One of my last posts was on the power of the 10th step. It’s still one of my favorites and I use it all of the time. But all of the steps are powerful and they have deep meaning for me. Overcoming an addiction is a literal battle. But not one fought person to person. Rather it’s one you fight within yourself and with the help of caring friends and ultimately a loving God — or a higher power according to your own understanding. I’m going to write about each of the steps and thought I’d go back to the beginning and start at one. Which was the beginning of my journey to true sobriety as well. Continue reading
The power of a 10th step – my favorite step!
I’ve wanted to start a series on what each step from the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous mean to me. Believe me when I say they mean the world to me! I can’t imagine my life without them. Just last night at our support group gathering after our ARP (Addiction Recovery Program) meeting I mentioned, “I wouldn’t trade my addiction and the things I’ve learned through recovery for anything — especially the relationship I now have with God.” I got several head nods and smiles of agreement from the rest of the group. Those of us that have worked the steps and continue to work the steps know how wonderful and valuable the steps are — especially when we’re helping others with their own steps. I’d like to share what the 10th step means to me. Continue reading
The power of serving others
There is a power that comes to me whenever I am in the service of others with no thought to my own self and whether or not I am “getting something” out of the experience. It is the purest kind of love. It is what lifts others as well as ourselves at the same time. Service unlocks in me the ability to let go of the darkness and pain of my own struggles for a brief period of time. Service helps us look outward instead of inward. Unfortunately, even trying to do something noble like serving others I can over do things — I get caught up in creating complexity where simplicity would suffice. I start out with no expectations but sometimes that changes and I lose the selflessness of the act. Or maybe I over do the amount of service I’m trying to provide and instead of lifting me and providing peace to my life, it creates anxiety and stress (I’m convinced my therapist thinks this is some sort of strange super power that I have!). Continue reading
Confessions from counseling
I wanted to share with you the value I find in working with a trusted professional counselor as you overcome not only the addiction itself, but more importantly, as you work to unwind the damage done by the tornado of your life that negatively impacted those around you. If you’re early in your recovery this may not make a lot of sense just yet, but if you can trust me enough to read on and believe that there is something of value in the experiences I’ve had walking this road for 3-1/2 years now, you may find yourself in a better starting point when you work with your own counselor someday. And if you’re saying to yourself, “There’s no way I’ll ever talk to a counselor!” Then allow me to begin with the day I turned to the window of my counselor’s office and literally thought to myself, “I wonder how bad it will hurt to jump through that window and run away?” Continue reading
The most hope filled 12 step meeting I’ve attended!
This last Sunday evening at my LDS Addiciton Recovery 12 step Meeting we had a visiting leader as the normal leader was out of town. At the close of the meeting the leader will usually share a thought he has prepared for the night. What set this time apart from the others is the visiting leader was a recovered pornography addict himself. You could have heard a pin drop in the room it was so silent. We hung on every single word he uttered! It was amazing. He had us all with his first line, “Brethren, I don’t know if you know this or not, but you are the cream of the crop! You truly are.” Continue reading
Advice to those wanting to stop masturbating
If you are struggling with pornography addiction and are in the process of quitting you most likely are also struggling with masturbation. If you would also like to quit masturbating, take heart — it can be done! I’m not here to tell you that you should — that’s a decision for you to make, not me. However, I will say that when you consider the root of any addiction is selfishness, I find it hard to imagine someone being successful at eliminating their selfish behaviors if they are masturbating — especially if it is combined with sexual fantasy. In any case, if you’re interested here is what worked for me, some advice I received from my bishop, and additional tips I found on the web (as well as links to those websites for more info). Continue reading
Sometimes I just want to be normal
Every now and again I have a bit of a pity party. It’s the one that goes like this, “Why did this happen to me? Why can’t I be like normal people? Why do I have to work the 12 steps the rest of my life?”
Can you hear the baby crying in the background? Because I can. I don’t know how often this happens, and I would say that it’s happening less and less, but it still happens. Usually around the same time I start softening my bottom lines, quit doing daily study and meditation, or stop calling a friend to do 10th steps. Coincidence? I think not.
My brother’s tribute to my sobriety: “Lady Liberty is totally modestly dressed”
Every now and then something will truly move me. It will usually change my perspective on how I see the world, how I look to the future, or how I even interpret my past. Most of them are with my family like an incredible vacation, a lost loved one, or a major event in our children’s lives. But once in a while something unique occurs and it becomes one of the things that will always be part of me and I will never forget. The latest indelible memory came from my brother in the form of a padded envelope on Friday afternoon. Continue reading
Day 11 of 30: Dig Deep!
My daughter and I are training for her first foot race and have had a good time running together. She enjoys exercising and the healthful feelings she gets after she runs in the morning — as do I! Two weeks ago we started interval training, where you run for short distances as fast as you can, rest, and do it again multiple times. It’s really hard and pushes you more than you think you can do the first time you try it. She was super nervous and kept saying, “I just don’t think I can do this.” I kept reassuring her that I knew she could and that 90% of doing something hard comes from our minds, not our bodies. Then I started to talk to her about the principle of “Digging Deep” and that when she thinks she’s out of gas and can’t go one step further if she’ll look inside and really dig deep she’ll find that there’s still more to give. Continue reading
Day 10 of 30: Be Present
A year ago I was sitting in my therapist’s office with my wife. We rarely met together but he wanted to see how the two of us were doing. I was a hot mess mentally and emotionally. I never did discover why. All I knew was in that moment, sitting in his office I could not sit still as my legs were bouncing. I wanted to jump out of his window and run away (he was on the first floor). I felt like my chest was going to collapse and the world was falling on top of me! I was extremely tense and did not want to be there. He asked if I would like to go for a walk and try to collect myself first. I was happy to accept and quickly left. Continue reading