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I am frustrated with my recovery
By smwil46
12/3/2008 7:12:50 AM
I am having a hard time writing this morning. I struggled again yesterday and acted out at home in private. That’s twice in one week. I am really concerned about the turn of direction. I fear a lot of things right now. I am still being honest to my wife, but that could stop. I have feelings of being overwhelmed. I look back over the last two months and I have posted here over 100 times since I started late Sept. I have attended 70 addiction recovery meetings including my therapy sessions. I feel like I have made some progress but not as much as I would like to have made. I have disclosed a lot of incriminating information about myself. I know others struggle with serious transgressions and don’t share. I am wondering if I am sharing too much information. Is it necessary for me to share what I have shared or should I just have stuck with the basics of what everyone else is sharing? I went to a meeting Monday morning and the Missionary said he wanted to talk to me after the meeting about the meetings. I was pulled aside once before and was instructed not to share that I had a problem with exhibitionism. It was to offensive to people in the meetings. I don’t know what this missionary Monday wanted to talk to me about but I feel it was probably along the same lines. I don’t mention it in the meetings anymore. I only mention that I have an addiction to sex. I don’t think they even like that mentioned. It was suggested that I only go to the Pornography addiction groups. There have been women that talk about sex addictions in these meetings and I bet no one has ever told them that they don’t belong in the ARP meetings and that they might offend someone. Sorry about being so frustrated. Maybe it’s just me, but I am really feeling frustrated right now. I hope and pray that I have not offended anyone here with my postings. I just need to get it out. If I couldn’t do it here then I would not be in recovery. This posting here has been the best therapy for me yet. I love the fact that I can share and not feel shame. Its only when I am told I can’t confess that I feel shame because my offenses are so vial. I do understand not needing to share the same confession day after day. I do understand that there are some people who confess these types of addictions and it only feeds their addiction. I am here to tell you that is not my intent. I take my wife with me to the meetings on Thursdays. I do have a desire to overcome my addiction. If I can’t then I will die. I cannot live this way any longer. I have no choice but to change my thinking and actions. I am really scared right now. I don’t mean to be so negative but I just need to vent a little. I guess if I was in the shoes of my victims I would want the SOB put in jail and have his manhood cut off. I sometimes just wish the Lord would take me home so I wouldn’t have to deal with the pain and fear of offending any more of his children. That’s the part that has helped. I have not exposed in a long while and I don’t get those desires. I know this is a long recovery and will probably take a very long time to get where some of you are. I will make another promise and that is I will never give up on my recovery. There are times I want too. I will never give up on being open here about my acting outs. I will always be open with my wife about my thoughts and actions. She has been a huge support for me. It only hurts her when I don’t share with her what’s going on in my mind.

Sierra I hope you will find at least a little time to support the group here. Yes your husband has made great successes in his recovery. I hope that you can share those successes with the rest of us. It is through your writing that helps me in my recovery, even if you have to vent a little. You should never let what you read here spill over in your relationship with your husband. I will truly miss you if you stop writing. That goes for anyone else that is thinking of leaving the site.

I loved you all, you are all I have that I can be truly open with.

Scott

Comments:

You're Doing So Great    
"I've been praying for you so much, Scott, but as soon as I read this, I called the temple and put your name on the prayer roll. You've come so far and you're doing great but you will hit some bumps when in recovery. Sometimes they are small and easy to overcome and sometimes they are huge and take a lot more effort then we think we have. I know you have the strength to fight this because you always have strength to fight it, it's just a matter of relying on Heavenly Father more and working even harder even if the drive to recover is dying. That's a great tool that Satan has worked on to get addicts to keep being addicts.

I went to a fireside about a week ago about sexual addiction and the effects it has on the brain. It was very interesting and I hope by sharing a little of what I heard, that you or anyone can gain a little more insight of why we do what we do. Sorry if I get all nerdy on you. Anywho, the brain produces a chemical called dopamine. It's the chemical we receive when we get pleasure so it basically just makes us feel good. Well, to receive the dopamine, your brain has also developed dopamine receptors. Just for the sake of understanding, I'm going to say the normal non-addict has 50 receptors (this isn't really true I just want it to make sense). Well, whenever they do something good, dopamine is produced, the receptors pick it up, and in return, you feel good. With an addict, the same thing happens except that because we are addicts, we cause dopamine to be produced more often then the average person. In turn, the brain produces more dopamine receptors. So for example, the addicts’ brain now has 100 receptors instead of the normal 50. Also, because it's getting so much dopamine when an addict acts out, the brain goes into survival mode so it doesn't produce as much dopamine with everyday normal pleasures. Because of the increase in receptors and the decrease in dopamine, the addict will become depressed because they no longer have pleasure with anything unless in can produce just as much dopamine as the addiction can.

The increase of dopamine also shrinks some areas of the brain and enlarges others. The area that shrinks is the part of the brain that controls judgment and rational thinking. It also enlarges the area that controls actions. In other words, we don’t think when we act out. We just do it without realizing the consequences of our actions but if we do realize them, we tend to not care as much. We don’t “look before we leap.” So as an addict, this is why we may find ourselves doing things we never ever thought we would do. Having lack of dopamine also doesn’t help. We get depressed from no dopamine production and then we don’t think about how what we do will effect ourselves or others.

The good news is that our bodies, after time, will restore itself to normal order. They don’t know how long it takes with a sex addict since they just realized it was an addiction but for most drug addicts it can take anywhere from 18 months to 2 years to go back to normal. I know that seems like a long time but it’s nice to know that it can be fixed.

Anywho, the point I was trying to make is that its hard and it will be hard but if you keep going, things will get better and the longer and harder you try, the better things will be. You can get over this. There isn’t anything that Heavenly Father won’t help you with as long as you are willing to ask. He loves you and just wants to help. I love you too, Scott. You are a wonderful brother. Keep going.

P.S. If this didn’t make sense, let me know and I’ll try to clarify it."
posted at 09:22:01 on December 3, 2008 by Matrix
True!    
"You explained it really well, Matrix. We learned this very thing in my pathophysiology class a couple weeks ago. What you said is exactly right! Depression is extremely common during a withdrawal period due to a lack of those neurotransmitters that make you feel good. Rest assured that Satan KNOWS this and will whisper lies like "it's hopeless" and "it's too hard." Your body WILL self correct and start producing the right amount of endorphines if you can just hang in there long enough. Our bodies are miraculous, aren't they?"
posted at 10:09:28 on December 3, 2008 by sierra
You're good    
"I don't think you are to explicit at all. I really enjoy reading your post and how honest you are when you share with everyone.

Don't feel hopeless. Satan wants you to feel like you haven't made any progress, but in reality you you have made progress. I mean look back at yourself 2 or three years ago.. where you even able to admit you had a problem? So being completly honest with yourself you know that you are doing much better then you were. Satan just likes to make you think all your hard work is for nothing.

Stay strong!! Don't give up. Heavenly father is on your side. When he's rooting for you, then you'll always win."
posted at 10:42:04 on December 3, 2008 by toes_23
Scott,    
"One of the lies the deciever tells us is that now that we've had a slip we may as well give up. Don't believe it. I've seen you grow leaps and bounds. Lately, you've been great at sticking to the "nature" of the addiction, rather than the details. Scott, you also have the distinction of being one of the few who has taken all of the suggestions put before you. I find this incredibe... First you quit going to the gymn, then you stopped running, not only did you go to ARP but then you went to SA meetings, then you got a sponsor, then you got into therapy. The list goes on. You may not see your progress but I do. You have a lot on your plate. Use your sponsor, Scott. Don't make a move without running it by him first. If he's not up for the task get a better sponsor. He's the one you should be meeting with weekly to work through the Steps. When we try to do them on our own we miss important details. Our thinking gets us into trouble in early "sobriety".
About yesterday and last week, forgive yourself and move on. Don't get stuck in the lies that run through our minds after a lapse. Look at the percentage of yellow days in the past month. Pretty impressive. Those black days will begin to fall off the calendar.
One more thing, don't let anyone chase you out of a meeting that you enjoy. People are insensitive and just plain stupid sometimes. You earned your seat."
posted at 13:10:33 on December 3, 2008 by Anonymous
I am redefining my colors    
"Thank you everyone, Believe it or not I had a great day on Wednesday. After reading your posts I understand why I had a great day. Thank you so much for your love and caring about me no matter what I have done. My son has told me the same thing. I promise I will never give up no matter how hard it gets. I want to especially thank you Matrix for putting my name in the Temple. You have no idea what that means to me. I have been told that I can put my own name in the Temple, but that doesn’t have the same effect on me than if someone else puts my name in the Temple. Again thank you so much from the depths of my heart and soul.

Matrix your comments about the brain and how starving the sensors can cause depression and the chemical imbalance really make sense to me. I will do more research on the subject. I find it very interesting. Thank You for sharing.

Sierra, Oak and Toes 23 and anonymous, thank you so much for sharing with me. I love and am comforted by you and your writings. There is truly a lot of comfort when you know that there are people who care and express their love to you. I feel it from all of you and others I haven’t herd from, but I know that I will (Robin).

I have decided that I am stepping it up a notch. I am adding another color to my sobriety. I have decided to add the color orange that goes between yellow and black. If any one who hasn’t read what they mean I will explain.

YELLOW: Means I have had a great day with no inappropriate thoughts or actions in my addiction.

ORANGE: Means I dwelt on inappropriate thoughts for more than 3 seconds. The first three seconds are free because temptation is not a sin. It is what we do with the thoughts that make it a sin. There are many times at work that we have talked inappropriately about sex, or I see a girl at the store or walking down the street that I tend to dwell on inappropriate thoughts. Well I will call it for what it is, Lust. Anything that would be contrary to the Lord will make it a yellow day. I will probably have a lot of orange days to start. My goal is to get back to yellow days because yellow is my favorite color. This is not considered a loss of sobriety at this time. I will re-address that at a later date.

BLACK: Means I have given into Masturbation or touching myself with the intent to masurbate and or looking at pornography. My definition of pornography is viewing pictures or videos of women with the intent of viewing them in a sexual way even if they are clothed.

RED: Means that I have exposed myself in public even if no one sees me. I still struggle with disrobing in the mornings while walking my dog in the dark even if I don’t masturbate. (That was hard to admit, but I said it. Now I just want to be done with it). This is what led up to my slips this past week.


With this said I now can restart my sobriety. If any one has any suggestions as to how I can add to or make this method more defined then please let me know. I find that this really works for me. I am excited to tackle the orange. I want to hug the side of the mountain as close as I can. I hate walking on the edge. I find as I look back over the last month or two how close I have been actually walking by the edge.

I Love my Lord and Savior and I love you all,

Scott"
posted at 04:24:42 on December 4, 2008 by smwil46
You're doing great!    
"You really are doing well. I'll bet before you got into recovery you couldn't even count how many red or black days you had in a month unless they were all red. And you probably had hardly any yellow days. Just the fact that you have an idea without looking at a chart is a good sign. There are probably many signs of improvement even if they are small. Even if you feel like you’re moving like sludge, movement in the right direction is still improvement.

I second the comment that you should go to whatever meeting you feel like you need to go to. Some missionaries don’t quite understand the recovery program even if they have been involved/in charge for some time. There used to be a man coming to one of the pornography meetings that dealt with gender identity. He said his therapist told him he didn’t belong in our meetings, but he came because it helped him feel better. I had determined to catch him after a meeting and tell him he did belong and if he felt like coming do it anyway. He kept leaving before the meeting was over. I almost left the meeting once to catch him, but I thought, “I’ll catch him at the first of the next meeting.” He never came back. I could smack his therapist. Good things can happen when you go to general meetings both for you and them. I’ve never had a word of wisdom problem, but I currently attend LDS general and pornography as well as an AA meeting that I like.

I do agree that it is best to keep things very generic unless you are in a pornography meeting. When going to the general meetings I usually introduced myself as a porn addict and now I often say I’m addicted to lust and then in my sharing just say that I acted out if I felt like I needed to, but never went into any more detail. For a while I facilitated a very small general meeting and there were a few times that I would just introduce myself as an addict. Usually because there was a woman there for the first time and I didn’t want to make her feel uncomfortable. Some people find it very hard to overcome the creepy mental image they have of what a sexual addict is. My mom is that way. Too much detail in a pornography mtg. can easily be a trigger for someone else. So much of sexual addiction is a mental thing. I hate that!

You don’t have to feel like you are being deceitful if you don’t explain how far on the varying scale you’ve slipped. Just the fact that you have openly acknowledged that you lapsed or relapsed is probably enough. I feel that my wife and bishop need specifics, but that is about it. If you have a sponsor you should probably tell him and then you have a great bunch of friends here that you can use your color code with. I really like that idea. Sexual addiction has such a wide range of transgression. I may start using a green, yellow, orange, red system. I haven’t decided what to put with which color yet, but I probably wouldn’t have considered the yellow or orange a relapse before I started in recovery.

Thanks for the idea. Keep working at it one day at a time.

Love,
John"
posted at 10:56:13 on December 5, 2008 by justjohn
Your color system sounds great!    
"Scott, you're so honest. I hadn't even thought of counting lust, or my intentions when I looked at something, or to intend on masterbating. You've improved so much Scott. Keep going. =)

-hope4Change"
posted at 02:45:34 on December 9, 2008 by hope4change


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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