LDS Porn Addict Experiences the Lord’s Tender Mercies

I mentioned last week that I’m working on attending ninety meetings of Sexaholics Anonymous in ninety days, the traditional course of action suggested by old-timers in Alcoholics Anonymous to the newcomers and those wishing to recommit to a program of sobriety. The idea is to immerse yourself in the program and to have a daily interaction with other addicts who are either struggling like you or who are further along in recovery. I have now attended 47 meetings in 48 days; I need to do a double-shot to catch up, probably this weekend. (In case anyone wonders, I don’t count sacrament meeting, Sunday school or priesthood meeting in the place of an SA meeting on Sunday. Those are testimony- and  covenant-renewal meetings; they are not addiction recovery meetings.)

Recovering LDS addicts experience the Lord's tender mercies. One is having more time for family--even with all the time spent on recovery.

Experiencing the Lord’s tender mercies: more time for family.

If I can’t make it to a face-to-face meeting, I will attend a phone meeting. You can find a list of phone meetings (usually several at different times each day) by clicking here. (I understand that the Church’s Pornography Addiction Support Group is also beginning to do phone meetings, but I don’t have any details.) If you are LDS and would like to attend Sexaholics Anonymous but for the fact that there’s no meeting nearby, I encourage you to get on the phone meetings as often as you can. Introduce yourself as a newcomer. You’ll learn a lot about recovery very quickly on the phone meetings and you also prepare yourself to start your own local face-to-face meeting.

On some days, I’ve attended both a face-to-face and a phone meeting. It has never been a waste of time. To the contrary, I learn something in every meeting. I especially like it when several Latter-day Saints are at the meeting or on the call. In addition, being able to admit out loud and regularly that I’m powerless over lust continues to combine miraculously with Heavenly Father’s grace to keep me away from the mental obsession with lust that leads me to acting out.

Every once in a while someone will ask me if my wife doesn’t get tired of the amount of time I spend working on my recovery from addiction. I love that question. It always brings a smile to my face. Here’s the answer (suitable for framing):

The amount of time I now spend each day or week or month working on sexual sobriety and recovery is exponentially less than the time I used to spend each week acting out on my addiction, planning on acting out, covering up my acting out, lying about my acting out, feeling guilty about my acting out, once again planning the next act out, fantasizing about the next act out, euphorically recalling previous act outs, vowing (in isolation and secrecy) never to act out again, trying to remember my lies about acting out so that my new lies would be consistent with my old lies, wishing I could act out, wishing I hadn’t acted out, wondering who or what I could act out with, regretting acting out, regretting not acting out, just wishing I could give it all up and never act out again, battling the mental obsession with lust, giving in to the mental obsession with lust, wondering why I’m always fighting a losing battle with the mental obsession with lust, and dishonestly praying and reading my scriptures in a failed effort to overcome my “little problem” in secrecy and isolation.

So, no, my wife does not get tired of the amount of time I spend working on my recovery from addiction.

Even when I’m working on ninety meetings in ninety days, I still have tons more time for wife and family than I ever did in the past. Almost sounds like what happens when you pay your tithing, doesn’t it? Money goes further when you pay tithing. Time stretches out and you have more of it when you work a serious and honest program of recovery from sexual addiction. When I consider it, I’d have to say this goes on my list of the Lord’s tender mercies.

Comments

LDS Porn Addict Experiences the Lord’s Tender Mercies — 6 Comments

  1. Andrew, I always appreciate your posts. Im living with a sex addict that is supposedly “Dry”, not acting out with what I can see, attending the church program and nothing else after a decade of porn addiction. He becomes violent when I talk about divorce, he states if it ever happens again I have his full permission to leave, blah, blah, blah. All I can say at this point is this, “I” dont want to deal with any of it anymore. Im burned and burned out and frankly feel like I just dont care. I have to tell you, as a woman that’s never had these issues, its just exhausting to understand thos addiction and after a while makes a wkman want to say…Next! I know that sounds horrible. I see it as I write it and cringe..maybe its the part of me thats in denial myself or haven’t worked well thru my own recovery. This is the most mentally draining of all addictions for a woman and I just think, all men can’t be like that. I just look at him now and think “really”? Its such shallow, self centered behavior and doesnt speak at Al together forever. Sigh. Im just going along status quo with things now, almost waiting for another surge, then I have all rights to release my brain of this forever exhaustion brain battle. Id rather read a personal development book and find someone who doesnt have this issue, as it’s been the worst thing I’ve ever personally endured and continues to eat at my self esteem. For the record, I think you are fabulous. We’ve talked on the phone and u know my story:-) I applaude you for doing great things here. He’s not like you, but the addiction nonetheless, when I continually read these things, its depressing. The self absorption thats involved in this addiction, I want to flee from. Thats all.

    • SAS: Thanks for the comment and for being a regular reader of the website. I’m sorry for the pain you suffer as a result of living with an addict who “doesn’t get it.” I didn’t realize until I read your comment that my paragraph on how much time I save by being in recovery is actually a pretty good snapshot of the chaotic mind of the addict who is not in recovery. It really is exhausting–both for the addict and everyone associated with him. Yeah, the addiction’s depressing, but real recovery isn’t. It’s fabulous and it’s available to every addict who becomes willing to do whatever it takes. All the best to you in your struggle!

  2. I had to laugh when I read this post! Not because it is funny; by all means it is actually heart-wrenching to get a glimpse of the inner turmoil that an addict experiences. But it reminded me of myself… “I should call and check-up on my husband… no I shouldn’t, I should stay out of it… but he said he’s having a hard day… but I’ll only make it harder for him. But he needs me… No, he needs the Lord… Maybe just call and say I love you… No just walk away from the phone” and round and round and round it goes. And sometimes I give in to my codependency and I call and then instantly regret it. But I’ve been attendind group and working the Steps. I can see a difference in the 2 months I’ve been going. I still lose battles, but I’m starting to win battles too when I decide to leave it to the Lord. I can now honestly say that I have compassion for my husband… I see how hard I struggle with changing myself and how often I slip-up and I can now see how much harder it must be for him to change. Thank you for so bravely sharing your story. For me and my husband, it has made a huge difference.

    • =D i love this haha! i understand your thought process! i do the same things too. as i’ve been working recovery (4 months now) im much better as the girlfriend of an addict, to control those thoughts, and replace them with hope and trust in the Lord. keep goin girl! nice work!

  3. Thank you for this post!! I looked up the phone meeting schedule and printed it off. Dang, I have had to make a lot of sacrifices and adjustments to my life to attend meetings. I’m doing the 90 in 90 as well. Starting Tuesday I’m 2 for 2 with a meeting tonight.

    Maybe you can do another post after the 90 and give your thoughts/recap on it.

    I have declared it my recovery “Boot Camp”. Just like in the military (which I am not a part of but what i understand), they pound you/mold you/humble you/ smash the ego out of you for 90 days….just what our tough addict minds need.

  4. I appreciate reading the posts and the comments. 90 meetings in 90 days seems like a great way to keep yourself focused on living and practicing the steps. I’m a big believer in practice. Great athletes can’t perform well without practicing daily. Viewers also need to practice to stay out of relapse.