Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Step One: Honesty

I have written a lot over the past couple weeks about honesty because it was something that I avoided for a long time and was the first step that I personally had to take to start my recovery journey.  For me my addiction started because I was afraid to be rejected and not loved, even though I had absolutely no reason to believe or even feel this way, it was my own insecurities that feed my addiction for pornography.  It made things easier, I didn't have to worry about being rejected, it wan an easier way to deal with my problems.  It helped me feel that I didn't have to face the problems in my life. If I only knew then what I know today.  It was an easy way to deal with the fear, the stress and depression. But in reality, those are the emotions that pornography brought into my life. Eventually this cycle just keeps going and gets to the point where I lost the ability to resist my urges and I allowed my thoughts to go unbridled - I had lost control of my life.

When I would get caught, I would never admit to my best friend that I was addicted. Now that I think of it, I never thought of it as an addiction.  I would giver her different excuses after excuses and reassure it that it wasn't as bad as it look and that it wouldn't happen again.  This is one of the reason I am not with her any more is because of so many years of our marriage I wasn't honest with her and when I was because I felt guilty, I would minimize the truths I did share.   I don't believe I did this to deceive her, but I felt that if I was honest I would lose my marriage and I loved my wife and kids so much that I would keep lying.

At some point in your life, a time will come when you will have to face the truth and the consequences of your addiction.  When that moment came to me, at first I was scared for my life, but I knew that something needed to change.  This happened when I was locked up in jail for almost a month.  This time for me was such an eye-opening experience for me.  I was also the hardest and most depressing four weeks of my life.   But I quickly noticed that I had all day and night to myself, LDS Addiction & Recovery Program, highlighting important parts, writing down thoughts and when it came to the writing assignments, I took them very seriously and my answers were very personal and thoughtout.  I also kept a detailed journal.  The journal was a very important part of the start of my recovery.  It allowed me to reflect on my thoughts and what my goals were, it also helped me realize that I did have a addiction, and a pretty serious one at that.  Remember, your journal is for you and you alone. Do not share it or even think of sharing it because that will limit you on how open and honest you will be.  One mistake I made was when I got out of jail, I gave my journal to my spouse and ... well it didn't go as I had planned.  I also had plenty of time to read the scriptures. While I was locked up, I read the entire Book of Mormon (minus most of 2nd Nephi - well you understand why), I completed the LDS APR manual 3 times, and wrote enough journal entries that I ran out of paper and ended up writing on cardboard or papers that would come with my meals. Oh I also read several Louis L'Amour books that my parents sent me.  Maybe if there is some interest I can write more about my change of heart that I experienced while in jail.  So I could spend my time pacing back and fourth cussing at the walls or I can use this time given to me to get the shit in my head straight.  I spent the next four weeks focusing on myself. During those VERY long days, I would spend my time going through the

Another benefit I had while being there was that I was able to attend LDS ARP group meetings every Thursday evening at 7PM.  Not only was I able to get out of my cell for an hour but HOLY COW, the spirit in those meetings was so powerful that no one ever left with a dry eye.  I got so much strength from them and it fueled me until my Sunday School meetings three days later.  The APR meetings were intense.  Those attending them where there for all kinds of addiction related issues. From drugs, to alcohol, to sexual crimes but we all had one thing in common and that was we knew we needed God's help to be freed from our addictions and we wanted out of our cells.  We would go around the room and read a few paragraphs, then the missionaries assigned to our jail were always really good about getting conversations going.  Each one would talk about their thoughts and feelings of where their lives were at and what the 12 steps meant for them or could do for them, it melted the hardest hearts and I could see in each an every person there their desire to change and become a better son of God.

I urge you to go to your local ARP meeting.  Use this Meeting Finder Tool to find the closest meeting to you.  They will help you in ways that I can't describe here on this blog.  They will help you understand that you are helpless fighting your addictions alone and they will show you step by step exactly what you need to do to become free.

Remember that pride and honesty cannot coexist. Pride is an illusion and is an essential element of all addictions.  Pride distorts the truth  about things as they are, as they have been, and as they will be. It is a major obstacle to our recovery.

If you are not ready to take on this new journey, then perhaps you can start by acknowledging your unwillingness and consider the cost of your addiction.  List what is most important to you in your life.  Look at your family and your social relationships, your relationship with God, your spiritual strength, your ability to help and bless others, your heath. Then look for contradictions between what you believe in and hope for and your behavior.  What do you risk by continuing in your addiction.

If a bishop or someone I trusted had sat me down and made me do this one thing 10 years ago, I would be in a lot better situation that I am now. I promise you that.

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