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
Why do we try to drive the bus when we’re blind?
A friend of mine asked me this question last night in our 12 step meeting. He had recently slipped up and was frustrated with how he got there and how long it took him to get back on the right path. He said it was like riding in a Bus with God. When we are willing to let God drive the bus He knows exactly where to go and will get us there safely and on time. But we usually start to get agitated at the route or the speed and decide we’d be better off as the driver and eventually we push God out of the drivers seat and take over. But what we don’t realize is that we’re actually blind and can’t even see where we’re going. So we bump into trees and light poles along the way until finally, we realize how foolish we’re being and we humble ourselves and ask God to drive the bus again. He’s happy to do it as soon as we ask. And He is so patient with us. He doesn’t berate us or punish us (we did that to ourselves as we drove around bumping into things) — He only loves us. He always loves us. And He is a great bus driver! Continue reading
Productive goals versus non-productive goals
My daughter shared a powerful tool that her counselor shared with her this week: learning to chose non-productive goals over productive goals. My initial response was, “If a goal is non-productive, what is the point? The purpose of a goal is to produce a desired outcome, right?” Turns out, that is not always the case. For those of us that find ourselves impacted by anxiety, depression, or increased stress as a result of our fight over pornography addiction we may find that setting more non-productive goals will be a lot healthier to our recovery, our personal well being, and even to our relationships with others. 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
Day 9 of 30: A Friend’s Journey to Recovery
Two days ago I read a friend’s blog about her progress on her own recovery and was absolutely blown away at the power of her story! It’s been amazing to see her progress and watch the 12 steps working in her life. She is completely different from when I started following her blog and I’m sure there was plenty of growth before that and certainly there will be plenty of growth moving forward! THAT is the power of the 12 step program! I am not kidding, it literally has the power to change who we are. We become different people than we once were. We’re less selfish. We’re more confident. We’re free of our burdens and able to turn our attention to the needs of others. We heal. We grow. We share our stories with others. If you’ve been stuck on your own program or have wondered if a 12 step can work for you, read this snapshot into the journey of my friend’s recovery. It is amazing! Continue reading
Day 8 of 30: Abstain from Sexual Fantasy
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
Day 6 of 30: Working with Others
This morning I re-read Chapter 7 in the AA Big Book titled “Working with Others”. The very first sentence of the chapter boldly declares a primary key to continued sobriety: “Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from [acting out] as intensive work with other [addicts].” As recovered/recovering addicts we can help other addicts like no one else can. Helping someone else achieve sobriety and ultimately beat their addiction is one of the greatest joys for a fellow addict. This chapter has some great advice on how to help others as well as some important cautionary measures to be sure you take. Continue reading
Day 3 of 30: Keys to Recovery
Over the last several years I’ve studied multiple books including He Did Deliver Me from Bondage, the AA Big Book and the Addiction Recovery Program Manual. I’ve also met with a private counselor, held a private recovery group at my house, attended LDS Addiction Recovery group meetings, and attended SAA Primary Purpose meetings. Fairly early on I took notes from each of these meetings and I would underline passages in the books and write in the columns. Every now and again I would come across something that really changed my way of thinking or lead to a new pattern of behavior or was literally the key to my transformation from an addict to a recovered addict (I highlighted it by writing KEY in the book). Over the next few days I will occasionally list those “KEY” experiences. Hopefully you find them useful for your own journey to freedom from addiction. Continue reading
Day 2 of 30: Not my will, but thine be done.
Five or six years ago I tried an experiment to pray each morning and ask God what He would have me do that day. I kept a notepad by my nightstand and wrote down whatever I felt in response. In the beginning the inspirations or answers were minor, they were easy. But eventually they became rather difficult. I almost began to fear to ask what He would have me do because I worried that I wouldn’t be able to do it. Continue reading