By: Hope and Healing Alliance, Affiliate
Salt Lake City Utah, USA
Editor’s Note: The following is written by the husband of the author of ‘Why I Happily Agreed to Marry an Addict.’ It details part of the process of his recovery as well as how his dating relationship affected/was affected by that process.
Like most addicts I first encountered pornography in my early teens. I was picking up garbage on Earth Day and among the weeds I found a pornographic magazine. I knew it was wrong to look, but with curiosity, I chose to look, and then look again. I hid it in my pocket, careful that my parents didn’t see it, brought it home, hid it in my room and when I was alone, looked again. It was not long before my guilt got the better of me. One day I took the magazine from its hiding spot, concealed it under my shirt, and fled to a place near my house where I would not be seen. When I was sure I was alone, I pulled out a lighter.
As I pulled the magazine out from under my shirt, I closed my eyes. I was now disgusted by what I had in my hand and didn’t want to see it ever again. It was a struggle to light the thing on fire with my eyes closed, and I had to peak just a little to get it lit, and then again a few more times to make sure it burned completely. Each time I peaked I snapped my eyes shut as soon as I could and tried to erase the images that had snuck in from the exposed and flaming pages. When it was done I buried the ashes vowing that I would never look at anything so evil again. But I did. I had been hooked by that one piece of garbage I found by accident.
I used porn only occasionally through my teens, but it was in my early 20s that the addiction really set in. It affected all aspects of my life. I had a hard time studying for school, not only because porn addiction fogs your mind, but also because the prime environment for study—a quiet environment in which you are unlikely to be disturbed and have access to the internet—is also the prime environment for looking at porn as well. I avoided relationships because I didn’t want to be the cause of pain for another person. I struggled with financial discipline, sometimes incurring huge data charges on my phone. I was in deep trouble; I knew it, and it scared me.
Over the years I sought help from many different sources. I consulted a few different ecclesiastical leaders, and though they were encouraging and kind, most of them had little to no understanding of addiction or how to truly help someone struggling with porn. I wanted desperately to be rid of this problem, and so I gathered resources wherever I could. I came across many tools; some helped a lot, some didn’t help at all. I never did find a simple solution, though many things suggested they would be such, but I did find incremental success as I progressed in my understanding and developed more and more tools I could use. In the paragraphs below I share some of the things that helped me the most.
I tried attending a 12-step program where most of the attendants were struggling with porn. I listened and I shared when I thought it could be productive, but I felt little to no attachment to the people around me, and was often terrified that my story might turn into their story. Most of them were deeper in their addictions than I was. Many of them were married men who were there because their marriage was in danger as a direct result of their porn use. Sometimes I left there more stressed about my situation than when I had gone in, but some of the tools they used and shared were helpful to me.
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