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Checking in
By iwillnot
1/20/2011 10:15:24 AM
I've seen the power of this website as I struggle to fight this temptation. I've had periods of sobriety of 30+, 60+, and 130+ days. But something always happens eventually. Satan catches me at a difficult time and I give in.

Looking back at these times I realize my fall had been a while in coming. I had stopped the basic things that give the strength to overcome: reading scriptures, prayer, and coming to this website.

I can't let this happen. I grew up in a family where deceit and pornography ruined relationships and I won't let it happen to mine. I have the most amazing wife and two wonderful kids and they deserve a righteous priesthood holder.

I am wondering if there is anybody out there I can check in with once or twice a week when things are going rough. I want to be held to my commitments. I know that coming to this site everyday helps tremendously, but I feel that if, in addition to the other things I am doing for my recovery, I had someone I could check in with on this site it would be that much more helpful. Is there anyone out there who could help me with this?

I am 14 days clean at this point. Thank you everyone for making this a wonderful site.

Comments:

Hey    
"If no one else has contacted you yet, I'm game.

Read over some of my history and let me know if I can help based on my experiences.

There are much better and longer success stories than me right now but hey I would love to help if I can."
posted at 18:42:21 on January 20, 2011 by ruggaexpat
Giving up is not an option    
"I think it's fair to say that all the blog members have different amounts of sobriety. I heard of some people only going a few days and another that went 13 months and had to start over. I think we're all here to LEARN and UNLEARN. I'M FINALLY CATCHING ON THAT "SATAN CATCHES ME AT DIFFICULT TIMES" too. I'm learning that I have to use everything in my arsenal (12step, bishop, fasting, scriptures, books, reliance on LORD etc.) It's not just one thing thats going to help us overcome this. We need all weapons all of the time to fight evil. Hope this helps.......just a thought"
posted at 13:45:10 on January 29, 2011 by JerryBerry
Thanks    
"Rugga, I'd love your help. I've been reading your entries and comments ever since coming on this site and you've been a tremendous help to a lot of people. If I can just check up with you each week like this I think it would help a lot. Thanks.

I made it through the hard time. It's really just the usual, simple stuff that is helping me do this: I pray each day for help, I have scripture time, I come on this site or read addiction recovery stuff, I watch my thoughts and I try and keep busy with productive endeavors. One thing I do is wait until I have done my scripture reading, journaling, and praying before I put my wedding ring on (I keep it in my pocket each morning). Once I am done I take it out and pause for a moment, thinking how wonderful my wife is and how blessed I am to be with her. Then I ask myself if I am willing to block any temptation that will come to me THAT DAY for her sake, almost like saying "I do" all over again. Once I have commited I put the ring on and go through my day. This has been great to help me remember to take things one day at a time. All I need to focus on are the challenges of THAT DAY. If I can do that, the rest will take care of itself."
posted at 10:52:39 on January 31, 2011 by iwillnot
Love It    
"I love what you do with your ring. I also like the reminder that we only have to take things one day at a time. I need to work on remembering that. I think I get too caught up in how long I need to go to get to the temple instead of just worrying about today and letting it happen when it happens."
posted at 11:19:16 on January 31, 2011 by dstanley
Sweet    
"I agree D that is a cool ritual you have going there IWILLNOT.

Ok cool I am happy to help.

It is obvious you want final freedom and in actual fact what you are doing with these new rituals is retraining your brain.


You probably get tired of hearing this from me but I promise this works better than anything and was my life line for months. I bearly have to use it now to control my thoughts.
When you are on the verge of acting out, try relax your mind and body by breathing deeply and repeat this sentance until the urge goes away. "IT IS NORMAL TO THINK THESE THINGS, EVERYONE THINKS THESE THINGS, IT IS NORMAL TO THINK THESE THINGS..." What this will do is normalize your thought process and as your brain eventually slows down, before you know it you will be thinking something way different and live to fight another day. As you accumulate more and more days doing this mental adjustment, your brain will adapt and voila you will have developed a new habit. I am at the point where if I get a thought pop in, it is like automatic response without even thinking, I start telling myself that same line. I have managed over time to retrain my brain to handle my thought processes.

Youu can do this too but it does take discipline.
I can honestly tell you I have no problem at all with my thoughts today. That was the work I had to do and the Lord did the rest.
I do like the ring thing, that is a great reminder.

Any time you feel like you want to talk, come to this thread and we can help each other.
If you want we can set up dud emails and get in touch that way if you like."
posted at 21:27:56 on January 31, 2011 by ruggaexpat
Interesting Advice    
"About telling oneself that such thoughts are natural, etc. It almost seems counter-intuitive, as though it would even encourage a slip. But in thinking about it I see the wisdom there. It diffuses the self-loathing/what is wrong with me portion of the mind, putting the impulse in its proper perspective. And by this it is easier to see for what it is. A natural, biological impulse. I will definitely use it next time.

I am sad to say that I fell last week. I woke up one morning, had had a semi-sexual dream the night before was exhausted both mentally and physically, and when I got to school I headed for the library instead of the institute, where I typically do my scripture reading, etc. So I missed entirely my morning ritual. And that's what started it all.

I should say that there was an extended period of temptation leading up to this. It weakened me, like waves crashing against a wall. The first 4 or 5 are withstood, but the 400th or so brings the wall down.

I've never experienced temptation like this, Rugga. It was relentless. I kept turning it down again and again. I read scriptures, I prayed, I went to the temple, I came to this site. Everything helped for a moment, but soon it was back on me. Eventually I gave way. I don't excuse my sin--it was entirely my choice and my poor decisions that led me there. But I've had periods of sobriety before and never has the temptation been so persistant or daunting.

As I think back and analyze it, the Saviour's words to his disciples about casting out unclean spirits sticks out to me: "This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting." Though I did everything else, I never fasted. I think this would have given me the power I needed. I've given home to a powerful spirit by my repeated indulgence in this gross sin. I know it will be hard to break. But I wasn't ready for how hard it would be.

I feel hopeful though. Typically when I fall I wallow around in the filth for a while. I view prurient material for hours, act out multiple times, and say "to hell" with all my work/errands for that day. And this will happen for a few days before I pull myself out and start trying again. This time was different. It wasn't as exhillirating as it had been before and after the initial fall I went back to work (school work, personal projects) and had little desire to go back to the sin.

I can only hope this means my heart and behavior is changing.

Like I said, though I am disappointed in myself, I feel hopeful and I am not giving up. I've rebounded from this far quicker than I have in the past. I see the power of habit: every morning when I wake up my first impulse is to start the day with scripture reading, prayer, etc. I've been clean since then and haven't felt a strong temptation yet. I know it will come, though, and I need to be ready. I will use your strategy next time.

Thanks for listening. Any input you have is greatly appreciated."
posted at 09:48:42 on February 7, 2011 by iwillnot
i have tried that    
"i have tried the normalization idea, and i didnt work for me. it might work for others, but it seems to make one focus on the sin. and that just left me in a bad place.

i may be beating a dead horse here, but i have found something similar to what rugga was saying, that helps me so much, and i think it should be known to everyone, even if they decide its not something that will help them, and that is to take a few deep breathes, and then observe your surroundings using not just sight but the 4 senses other than taste whenever possible. i talked to an addiction councilor about this and he said that when you activate the part of the brain required to observe detail, it shuts off the part of the brain that craves your addiction. and the deep breathing (which rugga also mentioned) helps to bring down your pulse and breathing rate since they both go up when you are about to be caught in your addiction.

like i said, i may be beating a dead horse, but i think everyone should know about all the different things that help different people, since somethings work for some people and some things work for others."
posted at 11:08:35 on February 7, 2011 by Anonymous
yes I know what you are saying    
"IWILLNOT great that we can discuss this. Yes I know what you are talking about. Wave after wave after wave. Look at it this way. That is normal to feel those things during the cycle.
Here is the good news there is an end to that bombardment. So glad to see Anon added in some of his experience. Hey I am sure it may not work for everyone as each case is a unique mixture of personality and experiences. So it seems so far that we must find a way to relax the soul. That includes the brain.
I am not one for the senses and never have been so no matter how good that rose smells, it will make no difference. I needed the counter intuitive approach to normalize my thoughts. I am more of a thinker than a touchy-feely-smelly kind of dude. My wife could argue on the smelly part of me but I think I smell just rosey!

The idea is get the soul and that includes the body and mind to slow down, and in a very real sense come down from that high you are reaching. It is about touching base with reality, instead of souring with Peter, Wendy, Michael and John to "never should be there land." You will see that once you get back to reality, it sticks and you move on. This takes hard work initially but as you build that habit of breaking the cycle, you find the cycle no longer has the vicious power of a tornado, but kindergarten merry-go-round. Just takes time and repetition and voila you have trained your brain to use a new thought process.

I tell you that there was once a time in the beginning where the normalization did not work as expected but I added prayer and heavy breathing to the normalization ritual and it did the trick. Brother SATAN HAS NO CHANCE IF YOU SHUT HIM OUT AT THAT MOMENT. We are always in charge. Nothing more liberating, nothing more powerful than the idea that I decide my future and my destiny. It all begins with your thoughts, learn to control the first thought and you win.

One more thing practice on even the smallest thoughts. Don't wait for the big battle to try out your new armour for the first time. That would be a seriously retarded thing to do. Do it tonight, start relaxing yourself, it will work. Please let me know how it goes. I really would like to know."
posted at 16:32:36 on February 7, 2011 by ruggaexpat
amazing    
"You have all helped me; you have no idea."
posted at 17:43:18 on February 7, 2011 by lawrence
You're Changing    
"I think getting back on track quickly is a good sign of change. I also totally relate to the relentless waves of temptation. I try to start my day praying and committing to sobriety, even before I get dressed or shower, especially if I've had a sexual dream. One thing I try if the urges are really intense is to dunk my face in ice water. It triggers the dive reflex (or something) which slows your body down. It has helped me. If nothing else, it takes time to get a bowl of ice water ready, and cold water on your face can help break you out of what you're thinking. Keep working on it. You'll get there."
posted at 23:55:44 on February 7, 2011 by dstanley
Another Update    
"It's Feb. 17th. Thanks RUGGA and everyone else for the help. I'm proud to say it's been a good week. It was a challenging one, as my wife and kids went out of town and left me home alone for a few days. That is typically when I have a fall. But I set some rules, prayed, fasted, and got through it. I'm not sure what day I'm on, I'll have to go back and check.

I've seen the power of habit in the past few months. When I first started the LDSAR stuff I had to make a conscious effort each day to do the things that would help me: scripture reading, prayer, checking in here, etc. But I've gotten past that 27 day mark and all those things are now habit. This has helped me tremendously. The daily power gained from these simple things are amazing.

One issue I've realized, something that has held me back from full repentance, is the fact that I don't want to lose the EXCITEMENT of the addiction. This is related to, but separate from, the sexual aspect of the sin. It's the rush of adreneline, the danger, the excitement and flow of hormones. I know one tool Satan is using on me is to whisper at how bland and dull life would be without it. Has anybody ever encountered this?

I would say the easy solution to this is to find other outlets of excitement, but I already do that. Perhaps that is the problem. I'm addicted to adreneline. I play sports regularly and ski, taking risks for excitement. I like skydiving, cliff jumping, that kind of thing, though I seldom do either. It would seem that an apparent fix would be finding other thrills, but frequent skydiving or other risky sports doesn't strike me as an alternative that the Lord would approve of.

Any thoughts?"
posted at 12:02:21 on February 17, 2011 by iwillnot
same boat    
"I am in the same boat. I love the thrill. Closest thing that I can do on a consistent basis is exercise...it works most the time...but I'm still struggling. Lifting weights actually gives me some kind of a thrill, as strange as that is and it helps me sleep better, so I don't toss and turn at night, which is usually when I am tempted to MB. Hope that helps! I'm either gonna overcome this and be really buff, or not overcome this and be buff. I guess that's one positive way to look at it!"
posted at 13:26:17 on February 17, 2011 by jdean88
Me too...    
"I've had a similar experience. When I was writing pros and cons of acting out, I realized that one of the pros is that it is forbidden and dangerous. I think that was part of having sex with the people I was and with not using protection. The mb, not so much. My counselor suggested finding ways to get that thrill elsewhere. For me, riding my scooter to work fills that partially. I don't know that there's anything that can totally give the same excitement, but I think there are things that can fill parts of it."
posted at 23:04:30 on February 17, 2011 by dstanley
Good points, thanks    
"Thanks for both of your comments. It's just good to hear that other people have encountered this too.

I think you're right JDean88 -- exercise does seem to help. I read somewhere that exercise releases dopamine in the brain, the same neuro-transmitter that is released due to intercourse and viewing prurient material. I've realized that the days I have worked out I typically feel better and somehow more fulfilled.

And it's funny to you mention your scooter, DSTANLEY, because I used to have one too and sold it about a year ago. Since then I've wanted a motorcycle, but knowing they are dangerous haven't bought one yet.

So this really is a factor, then, isn't it? The element of excitement. Or the thrill. It seems a little odd that part of my rehab may be needing to hit the amusement park and ride the rollercoasters two or three times a week."
posted at 10:37:24 on February 18, 2011 by iwillnot
Hey nice going IWN    
"I too have learned the amazing power of habit.
I read the big books all the time, each day and pray more meaningfully.
One habit I need to get right is going to bed early, my wife and I sit until 12 PM every night, that is a killer when the kiddies wake up and demand attention.
I feel like a flagging zombie for the first bit but that is a work in progress.

Adrenalin, well it was not a real rush per say for me but more a coping mechanism. I used it to medicate my broken soul. I never felt a real high from it, because I know what highs feel like, I have done the drug thing as a teenager and I was definately doing the D's for that high in the sky, adrenalin rush. This was different, it was my tylenole for the soul, it gave been temporary relief from inner emotional anxiety, etc.

I love exercise, I feel great except at those beginning stages where I don't sleep well because I cannot move from stiffness.

How is the normalization going?
Those thoughts are where it all begins and ends.
One tragic cycle."
posted at 11:23:24 on February 18, 2011 by ruggaexpat
Keep it alive!!    
"As someone who has experienced similar periods of sobriety that ultimately failed I can relate. I was always looking down the road, not at what was right in front of me........I am on day 387, but as far as I'm concerned......it's day 1. I tell myself each day that I will not drink......TODAY. I don't think about tomorrow in that respect.....I don't want to get caught in that trap again. I am learning to put the guilt behind me. It gets a little easier each day. As the days build, the guilt lessens, and after 30 years of beating myself up I feel better.......even though there is a lot wrong going on.....no job, pending foreclosure etc......Keep your faith strong, reach out to those that help you and stay positive!! You can do it, and you are definitely NOT alone!!"
posted at 11:47:15 on February 18, 2011 by nickwyo
Checking in again    
"Thanks NICKWYO and RUGGA and everyone else for your input.

I'm proud to say I've made it another week. The morning ritual of praying, scriptures, and coming on this site has really helped. I also try and go to the family history center at least once a week.

I know I need to be careful today though. Last night I had a sexual dream. These usually act as a trigger to acting out, so I call these red alert days. On these days I don't get anywhere near being alone with the internet, I make a special point of asking the Lord for help, and I think up something specific I can do that day to make my wife and childrens' lives better individually. I've found this helps by taking the focus off of me and making me think of the needs of others.

Even with this, however, I know I will need help. Any prayers on my behalf would be much appreciated.

I've been frustrated with myself that part of me is attracted to other women than my wife. At first it made me feel that my repentance is insincere, that something is wrong with me. But then the scripture from the New Testament came to my mind: "There are no temptations given you save that which is common to man". I realized that attraction is simply part of the carnal man (and woman) and is something that needs to be checked throughout life. In other words, the subconscious pull of attraction to someone who is not your spouse isn't the sin, it's in harboring and nourishing that attraction once it comes.

Though I can't stop this type of thing completely, I can resist the urge to develop and nourish it and resolve to not let such thoughts enter my conscious mind. As I do so the Lord magnifies my efforts and gradually changes my heart and mind to the point where I am pure. The process takes time."
posted at 10:16:33 on February 25, 2011 by iwillnot
3 seconds    
"You cannot go through life with blinders. Impossible! But you can give yourself the 3 second rule. No look longer than three seconds. Remember we are commanded to not lust after another mans wife. Any other woman is another mans wife if she is not yours, you might consider her The wife of Christ. After all isn't Christ the Bridegroom of this Universe. You cannot lust after what you love, your mother, your sister. Love all mankind!"
posted at 11:30:22 on February 25, 2011 by Hero
You will be fine doing what you are doing    
"It is amazing that you have the momentum now. Once that momentum starts it is hard to stop because it is hard to change. The longer you carry on this momentum, the harder you will have to work to reverse all this good work you are doing.

About attractiveness, how many people on this planet do not have to be watchful with their thoughts?

"Common to man" That is a great way of seeing it and it will help me add to my normalization process. It is common for every man with a boddy of flesh and bones.

The sexual dreams will taper off over time. They have for me.

Your conscious mind is having a clean up and layer by layer the unconscious mind will undergo the same process.

My dreams are hardly ever sexual by nature and that cleansing process was evident when I woke up in a sweat thinking I fell but as I awakened each time I realised YA BABY I AM STILL CLEAN!"
posted at 12:19:04 on February 25, 2011 by ruggaexpat
Congrats!    
"Congratulations on the sobriety. I hate sexual dreams. I agree though that they have diminished for me as time has gone by. I try to remind myself that it was just a dream, and that I don't have to act on it. It is definitely good to be extra on guard after one though. I hope things go well for you. I'll be praying for you."
posted at 00:44:08 on February 26, 2011 by dstanley
I hate doing this    
"But I fell again. I feel so disappointed with myself. I feel like I've let people down.

I'm not sure how far along I was, somewhere around day 35. I know exactly how it happened. I went on a long trip which involved driving for 6-12 hours a day. There were movies, junk food, and late nights alone in a hotel room with a TV. I also didn't have my usual morning routine of prayer, scriptures, LDSAR, and other things. I didn't fall at the hotel, but it planted the seeds. A day after returning from the trip I was up late and I fell. It was the smartphone.

I realize that when I am doing well I take the recovery for granted. I.e. I think I can go without scripture reading etc. for a few days and be fine. I can't do this. I should have set out a plan before the trip to make sure I still got those things in during the day. Next time I will plan this out and not become lackadaisical in my recovery.

I also realize I seem to have a pattern. This is the third consecutive time I've fallen after around 30-35 days. I need to be aware of that time frame and prepare for it.

I still have hope though. I know from falling before that I need to pick myself up and get back at it. Like C.S. Lewis said, we just need to brush ourselves off, ask for forgiveness, and keep trying. The Lord will help us.

Thank you everyone who has helped me, especially you Rugga. I'm sorry to let you down. But I'm not giving up."
posted at 12:37:47 on March 16, 2011 by iwillnot
IWillNot    
"Unless you've given up (definitely sounds like you haven't) no one has been let down. You are fighting the good fight and trying to improve yourself, in the end that what really matters. You are honest, and seeking to be as clean and worthy as possible to serve the Lord as He needs you to.

Learn from your mistakes, just as you've written, and the next time will be better. You will continue to be in my prayers."
posted at 14:19:43 on March 16, 2011 by paul
Write as much as you can    
"Iwillnot, now is a great time just to go wild with the pen. Write about the experience and root out the problem areas.
You have a fantastic attitude right now.
No worries about disappointing anyone, it was a slip on the road to bigger and better things.
You really know where you went wrong because you are honest with yourself.

We are all working hard still buddy so don't ever feel alone.

Find out what is holding you back within yourself and then go all out to root it out.
I bear testimony that you do not have to live with the constant slips.

The real changes only started to happen when I finally believed in myself, that I was worth a better life.

The battle is over your soul but how cool is this:

You are part of the mightiest army on earth. You cannot and will not fail.

I believe in myself and I believe in you!"
posted at 19:24:15 on March 17, 2011 by ruggaexpat
Rugga...    
"Not to hijack IWillNot's thread, but its good to hear from you brother."
posted at 10:17:30 on March 18, 2011 by paul
Hey Paul    
"You too, hope all is going well with you and the Mrs.

Things are so much more calmer in the home, holy cow the strorm seemed to last for ages.
My wife still hurts badly, recalls clearly and cries deeply and long will that continue I believe.

Life just goes on and the healing is taking place gradually.

Things have never been better between me and the Lord. I feel closer and have just been called as the High Priest Group Leader. Not the calling I was wanting because I had the dream calling of Sunday School teacher for Adults. That has been the most amazing calling so still sad to be released but it is just nice to serve the Lord again.

When that blessing was taken away for me, I missed it more than anything. It was hard to not be able to serve but now I love it so much more than I ever did. I guess my addict mind needed those 2 shocks:

1) Possibility of losing my wife and family.

2) Losing blessing to serve the Lord in a calling.

I just soak in the time with the family, This new life is good.

I still check the site now and again as it has helped me sooooo much. This site served as a crutch for some time but I do not need it every day now, it is just nice to keep in touch with the friends I have made here. However don't get me wrong I still learn a great deal being part of this community.

Paul you are a good man and have come a long way - Good for you brother I hope those twins of yours can grow up assured that they have superman as their dad."
posted at 19:27:49 on March 18, 2011 by ruggaexpat
Another check in    
"Things are going well. I've been clean since the last time (about two weeks, I think) and I've been able to resist the temptations. A huge key for me is the daily accountability, scripture reading, etc. If I can get that in daily, my armor is that much more impenetrable.

One looming concern though. We just found out we're pregnant. I'm excited, but I've been through this a couple times before.

How on earth am I going to make it?

During pregnancy my wife's desire for intimacy goes way down. It's not that high to begin with. Even when we are not pregnant it is hard to get by. This is my fault, not hers. Once a pregancy occurs, intimacy becomes a chore for her. I still find her attractive, but the frequency goes way down. I also feel guilty for wanting it when she is obviously not feeling her best. I will prepare as best I can, work to stay close to the Lord, but I know the temptations will come. And they will be strong.

How can I get through this? Any suggestions anyone has are much appreciated."
posted at 13:20:52 on March 29, 2011 by iwillnot
I hope the checking in is helping    
"Yes I can imagine a couple months down the road.

Forget about all that, it has not even happened. Today you are clean, that is the best thing about life. Be careful not to set yourself up for falling.

What I mean by that is you cannot stress out about something that has not even happened because when the situation changes and you face the situation, it will be that much worse.
My suggestion is just chill and enjoy each new clean day. I am confident by doing what you have done the last 2 weeks without stressing out about decrease in bedroom activity, you will not notice it as much.

That serenity prayer carries a lot of weight in responding to your concern.

One final strategy - see the next few months until your wife is comfortable as an opportunity to show your real love for her and that little one. , IT IS ALL ABOUT THEM FOR THE NEXT FEW MONTHS."
posted at 14:39:41 on March 29, 2011 by ruggaexpat
i know how you feel    
"I've made it to 3 weeks tops and it felt like years it was hard but it was worth it and at a time of weakness i fell.I felt horrible it felt like all of it was for nothing,I'm only 15 but i know in my heart im doing the right thing and sure i may fall but like any father heavenly father loves us and wants us to progress.I've recently fallen and now am at 2 days sober this is great news i feel so good i know that god is happy that i"m doing this.This website has helped me through a lot of it .It helped me know i was loved by my father and other people are going through what i'm going throught and want to be succesful in breaking the addiction.So every time you post i'll write something about how i'm doing in my life and i'm sure this will help all of us go throught it together."
posted at 23:00:35 on April 1, 2011 by Teddy
Congratulations    
"Congratulations on the pregnancy. I agree with Rugga that you need to be careful about setting yourself up for failure. Tell yourself that you can make it through this, because you can. It probably will be hard and will be a real test of your sobriety. You have the perfect opportunity to throw yourself into service. Spend the next while doing all you can for your wife and kid(s), especially if your wife gets morning sick. I got horribly morning sick with both of my boys, and I would have loved to have a husband that served me. Let her see how much you love her by your actions. I think all the things that you've been using up to now will continue to help you through this time. You can do this!"
posted at 23:19:35 on April 1, 2011 by dstanley


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" Is it possible to reclaim a life that through reckless abandon has become so strewn with garbage that it appears that the person is unforgivable? Or what about the one who is making an honest effort but has fallen back into sin so many times that he feels that there is no possible way to break the seemingly endless pattern? Or what about the person who has changed his life but just can't forgive himself?The Atonement of Jesus Christ is available to each of us. His Atonement is infinite. It applies to everyone, even you. It can clean, reclaim, and sanctify even you. That is what infinite means—total, complete, all, forever. "

— Shayne M. Bowen

General Conference October 2006