Thursday, December 29, 2011


It's been a while since my last post, but that is definitely not because there has been a lack of things for me to write about. I have had some really amazing experiences these last few months and I have really learned a lot. I've thought a lot about Elder Holland's General Conference address from April 2010, titled, "Place No More for the Enemy of My Soul". Go pray to be open to the spirit, and then go read it. It is really an amazing talk.

What it has made me think a lot about is the difference between love and lust, and how physical affection could be based on love rather than lust. Making a distinction between the two has been something that I have had trouble wrapping my head around. Well, I have experienced a tender mercy from the Lord. He blessed my life with an amazing man who taught me many things. One of which is how physical affection can be motivated by love, and not by lust. I don't know that I have words to explain it, it was something that I had to experience to understand. There was one night in particular that I think really taught me this lesson. The affection we showed each other spoke of love, compassion, tenderness, and a level of caring that I've never known. I felt like we were both trying to say "I love you" through a kiss. It wasn't, "I want you" or "I need you", but something much more enduring (sorry for the sappy details).

It always hurts when relationships end, especially when you have fallen in love, and this one was no exception. I am always grateful for the relationships I have, but I am especially grateful for this one. I was taught a lot about love. I experienced love in a way I never imagined.

I recently learned that one effect that addictions have is that they will take away an addicts capacity to have meaningful relationships. One of the outcomes of the recovery process is that the capacity for meaningful relationships increases. I had no clue that my addiction limited my capacity for meaningful relationships until I truly turned to God and progressed in my recovery. As I continue to progress, I see that capacity continue to expand. I find that the closer I come to my Savior, the greater my capacity to love others becomes. For me, it started with a close friend who loved me despite my faults. It grew even more as I developed this relationship. And I know that as I work each day to become closer to my Savior, that it will continue to increase, and will make me more able to love and to accept the love of others.

Love is powerful. Each time I feel love from another person, it increases my ability to love. It helps me recognize, and reminds me of the love that my Savior has for me

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Empowered by the Atonement

So I went and talked to my bishop a while back. I may have procrastinated for a while, cause I wasn't looking forward to it. I don't know who would be. I went in, we chatted, it was good. Then we got down to business. I told him what had happened, and we just talked about it. I didn't have to give up my recommend, which made me SO happy, I can't even say. At one point he started talking about Christ's love for us. He talked about how Christ has more love for us than anyone on this earth can comprehend. His love is always there for us. It doesn't matter what we have done, we can't change that love for us. He loves us infinitely. When my bishop said this, I really felt the spirit. I knew that Christ loves me. I knew that He will always love me. If I don't feel it, it is because of something I have done, I have pulled away. So anyway, I loved it. I know that it is true. I know that Christ loves us unconditionally. It really doesn't matter what we have or haven't done. We can do things though that bring us in and out of favor with the Lord, but His love is always there. I love it. I love Him. I have gone to the temple frequently, and I absolutely love it. I am so glad that I am worthy to go.

So recently, I heard someone's story of their recovery from alcoholism. It was somewhat of a generic story, they hit rock bottom, and then had a moment of clarity where God basically told them they could change or die. They decided to change. Throughout the recovery process they continued to have these moments of God talking to them. Throughout the story, the word that just kept repeating in my mind was "empowering". When I think of the word empowering, I think about the Atonement. The Atonement was the reason that this person was able to change their life and to become free from their addiction. Those moments of clarity where they heard God speaking to them was the Atonement in action. It was God's encouragement, and gift of empowerment so that they could carry on, and continue to make these amazing changes in their life. What I realized was that the Atonement works in everyone's life. It really doesn't matter who you are, where you have been, what you have or haven't done, or what you believe. The fact of the matter is that the Atonement is still there, and it is still working. Just as this addicts life was completely turned around, just like I have been working to overcome my addiction, the Atonement is always there, empowering change. Even in the lives of those who are not addicted to something, the Atonement is still there, always working.

I am so grateful for the Atonement, but also, I am so grateful that I recognize the power in my life for what it is. It makes is so much more meaningful, and loving because I know that my Savior died for ME. He died so that I can change, and become better, and return to live with Him again. And I know that He did that for you too. I know I don't come close to fully understand the Atonement, but I think that everyone would benefit from learning more about how the Atonement blesses their lives each and every day.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Fight as if with the Strength of God

So I think I have had a lot of emotions lately. I had an experience a while back that I was going to write about. I’m still going to write about it, but more has happened since then, and it has helped me see the bigger picture. So I did something wrong a while ago. It wasn’t really related to pornography, but was still something I needed to repent of. This had happened before, and I felt bad that I once again needed to ask for forgiveness for this same thing. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the Lord always forgives me. He commands me to forgive someone who trespasses me 70 times 7 times. The reason He commands me to do that, is because He is trying to help me become like Him. He has infinite forgiveness for us. This doesn’t make it okay to go out and do anything we want just cause God will forgive us, but it does allow us to repent, and draw closer to the Savior when we happen to do something wrong. So I had been thinking about this, and had been grateful that I have a Savior who loves me, and who is always there for me, and will always forgive me when I sincerely ask. I just love the Atonement.

So then, one afternoon, I was a little bored and, well, I ended up having a slip-up. I think I was pretty shocked that it happen, and it definitely upset me. BIG TIME. I broke down like I don’t think I have ever broken down before after a slip-up. .I cried and cried and cried. I kept saying that it just had to be a dream, it couldn’t be real life, this couldn’t have just happened to me. I still do wish it was just a dream, but the further away from it that it gets, the less likely it is that it was a dream, and if it is a dream, this is one long dream. So anyway, This is the reality I now face. After I broke down, I finally regained my composure, and then I just felt numb. I couldn’t really feel anything, and I couldn’t really think about it. That night I kinda tried to pray, but it was like I had forgotten how to pray. I was so upset at myself. I am still kicking myself. I can’t believe it happened. But the next day, I was reading in my scriptures, and I read Alma 56:56 and it is talking about Helaman and his stripling warriors. It says that it was as if they “fought as if with the strength of God”. I love that. I realized that was my answer for now. That is what I need to work on. I need to be strengthened every day, so that I can fight as if I had the strength of God. I know that He is willing to strengthen me and to enable me with His power so that I can successfully fight Satan and his followers. I have seen it happen in my life plenty of times before. I just need to trust and rely on Him. Really trust Him, and really rely on Him.

I know that, once again, God will forgive me of my sins. I know I have asked for forgiveness before, and promised to never do this again, but He understands. He knows that I am trying, and that I was knocked over in a moment of weakness. Now I need to work on learning to fight as if with the strength of God. That will come as obey “every word of command with exactness” (Alma 57:12). Above all, I know that God loves me, and I know that He will strengthen me when I put my faith in Him.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Journey of Recovery

So I have been working on the Addiction Recovery Manual that is published by the LDS Church. In step 7, which is about humility, it talks about asking the Lord to remove from me, my shortcomings. As I started asking the Lord for His help in removing my shortcomings, I realized that in addition to needing to be strengthened by the Atonement, I also need to have my shortcomings removed. These may seem similar, but they are different. I can become really strong, but until my shortcoming is removed, I haven't really experienced a complete transformation.

That being said, there was a good week or so where I have been tested. It started off small, with just somethings that wouldn't get out of my head. Something like this has definitely lead to a slip up in the past, but I knew it wasn't going there this time. After I sang hymn after hymn in my head, it still wouldn't leave. It wasn't until I had the bright idea to pray that it went away. I prayed, and acknowledged the great strength that I have been blessed with through the Atonement and for all the help that God has given me to allow me to make it to where I am today. I once again asked for strength, to not let Satan have power over me, and to not allow this to be a set back for me. I was blessed immediately, and the song was gone. I am so grateful for how willing the Lord is to bless me when I ask Him, believing in Him, and believing that He can and will help me. I continued having small temptations for about a week, and then I was hit with a big one. It was by far the biggest one since my last slip up. I would definitely say it was a close call. It came on really fast, and before I knew it, I just had to stop everything I was doing, and basically convince myself to leave and do something else. It took just about all I had to be able to leave. I had plenty of justifications in my head as to why it would be okay to proceed down that road, but the thing that kept coming to my mind was that I knew I wasn't having virtuous thoughts. Somehow, that was enough to get me to leave.

I am so grateful that I was able to stop and re-evaluate the situation. A couple months ago, I don't think I would have been strong enough to stop. I have really been strengthened by the Atonement of my Savior. He has helped me so much, and I know He is giving me the experiences that I need in order to have my shortcomings removed. I am also so grateful that I was able to stop and change my course because, although I didn't think of this in the moment, I had plans to go to the temple the next day, and it was so good to be in the temple. It is seriously worth every effort you can make to get there. I know that serving in the temple blesses your life in so many ways, and is another way that the Savior can strengthen your soul.

One last thought for this post.. I was reading Elder Christofferson's talk from General Conference. I love it. He talks about how at the Judgement Day, we will not be judged based on a list of good and bad things we have done, but rather that we will be judged based on what we have become. I am so grateful for this. My "list" of bad things is long, but I am overcoming those things, and I am becoming better. I need to continue that for the rest of my life, but I am grateful that I have been forgiven, and that my Savior is helping me to reach my potential. I know that everyone truly has the potential to become like God. We can all do it. No matter what we have done, if we rely on the Savior, and strive every day to be just a little better than we were yesterday, we will be blessed. We might not always get better each day, we will sometimes have setbacks, but as long as we are striving, and relying on Christ, I KNOW that we can overcome ALL things.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Constant Rededication

I have been reflecting on some things, and I have some thoughts that I thought I would share. The first has to do with something that was always a discouragement to me while I was struggling. I would repeatedly have some sort of experience that made me vow my rededication. “That was the last time I am going to slip up. I am done with this forever.” I would say it to myself over and over. It got to the point where I almost stopped believing it, I almost stopped believing that I could be done with pornography forever. Then once again, something would happen, and I would rededicate myself to changing. “This time it’s different, I am really done forever. I have learned and grown, and now I know how to be done forever” is what I would tell myself. Then once again, I’d have a slip up. This was definitely a discouraging process. I really did feel like I had made progress, and that I was going to be different than I was before. I recently realized that throughout that process, I was becoming different. I needed to experience all those times of rededication and let down, because each time I learned something new, something that lead to the next rededication. Each let down really was for my benefit, because there was always another lesson that I still needed to learn. You’d think after so many years I would have learned all I could, but I guess not. I still had more to learn. I think I still have more to learn, but I am learning it in other ways, not through slip ups. I know I can never let down my guard, but I do feel like I have made a lot of progress, and things keep getting easier and easier. I never really thought I’d feel like this, but I am so glad I do. 

Another thing I’ve been thinking about is a church meeting I was in a while back while I was traveling. Someone told a story of a temple recommend interview he had given to a member of the Army was serving in Iraq. The soldier had his wallet stolen while he was over there, and thus didn’t have his temple recommend. He was home for just two days, but he made it a priority to get a new recommend. He just couldn’t go back to Iraq without his recommend. He had replaced his wallet, but he felt that something was missing without it. I totally understand that feeling, only my wallet was missing something because of my own actions, rather than the actions of someone else. But I know how that soldier felt, and I understand the urgency he felt to get it back, and also the peace he felt when he placed that recommend in his wallet where it belonged. During that meeting, I rededicated myself to always having a current temple recommend. I never want to be without it again in my life. Something is missing when it isn’t there, and I never want to experience that empty feeling again. It doesn’t just affect your wallet, it affects your whole life.

So here is my "public" rededication to never spend another day in my life without a current temple recommend. You should dedicate yourself to it too, or rededicate if you have already dedicated yourself to it. If you don’t currently qualify for a temple recommend, dedicate yourself becoming worthy and getting that recommend. It will bring you more joy than anything I know of. And it doesn’t matter how many times you have to rededicate yourself to the goal, as long as you keep trying to learn and grow, and keep rededicating yourself. The blessings will come on the Lord’s time table.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Temple Recommend

So I got my temple recommend back :) It was a happy day for sure. I love the temple, and I can't wait to go back. It has been quite a while. The day before I got my recommend back, there were a lot of different things going on such that the temple was really on my mind. I know I didn't have my recommend, but I could feel myself at the temple. I took that as a pretty good sign that I was worthy to go back. The next day, I went to talk to Bishop. We small talked for a bit, talked about my calling, summer plans, etc. Then we got down to business, and started talking about the real reason I was there. After a while he asked if I was going to go to the temple this summer. I responded that I sure planned on it if I had my recommend. He said that it is important to be worthy to enter the temple, and to have confidence before God, but also that going to the temple brings us more confidence, and gives us more strength to be worthy. So he encouraged me to attend, and gave me back my recommend. I was so glad to have it back, but I didn't feel any different, like I thought I would. Everyday while he had it, I would think about it, and how much I wanted it back. Now that I have it back, I am so grateful, but I don't feel any different. I think the reasoning has something to do with what I read in the Book of Mormon Institute manual this week. It says in the manual (which I know is obvious), that it isn't the Bishop who forgives us, God does that. The Bishop acts as a judge in Israel, and represents the Lord, but he does not have the power to forgive. When I went to see him, I had already been forgiven. That is why I could feel myself at the temple the day before. The Bishop just restored the privileges of some of the blessing of the gospel to me. But I tell you what, it feels great to be found worthy by a judge in Israel.

I really feel like I am in a good place right now. I know that I need to work hard to keep it up though. I know that the Atonement is the only way that I can do that. I need to be continually strengthened by it, and I need to use the blessing of personal revelation to know the things I need to do each and every day in order to overcome this completely. Also, as I have also been working though the Addiction Recovery Program from LDS Family Services, I am learning more and more about myself. Some of the things are not relevant since I am not currently participating in my addiction, but there are so many good things in there, and I am learning a lot. I need to continue working though it. I am working on a moral inventory of myself. It is painful at times to try to remember all of the awful things I have done in the past eight years or so, but I know that it will help me leave this in the past forever, and that I won't just relapse, or switch to another addiction.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Eternal Perspective

The lessons just never seem to end. I learned yet another important lesson this week. In fact I’ve learned many lessons, which is why I thought it was important to start a blog, so that I could have a place to record the things I learn, and by doing so, help others in their struggles. So this week, I lost sight of my long term goals. I convinced myself that allowing a little bad to happen was much better than having a lot of bad happen. What I should have done, is had more faith. I needed to have more faith that although the temptation wasn’t going away, that it would if I continued to faithfully endure. I convinced myself that I knew better than God knew. I thought that taking things into my own hands was the best way to overcome. I am thankful that I was able to keep it at just a little bad, but that still doesn’t make it right. With help from my Heavenly Father and from my Savior, I have learned how to be better at controlling my thoughts. This has saved me on numerous occasions. However, at times, I just get things stuck in my head, and they don’t seem to want to leave. I try whatever I can think of, and sometimes it will go away for a little while, but then it will come back later. This was the case this week. But I have learned a lot.

I have learned that I need to not only pray for the strength to make it through today, and for the knowledge of the things I need to do today to keep myself safe, I also need to start praying to know the things I need to work on and be aware of even before they happen. If I can anticipate things happening, then I can come up with a solution before they happen rather than leaving me guessing when a different temptation or situation arises. One solution I have come up with for when things get stuck in my head is to get them out. This week I got them out by looking things up. But in the future, I am going to get them out by telling my friend what is in my head. It is as if keeping the thoughts in my head just seems to make things worse. If I can just tell someone what is going on in my head, then I am hoping that will be enough to get them out. 

At the end of the day, I need to just keep my eternal focus. I need to remember what my potential is. I need to remember what it is that I can become. If I am going to become like God is, then what should my life look like while I am here on earth? Having that perspective changes a lot of things. The struggle is just keeping that perspective in mind when a trial or temptation comes. I try to see everything as a learning opportunity. If there happens to be something that goes wrong, I really try to analyze it and figure out what went wrong, how if perhaps could have been prevented, and how to prevent it from happening in the future. As long as I keep learning and improving myself, I am progressing, and that is what the Lord wants.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Worthy of My Potential

I recently had a friend come into town to stay with me and to visit. I knew that I wouldn't have to worry about slipping up or anything while she was here, because I would always be with her. Sure enough, everything was just fine, and we had a great time together. It sometimes is hard to keep up the same sincerity in prayer and scripture study when someone is visiting, because I felt like I just didn't have the time to study that I normally do. I read my scriptures everyday, but it wasn't the study that I had been having, or that I would have liked to have had. Same with my prayers. I still prayed every night (and I think I prayed each morning), but it wasn't with the same sincerity and meaning that it should have been. Anyway, I think I let down my guard while my friend was here. Once she left, I got down on my knees and prayed. I had a feeling that the next day was going to be difficult, and that Satan was going to try to bring me down. I prayed to know what I could do that night in order to be protected the rest of that night, and the following day. I prayed that I would know the things I needed to do the following day in order to keep myself protected, and for the Atonement to continue strengthening me to withstand the temptations of Satan. I prayed for that shelter in the barn again, because I was afraid I had grown a little weak.

So anyway, while I was praying, some things that have been occupying my mind lately, came back to me. I have been thinking a lot about potential. Elder Oaks gave an address at the last General Conference of the LDS church called Desire, which I have really been thinking about. In it he states, "When we have a vision of what we can become, our desire and our power to act increase enormously." That line has really stuck with me. What can I really become? What am I going to be like in the eternities? If I am going to become like God, am I acting appropriately? So this thought came to be that night, and I began to pray that I could live my life worthy of my potential. It was amazing what a difference that perspective made. Instead of being bogged down with worry about the next day, and what temptations might be thrown at me, I had a peace and calm assurance that I could become something great, and that the Lord was helping me on my way to become that. I knew the path still wasn't going to be easy, but I knew that with the Lord's help, I could do it. I had a vision of my potential, and through that I knew that I could become much greater than I am. My desire to act in righteousness increased, as well as my power to act in righteousness.

Sure enough, that day did bring temptations, but I was able to overcome them. Remembering my potential helped me to keep my desires in check. I know that my Savior is the ONLY one who understands my every feeling. Sometimes I want others to know how I am feeling so that they can comfort me, but I have learned that they will never completely understand. They may for a moment, but they have their own life, and their own feelings. The Savior is there for me, and because of the Atonement, He knows everything about me. He has literally experienced it all, so He knows EXACTLY the comfort that I need, and He knows how to give it to me, and for that, I am eternally grateful. I love my Savior.

Friday, April 22, 2011

There is Hope

So. I am an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and have been my entire life. My struggles with pornography began in 2003 out of a mix of boredom and curiosity. For years now, I have felt like one day I would share my experiences, and that from the things that I've learned, that I would be able to perhaps help just one other person in their struggles. My intent is not to talk about the details of anything, but just how the gospel of Jesus Christ has and is changing me, and helping me through this painful addiction. If you are a woman who is struggling, or know of a woman who is struggling with pornography, let me know. I know that it is difficult, and I know that having someone to talk to can make all the difference in the world. So this is my attempt to reach out to you. If you are a single woman, you are in good company cause so am I. I don't know what it is like to have this struggle in marriage, but if you are married, hopefully there will be something here that can help you too.

As for where I am currently, about two years ago I got myself to a very good place. I went about a year without any slip-ups or anything. I was happier than I've been in a long time. Then about a year ago, I began to slip back into things, although not to the extent that I had been involved previously. So for the past year I've felt like it has just been hanging around a little bit, and I'm ready to be done with it forever. It has been almost three weeks since my last slip-up, and I am working with my bishop to become worthy again to go to the temple. I love the temple with all my heart. I want more than anything to be worthy to be there, and to be worthy of being in the presence of my Savior. His Atonement is what has got me to the point I am today. Nothing else in this world could have taken away the guilt and pain I have felt, and replaced it with feelings of pure love. I know He loves me. I know He loves you too. It took me a really long time to come to know that, but now I know.

Speaking of the Atonement, I have gained a new appreciation for it recently. Because of a line in my Patriarchal Blessing, I had been praying for the Lord to shelter me from Satan and his temptations. I just pictured myself curled up in the loft of a big, sturdy, metal barn (which was the Savior protecting me). Everyday I would pray for that shelter, and everyday I would give thanks for that shelter. It got to a point where I realized that I couldn't just stay curled up all the time in that loft, because I would never grow. I would never become stronger. So my prayers changed. Now I pray that the Atonement will strengthen me from the inside, that it will change me, and who I am, so that I will be able to overcome the natural woman that is in me. Everyday I pray for the Atonement to change me, and everyday I give thanks for the changes that I see. Some days they are very subtle, other days they are more noticeable, but everyday the Lord strengthens me.

So anyway, that is my latest lesson learned. I know there will be many many more, and I am excited to have a place to share them. Again, I hope that someone might be able to find some sort of strength from what they find here. I would absolutely love it if I could help just one person, even if its just a little bit, so please, let me know if there is anything I can do. I've been there. I understand. And I know that it is possible to come back, and to feel loved again.