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Without support...
By mattheus
9/24/2012 4:25:06 PM
Greetings,
Recently I‘ve been struggling a bit so I started looking around on the internet for solutions. This, in part, is what originally got me into this mess to begin with. But I am happy I did start looking around since that is how I found this site. I want to give a brief background of myself since this is the first time I have blogged here or even done anything like this.

When I was eight years old I got baptized. I said to myself „Now I am clean!“ and I remember the joy that I felt, it was a wonderful day, I even looked up at my dad and said “I will never sin!”. That was over 15 years ago. I've made many mistakes and committed plenty of sins since then.

When I was between the age of 5-9 (and I give a ballpark range as I cannot remember exactly when it was) I had a nonmember friend that would tell me about sex, which caused a lot of inappropriate behavior in both myself and many of my friends at the time.

However, I would consider my childhood to have been very good because of a wonderful family. I have loving parents and a great relationship with my siblings. In school however I had some very poor experiences with both abusive teachers and class mates. As I started going through puberty, I began to feel emotions and experiencing things that I could not explain. Sexuality was never discussed in my home, and so I never had an education on the topic aside from what I learned from my nonmember friends (I live in a country with less than 300 members as a whole) and you can only imagine how incorrect and crude it was. Around the same time my school peers started learning that I was a mormon, recognizing it's abnormality from the norms of society. They started teasing me, and most of it didn‘t bother me, until they discovered what the law of chastity was. One of them would always taunt me, saying - "so did you mb today? Are you gonna do it tomorrow?" - And I‘d always say „Of course not“ I knew that mb was wrong but I didn‘t exactly know what it was.

One day, out of curiosity I mb. I did not realize what exactly I had done until later that same day. I let it be after realizing, but of course I was naive and did it again. Eventually it became a habit. I stopped doing it, and I was free from it for a year, started doing it again and then stopped for another year (or two). The next time I started again I became more curios and I started looking at pornographic material when I was about seventeen years old. I never got into anything that was very graphic or “hard core” but it didn’t change the fact that I always felt horrible. My self-esteem became very low and my confidence plummeted. So this went on for a while.

I cleaned up my act and prepared myself to go on a mission. The problem was that despite having given up my addiction, or in other words stopped the act, I didn’t talk to my branch president about it. I felt really bad however so my first month in the mission-field I talked with my mission president, he gave me a couple of scriptures, told me to keep him up to date every week in my weekly letters to him, which I did. And I was able to refrain from my former habits for the time. a few months after returning from my mission I fell into a short slump again that lasted for at least two months. It made me feel worse than ever before because I had served a mission, and it didn't help that I had been able to keep myself clean for that long just to feel like my efforts had been wasted. I decided once more that I would stop, and I did. Today I haven’t viewed pornography in over a year.

Just recently I got engaged to a wonderful young woman whom I love and respect and adore. She far exceeds any hopes and dreams I ever had for a future wife. When we were last together, over a month ago we got really passionate, and it made me realize that I don’t have complete control over my sexual urges, not as much as I thought anyways. I told her about my past and that I had no desire to be that person. She responded very positively and was very supportive. I haven’t had any temptations with pornography since my last relapse over a year ago. But since my passionate encounter with my fiance I have been dealing with the temptation of mb, I’m having waves of urges, sometimes they come and sometimes I feel just fine. I realize that I have to get my thoughts in check and obviously I haven’t fully dealt with my problem completely. When I found this site it was the only thing that could make me feel at ease and calm again. It seemed to help me as I read about the success of others.

My dilemma is this: I want to completely get rid of all my addictive behaviors, but there are no groups that I can join, I wouldn’t know where or how I would begin a 12 step recovery program. And I really don’t want to use the help of my branch president. I know he is my local leader and that he has the priesthood key’s to be able to help me but he is also my brother in law and my relationship has always been very stiff with him. He has never shown me respect and has complete lack of understanding for me. That’s a whole story unto itself. But because of my relationship with him I don’t feel like I can talk to him about it and get the love, trust and support from him as my priesthood leader. I want to hear what you might suggest. I am asking for feedback.

Comments:

Several options to find support    
"You are wise to seek external support. Elder Maxwell said that repentance rests on internal resolve, but is GREATLY AIDED by external support. I believe the exact same thing can be said of recovery.

You might want to consider going to your Stake President (or District President if your branch is in a district, not a stake) and explain why you feel uncomfortable talking to your Branch President. I personally could not have succeeded in recovery without priesthood support; the support I have received from both my Bishop and Stake President has been as vital to me as attending 12-step meetings.

Speaking of 12-step meetings, you can use the meeting locator at arp.lds.org to see where the nearest LDS 12-step meeting is to you.

Even if there is not a pornography-specific meeting, you can benefit greatly, as I have done, from attending general addiction meetings. You could also ask your Stake President to contact LDS Family Services about creating a new 12-step group in your area -- one of my facilitators moved to a remote area where the LDS 12-step program was small; his new bishop called Family Services and they literally bent over backwards to help the bishop start a 12-step meeting in his area -- in other words, when the priesthood asks Family Services to form a new 12-step group, they take it seriously. Your new group may be small at first, but it will inevitably grow, since this is a growing problem.

In the meantime, I suggest getting a copy of the LDS addiction recovery manual ASAP and begin working on the 12 steps on your own, and report your progress to your priesthood leader. You can get a hard copy from a distribution center or you can get a pdf copy RIGHT NOW from arp.lds.org.

In addition, you can google Alcoholics Anoymous and Sexaholics Anonymous to see if they have any 12-step groups in your area. Both are 12-step programs that can give you external support to shore up your internal desire to recovery completely from your addictions. I have attended Sexaholics Anonymous meetings (in addition to attending LDS 12-step meetings) and found them to be very helpful; several of my friends in the LDS 12-step program attended AA meetings before the LDS 12-step program was very widespread; in fact, the LDS 12-step program is based on the original 12-steps of AA, which I believe are inspired by God.

Download an LDS 12-step manual here:
http://arp.lds.org/addiction-recovery-program-guide?lang=eng"
posted at 17:00:25 on September 24, 2012 by 1day@atime
Thank you.    
"I read your reply, 1DAY@ATIME, it was helpful and I do intend on seeking the counsel of my mission president (acting as stake president, we do not have a stake or a district). I have already printed out the beginning of the AR manual that you pointed me towards and I started reading it. I will do what I can with the resources that are available to me, I have faith that the lord will take care of whatever I may be missing.

I know for a fact that the church does not provide any 12 step meeting here, As the country only has 300 members and less than 80 active. I would not feel comfortable going to that kind of a meeting with other church members, even if it were available here, as I know all of the members very well. I will give going to other AA or SA meetings and support groups a thought. I must admit that I am also very reluctant to try that.

I am grateful for the advice and hopefully I'll be able to overcome my own pride and do everything I need to, to succeed."
posted at 19:54:14 on September 25, 2012 by mattheus
7 titles    
"I like those titles...good job. I however do have a little success by doing it on my own. Its still tough and hard...and members of my local ward aren't really all that friendly to me. I thought someone was a friend but failed to let me in on him moving...he was my ride to church. He moved outa state. I am ex + hv been for 8.years and has been a battle ever since. My life has gotten worse and financial set backs + dealing with depression are all to common for me.

I have a few friends but not many. I have found a lot of people just don't know whatto say or how to respond to this. I suppose I wouldn't reccommend doing the way I am doing it..but...when u get screwed over, ignored, you tend to get a little cynical. I've had to rely on myself to save me. That making 5 friends is a good idea but a little hard tomake happen...

There's plenty of advice here on this site to fill thousands of books. Just try stuff and see what works.
If ur getting married don't screw it up...YOU CAN'T FIX A BROKE HEART...
I guess the biggest lesson from this problem is to learn to not shut down, or run + hide, and to get back up....
Hope my chicken scratches help"
posted at 03:15:57 on September 27, 2012 by skyteamst90
We were...    
"definitely dancing around the line that separates the appropriate from the inappropriate. I don't believe we broke the law of chastity. What made the difference was that when we started dating I had control over my feelings and urges. After her summer vacation here in my country I lost control of those feelings and urges and I was really depressed and alarmed because I thought I was in control.

I told her about my past. She read this blog and she's very supportive like I said before. She knows that the addiction I had (and still have even though I don't act on it) is not something that defines me. The addiction and I are not one. She and I are able to talk about this openly and she has voiced some concerns (she wants to know that I'll be spiritually prepared to take her to the temple in 3 months) which I respect and I will hopefully be ready to meet that goal we have set.

When I told her about all of it I realized that I hadn't really healed, I wasn't as whole as I thought I was. So I began the 12 step program and I'm working on step one. I feel much better especially because I am being honest with myself and my future wife. I feel like there is no wedge between us and that because I am trying my best to deal with my problem completely now it won't become a problem in our marriage. I have set up an appointment with my mission president for this sunday (he only comes around every 6 weeks) and I plan on telling him about my past and where I am right now in my progress... I never did tell a priesthood leader about my relapse over a year ago, and I need to deal with it properly if I ever mean to be emotionally free.

Just working through my issues one day at a time."
posted at 09:53:01 on September 27, 2012 by mattheus
Marriage    
"
On a side note, I mean this to be a helpful warning to both you and your fiance: Getting married was a huge trigger for my husband. Hopefully it wont be that way for you but it would be better for you both to go in well armed. From everyone I have talked to, getting married made their addictive urges sore up not fade away. Be on your guard.

I am so glad she is supportive and you are already talking openly. THAT is so impressive!!!"
posted at 12:15:08 on September 27, 2012 by maddy
out of curiosity    
"Thank you Maddy for your comment. I appreciate it. And to tell you the truth I am very much afraid that my getting married might become a trigger. I don't know why and I can't really foresee how, ergo I want to ask you what it was about it that triggered your husband?

I know that it may be a sensitive subject but I want to know so I can prepare mentally for whatever may come and know what to expect. I know that getting married is no miracle cure for an addiction like this. And I don't expect it to be. I just want to make sure that I am doing what's right and to prevent anything happening that might possibly hurt my future wife.

oh and what do you mean by "go in well armed"?"
posted at 13:12:11 on September 27, 2012 by mattheus
Getting Married    
"Big step, for me, I don't think one is ever fully aware of what changes lie ahead. 1 day at a time, big change, big struggles, big rewards. Worth it, when the Gospel is the foundation, both sides working together. You are always going to be you, you will however be more involved with someone who is not you, that's something to consider, someone who doesn't think the way you do, see the world the way you do, is different, and you are not them either, funny how that works. I love the scriptures, what we can learn from them, something just came to mind, not sure where it is found, maybe a bunch of scriptures, but here goes: Believe that man cannot comprehend all things, Believe that the Lord created all things, and nothing happens without his knowledge of it. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are the ways of the Lord, his ways are not our ways, his thoughts are higher than our thoughts. We are never fully prepared for all things, but He knows this, and is there for us. I really love you a lot my brothers and sisters, thanks for sharing your thoughts, feelings, helps me deal with what i need to deal with as well."
posted at 00:49:49 on October 2, 2012 by LDS_BROTHER


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"Now brethren, the time has come for any one of us who is so involved to pull himself out of the mire, to stand above this evil thing, to “look to God and live” (Alma 37:47). We do not have to view salacious magazines. We do not have to read books laden with smut. We do not have to watch television that is beneath wholesome standards. We do not have to rent movies that depict that which is filthy. We do not have to sit at the computer and play with ographic material found on the Internet."

— Gordon B. Hinckley

General Conference, October 2004