By blindman
10/7/2009 7:35:06 PM
I recently went to an ARP meeting. I haven't been in a couple years. It was a lot different than what it used to be. I was wondering if all meetings are like this one or if it was just a bad night? People would introduce themselves "my name is so-and-so, and I'm addicted to pornography and masturbation."

First of all, before they never had to mention the addiction, I thought attendance at the meeting was evidence enough that someone was an addict looking for help. The other thing that I noticed is that when they said "I'm addicted to pornography and masturbation" it was very quiet, almost a whisper. To me it just seemed like why do we have to say it? Obviously, a person coming into the meeting is either an addict or the spouse of an addict.

It just seemed like it set a tone in the meeting that everyone was completely ashamed of themselves and this shame lingered and permeated the entire meeting. I am not trying to say that an addict shouldn't feel guilty for the things they have done which are wrong, I just thought that these meetings were supposed to be a strength to people.

Maybe it was just me and I was feeling the shame for my own actions, I didn't share in the meeting, and when it was over I was glad it was over. There was a really good message shared and we talked about one of the steps and I could feel the Spirit at times, but everytime someone introduced themselves with the quietly mumbled, "I'm addicted to pornography and masturbation" I just felt a little sick inside.

I guess what I am getting at is why is it necessary to have people disclose that?


Honesty... Step 1    
"Well... This used to make me feel very uncomfortable too... Nobody in the room has to say anything if they don't want to. I realized one day just how isolated my problem makes me feel. I knew I was going to kill my spirit again in addiction, and I was trapped in a room full of other people. Finally one day I became so sick that I just threw up everything on the table (( I admitted my addiction )). It wasn't until then when I realized that everybody else had the same sad thing I had. ((uncomfortable feeling again)) But when I was humble enough, this helped me understand how everybody was trying to overcome this same problem. It was an act of honesty about our situation, and it is probably one of the most difficult things a person can do.

The act of admitting my addiction has helped me complete Step 1. ((Admit that you, of yourself, are powerless to overcome your addictions and that your life has become unmanageable.)) Step 1 basically removes the lying secrecy that we hold on to when we are in this addiction. It helps us see that our efforts are not enough ((our belief systems about ourselves)). Staying isolated always led me to failure. Instead of relaying on secrecy and self-control, I needed to admit the need for help from others. This also helped me see that I was not a complete evil horrible bad kid. I don't think anybody in that room would have noticed how horrible this 17-year-old kid ((myself at the time)) felt about his problem. Even though this is a bad problem the others in the room helped me understand that I was not an evil person, but instead we all had a similar illness that we all wanted to get rid of.

My counselor helped me understand something like this too. My counselor used a Teddy Bear as an example. Assuming this Teddy Bear was sad and hurt by some problem / addiction. He asked me to get mad at the Teddy Bear. ((assuming this Teddy Bear also just admitted this sad problem)) I couldn't. I felt sad, pity, and mercy. Now I know this is just a silly example. But how do we think God must feel when we desperately admit our sad problem.

Although I am 63 days clear, I will always admit my masturbation and pornography problem every time I go to a meeting. Yes, I hate saying it. Yes I wish I never had this problem. Yes I wish I were perfect. But after being compelled to be humble, after letting go of my pride, this Step 1 can serve as a tool to help yourself, and so many other people that are also scared or worried to say anything."
posted at 08:09:31 on October 8, 2009 by Gondor44646
hi my 2 cents    
"nobody is forced or encouraged to share their addiction. In fact usually in an arp group, it is uncommon for someone to say they have a porn and mast. problem. We usually use the words acting out. In a PASG group however it is quite different than an arp group, a pasg group is addiction specific and many are there to come to grips something that they have never admitted to, not even to themselves. I love the acronym deniel (Don't Even Notice I Am Lying)
Many of our pasg group has been in an arp group and did not recover. Because of the secrecy and shame of sexual addiction, the pasg group was formed, where everyone there is addicted to the same thing and there is no shame , judging, or any other negative thing. People can be truely honest there and finally unload a lifetime of baggage. I am such a strong proponant of the pasg groups. We use the same steps and use the same guide but the groups are NOT the same, in my experience. I am only aware of how things are ran here in Vegas where the program is one of the strongest out there. In our Pasg group, there is only hope and love in our meeting, many of our members bear testimony of how the Lord has taken the worst thing in their lives and has turned it into good. How this addiction turns one toward the Savior, that might not have ever happened without this addiction, I am one of those with this testimony, I am not proud of what I am or what I have done or the hurt I caused my family, but after the long road of recovery is traveled on long enough, the pain, shame, and hurt is gone. I go each week and I share that I am a p and m addict, a recovering one. I am sharing to help others, and am there to be strengthened and helped by those attending. I have been going almost 5 years now from the inception of the PASG division of the ARP program. The Spirit is so strong at these meetings, I feel it a privilige to be in the room with such fine men, The Lord does leave the 90 and 9 and goes after the group of ones US. I was hooked when I felt the Lords Spirit so strong among a group of sex addicts. I realized that these are good people who are doing bad things, but are of infinite worth. I learned from attending that I was not the low life I thought myself to be, that I was not alone, or that I was uniquely broken , that could not be fixed. I learn every week how to retain a remission of my sins, and I learn this from bill and joe and john. I learn from the general authoritys and the scriptures yes , but I gain the most from my brothers who have fallen in the same pit as I have and are climbing out, taking me with them. All groups are not created equal, if you are not in a good one, find another. I go to my group and am in Awe of these good men, I mourn for those who are having trouble and rejoice with those who are overcoming by the power of the Atonement. I have spent my whole life hiding my addiction, but to be able to go to group and share that I am an addict is so liberating. Someday I hope to be cured , where I no longer desire it, but in the mean time one can be stengthened to be able to bear it and not give in. I am a missionary for the program and love it with all my heart and soul. The program has saved my marriage and my very soul. I feel bad when someone has a bad experience with an arp group or a pasg group. All programs are not created equal either. It has many growing pains, the church is slow to change, the program is shifting from the direction of lds family services and is gravitating to being under the direction of the priesthood, but the change is slow. It still is the ONLY one the church endorses and supports and is ran under the authority of the Priesthood. I hope you give it another chance.

all the best to you
posted at 00:40:01 on October 10, 2009 by harveyf
another way to introduce yourself    
"What I've heard in some of the meetings that I've attended was "my name is ___ I am a song of God who has an addiction to lust, pornography, and masturbation" I understand being uncomfortable with labeling yourself as an addict. This way you first label yourself as who you really are, a Son of God that has a problem that can be fixed with the atonement of Christ.

But being honest with yourself is very important. And really this addiction is sick and loathsome, it should make us uncomfortable to know that anybody has this problem."
posted at 11:53:39 on October 10, 2009 by adrastos
It helped Free me    
"I know that title might sound weird -- but for me to admit in front of others, heck in front of anyone, that I was an addict of porn/masturbation truly "freed" me and helped me to proceed with my recovery. I was no longer hiding, no longer in secret - it was now out and I was open to others. After the first few months I changed it to: "...I am a recovering addict of porn/masturbation" - not it's more "...I am a grateful recovering addict of porn and masturbation" -- I will always be addicted to these lustful urges and feelings, it's just my actions as to how I respond that change. I like Adrastos comments above and will probably now change my intro to: "....I am a son of God and grateful that through the atonement of Jesus Christ I am recovering from an addiction to porn/masturbation" - or something like that!

It's not necessary to say anything -- it's all a personal choice - some it helps, some it don't -- fine what truly works for you and go for it.

Power in Purity!"
posted at 15:26:20 on October 12, 2009 by whitewolf

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"One of the great myths in life is when men think they are invincible. Too many think that they are men of steel, strong enough to withstand any temptation."

— James E. Faust

General Conference, April 2002