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Afraid
By reform2012
1/9/2012 7:39:35 PM
My name is Rachel and I'm a porn addict.

It's crazy really because I got on this site because I feel like I need help but am afraid to ask for it. You hear so much about the men in the church having a problem with it, but I don't know who shares my secret that I could possibly turn to without feeling the full shame and guilt I feel about myself.

I've been telling myself I could overcome this since I was 12 years old. My friend and I were innocently playing a game we called "Superstar". One of us would be Shawnia Twain or one of the Backstreet boys and the other would be the fan they fall in love with. It seemed fairly innocent, but we'd seen on tv that people "make out" when they're in love so, of course, we'd pretend to make out. I remember the feelings I had then.... I remember it turning from play into curiosity.

I'd heard about pornography at school, and despite warnings against it, I wanted to see what it was all about at least once so I googled some pictures about it. At the time, those pictures alone would turn me on and I would feel dark, and sick to my stomach... but I also felt satisfied and sexy. I felt like those pictures were an alternate reality that had to be hidden, but, I could stop looking anytime. I could still be a good mormon girl.

Over the course of high school, I realized I couldn't stop at any time. I went from pictures to videos. Although it was only a bi-weekly thing, I felt disgusted and hated myself for looking at it. I kept saying "I'll stop tomorrow. It'll be easy to quit next month." Soon, I started looking at it weekly: not because I wanted a thrill, but because I was bored. I'd listen to the boys' general conference talks and judge them, but not myself.

Boyfriends came and went, and realistically, sexual sins have been my greatest challenge in life. The tears that went into trying to be the "good mormon girl" were always haunted by my secret behind the scenes. I worked hard to keep myself clean until marriage, and I eventually married a wonderful man in the temple, but a big piece of me knows I was not clean, although physically.

I've been married for a little over a year now, and I've been praying that my habit will cease now that my sexual needs are being met. Sadly, this is not so. It's a plague in my mind that I think about when I'm alone.. again justifying that I will quit tomorrow. I will quit someday.

I realized today when indulging that I can't quit by myself. There is no tomorrow or someday. I feel like I've been cheating on my husband since before we started dating and I'm so afraid to ask him for help because of the trust that we've built... that I'm terrified of breaking. I don't want this twisted hobby. I don't want it in my mind or to get worse.

I'm not this person and need to know there are women out there who understand, who also have shameful secrets - so we can sober up, starting today.

- Reform 2012

Comments:

Don't be afraid    
"Be comforted in knowing that there are definitely other women out here who understand and who have shameful secrets. I struggle with masturbation; I have confessed that to the bishop, but now I have moved into porn. Which, from what I have heard, it usually works the other way around (porn and then masturbation). Anyway, it is something I defintely want to be freed from. It is great that you have come to realize that you cannot do that on your own. The church has an addiction recovery program. The steps are listed on the left side of this blog. You can also google LDS addiciton recovery program and find out more information and find a meeting in your area. The meetings are confidential. I've never even shared what my addiction is. People with all kinds of addictions attend these classes (men and women).

I would suggest you go talk to your Bishop, so he can help you as well. Honestly, that's one of the most important things you need to do. It won't be easy, but he will give you a lot of support and help hold you accountable. He will also help you get to the point that you can tell your husband. Also, there are classes for spouses as well.

You can do this. Ask the Lord for help, and keep coming back here for support to do. There are several women on this site that struggle with masturbation and porn. You will find a lot of support here from them as well as from the brothers.

Most of all, ask the Lord for help to take the steps you need to and to help you overcome this addicition. If you really want to and are sincere in your efforts, He will help you.

I wish you all the best. I can imagine how you must be feeling right now. Try to be strong and courageous. You can do this. You've already begun by reaching out."
posted at 21:19:34 on January 9, 2012 by want2change
I think that almost half of the regular bloggers on here are women    
"so don't feel so alone. I'm DOG (a brother), and I invite you to read my blog, "Sisters, You Are Not Alone," and also IAMSTRONG's blog (and she is a sister), "To ALL the Sisters." These should help to put things in context for you.

There is a lot for you to learn about addictions. First of all, your addiction is not about sex, it's about self medication. It's about relieving pain, or stress, or fear, or anxiety, or boredom, or bad memories, or sexual abuse, or a dysfunctional family, or terrible disillusionment, depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), etc. All addictions seem to be about self medication, or self comfort. Somewhere along the line, you chose this as a method of release from tension or anxiety, etc., and this has driven the need deeper, though you seem to have gotten into it somewhat innocently, or rather, at a somewhat innocent age. And that's true for most, if not all, addicts.

Most addicts suffer from low self esteem. They have been made to feel this way often by a combination of the afflictions mentioned above. What we have all done is to medicate ourselves with inappropriate behavior. What we need to do is to change that. That means involving the Bishop and your husband, getting the Church's 12 Step Manual (excellent!), probably getting a therapist and/or going to a support group. And digging in for a long struggle. And most of all, you need to acknowledge your helplessness and throw yourself on the mercy of the Lord.

Please go to lds.org and click on Menu, then click on Study by Topic (over on the far right), then click on Addiction. Click on Pornography, then scroll down and select "Breaking the Chains of Addiction" and read it. This article is by a recovered porn addict and his wife (names withheld). It details their struggles, so please read it carefully. I will include some excerpts from the addict's comments:

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"Involving my bishop was the most crucial element in this repentance process. I overcame my initial reluctance about that and agreed to an interview, preparing myself to fully tell the truth. We talked for almost two hours, and I realized then that this type of struggle was not mine alone—it is a growing problem among some members of the Church as pornography becomes more widespread, accessible, and culturally acceptable . . .

" At the end of our discussion, I asked the bishop for a priesthood blessing. As he laid his hands upon me and spoke as the Lord’s mouthpiece, I heard tremendous words of encouragement and support. The Spirit of the Lord told me through him that I would continue to be tempted as a natural consequence of being human but that if I was prayerful and obedient I would gradually gain the strength to resist these temptations and their degrading effects . . .

"I am still burdened by occasional random impressions that were seared into my mind over the years. But now I cast them out, rather than inviting them to linger in my mind. I also understand a previously overlooked source of my addiction: the desire to escape. I thought I could dull the pains of the world, but all I really did was severely reduce the capacity of the Spirit of the Lord to comfort me. I now know that pains and sorrows are a normal part of life but that the Spirit can lift me up. I also know that the rest of my life will demand that I remain vigilant against the slings of Satan in this vulnerable area.

"Today, I stand amazed at the love Jesus offers me. It is a great blessing to visit the temple with my dear wife and renew our love together. . ."

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Remember, you are one of the ones coming forward, not hiding in the shadows. The D&C says that leaders will know the true saints because they will come forth and confess their sins. Trust your bishop and the Lord.

Prepare for a battle with ups and downs, but total victory will someday be yours.

And please remember that we are your cheering section. Every one here is an addict or the spouse of one. You will find a great deal of positive support here. If you click on the name of someone here where it shows in green -- such as at the end of a post -- (like DOG or WANT2CHANGE), you will be taken to a list of their blogs and responses. Just click on the green title of one of the blogs and it will take you to that blog and all responses to it. I would invite you to do this so you can get some background and see the struggles we all deal with. There is also a great deal of wisdom and experience for healing from some of these. I think you will find it strengthening.

The main thing is to never give up. If you slip, slide, fall and backslide, and most of us do, always get back up. Always. Every time. Never let hopelessness envelop you and block out the light from above.

To really understand addiction, I would also recommend that you get a copy of Dr. Kevin McCauley's dvd, "Pleasure Unwoven: A Personal Journey About Addiction."

Please contact your bishop and start the process of healing. I am in a small ward, and when I voiced my concerns to the bishop about so many sisters suffering with sexual addictions and not coming forward because they feel it's a "man's problem," he told me that he had already had several cases of this. And he had only been bishop for a year. For every sister who comes forward, how many suffer in silence? Be one of those who come forward. The Savior waits with open arms.

And when you meet with the Bishop, ask him for a Priesthood blessing. Before you go, determine in your mind to remember it phrase by phrase, and write it down in your journal (or somewhere) as soon as you can afterwards. It will be a great help to refer to as you fight your addiction."
posted at 23:12:04 on January 9, 2012 by dog
You are not alone.    
"We sisters aren't usually put in the spotlight or anything but we go through it to. I think it began for me when I was about 10. So it's almost been 10 years of this secret addiction. It was only a couple years ago that I first talked to the bishop. It was the best thing I could have ever done. I began to go to ARP meetings. I still slipped up quite a bit but I have never felt more hopeful and happy. Feel free to read my blogs and find out more about my story. You are not alone. This has dominated half of my life and I won't let it anymore. We are here for you. This is a support group and we all help each other out. Today is when your Freedom begins. Let's do it :)"
posted at 23:41:05 on January 9, 2012 by Iamstrong
Definitely Not Alone!    
"Yes, there are women out there this problem. When I found this site I was scared and ashamed too. I'm still ashamed of what I've done of course, but I have found a great source of support in the women on this site. Everybody on this site is incredibly understanding and supportive. We are here for each other, and that is a wonderful gift!"
posted at 00:02:04 on January 10, 2012 by losthope
I'm also :)    
"I'm also a women(well, technically a girl since I'm 16)
This site has really helped me. When I found this site, I desperately needed support, so I wasn't pestering my bishop as much. I've only had an addiction for 4 years.
I post a lot on here, and there are very very good responses to my blog posts, that might help you. "
posted at 17:40:43 on January 10, 2012 by anon16
I;m a Woman    
"I've been going through the recovery process for a little over 3 years now. I was introduced to pornography at a very, very young age. I cant' remember my life without some sort of sexual stimulation. You are not alone. I think that we will sooner or later find out that we are the silent majority, but it doesn't make it easier. We just realize more & more how much the Adversary is attacking us.
Just because you grow up & get married & now you have a "legal" sexual relationship doesn't mean it is going to "fix itself". I've been married 17 years & still fight with it. I didn't think I was an addict until a little over 3 years ago. It takes a long time sort through stuff. Be patient with yourself.
If your spouse does not know, you should tell him. I told my spouse & he is huge support to me. Whether you are male or female, your spouse should be your protector, your cheerleader, your friend, your safe place to be away from the wold. My relationship with my spouse hasn't always been that way, but now looking back it was me & my addictive behavior that put a wedge between us. I think you will be surprised how supportive your spouse will be.
Be strong, find a meeting to attend near you. Remember that you are not alone. Keep talking to all of us. We are all here for you & for each other. "
posted at 21:54:46 on January 11, 2012 by ME
Wow~    
"I'm really touched by the responses that I've gotten from all of you. I don't know if I'm comfortable enough to go to a group session about it yet. I think I'd feel too exposed to really participate. It's so so good to know that there are other wonderful peeps like yourselves going through the same thing. I'll read the blogs and do the steps.

I felt the other night that in order to take this seriously and really get pornography out of my life was to get someone, anyone, to know what I've been doing... mostly to hold accountability for myself. My friend and I had a long talk about it, and it was extremely difficult just to say everything out loud. It turns out people are a lot more understanding about masturbation than I really ever thought. We're doing a support buddy system this year. We haven't worked out the odds and ends, but in telling her, it makes me think I can really do this and I have a goal to tell my husband this weekend so maybe we can work through this together.

I'm still terrified about being completely honest. I've told him about it before we got married, but I definitely sugar-coated it and made it seem like a "phase". I just never thought I was addicted to it - I really thought in the bottom of my heart it would stop when I got married.. but it just didn't. I mostly just don't want him to feel like he's not satisfying me or something. I couldn't be happier with our intimacy. It's ironic that watching something so sexual could have absolutely nothing to do with your spouse.

Anyway, thank you for your comments. I'll definitely be frequenting this site, read the blogs, and follow the steps. Onto the next goal! Telling the hubby!

Crossing fingers."
posted at 22:18:28 on January 11, 2012 by reform2012
Telling a Spouse    
"Rachel,

Welcome! I am so glad you found this site.

I am going to say something very strange here about telling your spouse. You need to tell him and you need to tell him soon, BUT....I would caution you to be very, very, very careful in the time and way you tell him. We are told over and over again in therapy and group sessions that disclosure to the spouse needs to be done correctly. He may handle it well or he may not. Either way, you are going to change his world pretty drastically and there are bad, good, better and best ways to go about opening up. Please choose the best ways for his and your own sake.

My husband never told me about his addiction...I caught him instead and that was the worst way. Going to him and telling him yourself, independent of any compulsion automatically makes what you are doing amazing and helpful to your spouse. It will be something he can hang on to when things get hard because YOU came to him. It is the first gift of healing you can give him. But don't do it without a lot of careful prayer and thought.

We've been counseled in these situations that for some couples it is better for them to hear the news in a therapist's office or a bishop's office where there is someone else there to help with the blow.

I don't want to scare you because he may just roll with everything. Some spouses do. Others don't and there is a quote in He Restoreth My Soul that describes how that moment of disclosure can end up transferring a lot of the addicts hidden pain onto the spouses shoulders.

Please understand that I am not suggesting that you shouldn't tell him this weekend. Sooner is normally better in my opinion, but read some of the manuals comments on disclosing to a spouse before you do it. You need to be ready to deal with questions he may have and reactions he may have. If you do this well, it can really aid in your recovery together because he will also have to recover.

I hope this is helpful. It is also said in the spirit of love and support. You are on the right road. I hope this give you some food for thought.

Maddy"
posted at 12:35:01 on January 12, 2012 by Anonymous
My Support    
"Rachel, my dear sister! I am so happy that you are fighting back agianst this! I know how hard it can be and I know how scared I was to tell my wife about my addiction. I hope that it went well this weekend. We love you so much and no matter what, our Lord and Savior will always be there for you!

As with all of us, I'm sure, my ears (or eyes) are here for you to help lift you!

~Q"
posted at 22:02:10 on January 15, 2012 by quuephe


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"You lived with your Heavenly Father in a premortal life. You were there with Him. Your spirit knows what it is like to live in celestial realms. You can never be truly happy in an uncelestial environment. You know too much. That is one of the reasons that for you, wickedness never can be happiness. What a great thing it is to decide once and for all early in life what you will do and what you will not do with regards to honesty, modesty, chastity, the Word of Wisdom, and temple marriage. "

— Larry W. Gibbons

General Conference October 2006