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New Beginning
By DH
12/14/2011 12:32:23 AM
Long time reader, first time writer. I appreciate all of the support that the group offers.

I have struggled with mb as long as I can remember. I am almost 30 now. The only time I was (relatively) clean was on my mission.

I didn't have issues with pornography before my mission. I saw it a few times in print magazines (back in the day). It wasn't until I was about 22 that I really had access to pornography online. But even then, I didn't really get involved in it. I slipped with pornography maybe 3 or 4 times a year until I was about 25, then it moved to maybe once a month. It has moved back down over the last few years, but recently I find that I am more tempted by it. I don't know why. I slipped tonight with pornography, and that is really the reason I created this account and decided to try blogging. I don't feel that pornography is an addiction for me like mb is (yet). But I am terrified I am headed down a path where bondage waits to sap my self respect and take the spirit from my life. I don't want to go down that path. I don't. But I am slipping more frequently than I used to, and I am getting very afraid.

I go through phases with the mb issue -- sometimes I am try very hard for "abstinence." Other times, I just decide to do it and get it over with so I won't be preoccupied with it. This is pretty much a daily ritual (sometimes more frequent). It is not something I am proud of, but I sometimes feel like I have more control over my thoughts when I am taking this approach. I don't think bad thoughts after I am done, this way I buy a few hours of peace. Incidentally, when I try to go without -- to quit "cold turkey", I usually crash with pornography, not mb, I think this is because I am so focused on guarding the front door (avoiding the mb) that I don't notice when the adversary sneaks in the back door (pornography).

I feel like, for ME, pornography is the more damaging addiction because the images stay with me -- one pornography session can fuel mb for months, even years, maybe for a lifetime. I am terrified of pornography like I am terrified of meth or heroin. I know it is just as dangerous and just as powerfully addictive. How can I be so afraid of it and still have such a strong desire to do it sometimes?

I am married to a wonderful, beautiful, smart, talented woman. I love her more than anything. I say that -- but I wonder sometimes if the fact that I struggle with these issues demonstrates that I actually love her less than I love my own sins. Even though I know that, at some level, I choose the sin over my wife, my peace, my self respect -- and foremost -- my God, I am also sure that my sins have nothing to do with my sweet wife. (This is a shout out to all of the wives out there wondering if their husbands addictions are their fault. They are not. On any level. My addiction is a deep seated chemical dependency on dopamine or endorphines or whatever that I have developed over decades of self medication in stressful or bored situations; it has little to do with sex generally and nothing at all to do specifically with my sexual relationship with my wife). My recovery, on the other hand, has much to do with her. but my sins are my own and they don't reflect any failing on her part to be an excellent and supportive companion. I have always had an open dialogue with her about my problems, both with mb and pornography, and she has always loved me and supported me in my efforts to improve. She doesn't really care about the mb -- except to the extent that it makes me feel unworthy and enslaved -- but I know that she is more hurt by the pornography. That breaks my heart. I am so sad that I hurt her. I wish I didn't.

Obviously, I am here because I want to start over. I am here for a new beginning. It doesn't matter how many times we fall down, as long as we get up every time. I am here to get back up. That reminds me of the first Rocky movie. Remember, Rocky was not fixated on beating Apollo. Apollo was a professional champion -- he was out of Rocky's league. He was only focused on "going the distance." On finishing the fight, which nobody had ever done with Apollo before (if I remember correctly. it has been a long time).

We are like that. Winning is a fine goal, but Isometimes think that it is not really the point. The point is having enough faith in Christ to generate the hope necessary to see some usefulness in getting back up. Getting back up is what made Rocky a hero. He got back up every time the champ knocked him down. He went the distance. And in the end, he got more applause than Apollo. The crowd was proud of him because he showed true heroism.

My problems are strong. Stronger than me. And I may never beat them. But I am deciding again tonight, as I have decided before, that I am going to keep trying. And maybe I won't be able to say that I ever won the fight, or even that I ever went a year without mb, or even a month. Maybe I can't do that.

But what I can do is say a prayer every day. What I can do is read a scripture every day. What I can do is thank God every day for his son who was willing to die to save me. I know I can do that stuff -- even if I am unsure about my ability to beat these issues. I should not focus on what I can't do right now, but on what I can do right now.

This has been helpful. Thanks.

Comments:

good Work!!!    
"You are in a great place. You acknowledge it. You are being open about it. That is one of the hardest parts! Do you meet with a group?? Or working the 12 steps?? It is basically "the atonement for dummies." I have being going to group (a few groups now) for a long while but I am just beginning the steps. The only way I can win over MB/P desires is to contact someone. To call it out. And say a long honest prayer to God. I have to surrender it. Is frustrating the desire to MB every day, huh?? There seems no reprieve. But the body is designed to reduce its production/drive with longer bouts of sobriety. Hold out! get support! and the desires will become more manageable! good luck!!"
posted at 11:00:00 on December 14, 2011 by warrior
That is one of the most inspiring things I have read    
"and thank you for it and welcome aboard. I've only suffered from mb, but I'm 60 now and I started when I was 5, after I was sexually abused by a girl (thankful it was a girl!). I have never suffered from porn, and even though very pretty teenage girls still offer themselves to me, it's easy to say "No" to them. But I find mb to be exceedingly difficult to say "no" to, often impossible.

I SO want to be rid of this addiction. And though I haven't ever had a problem with porn (if I run across it accidentally, I just click the X or turn off my computer), I'm terrified of it. I worry that I'll see it and be hooked, because I'm no different than any other addict.

But back to the mb thing, and the difficulty of getting rid of it, I met a guy, a convert, who had been a drug addict, alcoholic, porn addict, and masturbation addict, plus he was addicted to cigarettes. He gave up everything cold turkey and joined the Church. However, the one thing he went back to was mb. He didn't even do porn anymore. Plus no drugs, alcohol, or tobacco. But he just couldn't shake mb. And this scares me more than the other things, because that's what my addiction is, and especially at my age, meaning that I've been doing this for decades, off and on.

But you are right about just getting back up. There's great power in that. And a number of general authorities, including Elder Scott, have said (concerning addictions) "Never give up." It's all about going the distance, to keep trying and trying and trying.

I do believe that as long as you're sincerely trying (and most of us slip at times and want to give up), when we die, we will be exalted, because we tried 'til the end.

My former bishop told me to keep taking the sacrament, which I have done all but two times in the last seven years since I was baptized. He said, and he emphasized this, "you will have struggles," and I thought he was talking about financial struggles, and yes, I've had terrible financial struggles, but I've had terrible struggles with this addiction, too.

I believe that everyone on this site is just like me, or I'm just like all of you, that is, if we just keep trying, and really try, we'll succeed either in this life or in the next. Never give up on yourself. Never.

Thanks again for your blog. And just keep doing whatever good you can, every day.

P.S. What a wonderful, understanding wife you have!!!"
posted at 18:37:19 on December 14, 2011 by dog
Thank you for the support!    
"Thanks, Warrior (what a great name!). I have not been to a group in a long time -- I went to one for a few months in college and it was really helpful, but then I graduated and moved and there was no group in that area. I am not sure where a group is around where I live. I am sure there is one, but I am afraid I would miss so many meetings because of my job. But that may just be an excuse. I may just be unwilling right now to make the sacrifices necessary to make recovery a priority. For example, I know that if I were to only listen to uplifting church music and turn off every movie that offended the spirit, I could feel the spirit more strongly and more often and I would have a better chance at making it through the day, but I like music and I LOVE movies. I recognize that my own selfish desires to keep one foot in Babylon are essentially my decision to not make recovery a priority. Is there an acceptable medium? Or is the answer strict protection of the spirit by eliminating all things that offend it? I wonder also if too-strict control of input (de-sexing my environment completely) would cause me to fixate on sexuality even more -- so that it becomes even more of an obsession. What do you think?

Dog, I deeply appreciate your comments. I have heard more than once that mb is one of the most difficult addictions to break because you don't need anything to act on it -- no drugs, no money, no computer, nothing. Isn't it nice to unload the responsibility of conquering such a foe. If I had to beat it, I would be overcome with despair and hopelessness. Sometimes I forget, and I think that I DO have to beat it, and in those moments, I do despair. But then I remember that all I have to do is get up every time I fall. Those are my orders. Conquering is not my job -- Christ has overcome the world. I think that one of the lies Satan tells us is that we are unworthy to take the sacrament or even to pray to God when we have slipped. In the moment of shame, that is a persuasive argument, but in the light of day, it is clear that such reasoning is absurd. When we struggle is when we are in most need of spiritual strength. And spiritual strength comes from prayer, the sacrament, and the temple. To be banned from the fountain of spiritual strength for our weakness is nonsense. That is when God most wants us to seek him.

Thanks for the comments and the support."
posted at 20:12:58 on December 14, 2011 by DH
Are you in a 12 step?    
"You asked the question, How can I be so afraid of it and still have such a strong desire to do it sometimes?

Step 1 is honesty. If you keep going back to it over and over again, even if it is only a couple times a year, you are caught in the snare of addiction.

We must be careful to not compare with others or how often or what we look at, or what time of the day, etc. If you keep going back and you can't stop, I am sorry to say this, but the truth is that you are addicted to PN and MB and you need help just like every person who is addicted.

When you repent of a sin you go through all of the steps of repentance and never go back to that sin again. Addiction requires help in order to not continue returning too the sin again and again.

Once I accepted the truth, I was able to move forward and understand how to use the Atonement of Christ to overcome addiction and recover. Please, if you have not already attended 12 step SA or LDS SA meetings, I would ask you to start. It is as important that your wife go to family support and get help too.

You can overcome this terrible addiction, but you need help and always remember that you are not alone."
posted at 21:27:34 on December 14, 2011 by Anonymous
Welcome, DH!    
"WARNING to all those who hate it when BeClean posts or when he gives advice: Don’t read my post. There, you have been warned. Your fault if you read on and you decide you don’t like what I have to say.

DH, you probably know better than anyone (except my wife) that I am not perfect. I don’t pretend to be. However, since I think all of the imperfect addicts on this site CAN actually help each other and learn from each other (I think that is the point of this site), and since you asked some questions in your posts, I am going to go ahead and answer some of those questions and even provide suggestions based on my experience. I haven’t figured it all out, but I’ve made some very definite progress over the years, and I just want to help, if I can.

ALL WE CAN DO
Although it pains me to admit (I never would have admitted it a few years ago), I think there is something true in what you said about "excuses" and being "unwilling right now to make the sacrifices necessary to make recovery a priority." I know I am often guilty of this.

We are taught in the Church that Christ extends his grace (quick definition: divine help to do something that would be impossible without God) after ALL we can do. Sometimes, I wish he would offer that help and remove my problems when I haven't already done everything I can do. I don't think it works that way. I know that what I do will never be enough to solve my problems alone, but doing everything I can anyway shows faith in Him, and faith precedes the miracle.

MEDIA
You mentioned the media of Babylon. Personally, I have only been able to control my thoughts and maintain extended periods of sobriety (meaning many months to years away from mb and porn--it IS possible) by completely changing the music I listen to, the movies I watch, and the books I read. There is so much sex in the media!!

In Revelation 12, John sees a woman (the Church) and a dragon/serpent. The serpent casts "out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood." Sometimes I wonder if the water isn't the over-sexed worldly media, carrying away the Church members as a flood.

Later, in Revelation 16, the dragon releases unclean spirits "like frogs." This reminds me of another plague like the one Moses declared in Exodus 8, where the water would, "bring forth frogs abundantly, which shall go up and come into thine house, and into thy bedchamber, and upon thy bed, and into the house of thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thine ovens, and into thy kneadingtroughs." Isn't that what the media is doing today? Sex is everywhere!

Again, I have personally successfully controlled my thoughts only when I have shut out the over-sexed media of Babylon. Sure, a thought will sneak in on occasion, or I will come across a disgusting little frog as I mind my own business. But I try to quickly shoo it away from my house and my life, and I don't worry too long that it appeared. I don't consider myself unworthy just because a frog found its way into my life--only if I let it stay there and encouraged it to multiply. Additionally, I recognize that, while I victimize others with my actions, I am also under attack--by a serpent who wants me to drown. Perhaps it is time to get to higher ground! Climb a mountain; visit a temple, where the media flood cannot go.

I do not think that "de-sexing your environment completely" would cause you to "fixate on sexuality even more." That would be the case if you simply chased out the evil spirit and left your house empty...seven evil spirits might return. Don't focus on BLOCKING the media of Babylon, instead focus on FILLING your mind with the media of that other ancient city--Zion. If the media of Babylon comes into your view, don't fight it with, "I can't think about the pink elephant...." Instead, say, "Oh, yeah, I'm still in the world. So, I'm going to see that every now and then." And move on. Go back to reading your scriptures, or listening to that talk about Joseph Smith playing on http://www.MormonChannel.org , or listening to that music playing on http://www.klove.com or on http://www.yldsr.com . Those choices may sound boring right now, but it's amazing to me how these things have slowly become very appealing to me as I have added each of them into my life in order to drown out the flood of Babylon.

I have discovered there is so much good, clean media out there for me to consume (especially the scriptures and words of the prophets), that I don’t miss the media of Babylon much (I'm not perfect, remember?), nor do I become bored with the media of Zion. Changing media habits has taken ME years, but I bet others could do it in months, weeks, or even days, if they were really determined to make necessary sacrifices. (Yes, sacrificing the media of Babylon IS necessary, if you eventually want to live in Zion. I am fairly confident that the products of Babylon are among the stuff that will not “abide the day.”)

HONESTY
I am extremely pleased that you are completely open and honest with your wife about your problems. Honesty MUST be paramount, if you are to keep your marriage together despite these problems. A dishonest husband MUST come clean with his wife, or he WILL lose the marriage. The sooner a husband starts to be honest, the better chance he has of overcoming his problem AND saving his marriage.

In a temple-recommend interview, a counselor in my new Stake Presidency surprised me last week with the question, "Have you viewed pornography in the past 2 years?" "2 Years?!" I eventually replied, a little disappointed. This man knew nothing of my problems. I had been prepared for him to perhaps ask about the past 6 months, since I had known priesthood leaders to do that. But, two years? "Yes," I had to answer, and we discussed it thoroughly. He eventually told me he was not worried about my current progress on my addiction. Because of the world we live in, he simply asks every man whether they have viewed pornography in the past 2 years--and he expects a hefty number of "Yes" answers. But, because these addictions are addictions that thrive in secrecy, he thinks we do ourselves no favors by staying silent about it. He personally thinks the topic should come up in every Bishopric or Stake Presidency interview. The more honest and open we are about it, the easier it will be to overcome the problem.

CONCLUSION
Finally, I am in the camp of those encouraging you to work through the 12 step book.

In conclusion, if I have personally found any success, it has come by avoiding excuses and doing everything in my power to overcome, with faith in Christ's atonement. In addition to the standard Sunday school answers (VERY important), “everything in my power” includes filling my mind with good, clean media, and weaning myself off of the sexually explicit stuff. It also includes being fully honest and open with my wife and church leaders.

As you might see from my long post (and previous long posts), I spend too much time on this site when I am active. The problem comes from writing too much and from checking the site too often to see what others have stated in response. Anyway, although I love the site, I have intentionally been “inactive” of late. Thanks for letting me know that you posted here. Let me know the next time you post something I should look at."
posted at 21:48:25 on December 14, 2011 by beclean


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"Man has a dual nature; one, related to the earthly or animal life; the other, akin to the divine. Whether a man remains satisfied within what we designate the animal world, satisfied with what the animal world will give him, yielding without effort to the whim of his appetites and passions and slipping farther and farther into the realm of indulgence, or whether, through self-mastery, he rises toward intellectual, moral, and spiritual enjoyments depends upon the kind of choice he makes every day, nay, every hour of his life"

— David O. McKay