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Hope for Recovery
By pacoloco
3/3/2013 11:04:14 PM
I've been reading through some of the posts and have noticed that there is generally a lack of hope and A LOT of pride.

My story - I've been addicted to pornography since my teenage years. Initially I would not consider my exposure an addiction. As time went on, it became a mechanism to cope with my insecurities. I was generally a likable, popular guy, but never learned to talk about my problems with parents, friends or anyone. Sure I confessed to my Bishop (actually several different Bishops), but looking back, it was more an effort to minimize my guilt rather than truly repent.

Prior to a mission call I decided I was going to lick this problem for good and "White Knuckled" it for a few months. Got my call, and had a long string of abstinance. I honestly thought that a mission would "cure" me. No access, immersion of the scriptures, spirit, church, etc. Maybe that is the case for some young men, but for me, a mission was no place to overcome this problem. Stress of trying to learn a new language, get along with difficult companions, and days filled with rejection was not for the faint of heart as I was. Yeah, I had no access to pornography, but unfortunatly I discovered a new way to cope with my stresses, masturbation. I felt really guilty about that (still do at times) but luckily I had a good misison president and a couple companions that became good "sponsors." I was able to achieve abstinance towards the end of my mission and for a while after returning home.

For the first few months I attended the temple multiple times/week and thought that I was cured. However, the internet was now an everyday part of life at school and now access to pornography was readily available. I had a few "mistakes" and then started to feel too guilty to go to the temple, too guilty to pray, too guilty to home teach, too guilty to fulfill a calling. Slowly monthly "mistakes" became weekly "mistakes" then daily "mistakes." I confessed to my singles ward Bishop who began to tell me if I don't stop I'm going to become a serial killer and rapist (i'm not kidding, he really did). I was mad cause I knew I was no rapist. So I'm sorry to say after that I just lied to him and said I was ok. But I was miserable. I did a good job making my family and friends think life was great.

I made an appointment with the school psychologist cause I was convinced I had some psych disorder that maybe some medication would fix. They suggested a sexual concerns group therapy thing. At this group therapy I realized I felt great talking about something that was so horrible. This problem is so secretive it is a huge relief to see that there are others just like you. I found that this setting of non-judgemental discussion of my problem was amazing. But it ended. And even with this group therapy I was missing a big thing, my real problems of feeling insecure were still there and even bigger I didn't involve God in any way whatsoever. So I returned.

Then I met a girl. I thought, "this is a sexual addiction and if I can get married the desire will just go away." I was pretty happy and had a long period of abstinance cause I wanted to marry her in the temple and not feel guilty about it. I did just that, but a few months after marriage, general stresses of life and school increased and I returned to my coping mechanism. I broke my wife's heart and told her about the whole thing. But over several years of confessions to Bishops and my wife being constantly suspicious of me I could not abstain and decided lying was my only way out of this. Lies got worse and worse cause I wanted my wife to feel like I was improving. Somewhere around this time I lost hope and decided, "I have a character defect that has made it so I won't be able to ever overcome this thing." And yeah there's God and the Atonement, but he's too disappointed in me. He doesn't trust me anyway cause our relationship was defined by broken promises.

I was starting to get depressed and unlike before was unable to make everyone around me think everything was going great. More because of the insistance of my wife than a cry for help, I went to our Bishop. I "knew" he couldn't help, but maybe it would get my wife off my back for a while. Instead of telling me I'm gonna become an adulterer if I don't overcome this and spending every visit telling me how to filter my computer he opened the scriptures and began to show me how God is the solution. He admitted he had no idea how to handle this problem, but he knew one thing, that God cared about me and that I had done nothing that the Atonement can't cover. Also, since he only knew how to point me to God and didn't really understand addiction, he encouraged me to go to the 12 step ARP meetings. Reluctantly I went to the meetings. I didn't say anything at first and sometimes it was pretty frustrating because it was just me and the missionaries for several meetings. I can't point to a particular point where I felt I turned around. For me it has been gradual. I still slip here and there, but I turn to God instead of beating myself up. After a relapse about 2 years ago my Bishop told me to ponder about hope and, if I felt I could be sincere, pray to God and tell him that no matter how many times I relapse and how tough recovery is, I will never give up. I decided that was something I could do, and had an overwhelming feeling of comfort surround me as I did it.

I really do wish I could say I've had continuous recovery since, but I've continued to relapse. However I have HOPE that I will find recovery. I've realized one MAJOR problem I have is that I thought (and sometimes still think) I could just take care of it myself. The source of this thinking is Pride. Thinking my will is superior to God. I continue to give my will to God and take it back again, but I have Hope that I will find recovery if I continue going through the steps and put my trust in the One who can really heal me.

My hope in sharing my story is that those young men who think a mission will cure them will see it might not. And those who think marriage will cure this addiction will realize this is not the case. And finally that those who are like me and still struggle with this horrible addiction despite numerous efforts, including the ARP program will realize there is HOPE if you will give up your PRIDE and turn your heart to God. I'm still working on this myself, but I know this is the path to recovery!

Comments:

Agreed    
"My sexual addiction is manifest differently than yours, Paco, but I so agree that marriage does Not cure the addiction. I thought that since I was married and could, therefore, have as much sex as I wanted, that everything would be okay and I wouldn't have any sort of sexual problems. Boy, was I wrong!

I wish you well on your recovery journey. Sounds like you are on the right path :)."
posted at 07:38:29 on March 4, 2013 by g1rlie
:)    
"What a great post!"
posted at 07:42:16 on March 4, 2013 by maddy


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"My spiritual prescription includes six choices which I shall list alphabetically, A through F:
  • Choose to Be Alive
  • Choose to Believe
  • Choose to Change
  • Choose to Be Different
  • Choose to Exercise
  • Choose to Be Free "

    — Russell M. Nelson

    General Conference, October 1988