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I Refuse To Believe...
By Fatherofone
5/15/2012 1:03:51 AM
I refuse to believe the idea that one must be an "addict for life." I have heard this notion both on this site and in meetings. Pardon my bluntness, but if we ever feel ourselves believing that, we are falling to the lies of the adversary. The Lord promises us that if we truly come unto Him, our weaknesses will become strengths. We need to trust Him, rely upon Him, and take His atonement upon us for this to happen, however. I think a better idea is that without the Lord, we will be addicts for life.

I guess my point is that labels are just another way of Satan getting us down. I more I recover, the more I have come to HATE the word "addict." I don't want to be mistaken in the fact that it's important to realize when we are addicted to things like porn or mb, but if we allow ourselves to be classified as "addicts" it begins to define who we are. If this is a state we are working actively to change, great! But this "addict for life" thing is stupid and counterproductive. The Saviour has forgiven me, and I am now 38 days clean. I have no intention of ever returning to the filth that Satan keeps hocking, and while I still find myself being subjected to temptation, it is not a defining characteristic I choose to focus on.

This is not intended to be preachy or directed at any specific person, I have just been thinking about this, and wanted to be as blunt, direct, and clear as possible. Now that it's on paper, I know it's important to stay humble in this approach, but as Alma (I think) said, if this is boasting in my God, even so will I boast. I'm pretty sure that's what he said, anyway. :)

Comments:

great discussion    
"Hello and thank you for this great comments,

There is this old adage "once an addict, always an addict", that's a big lie, I believe the addiction or the bad habits can be change and will be, there is 2 parts that need changes the spirit and the mind, and both require to change and for both case I require the savior atonement and help.

Recovery it is about having the freedom to choose again and the effect of my addiction will and is decreasing over time.

Your friend from Europe"
posted at 01:15:55 on May 15, 2012 by mike81
Thanks for the post!!    
"I was just thinking about this yesterday! I'm so glad somebody decided to post it.

I've been listening a lot to a recording of Joe and Charlie from alcoholics anonymous. They explained addiction pretty well. They said there are people out there who can take a few ounces of alcohol, enjoy the flavor, and then stop before they even feel tipsy. These people are sometimes called social drinkers. They are responsible with drinking, and they do not have any problem controlling themselves.

Alcoholics are different. The moment they have a drop of alcohol, they change, lose all self-control and drink till they're completely drunk. Joe and Charlie called it an allergy to alcohol. They simply couldn't tolerate alcohol the way a social drinker can, and they will be that way for the rest of their lives. It's just a simple fact. This is why they say once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic.

I think when we say we're addicts for life, this is not completely true. Especially if you think that means we'll keep messing up and struggling with this for life. I think we might be "allergic" to lust for life though. I had friends who can look at a sex scene in a rated-R movie, say it was hot, and simply move on. I think those people are the equivalent of social lusters. They just don't get all crazy over lust the way sexaholics do.

When we talk about being addicts for life, I think it would be accurate to say that a sexaholic would never be able to sit calmly through a sex scene and simply move on. A true sexaholic has an allergy to lust. We can't stand the stuff. It drives us crazy or drives us to act out or both.

At the same time, I also get upset when people at group talk about struggling with this for the rest of their lives. I think the Savior wants to heal us and make us whole, but He also expects us to learn from our weaknesses and avoid bad situations.

I've been clean for 229 days, and I can testify that I'm a different person now than I was a year ago. Lust and temptations still come, but they do not happen as frequently. I do not think I will struggle with this the rest of my life because honestly I'm not really struggling with it right now. As I gain more sobriety and truly recover, staying clean becomes easier and easier."
posted at 11:30:56 on May 15, 2012 by ETTE
I'm with you boys    
"I am free. I am clean. The atonement has changed me, and I have a fresh slate. I am a new person in Christ, and I will not be defined as an "addict" for the rest of my life.

Having a new life in Christ, while still retaining the memory of my former life, allows me to start over. I get to say, "The NEW me has NEVER lusted after pornography!" At the same time, I know what a terrible thing pornography is from personal experience. I know something I didn't know when I was exposed to pornography for the first time as a small boy--I know how terrible, how destructive, and how addictive it is. I know I must stay far away from it. I know I must run when I see it!! (I also know I shouldn't obsess about it and get freaked out when it pops up in my face, but I look away.)

So, I have the memories and lessons from my old life, but I have the freedom and purity from my new. That is what the atonement is about! It's like being an innocent, undefined, unlabeled child again, with the knowledge of good and evil that comes from a life of sin.

Obviously, I must warn myself against ever getting too comfortable with my new, pure life. Just because I have been made clean does NOT mean I will never be tempted again. In fact, I WILL be tempted, perhaps stronger than ever. Like a boxing opponent, Satan will always try to hit me where he has hurt me before. I need to protect the arm that was broken once, and strengthen it every day. I must never slack in my daily preparation for the fight. I must never slack in my strength-training exercises. I must never turn that arm towards my opponent in the ring, or he will break my arm again, because I let him.

So, I am as pure as if I were never an addict, but I carry the lessons I have learned with me. But knowledge does not save. Action on knowledge saves. As long as I act in accordance with the knowledge I have gained, I will remain free from addiction. But if I intentionally disregard that knowledge, I will return to my addiction, and it will be harder than ever to escape.

I consider my heart to be broken. I believe that means that like a broken horse, my heart is submissive to God. He has trained my heart to obey and to not wander. He has trained my heart to follow His lead. He has broken my heart (like a horse), so that I don't kick against the pricks or buck Him off.

But just because I am broken, a new horse, does not mean that I am completely free from the wildness that once coursed through my blood. Like a newly broken horse, I am much more likely to get spooked and throw my rider than a horse that has been broken for ten years.

Those of you with children, on which horse would you rather set your 4-year-old daughter: the horse that was broken ten years ago, or the horse that was broken last month (it is, after all, broken!)?

I believe that both horses are good horses, and the newly broken horse is on the correct path. It is no longer wild. It is tame, and it will (likely) never again be wild. It should not call itself a wild horse. It should call itself a tame, broken horse.

Nevertheless, I have many years to go before I am supremely confident that I can be 100% trusted to NEVER buck my rider. The longer I am broken, the more I can trust myself. I believe the Lord trusts me more as time passes, too."
posted at 19:09:00 on May 15, 2012 by beclean
HERE HERE!    
"I ageee. The moment we label ourselves addicts for lives we've given up. If repentence can't wipe our slates clean than why are we here? Sure the pain and memory will be there, but so long as we follow the Gospel we will be better people."
posted at 03:13:06 on May 16, 2012 by moronidenovo
Newcomers are so cute.    
"It's called Pride, fellas! We Mormon men seem to have an extra helping of it. We think we're smarter than the addiction. When we're new to recovery we think we can dictate the terms of our recovery. That only works for so long. It's like the one-armed man telling himself he can be healed and grow a new arm. He may even have the faith that he will get his arm back. Maybe he will. But not in this life."
posted at 11:52:53 on May 16, 2012 by Anonymous
My take is that there is a difference between being an addict and having compulsive disorder    
"I hear fatherofone and I went through the same thought process. I didnt want to let myself be labeled as an addict for life. It sounds so icky. evil. broken. I hated it.

The way I understand it is that my weakness is more around compulsive behaviors created by physical aspects of my brain. Dr. Amen (Im serious..), looks at brains with scanning MRIs and he theorizes that people with compulsive disorders have genetic differences that may have been handed down from nomads. He makes the case that 60% of the cause of an addiction is your brain and genetics and 40% is the choices you made. There are lots of studies of people exposed to the same choices and some end up addicted and some dont. He also made the case that in most cases, people with complusive issues tend to me more creative, dont like to settle down into routines (for regular stuff), and go between being extremely aloof to extremely focused.

As I see it, I made some poor choices that stuck me in this particuar addiction. But I know that I easly fall into compulsion around video games, and other hobbies and I imagine that if I was exposed to drugs or alcohol, that I would be high risk for those too.

This is my trial in life. Others gets diabetes, cancer, cystic fibrosis, depression, other chronic health issues. We all have trials.

My compulsive disorder requires me to mechanically monitor my life with prayer and transparency. It requires me to stay close to the Lord. It requires me to learn faith and that I have to use different tools and faith in God to deal with my anxieties rather than a compulsion.

The problem I really have is that people are so good at judging each other. Somehow their own way of sinning is better than mine. I suspect/hope that God really doesnt see the difference in all the different ways of sinning. It's all sin. People like to grade sin. I like to grade sin. We grade acting out for sex addiction as far more serious. Its a stigma and a label. I can choose to let that label stick or fall off. God still loves me. He is more interested in if I can learn to be happy and overcome my trial. He is more intersted in knowing that I beleive Christ that he will cover for me if I do my best. "
posted at 16:09:26 on May 16, 2012 by Hurtallover
@anonymous    
"I am a sinner.
I need Christ.
I will ALWAYS need Christ.
I am nothing without him.
With Christ and because of him, I am free!
He has overcome all things, including my addiction.

I admit, pride is one of my sins. But if the thoughts I have shared on this thread demonstrate my pride, I fail to see it. Help me out; God knows I want to be free of pride, too!

Btw, when am I no longer considered a newcomer?"
posted at 18:12:52 on May 16, 2012 by beclean
Kinda Confused    
"who is this Anonymous dude? You should honestly just make an account. For all we know you could be the newcomer, but I cantell your the same person whos commented in the past. What the heck do you even mean by us being newcomers? What are you saying? Because my post, and honestly I don't think anybody elses was prideful. It was about haveing confidence in ourselves and seeing a bright future.

@hurtallover I think I agree with you. You ant label everyone on this site the same thing. We all have different situations and histories, so how can labeling ourselves addicts help anything. What does that even do? Can you approach someone who has been in porn for 4 months the same way as someone whos been in it 4 yrs. So addicts, compulsive behavior etc it's all different.

@beclean ya like I said I have no idea what Anonymous is trying to say. I didn't think your post was prideful."
posted at 18:54:47 on May 16, 2012 by moronidenovo
Kinda Confused    
"who is this Anonymous dude? You should honestly just make an account. For all we know you could be the newcomer, but I cantell your the same person whos commented in the past. What the heck do you even mean by us being newcomers? What are you saying? Because my post, and honestly I don't think anybody elses was prideful. It was about haveing confidence in ourselves and seeing a bright future.

@hurtallover I think I agree with you. You ant label everyone on this site the same thing. We all have different situations and histories, so how can labeling ourselves addicts help anything. What does that even do? Can you approach someone who has been in porn for 4 months the same way as someone whos been in it 4 yrs. So addicts, compulsive behavior etc it's all different.

@beclean ya like I said I have no idea what Anonymous is trying to say. I didn't think your post was prideful."
posted at 19:03:50 on May 16, 2012 by moronidenovo
@HurtAllOver I'm currently working on a Masters in Neuroscience, and...    
"You're bang on with some of the neuroscience involved in addiction. There's a big nature vs nurture aspect to it. We are genetically predisposed to have certain parts of our brain be more plastic (or reactive to external stimuli) than others. This leads to a more "addictive personality" in some people.

Where I think some people do themselves a disservice is when they say "that's how my brain works, and it will be that way my whole life." That is not how the brain works at all! Neuroplasticity is a really exciting field of research right now,, with things as crazy as blind people learning to see with a camera connected to a haptic device on their tongue. The brain can be retrained and from a strictly neurological point of view, weaknesses can become strengths, given the proper techniques are used.

The "addict for life" mentality seems to be rooted in discouragement and justification. The Atonement is a very powerful, very real way to reprogram our thinking and become more like our Savior. That's what it was created to do. To help us master our earthly bodies, and think and act like God."
posted at 02:51:41 on May 18, 2012 by FatherOfOne
this life    
"As elder faust said "We are in this life for the spirit to gain control over the body rather than the other way around"
and my addition is not the final state and change is always possible."
posted at 15:12:41 on May 18, 2012 by mike81
If I may    
"Play the anons advocate: I think our distaine for the "addict for life" mentality can also be rooted in our seemingly inherent lds shame of all things imperfection. I don't do it often enough...but when I actually truly glory in my weakness (step 1) I'm far from discouraged or justifying bad choices. I feel its then and only then that I am primed for power. It's actually a bazaar experience when it happens. Anyway, not that I'm the shinning example or have room to talk but thats all I think anon was saying."
posted at 03:53:01 on May 30, 2012 by They Speak


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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