The slippery slope
By Takahath
8/13/2007 12:21:04 AM
hello everyome. I am fairly new to all this and I have spent the last few days searching and reading over some of the things you guys have wrote. There is a ton of great advice and things to read out there and I thank you all for them. I guess I want to add some things to this too. Right now I am 18 years old and for about 5 years I have been addicted to pornography and masturbation. Just in the recent year have I decided to really fight against it. I am pretty handy with a computer so I have been able to find ways to hide my ways. I found a 12 step manual and have just started to read it myself with great results. Unfortunatly it seems that my abstinace only seems to last for a week at very best and I am brough down with massive guilt and depression. It seems like the higher I climb, the further I fall when I fail... do you understand me? I dont want it to be this way. I always commit to being absolutely clean at one point, but once temptation is in full force, its like I lose all logic and reason and I do what feels best. I really really really want to serve a mission but it seems like my time is running out. I would fell like and ultimate failure if I could not serve. I have looked forwards to it all my life. I dont know what you guys can do... but I guess I just need a friend. I need somwhere to write my feelings and thoughts.


yep, understand    
"If there is anything you should know, it is that yes, we understand. I do and I think that every guy on this site does as well. One very important thing to realize is that while we struggle with addiction and fall (often painfully as you described) we are not alone in our struggles. I have found a lot of help at a 12-step recovery meeting. If they have them in your area and you can attend one I think that it will be very helpful; it is for me.
It is great that you found a 12-step manual. Reading and actively applying the principles helps me. Writing thoughts and impressions in the booklet and answering those questions by writing it down has also helped me. Key word is to write.
I have a long way to go on recovery myself, but here are a couple of things that help me with regard to the computer usage (I also use computers a lot):
I know that if I use the internet while alone, even for completely innocent tasks, I will be sorely tempted.
I know a couple of 'gateway sites', sites that are easily justifiable to visit. They don't have graphic pictures at all and are amusing or seemingly benign, but I know if I visit them then I will experience some sort of temptation (sometimes big, sometimes small) to visit worse and worse sites. If I don't visit the first site, I sure as heck won't go to anything worse.
It has helped me to realize how good I feel when I am sober. For example, I don't mind if someone comes and uses my computer to surf the internet or fiddle around on it. If I know it is clean, I don't worry. It feels SO good to be open and friendly instead of always on guard and trying to remember if you remembered to cover every single one of your tracks. That stresses you out! Why do I want to always worry about covering my sins when I could be at peace? Basically, I envision how nice it is to be at peace with myself and others and that provides a little bit of incentive.
I hope that helps a little. To reiterate, you are not alone, and there IS hope. Take a deep breather, think and write out your thoughts, and enjoy the ride of learning that there really IS a Savior and he is really there for you."
posted at 15:01:20 on August 13, 2007 by roast_rump
One day at a time    
"Slow progress is better than no progress. I don’t know anyone who just decided to overcome addiction and never had a setback. If this were easy to overcome none of us would be here talking to each other. Many times I have felt like the relapse poster child. Even though I have been in recovery for years, I am going through a tough time right now. I’m just taking it a day at a time. Making sure I do what I need to do to continue progressing in my recovery. Most important of which is asking for God’s help as many times as I need to during the current day and turning my life and will over to Him.

Most successful recovery graphs look like a rising saw-toothed line. Some people get into recovery and just take off with no setbacks, no problems, and very little struggle. The problem is that if they ever do have a relapse they may not get back up. They’ll decide that that plan doesn’t work. They look at that one relapse as total failure rather than a temporary setback.

Don’t listen to Satan! He is the one that tells you that you are a loser, a failure, your hopeless when you fall. The Lord is trying to tell you that even though he isn’t happy with your choices he still loves, and is right there by your side ready to help you back up.

“…For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.”
Isaiah 9:17

I referenced one time in Isaiah, but there are 5 verses where it talks about how the Lord is upset with the actions of His people and then ends the verse with those exact words. All 5 are repeated in 2 Nephi. 10 times! The Savior wants us to know that even when Satan tells us we are beyond hope, He is saying, “Here, let me help you out of that hopeless situation.” That’s what He does! That’s why he came! That’s what the atonement was designed for!

We can’t justify ourselves when it comes to relapses. Then we would be stuck in addiction the rest of our lives. At the same time we can’t join Satan’s bandwagon and kill ourselves after we fall. No matter how stupid it was, or how bad it was. No amount of self abuse is going to make it go away. We cannot change the past and we can’t control the future. We can only work on today, this hour, this moment.

As far as those times when lust takes over and the brain takes a holiday, I’ve only found one way out. The trick is doing it. I have to ask for Him to remove those desires from me. It works. He has taken those thoughts and desires from my heart many times; when I have been looking at porn for hours, when I have been struggling with lustful thoughts or temptations all day. When I ask Him to He takes them. I may have to ask Him again later in the day, but it is better than fighting them every minute. Usually I don’t though, I just thank Him at the end of the day for the relief I have had. Worthiness hasn’t had anything to do with it; it’s been humility, honesty and sincerity. His “grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before” Him - Ether 12:27

I know the 12 Steps work. I know the atonement works. For me the 12 Steps are just the best way I know to apply the atonement. Keep plugging at it. We’re praying for you."
posted at 10:42:19 on August 15, 2007 by justjohn
How do I change my heart permanently?    
"I hope it's ok that I pose a question myself. But will first start by sharing my history in hopes that you can learn from it. I can blame certain people for helping me discover my sexual addictive tendencies when I was 15, but now looking back, I sometimes think it was only a matter of time. Between 15 and 18 I was successful to keeping my addiction to really soft stuff, but trust me it was an everyday battle just to not look at the fashion magazines my sister's subscribed to. The mission gave me the strength to give it all up, and other than glances at check out stands I was completely free of acting on my desire for porn from 18 to 25. Then just like a retired elder in the mission field warned in his testimony as he and his wife were finishing their mission - when you get home, Satan will be waiting for you in his 18-wheeler, and he will want you more than ever. Satan will use all the temptations that trapped you before and will come at you with new force. When I heard his testimony it both scared me, and made me think "not me". Well I was wrong. 4-years after my mission I had 2 or 3 moments where I was seized and went looking for images on the internet that would feed the desire that never really left me. It made me so sick to give in after so much time, that I felt I would rather die than every look again. This time I was able to suppress my desire so deep that if I kissed a girl - I felt nothing. I even had one girl ask me if I was gay. I then lasted from 25 to 29 without acting on my tendency. When I was 28 I got married. The details of what happened are actually extremely interesting, but let it suffice that having an intimate marriage relationship then having that intimate relationship pulled away when my wife became pregnant with our first baby left a void and I became more susceptible than ever to falling again. Sure enough, I was seized. What is scary is that I was seized with more force than ever - just as the senior missionary had warned. It's as if Satan waited until I was married and had a child on the way. Over the following 1.5 years I had these seizures on average every 2.5 months. Between each seizure I thought - I can never do this again!! and would repent the best I knew how. Finally I gave up and talked with the Bishop. He assured me that my situation was not that serious. I knew it could be worse, but also knew I was on the verge of screwing up the "perfect life" that I had for good. Meeting with the bishop helped, but then I moved. After I moved I found out that although I had erased the history on my browsers that Google had been keeping track of my history and storing it on my google account!!! I thought - I wonder if my infamous history has been recorded. When I went in to the history to look - not only was it recorded, but it was recorded with thumbnail images. Well one little image led to another until I experienced my worst seizure attack of my life at age 31 - 16 years after my first encounter with my in-born addiction. It's now been 2 months since then, and I have been tempted to an extent I have never known before. I have never been so scared in my life. I am so close to throwing away all that is dear to me, and I dread the day that my wife asks me - have you ever looked at pornography? What do I say? I know it's coming. Pornography is so proliferate in the church and being talked about more and more. Women are being told that the best of members have an addiction, and to look for all the signs of an addiction which are impossible to hide. It's not "if" she will ask but "when". At that moment I have decided to lie. If I told my wife the truth, it would be BY FAR the single hardest trial she has ever gone through and would destroy our marriage! And trust me she has never forgotten even the smallest of things in our marriage.

My advice is stop now, it will only get harder and more intense. There is only one end to continued pornography addiction and that is utter destruction. The second part of my advice is - understand you have hormones and they will NEVER go away. I have resigned like Paul that this thorn will never be pulled out. I have resigned that I will be miserable trying to resist this temptation which deep inside I still want to give into for the next 40 to 50 years. I have tried repenting so many times, and I have asked God to take away the absolute pain and horror of this addiction so many times that I have begun to lose faith. This is why I have finally accepted the fact that God doesn't intend for it to go away. Instead of letting this immense weakness "break me", He intends for it to "make me". So I must take up this cross and suffer. I must always watch and always pray. To be safe I say the same to you - you must be vigilant to the end of your life and never let your guard down. Go the temple weekly, become a vail worker, pray 30 minutes a day and do so religiously. Get SO close to God that there is not a chance Satan can touch you, and do so all the days of your life. As for me I know way too much truth, and have felt the spirit hundreds of times with incredible intensity - Christ is my only hope! I am just having the most terrible time trying to change my heart permanently. I am to the point that I will do anything but that which might result in my wife finding out. I pray that God will forgive me at the moment that I lie to her. I tell myself that if I never return to my "vomit", then the sin is truly forgotten and it is as if it never happened. Then and only then will it not be a lie.

Every point of unhappiness leads back to pornography. I can map it all back to porn. I have such a disgust for porn that I could cry a hundred years!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am really struggling to not be self-loathing. That is not the answer. It has messed me up to such a degree that it has literally taken years off of my life. I have back tracked and now must take many more years to get back on track. Although I have had no substance abuse addictions, it's hard for me to imagine that any could be worse. I have often thought that if I ever amass a significant fortune that I will donate all my funds to fighting companies that prey on the addictive tendencies of mankind. I pray for the day that this country will wake up and more vehemently fight against this abuse of "free speech" and the "free market".

I'm open to any advice from anybody that has any"
posted at 08:19:07 on August 19, 2007 by Anonymous
"Dar Anonymous, Be careful about premeditating a lie- it can plant a corrupt seed in your heart. If we have pride in our hearts at all then we refuse to let God in to an area of our lives. A couple of paragraphs from the 12-step addiction recovery manual help me to understand honesty and its relationship with pride a lot.
"Pride and honesty cannot coexist. Pride is an illusion and is an essential element of all addiction. Pride distorts the truth about things as they are, as they have been, and as they will be. It is a major obstacle to your recovery."
Then it quotes a few sections of President Ezra Taft Benson's talk on section of that talk I think is extremely relevant to the question in your post about how to change one's heart permanently.
President Benson states: " Our will in competition to God's will allows desires, appetites, and passions to go unbridled."
What that means to me is that when we have any pride at all our we are allowing our undesirable desires to go unbridled. Since pride and honesty cannot coexist, I gather that my honesty leads to my humility which leads me to accepting Christ which ultimately leads to a changed heart and clean conscience.
Something else I think it is important to realize is that when we put our lives in God's hands, he can make a whole lot more of it than we can. It is so important that we don't hold anything back. It is a hard thing to do.
My prayers are with you."
posted at 10:52:42 on August 19, 2007 by roast_rump
Out of the Darkness    
"Anonymous, I learned a very valuable lesson from a friend I met in a regular 12 step meeting. He has several addictions and nearly lost his life. He told me once “You are only a sick as the secrets you keep!” Satan works in darkness. He wants you to believe that you are somehow sparing your wife. That is a lie. The truth, as hard as it can be, is that it is easier to live with the truth than it is to live with years of deception. The longer you go the harder it will be and the less likely for you to have the outcome you really want. Statistics are not in your favor if you lie. True recover comes with the truth. Deceptions keep the wound open. That is why the first principle of the 12 step program is Honesty. The Savior will help. While he doesn’t shelter us from the consequences of our behavior He does provided strength and HOPE (the second principle of the 12 step program).

There are some great resources that can help with discloser. Discussing Pornography Problems With a Spouse by Rory C. Reid and Dan Gray is a great book because it gives a list of options to help both the addict and the spouse. Dan Gray is one of the founders of the Star program in Salt Lake and has worked with sexual addiction for years.

There is great safety in the light. My husband and I have experienced so much of both. From a wife’s perspective the burden is not as heavy when my husband comes to me first. It is hell when I have to confront him for both of us. When you bring the secret out you will then be on your way to true recovery."
posted at 10:42:23 on August 21, 2007 by Danielle o
Love and Support    
"Oh anonymous, my heart breaks for you. Heavenly Father is not forsaking you, it’s at those times when you are trying that Satan is working even harder on you. My husband tried to keep his addiction a secret and he would be trying and praying and it was when he started to feel strong that Satan would blindside him and this addiction would take over so surely that he felt trapped. This is so much bigger than you can handle on your own. You have to go to your Bishop and to your wife and go to counseling or the 12 step meetings. It wasn’t until my husband went to the Bishop and started the 12 step meetings that I truly started to see a change in him. This is still new for us, I only found out two months ago, and I know he doesn’t tell me everything, but he says that I am his greatest support and that he couldn’t do it without me. When he isn’t strong I am. When I’m not strong he is. That is what our eternal companionship it about. We are there for each other through thick or thin. Your wife deserves to know your struggles so she can be prepared for the fight. She is a part of this battle whether you want to admit it or not and you aren’t giving her any tools to do anything about it. If she were struggling with something like cancer wouldn’t you want to know about it so you could be there for her to let her know that you love her and will always be there for her. This is a cancer that has infected your soul. She will be hurt, but after she ingests it she will want to be there to help and support you, that’s what spouses do. Please seek support and help. This may be a life-long battle for you, but with love and support and Heavenly Father by your side I truly believe you will be able to keep this under control."
posted at 14:16:56 on August 21, 2007 by dja
Me too.    
"Takahath, I have the same problem you do. I am 15. But I know what you are going through. Unfortunately, once we have gotten to the point of masturbation it is hard to leave behind. I have tried many of times to just quit. That for sure doesn't work. I have gone up to a week without it and then I am tempted once again. I found that if you can pray very often (at least in the morning and at night) and continually pray for help in resisting temptation it can help. I would be interested in chatting with you on MSN if you have it. I wish I had more answers but the truth is I haven't found the whole answer my self.

posted at 15:13:35 on August 25, 2007 by hope4change
" is my email. I have MSN add me if you want. I would be happy to chat. Anyone else can add me too if they want."
posted at 18:21:21 on August 25, 2007 by Takahath
Always Honesty    
"I am new here too, I have read a lot of the posts and can relate to many of the things that are said. My story is very similar to the things that are mentioned earlier in this thread. I started when I was young but, always kept it hidden and lied to myself that it wasn't that bad because I didn't look at "real porn" just the department store adds from the Sunday Paper. Things got better when I went to BYU between the amazing spirit and the great friends I made in the dorms I was almost entirely free of my previous addictions. I went on a mission and continued to improve and finally talked to my mission president about the previous transgressions that had not been fullly resolved through the proper authority. I thought I was done but satan was waiting for me when I got home. He didn't jump in all at once but started with a flaxen cord. I bounced around wards as I finished BYU talking with Bishops occasionally when things had gotten bad and then I thought that I was better and done forever to that I could confess and forsake. I didn't realize like I do now that confessing is the first step after having a desire. And that once we confess we aren't done with the repentence process. It is a long process not an event. After my marriage things were good for a while but with time and without help or support from my devoted, trusting, and unknowing wife I fell back into old habits and with the great improvements in modern technology. I found easy access to the terrible things that Satan has planted so abundantly today. Eventually, my wife did find the history of a past search and I tried to lie about it that it was an accident and only happened once. She believed me and didn't persue it. Several months passed and I had relapsed and she found traces again. She was crushed, angry, and the trust that I had taken for granted was lost. I had lost the most important thing in my life because of my addiction to pornography. It has been about a year now and while I am still tempted knowing that my wife is still beside me is such a great strength. My greatest regret is that I was not humble enough to trust her to help in my repentence process earlier. I understand that each situation is different but planning to lie to my wife was what I did after each episode. and it took her finding out to help me make real progress on the road to repentence.
Sorry for the rambling, I just didn't know where to start except at the begining.
I fully agree that Pride is the greatest enemy to Honesty and Honesty is the first step to real recovery and the peace that righteous living brings."
posted at 21:18:56 on September 2, 2007 by joe
"She believed me and didn't persue it."    
"Your wife probably did not believe you, but didn't want to fight with you about it. If she is like most wives of addicts, she probably couldn't deal with the hurt she was already feeling from knowing you were looking at pornography and she probably just didn't want to deal with the fact that you were lying to her. Wives know when their husbands lie. We might pretend like we don't, but we do. Sometimes it's just easier to pretend, because the reality is just too painful to live with."
posted at 18:45:07 on September 3, 2007 by Anonymous

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"The Savior teaches that we will have tribulation in the world, but we should "be of good cheer" because He has "overcome the world". His Atonement reaches and is powerful enough not only to pay the price for sin but also to heal every mortal affliction… He knows of our anguish, and He is there for us. Like the good Samaritan in His parable, when He finds us wounded at the wayside, He binds up our wounds and cares for us. Brothers and sisters, the healing power of His Atonement is for you, for us, for all. "

— Dallin H. Oaks

General Conference October 2006