when they can’t be honest with themselves?

I’m more upset with myself than I am with Farmer. I know what my water system can handle but I allowed his confident proclamations to sway me. I’m in the mulligrubs because I’m recognizing a pattern here. I’m a skeptic when I’m initially presented with questionable information, but if somebody is persistent, I mistake that for sincerity. That’s why I now have an irrigation system that needs major alterations. That’s why I’ve been hurt in some past friendships. And that’s why I believed my husband instead of trusting my own instincts when I knew something was off.

Even with all my trust issues from betrayal trauma, I want to believe people. That’s being nice, not stupid. I’m a good person and I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, but in the future, I need to trust the gut-wrench that comes when I think information is being misrepresented. I don’t want to be dupid anymore. If I want honesty from others, then I also need to be honest with them. So, I need to say what I’m feeling. I need to let others know if what they are saying makes me feel uneasy. At the very least, I need to think on statements for a time, check the credibility of the info, and then make my decisions. No more dupidity. No more mulligrubs.