Sex Addict Leads Secret Life Online

"If I couldn't set something up that quickly, the next logical progression was get whatever you can right now," Daugherty said. "And prostitutes are always available for a price."

A year into their marriage, the cost of Daugherty's addiction helped bring his total debt to almost $20,000. Burdened by guilt and drowning in debt, Daugherty was at a breaking point.

"I got to a point where I wanted to kill myself," he said. "Several times when Elaine was out of the house, I had a loaded gun pointed at my head, wanting to end it. I just was tired of being this double person."

Instead, he put the gun down and decided to tell his wife. She was devastated by her husband's confession.

"It was horrible," she said. "I prayed that I would die in my sleep because it hurt so badly. I really thought that the sun wouldn't come up anymore."

Coming Clean: A Husband's Confession

After hearing her husband's confession, she walked out; she believed her Christian husband had become possessed by evil. Meanwhile, Daugherty underwent an intensive period of counseling. And he sold his television and computer, both portals to his temptation.

"The rates of people entering treatment are 75 percent men and 25 percent women," Lank said. "But we are actually seeing a rise of women, particularly in relationship chat rooms, in dating, and in initiating infidelity."

It has been a painful recovery, but the Daughertys eventually restored their marriage. Six years ago, they launched Be Broken Ministry, an agency designed to help the growing number of sex addicts.

They host seminars where their own experience serves as proof that such as addiction can be beaten. Daugherty also produces a weekly podcast where anything to do with sex is open for discussion. With 30,000 downloads a week, they believe the numbers speak for themselves.

"There is such a stigma associated with sex addiction and sexual compulsivity," Lank said. "We call it a disease of shame and a disease of secrecy."

With the rate of sexual addiction growing, the disease is more widespread than originally believed.

"The rate of people coming in the door that have lost their ability to control this are just through the roof," Lank said.

Daugherty now recognizes that the key to his recovery has been a new sense of accountability. He relies on a strong network of supporters to make sure he doesn't relapse to an addiction that plagued him for 13 years.

"I have at the very least, a dozen people every week that are purposely looking in on my life from different angles, whether it be from work, whether it be from my church," Daugherty said. "I just ask people to look in on my life."

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