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We should have been coached in how to think like that. Or until we could be more civil with each other, it should have been left with saying their parents had some problems and were angry with each other but that we were trying to work it out. Then our efforts should have been in getting into some healthy family routines. As I look back, our kids were ten, sixteen, seventeen, and nineteen. In the moment it seemed so appropriate to get all the secrets out. In hindsight, I think their father and I should have dealt with how our behavior had affected the kids' lives, made amends to them, told them we were getting help, and then delayed the disclosure of the sex addiction until we had experienced some healing and stabilized the environment. I can see the risk in this too; Nonetheless, I do think there is a time and place for disclosing the secrets. It has been discovered that giving those same people yogurt that contains live probiotic cultures can reduce their intolerance. Gastroenterologists and scientists have started looking at what it is about yogurt that allows people to tolerate it better than milk. In yogurt production, milk is fermented, which causes the production of lactase. Several types of bacteria are produced in yogurt cultures; Thermophilus. In acute diarrheal illnesses, other strains of Lactobacillus have been used for treatment. In one important study, 287 children under three years of age with acute diarrhea were given a probiotic with oral rehydration therapy versus the rehydration therapy alone. Those who received the probiotic had shorter, less severe illnesses. The most interesting work on probiotics extends beyond use in gut-related illnesses. In one study, pregnant women were given probiotics prior to delivery and during the period they were breastfeeding; Gretchen is tapping into a level of life satisfaction that the Shane's of this world will never get close to reaching. (3) Pathetically apathetic people always choose the easiest way out.

It's so easy for Shane. While it's not glamorous, and while he's always poor, he can leave any trivial situation with a snap of a finger by taking a Greyhound to the next city. He can dodge controversial issues by not getting involved. He will always fail to develop long-term success, but he'll succeed at eliminating as many responsibilities as possible from life. Gretchen, to her own fault on some occasions, will never rest or be content. If she just settles for her current life, she'll continue in her midlife-malaise, as she calls it. She wouldn't discover how to control her anger. She would never realize that she just loves kid's articles and doesn't like jazz. We could have been more general in sharing with them early on and dealt with the specifics later. A DIRECT APPROACH TO DISCLOSURE The following are two examples of couples who chose a very direct style of disclosure and felt good about this approach in their family. My husband and I together told our nineteen-and twenty-one-year-old sons only after their father went to treatment. They thought he was in treatment for using pills. And he was. But we knew he was there for sex, too. We didn't tell them a lot in the disclosure to them. But we told them that he had been having affairs throughout our marriage, and we wanted them to know because we didn't want any more family secrets. We both think they knew he had affairs, and it was important to us that they heard that there is an addiction component to this behavior. The children who had received the probiotic showed a 50 percent reduction in the amount of their eczema, and that improvement lasted for up to four years postdelivery. Probiotics likely also play a role in improving inflammatory bowel disease.

The action of probiotics provides us another compelling way to recognize that healing the gut heals the body. Replenishing the gut with needed healthy bacteria can decrease the overactive immune agents that develop with common infections and potentially in inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and eczema and possibly inflammatory bowel disease and diabetes. Healthy gut bacteria may play a role in cancer abatement as well. We believe that there are significant benefits to probiotics. We use them in our clinics and with our patients, depending on the case. The problem with over-the-counter probiotic supplements is that there is a lot of variability in the type and amount of bacteria that are used. Plus, there is no Food and Drug Administration safety checking of these products. We often recommend foods containing natural probiotics, such as sauerkraut, kimchi, and tempeh, to be added to the diet--especially when the gut is very sick. She would never know how invigorating an activity cleaning clutter was for her! (4) Pathetically apathetic people will always be victims of the world. Shane will never take the world by force or claim his destiny. He's never going to stand up for anything. He'll never be an influential figure, even in his small world, because as he said himself, I would always rather be a victim of circumstance. Gretchen will always be a victor in her world. She will continue to be a successful individual in her world, because she won't let herself become a victim. She's too busy writing best-selling articles, invoking positivity in the world, serving as an advisor and working as a great mom to spend time pointing the finger and blaming the world. It takes so much time and adds so much stress to your day to complain and whine about how bad life is. Just take action and make life as good as you can. We felt it was our responsibility to educate. My husband did most of the talking.

He and I had agreed to that so they could hear it from him, and not me who had been this angry wife/mother for so long. We thought they would just think it was me being punishing. They didn't ask much. They wanted to know if the last affair was really over. They wanted to know if we were considering a divorce. Later, when our younger son was twenty-three, he came to my husband and said he needed help for his sex addiction. He actually used those words. He was acting out on the internet. Think about how you can get some of these natural probiotics into your life. The microbiome has a connection to the other systems in our body. It has a role in how we feel, how hungry we are, and how we respond to illness. Our exposures affect the strength of our guts. We should not be afraid to get a little dirty because it nourishes our gut bugs. Our diet is a trigger for many changes in the gut and puts us at a potential risk for illness. Plant-based foods trigger production of more SCFAs, which are important for our immune systems and for decreasing inflammation. Natural probiotics have a role in nurturing the gut. YOUR PRESCRIPTION Don't be afraid to get a little dirty. That's what Gretchen did, she took action. Victims accept a mindset that says, I can't do anything about this and there's no point in trying to fix it.

Why can't someone fix it for me? The trouble with a statement like this is there are truly hopeless victims in the world. There are kids in adoption centers who may never have real parents. There are girls who are abducted every day and are sentenced to a life in the sex trade. There are men and women who were separated from their spouses and will always be haunted by their loneliness. There are people at home and in far-off countries that have no idea how their lives could improve. Real victims are out there. Here's a tough question to consider, though: is it better to accept the unfortunate circumstance or die trying to make things better? Had we not been honest and had we not made the changes we made in our recovery, I don't know if he would have come to his father for help. My children, both young teenagers, know almost everything except some matters that involve legal issues. Both of us shared with them when they asked questions as to why we went to recovery meetings. We explained to them that we as husband and wife have problems and we need to heal. And the way to heal is to commit seriously to changing how we relate to each other. If not, we will be too sick to be a good mom and dad. These parents shared to validate the children's experience; RECOGNIZING THE COMPLEXITY No doubt this is difficult. The following example shares the complexity of parents doing what they think is the right thing, recognizing how traumatic the information can be and second-guessing their decision. Avoid hand sanitizers and use plain old soap. Avoid high-fat food and meat, which trigger harmful metabolites in our bodies and have a potential role in chronic illness.