Stuck in the Middle?
By g2change
10/23/2009 5:05:38 PM
I found this website about a month ago and will read the blogs occasionally to see if I can find anything that can help me. It's been really great to read the thoughts and advice from a variety of people who are in many different situations in life. I have some thoughts and questions about addictions and myself and would love to hear any feedback you can give.

I'm a 20-year-old LDS girl and I’ve been thinking a lot lately about myself. Not in a selfish way. Just trying to figure out who and what I am, mostly in the area of addiction. I call myself an addict, and yet, what am I addicted to? Do I really have an addiction, or do I just lack self control? What is it that constitutes an addiction? Is it possible to be a sex addict, but be a virgin who has never viewed pornography and doesn’t enjoy masturbation? I asked myself this a couple days ago and thought that maybe I was wrong, maybe I really didn't have an addiction. Yes, I have a weakness in the area of chastity and sexual purity. But is it really an addiction? That night I had a dream in which there was some sexual feelings. It wasn't really anything, I was just turned. I was tempted to turn myself on even more, intensify it, but I just kept thinking “No, I don’t want this, please, no!” and after a couple seconds it would stop and I would wake up. It had happened before a couple times. But then I started wondering, was that my sign? My answer? I know I have a problem. If I didn’t then I wouldn’t keep making the same mistakes. And yet, I’m fine if there aren’t any guys around. I don’t do anything on my own. My problems come when I have a boyfriend. I do have a hard time sometimes controlling my thoughts. But usually once I recognize my thoughts for what they are - memories of events that were nothing more than mistakes – then I’m able to find a way to get them out of my mind. I’ve improved with that. Maybe I just don’t want to put a label on it. This might be horrible, but I kind of compare my problem with being addicted to the smell of alcohol, always wanting a taste, but never really getting the opportunity and knowing that it’d be a mistake to make the opportunity. Would that still make you an alcoholic? When I’m in a relationship, when I’m in the moment, I don’t stop. Because I don’t want to, because continuing is more appealing than stopping. And I’ve messed up my life, ruined relationships, lost the trust of those that I care most about. Because of this problem, I have reached a point in which I lost everything that I cared the most about. So why can’t I call it an addiction? Maybe it's just denial. It just doesn’t feel like I match a stereotype… I’ve masturbated a couple times (encouraged by a boyfriend) but never really enjoyed it. My feelings of guilt, disgust, and loneliness afterwards were never worth it for me. I knew I’d always feel worse after, so I don’t do it. I've never seen pornography. I used to read romance novels, a genre which can usually pass for being written pornography. I read the ones that were actually pretty clean. They weren’t detailed, and for the most part, they weren’t raunchy. But even with the things that I don't have a problem with, I've gotten into trouble with almost every boyfriend, only one being an exception. I’ve had problems with sexting (essentially phone sex through texts…), necking, heavy petting – just about everything except for the direct act of sex. I don’t know, I feel like I’m somewhere in the middle. I don’t want to be someone who over-exaggerates or makes themselves sound worse than they actually are. I’ve called myself an addict, but I don’t know. Am I to that extreme? Is that an extreme at all? My Bishop gave me the workbook for the Addiction Recovery Program after I went to him with a problem and told him about my numerous previous offenses. I’ve been working at the ARP on and off for about 8 months. I’ll be with it really strong for a while and then something will come up and demand my attention – usually a new boyfriend. Most recently, it’s been taking care of my nephews and the time that is demanded with that, which makes my spare time more valuable so I want to spend it just relaxing, not critiquing myself or thinking about a problem. I think about it a lot. I think about how I should be working on it. But at the moment, I don’t feel like I need it. I know that it’ll make me stronger so that I’ll hopefully be able to make it through my next relationship, but until I’m in that relationship, I don’t feel like I need to… And because of that attitude, I probably need this a lot more than I think.

Sorry, this is all just kind of a jumble of thoughts... If anyone can give me some sort of insight, point out something that I'm not seeing, I'd appreciate that... Thanks.


It’s all so confusing!!    
"These days it’s hard to know what is normal and what is a problem. Here is something I haven’t yet revealed on this site…I was a young pregnant teen…I married the “boy” that impregnated me. Later we got our act together and got to the temple. At the time I thought we (my then boyfriend…now husband); were having sex for the right reasons…because we loved each other. Now love was definitely there and still is but, we didn’t need to have sex so young to show that love. I wish I would have waited, I wasn’t strong enough the urges were there…and I caved. Heavenly Father gave us these desires for a reason, and they can be a very healthy thing. It’s just hard to know what is normal and what isn’t…I know! Technology is such a force to deal with these days…I didn’t have a cell phone in my teens, THANK HEAVENS!! I’m sure I would have used that to further my problems. Now years later, I still have a pretty descent size sex drive…I have wondered if it’s normal, but I figured I have a husband…so why not. Well my husband unfortunately is not addicted to having sex with me…he is addicted to porn and masturbation. I wonder if I just played into his problems by being so “easy” (for lack of a better word)...I didn't demand respect back then, and now all the sudden I want him to respect me?...Did I ever respect myself?...Do I now? Again...I really think technology played a HUGE roll in my husband’s addictions. I never used to understand why people said, “it’s so much harder these days, than it was for the pioneers.”…But I totally get it now, with the push of a button on a computer or cell phone we can be someone completely different. Now I am more confused than I was as a teenager. I never thought my sex drive could be bad (it should have been tamer as a youth, but I can't change the decisions I made then), but now I wonder why I do have sex sometimes...Is it to feel needed/wanted/loved? Satan has done a pretty good job these days, by turning something so beautiful...into something sinful/ugly. It sure is hard these days.
The Addiction Recovery Program, might have helped me...wish I would have had it...I went to the bishop over and over again, each time I had gone farther...I was just told not to do it. My husband is now working through the Addiction Recovery Program workbook...hopefully it helps. I really don't have any words of advice...just wanted you to know I have had some of the same feelings. You’re not alone. "
posted at 20:32:05 on October 23, 2009 by summer
"I can only speak for myself, but I have confirmed my suspicions that I not only lack self control when it comes to chastity, but I am a sexaholic. I came to this conclusion after answering 20 questions listed in the Sexaholics Anonymous White Book.

Sexaholics Anonymous defines a sexaholic as, "[someone] who has taken himself or herself out of the whole context of what is right or wrong. He or she has lost control, no longer has the power of choice, and is not free to stop. Lust has become an addiction. Our situation is like that of the alcoholic who can no longer tolerate alcohol and must stop drinking altogether but is hooked and cannot stop. So it is with the sexaholic, or sex drunk, who can no longer tolerate lust but cannot stop."

Here are the questions, I hope they help.

1. Have you ever thought you needed help for your sexual thinking or behavior?

2. That you’d be better off if you didn’t keep “giving in”?

3. That sex or stimuli are controlling you?

4. Have you ever tried to stop or limit doing what you felt was wrong in your sexual

5. Do you resort to sex to escape, relieve anxiety, or because you can’t cope?

6. Do you feel guilt, remorse, or depression afterward?

7. Has your pursuit of sex become more compulsive?

8. Does it interfere with relations with your spouse?

9. Do you have to resort to images or memories during sex?

10. Does an irresistible impulse arise when the other party makes the overtures or sex is

11. Do you keep going from one relationship or lover to another?

12. Do you feel the right relationship would help you stop lusting, masturbating, or being so

13. Do you have a destructive need—a desperate sexual or emotional need for someone?

14. Does pursuit of sex make you careless for yourself or the welfare of your family or

15. Has your effectiveness or concentration decreased as sex has become more compulsive?

16. Do you lose time from work for it?

17. Do you turn to a lower environment when pursuing sex?

18. Do you want to get away from the sex partner as soon as possible after the act?

19. Although your spouse is sexually compatible, do you still masturbate or have sex with

20. Have you ever been arrested for a sex related offense?

Thanks for sharing your story, G2CHANGE. It takes a lot of bravery to openly admit your faults, and I respect you for that. I don't know if any of this will help you, but for me, it was the beginning of my true recovery. "
posted at 21:16:24 on October 23, 2009 by ETTE
"I can imagine it wasn't easy for you to share those details of your life, but I wouldn't be surprised if you feel a lot of relief now that you have. In my case, at least, I always feel a lot better after I share my story with people who don't judge me or think any less of me because of the issues I have to fight. I don't fully understand why opening up about our problems makes us feel so much better, but it really does, doesn't it?

Your story encourages me, because it helps me realize that even the best of people still have human issues to deal with. I hope you know that I have a deep respect for you because of all the things you've done to help the people who are struggling on this site. I truly admire your ability to give comfort to those who mourn. Could there be a more Christlike attribute?

I'm happy that your husband is working in a recovery manual, in my opinion, that means he's on the right track now.

My thoughts and prayers are still with you and your family."
posted at 21:41:28 on October 23, 2009 by ETTE

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"As Latter-day Saints, we need not look like the world. We need not entertain like the world. Our personal habits should be different. Our recreation should be different. Our concern for family will be different. As we establish this distinctiveness firmly in our life’s pattern, the blessings of heaven await to assist us."

— Robert D. Hales

"Gifts of the Spirit" Ensign, Feb. 2002