LDS Porn Addict Gives Up Coke Zero to Stay Sexually Sober

Coke Zero bottle LDS

“Whatever it takes” means being willing to give up even Coke Zero.

Around the beginning of 2013, I made a little adjustment to my life that has improved my commitment to sexual sobriety. I quit drinking Coke Zero. I also quit drinking Diet Dr. Pepper. What, you ask, does soda have to do with sexual sobriety? An important question. The short answer is that I gave up caffeinated drinks so I can go to bed at 10:30 or 11 every night.

It’s a pretty safe bet that if I’m asleep, I won’t be acting out. Without caffeine, I’m exhausted and ready to sleep by 11 p.m, so I go to sleep. With caffeine, however, I’m jittery and anxious. Caffeine keeps me wired and keeps me awake even when I’m tired.

Remembering the HALT Acronym

I made a realization a while back that most of the acting out related to my lust addiction took place between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m. If I’m awake during those hours, I’m usually Hungry, Angry, Lonely and Tired (“HALT”), the four feelings that members of Alcoholics Anonymous warn new problem drinkers about. The unhappiness they engender can lead an addict to self-medicate. In other words, my mind is impaired late at night and I am more likely to make bad decisions. (For more on this, check out “The ABCs of Porn Addiction,” “A Letter to LDS Wives about Pornography Addiction” and “Muck Fires in My Brain.”)

I like Coke Zero and I really like Diet Dr. Pepper. Cherry Coke Zero is way better than both–and I’ve given that up, too, of course. It’s part of my learning to do whatever it takes to overcome my addictive behavior. It’s taken a long time for me to accept that even the little things matter–even the little things that appear at first to have nothing to do with sex or porn or lust. Like Coke Zero.

Recovery Behavior Isn’t Always Obvious for LDS Porn Addicts

I have added Coke Zero/Diet Dr. Pepper/Cherry Coke Zero to my list of “Not-So-Obvious Little Things That Hinder My Recovery.” That list includes things like:

  • Being on the internet after 11:00 p.m.
  • Being on the internet with no specific purpose (i.e., surfing).
  • Being alone when I’m on the internet.
  • Watching television when I’m alone or for long periods of time.
  • Staying up later than 11:30 p.m. for any reason–including posting to my blog.
  • Harboring resentment.
  • Suppressing fear.
  • Procrastinating.
  • Playing video games.
  • Going to a gym (gyms for sex, lust and fantasy addicts are like Churchill Downs for horse racing enthusiasts).
  • Taking steps to isolate from the people around me.

Contrast that list with my list of “Not-So-Obvious Little Things
That Add to My Recovery”:

  • Calling my sponsor or someone else in the program to discuss an unresolved resentment and to recognize and acknowledge my part in it.
  • Writing out my 12-Step step work rather than just doing it in my head.
  • Writing out a fear inventory when I find myself procrastinating.
  • Praying for the women around me and asking Heavenly Father to protect them and give them what they need–rather than praying for myself.
  • Keeping my home clean and orderly.
  • Telling my wife I love her (very important to my recovery).

There’s more to that list, and then there’s also the obvious stuff like regular prayer, study of the LDS scriptures, lots of 12 Step meetings, lots of phone calls to people in the Sexaholics Anonymous program, honesty with my wife, my sponsor, the guys in my meetings and my bishop.

20130316-231509.jpgIf I am really willing to do whatever it takes to remain sexually sober, Heavenly Father will do for me the parts of recovery that I can’t do for myself. That’s the most wonderful promise and blessing of recovery. This is another way of saying that by small and simple means, great things come to pass–like sexual sobriety.

About Andrew+

Latter-day Saint, sex and pornography addict in recovery, dealing with depression, returned missionary, father of a bunch of kids, graduate degree, self-employed, Book of Mormon reader, writer and thinker. Working on understanding and overcoming resentment, the number one killer of addicts.

Comments

LDS Porn Addict Gives Up Coke Zero to Stay Sexually Sober — 5 Comments

  1. Can you talk more about a fear inventory? I suffer with great procrastination, and did not relate it to fear, but that really makes sense, as I’m finding that fear is a trigger for me. Thanks for your blog, and your sharing–it feels like a meeting. I’m happy to share I’m on meeting 40 of 90 and it is really helping me to become someone that can place my desires on the altar and quickly turn and run to the Savior’s will. I imagine fire from heaven coming down to quickly take my stuff after I place it on the alter as Ezekial did. You are the one who convinced me to go to 90 in 90, so thank you.

    • Congrats on the 40 meetings! That’s impressive! Ninety-in-ninety has been life changing for me. I’ll look forward to hearing more about your experience when you finish. Come to think of it, I’d like to hear more about your experiences up to this point. Forty-in-forty is huge!

      About the fear inventory, I’m going to blog about it shortly. Basically, when I feel myself wanting to check out (lust, fantasy, video games, procrastination), I assume there is fear lurking behind the desire to self-medicate. I then make a list of everything fear-related in my life that could be the culprit. It’s usually fear about a work assignment, dealing with a particular client, finances or relationships (wife, children, friends). Next I call my sponsor and go over the list with him and acknowledge that I am powerless over fear. Next to last, I pray and acknowledge to Heavenly Father my powerlessness over fear. I ask Him to take it away and tell me what He would have me be. He doesn’t let me down, the fear dissipates and the last thing I do is pick up the project or whatever it was that I was putting off and get to work–without fear.

      • Thanks, I really like what u said about the fear inventory, and started one today!
        About the 40 in 40; nothing seemed to work, even as I was going to all of the meetings I was still escaping about once a week, but I was feeling better and had more hope. I checked out the book “He Restoreth My Soul” and could not put it down, this really convinced me that I really was an addict, and gave me even more hope. I’m now 24 days of strong recovery, I don’t watch TV alone, K-9 blocks the web, and I call sponcer and friend almost daily. Future looks bright. P.S. read your blog about reading list, surprised Dr. Hilton’s book is not on it. Glad to see your story is in the new “Understanding Pornography and Sexual Addiction”

        • Great to hear! Keep working at it. The more you recognize and eliminate lust, the more sober you get and the clearer your mind gets. Recovery and sobriety get progressively easier for guys who work their program.

          About Dr. Hilton’s book, I agree: it needs to be added to the list.

          Good luck and God bless you in your recovery efforts.

  2. Andrew, for me (1 year + of sobriety/recovery), my list of things that help/things that hinder come down to one basic issue that I have come to feel is at the root of my addiction, connection. Things that connect me with God, and things that connect me with others once I have that connection with God, are what help me. Things that disconnect me from God or those around me stop my progress (or put me in reverse very quickly). I see this pattern in those addicts that I associate with, that this failure of connection is what very quickly causes susceptibility to triggers, slips and relapses. Fear, resentment, anger, etc., are, for me, the clues that I have a connection problem that I have to figure out and “get to”. I would be interested in your thoughts on this topic. Your blog is a lifesaver and a blessing in my life. Thank you.