The Repentance Process?
By PaulThomas
9/8/2011 9:08:46 PM
Hi all, I have been addicted to pornography and masturbation for several years, I also had a few instances of inappropriate touching. I'm planning on going on a mission at the end of the school year and I want to turn in my papers in about 3 months. I don't want this continue or lead to bigger problems on my mission, when I go to the temple, when I get married, have kids and so on. I have fasted and prayed diligently, I have confessed my sins to the Lord and I have not had the urge to do either for about a month. I honestly feel good about it, except I know I need to talk to my bishop about it before I'll feel totally clean and worthy. I know that that talking to the bishop will not "cure" my addiction. I'm sure it's something that I'll have to be careful to avoid for the rest of my life.

Right now I am at college and am attending a student ward about 1800 miles from home. I actually feel more comfortable confessing my sins to my student ward bishop than my home bishop because my home bishop is a close family friend and it would be more awkward. I've never confessed anything to the bishop before and I have a few questions about the process:

1) How private is the process? Who else will know besides my bishop and myself?
2) What exactly will the bishop do? ie, not taking the sacrament etc.
3) How long will the process take if I am truly repentant and have forsaken my sins?

This really is a great website, I wish I'd found it sooner.
Also as a side note, in the past, when I've been on a sort of "spiritual high," where I feel like I could never do anything wrong, that is when Satan hits me the hardest. I fully expect it to be a challenge to resist the temptation to relapse soon after I talk to my bishop and maybe even when I'm on my mission. Does anybody have any suggestions to maintaing "sobriety."

Thanks in advance for any and all responses.


The recovery process    
"The process with you Bishop will be completely confidential. No one else needs to know. However, You may need to seek help beyond your Bishop. There is a good chance that your Bishop may not have a good understanding of sexual addiction and what is involved in the recovery process. It may be important to talk to someone that really understands sexual addiction. All a Bishop can really do is turn you to the Savior and His atoning powers and point you to someone who understands the recovery process. It isn't a quick fix. The Bishop can't remove the obsessive thinking and he can't remove the shame and anxiety that are the real roots of the problem. The Bishop can't remove the lies that hold an addict in bondage.
It truly is a recovery process; a spiritual journey that takes time. It is important to understand that true "heart deep" repentance is not just abstaining from the behavior. You cannot cure yourself of sexual addiction simply by eliminating the acting out behaviors. Abstinence will not resolve the real problem - obsessive thinking.
Recovery takes place day at a time. It requires surrendering you life and your will the the care of the Savior. It requires daily turning to the Savior's care instead of trying to avoid or escape painful emotions that are going on inside of you. When you turn to sources other than the Savior your will is running rampant, looking for ways to avoid emotional pain.
Repentance isn't just about changing behavior. It is a spiritual awakening. It is a healing of your relationship with God. It allowing his grace to work in you one day at a time."
posted at 22:09:24 on September 8, 2011 by Anonymous
Mission and stuff    
"Welcome to the site... Bishops react differently sometimes so it's hard to predict what they will say, but this is such a common problem that he will not be surprised and hopefully be a good help to you. I encourage you to talk with him and be as honest as you can be.

As far as the mission goes, my experience was that there was little temptation on my mission because I followed the rules, stayed with my companion, and kept my eyes where they should be. It was a wonderful time for me and I thought my issues with porn and MB were long behind me but after coming home, the same temptations that plagued me before were back and I have struggled off and on for years. I wish you the best of luck and hope you have a great experience talking with your bishop and maintain sobriety. -Cactus"
posted at 22:10:33 on September 8, 2011 by cactus
It varies    
"To answer #1, you bishop will keep your conversation confidential. The answers to the second are variable. The church handbook suggests that the bishop may recommend more or less time at the temple, more or less church activity, depending on the individual. Repentance is very personal. It is in proportion to your sin. It's important to know that repenting is the most important step. If you don't completely repent, you are more likely to slip. I am meeting with my bishop twice a month for 6 months. You should ask your bishop to work with you long term on your repentance. I confessed my problem to two prior bishops who never followed up. I wasn't accountable and I didn't stay sober.

I encourage you to seek help, and not just from your bishop. There are many like you who became addicted at a young age and are still getting sober 20 years later. Do it now and you will be far happier. Get yourself to a 12 step meeting and get a sponsor so you will be accountable to someone who wants to support you in remaining porn-free."
posted at 17:02:33 on September 16, 2011 by Fwd2Joy
Great comments...    
You have arrived at step one by admitting you have a problem. Follow all of the good advice here on the board. Start attending ARP or PASG meetings where you can work the steps. Your Bishop will respond with compassion. He is not someone you need to fear as part of the process. He, above anyone else can help you get the support you need. You will feel better knowing that you are clean than any type of restrictions he may impose in the short term.
Repentance is something that we in recovery do daily. Find joy in the process rather the outcome. Recovery is a journey that will get you closer to your Heavenly Father than possibly you ever have been. Work the steps = Win the war!
I suffered silently with an addiction to p0rn and MB for over 35 years. I am nearly two years in recovery and have found greater joy in life than I dreamed possible. Stay in touch."
posted at 17:49:38 on September 16, 2011 by chefdalet
I know it seems really really scary to attend ARP or PSAG meeting but its important    
"Hey Paul --

Welcome to the site. Good luck.. Admitting what you have is a good first step. The secret to long term recovery is to get the secret out and to figure out the underlying issues that you are medicating. You will find that your bishop will be VERY supportive -- not condemning at all. He will be VERY good at keeping things confidential. trust me, there are lots of people using him for help. The church is hospital.

I think you have to take this seriously.. Porn is sex addiction. It's bad, corrosive, more addictive than heroin.

I read a statisic that sex addiction has a 90% recovery rate if the person works a 12 step program as well as individual counseling. I would bet that bishop confession only has a 5% long term recovery rate.. Sure you might get decent sobriety but unless you deal with the underlying resentments and fears, recovery is REALLY hard.

It can be really scary going to a 12 step program as a youth. However, I have seen several youth in the church programs as well as civilian SAA programs. They are always heralded since they are activily fighting this before they have a family, wife, etc.

I promise that recovery is worth it.. life will brighter, you will have more faith, more power in your priesthood, more empathy, more everything.

Good luck."
posted at 20:47:56 on September 17, 2011 by Hurtallover
Please Paul!    
"Do not let porn steal your promise. Listen to the wisdom of those who have walked your path. We need you. We need you with your promise! Fight this battle!"
posted at 00:43:52 on September 18, 2011 by Hero

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"Don’t live your life in despair, feeling sorry for yourself because of the mistakes you have made. Let the sunshine in by doing the right things—now. It may be difficult to begin, but pick up the scriptures and immerse yourself in them. Look for favorite passages. Lean on the Master’s teachings, on His servants’ testimonies. Refresh your parched soul with the word of God. The scriptures will give you comfort and the strength to overcome. "

— Richard G. Scott

General Conference May 1990