Dear Father Tony,
Here's my story. I was on a business trip a year ago. The day is done and I go down to the hotel bar for a drink before going to bed. Alone. I am in a LTR of five years and we don't sleep around. I want to emphasize that I am not in gay neighborhood and not at a gay bar and not cruising. I am having a couple by myself and looking at the TV news. This guy sits next to me and strikes up a conversation. He's funny and interesting and good looking and also on business (not related to mine). A few drinks later, I am not thinking straight and I end up in his room really drunk. I think he put something in my drink because I can take a lot of alcohol and still find my way home without a problem but that night was different. I did wake up in my own room alone the next morning, but I know we fucked. That was one year ago. I never got the guy's name or number and I never told my partner. An isolated incident. Three months ago I had a dream about that night.. I lived the whole night again in the dream and that included something I had forgotten. He took nude pictures of me and of us together. In my dream I saw this as clear as if I was right in the moment. So now I think that there are some really bad nude photos of me out there somewhere. I never told my partner about that night but maybe I should because it would be worse if those pictures should ever get to him in the future. Should I tell or not tell? That's my problem.
I'm In A Pickle
As you know, I'm usually a fan of the telling rather than the not-telling, but I am also against unnecessary "surgery" in relationships, and if that night was truly an isolated incident and not indicative of a pattern of behavior on your part, you could probably remain silent about it without feeling that you are withholding something from your partner the disclosure of which will certainly cause some surgical pain.
About those photos, have you considered the possibility that your guilt about that night found a way of expressing itself in that vivid dream? It is possible that the photo session never actually took place but is only a fabrication of your mind in its attempt to process something troublesome.
Here's my advice. Schedule a specific time with your partner for a serious talk. Tell him you have decided to find a program that will help you learn to handle alcohol and/or drugs. Show him the print-outs you have assembled of possible programs. Tell him you want him to participate in this decision and in whatever will follow it for the good of the relationship. Then tell him about that night and how the memory of it has brought you to this point.
I think a professional assessment of your relationship to alcohol ought to be fused with some couple counseling. Reading between your lines, I was struck by your omission of any expression of regret about your drinking. That may be the problem rather than any real or imagined photos. You may not be just in a picklebut simply pickled.
Even if you don't buy my suspicion that you may have an alcohol problem, couching your revelation inside your willingness to explore that possibility will show your partner that you value him more than anything else. He'd be a fool not to react positively and with support, but do allow him to go through some temporary anger in the process. If he reacts by heading straight to the bottle, maybe you both have a problem.
I have too many friends both single and coupled whose lives are entirely run by alcohol and they would be the very last to see or admit it. Sometimes a crisis or a catastrophe can be a good wake-up call and can result in better living and a stronger relationship.
This seems to me like something that can be worked out. Best of luck!