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The Front Lines
By BeClean
3/20/2014 11:44:38 AM
I'm here to share a success.

As many of you know, I look at my recovery as an arc of progress. I've been doing very well for a long time. I don't know exactly how long. I don't "count" the days. I think "resetting" the counter is extremely counterproductive (pardon the pun) and destructive.

I wouldn't know when to "start over." I don't believe in that. I don't believe you ever start over. I believe the only failure is giving up. I have never given up, so I have never failed. I continually try to learn, grow, progress, improve, repent, and give myself to God. And yet, for all my trying, I will never accomplish anything. God does it all.

I have mentioned before that I can see improvement and progression in my personal battle with pornography addiction over the past 12 years. I have had some bad days, but those days are much more rare. I don't remember my last slip. I don't dwell on them.

So, my progress is long-term and also one day at a time, but it is real, and it is significant. I did not/will not overcome in a day. I worry more about getting better than being perfect. I don't freak out about the daily temptations that come. There will always be moments of craving and temptation, especially when I let my body, mind, and spirit get out of balance or when I forget my utter dependence on God.

And I let myself get out of balance over the last few days, resulting in me finding myself on the front lines of the battle. Lately, I have stayed up too late. I have stressed out about work. I have not meditated enough. I have not eaten healthy. I have missed my daily exercise. I have not studied the scriptures enough. I have missed my daily walks. I have not focused on my personal affirmations. I have not been listening to my favorite recovery program, and I have listened occasionally to worldly music (which I recently likened to a virus injecting bad DNA into my brain in an attempt to reprogram my very person http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41aqxcxsX2w ).

Yesterday, I stumbled onto a slightly sexy image while working on the internet. And because I was so weak and out of balance, it stayed in my mind and tempted me for a few hours.

As I was preparing to stay up late for work once again, I found myself on the front lines for the first time in a LONG time. That is not a place we addicts want to be. It's hard to win when you get so close to the fighting and bloodshed. I should have been doing everything in my power over the past week to stay far away from the battle.

As I sat there fighting, I first heard the thought, "It's too late. You are so out of balance. You are on the front lines. You should never have come this close. You are going to lose. Give in."

But somehow, by the grace of God, I then thought, "Even though you are at the front lines, you still have a plan. Do it!"

I called out to my wife to come in and sit beside me while I worked. I pointed out how out of balance we all are, and I told her I was craving and on the front lines, but I had not yet given in. She gladly sat beside me for the next couple hours, and when we were done with work, we gave in to our cravings by partaking of HER biggest temptation: Oreos.

I have no idea if I would have been able to go farther than finding that same somewhat inappropriate image at home, since I have a filter on my internet. The filter may have stopped me. But, thankfully, I never got that far. The best filter is being balanced and prepared.

I was safe this time, and I rejoice with gratitude for all I've been learning.

Time to back up from the edge of the cliff and get my life back in order!

Comments:

thanks for the positive share    
"BECLEAN
thanks for the positive share. I have been thinking some of the same things lately, that after some success I have found myself letting down my guard a little and if allow myself the enemy will be right back in leading me astray. It is good to know that there is hope in resistance. Your resistance has inspired me to put of some of the things that were begining to creep back into my life good luck!"
posted at 13:15:19 on March 20, 2014 by Anonymous
Very timely    
"Thanks Beclean. This is just what I needed. I've been clean for a while, although I too have felt like I've been getting out of balance lately, letting my guard down a little, and not being as diligent with my recovery as I should be. I'm still doing well, but it's definitely time for me to recommit and renew my efforts.

It's funny that you mention "counting". I agree with what you've said about the pointlessness of counting (here and in other comments in the recent past), although I personally tend to count. I wonder if it's a personality thing. Part of me feels that counting gives me something to celebrate, but part of me is also scared that a slip-up would feel even more horrible than I would if I took your approach.

Anyways, thanks for the post. This was something I needed to hear."
posted at 01:10:14 on March 21, 2014 by rmww
:)    
"Love this post.

Beclean it is fascinating watching you change over the years into the peaceful, zen, guru you are becoming.
Awesome!"
posted at 11:06:09 on March 21, 2014 by maddy
Affirmations    
"What a great idea. :-)

What are some that have worked for you? I seriously want to know. Been looking for some good ones."
posted at 11:21:45 on March 22, 2014 by Anonymous
Affirmations: I borrow a lot from Tony    
"When you go through the curethecraving and Water, Weed, Repeat program, Tony has you create personal affirmations, record them, and set them to music. The idea is that you listen to them, say them, and write them every day.

I may have mentioned in an earlier post that I have always had a poor self-esteem, despite my great talents. When I mention my lack of self-love to my family, they are always surprised, since I have always seemed to have everything together in my life. Really, I have often hated and loathed myself, because of my addiction. Of course, such terrible self-esteem perpetuates the shame cycle and makes the addiction worse. Even more, it made it impossible for me to believe that my wife (or anyone else) loves me. If I cannot love myself, then I don't believe that anyone else could love me. I tell myself I have only tricked them into loving me, and if they knew the real me, they wouldn't love me any more--because I don't love myself. This makes things very difficult for my wife, who truly does love me, but she cannot find a way to show me her love, because I subconsciously reject anything she does to demonstrate love.

ANYWAY, when I discovered personal affirmations several months ago and began listening to them, I began to love myself. It turned my world around. Positive affirmations replace my negative self speak, and I finally feel better about myself and believe that others could love me.

Furthermore, I have learned that affirmations are not lies to myself meant to convince myself that I am someone I am not. They are actually reminders of the true me--the me that is a being of light, truth, Spirit, intelligence, goodness, and (eventually) a resurrected body. That is the true me. Everything else is the false me that Satan wants me to believe is the real me.

So, here are the basic affirmations, most of which I borrowed from Tony, but I found a couple elsewhere:

I am a child of God with infinite worth.
I am always taken care of.
God loves me and accepts me.
I am always more than enough.
I now fully accept myself.
My body is now in perfect balance.
I am always healthy and strong.
I always take the right road; God always provides a way.
Everything works together for my good.
Everything I touch prospers.
My prosperity prospers others, their prosperity prospers me.
Other people experience their worth in my presence.
I help others succeed and achieve greatness.
My wife and children adore me, and I adore them.
I am loved and desired.
My friends and coworkers like me.
I am happy and cheerful."
posted at 22:43:34 on March 22, 2014 by beclean
Always in Recovery?    
"Does anyone ever get well? Is porn a permanent problem with no hope of ever leaving it behind? It sounds to me like there is no hope for true, permanent healing. Saying your in recovery is like saying you are still getting well, but still sick. Does anyone ever beat this filthy habit?"
posted at 12:28:14 on March 23, 2014 by Anonymous
@Anon: Of Course we do!    
"Forgive me, if I said something that sounded like I'm still sick and "in recovery." I don't use those words, personally, and I don't believe it. My life is fantastic, and it just keeps getting better.

Am I perfect it will I ever be in this life? No.

Will I ever stop desiring sex? Will I ever still being attracted to or by a scantily clad woman who appears on my radar screen? Probably not until I'm dead. You need to have a realistic view of recovery.

Your temptations are not going to just vanish because you pray hard enough and read your scriptures. Some sexual attraction is built into your system, and that's ok.

But if you want cravings to go way down and for life to become more manageable, you need to take the steps that are necessary to overcome the stress on your body, mind, and spirit. You needto take much better care of yourself.

When I'm taking care of myself, I'm at the top of my game and the top of the world. Life is great, and I'm rarely tempted. I don't look at pornography any more, my friend.

But this post shows that I need to keep focusing on the physical, mental, and spiritual habits that keep me in balance and close to God, or else life will become hard again.

Will life ever be easy, without sin, temptation, or unhealthy desires? I doubt those things will go away for good, because Lucifer doesn't give up. But these things are definitely manageable, and I barely think about them. Life is amazing.

I do not currently feel sick. I give myself time every day to come to this site to help my friends, if I can.

Have you checked out http://www.curethecraving.com ? It's free."
posted at 16:24:54 on March 23, 2014 by beclean
I am "in" recovery and I have 12 years clean.    
"Yes, it is possible. Saying that I am "in" recovery is not a death sentence or anything to be ashamed of. In fact, it means that I have successfully been given 4465 daily reprieves from my addiction. Each day is contingent on my spiritual condition. Being "in" recovery is not a miserable existence. Quite the opposite. It enables me to have a life that is meaningful. That is a small price to pay if you ask me. I don't come on here much because I think the real recovery is out there away from this blasted computer. In meetings, working with others, especially other recovering addicts.
I have found that many people who feel that time in recovery does not matter are often those who do not have much time in recovery.
Good luck to you beclean. It sounds like you're doing something right. There are many paths."
posted at 16:48:26 on March 25, 2014 by Anonymous
What about healing    
"Is it true that once an addict, always an addict? Can't a person be fully healed where there is no more temptation? Must a person always struggle with this temptation? I've heard where some people are fully healed through faith and the priesthood. Everyone talks about faith, so why must we still struggle with this temptation? Cannot a person be truly healed?
Any answers?"
posted at 04:36:13 on March 26, 2014 by Anonymous
Anon "Time In Recovery"    
"Did I say time in recovery doesn't matter? Of course it matters. But I don't think keeping track of that time and starting over every time you have a lustful thought helps anyone. And if you don't start over with every lustful thought, then at what point do you start over? I'm just saying starting over is detrimental any way you look at it. So, I don't stress myself out by keeping track of exactly how many days I've been free from pornography. But, the past many years have been awesome, and life is very good. Time in recovery is important, but not important enough to make counting days the focus of recovery."
posted at 08:00:16 on March 26, 2014 by beclean
Anon "No more temptation"    
"Here's the answer:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJnPBbxYb8A

That video is only 5 minutes long, and it describes my recovery state exactly.

No. Study the scriptures, my friend. There is no such thing as a mortal man without temptation. Even Jesus was tempted. You will not be free from temptation until you are dead.

But, like Jesus, we CAN learn to ignore the temptation, as I did in my successful example above, and as I do nearly every day.

Have you watched Russell Crowe in "A Beautiful Mind"? There are some similarities there to temptation. It never goes away, but we can live amazing lives by not inviting it into the center of our lives.

We must have an accurate picture of recovery. If we think that once we are "recovered" that naked bodies will no longer attract us, we are just setting ourselves up for failure. Even if we have been clean for 12 years, if we start to think, "well, I've put the porn addiction behind me for good, so I can go look at it for a couple minutes, and it won't be tempting to me," then we will get caught in the snare again.

Recovery and healing is not being free from temptation. It's knowing other ways to cope with life soi that pornography isn't nearly so tempting, and it's being able to go do something else when the temptation comes. If you are taking care of your body, mind, and spirit and staying away from this "blasted computer," as was said, then you will have an awesome life, despite your past in pornography.

Don't misunderstand me. I'm not saying you'll actually struggle with pornography for the rest of your life. That's not true. Even though I'm tempted once in a while when I stop taking care of myself, I don't feel that I struggle with it now, it's been so long since I've looked. But I know that if I allowed my fantasies and temptations to stay when they came, and if I stopped taking care of my mind, body, and spirit, life would return to the hard fight against pornography that it once was. Right now, it's not like that. Life is fantastic.

Have you looked into curethecraving.com yet?"
posted at 08:16:32 on March 26, 2014 by beclean
I think we're talking about days without a relapse...not tempation    
"Counting days should never be the FOCUS of recovery. Beclean, you don't count your days. Fine. That works for you. It happens to be a tool in every 12 Step fellowship out there. It is a measuring stick to show that recovery is possible and it is how potential sponsees find potential sponsors. Someone with very little time would be wise to find someone with substantial time to walk them through the 12 Steps. The 12 Steps were NEVER meant to be done by oneself. That is a recipe for failure for an addict like me. That is why some of us cringe when you make light of something like celebrating time clean. It is not that we are counting days, beclean. It IS that we remember the devastation of our last binge and celebrate the grace that has brought us away from that day. Each milestone is important for the very reason we are discussing this topic in the first place. To show the newcomer that recovery is possible. Why would someone want to invest in a program that only promises sporadic results?"
posted at 18:49:56 on March 26, 2014 by Anonymous
Making light    
"Forgive me if it feels like I'm "making light" of time celebrating time clean. I don't mean to have a mocking or trivial tone.

I'm only trying to help people, and I truly believe that counting days can be detrimental and depressing. If newbies keep counting 1,2,3; 1,2,3; 1,2,3 it can break their will and destroy their hope. "9 wins, 3 losses" is a gentler feeling and allows newbies to remember, celebrate, and focus the good days. It takes the focus off of the most recent relapse and puts it on the progress over time. If the ratio of wins to losses keeps growing, you're making progress.

Let me answer your question: "Why would someone want to invest in a program that only promises sporadic results?"

By "sporadic results," I assume you mean the kind of progress I am advocating: ever increasing time between relapses, and ever shorter relapses. That sounds like a great program to me. If you used to binge all week every week, and then you binged for a week every month, and then you binged for couple days every month, and then for one day every month, and then for one day every other month, and then one day every 3-4 months, and then for an hour every 3-4 months, and then for ten minutes every 6 months, and then for 5 minutes every year, and then you slipped up for a minute or two after a couple more years, and then you catch your slips before they happen for the next several years, I would say you have some awesome results.

I take the long view of recovery. It's something that happens over several years, not in one night. And to me, starting the count over on any of the slips I described above is like telling yourself that you just wasted everything you've done until now. You're back at square one. You have to go a whole year to get back where you were. That's depressing, and while I'm down in the dumps, I might as well take advantage and relapse all week.

But if I know that I don't have to start over when I slip up, I can get right back up, dust myself off, and say, "Well, that wasn't very productive. It didn't serve me. I guess I'd better keep moving forward."

So, you see, I'm just offering a helpful opinion. I'm not trying to make light of anything."
posted at 00:31:41 on March 27, 2014 by beclean
3-5 years    
"Yeah, my CSAT said that it usually takes 3-5 years to have some good recovery. Eek!"
posted at 12:20:10 on March 28, 2014 by Anonymous


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"Each one who resolves to climb that steep road to recovery must gird up for the fight of a lifetime. But a lifetime is a prize well worth the price. This challenge uniquely involves the will, and the will can prevail. Healing doesn’t come after the first dose of any medicine. So the prescription must be followed firmly, bearing in mind that it often takes as long to recover as it did to become ill. But if made consistently and persistently, correct choices can cure. "

— Russell M. Nelson

General Conference, October 1988