My Fears and Anxieties
1/23/2012 11:07:28 AM
Today is my 116th day of sobriety. I’ve never had this type of sobriety before. It has been very high quality, which means I have been free from all sexual transgressions, and I have had progressive victory over lust. I still have some trouble keeping my thoughts clean and my eyes in the right places, but I have definitely lusted less and less as my sobriety has progressed. This has also been the longest period of sobriety I’ve ever had.

I spoke with a bishop a couple times after my last relapse in September. When we last spoke, he told me to keep up the good work and partake of the sacrament, but he said that I should not attend the temple for a little while. He let me keep my recommend though.

I changed wards three weeks ago, and I just had a good talk with my new Bishop yesterday. He and I decided that I’m worthy of my temple recommend, and I need to start returning to the temple. I’m hoping to go again on Friday, but I feel very anxious about this. I don’t really know what has me so worried. I’ve been unworthy for so long, I guess it feels weird to be worthy again. Part of me feels like if my bishop knew everything I’ve done, then he would not let me return to the temple. I know this is an irrational thought though. I gave him a short history of all the major transgressions I’ve committed, and he made sure that everything I told him about had been cleared with my previous priesthood leaders.

When he told me that I was worthy of returning to the temple, I knew he was speaking the truth because I felt the Spirit confirm it. The only reason I’m doubting is probably because I’m having a little trouble forgiving myself. I feel like damaged goods. I’ve lost my virtue. First virtually, and then through acting out with real women. I know the Lord has forgiven me, and I’m trying to forgive myself, but the fact remains that I’ll never be able to tell my future partner that I’ve waited for her and kept myself clean. I truly regret my past, and I feel remorse for my actions.

I’m surrounded by good virtuous women who have never departed from the iron rod, so I feel unworthy when I go on dates with them. I took a girl out on our second date to an awesome fireside last night, and I could feel the Spirit very strongly around her. I can tell from what I know about her that she’s a good girl. I feel lucky and humbled to date such a great girl, but I just can’t see how it would be fair for a good girl like her to be stuck with me. I’m not saying that I’m contemplating a future with this particular girl, I just mean that I’m struggling with the concept of dating good girls and eventually marrying one of them.

I’m also anxious about intimacy in marriage. I’m worried that my twisted sexual background will prevent me from having the type of intimacy that the Lord wants a husband and wife to share. I fear I’ll never connect with my future spouse. I don’t want to be a burden to her and make her feel like she has to be intimate with me or else I’ll act out. I don’t want to push her into things that will make her uncomfortable, but I’ve done this in the past, so I’m scared I’ll do it in the future. I’ve been telling myself that I can survive without intimacy now, so I shouldn’t have any trouble with the frequency of intimacy in marriage, but I still feel worried about it.

I think I'm also scared of losing the sobriety I have. I feel a lot of pressure now because I've never made it this far before. I know the solution to this problem, but somehow it seems hard to accept it. I know I'm supposed to take sobriety one day at a time, and I'll give that a shot.

After contemplating what I've just written, I've decided to take some actions this week. I'll go to at least two meetings, even if this means I'll have to sacrifice my time in the gym. I'll make one phone call each day this week. I'll reconnect with my current sponsor, or find a better one. I'll work on polishing step four and make plans for completing step five. It works if you work it, right?

Sorry for the rambling, I just have a lot going on in my head this morning, and I thought it would help me to share it somehow.


You're at a stage    
"where you can say "No" to lust and to impure thoughts. Then do so. It seems to me that the Lord has blessed you with the strength to overcome addiction, now He's asking you to do your part. As soon as one of those thoughts or impulses enter your mind or heart, give it an immediate eviction notice (note the word "immediate"), then kick it out and replace the thought with something else, something pure, something uplifting. You can do this.

And the Spirit bore witness to you that you are worthy to attend the Temple, so use that knowledge as a support. Pray a lot, thanking the Lord for the strength he has given you, and ask him to continue supporting you with further and increased strength.

As far as your background is concerned, let it remain in your background. The Lord will restore you to a "piano finish" (the highest gloss finish you can put on wood) in time. Just keep on repenting and you will someday feel worthy of that young lady's eternal companionship, because you will be. And you will have true emotional intimacy with her during your courtship even without touching, so the rest will fall into place after you're married. And as far as "pushing" her into doing things that she's uncomfortable with, you won't even want to do those things with her when you fall in love with her. Let the Spirit be your guide.

I think the adversary is throwing thoughts into your mind to create anxiety, because anxiety is a trigger for many of us. Don't let him succeed. Pray often and stay in tune."
posted at 12:00:48 on January 23, 2012 by dog
Good for you    
Long time no write, I know. When I finally decided I should to get back on here, I was so excited to read about your success, the days sober, returning to the temple, all of it. That is just awesome! As said before it is just Satan filling your head with anxiety, trying to get you to doubt what your bishop and the Spirit have confirmed. You’ve been honest with your bishop and you can’t fool the Spirit. Hold onto that. Satan doesn’t want you in the temple because you will receive greater strength there. You are right; it is just one day at a time. Focus on today and the rest will take care of themselves.

You are becoming a reclaimed virgin. I felt I needed to be honest about my past when I got engaged. Even though it didn’t include fornication, I did have lesser transgressions with one girl. I can’t remember for sure if I disclosed that at the time, but I have since. The point is she accepted me anyway and despite my addiction returning soon after marriage, we have been together over 25 years now. As you continue to recover you will be worthy of whomever you marry. “…as white as snow.” There isn’t anything cleaner than a mountain meadow freshly covered with snow. If you decide on pre-marriage disclosure, your wife will appreciate your reclaimed virginity. Your purity at that point will be like hardened steel: tested and true. You will be a much safer bet for that wonderful girl than one of those many closet porn addicts who just look good on the outside. They will be much more likely to cheat on her or push the boundaries beyond what is appropriate. You’ll have to be vigilant, but then we all do. Whatever you may lack virginity wise because of sexual history you can more than make up for with clean hands and a pure heart. The Atonement is infinite. Really! You may be the last one to let go of the guilt, but He can take care of that for you too.

Love you,
posted at 17:29:05 on January 23, 2012 by justjohn
"Good job on the sobriety!! I love that you call it “high quality”, good for you!

You are very well educated and you know that this problem cannot be solved by marriage. I think going to marriage and understanding that the way you do….Is a really great start for a union. You said, “I feel lucky and humbled to date such a great girl, but I just can’t see how it would be fair for a good girl like her to be stuck with me.” I know this is a hypothetical situation with this girl. But I think the solution would be pre-marriage disclosure. Let her make the decision. You have so many great qualities, one is that you want to be a better person. Let your future spouse be your helpmate. I love what Just John wrote, “You will be a much safer bet for that wonderful girl than one of those many closet porn addicts who just look good on the outside.” On the outside my family looked perfect…but we had a closet SA. I would so much rather have an honest man with a SA, than someone who lies to me and the world (even if it looks perfect). I’ve been through HELL with my husband. I just want honesty…and that is a gift you can give. You deserve happiness!!

Are you still going to the temple tomorrow? Do you remember this post…Worthy vs ready.
Link at the bottom.

This has been on my mind ever since you posted it. I am scared to go to the temple. My bishop keeps trying to convince me that I should go. I just don’t want to. I have a strong testimony of the temple. But I worry about the triggers there…That cute old couple that still have love for eachother in their eyes, the cute young couple that are so spiritally connected to each other and then there are the promises that we make…those just bring me to tears. I guess what it still boils down to is the attonement…Christ already suffered for your sins (and you have taking the right steps to receive that gift :) and he already suffered for my loss and pain. We just need to give it over to him, don’t we bro?

I’ve said it so many are a good person. You have helped me more than you can know…with all the good you can give to your fellow man, you deserve happiness yourself. You can do this, you are doing this! Keep it up man!!"
posted at 17:25:06 on January 26, 2012 by summer
Way to go!    
"Hey, friend. I agree with everything that has been said by the other "old-timers." As you have repented, those sins are washed away. That IS the atonement, if you believe it. You are a new creature in Christ. You have taken upon yourself Christ's name, eaten his body, drunk his blood, received his Spirit. Do you think Jesus truly allows just anyone to do that? When you make those covenants with him, you literally take Jesus' place--as a perfectly clean being. And he takes your place--in the garden and on the cross.

Of course, you will still remember your past sins and the pain they cause. If you didn't, you would do it all over again. That's one of the purposes of this life--to learn the differences between good and evil and the consequences of both.

So, as you return to the temple or prepare for marriage, you are not "tainted," or "dirty." You are "clean" but "experienced" and "wise." These things have given you experience and wisdom.

Have faith, brother, and be clean. But at the same time, remember where that cleanliness comes from, and remember that you are still powerless to overcome without God. Don't ever think you did it yourself! Stay humble, so that weaknesses can truly become strengths.

And be completely honest with that girl, when you find her. Tell her the problems are in the past, but that you were an addict. Warn her that if you don't stay close to God, the problems will return. Ask her for her help, and be honest immediately if you ever slip. Temptations will surely return.

And, I just realized I have a post full of "advice." Perhaps it sounded like you were asking for some. I'm no better than you in any way, shape, or form--I'm just sharing the thoughts that came to me reading your post.

The main thought, though, is that I am so happy for you, and I look forward to hearing that you have finally found someone to be honest with and to take to the temple."
posted at 01:54:46 on January 27, 2012 by beclean
Grateful For Your Support!    
"Wow! Everyone in this blog said exactly what I needed to hear. I immediately felt better after reading what DOG said about leaving my past in the past. I also appreciated hearing from JUSTJOHN. I hope my life can be as clean as fresh snow.

I had actually completely forgotten about my plans to go to the temple on Friday, until I logged on yesterday morning and saw that SUMMER and BECLEAN had posted. I always love hearing from both of you, and I'm grateful for the reminder to go back to the temple. I had a few scheduling conflicts blocking my way to the temple, but I went anyways. I'm so glad that I went. It was wonderful to remember the blessings that are promised to us when we're faithful. I realized in the temple that it had been about two years since the last time I went through a session.

I was kind of surprised that SUMMER remembered my Worthy Vs. Ready post. I had nearly forgotten all about that. I guess that's a testament that history can repeat itself. I want to be able to gain more confidence in the atonement and truly use it to be clean from my sins. Beclean made a good point when he said that we're meant to learn from our mistakes and give them to the Savior (by the way, I did not feel like Beclean's "advice" was unwelcome - it was good advice)."
posted at 13:21:10 on January 28, 2012 by ETTE

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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