What do you do in times of need?
By josh
10/13/2006 10:56:15 PM
In the addiction recovery meetings I have attended there is often much discussion about particular things people do in times of temptation. So many people have posted such wonderful thoughts and ideas on this site, I'm wondering what you do in times of temptation, times of desparation. I'd like to see some of your comments.

I've been "sober" for 75 days now and, to be honest, it has in a sense been easy - at least the first 70 days or so. I've heard it referred to by some as the "honeymoon" stage. You have been so overcome with the spirit of recovery and been so wonderfully blessed that the feeling just carries with you. I've had the blessing of the Lord changing my heart and placing in me a heart free from sinful desires (at least as far as pornography goes). During this time, I truly have had, with my wife, some of the most amazing spiritual experiences of my life.

The last week or so has been different. It has been really hard. The old feelings have returned, sinful desires have resurfaced, and I feel like once again I'm relying on my own strength. I know that it is my own fault - my inability to be consistent with all the little things I should be doing. I just seem to have lost the sincerity, the depth of conviction. I feel like I am wandering in a fog, and I just can't seem to find my way out of it. I can't figure it out, and I need your collective help and comments. Please, spouses, moms, addicts, whomever - share with me your thoughts on how you've made it through these times. I don't think this is just an issue for addicts, but I think all of us experience times like this.

Lately I've been following "breadcrumbs" right up to the edge and then stopping. It frustrates me because even though I do not fully indulge, the fact that I am wanting to go there indicates that my heart is not in the right place. I find my curiosity getting the better of me, and I place myself in situations where I have to quickly look away, close my browser window, whatever. I've written about treating the breadcrumbs as seriously as the sin, about not being preoccupied with the behavior, and so many other things that make me feel so hypocritical.

I have read 2 Ne 4 over and over again. I just really relate to Nephi's words in that chapter. But I am nothing like Nephi. My trials are so insignificant to those he faced, and incomparable to those the Lord faced. But Nephi remained strong - even after witnessing in vision the entire destruction of his people. How depressing that must have been! He must have asked himself, "What is the point? What is it all for, if in the end my people will be destroyed?" At least, that's what I would have asked myself. I find myself asking it now. Why try so hard if I am in the end only going to fail? Why? BECAUSE I WILL NOT FAIL. I will not fail. I will not fail. I am weak, but the Lord is strong. I am prone to temptation - the Lord overcame those same temptations. I am inconsistent, but the Lord is the same yesterday, today, and forever. My burden is heavy, but the Lord's yoke is easy. Without Him, I am nothing. With Him, I can do anything. Remember, remember, remember. My God has been my support, he has filled me with love, and he does so even now, despite my hypocrisy, my sins, my inconsistency, my apathy, my turning from Him. I will turn again to Him, for He is mighty to save. I will again exercise my faith and place my trust in Him. My heart is truly filled with gratitude for what the Savior has done for me. I am overcome by God's love for me, and not just me, but for my wife and I together, for our marriage, for our collective soul.

"Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul."


Here's what works for me    
"I operate from an assumption that I will fail. I will fail if I do everything wrong and I will fail if I do everything right. My addiction is an area where I have no control whatsoever and I expect that to be the case for a long time. So I tell God that this is where I am and that I need Him to see me through this day. Then I do my best to let Him do His best. When I do this, it works. So, there's that."
posted at 07:56:49 on October 14, 2006 by John Anon
"Endure" To The End    
As I read your comments today I had an overwhelming feeling of sadness come over me. I have read several of your posts over the past month or so and I feel like I know you personally, even though I have never met you. I can, however, feel your heart and your soul through what you have shared and you have such depth and spiritual maturity. PLEASE don't give up! I know you are struggling now, and I don't have a lot to offer other than to say that I think this is part of the process. My own son has gone through a couple of "cycling" times like this and sometimes all you can do it hang on by your fingernails and keep doing what you are supposed to be doing for the Spirit to return. It WILL return again. You admitted this in your own comments. You just need to keep doing the "little things" that keep you in touch with the Spirit. I know that with my own son it has been his committment to those "little things" (reading and pondering the scriptures every day, praying every day, journalling every day on what he is feeling) even when he is feeling down, depressed, and sad - that EVENTUALLY brings him back. The most important thing is that you don't act out in these times of struggle. I think the Lord has strengthened you amazingly and I know he will continue to carry you. However, Satan wants you too! I think it is times like this that we understand what the word "endure" means. Hopefully life won't just have to be "endured", but during the cycles of weakness and discouragement, which will surely come, I think all you can do it "endure" it. The more you show the Lord you are serious about keeping his commandments the more he will pour out his spirit upon you. I am praying for you right now, Josh. D&C 88:126."
posted at 04:56:08 on October 15, 2006 by Mother In Zion
Keep fighting    
"Some things came to my mind as I read your thoughts:

1. Somehow recommit to doing those little things. I have realized that even if I feel like my prayers aren't going past the ceiling or I'm not getting much from my reading, I can't afford NOT to do these things. Our kids have all been learning the song "Scripture Power" this year in primary. That song has become pretty important to me. "Scripture power, keeps me safe from sin, scripture power is the power to win. Scripture power, every day I need, the power that I get each time I read." So true. I say recommit someHOW, because that may require a change in schedule or habits. Personally, I turn the light on my nightstand on and sit on my bed and read and write as soon as I wake up (well, sometimes I shower first to clear the cobwebs). It might bug my wife sometimes, but I'd much rather establish the daily habit and some built-in accountability with her knowing I'm doing it, than trust only myself to do it. In The Peacegiver towards the end, he talks about covenanting with those we have hurt to HELP us overcome our weaknesses. As I read that, I was so impressed that we need each other. Not that I didn't know this already, but I NEED my wife's help and she NEEDS mineif we're going to make it. So maybe talk with your wife about ways she can help just in accountability for the little things.

2. I blogged about it last week. Ask for a new heart. This idea has REALLY been a help to me. I'm realizing how quickly my fleshy heart becomes stony. I read in Alma 12 this morning about how hard-heartedness prevents the word of God from becoming part of us. No wonder, then, that when we are hard-hearted we don't get much from the scriptures. Pray for a new heart when you can tell you are getting "stony". Plead for it. It may take a lot of prayer, but it can happen.

3. My bishop told me a few weeks ago when I was going through such a cycle that I had been blessed with extra power for a while and now the spirit would begin to pull back a little bit, allowing me to do a little more on my own. Not that I can do it on my own, but maybe giving me some agency back. In that honeymoon stage, I think we receive an extra dose of the Spirit so we have it almost 24/7. But an interesting thing about agency is that having the spirit constantly almost makes it too easy to exercise our agency. Think about it - how much agency would we really be exercising if the Savior was physically standing right next to us all the time. That would be SO easy to make good choices. Part of a weakness becoming a strength is not that we will never be tempted again (although that would be very nice) but that we have strength in exercising our agency to choose when faced with temptation. So look at these moments of struggle as what they are - the Lord allowing you to gain strength in agency and CHOOSE to allow him to help. It's a chance to show the Lord he can trust you.

4. Finally, don't forget to look at the babysteps you are making. For example, I have noticed that for me, the "edge" seems to be getting closer and closer. Not in that I'm getting closer to it, but that my tolerance for sin seems to be decreasing. In other words, whereas maybe it used to take me 5 breadcrumbs before I realized I was off the path, I now seem to notice after 1 or 2 breadcrumbs. Don't forget the good things you're doing or you'll get discouraged. Remember that you spent many years getting yourself chained in sin and your soul has to be completely reworked. That takes time."
posted at 07:36:45 on October 16, 2006 by derek
"I just wanted to say thanks to all of your comments. John Anon, I appreciate your honesty. You're right - if I do it myself I will fail, no matter what I, do. But if I do it with the Lord, I will NOT fail. I don't believe that failing is inevitable - the Lord's strength did not fail Him in fulfilling the atonement, and I believe I can receive enough of that same strength to sustain me if I put my complete trust in him.

Mother in Zion, I cannot express to you how legitimately and sincerely I appreciate your concern and prayers. I know that it makes a difference. Your words of encouragement strengthened me, and I felt a renewed desire to not let you down, myself down, my wife down, and the Lord down. I strongly believe that broadening my realm of accountability is a powerful tool - at least for me.

Derek, I consider you a good friend. I hope that's not too presumptuous. I would comment on your words, but, well, I think you said it all. And all of it was meaningful to me. I'd pick a particular point to comment on, but seriously, it was ALL so good for me to hear. I came to many of your same conclusions during this time, and that is what helped me through.

Finally, I wanted to resolve the cliffhanger. Through the grace of God, I made it! I did not fail. (or should I say - I am continuing to make it - obviously it is not over, but I am feeling much better.) I am not proud of the "breadcrumbs" I allowed myself, but I did not indulge, I did not act out. As Paul said, "when I am weak, then am I strong." In my weakness I was humbled, in my humility I again turned to the Lord and the MANY resources that I already know give me strength (prayer, scriptures, my wife, this site, church, etc.) I've a few more things to say about my recent experiences, but I think I will put in a separate blog."
posted at 09:22:53 on October 16, 2006 by josh
Don't try to do it alone    
"Sometimes I think Te forgets that he doesn't have to struggle through the temptations by himself. I've reminded him of that several times... When temptations come, he needs to ask heavenly father to help him make it through. That way, instead of focusing on the temptation, he's focusing on heavenly father. I do the same thing when I feel overwhelmed, or full of despair. I have to remind myself that I don't have to go through this by myself. Heavenly Father wants to help me, but I have to let him. I have to ask. We don't have to rely on our own strength (or weakness) when it comes to temptations. If we do, we will eventually fail. We have to rely on the Lord. Just keep doing what you know you are supposed to be doing. And say little prayers in your heart 30 times a day if you need to. "
posted at 14:19:52 on October 16, 2006 by sophie

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"My brethren who are caught in this addiction or troubled by this temptation, there is a way. Don’t accommodate any degree of temptation. Prevent sin and avoid having to deal with its inevitable destruction. So, turn it off! Look away! Avoid it at all costs. Direct your thoughts in wholesome paths. Please heed these warnings. Let us all improve our personal behavior and redouble our efforts to protect our loved ones and our environment from the onslaught of ography that threatens our spirituality, our marriages, and our children. "

— Dallin H. Oaks

General Conference, April 2005