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Previous Blog: "Go thy way, and sin no more"
By josh
8/24/2006 12:00:00 AM
(Copied from a previous blog on a different site)

Day 24:

You know, sometimes I think my addiction to pornography is being replaced by my addiction to blogging...I may be being facetious, but in some respects it's true. I've been thinking about what the triggers are for me - what situations lead me to trouble. One of them is definitely boredom - or just the need to take a break from work for a minute. I'm realizing that whether I'm tired of working on a particular project, don't want to start on a project I know I need to, or just need a change of pace, those are dangerous times. If I'm under the gun to get some task done, I'm much less likely to be tempted. In those times of lull, or times when I'm looking for an escape, lately instead of being tempted to turn to pornography, I have been turning to this blog, or checking other people's blogs to see if there's any updates (rss feeds have made the latter easy - updates just show up in my inbox).

Another of my triggers, if you could call it a trigger, is curiosity. There are so many subtle ways you can get into trouble. Let me give you an example. We are looking into violin teachers for my son. My wife had sent me the name of one and I needed to get her phone number. I went to both dexonline.com and switchboard.com and couldn't find her (later I realized I had the wrong city...). So I thought, maybe she's got her own web page or there's info on her somewhere. I begin to type her name in my handy-dandy Google toolbar. Google, being the helpful tool that it is, popped up several popular search suggestions after I type her first name. Given the nature of the Internet and the popularity of pornography, you could type just about any woman's first name in this toolbar and it's going to suggest searches which will undoubtedly return results with links to pornography. Here I sit with these searches right in front of me - all I have to do is highlight one and click the "image search" button and boom - that's all it takes. So, is my curiosity going to get the better of me? Do I do it "just to see" how effective Google's "safe search" really is? "I'm not going to follow the links," I might tell myself, "I'm just curious to see what it will return." Naive, I know - but that's one of those things that would get me in trouble. Especially considering I'm a little tired of working on the project I'm working on, and a little tired in general. But today I claim a small victory as I remember the story of Joseph and Potiphar's wife, and my own advice to "immediately flee the thought." I don't do the search. I go into the preferences of my toolbar and turn off the option to suggest popular searches. I then call my wife and ask her for the phone number.

My own blog has turned against me on one occasion. Maybe I chose a poor name for it, but the full URL (as you can see) is pornography-addiction-recovery.blogspot.com. I'm in the habit of using the "auto-fill" feature of my browser, so I go to the address bar, type p..o..r..n and it suggests my site. Unfortunately, I hit enter too fast and only the word porn is in the address bar - the full URL of my site hadn't populated yet. Well, browsers, being the helpful tool that they are, like to try and figure out what you meant, and it probably thought I meant porn.com (I am guessing). So it happily directs me to that site, which redirects to some other site. Luckily my filter picks it up and I don't actually see anything other than the disturbing URL it tried to redirect me to. One of the aspects of my job is making sure our corporate filter is working, and sometimes it blocks sites it shouldn't and we need a way around it. Does curiosity get the better of me? Do I go around the filter just to see "what really is on that site - just how bad is it?" Not today. I claim another small victory as I simply just close and reopen my browser and type the address in properly.

It all sounds very trivial, I know, but to the addict - these types of things are serious. There are so many other little things like this that can lead to trouble, but I really don't want to discuss any more specifics - I don't really like talking about that particular aspect, and I worry if I'm going to plant an idea in someone's head that wouldn't have been there otherwise. Needless to say, working in my field, I have been exposed to just about every possible way to find pornography, get around filters, and cover your tracks. I suppose these skills could come in handy in helping others, but only if used in the right context. It's not going to help a pornography addict to discuss all the various ways of accessing pornography and covering it up. But if someone wanted me to look at a computer and find out where a person's been or what they've been doing, there's a pretty good chance I could sleuth it out.

However there's a big difference between trying to catch someone, and trying to help someone. So many people just try to catch someone (i.e. their spouse) by spying on them, secretly checking their history, etc, and then throw it in their face. That's just not the way to go. It takes open and honest discussion, and a sincere interest in helping the person. Then again, sometimes getting caught is the catalyst that leads to recovery. I guess it's just in how you approach it. How did Jesus treat the woman caught in adultery? He neither condemned her nor condoned the sin. We don't know what he wrote in the sand, but I like to think that perhaps he was writing the sins of all her accusers, and one by one they slunk away in shame. I'd like to think that she did "go her way and sin no more."

I'm so grateful that I have a spouse who, even though I have hurt her deeply, is willing to look past that, see the good in me, and sincerely want to do whatever she can to help me, not punish me. She puts aside her pride and helps me to put aside mine. Nothing I can ever do will take away the hurt I have caused her. I am sure that sometimes when she thinks about it, in spite of the progress I'm making, she still feels hurt. But she, more than this blog, more than the addiction recovery program, more than my own desires, more than just about anything else, helps me to go my way, and sin no more.

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"Strength comes from uplifting music, good books, and feasting from the scriptures. Since the Book of Mormon was to come forth “when there shall be great pollutions upon the face of the earth” (Morm. 8:31), study of that book in particular will fortify us."

— Russell M. Nelson

General Conference, October 1988