giving up
By created
9/14/2015 5:30:14 PM
I have kind of a long, complicated story like lots of people. However, I'll try to just cover the basics. I would really love any response!!

About a year and a half before my mission, I had problems with pornography. I got over it pretty fast, but I absolutely could not stop masturbating. It was so hard, but I went clean for the two months before my mission (just as a side note, my bishop DID know about my struggle). I had to come home early for issues with anxiety and panic attacks right before I was about to hit my 7-month mark. About 4 months into my mission, though, I relapsed with masturbation. I repented, told my mission president, the whole deal.

Here's the issue.... because of my increasingly painful mental problems, there are only so many things that help. I used it to cope because my anxiety was killing me. So really, I didn't feel better when I abstained from masturbation. I really didn't. I know it won't help my situation in reality, but it didn't damage it either from my perspective!

I feel abandoned. I did great for 6 months without masturbation COMPLETELY GOING BY FAITH BECAUSE I DIDNT FEEL DIFFERENT, but God never let me feel even a TINY bit of support.

I have recently started to get sucked into soft-core pornography. It's one of the only things with masturbation that relieves my anxiety. I feel sad that it's happening, but I can't help but blame God because I did everything I needed to for him to help me, and nothing ever happened.

I hate my life.... honestly. :(



i am sorry to hear your pain    
Thanks for your post. I am grateful for your vulnerability. I don't have time to comment in detail right now, but know you are not alone. you feelings sound very familiar. I hope we can talk a little bit more. I will try to post later today"
posted at 18:49:45 on September 14, 2015 by sjanderson1
A few questions    
"Created, I am so sorry for what you are going through. I have a few questions but please know that I'm not asking you to try and judge you or scold you. I know addiction is extremely difficult and hard to overcome.
You say that you did everything needed for God to help you...12 steps (study and meetings)? Daily scripture study? Meaningful prayers? Attendance/participation in meetings? Counselling?
Please know that in asking this I'm not trying to belittle your efforts at all. You probably did all of those. But when I look back at times I've felt abandoned by God, I come to realise that I did something to shut Him out. I also have a testimony that it's the little, basic things mentioned above that help to keep us on track and protected from addiction. It won't take away the temptation, but when we're doing those things it helps us be humble enough to turn to the Lord when temptation comes, and allow Him to take over.
Have you tried counselling or medication to help with your anxiety? Perhaps your doctor could prescribe something that would help with that. I have friends who suffer with anxiety and I know they have medication that really helps.
You are not alone. Whether you feel it or not, Heavenly Father DOES love you. You are His child, and He cares for you more than anyone else ever could. I know that's hard to comprehend at times, but I know that it's true."
posted at 00:46:07 on September 15, 2015 by Anonymous
okay now I have some time!    
I hope you are doingokay. I was really really sad to hear your hurt when I read you note this morning. If you don't some suggestions I will be so bold to suggest some things that might help that I have learned over my journey. first I beleieve what you are dealin with is not just a moral issue. What I mean by that is when i grew up twenty years ago it was don't look at p@rn, it was a bad thing and a sign of weak moral fiber. What I have learned by associating myself with folks from sexaholis anonomyouns as well as the Church's ARP meeting is that there is actually three prongs to what addicts usually are fighting a Spiritual, physical and emotional aspects. when i learned that there were very real hormones to "blame" for what was goin on in my brain helped me feel better about myself. that I could retrain my brain with the Savior's help and that my purpose in life is to learn to be like my Savior, not to be perfect from the get go.
If you don't mind me making some suggestions I would say if you can reach out to others I believe you will learn that you are not alone. this is great place to start. I have been hear for about two years and have been truly blessed by the folks who are here. I have learned more through recovery or these process than I have at Church meetings. I don't mean that to downplay the importance of church attendence but this is the Gospel in action, real not joking putting one foot in front of the other. Sometimes my experience has been that at Churhc I have given the answer that someone wanted to hear because I was at chruch and that was supposed to say or do. I would also suggest if you would accept it I would recommend you search out for a meeting. for me SA has been a great resource because for me I learned that p@rn is not just a Mormon thing, a thing to be looked down upon but in fact there are other folks out there who are christian, muslim, aethist who are struggling and want this stuff out of their lives. That has been really helpful for me. For other people i have talked to they said that the SA meetings they attended were too graphic for them, I believe there is a group in Utah/Idaho that is SA like but has some LDS tendencies. You might also try Tony Listers' program cure the craving, i had a really great success with that as well learning about the different parts of the brain that are affected.
Finally I would really highly recommend the talk Healing the Wounded Soul by Jack Christiansen. I believe that this talk is so insightful on why addictions are the way they are, and that the choices that we make are not who we are, but in fact they 95% of people are hurting when they "sin". It was brother Christansen's opinion that once the sin has been mentioned to him as a bishop stake president or as a counselor it was the work to get to the core of why the person was so hurt. I hope this helps. I would love to hear more from you."
posted at 00:47:50 on September 15, 2015 by sjanderson1
"Thanks for the repsonse Anon,

I agree that God sometimes takes a step back if we aren't doing everything we need to. I wasn't perfect by any stretch when I was struggling, but I am confident that I gave it my all. It makes me frustrated that in order to be set free from a sin like masturbation, we have to be theoretically perfect. Because if we aren't busy, not studying scriptures diligently, not praying daily in the way that God wants us to, not having completely clean media choices, etc, then God can just say "well I just want to improve you a little bit more, and a little more, and a little more" while I'm over here about to give up completely. Does that make sense?"
posted at 17:14:57 on September 15, 2015 by created
"Thanks SJ,

It sounds like you have a lot of experience, so thank you for sharing. I'll look up that talk you mentioned; it sounds like something I would benefit from."
posted at 17:19:19 on September 15, 2015 by created
you are not alone.    
"created! when i was 13yrs old i watched one of my brother pornofilms. it said cinderalla on the outside so honestly i thought it was a cartoon movie. from that time my curiosity started. between 21-24 i start watching many of the adult movies, when i less expected i was getting hook. the images are still in my head. The films were getting me sick. Thank goodness i stopped by 24yrs. but the tentation still there everyday, so i pray hard and distrat myself doing service and going to the temple has make me stronger because the spirit of god is more with me. I went to pschologist and follow the twelve steps program. In life ! if you really want to stop something that it is evil u can with the power of god. I didn't have it easy because im a girl, i didn't want to be label as sexaddict, it is embabressing. Get help!the faster the better your chances to get rid of the addiction or behavior. Go to ur bishop, to then send u to a lds recovery meeting, i believe you can also do them by phone, get a pschological help if u need too, but never give up!!! the truth is! the behavior or addiction won't go away until u fix it."
posted at 17:59:53 on September 15, 2015 by Anonymous
God does not step back    
"Created, Anonymous asked whether you were truly doing all you could do, and you responded that (of course) you weren't and that you're aware God steps back when we fail to do all we can do. You said you're frustrated that you have to be "theoretically perfect" or God won't "set you free" from masturbation.

Frankly—with a desire to help, not hurt, allow me to say—I think that's a load of crap.

Some Mormons think they have to be perfect for the atonement to kick in. That's garbage. It's impossible. No one EVER reaches anything close to "theoretical perfection" on their own. If they get there, it's because the atonement helped them long before that point. God doesn't expect us to do a bunch of things before he will help us. God doesn't step away when we aren't doing everything we can do. Those kinds of thoughts keep us from seeing His hand around us constantly.

There is a frequently misunderstood verse in 2 Nephi that says, "it is by grace we are saved, after all we can do." Most Mormons think that means we have to do everything we can or else grace won't kick in to save us. WRONG! If the requirement is for us to do "all we can" before grace saves us, then no one will be saved.

Consider that verse differently. "After all we can do" is a prepositional clause. It can be moved to the front of the sentence. The sentence could say, "after all we can do, it is by grace we are saved." Looking at the verse in this way, I believe it's easier to see Nephi's meaning, which was, "even after all we do, we are still saved by the grace of God." Or, in other words, he was not stressing that we must do all we can; he was stressing that regardless of how much we do, it will never be enough, and we are all saved by grace. It is by grace we are saved, even after all we can possibly do, which, I would add, isn't very much.

You won't be healed from your addiction so long as you think that you are failing to do enough. So long as you think you are unworthy of God's help. So long as you think you have pushed him away and he'll never help you. So long as you think you have to do this by yourself up to a certain point. If you have those thoughts, they will only depress you, cause you anxiety, and cause you to self-medicate (with your addiction) and fail over and over again.

Do you have any kids? Do they make mistakes? Will you only help them if they are doing everything they can by themselves? Of course not.

And do the mistakes your kids make cause you to love them less? Of course not. When your kids were born, you held them and believed they were perfect. They had infinite worth to you. You would give your life for them. And they hadn't done ANYTHING to deserve your love. And nothing they ever do (or fail to do) will make you love them less. You see, you love your kids not because of who they are or what they have done. You love your kids because of who YOU are: a loving parent. Your kids' choices can't change your love for them.

God is love. He is the most loving parent. If you know how to give good gifts to your kids, how much more will he...?

Realize that you were born as a baby with infinite worth. God loved you before you ever did anything good or bad, and nothing you do can change his love for you and desire to help you. You don't need to reach some standard of "theoretical perfection" to get his help. He loves you right now, today, regardless of what you did yesterday or even five minutes ago. If you just barely acted out, he's still there for you, ready to help when you are ready to come to him.

He is the God who came to heal the sick and spend time with the sinners. That's you, and that's me. We're sick sinners. And he's here for us.

Have faith that he's going to heal you, and believe he's always there to help, even when you feel guilty. Use the guilt to make a change, something you feel you should be doing, and then stop feeling guilty. Stop beating yourself up. God isn't beating you up. He's loving you and rooting for you.

So, you might be asking, if we don't need to follow all these commandments in order to get God's help and be saved from our sins, what are the commandments for? I'll tell you. They are the guidelines for a better, happier life of peace. IF we could follow them perfectly, we would greatly reduce the amount of pain and sorrow we cause ourselves to feel in this life. But following them will NEVER bring us salvation, no matter how perfectly we do it. Jesus saves. He saves sinners. He saves us.

Admit to him that you are powerless to overcome this trial. That means you can't do it. And that's OK. He can. Become willing to let him do it. Ask him to change you completely. Don't worry about how long it's taking. Just promise him you'll stay close to him your entire life and you'll never give up. When you feel him prompting you to do something, do it, but don't be afraid that God will stop loving you or helping you if you fail. He won't. He'll just patiently wait for you to accept the change he's trying to make within you. He won't force you to change, but when you're truly ready and desiring a change more than anything, when you're ready to give control completely over to him and stop fighting him and his plans for you, then he'll do everything."
posted at 14:05:04 on September 16, 2015 by beclean
First anon back again    
"Amen to Be Clean, thank you for saying so eloquently the things I would have struggled to say clearly!
I would add something to the 'all we can do'...honestly, I think this varies from day to day. All I can do today might be more (or less) than all I could do yesterday. If I'm ill, my ability to do things is a lot less than when I'm healthy. If I'm depressed, all I can do might be getting out of bed. That is enough for that day. With addiction, some days all you can do might be a lot! Reading scriptures, praying sincerely, working the 12 steps... Other days it might be all you can do to shut down the computer/put down the smart phone and walk away with a plea in your heart for help.
The thing is, Heavenly Father knows us better than anyone else. And while we disappoint Him when we give in to temptation/addiction, as Be Clean said, He never stops loving us. I imagine it as Him standing there holding out His hand. All we have to do is reach out and take it. To tell Him 'I can't do this alone. Please help me.' And then let Him help. E.g go for a walk, call someone, whatever we need in that moment to be free and allow Him control.
It's simple. But that doesn't mean it's easy.
I also think that a lot of the things He asks us to do are interlinked; e.g praying can help us make better media choices. Studying the scriptures can motivate us to gratitude that we can express in prayer etc"
posted at 17:20:33 on September 16, 2015 by Anonymous
"You all really don't understand anxiety nor depression at all. It's more debilitating than you think. It's like trying to walk normally with a fractured knee-- it simply can't be done."
posted at 15:00:20 on September 17, 2015 by Anonymous
I see your point anon    
"this is sjanderson and anonomyous I can see your point about how debilitating depression can be. I have only been able to keep going with the help of God the last few weeks. Even now as I write this I am about to fall back into the depths, I have to fight it for all I am worth. I don't know for me what the problem is often people say, oh you are being co-dependent or clinging or not thinking positively. I am trying to fight those negative habits that I have. Anyway as I write this I feel like I am making excuses and spinning my wheels, but I have to admit that what you say about the inability to function is so true."
posted at 16:53:46 on September 17, 2015 by sjanderson1
Be Clean    
"Let me clarify my understanding... So you're saying that if I don't do everything perfectly, then that's okay because the Lord's grace will be enough? Then why didn't I feel different when I tried my best? That's why I mentioned that I think my anxiety/depression is keeping me from progressing.

Aside from that, to anon's point on anxiety and depression^^^ he's right. It's not just a bad attitude. It's like a disease. I don't think properly; I can't function properly.

I appreciate the good thoughts about God's love though. That was beautifully said."
posted at 13:56:31 on September 18, 2015 by Created
"To answer the question that everyone is referring to directly or indirectly-- Yes, I am having counseling, medical doctors observing me, and, as of recently, taking medication. So I'm not just sitting back on the couch and doing nothing about it."
posted at 14:01:58 on September 18, 2015 by Created
"The answer to your first question is yes.
I don't understand your second question. Sorry.

The whole purpose of my response was to let you (and many others like us) know that trying our absolute hardest to be perfect is not what's going to make us feel better. Instead, knowing that God loves us and that he has already accomplished everything DOES make us feel better. (I'm ignoring the reality of depression here, forgive me.) So, you won't feel better when you try your hardest to deny yourself your sexual urges. You'll feel better when you build a personal, close relationship with a God who loves you, and when you truly KNOW he loves you, EVEN when you are masturbating.

Of course, I'll be accused again of condoning masturbation. I'm not. I'm saying FIRST focus on that close relationship with God, and know that he loves you, hears you, talks to you, supports you, and even saves you DESPITE your sins. SECOND, let HIM do his work within you, changing you and saving you from yourself. Tell him you can't do it, so you're going to rely on him to do it, and you KNOW he will. Then, act to the best of your ability as if he already has changed you... Because you know he will.

If addicts could just STOP their addiction, that would be great. But that's not what an addict is. Instead, we need to realize we CAN'T stop, and that's OK. But with God, nothing is impossible, and HE can do what we can't do.

A big problem happens when we addicts tell ourselves that we are too sinful for God to help us. We tell ourselves we need to try harder before he'll help us.

But that's a catch 22, because there is no way out for addicts except God. And if we tell ourselves we're not worthy of His help, then we remain stuck. The demons telling you that you're unworthy of Christ's help or atonement are from Lucifer. Tell them to go to hell.

You are a child of God with infinite worth, and you ARE worthy of the atonement, grace, and help of God. He WILL give it to you, if you will receive it. Call on him to save you and completely change you with his grace. It is by grace we are saved, after all."
posted at 16:51:16 on September 18, 2015 by beclean
Be clean    
"I agree with everything you said.

On my mission, I had a moment where I told god that I'm giving him everything I've got... And I truly truly meant it-- every single bit of my soul was in that prayer. One problem with depression for me personally, is that I don't stay inspired for very long at all. I could have the most spiritually uplifting experience in my entire life, and basically forget about it 5 minutes later. That's what happened after the prayer. I felt great, then as soon as I walked out the door, I hated my life.

I hope that makes sense and clarifies my experiences."
posted at 20:52:10 on September 18, 2015 by Created
"I repented for the whole pornography thing, so that's good. But I'm obviously still struggling with masturbation; my bishop and I are working on that.

My biggest struggle right now is not knowing if/when I should go back out.... I'm still so messed up because of anxiety and depression. It's honestly so much easier to just stop trying; I feel worthless."
posted at 23:23:10 on September 27, 2015 by Created
"You seem to be doing better with pornography. THAT IS MAJOR GROUNDS TO CELEBRATE! CONGRATS! Seriously, you've done so well. The Lord doesn't measure our progress by where we are currently, but where we are going. Even if you've slipped up since then, your sobriety from porn is a mark of success! God is proud of you.

Don't think that if you don't root out the problem all at once, you're a failure. These things usually don't work this way. You are not worthless. You are a normal human being with a sex drive. Don't worry, you're headed in the right direction. "
posted at 00:42:39 on October 19, 2015 by intothewest

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"I have come to know that thoughts, like water, will stay on course if we make a place for them to go. Otherwise, our thoughts follow the course of least resistance, always seeking the lower levels. Probably the greatest challenge and the most difficult thing you will face in mortal life is to learn to control your thoughts. In the Bible it says, as a man ‘thinketh in his heart, so is he’ (Prov. 23:7). One who can control his thoughts has conquered himself. As you learn to control your thoughts, you can overcome habits, even degrading personal habits. You can gain courage, conquer fear, and have a happy life. "

— Boyd K. Packer

BYU, Speeches of the Year, 26 Sept. 1967