Sunday, December 29, 2013

Step 6 Continued, ReCommitting
My past attitude about self gratification was that it wasn't any big deal.  I was mistakenly trying to make my marriage better.  But before then, even, when I struggled during my single life, it was because I couldn't give up the pleasurable feelings and I didn't see how it was impeding me.  I never knew better, though, because I never went without it.  It was a constant since my tiny childhood years.  My feelings were unrepentant because I denied how detrimental my behavior was.

I feel that now I have given it up completely, but I still have rationalized my media addiction.  It's a little harder to differentiate and pinpoint when there is a problem, because the problem is only present when I'm getting a high from the use of media.  If I'm escaping reality or numbing myself through that immersion into another world.  The biggest clue is if I lose the spirit's companionship.

I need to realize my dependence upon the Lord for everything and show my acceptance of this dependence by dedicating my time to prayer and strengthening my connection to Him every single day.  By doing that, I can be led by His will in my everyday choices, so I can remain free from the binds of addiction.

I have now made a list of my weaknesses with the strengths they can become written next to them.  It's interesting to look at this list and feel hopeful that one day I might be completely humble but confident, without the "better than" or "worse than" attitude that I have had.  Someday I can become completely in ownership of myself and who I am.  My likes and dislikes will become evident realities of my identity and I will no longer chameleon other people's.  It will be a time when I can no longer feel sexually inadequate, but have a healthy relationship with my husband and the Lord.  A time when I am ever present in my own life and no longer lost in another world of fantasies or dreams.  I will be the kind of person who allows others to make mistakes without trying to be their savior or rescuer.  I will serve others while also providing healthy boundaries by the guidance of the spirit in my life.

I have never lost the desire to participate in church activities.  It is what saved me in my youth and when I lost my way in college.  I always attended church anyway.  I believe my life could have gotten much harder if I hadn't.  But at the same time, I felt somehow that I did not belong.  I saw the world in a different way from how these people at church saw the world.  I felt alone.  But as I try to allow the Savior to strengthen me now and dwell within me always, I can see how everyone at church is really much like myself.  We are all striving to allow the Savior's power to heal our hearts and guide our lives.  Knowing this helps me to feel more unified with the members of my ward at church.

My recovery began in a sneaky way, with me pointing fingers at my husband and then having my hand turned to point at myself.  Over and over again.
I would say "it" (all my unhappy circumstances wrapped up with a big frowny-face bowtie) was because of one of his obnoxious qualities, and then because of his addictions, and then I would get a nice surprise.  Something about myself would get revealed to me and I would realize I was guilty.

How self righteous, how proud, how blinded I was.  I'm thankful those baby steps provided by the Addiction Recovery Program have slowly given me the chance to open my eyes and own my faults, little by little.  How far I've come.  How far I have yet to go.

It's so sad how evil tries to justify itself.  It's constantly making excuses.  Every abuser, every sinner, makes some kind of excuse to alleviate their conscience so they don't have to feel the pain of guilt.  But then it only puts them in Satan's hands when they - I - when I refuse to feel Godly Sorrow for my wrongs.  The steps help me get there.

I have learned that being perfect is impossible.  But that's ok!  I've learned that my Savior is there for this very reason.  In taking upon His name, I am made clean and whole. "Perfect" in the scriptures is defined also as "complete".  I know I can only be made complete in the Savior, if I am daily placing myself in His hands.

Recovery is ongoing.
It is never finished.
Always needed.
Always repeated.
I need to be patient with myself because the Lord is patient with me, as His child.
I need Him every single hour.  I know that my Redeemer lives.

YLDS Radio helps.  I need to play it every day.  Music brings the spirit into my heart better then anything else.  Today I've been sitting and listening to it as I have read and it has brought the sweetest spirit into my heart that I never want to let go.  It's made me recommit myself to keeping it with me, and doing what it takes to keep this feeling with me always.  I must commit to maintaining a healthy balance in my home with every form of media or technology, so that balance can keep the spirit in my home.  I want my kids to feel that difference.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Step 6: Change of Heart


Become entirely ready to have God remove all your character weaknesses.

Step 6 Reading

Unlike what it says in the first couple paragraphs of this step, for me personally, it feels as though my temptations are just as strong as before, or even stronger at times.  But the difference here is that I feel stronger because I have withstood them.  I still haven't acted out on my self-gratification addiction since before I began step one this time around.  But when it comes to my other addictions I feel I can do better.  I think that's one of the things that has held me back from that happy place I found around this time last year.

Last year before Christmas I was on a spiritual high!  But two things happened.  I got an IUD in, and I got really sick.  The IUD's hormones blocked me from being able to feel God's love for me and I started a road into depression.  And being really sick, I skipped church one day and binged on television big time!  I began my addiction to Vampire Diaries.  I think I could have kept myself from being completely addicted if I had paced myself better, but I didn't.  I watched almost two seasons in one day, I think.  It was ridiculous.  I was feeding on it and it was not good for me.  The spirit left.

And then a year went by and I'm here still grasping for it to return.  The happiness I had last year was so awesome.  I was beating my desire to "get high" on fantasies.  I hardly ever turned the television ON let alone watched it.  When I did, it was for my kids to watch a show and I told myself I had better things to do then sit there.  I was in such a happy place.

The hardest part about losing that desire is that at first when I give it up, I miss it.  I miss that high terribly.  I know the Lord has helped me before because I have been able to watch movies without getting the high.  I don't lose myself in them.  I'm still sitting there with my family, and the movie is just a story.

This is much more healthy, but in a way I really miss that immersion into the story - the high - because it was my escape.  But what then?  The movie ends and I'm plunged back into life and it's low.  Not better.  Not at all.  So I must lose that desire to go there.

I think one of the reasons why I have obsessed over fixing other people's problems is because I hadn't figured out how to fix my own.  Releasing this has helped to free me from my codependency issues too.  Now that I am honestly acknowledging my issues and am actively working on them, my desire to fix other people is not so obsessive.  I still feel I could offer other people help, but I don't feel like it's something I hunger for like I did before.  I guess that hunger was really to help myself!

I want to be accountable now.  Completely accountable for myself.  I'm going to grow into a new me, from inside out.  I will be the kind of person that is compassionate but not overbearing.  I will first look to change myself before passing any information on, and when I do I will wait until moved by the spirit, NOT by my heavy addicted urges.

When I think of someone I could perhaps share this program with, instead of rushing to do in right now, I need to be thoughtful and prayerful about it and ask the Lord to help me to approach the subject in the right way.  I must believe the Lord will help reveal it to me when I should speak and when I shouldn't.  The key is shutting my mouth when I feel the heaviness in my chest that says, "Just stop."  Too often I have spoken right through it when that has happened.  I need to stop it.

Sheesh.  I feel like finally reading my inventory has opened the flood gates.  Here we go! :)

I Am Not My Addiction

You know, whoever coined the phrase "I am an addict" really did us all a huge disservice!  Because I am not my addiction.  Labeling myself only makes it seem that much more impossible to overcome because it's WHO I AM.  But it's not who I am.  The correct thing to say would be "I have addictions."  Because these things do not define me.

It feels so good to begin step 6!  I'm also so happy to have a new sponsor from the addiction recovery group for females.  As much as I love my support in recovery group ladies, I really felt like I needed to join a group where women could really understand where I stood.

After reading out my step 5 aloud, I'll have to say I feel so much less alone!  I didn't realize how alone I felt before, but I did!  I felt like I was completely alone in how I felt.  Even after two years attending meetings, I felt different and apart from everyone else.  But reading and spilling out my step 5 helped me see that my sponsor and many of these other women are really just like me!  Of course, we have our differences, but we think the same way because of our similarities, rationalizations, and trying to stay on top of our addictions every single day!

It was so refreshing to sit and talk to someone who understood completely!  Especially about media addiction.  Most people shrug it off, saying "Awe, it's just a tv show." But they don't understand how detrimental "just" a tv show can be to me, when I'm not just watching it, I'm getting a high that I have to come back down off.  I get so attached to the characters that I painstakingly fantasize over them, wish with all my heart that my world could collide with theirs, and I begin to value this fantasy world over my own life!  Yeah...there's something wrong with that!  It felt so good to have someone sit next to me and say, yes, it's the same for me.

Another thing that reading my inventory out loud did for me was that now I have more courage to speak out about my addiction if I am moved upon by the spirit.  I feel I will open myself up to the women in my support group meeting this week and let them know that I can identify with their addicted loved ones at a different level.  I think opening up may help someone because there is bound to be someone else like me coming to our meetings since the only ones available are a drive away from here.  There may be women who are addicts and not allowing their conscious mind to see it (like I used to be!).

My new sponsor also helped me to correlate more of my weaknesses with my addictions.  I hadn't realized that my tendencies to chameleon other people's likes is actually not an uncommon trait among those who struggle in addiction.  Because addiction can blur with who a person is, making it hard to identify ourselves outside the addictions.  Time isn't spent on thinking about these other good things we like, like favorite music, hobbies, even my favorite color was hard to choose.  Our bad habits become our hobbies and we can't share them with anyone so we are left in isolation.  It's a sad way to live.

It reminded me of the movie with Julia Roberts, Runaway Bride.  I always identified so deeply with her character's inability to choose a favorite kind of eggs, among other things, and how it was destroying her life.   I couldn't understand why both of us did that, so I felt like it was some romantic mystery.  I remember watching the movie and feeling so connected because I was just like that.  Now I think it's because she was addicted to something too.  Addiction handicapped my ability to define myself.  It's so freeing to separate myself from my addictions because now I am free to see the opportunities for all the many things I can like and be.  I can stop doing things because someone else likes to do them, and do them because I like it.

I just have to figure out now what I like most.

I like red and purple.
I like indie music that is uplifting and upbeat.
I like singing and playing piano.
I like writing.
I like spirituality.
I like being artistic and creative.

We have a start.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Another Trusted Person


In step 5 it reads:

"We also selected another trusted person to whom we could disclose the exact nature of our wrongs.  We tried to select someone who had gone through steps 4 and 5 and who was well-grounded in the gospel.  We began the meeting with prayer to invite the Spirit, and then we read our inventories aloud.  The individuals who listened to our inventories often helped us see lingering areas of self-deception.  They helped us put our lives into perspective and avoid exaggerating or minimizing our accountability...We started to understand our tendencies..."

I have done it.

Over this past week, I had a conflict planned for the usual time I attend PASG meetings.  Because of this, I decided it was an opportunity for me to attend the woman's group for addicts.  I usually attend the support group for loved ones of the addict, but I knew I needed to attend a group for actual addicts at some point because of my specific situation.  However, it was a little drive to get to the meetings.  There aren't as many of these available.

So I did.  I went to the meeting the day before my usual time, and although it was a little different and I felt sort of out of place, I know it was what I needed to do and where I needed to be.  I plan to attend this meeting on occasion, because it offers up a different perspective that I really need.

At this meeting, I met a new Facilitator who I felt I could share my inventory with.  By this weekend, I had set up a time and on Saturday I was able to meet with her and lay it all out.  It took a little over three hours.  But it felt so good to just let out everything I wished I could say out loud to somebody and have them listen reflectively.  I could have tried to do this with my husband but I'm sure at some point his eyes might have glazed over.

I feel so much better after having this experience.  Now I feel like I truly have been able to be completely honest about everything.  I was able to also pin-point how my addictions to media or fantasy are also correlated with my addiction to self gratification and I hadn't made that connection yet.  I also have a new sense of determination to tackle my media addiction...right now I'm completely overcome by watching Vampire Diaries.  At least it's only once a week, but I know that when I watch it, I get a high and have to come back to reality...and that's where the problem really is in that.

So here I am, willing and able to move forward to Step 6.  Finally!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

When I See a "Trigger Warning"...and Choosing Someone

Here's a quick tip: If something says "Trigger Warning" don't read it and don't go to it.  Just move on.

I recently got caught up in reading a webpage that had a "Trigger Warning" on it.  It wasn't pornographic by definition, and was actually meant to be a supportive awareness-type page.  It had pictures of victims of sexual abuse holding a hand-written sign in front of them with the phrases their abusers used against them.  Many of the phrases were demeaning or manipulative, some were excuses.  It was supposed to be a way to free these victims from the abuse they had experienced by speaking up about what they had gone through.  But for me, I guess it was a trigger.

I couldn't stop reading.  I couldn't stop going to the next photo to see what the next abuser had said.  I don't know why it became so hard for me to stop.  It got me in a bad place, and I felt Satan's angels around me tempting me to self-gratify.

I didn't.

But I wasn't happy because of the spirit that it had brought into my heart.  My husband got home from work while I was on my phone and he was annoyed because he thought I was on Facebook again (one of my other addictions) and so the rest of the evening went horribly.

I know it was because I hadn't stopped to begin with.  I hadn't realized that "Trigger Warning" was for me.  I didn't realize that I had a trigger like that.  But the fantasies that overcome me sometimes are caused by things like this and I need to realize it, acknowledge it, and so now I can avoid it.

Progress?  Well, I still haven't read my Step 5 to anyone.  But I think I need to continue because this stagnant stage I have gotten myself into is not helping me one bit!  But I am going to continue on to Step 6 keeping in mind that at any moment I will return to Step 5 to read my inventory aloud to someone because I know I need to do it.  I just don't know when or who, and I feel that it is a decision I need to make very carefully.

Which is odd, because I naturally have always been the type of person that spilled my soul out to whoever was passing by just because I never felt the need to keep my own secrets.  But I think finally I've worked the steps deep enough to get to those shameful nitty-gritty details that I just can't confide to just anybody.

Maybe I need to choose my old friend and confidant...she hadn't come to mind until just now because I don't think she has worked the steps or gone through the program.  But she is a social worker now, with a Masters.  Perhaps she is my best choice.  Time and distance have created a sort of rift between us lately.  Maybe I'll bridge the gap by being incredibly personal all of a sudden.  I'll pray about it.  Wish me luck.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Progress Stand-Still

I went to move on to Step 6, but something didn't quite feel settled yet.  I think I need to open up and read my inventory to someone in it's entirety still, for my Step 5.  That's why I haven't posted again in a while.  I guess I'm feeling sorta stuck.  Because I don't know who to read my inventory to.  It's not a decision to be made lightly.

I do want to say that I feel so much better after completing what I have completed.  I feel like I've redefined myself.  I always used to define myself by my problems or weaknesses and after taking these steps, I have to consciously let go of that definition of myself.  It is no longer my problem because I have given it to the Lord.  So am I an addict anymore?  No, I don't think I am.

Of course, it wouldn't be right to assume I can ignore the past completely.  I do need to be careful to avoid temptations and continue to do what is right when I'm faced with temptations.  Because the temptations still come!  But I no longer need to define myself as someone who struggles all the time.  I need to redefine who I am in order to get rid of it completely.

I am no longer that person.

I think that's what Step 6 is actually about, so maybe that's where I'm headed after all.  My next post should be on that step.

How are my readers doing?  Anyone working the steps?  Feel free to comment.  You can comment under a profile or just anonymously.  I'd love to hear from you.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Fight the New Drug

Shout out to this awesome non-religious website about pornography addiction!

Check it out!  It has a great video!

Step 5: Confession


Admit to yourself, to your Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ, to proper priesthood authority, and to another person the exact nature of your wrongs.

Step 5 Reading

 As I've gone through the process of writing my inventory this time, I feel like I have learned so much about myself!  It's been an awesome learning experience and I really can see that I can grow from doing this, as hard as it is.

Step 5 can seem a little daunting and nerve wracking.  Even more then step 4 was, because now instead of just going over all of the nitty gritty details of my life to just myself, I am opening it up for someone else to react to.  Now, this reaction may be accepting and it may not be and that's the hard part about it.  But if I were to do step 4 without step 5, it would be like acknowledging an infected wound in my leg and just covering it over without cleaning it or taking care of it.

Step 4 is looking over the wounds and acknowledging the infections.  Step 5 is cleaning those infections out so they can be healed.  It's not fun, and can be painful, but it is absolutely necessary or the infections will fester and get worse.

So Step 5 must take place soon after Step 4 is completed.  Because right now it is fresh in the mind.  And since I have taken the time to really complete Step 4 by writing it down, there is a complete and written version of the problems and solutions there ready to be read aloud so nothing is missed.

It says to first confess to the Lord.  This I feel I have been doing while I was working step 4, but before I go to confess to anyone else I plan to kneel before the Lord and confess for everything all during a single humble prayer.  Because then it's serious.

After this, it says to confess to proper priesthood authority anything illegal or sinful that may prevent one from holding a temple recommend.  Of course this will include my self gratification addiction.  I don't know if my recommend will be taken away or not.  I feel like I'm making real progress.  But a part of me feels like perhaps I have been unworthy for long enough while holding a temple recommend that maybe I need it taken away just because of that.  But it's not my decision to make, and I don't want Satan's negativity to enter in and destroy my positive outlook on this.  So I'm going to leave it up to the bishop's inspiration, and trust in his judgement.

Step 5 also encourages me to select another person in which to read my inventory aloud in it's entirety.  I have never done this, even in the last couple of times working the steps.  I did talk to the bishop the first time through the steps, but I didn't feel better afterwards and couple explain why.  Now I understand it's because it wasn't my full inventory after all.  I was so majorly in denial I cannot explain it.  Anyway, I feel like this decision to disclose to another person is completely up to the individual working the step.  To me, I feel like I've been talking with my husband about the details during this entire process so I feel like I have been disclosing it.  However, I may feel inclined to share sometime in the near future if someone at the meetings seems like the right person for me to do this.  I just don't know who yet, and I feel it is very important to select the right person.

I do feel like this other person provides further opportunity for me to grow, because it will allow for another person's perspective to come forth in what I've written.  Maybe through this other person, the Lord would give me even more to learn.  It would further challenge me to be completely honest and open about who I am.

I made my appointment with my bishop for tonight.  I was actually kind of disappointed because I made this appointment on Saturday and wanted to get in for a Sunday appointment but he was fully booked.  Now, however, I feel like I've had the opportunity to add some more thoughts to my inventory.  I've had a couple more moments of heightened understanding since I made the appointment so now I have more to say to him.

The Lord works in mysterious ways.

Confessing my sins helps me to make positive changes because once I have confessed and those mistakes are out in the open, they are suddenly easier to leave in the past.  Now that I've confessed to myself, and to God, it is easier to recognize what is happening when temptation strikes.

I think having someone listen to all of my honest failings and weaknesses and sins and then react with love and understanding helps me heal because it would reinforce God's love and forgiveness as I put forth my best efforts to get better.  Being judged righteously in the way God would see it, I would also finally be able to forgive myself and put things behind me.

More on the Nature of Addiction

What's the most frustrating thing about the nature of my addiction to masturbation (or self gratification) is that I once decided that perhaps when I feel the temptation I could just go to my husband and after practicing a healthy expression of feelings the temptation would go away.  But no.  This is not what happens, sadly.  Because my body is practiced to react only to a certain kind of stimulus, not through healthy intercourse, the only way to satisfy the feelings is to fulfill it in the way my body recognizes.  Because it just doesn't work the same way.  The only way to deal with this is to abstain from the behavior my body craves and so I can develop a more healthy habit and my body can gain more practice in the right way of doing things.

I get so frustrated when I have just been with my husband sometime during the day and even in the same day I find my body giving me carnal signals of desire and temptation strikes.  And there is nothing I can do about it but pray and hope for the Lord to remove the temptation from me.

 I must believe that He will.

One way I have decided to practice is by really fasting.  I have talked about it before in another post.  But fasting is one way to exercise my ability to put the Lord before the natural man.  It strengthens my resolve to put aside my carnal desires and put the Lord first.  This past Sunday was fast Sunday and man was I struggling with it!  Not only was I incredibly hungry while giving my children their breakfast, when I escaped to my bedroom there was a box of See's candies calling to me...and then while I was journaling about it I was hit by another kind of temptation.  Then my husband ate a cinnamon roll of all things (his excuse was because he had to take some medication for back pain...) and I was so hungry and upset!  YET the hidden blessing was that at that point my hunger temptation overcame the other temptation and so I was able to get by.

Still haven't slipped since before I began step 1!  Harrah!

I was thinking more about the nature of my addiction and I realized that the character weaknesses I got because of this addiction bled into other aspects in my life a lot more then I previously realized.  I realized that there are patterns of behavior that reach back to my childhood where I would hide a negative thing about myself, either a deed or a motive, and play the innocent victim so other people would think I was just innocent and take pity on me or feel bad for me.  I did it to my peers and my family members all the time.  I remember thinking to myself that I could get away with anything because no one would suspect angelic me!  I was so prideful and self righteous but deep down I knew I was being wicked and covering it up to other people.

If I would feel bad for not doing something because of laziness, or if I didn't want to take responsibility for something I had done, I would outsource the blame and play the victim.  As a child I got away with this all the time and it reached all the way up into my college life, when I went before the bishop in order to tell him about how my new boyfriend had sinned by "taking advantage of me" and that his bishop needed to know about it.  My bishop had sat before me and looked at me in awe and amazement.  He'd told me that I was headed in a very dangerous direction and I needed to open my eyes.  I didn't understand what he was talking about.  Something in my head refused to get it.  But I was indeed refusing to acknowledge my own responsibility for what had happened.  I was prideful and unrepentant for my own sins, and because of that I WAS headed into a very dangerous place and I got myself into trouble!

Instead, I should have acknowledged my own fault in the situation and felt guilty at least a little bit.  If I had, I could have safeguarded my future a lot better then I did.  I was really in an unsafe mindset.

I realized then that I had entered into the life of college thinking that without my parents to set ground-rules I was just on my own to do my own thing my own way and I didn't need ground-rules because I knew better.  I wouldn't do what I didn't believe was right.  That's what I told myself.  But without setting my own ground-rules I was allowing myself to walk on dangerous ground.  I needed to set clear boundaries for myself!  But I think the way I saw things may even stem from my addiction.  I had been practicing the habit of hiding my own guilt from myself all my life!  I guess it bled into other aspects of my life outside of this one habit.  It prepped me to be more curious and open to perspicuity and sin as a young adult.  Addiction sucks!

Because of my addiction, I have developed character flaws of self-deception and self-righteousness all wrapped up together in a ball of pride and tied with a ribbon of vanity.  I cared more about what other people thought of me then what God thought, and that was bad.

I really hope that taking step 5 this time will help me beat away these tendencies for good.  I know it's just a baby step, however, and I will probably be fighting off these things for the rest of my life.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Baby Steps

Progress is what matters.  As long as you are stepping in the right direction,  it doesn't matter how big the steps are.
The personal inventory in step 4 is rather personal,  so I won't be sharing gory details in a blog entry but I will say I have made progress.  This is the third time I've done step 4, and I feel like it's the first time.  My first time taking this step,  I seemed intent on telling my life story.  But in actuality I have been doing that all my life because I have a tendency to revisit the past in my head over and over on a daily basis because I'm a masochistic self-analyst of sorts.  I the first time through step 4 was like rolling up all of those tendencies into a big wad and rolling in it until it was flat.  Then I proceeded to show this spread to my Bishop in step 5.
In a way,  this was good.  But after taking step 5 I couldn't honestly say I felt better.  Other people talked about how taking step 5 was a big relief and a weight of the shoulders.  I didn't feel that way.  I didn't know why.
The second time through,  I only focused on now instead of dicing into the past.  I dealt with the things that popped into my head,  but I was kind of brisk about it and so I think I might have caused problems with the way I excitedly tried to make amends all at once (when really that isn't supposed to happen until step 9).
This time,  I feel like I'm really doing it!  I've made parallels with patterns of behavior I recognize in myself that stem from my weaknesses. I have noticed how my strengths have sometimes begat my weaknesses.  Strange add that may seem, all of those things feed each other and the result is me.  I'm finally taking step 4 as a way to define myself.  It really feels good!
And on another note!  I faced my first encounter with pure temptation the other morning. I felt the slight desire to give in to addictive behavior (self gratification) and I did not fail!  Cheers! It's in those little successes we must celebrate!  I do feel like the tension on this may grow though.  So I'm on my guard. And I am thinking I need to carry out my step 5 soon.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Step 4: Truth

Make a searching and fearless written moral inventory of yourself.

Step 4 Reading

Now that I have made the decision to truly trust in God to help me, I am given the opportunity to show my willingness to trust Him by searching my life without letting my fear stop me with rigorous honesty, and no justification.

Someone recently told me that with taking step 4, it's not just about identifying sins. It's about defining myself. I don't just reflect on what I have done wrong in my life, but what I have done right, and what motivates my decisions. In doing this, I identify my gifts and talents as well as my weaknesses and shortcomings.  In identifying these characteristics about myself, and being mindful of my weaknesses, I am better able to strive to align my will with God's, because it's the first step in correcting my mistakes and growing my weaknesses into strengths.

The first time I completed step 4, I tried to do it by listing events from my memory chronologically from the earliest thing to now. It was a huge undertaking. I found some things to be taken care of and learned from it, but I knew I was not done completely because I knew I could not do it all at once.  It would be impossible.  That didn't mean I stopped at this step forever. I did my best and moved on, having faith that the Lord would point out more as I became ready for it. This has happened.

I did the step for the second time by writing names of people and examining my relationships with them. I felt I needed to apologize for things or mend something, or just come to terms with past events.

This time, I wrote in my journal, just pondering particular weaknesses and how it has affected certain people who came to mind once more.  As I wrote, I began to discover that many the actions in my life that came to mind were motivated by a weakness that was because of a strength, or vise versa.  I decided to list my strengths and weaknesses that I have discovered so far.  I realized that some of my strengths sort of compliment my weaknesses, and vise versa, and some of my weaknesses escalate each other. I noticed some things that create cycles in my own behavior. It turned into a learning experience about really how I define myself and what I want to change.

This step is hard!  But I can assure that it can change your life if you take it faithfully and fearlessly as it says.

It is also important to write! Write it all out, even if you are afraid of someone reading it. Writing helps you slow down your thoughts and really proves them to give you a greater understanding.  I also believe that more help comes to me spiritually if I am writing or praying out loud.  Once it was described to me that the reason I felt this way is because the angels would assist me. The Holy Ghost is always there to help. But angels are too. However, they cannot dwell within us like the Holy Ghost does. So they cannot know the thoughts of our hearts. But they can hear us pray out loud, and they can read what is written.  I feel the angels help me a lot more when I do these things.

I also know that writing things down seems to make me take things more seriously because it's out. It's a substantial reality if it's written down in front of me. I no longer can hide things even from myself. The justification stops when I write it down. I can no longer deny what I write in black and white.

Harmful things that are written down can also be destroyed once the step has been completed. Some people wait until after step 5. Then they purge themselves with the destruction of their written inventory. It can be a symbol of the power of repentance to cleanse you. Those things are no more, and the Lord remembers them not.

Be brave! Step 4! Let's do it!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Step 3 Continued: Submitting as a Child

When I become submissive as a little child, it is the same as submitting to earthly parents but different.  Because earthly parents do their best but make mistakes and are imperfect whereas God is a perfect being.  So when submitting to God, I am guaranteed safety and guidance.  An earthly parent may not always provide that.  They may.  But they may not.

Submitting to the Lord means I should not fear.  There will always be love, acceptance, and help given to me from my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.  They will never be disappointed beyond their love for me, and they will never fail to be supportive.  I know the Lord understands and I can confide my feelings to Him and feel completely understood.  Knowing He understands even if I don't get what I want helps me to submit to His will because I can know things will work out for the best because He knows.  If He didn't know I was feeling distraught about it, how could He know His plan would bring me comfort, peace, or happiness?  Knowing that He does know and understand my feelings perfectly gives me the assurance that He will lead me into a place where I can be happy.

If I endure it well and submit to His plan, I will find happiness.  Because I know He loves me and wants me to be happy in the end.

Dun Dun DUNNN!  Time for step 4.  Let's DO this thang!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Step 3 Continued: Humbling and Strengthening

Fast and Pray often
to be
STRONGER in Humility & FIRMER in Faith,
Filled with Joy & Consolation,
purifying & sanctifying,
as my HEART yields to God.

Fasting is exercising my ability to put off the natural man.  As I practice control over my bodily appetite, I practice control over natural desires.  I then can realize if I have the strength to fight physical hunger then I have the strength to fight off other natural desires that don't align with God's will.

Fasting also humbles me as I think about the Lord's sacrifices for me.  I also ponder about the need in the world for me to serve others as I contribute to fast offerings.  Prayer during a fast is vitally important.  Without it, I am just starving myself.  The hardest time to pray is of course when being faced with temptation because it's a choice between submitting my will to the Lord or fulfilling that carnal desire.  When temptation gets heavy, I must fight off the carnal desire just enough to pray and I know just in praying...just in that small effort, He would lift my burden.  But the more I pray and follow the Lord's will, the more I will be strengthened in Christ to continue.  I am humbled because of my weakness without Him.  I am strengthened through my faith in him, and as I submit and show that faith, I become stronger.

I need to trust in God to help me not only in the mistakes I am making that I am aware of, but in the mistakes that I am unaware of.  I need to trust that God will give me the awareness I need to fix the mistakes I am making.  I feel like my eyes are opened more and more every day I am working the steps.  Because I am noticing and remembering the mistakes I have made in the past, even the ones I didn't realize were mistakes because I did them in ignorance.  I am making progress, though.  That is what really matters.

I must become more humble.
More submissive.
More gentle and easily entreated.  More patient.
More long-suffering.  Temporate. Diligent. Thankful.

These are choices.
Step 3 is a decision step.  It's where I choose to be better.  It's where I choose to let God help me.  Because it is in acknowledging the help outside of myself that I am both humbled and strengthened.

I should not only show gratitude to the Lord, but to my husband.  Because he really does help me every day.

If I were to choose just one to focus on right now, though, I think it would be to be more gentle.  I need to be more soft-spoken.  I think in turn this would also effect patience and help me to be more easily entreated.  I need to keep my temper in check and stay calm and positive.  Perhaps if I pause and keep tabs on any negativity going on I could curb myself from being harsh and stay in a more gentle state.  Being more spiritually minded will definitely help a lot with this.  So that's what I am going to do now.

I am going to be more spiritually minded and gentle.

Step 3 Continued: Patience

I get really impatient with myself and with the Lord.  Last year I really had a time when I was feeling so positive and I had the Lord's spirit with me constantly.  It felt so good.  I would meet every decision to approach the computer or any task with the Lord by my side.  If I felt at all heavy or if I felt the spirit withdraw even a millimeter, I would stop and re-evaluate what I was doing.  I really succeeded in stepping away from my involvement with the media.  I went a full two weeks last year when my husband was gone on business without watching a single movie or doing hardly a thing on the computer because I was way too busy with other household things.  I ended up re-organizing the entire house room by room while he was gone.  The entire time, I planned to watch a specific movie by myself while he was away, but I never did it!  Because every evening I would just need to get to sleep so I could be up and ready for the next day.  It was all I could do.

After being in that place, when the winter began last year I fell into a slump because I got sick.  I think it was probably that one day that made the difference.  Instead of doing anything else, I sat in front of the television and began watching a new tv show on Netflix that I hadn't seen yet but heard about.  This show got me and I continued the entire day without stopping.  I believe this was a binging moment for me and after that everything in the world got thrown off kilter.  I kept trying to get that same spirit to return with me again as my constant but I felt abandoned.

I was rationalizing my media addiction.  I had been going without it for so long, I soaked it up like a sponge and the spirit couldn't fit in anymore.  I feel like I'm making headway again right now though.  Step 3 is the decision step.  I will be better again because this is where I make that decision again to put the Lord's will first and align my will with His once more.  That's the biggest key.  If I ever start putting my will first again, then it gets off again and I'm rolling away on some distant path where I didn't intend to go.

But this is where my patience comes in.  It isn't all going to happen at once.  If I choose the align my will with the Lord's will, it doesn't mean that magically I will feel the way I did last year again.  It will take time and effort daily to get there again.  If I really look back closely at my time last year, it was the same way.  I didn't just automatically have that spirit with me all the time, it came after I had been giving that daily effort toward aligning my will with the Lord's.  I have to do it and the more I do it, the stronger that spirit will become.

I remember that's how it was last year.  Every time I would follow the lighter feeling (in making a decision between a good thing and a better or best thing) and put the Lord first, letting go of my addictive desire to approach the computer instead of doing the dishes, or whatever...the moment I would choose the better thing, the spirit would grow.  The more times I did what was best, the easier it was for me to feel the spirit prompting me to choose the best option.  Every single day, it grew until I was so happy I felt like I was glowing with the spirit and with my own awareness of God's love for me, and it emulated into feeling love for others around me.

I need to trust God that when I choose the best thing every time He will bless me to feel more positive, happy, and He will bless me with more guidance to succeed as a better mom, a better wife, and a better me.  I need to be courageous and keep trying, even when I feel impatient.  My impatience is only going to delay it more because it's holding the spirit back for me to feel any kind of negativity.

Before reaching for my phone, I need to fall on my knees in the morning.  Before clicking to Facebook, I need to listen to a conference talk on (my new homepage).  Before telling my kids to do something, I need to study and ask the Lord for help to know how to talk to them and what to do that day.  Doing this will keep my priorities straight.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Step 3: Trust in God


Decide to turn your will and your life over to the care of God the Eternal Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.

Step 3 Reading

I used to think that obeying rules gave limitations to what I could do.  It narrows the way in a way that felt like I was being held back.  But then I realized submission to God's will gives one more freedom of choice, freeing you from addiction.  Freedom is used in the reading.  Because yes, it narrows the way, but so life is easier.  It makes the pathway to happiness easier to see.  When you stray off the path, you find darkness and loss, selfishness and dissatisfaction, greed and envy, lust and sadness.  In the darkness, you feel stuck and weighed down.  But staying on that path is where the light is and where you are free to live happily and make choices where you can see, because it's light.

Here is a poem that helps illustrate this concept:

The Disobedient Kite

I once went flying with my master
He took me out on a windy day
He let me grow higher and higher
As the wind pulled me up and away

I pulled on the string he had tethered
Wishing to climb greater heights
I beckoned him softly as to whether
He'd give me my freedom in flight.

He shook his head at my imploring
Stating the string held me up
'But the string just anchors my exploring!'
So I asked again, I wouldn't let up.

Finally he said he would show me
The value in rules he had set
And he cut at the string from below me
Exulted, I leaned, the wind swept

But the soaring expected then faulted
And broken, I began the fall
For the connection I'd found as a burden
Was what held me up high after all. 

 I find it interesting that the word "anchor" is used negatively in this poem.  When in this scripture it's used as a good thing: "Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with asurety bhope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which chope cometh of dfaith, maketh an eanchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in fgood works, being led to gglorify God." Ether 12:4

Even in just the use of that one word, it illustrates how perspective changes meaning a great deal.  We may think of the anchor as holding down the ship so it cannot go.  Then again, the anchor in a ship is what keeps it safe and steadfast against the storms.

In step 3 we are deciding to act for ourselves by following the Lord to escape the chains of addiction, and be freed.  Regardless of others, I choose my actions.  And if I choose to follow the Lord's will for me every single day, I will be led into happiness.  Sometimes this can be hard, but it also states that all it takes is for us "to open the door to go just a little bit."

I've found that all it takes is just a little bit.  As soon as I try a little tiny bit, the Lord encircles me in His love and encouragement.  He is always there!  Sometimes I have thought that I wanted Him to give up on me because I thought it would just be easier if I gave up and hated myself and gave in to my weaknesses.  But He didn't.  He never does!  He will always be there, even though we are inconsistent and make mistakes and have draw-backs.

His healing power is safe.  I love that "safety of following His way."  But it has to be all!  We have to submit everything.  Our entire will and life to Him, and continually.  It's not something that happens all at once.  I can decide now to do this, and then tomorrow I will have to decide again.  I might have to decide again in an hour, in a moment.  The key is to make a consistent effort to continually submit my will to the Lord's, taking "one day at a time."

"God grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference."

I am in charge of me.  I choose the way I react to every thing that happens to me or around me every day.  No matter what happens, I am in charge of how I react.  If somebody says something rude, I don't have to get angry.  If I feel judged, I don't have to feel worthless.  If I don't do something perfectly, I don't have to get discouraged.  I can choose happiness.

Easier said then done.

But "with God nothing shall be impossible."

Thank God for what you have, Trust God for what you need.

I really want to let God direct my life, but I think my problem is sometimes I want to pick and choose when I allow His influence in my life, when I should have this as a constant.  What prevents me is that other desire for carnal things, not in agreement to God's will.  I must reconcile myself to the will of God and not to the flesh.

To do this, I'm going to follow these steps I set for myself in this post.


I bet some of my readers have been wondering what's taking me so long.  Well, it's because I'm not doing so hot at the moment.  Don't get me wrong, I haven't slipped in the way you may think.  I haven't acted out in any sinful behavior that needs to go to the bishop - but it has been putting less important things first again and getting grouchy.  Today I stayed in bed until almost noon laying there looking at Facebook on my phone or playing Candy Crush while my little ones watched Phineous and Ferb among whatever else downstairs, pouring hot cocoa mix all over the place, and when I got up I still couldn't tear myself away from the computer as I tried to do other things.

That's my slip.  It's probably been going on longer then just today, but today it got really bad.  Of course, it probably was worse because I didn't go to the meeting last night and instead went to Relief Society, which didn't do much for me but educate me a little on how to take good photographs and use Shutterfly for memory making.  I should have gone to the meeting last night.  I'm becoming consumed in my own selfishness.

So this is what I'm going to do. I need to renew priorities.  Here is how.  I am going to take Elder Nelson's advice and decide every day that I'm going to invest in the Lord first.

1.  Every morning when I wake up I'm going to fall onto my knees in prayer and ask the Lord to help me to do His will that day.

2. I'm going to make my bed and think to myself "I'm not getting back in bed today."

3. I'm going to eat a good breakfast and get dressed.

4. I'm going to study a step or a scripture.

5. During the daily chores I will play a conference talk in the background for me to listen to.  If I don't listen intently to the whole thing, I will play it again until I get it.

I did this last year pretty well and got to feeling so much better!  When I start watching out for myself and doing only what I want to do I get really grumpy and I lose myself in media addictions and lose my worth and purpose.  I have GOT to start to really serve my family in the way I should.  I need to put them first always.  I need to put the Lord even before them.  Only then will I start to feel better.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Answers to Prayer

I'm going to begin Step 3 this week.  Before I do, I wanted to put some thoughts out there.

The other day my son was asking me for a glass of milk and I was stubbornly trying to get him to ask the correct question.  At first he of course says something like, "Mom. I don't have any milk!" Of course I'm not going to respond by giving him milk when it's not even a question.  Then he changed to "Can I have some milk?"  I responded with, "yes," but didn't do anything because he hadn't asked me to do anything specifically.  In a way I felt I was being callous because I knew what he was asking me to do but something kept me from doing it.  I had to prompt him in the end to say "Will you get me a glass of milk?" or even better, "Please, will you pour me the milk?"

It's just words, really.  The concept is the same, are the words that important?  After this happened I sat pondering about whether or not I was just being insanely stubborn or if there was a real principle to be taught by being so picky about simple words.

Then I felt the spirit teaching me about how God parents us.

Sometimes when we pray to him, it's not just what we are asking for but how we ask Him for it.  He knows what the concept is.  He understands what we want and need.  But He isn't going to just give us what we want when we throw a fit and say "I don't have this!  Why don't I have this?  Give it to me now!!!" He wouldn't respond to that any better then I do when my son acts that way.

If we just say "Please can I have it?" It's a little better, but still sometimes we might not get the answer to the prayer yet.  It's better manners to say please, but God wants us to figure things out and do our best before He will step in for us.  It reminds me of the Brother of Jared figuring out a way to make light in his barges.  He doesn't simply tell the Lord.  "We have no light.  Make it light in there please."  He goes and figures out a way.  He puts the effort in to hunt down the white stones and then humbly asks the Lord if he could touch the rocks for Him to make the light.

Being respectful is important.  Being rude is never a good idea for anyone.  But being specific about what we want from the Lord and thinking things through first help us to grow and that's what we are here for.  "Will you please pour me the milk?"

It also cheers my heart when my son remembers to say Thank You and I think that's why the Lord really loves it when we show gratitude.  It is in those little seemingly insignificant things like an expression of gratitude or a respectful request that warms the heart and makes me want to just give my children a squeeze.  Heavenly Father isn't that different.

The General Relief Society Conference was this past Saturday.  There was an underlying theme of covenant keeping throughout each talk, and I felt impressed about how to teach my children about the baptismal covenant.  The biggest thing that struck me during the conference, however, was the parallel that Linda S. Reeves made about the Provo Tabernacle.  This tabernacle was burned recently, and the results were devastating to Provo residents because the tabernacle was an old monument of history and was a cherished landmark.  After the fire, however, it was announced that the building would be converted into a beautiful temple!  Reeves talked about how sometimes the Lord allows the consuming painful flames to consume us, just as he allowed this tabernacle to be completely gutted by the flames.  It is hard and it can feel terrible, but it is not for nothing.  Someday after we are tried and tested and given hardships as much as we can possibly bear, we can become more then we imagined before.  Our purpose goes beyond the ordinary.  I was uplifted by the light at the end of the tunnel presented by this parellel.

But even better was that following her talk, the prophet spoke, and reminded us that when we are feeling utterly abandoned and swallowed up in darkness that all we need to do is pray.  He reminded us that the Lord indeed is aware of us at all times and He can give us the strength to endure the hardships we face, and He sends us tender mercies every day to help us get through.  All we need to do is pray, and look for the work of His hands in our lives.

I am so happy and excited for this weekend.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Deliverance in His Word

"They were in captivityand again the Lord did deliver them out of bondage by the power of his Word" Alma 5:5

I must commit to studying the Scriptures or listening or reading conference talks every single day because by the power of His word, I will be freed.

The healing power of Christ can heal me emotionally and spiritually if I turn to my savior for his living guidance and strength.  He has a perfect love for me that no person on earth can offer.  It is my need,  not just my want,  to be redeemed,  liberated,  and transformed by the power of Christ in my life.  It is essential for happiness.

There are so many things in life beyond my control.  But He is in control.  He cannot change human choice,  and so wickedness and sin exist and hurt and suffering occur.  He doesn't stop that,  but He will ease the burden so it is not impossible to bear.  He can take in all suffering-He has taken all the suffering of the World upon His shoulders. So that we can be uplifted and strengthened in this world of sadness.  There can be peace inside the storms and afflictions of the World.

Faith is that candle that makes the darkness flee and brings hope and peace.  Christ did this for me. It is already done.  He is waiting for us to just turn and let Him take away our burdens.  All we must do is let Him.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Step 2: Hope

Come to believe that the power of God can restore you to complete spiritual health.

Step 2 Reading

Here I was struck by the line to replace trust in ourselves and our addictions with faith in the love and power of Jesus Christ.  Because I have been trusting in myself too much.  But I am nothing without Christ and I cannot go through this life successfully alone.  To gain the happiness I long for, I must rely on my Savior for help and guidance.

I love this quote from David A Bednar:
"We should not underestimate or overlook the power of the Lord's tender mercies.  The simpleness, the sweetness, and the constancy of the tender mercies of the Lord will do much to fortify and protect us in the troubled times in which we do now and will yet live..."

It is true that even in times of darkness I have been able to recognize the Lord's hand in my life to make things more bearable for me.  He doesn't often take away suffering, but He makes it bearable.  For example, when my family got really sick I kept waiting to catch the germ too but it didn't come for over a week.  Then, when I finally did get sick it was remarkably when my mother was in town and able to help care for my family while I got the rest that I needed while I was so sick.  That was the Lord's tender mercy for me.  He made it bearable and took care of the things I could not control.

If I look for it every day, I will be able to find something to be grateful for.  It does mention in the Action Steps to "Take a few minutes every day to seek what the Lord desires to communicate to you." Often I find that He communicates His divine love through these simple tender mercies.

In the Study and Understanding section, at the very beginning it quotes a scripture from Mosiah about believing in God's existence and His greatness.  This struck me more then it has in the past because as I read it, I thought to myself that if I truly believe in God and His greatness, I can truly believe in His ability to help me and I can truly find the hope I need to go forward.  Because there is hope!  I can beat this with His help, because with the Lord I can do all things.

I also really like the definition of grace as the "divine means of help or strength" given through the "bounteous mercy and love of Jesus Christ."  The greatest gift of God is grace.

Honesty Continued

"Some may regard the quality of character known as honesty to be a most ordinary subject.  But I believe it to be the very essence of the gospel. Without honesty, our lives... will degenerate into ugliness and chaos" (Gordon B. Hinckley,  "We Believe in Being Honest," Ensign,  Oct. 1990, 2.)

I lied to myself a lot about my addiction.  I would tell myself it wasn't that big a deal, I told bishops I was over it,  I told myself it would even help my sexual response in my marriage.  This is a lie I got from reading worldly advice, which often gets things backwards.  I was told that female masturbation was a healthy thing to enhance sexuality and understand your own body better.

The exact opposite is true- as I tried to improve my response in this practice it only made it harder for my body to respond in the right way at the right times, and made me prone to turn to self gratification more instead!  How frustrating!

But dwelling on the behavior only makes more behavior.  So let's focus on the doctrine.

Let's be honest.  I am not over it.  It might be less often,  but it still has happened. Hopefully never again, but it's still a big deal.  It's ruining my life because it's created a wedge in my marriage.  That reminds me of the story President Monson once told about the tree where someone stuck a piece of wood in it and the tree grew around it until there was no way to get the wedge out and it had major damages.  I found it here! And I guess the story goes back a long way, because I found that it was first told in a 1966 Conference Report by Spencer W. Kimball!  I love it when I have something come to mind that seems so timeless because it testifies to me the truthfulness of the concept.  But I never thought about his story in this way before,  but it's true.  Addictive behaviors do just that, drive a wedge. They must be removed or it someday can seem impossible to change, and can have devastating consequences.

As I humble myself and be honest,  it softens me enough to receive the help I need to receive. There is hope for anyone softened to repentance.

I believe I am now ready for step 2.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Being Imperfect

I didn't go to the meeting last night because I had to let my husband go by himself since we didn't have a babysitter again, and I went alone last time.  I miss it.

Support group meetings are like a breath of fresh air once a week.  Church attendance is important too, yes, but there is something extra special about attending a meeting where everyone takes off their masks and lets everyone else see the imperfections and pains and struggles, and still feel loved.  Church should be more like this.  Someday I hope the program merges into the church's regular programed system and helps people to open up and realize everybody is struggling.

There's a woman who attends my group who expressed feeling completely and utterly alone when she attends church because as she looks around it feels like she is the only one that isn't put together.  This is the terrible lie I feel everyone at church sometimes thinks they must live up to.  Especially the women (in my opinion) although the men have their masks too.  Women seem to have more to hide.  I mean, we are of course the ones expected to cover up with makeup and panty hose and modern-day corsets to hide our physical nonconformities...and then emotionally and spiritually it's even worse, because of this.  Men have the freedom to allow physical imperfection and seem to have more lee-way in their social psyche when it comes to any kind of expectation.  (Of course, they go completely the opposite direction and are expected to have the emotional capacities of snails, but that rant is for another post).

Women expect perfection in ways that are completely and utterly impossible.  But what is important to note is that most women expect this of themselves more then others, and because they expect it of themselves they feel like everyone else is  expecting it.  When, in truth, everyone else is just as worried for themselves.   No one really pays attention to judge how perfect other people are, if only to compare someone's greatest talent to one's own weaknesses, degrading oneself all over again.  I rarely could even imagine seeing someone say "Oh look, she's not a good mom because her daughter didn't get her hair in a neat ponytail for church today."

All that?  At the Addiction Recovery Support Group Meetings? Gone.

Instead, we are sitting there with the combined understanding that we all are imperfect, we all make mistakes, we all need our Savior, and that this is ok!

On top of this, we discuss our struggles and our faith, and a beautiful spirit is always there in each meeting that testifies the truth of that sentence above.

So if you are struggling with anything, be it an addiction, or just a weakness, or pain from someone else's wrongs.  Come to a meeting.  You are welcome here.

Go to the Meeting Finder to find a meeting near your area.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Female Addiction Tendencies

It was brought to my attention last night that female addicts are more common then we realize and many women wouldn't even recognize their own addiction because it doesn't manifest itself in the same way a man's addiction manifests itself.  Women are by nature more emotionally stimulated, thus addictions are more emotionally geared.  A woman's sexual addiction does not manifest itself often by outward sins, such as masturbation or the common definition of pornography.  Women become addicted to fantasies of another nature.

The problem with this is, a woman can obtain a high (create the same addictive brain chemistry) from an emotional connection.  Thus, it could be from a seemingly harmless relationship online with someone anonymous, or a secret crush on a celebrity or even a member of her community.  A woman could envy another married couple because the husband (to her) seems to have great characteristics that she feels her own husband lacks.  This seeking of love and fulfillment from other sources then her husband can become addictive because if she finds it, she gains a high off this other source and therefore does not seek the closeness from her husband anymore.

I know I have been guilty of this in my past.  It is difficult because being married to an addict also means my husband cannot emotionally connect to me on the level I long for.  I have tried.  I have tried really hard.  But there always seems to be a barrier between us as he just won't or can't open up.  And the most painful thing about it is that I can see his effort!  I can see that he's trying so hard to give me what I long for, but he still isn't succeeding.  Just talking to me seems to take so much effort.  I can see him writhing inside because it is so uncomfortable for him to try to talk to me - even to have a simple conversation.  That's what hurts me the most.

And this is one of the reasons I have become addicted to media, to internet relationships in my past which I have since eliminated, to movie or book fantasies where I rewind and play a scene over and over because of some emotional connection being portrayed on the screen that I long to have.  It is never something pornographic, but it triggers that emotional high and so I seek it again and again.  Of course, this is not related necessarily to my self-gratification addiction, but if I get to a place where I am vulnerable maybe that's when I have failed with that addition to, on those rare occasions since my marriage began.

What is interesting to me is that ever since I have decided to begin working the steps toward this addiction in particular, I have been finding others that can relate and share with me their own experience.  The first week I attended the support group meeting after I began this endeavor, a woman sat next to me for the first time in the meeting and introduced her sharing with telling us she is a recovering addict.  Then the next week a woman I've known for a while in the group shared how she had discovered within herself that she had other addictions.  We had a conversation later that prompted this post.

I recall reading the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer and being completely encompassed by that world.  I enjoyed reading it, even though I felt some of the writing wasn't very good.  It was the idea, the romantic notion of being with someone who really showed his love.  I didn't just read it because it was a good story, I fed on it with a hunger that could not be satisfied, and when I put the books down I was still caught up in that dreamworld.  I read it and then reread it because I didn't want it to end.  I became addicted to the fantasy land, and it disconnected me from my family and my kids and my husband.  I felt completely unhappy in my reality because the world I lived in did not hold the fantasies I craved, and my depression grew.  And my blame grew - everything was my husband's fault.

Later, the series was banned from Deseret Book and I read that they discontinued selling it because they felt it was "emotional porn".  At the time I was affronted.  I snorted and thought they were being snobbish and I rationalized my own fantasy addiction.  It eventually wore off for that particular story, but my addiction continued in the form of writing poetry and posting it and dwelling on the other people's writings on that website.  That finally came to a head with a relationship that became too emotionally charged and I had to take a step back and began visiting with the bishop.  By that point I didn't think love existed in my marriage at all.  My husband was clueless to all this because he lived in his own contented world with no progress and everything is rosy.  He ignored me even when I was blunt.  He just shrugged it off and forgot I even ever said a word.

I would become so emotionally involved in television shows the drama would make me crazy.  I would react openly when the plot would take a turn I didn't like and my husband would look at me like I was crazy, because I was!  The story was my life!

Ok...this post is turning into more history and I'm losing focus.  My point is, the addiction my husband has is not the only source of our troubles.  Focusing on the here and now has helped me a lot but I am still prone to this addiction of escaping into that fantasy world of movies or television shows.  I have to be careful.

I think some people (online men) even sort of prey upon women like this because we are very vulnerable and unhappy and seeking intimacy where we should not be seeking it.  I'd never thought about all this as addiction, but now that I have it makes more sense then before.  So I will also be working the steps for this as well as the self-gratification thing.

Monday, September 9, 2013


It seems strange but interesting that just when I'm going through the process of being called as a facilitator for the support group for women with addicted loved ones, I realize I need to work the steps for my own addiction to self gratification.  I started to wonder if I needed to attend the meetings for female addicts.  Maybe I will sometime, but for now I know I'm where I'm supposed to be and I am still being spiritually led to where I need to be.

Even though I am still only working on step one with this particular problem, I am feeling very close to the Lord and very guided.  It's wonderful how much the spirit helps us once we are set apart for a specific calling.  When I was set apart to facilitate, I felt the same precious spirit that I feel in the meetings and I knew I was doing what I was supposed to be doing and the Lord would help me be there for these wonderful women.

I can also testify that step one is a big step, even though it seems small.  It appears to be a baby step in the right direction - just to realize your position, your helplessness and dependence on the Savior.  But it's big.  Because simply doing that makes a big difference.  I felt it in the past when I took this step in other ways, but I am feeling it work it's miracles now as I do it for this particular problem.

I know the Lord is there and cares about us.  He cares about you.  No matter what problems, habits, sins, or addictions we have, He cares and wants us to be free.  We are important to Him, vastly important!  Turning to Him is all we need to do in order to gain the freedom to escape from the tangled web we might find ourselves in.

For me, it was simply this that has already made positive results in my marriage.  I have begun to feel!  It's real and I am beginning to treasure my experiences.  I realize now that I always used to feel rather dirty sexually.  I felt uncomfortable opening myself up to that mind-frame at all because it seemed to be all interconnected with negativity.  People talked about how this part of married life was so precious to them and I couldn't understand how they felt.  I wanted to feel that way but didn't know where to begin.  I thought maybe we just needed practice, but the day never seemed to come when I really felt good about it.  There were times when the experience was positive, but I still couldn't let go.  I see now that I couldn't let go because I needed to give those things away.  My Savior has always been there to take away the burden and now I've handed it to Him.  What a relief!

And I'm only beginning.  Step 1 is Honesty.  Admit that I, of myself, am powerless to overcome my addictions and that my life has become unmanageable.  Check. :)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Step 1: Honesty


Admit that you, of yourself, are powerless to overcome your addictions and that your life has become unmanageable.

Step 1 Reading

Our Heavenly Father and our Savior can and will heal our broken hearts but we have to give him ALL of the PIECES. <3

This time when reading through step one, I felt like I was reading it for the first time.  Actually reading it and applying it to my addiction, I felt like every single word was for me.  I've read it before...more then once.  It's so interesting how just simply reaching a time when I was able to REALLY be honest with myself, I am listening.

I found it interesting how it even says that rarely people caught in addictive behaviors admit to being addicted.  I knew this already, but I hadn't applied it to myself because I was doing just that!  I was denying the seriousness of what was going on, minimizing it and lying to myself.  I even would blame my unhappiness on outside things, like my family members or my situation.  I often said "It's not that bad!" all the time.  But I have come to that point where I can see that it has been destroying my life and damaged my relationships.  Now that I can acknowledge it, I can truly turn to the Lord.

 I realize now that back when I was a youth at Youth Conference (read this story here) I was taking Step 1 when I prayed to the Lord.  I was admitting my dependence upon the Lord, and in turn He took away my burden.  I know it can happen again and happen for anyone because the Lord can help, and will.

Action Steps

Again here I am taken back by the words that so fully apply to me when I was closed off to them before.  "Like a degenerative disease, it eats at your ability to function normally."  Truly, it has done this to me.  But the truth is this: all you need is the desire and that's where we can begin.  Even if it is small...and if it's not hardly there at all, you can pray for the Lord to give you the desire.  Think about priorities and goals.  What do I want in my life?  How is the addiction preventing this?  Am I willing to do what it takes to have what I want in life?

I also realize how much I actually was being prideful.  I felt I could do it on my own and told myself no one else needed to know.  I kept telling myself I didn't act out in the addictive behavior enough for it to be that big of a problem, so it must not be an addiction.  I told myself I had it under control now so I didn't need to confess anything and I didn't need any help.  These are distortions that have allowed my addiction to survive.  Deep inside, I know and have always known it's something that is nagging at my conscience because it needs to be taken care of and put into the past so it will never happen again.

This stubborn pride is the same for anyone when making any unrighteous choices that are not aligned with God's will.

I love this quote by Boyd K. Packer from a Conference Report in 1986, "The study of the doctrine of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior.  Preoccupation with unworthy behavior can lead to unworthy behavior.  That is why we stress so forcefully the study of the doctrines of the gospel."


The Study and Understanding Portion of the steps is very important to participate in, because this is where the true change happens internally and the step is not fully taken until this happens inside.