Thursday, September 5, 2013

How "Jane" Began

Hi.  Call me Jane.  It is not my real name,  keeping with the anonymity to go along with the 12-step program and protect myself.  This is my sorry. 

When I was a child, very young, probably around two years old, I showed interest in my own body and my mother wasn't sure how to guide me.  I remember her saying to stop doing it and warning me that it was not a good habit,  but it didn't sink in.   I only became further isolated in my addiction as I hid it from my mother.  People never talked about what I was doing at church so I didn't even know what it was called.  I didn't grasp how bad it was.  I felt dirty and guilty whenever I did this, but I never knew why and I didn't know how to stop.  This continued all through my childhood and into high school.

There was a point in Youth Conference when I was given time on my own and told to pray about something I really wanted to change, a habit I wanted to break.  Immediately this bad habit came to mind because I knew it was something that made me feel bad and I knew if anyone else knew, it would be horrible.  I hadn't wanted to go to my bishop about it because I felt so ashamed.  I had no idea how to approach the subject because no one ever tales about it.  I was supposed to be the good little Mormon girl.  So during this time at conference,  I prayed and deeply repented.  I felt the presence of the spirit so strongly there as I knelt on my own in the middle of the forest.  The leaders had given me a letter and told me to open it only after I was done praying.  I know today they still have no idea how much I got out of that experience they offered to me.  I felt the forgiveness of my God and I made a pact with Him that I would not ever touch myself inappropriately again and that I would keep myself clean through His help.  The letter held beautiful letters of love from both of my parents that made me cry and I treasure them even today.

I am most ashamed to say what happened next.  I can testify that the Lord hears our prayers and answers them.  I can testify that He answered my prayer in a way I never expected.  He took it all away.  He took away the feelings of pleasure and false fulfillment I got from acting out.  When I broke my promise, as I'm sure He knew I would, he held my body aloft and I could not reach any kind of pleasure as I had before.  I knew it was because He was helping me, but instead of taking advantage of His help and using this means to stop, I kept doing it.  I was frustrated that I could no longer gain the release I used to have.  Now, after knowing about the 12-step program, I can understand that because of the nature of my addiction, I was using this habit to cope with things and I didn't replace it with a better more healthy behavior, so I continued.  And then the feelings came back.  I remember the first time I felt it come back I felt absolutely awful because I felt like the Lord was saying, "Ok, you have broken your promise and if you won't stop with my help then you'll have to do it without me."  Of course, the Lord wouldn't have said this to me in those words.  I was just not willing to really let go of the addiction as I should have been. He couldn't force my obedience.  It was a hard lesson for me.

For my seminary graduation interview, my bishop brought up the word "masturbation" and I didn't even know what it was.  But when I asked and listened to his explanation, I knew I was guilty of it.  He informed me that this wouldn't keep me from graduating seminary, of course, but would keep me from the temple.  I had lied and told him that it used to be a problem but it wasn't anymore.  I think this is probably a common out for many addicts.  "I used to do that, but it's alright now.  I have it under control."

Life went on.  I continued to try and fail in my attempts to stop.  I became sexually involved with a boyfriend outside of marriage when I was in college and didn't understand why it didn't feel as good.  After learning about addiction, I understand why now and I will cover that in a future post.  Those were the darkest days of my life.

After repenting the best I could, acting out in self gratification became less common and I was married in the temple.  But the story does not end there.  I continued to struggle to feel within my marriage the way I wanted to feel.  (Further explanation as to why can be found at my next post.)  I was introduced to LDS Family Services' Addiction Recovery Support Group through another need, to support am addicted loved one.   I worked the steps for other weaknesses, as a support person, not even entertaining the idea that i myself was an addict.  I attended the support group meetings as a support person and not the addict.

However after working the steps for over a year I finally can see myself clearly as an addict and am about to take the steps specifically geared to my own addiction to self gratification.  This is the beginning for me.


  1. Thank you for your words. Every time I find other women who share this struggle, it makes me feel less alone. I have only been in recovery 6 months, but I started blogging about it too, which has helped so much. Thank you for your testimony and your story!

    1. Thank you for commenting. It does help to know we are not alone. -Jane

    2. By the way, I tried commenting with an Open ID on your blog post and it wouldn't work. I wanted to let you know I went over and read your posts. From them I can tell you are a very beautiful person and I'm glad you found me. I love your description on the difference between recovery and sobriety. Great explanation. :) -Jane


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