Sitting in a Rowboat Throwing Marbles at a Battleship | Being LDS and Overcoming Pornography Addiction

Sometimes we call because we are having a rough day dealing with the addiction or some resentment that could give rise to a desire to act out. Sometimes we call because we want to reaffirm to someone else our intention to remain sober for another day. Sometimes we call just to check in and say hi, because the act of checking in helps us get our heads straight, reminds us how good sobriety feels, and disrupts the addiction’s pattern of leading us into isolation and resentment. I have called other members in the program when I was having trouble. At other times, they have phoned me.

Once I got a call at 11:30 at night. Even though my friend didn’t say he was having a bad night, I could tell. We chatted for a few minutes about nothing in particular, expressed our appreciation for each other and said goodbye. That short phone call helped him stay sober that night, and helped remind me of how grateful I was to God for finally, after so many years, so many tears and so much pain, leading me to a place where I could recover from my addiction.

I have a sponsor now. He is one of the most remarkable men I know. His faith knows no bounds. His enthusiasm never stops. His smile is infectious. His insights are always just what I need to hear. He and I share the same profession. Like me, he is a husband and a father. And he has been in the SA program and sober for almost a decade.

I also serve as a sponsor to several men who are new to the SA program. Working with them is an opportunity for me to share the experience, strength and hope that have come to me as a blessing of recovery. It is a chance for me to save lives and saves marriages. I love to see that tiny spark ignite in their sad, tired eyes where they attend their first SA meeting—when they start to hope that maybe they’ve found what they were searching for—maybe this is the solution to the nightmare. I smile and tell them with confidence, “This will work—if you’re willing to work it!”

One of the many slogans of 12 Step programs is “One Day at a Time.” I work at staying sober and in recovery one day at a time. I recognize that I am still a sex addict and that I will always be a sex addict. That is my reality. But I also realize that if I do what is necessary, I can remain in recovery, which means complete and absolute sobriety. That is what I intend to do. Sexaholics Anonymous, with God’s help, inspiration and strength, will help me do that.

The picture of my addiction inside my head has changed now. I still see myself in the tiny rowboat and the battleship is still out there. But now, the fog has dissipated so that I can see the enormous size of my enemy and know that this battle is very lopsided. It is nothing like those two wrestlers in the ring. I know that I will lose if I just sit there by myself in my rowboat with my marbles.

But now I also see a bunch of other rowboats surrounding mine—not many, but enough—and recognize my friends from SA. They have blowtorches and drills and metal-cutting saws. They tell me to stick with them and they will show me where to cut and drill and torch to slowly dismantle that battleship piece by piece. They tell me, “We know how to chop this thing up, because we’ve done it before ourselves.” Sure enough, I can see their battleships lying in pieces in the distance. Some are neatly stacked, while others are in a bit of disarray. But it’s clear that their battleships are destroyed and they are now out there helping others dismantle theirs. One of my good friends in the program recently told me with a smile, “It takes an addict to help an addict.” I believe that.

Finally, what is the power source that all these cutting tools plug into so they can be used to chop up my battleship? There is no question in my mind. It is the power of a loving God who is mindful of me, my wife and my family, and who wants us to return one day into His presence. That is my hope.


Comments

Sitting in a Rowboat Throwing Marbles at a Battleship | Being LDS and Overcoming Pornography Addiction — 32 Comments

  1. Andrew,

    Thank you for your book I’ve been sharing it with people since you spoke to a group of us [at a fireside in Utah].

    Your book helped me take the hard step of attending my first ARP meeting and later SA meeting. (I’ve only been to one SA meeting, I didn’t find it to be like you described in your book here in UT)

    I’ve been attending ARP meetings and seeking sobriety for the last 4 years. I was able to have long stretches of sobriety my longest lasting 10 months last year. I’m currently working on 153 days of sobriety, but this time I’ve just finished the arpsupport.org 90 program.

    During the program I was finally able to see the devastation my addiction has caused, and I was able to ask God to take away my lust. Up until the day I offered that prayer I always thought I just needed a little help… I almost have this thing beat… I just need a little more help.

    When I finally prayed and told God “I want to lust, I want to look at pornography, and I want to masturbate, but I hate the devastation these things cause in my life. Wilt thou please take this character weakness away.” God did take it away that day. and everyday since as I pray for him to humbly.

    I’m now sponsoring people in the arpSupport.org program and finding progressive victory over my character weaknesses.

    Thanks for your well written book, I’m glad you had to ability to put into words what I’ve felt.

    • Mike,

      I just wanted to share my experience with SA in Utah briefly.

      I have been to SA meetings in Provo, Pleasant Grove, Lehi, and Sandy. I tried out a lot of meetings because I wanted to meet more guys in real recovery and not just stick with my home group.

      I went to one meeting and I was very off put. It felt like people shuffled in, said stuff, and shuffled out. I really did not intend to ever go back. But it is a very convenient time and location for me so I went back. It was a very good meeting. I felt connected to the other guys and was very glad I went. In the weeks since, that meeting has been one of my favorites.

      One of the meetings I attend has a part of the script- “we recommend you come 4-6 times before you decide if this is for you.” I think that is great for the program, but would suggest 3x minimum on a particular meeting.

      Regardless, I hope things are going well for you.

      • Thanks, Things have been going really well. I’ve been to that same SA meeting twice now. And my second meeting was worse than the first. For me ARP support’s 90 day program and the ARP meetings is working well. I will still plan on visiting the SA meetings in the future. Thanks for your feed back!

      • Post script: a few months later I shuffled into a SA meeting and Michael went out of his way to make my first experience a very good one. Because he stuck it out, and kept going, I am now a regular attendee and beginning recovery in a way I never thought possible.

  2. I am super grateful for all the information on this blog. I am grateful for your courage to share your strength, hope, and wisdom to all of us who struggle with the gripping addiction of lust. I look forward to your posts, it has become a part of my daily meditation and study. Again thank you.
    Will

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