I need help before this gets too out of hand.
By snowowl
8/27/2015 11:21:20 AM
I've been trying to deal with this on my own for about 3 months now, and I'm finding it's not getting any better. To put it straight: I'm a girl, and I have a masturbation addiction. It just started recently after a bad breakup with a guy that was a terrible influence; I went and talked to my bishop at the beginning of the month to confess things that happened with said boyfriend and mentioned my problem (which hadn't happened in a while) and he told me that I'd been forgiven and was in the clear. I walked out that day feeling glorious, and happy, and confident--- and a couple days following that, a friend said something to me that was very discouraging and made me doubt my ability to maintain my purity and I relapsed into the same bad habits. I will admit that I'm not currently in the best place spiritually right now- I need to be better about TRULY reading and engaging with my scriptures when I read, but my problem is that I can't seem to find it within myself to stop. The first time I relapsed I felt a huge weight on my chest, like it hindered my ability to breathe. It truly felt like a chain tying me to my addiction. That night I was so regretful, and I got on my knees and sobbed and begged for forgiveness. The times that it happened after that, I still felt that weight and a sense of self loathing that came with it, but the more it's happened the lighter and lighter the weight feels.. and that worries me because I get the feeling that means I'm drawing farther and farther from the spirit to the point where I don't feel as bad for the things I've done. I know that it's a terrible sin and I hate the person I am when I do it- I feel unhappy, and unsatisfied, and my own family has started to notice I'm not acting myself. But the more it happens I start to care even less- it's like another part of me takes over and silences any part of me that tries to talk me out of it. I'm so tired of this and I want my self control back :(

I don't even know if anyone will see this, or know what to say, cause even I don't know what I should do... maybe I just needed to get this off my chest somewhere so I can think it through more clearly. Idk. But if anyone has had this same issue and has words of encouragement and (especially) advice.. I'm in need of it right now.

For the record, I've considered going back to my bishop because he told me not to feel embarrassed or ashamed if I needed more help to overcome this, but I'm leaving for school in two weeks so I felt like there wasn't much of a point in going back to see him with such little time left.


Reach out for help    
"You did totally the right thing in speaking with your bishop, and in reaching out on here. Satan operates through secrecy and isolation. Just by reaching out, you are fighting him! That's awesome and takes strength!
Please, please go to, and read 'Being lds and overcoming pornograpy addiction'. I believe a lot of his words are applicable to your situation too. He makes the distinction between addiction and transgression - how with a transgression, genuine repentance and then obedience is enough. But with addiction, more tools are needed. It really helped me understand it better. He doesn't make excuses, just explains what tools are needed to fight addiction successfully.
Talk to your bishop. It sounds like he's compassionate and understanding, but he may need educating on addiction.
Don't let anyone make you doubt your purity or your ability to keep it. I know it's possible to be fully clean and pure again. That's what the Atonement is for! I have been there. I was fortunate that it didn't develop into an addiction, but I am aware that it could have, and if it had I would have needed more tools than I had at my disposal at the time - specifically the ARP program and others to talk to who understood.
Please, for your own sake, talk to your bishop sooner rather than later. He can help you. Find ARP support. Read And keep talking here if that helps.
You'll be in my prayers."
posted at 14:47:55 on August 27, 2015 by Anonymous
Thank You :)    
"thank you so much for your words of kindness! I will definitely check out that website; at this point I'm desperate for any sort of help. I don't know if I'll get the chance to see my bishop before I leave, but if not perhaps I can meet with my future bishop or try to figure this out on my own. I'm hoping that because this habit is starting early on I'll be able to kick it. Again, thank you so much for responding. It helps to be heard and to know that there's people who understand this, it means so much!!!"
posted at 09:18:59 on August 28, 2015 by snowowl
"Snow Owl,
First of all...welcome. Second, you are normal. This is normal for people your age (or any age honestly). I do not say that to justify it and encourage it because we both know that it isn't what you want in your life, but I say it just in case you are feeling like you are the only one carrying this burden.

You'll have a Bishop where ever you go to school and working with college students means that this will be a common concern. Don't hesitate talking to him. Now I 110% agree with Anon that doesn't mean your Bishop will understand addiction. His primary job is as a spiritual counselor, not an addiction sponsor or therapist. Find an ARP meeting and get help. Definitely start reading an ARP manual. Don't go this path alone. By definition addiction is something we can't overcome alone.

Our addictions are useful because they numb us from pain and let us live in a fantasy world for a little while. It does work. It wouldn't be tempting if it didn't work. But it is a temporary state and it leaves us worse than before. Yes, it can leave us more and more numb and apathetic but that isn't what we want either. You deserve to live a rich and full life full of sincere emotion from a life fully based in reality. You can have that! You can have it and more. Don't doubt yourself or the Savior's ability to heal you. He loves you EXACTLY as you are RIGHT NOW....not as you should be. And His healing is absolute. He makes us better for the pain we've been through not scarred. Trust me, when I say someday all this will become a jewel in your crown because He can make any bad thing become beautiful. He is kind of magical that way.

Hugs and again, welcome."
posted at 14:17:08 on August 29, 2015 by Maddy
Don't go it alone    
"Pull people in who you trust and who love you no matter what. Definitely go to the Addiction Recovery Program. It is humbling but strengthening. It will help you to shine a light on your problems. Look into mindfulness, which helps you to still your mind and hear the prompting sod the Spirit. You can change and recover."
posted at 23:09:22 on August 30, 2015 by fighter
Amazing Girl!    
"SnowOwl, you are a hero! What incredible courage you have to face this head on. You went to your bishop, which is super scary, but you did it! Yea YOU!!! Go to your bishop at school. This will be no surprise, shock, disappointment, or anything like that to him. He will be so in awe of your courage and just love you. Do not doubt yourself no matter what anyone else says! The Lord loves you and is so proud of you! Keep going. You can do this! Here is a site of a woman that has been there too. She is wonderful and would be a great resource for you."
posted at 18:48:21 on September 1, 2015 by 1stepatatime
Me too    
"I have been working on this issue and have been clean since summer. I still struggle to avoid it very frequently."
posted at 13:05:48 on December 16, 2015 by breannad
My Thoughts    
"I'll try to keep my statements of opinion brief. If you have questions, ask. I have more to say.
1. Maddy is right. God loves you exactly as you are right now. He accepts you.
2. Maddy is right. You are normal, and you are a good person.
3. You should not expect to feel a huge, crushing, immobilizing weight of guilt, self-loathing, and self-hate every time you masturbate. That is not what God feels towards you. I believe the fact that these feelings are getting lighter is actually an answer to your prayers. God is slowly teaching you to love yourself the way he loves you--infinitely, without regard to your choices.
4. Your choices may not be the best, healthiest, happiest choices for you. They may not serve you, but they don't change--they cannot change--God's love for you as your eternal Father in Heaven.
5. This is not the "terrible sin" you think it is. In my opinion, it's not worse than overeating, taking pills you shouldn't, watching too much TV, sleeping in, failing to do your homework, or any number of stupid, unhelpful, unhealthy things we do when were stressed out that don't serve us.
6. You don't do this because of your boyfrend's bad example, or because of your breakup with your boyfriend, or because of something your friend said to you, or because of your parents, or because of anything else. You do this because you choose to use it as an escape from difficult, negative thoughts and emotions--and that's OK, but there might be healthier ways to deal with or learn to control those thoughts and emotions.
7. You are not addicted. You have not lost your agency. You have chosen an unhealthy habit. That doesn't make you bad or evil. It makes you normal. We all have unhealthy habits. Still, studying addiction and attending meetings can help.
8. Reading scriptures and saying prayers are good, healthy, and helpful habits to feed your ailing spirit, but they will NOT solve your masturbation habit, so don't expect them to.
9. Your choice to masturbate doesn't actually start with a bad thought or with a thought about masturbation. It starts before that, with a thought of "I'm Hungry." "I'm Bored." "I'm Lonely." "I'm Angry." "I'm Stressed." or "I'm Tired." There may be other negative emotions you're feeling as well, but these six are nicely abbreviated to H BLAST. You have trained your brain that when you feel these emotions, instead of dealing with these emotions and solving them (with healthy food, human interaction, meditation, a walk, exercise, or sleep, etc.), you are going to masturbate, because it feels good and releases chemicals that temporarily relieve the negative emotion. Until the negative emotion comes back again.
10. If you truly want to change your habit, you need to make and follow a plan for what you are going to do when these emotions and thoughts arise...and, more importantly, you need a plan for PREVENTING these emotions and thoughts as much as possible. For example, regularly eating healthy foods, getting appropriate sleep and exercise, daily taking walks and meditating, etc. As you create these healthy habits, you will avoid the emotions that lead to thinking about masturbation. You will be retraining your mind.
11. Changing your habits to avoid H BLAST is not easy, especially for busy college students obsessed with what others think about them who want to stay up all night partying, gossiping, eating junk food, and avoiding homework. These kinds of activities lead directly to H BLAST, and H BLAST leads directly to your self-medication of masturbation.

So, how serious are you about changing your lifestyle to avoid H BLAST? If you are not serious about it (sometimes I'm not), then you will constantly be tempted. If you are serious about it, you can have a wonderful, healthy life, free of certain negative emotions, and free of masturbation.

Either way, an important first step is to recognize, as Maddy said, God loves you. You are OK. Whatever you choose, he will still love you."
posted at 18:58:07 on December 20, 2015 by beclean
Still cheering for you.    
Its been a while since you posted this plea for help (I just now saw it), but I'm just dropping this comment here because I feel so much sympathy for you.
I have been in a similar situation, worked with a couple bishops. It was hard to transition bishops because it was hard enough admitting it to one already.
Keep working at it. I have been clean for quite some time now but I still feel that temptation come to me frequently. It is worth the battle. Some days will be harder than others. There is always, always, always hope in Jesus Christ. Always. I promise you that.

I hope things are well. WE ALL LOVE YOU."
posted at 20:28:48 on January 23, 2016 by Anonymous
Great response    
"Be clean; you are one of the few out there who really get it. I hope you are a bishop"
posted at 07:31:39 on January 25, 2016 by Anonymous

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"My spiritual prescription includes six choices which I shall list alphabetically, A through F:
  • Choose to Be Alive
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  • Choose to Change
  • Choose to Be Different
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    — Russell M. Nelson

    General Conference, October 1988