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.