I'm confused.
By hiccupps
5/2/2010 12:16:29 PM
I'm 22. I've viewed pornography since I was 10 or so. I'm really confused about the word addiction and being addicted.

I've never had any problem admitting I was addicted. I knew I was and I've always known I've needed help. I've sought it throughout the years with family, bishops, prayer, scriptures...etc. I understand that I can't do this alone.

However - saying I'm addicted feels like such a scapegoat for my activity. I choose to sin, my addiction does not. Saying I'm addicted and praying for this addiction to be taken away feels like an excuse instead of addressing my actual behavior; a blanket that is hiding the problem instead of addressing it.

I also feel that anything short of quitting cold turkey is not recovery. How can it be? The heart has not changed and I continue to feed my addiction - thus, it continues to strengthen. Right?

It feels like:

"And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell."(2 Ne 28:21)

I feel that the Twelve Step program, professional therapy, and reaching out to others are all good HELPS - but they do not kill the source. That is what the Atonement is for - but the problem is, I don't know how to use it. I don't understand the technicalities of it all.

Thanks for letting me vent.


I agree with you, Hiccups!    
"I guess the question I have to ask you is, do you really choose to sin? Do you still have your agency in the matter? If you do, than you're right, you can't use addiction as a scapegoat. It sounds to me like you've tried throughout your adolescence and adult life to quit. If you've been successful than maybe you're not an addict. An "addict" is someone who wants to quit but isn't able to.

You said:

"I feel that the Twelve Step program, professional therapy, and reaching out to others are all good HELPS - but they do not kill the source. That is what the Atonement is for - but the problem is, I don't know how to use it. I don't understand the technicalities of it all."

The Twelve Step program is the Atonement in practice. It is "The Atonement For Dummies". It's an instruction guide on how to put the Atonement to work but it doesn't work for people who are just too smart. People who are too smart will overanalyze it before they ever give the program a real try.

And yes, cold turkey is the only way to go. Complete and long term abstinence is the true sign of real recovery. But recovery is a process and some people don't realize complete abstinence until they've really dug in theiy heels and dedicated some serious time to working the Steps with another person. Others miraculously have the desire rooted out of them early. In most cases, that change of heart takes some serious time and work.

Hiccups, I, too, got hung up on the whole idea of blaming my addiction for what I believed was simply a week will on my part. Step One done properly showed me that I wasn't week-willed. In fact, I was strong-willed. It takes a lot of will to have the kinds of consequences I was having and to still keep active in my addiction. My problem was that my will was not enough. I wanted to quit with all my heart, but still I continued to act out. It is humbling to admit powerlessness. It also sets the stage for Step Two where we learn where to turn for the power to overcome this addiction. My guess is that you have wanted to quit for a long time but there always comes that time when all your resolve and righteous desire goes right out the window and porn wins the battle.

Accepting that I'm an addcit doesn't relieve me of my accountability for my sins; I'm still responsible for repenting of them. But admitting that I'm powerless seems to alert the angels that I'm finally ready for Christ to use His power to rid me of this disease. Working the program is my end of the deal and I leave the actual rooting out of the addiction to Him and accept His timing with it. Good luck."
posted at 13:26:20 on May 2, 2010 by Anonymous
"First part is bang on target in my view.

Here is what I know from my experience thus far:

The addiction is the equivalent of a self-found, self-medicated, self-believed, self-whatever you-can-call-it-process-of-medicating-yourself. That is it, it is a prescription that I found as a child to provide me with as close to happiness as I could get in a emotionally turbulent world of childhood/adolescence. THAT IS IT MAN PLAIN AND SIMPLE.

I refuse to label myself an addict, because the Lord has been so gracious in helping me break that damning cycle. I am a child of God and He intends every one of his children to be free and taste of happiness all their lives, addict does not fit that description so to hell with it (pun intended). Cold turkey, nothing more and nothing less, just decided that is it, finished with this useless habit. If I was going to think anything else, I was allowing Satan to play those incredibly powerful mind games and do as 2 Nephi 28:21 warns about. You are right in my book and believe me by having this attitude and by seeing addiction for what it is, the impossible suddenly looks easier than I originally thought. Only if the savior is allowed to work his miracle and I must let him do that which I have realized I cannot do.

I did feel physical withdrawls when I went cold trukey, I have massive headaches (sometimes 4 days in a row non stop). It is not easy to do but the Lord carries a great deal of the load, only because I believe I had made a firm decision and meant it that I was done.

I will say this about the therapist, 12 steps, others and bishops, they are essential and all play a vital role in the process. They are not as you well stated, the solution nor will they provide it, that is the savior's job and he is so loving and merciful to do this for us.

Finally, the way I use the atonement is by applying those 12 steps by the letter and spirit. I try living them, breathing them, repeating them each day and if I could I would blow mynose with them. Just kidding but seriously, they are my lifeline that the savior has been using to full me into his care. I will forever be greatful for the ADRP, it is a gift from God."
posted at 13:42:13 on May 2, 2010 by ruggaexpat
"I agree rugga - I would further add that an addict is someone who cannot quit because he or she has not fully decided to."
posted at 17:24:57 on May 2, 2010 by Anonymous
"Great comment and question Hiccupps. And I really liked both Anonymous and Ruggaexpat's answers. Good stuff.

I want to add that each one of us must find a way to turn ourselves completely over to God. Every part of our life must be dedicated to him. We must think about him constantly, pray to him always, plead with him for protection, and serve him with ALL our heart, might, mind, and strength, just as he asks. He must be the center of our lives, of the music we listen to, of the media we read and watch, etc. If we don't give ourselves to him and put him first, we will fail. I think most people are not ready for that, and so they struggle longer than others. In my estimation, complete dedication to God is how we accept and apply the atonement, and nothing less will free us from our slavery to sin, whether we label ourselves an "addict" or not. (I believe the 12 steps are a method of applying the atonement and turning our lives and our struggles completely over to God, as has been said.)

Some people need to label themselves an "addict" before they can humble themselves enough to say, "God, I'm yours...I can't do this alone." I'm not sure that's any different than labeling yourself a "sinner." I don't think you're shedding your responsibility when you call yourself an "addict," you're just acknowledging that you can't overcome the problem alone, which is true whether you are an "addict" or a "sinner" of any other kind.

Furthermore, I think life is about humbling yourself and coming to God with a completely broken heart. It's one of the most important reasons we are here. Some people feel ready to turn themselves over to God early on, but then they loose that desire, so they stumble again. When we see such people, we just need to help them rekindle that spiritual flame. It takes some of us longer than others, and some of us require more relapses than others, before we are humble enough to put God first every day for the rest of our lives. It's a REALLY hard thing to do. But the only way we will ever truly find our life is if we loose it in God's service.

Good stuff, you guys."
posted at 19:13:25 on May 2, 2010 by BeClean
You can do it!    
"The word addiction is used as a tool to help us understand that we have a serious problem when we view pornography. I believe that this word is supposed to be used so that we can better understand the evil and the seriousness of this trap.
You are correct in knowing that the Atonement is the only true strength you can turn to, and I know that the Savior will help you.
Just as the addiction has grown stronger and stronger from age 10, so, too, will it grow weaker and weaker each day as you trust more and more in the Lord. It was a process to get involved as seriously as you are, and it will be a process to change your habits and allow the Lord to change your heart through the Atonement. It is possible, however. You don't ever NEED to go back to the way of sin. Your addiction will tell you that you do, but the Atonement can help you feel that you don't.
Recognizing that you want to change EVERYTHING that is out of order in your life (and not just the addiction) is important. It requires humility and you will learn day by day, but you can do it.
I pray for you and already have love for you. Keep the faith, and may the Lord keep you in His arms."
posted at 16:28:29 on May 9, 2010 by jmoney
the lable of "addict"    
"i think the reason it is important to say that it is an addiction is that it helps to understand the psycology of it. for a long time i have tried to fight it, but i recently learned about natralizing it. i find this much easier than fighting it because of what they call "obsessive compulsive cycle." as i fight it i re-enforce a spot for those images in my mind. but if i say to myself "that is a normal thought, but that doesnt mean i should act on it" 5 times in my head, the thought leaves and doesnt get re-enforced. i used to agree that it seemed like a scapegoat, but it is just a way to understand and heal."
posted at 16:12:13 on September 1, 2010 by kaybee
Right you are Kaybee works every time    
"every time and now I hardly have to use it"
posted at 16:23:37 on September 1, 2010 by ruggaexpat

Add a Comment:

***Anonymous User***     (login above to post UN-anonymously)

" Is it possible to reclaim a life that through reckless abandon has become so strewn with garbage that it appears that the person is unforgivable? Or what about the one who is making an honest effort but has fallen back into sin so many times that he feels that there is no possible way to break the seemingly endless pattern? Or what about the person who has changed his life but just can't forgive himself?The Atonement of Jesus Christ is available to each of us. His Atonement is infinite. It applies to everyone, even you. It can clean, reclaim, and sanctify even you. That is what infinite means—total, complete, all, forever. "

— Shayne M. Bowen

General Conference October 2006