“Gently Up the Stream” – © 2003 by Linda J Curley Christensen
Used by permission of the artist.

This week, we will be devoting several posts to helping the many people whose lives have been affected by the plague of pornography addiction. Much of our focus will be to reach out to women whose husbands (or boyfriends) struggle with pornography / sexual addiction, but we hope the content will be helpful for anyone who knows and cares about someone with a an addiction, and for addicts themselves. 

Tomorrow, we’ll be sharing more of Rhyll Croshaw’s story. She and her husband, Steven, have been working through this trial for over 30 years. As you can imagine, there have been many ups and downs in their journey together. The painting above, “Gently Up the Stream,” has become a symbol for them, both of what they have learned and what they need to continually focus on.

Rhyll writes:

I see myself as the woman in the left canoe. I am gently rowing my canoe, doing my own work to heal. My husband is gently rowing his canoe working his recovery daily. Thankfully we are still in the same river, headed in the same direction and close to each other but I know that I have choices. I can stay or I can go and there are many women who out of no fault of their own have had to leave their marriages. But the biggest choice that I make every day is how I feel. If I live in the past I live with resentment, bitterness and victim. If I live in the future, I live with fear which paralyzes me. I choose to live in the present and feel gratitude for the present blessings and gifts that are mine. I live where my feet are…one day at a time.

Steve’s thoughts about the painting are captured further in this article, Recovery from Porn Addiction is Possible:

Upstream from the rowers “is beautiful light and trees and it just looks so inviting,” said Steven. Down stream, however, is a dark place with a large drop off, rapids and big rocks.

The print was a gift to the Croshaws from their son. The painting contains a message that still resonates with the entire family. Both Steven and Rhyll have to make an effort in recovery and each has an individual role.

“I am not paddling her canoe and she is not paddling mine,” said Steven. Instead they are each moving in the same direction, side by side. To reach the beautiful place they seek, both have to keep moving forward, Steven explained.

We hope this painting can be a symbol for others working upstream against these same, difficult waters, who have questions swirling in their minds:

 “What should I do?”

“What  now?”

“Should I stay in my marriage, or is the addiction a reason to leave?”

“Is this my fault?”

“Is there hope?”

What can I do?

There is hope. There is the potential for healing and recovery, for both addicts and their spouses and loved ones. It is a difficult journey that requires effort, but as Linda Curley Christensen, the painting’s artist notes, “If life is compared to a river, it is easy to imagine floating with the current ‘gently down the stream’, but I have never found any good and worthwhile thing that came of its own accord, just the opposite.  Every worthy goal takes constant, if gentle, effort.”

We reach out to any of you whose lives have been affected by pornography addiction, and hope that the content and resources we share over the next few days and throughout the coming weeks can be of help to you. We offer our thanks in advance to all those who have or will be sharing their stories and/or who have provided resources to help those affected by pornography / sexual addictions. Special thanks today to Linda Curley Christensen for allowing us to share her painting here at Mormon Women.

We encourage anyone who feels inclined to share their personal experiences to do so, either in the comments or by sending us an email at gmail, with either of the following usernames: ‘mormonwomen’ or ‘mormonwoman’ 

We do ask that all comments be respectful to others who are opening up here on this site. Recovery and healing from pornography addiction is a process, not an event, and people may be at different stages of the process when they share.