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 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
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
Two weeks ago when I left on vacation I was committed to following my plan to make sure that I studied my scriptures at least 15 minutes a day — most likely in the evening. This would be the difference in my plan this time versus all of the times in the past. Usually when I go on vacation I’m fairly triggered by the end of it and that would always frustrate me. After analyzing past experiences, I realized that it was because I wasn’t doing my morning studies which would result in me being more tempted, more frustrated, and more manic by the end of the trip. But this time would be different. Continue reading
Last week was a difficult week for me. I was struggling with stress from work, the time I was spending with my recovery groups, time with family, time with church obligations, and on top of that I felt like I was not giving enough attention and effort to my relationship with my wife. I felt like I was crumbling underneath it all and not doing well in any one of them. I was beginning to feel self-pity, resentment, fear, and anger. I ignored it for a few days, but finally I found the humility to admit that I was once again powerless over this struggle and needed to reach out to someone immediately. Continue reading
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
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
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 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
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