Wow, I picked the photo and wrote the title months ago but never wrote my article. I think I was still reeling from the shock of going through a relapse after almost two years of sobriety. So much shame, anger, and frustration I didn’t know how to handle the emotional barrage at the time. The first thing I will tell you is that you can live through it even if it feels like you can’t. It is not the end of the world. It’s definitely not desirable, but it’s far from over. Here are a few things that I’ve learned from my experience.
I’ve always wondered what would happen and what I would do if I ever relapsed. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) I can now answer that question. When I first went through the 12 steps almost 2 years ago I had such a miraculous spiritual transformation I was convinced I would never struggle again. And then I quickly realized that struggle was part of the human experience but as long as I stayed true to the maintenance steps I would struggle but with the help of God, not fall. I read that half of addicts struggle to gain full sobriety off and on for a number of years before finally finding recovery and staying recovered the rest of their lives. I was so thankful that wasn’t going to be me, or so I thought. Continue reading
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
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
“It’s all part of the human condition.” Those are the words my brother lovingly shared with me over the phone as we talked about my daughter who had just been admitted to a mental health hospital for severe depression. He had been there. He knew what it was like to suffer with horrible depression for years. That was last Wednesday. We’re hoping she’s well enough to go home tomorrow but there are no guarantees. And worst of all, there’s nothing I can do to fix it.
A couple of years ago I was sitting in my psychiatrist’s office and he turns to me and asks, do you fantasize about your wife? “Of course I do,” was my reply. I expected that to be very normal and not an issue. I was definitely still in my early stages of addiction recovery (more of the discovery stage versus the solution stage). His simple but powerful reply was, “That’s interesting. Does she know that you fantasize about her? Do you have her permission?” I went to answer and found I had no words. I was dumbfounded. I had never thought of that before. Continue reading
For the month of June I thought I’d try an experiment. I’m going to share my thoughts on pornography addiction, recovery, prevention, relationships, healing, helping others, depression and anxiety, and anything else that comes up in my daily study, interactions with others, working with sponsees, and 12 step group meetings. I don’t know what the topics will be until I write them. I’ll try to keep them to 3 paragraphs or less. Continue reading
I recently began a new stage of my journey in recovery to address my brain’s unfortunate recognition of women as objects instead of as people. This has been a frustrating part of my recovery as I had hoped that this would have been included in the healing aspect of my 12 step program through my SAAPP efforts. Kind of a “buy one get one free” sort of deal where once I found freedom from my addiction to pornography, I would also no longer be objectifying women. That has not been the case for me and I would imagine it has not been the case for most people. Continue reading
Last week I was writing in my recovery journal and one of the questions asked, “What behaviors or weaknesses do you want to change?” My initial response was, I’ve found my freedom from pornography, I’m good. But a few minutes later I remembered that I still struggle with viewing women as objects instead of people. If I’m not careful, when I first see a woman my brain tends to see her as her physical attributes instead of as a human with thoughts, feelings, personality, etc. I would like to change that and see all women as who they truly are — a human being, a person, a daughter, a wife, a mother, a sister, etc. They are someone. They are not a collection of objects to be lusted after. Continue reading