For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.
- Mosiah 3:19
Friday, August 12, 2011
Beaten to humility
I will be giving away my first step tomorrow. In the addiction recovery group I attend for sex addiction, the first step is sexual history and experiences and events that illustrate my powerlessness over my addiction and how my life became unmanageable.
As I've been writing it, I've realized how much my life has been complicated by this addiction. Two events I'll share:
1)From 16 to 19, I continued to struggle with masturbation and pornography. I had tried numerous times to stop. During this time I was sent to a pscyhotherapist to change my sexuality; I continued to deny this aspect of me, praying daily, exerting efforts in doing all I could to be obedient to God’s commandments to have “this cancer rooted out of me.” When it did not go away I was left feeling unloved by God, broken, abandoned, and lonely. I then went back to masturbation to cover those feelings. It was during this period that I was able to control masturbation, I brought it down to three times a week. I was doing so as I had always planned on being a Mormon missionary when I turned 19. Doing so required abstinence from all sexual acting out for at least one year before becoming a missionary. I met that goal and gained what I thought was freedom from both pornography and masturbation for a year and then two years while I was a Mormon missionary. Those three years, I learned to white knuckle. I thought I was free from the addiction. I was not.
Relapse and Struggled (22-32)
After being abstinent for over three years, I returned to school. Before my Mormon mission I, I had completed on year at an elite university maintaining a GPA of 3.9. (this was during my year of abstinence). I returned with great hope for my future. I started school again. One month into school I was in the library writing a paper, I was looking in the periodicals for an academic journal, as I perused the journals, I noticed a major and established pornographic magazine among the other periodicals. I initially recoiled knowing I had worked for so long to keep away. I went back to work on my paper, but intrigue set in. I could not focus on my paper, I wanted to know what was in the magazine. I walked back, paced back and forth through that isle, then I walked away, packed up my bags, but my bag was so heavy, my legs were so heavy, I could not walk out of the library. It was like a siren calls, I was mesmorized. My every movement was controlled by the intrigue and excitement. I grabbed the magazine and looked, soaked in the images and climaxed through sheer excitement. I did not even touch myself. I realized I did this in the library surrounded by people. I was ashamed, an intense guilt overcame me. I put the magazine down and walked away with my head down low. I graduated with a 2.8. I was not free.
2) I had arranged via Craigslist, to meet with a guy. The feeling of the potential encounter was intoxicating. I called my sponsor and told him what I was feeling, he asked that I write down the consequences and the many ways I was powerless. I attempted to do so, even that was not powerful enough to extricate me from the trance I was in. I struggled to bring reason and logic back in and have them fight the powerful feelings of excitement, intrigue, and pleasure. Yet it was not sufficient, reason lost, logic lost. I called others as I was walking to my car to meet this person, telling them I am walking to meet this person. This was not sufficient to bring me even a moment of sanity, yet I felt I was doing all I could, I was telling others of what I wanted to do, I was telling others in the faint hope of deflating the power lust had over me. It did not, lust ensnared my senses, I was transfixed with the idea, excited by the potential act, my addict kept telling me “if you don’t you’ll never know.” I knew if I continued with this, I would face severe discipline from my church, yet in that moment my addict reasoned, “this is more important than that.” The allure of that reasoning made sense, drowning out the logic of consequences. I made another phone call, saying, “I’m driving.” This did nothing. I made another, “I see the guy…I am walking toward the guy.” This was not sufficient to extricate me. I met the guy. We came to my home and I gave paid to give oral sex. After it was over, despair, pain, darkness a thick darkness settled about me. I felt ready to completely abandon myself to destruction. At that moment, I reflected on what had happened, and realized the depths of my powerlessness.
These and the many other experiences I will be sharing tomorrow have beaten me into humility. All I can do after reviewing these is realize that I am responsible for my behavior and accept the consequences. Yet in all of this, I've come to feel the incredible love Father has for me. I don't know about my future in the church, but I do know that for today, I'm committed.
Tomorrow, all bets are off.