The Science of Pornography Addiction

The Word of Wisdom should be sufficient for members of the Church to refrain from Tea, Coffee, Tobacco, and Alcohol,  But it is nice to know that science supports the Lord's law of health.

The same should be true of the Law of Chastity.  We should obey this law without any need for scientific validation. But it is also nice to know that there is validation from modern science.

Here are two videos that explain the huge problems in society caused by Internet Pornography.  The second video builds on the first. So watch them in order..

The Demise of Guys EDITED (4 minutes)
This TED Talk explains that Boys/Men are falling behind Girls/Women in all aspects of our modern life. The cause being pornography.  I have edited out parts of the original which made me feel uncomfortable.

The Great Porn Experiment EDITED (15 minutes)
This TED Talk explains why pornography is so addictive, especially in boys and younger men.  I have edited out parts of the original which made me feel uncomfortable.



Liken The Scriptures


We are asked to liken the scriptures to ourselves in our personal situations (1 Nephi 19:23).

Here is a thought shared by John Bytheway regarding how God might react to our actions towards our wives or girlfriends when they call us to repentance.

John suggests that we take 1 Nephi 1:24-27 and change the gender from male to female; and here is how it reads:

"Rebel no more against your wife/girlfriend, whose views have been glorious, and who hath kept the commandments....

I exceedingly fear and tremble because of you, ... for behold, ye have accused her that she sought power and authority over you; but I know that she hath not sought for power nor authority over you, but she hath sought the glory of God, and your own eternal welfare.

And ye have murmured because she hath been plain unto you. Ye say that she hath used sharpness; ye say that she hath been angry with you; but behold, her sharpness was the sharpness of the power of the word of God, which was in her; and that which ye call anger was the truth, according to that which is in God, which she could not restrain, manifesting boldly concerning your iniquities.

And it must needs be that the power of God must be with her, even unto her commanding you that ye must obey. But behold, it was not she, but it was the Spirit of the Lord which was in her, which opened her mouth to utterance that she could not shut it."

Perhaps we might ask ourselves, does that scripture ring true for me in my current situation? 

Recovery Is Like A Jigsaw Puzzle

Coming to our 12 Step Meeting is like working on a giant jigsaw puzzle.  As we work individually on each of the 12 steps we gain understanding as to the different pieces of our own recovery puzzle.  Then when we come together each week we bring with us those new pieces that we have discovered.

At the meeting, we share our newly found pieces with each other.  I may have a piece that you need and you, likewise, may have a piece that I need.

The more pieces of the puzzle that are shared with each other, the clearer and more beautiful the image of recovery will become.

But if we do not attend the meetings regularly, we may miss important pieces of the puzzle being shared by others.

Step 12 -- The Guy In The Library *



THE GUY IN THE LIBRARY

So I did something impulsive today... It was super good! :)

I was sitting on the second floor of the library and sat next to this guy who was browsing the web with unusually small windows. I immediately thought of how I've peeked at inappropriate material on school computers in a public venue using smaller windows.

Being the nosy person I am, I wanted to see if this guy had similar issues to me. So I looked at what he was looking at. He was looking at NBA stuff. But then he did a google image search on something inappropriate.

I suddenly got a very sad feeling. I thought I'd feel better knowing I was right, but I felt worse instead. My heart ached for this guy. So, I was inspired to whip out my yellow legal pad and I addressed a note to him.

MY NOTE
"Hey Man, ..."  I explained that I was an addict and that whether or not he was, was none of my business. But, that I acknowledged that I've been in the same exact situation--ritualizing, and browsing inappropriate media on a public computer, with someone sitting next to me.

I told him that I hurt for him, and that I was there for him. I left my name and number, and a reference to fightthenewdrug.org in case he didn't feel comfortable reaching out. I told him I'd support him in any way possible.

I folded it up like a letter, slid it towards him, tapped him on the shoulder (he was using earphones) and said, "Hi, my name is Cody. I hope you're not offended or embarrassed."

Then I went to class.

HIS RESPONSE
I checked my phone after class.  I received this text message,

"Hey Cody. Thanks. Really thank you. After that I exited the screen and got off the computer. Thanks for reminding me that is not who I want to be. When you gave me that letter I didn't know what to expect. I was thinking it was going to say how horrible I was and that I am going to hell or something. I don't know if you believe in God but I felt like God reached out to me in the moment that I read your letter. 

When I read your note I immediately started to cry. Instead of being condemning it was understanding. I just thought wow someone cares enough to help me. I thought I was the only crazy person who was crazy enough to do that. I started off with good intentions to do school stuff and then I slowly got too complacent."

I was walking away from my class, being filled with the spirit. I knew that I had done what God wanted me to do this afternoon.

 



If we wish to recover from our addictions,
we need to pray daily 
and study and read from the Book of Mormon -- daily!

Prophetic Promises Concerning the Book of Mormon

·         “The Book of Mormon is filled with truth. If you read it daily, you will have more truth and power in your life…. if you will feast on the words of Christ found throughout the Book of Mormon, I promise that you will have greater power to resist temptation, increased ability to receive revelation, and greater capacity to deal with the challenges of life” (President Russell M. Nelson, Facebook, August 4, 2019

·         I promise that as you prayerfully study the Book of Mormon every day, you will make better decisions—every day. I promise that as you ponder what you study, the windows of heaven will open, and you will receive answers to your own questions and direction for your own life. I promise that as you daily immerse yourself in the Book of Mormon, you can be immunized against the evils of the day, even the gripping plague of pornography and other mind-numbing addictions” (President Russell M. Nelson, “The Book of Mormon: What Would Your Life Be Like Without It?” Ensign, November 2017).

·         When I think of the Book of Mormon, I think of the word power. The truths of the Book of Mormon have the power to heal, comfort, restore, succor, strengthen, console, and cheer souls” (President Russell M. Nelson, “The Book of Mormon: What Would Your Life Be Like Without It?” Ensign, November 2017).

·         I feel certain that if, in our homes, parents will read from the Book of Mormon prayerfully and regularly, both by themselves and with their children, the spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein. The spirit of reverence will increase; mutual respect and consideration for each other will grow. The spirit of contention will depart. Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom. Children will be more responsive and submissive to the counsel of their parents. Righteousness will increase. Faith, hope, and charity—the pure love of Christ—will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy, and happiness” (President Marion G. Romney, “The Book of Mormon,” Ensign, May 1980, 67).

·         President Gordon B. Hinckley promised that as we read the Book of Mormon, there are great “daily promises.” He said, “there will come into your lives and into your homes an added measure of the Spirit of the Lord, a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to His commandments, and a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God” (President Gordon B. Hinckley, “A Testimony Vibrant and True,” Ensign, August 2005).

·         There is a power in the [Book of Mormon] which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book.  You will find greater power to resist temptation.  You will find the power to avoid deception.  You will find the power to stay on the strait and narrow path...When you begin to hunger and thirst after those words, you will find life in greater and greater abundance.” (Ezra Taft Benson, The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1989], 54).


How to Avoid a Relapse


 How to Avoid a Relapse



When I began my recovery the only thing I knew to do, when tempted, was white-knuckle it.

Later I discovered that there were better ways to deal with a trigger or temptation.

The following is something you might consider.

When being tempted or triggered:

  1. Make a plan: It needs to be specific.

  2. Write down your plan: If you just keep it in your head, it will just be wishful thinking.

  3. Share your plan with a trusted friend--either your sponsor or someone in your group.

  4. Review your plan during the week.

  5. Follow your plan each time you are tempted.

  6. Report back how it's going to the person you shared your plan with.

  7. Reevaluate your plan: If the plan didn't work right, revise it.

  8. Go back to #2.

Let me know if this works for you.

P.S.  You may need to produce two plans: one for pornography and one for masturbation.

UCAP 2023

 



UCAP 2023

Utah Coalition Against Pornography

A Great Talk!

Brad Wilcox  --  "Stay on the Bus"








What Works and What Doesn't

In overcoming an addiction, some things work well and some things just don't.

Let me cover both topics, but I'll cover the negative ones first.
What Doesn't Work

I have been attending 12 Step Meetings for over eight years. Over that period I have tried lots of things and observed lots of things that just don't work!

However, some of the things that don't work happen to be very popular -- but they still don't work.  Here are a few:

Tapering Off Doesn't Work

Trying to taper off from an addiction provides a false sense of hope, but it never works.  Does this sound familiar?

I was sober for 7 days last week, so this week I'll shoot for 8 days.  And then if he hits day 8 what happens -- he celebrates his accomplishment and relapses.

So after his relapse, he shoots for 9 days and then relapses and so on and so on.  

When I relapsed last, I had been sober for 11 months.  Should I now just shoot for 12 months and then relapse???

It never ends -- it really doesn't work!

Setting a Sobriety Goal Doesn't Work

This approach is also very popular.  But it too doesn't work.

Here are some examples:
  1. I had a friend who wanted to stay sober so he could attend the sealing of his sister.  He made it.  But he relapsed the night after the sealing. You see he met his goal.  So he let down his guard and rewarded himself.
      
  2. I have a friend who wanted to attend the temple with his younger brother when he received his endowments.  Well, he made it to his goal.  But you already know what happened afterward.
      
  3. I know more than one guy who wanted to stay sober so he could get married in the temple. That was his goal. Well, each of those guys met their goal. But each relapsed within weeks of getting married.
Setting a sobriety goal only works up until you hit your goal.  It's not permanent.

Plus when we set a sobriety goal, our reptilian brain, remembers that goal and says: "I can probably wait till that date, and then I'll get my reward."

Stop Saying to Myself, "The next time I relapse, I'm going to....."

The moment I say "the next time" I'm giving myself permission to have a next time.  I need to stop doing that!

Counting Days Is Neither Good Nor Bad

The only thing I have against counting days is that it emphasizes something negative (the emphasis is on the last time you screwed up). 

I would prefer to count how many times I avoided a temptation or a trigger and then reward myself accordingly. 

One writer suggests keeping a 3 by 5 card in your pocket and making a checkmark every time you avoid a temptation so you can see how well you are really doing with recovery!


What Works

Here are a few things that I've found that work:

Decide That "This Time" Is The Last Time

Believe it or not, some time has to be the "last time!"  So when will that "last time" be???  If I keep pushing that decision into the future, I will never have a "last time."  So I must decide right now that the last time I relapsed will actually be the "last time!"  Go ahead -- do it!!

The Lord wants me to make that decision.  Satan wants me to postpone that decision.  

My spirit wants you to make that decision, My natural man wants me to postpone that decision.

Now I know what you're thinking.  Your thinking, "But I don't trust myself.  I've promised myself that countless times in the past.  How can I make that decision this time?" 

One big difference is that this time I will involve the Lord in that decision.  I won't be doing it by myself.  That's the whole purpose of the 12 steps.  

Now I admit I might make that decision and fall on my face.  But at least that decision has already been made -- it is still in force.  The Lord will support me in my honest efforts.




Other Things That Work

Here is a list of other things that have worked for me in recovery:
  1. Attend at least one ARP meeting a week and be consistent.
     
  2. If I attend more than one meeting a week, at least I should make one of them my "home group."  Get to know the guys -- get their phone numbers, etc.
     
  3. Reach out to other guys and ask for help or reach out and offer help.
     
  4. When I reach out, I bless TWO lives.  (This ought to be scripture)  :-)
     
  5. The opposite of addiction is connection.  Reach out to someone at least once a day.
      
  6. When tempted, use PMSPray, Move (go for a walk, etc), and get Support (call or text someone)
     
  7. Do my dailies DAILY!  Include as a minimum, sincere prayer and reading the Book of Mormon.
     
  8. Meet with my bishop on a regular basis.
       
  9. Ask for a blessing on a regular basis. Every time I  meet with my bishop I ask for a blessing.
      
  10. Be accountable to at least one other person, daily if possible.
     
  11. Read my patriarchal blessing often (every Fast Sunday).
     
  12. Fast with a purpose and do it more than just on Fast Sunday.
     
  13. Give service to others and forget myself.
     
  14. Do NOT isolate!
This looks like a long list.  But nothing on the list takes a long time.

Beware of Open Gates

Many of us have set up boundaries between us and a possible relapse. And those boundaries are like gates along a path. As long as we keep those gates locked and do not go down that path we will remain safe.
At times we are tempted to go down the path. And if we give in what happens? As we start down the path we begin breaking our boundaries and we unlock each gate one by one. We lie to ourselves saying, "I'm only going to go a little way down the path."
Hopefully, at some point, we come to our senses and ask ourselves.  Wow!!! What am I doing???  And we immediately stop and get off the path. We do PMS -- We Pray to Heavenly Father, Move away from the path, and reach out to others for Support.  We admit to God, to ourselves, and to others what we are doing and ask for help.
Now here is where the unexpected happens. Hours or even days later we may come back to that path. And instead of running into closed gates, we find that the gates we previously opened are still open!!!  And at that point, we find that we are already close to relapsing.
If we are not extremely careful in hours or even days after the first experience we will find ourselves in a relapse. And we might not even remember how we got there. That's how relapses and binges happen. And Satan is more than happy to whisper to us, "Hey you've already messed up, it doesn't matter anymore, so just keep going."

So what is the solution?  The solution, as requested by President Nelson, is daily repentanceMany of us have the mistaken idea that we don't need to repent until we actually relapse. WRONG! We need to repent each time we open one of those gates! Those gates don't just close by themselves. If we consciously repent the same day we open that first gate, we won't need to worry about subsequent gates. 

Once we repent for an open gate we can close it. In that process, we should pray more intently, be more honest, and ask Heavenly Father for His help.  At the same time, we can reach out to trusted friends for support.

 Learn Who You Really Are


I read this quote this morning during my dailies, and I felt I needed to share it with you!


Learn for yourselves who you really are. Ask your Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, how He feels about you and your mission here on earth. If you ask with real intent, over time the Spirit will whisper the life-changing truth to you. Record those impressions and review them often, and follow through with exactness.

I promise you that when you begin to catch even a glimpse of how your Heavenly Father sees you and what He is counting on you to do for Him, your life will never be the same!


The above quote is from a talk President Nelson gave to the young adults of the Church at a Worldwide Devotional • January 10, 2016 

Feeling the Holy Spirit

 Feeling the Holy Spirit


In our recent 2023 October General Conference, Elder Gary E. Stevenson spoke about how to feel the Holy Spirit.

His suggestions brought tears of recognition to my eyes.

His first suggestion was: "Stand in holy places;" and on his list, he included seminary buildings and institutes. You see, each week I attend  ARP meetings, one night in a seminary classroom and another night in an institute classroom.

His second suggestion was: "Stand with holy people."

That suggestion also brought tears to my eyes because of the holy men—my brothers—who faithfully attend those meetings. The spirit I feel in each of those meetings is similar to the spirit I feel in the temple.

I feel that Christ could walk into any of those meetings and feel comfortable because the subject is all about Him and His atonement.

I am so very thankful for those holy places and those holy men who bring the Spirit into my life each week!


The Thorn in My Flesh


Why is overcoming temptation so difficult?

Paul made the statement: 
"To keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh."
Then three times he asked the Savior to take it away -- but He didn't.

You perhaps like me, have asked the Lord many, many times 
to take away the weakness -- but He hasn't.
Why?



His Grace Is Sufficient
by Brad Wilcox--BYU Devotional--July 2011

I love this talk! 

As you watch and/or read Brad's talk, think of it in terms of our recovery from addiction.

As he explains, just as practice, practice, and more practice is needed to learn to play the piano.

Practice is also needed in our learning how to recover from addiction.

If we hit a wrong note, we don't go back to day one, we just continue to practice—one day at a time.

I will give two links to this talk.

The first is the full talk—31 minutes. I recommend the full talk.

https://youtu.be/yLXr9it_pbY?t=17

The second link is for a condensed version of the talk—11 minutes.

If you don't have time for the full talk, watch this version:

https://youtu.be/-6bLT-d0Npw


After watching or reading this talk, I'd appreciate hearing from you in the comments.





Choosing a Marriage Partner

A Classic Talk by Dr. Brent A. Barlow for LDS Young Single Adults




I am including this video on my blog because I care for the single guys in my 12 Step Group. When choosing a mate, or being worthy to be a mate, they are no different than anyone else.
Dr. Brent A. Barlow was a professor of marriage, family and human development at Brigham Young University (BYU). He is now retired. He has written several books on topics related to marriage.
Books by Brent include: Just for NewlywedsTwelve Traps in Today's marriages and how to Avoid ThemWhat Husbands Expect of WivesWorth Waiting For: Sexual Abstinence Before Marriage and What Wives Expect of Husbands. He has also written articles on such topics on inter-faith marriage by Mormons.


If you are single, check out this other post: The Importance of Having "The Talk."

 Don't Be Discouraged


Behold, he who has repented of his sins, 
he same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.

D&C 58:42


Don't be depressed or discouraged because you aren't errorless.

You do make mistakes, and if they are serious mistakes, you repent.

Well, even if they are little mistakes, you repent.

That is why you have an eraser; that is why you have a delete key on your keyboard.

Those things are part of life.

You make judgments, and you make corrections as you go.

--President Russell M. Nelson

REAL Triggers & REAL Boundaries *


I want to define healthy boundaries for myself by pondering upon triggers, determining safe boundaries to avoid the triggers (instead of trying to resist them), and sharing them with a sponsor. 

Then communicate with my sponsor within 4-8 hours if I cross one of those boundaries. I feel this will enable me to have a healthier relationship with accountability and thus assist me in confessing before relapsing.   

With that said, here are some of the triggers and correlating boundaries that I have created to this point.

Triggers: Browsing Online

1.    Reading material/articles online that are either suggestive outright or I know will lead to seeing that kind of material suggested.

2.    Watching movie trailers in succession with the ulterior motive to "accidentally" happen upon triggering material. Or even seeking that suggestive/triggering material outright.

3.    Looking up details about actors/actresses.

4.    Being alone watching something on a computer.

5.    Using messaging GIFs to "stumble upon" triggering material.

Boundaries: Defining and committing to internet/phone usage 

1.    I commit to limiting my internet usage to work use, study, and pre-defined entertainment.

2.    I commit that free-range entertainment (movies, videos, etc.) will only be done alongside my wife. Entertainment on the BYUtv app is acceptable alone.

3.    I commit to forgo usage/searching GIFs on any online platform.

4.    I commit to never bring my phone with me into a bathroom stall (I expect there to be instances where I am out in public and cannot place the phone elsewhere, in this case, I commit to reaching out to my sponsor prior to entering the bathroom, letting him know and then reporting back afterward without using it)

A good friend sent me this content and gave me permission to share it. 
It’s a great example of using boundaries instead of just barriers to avoid acting out! 

Check out my post on Barriers vs Boundaries

 

 Two Great ARP Fireside Talks


We periodically have ARP Firesides where participants, their families, guests, missionaries, and facilitators are all invited. Often the audio from those firesides is recorded and can be found at ARPfiresides.com.

Our two most recent firesides featured facilitators willing to tell their stories.  

I highly recommend those talks for your listening.  

February 2023 Fireside — Speaker: Riley and ARP Facilitator

June 2023 Fireside — Speaker: Devin an ARP Facilitator

Let Me Share A Secret

Sometimes I think secrets are even better if you can share them with close friends.
 
This is one of those times.
 
I have a secret regarding a tool I use to strengthen my recovery. 
 
Now let me see if I can explain it.
 
The Problem
 
Satan has lots of tools in his toolkit that he can use against me.  Some of them are:
  • Feeling lonely
  • Feeling sad
  • Feeling hurt
  • Feeling weak
  • Feeling ugly
  • Feeling unloved
  • Feeling helpless
I’m sure you can add to this list.
 
Whenever I’m hit with any of these feelings, my natural-man tendency is to go inward, to shut down, to isolate myself  And then to seek comfort or instant gratification to make the pain go away—in other words, to act out.
 
That’s not a good solution.
 
The Solution
 
Instead of going inward—which is my natural-man inclination—the solution it to look outward—to reach out to others. I do this with text messages and emails—to those I care about.  It not only gets my mind off of myself, but sometimes it may even bless the life of another person.
 
I try to make these texts and emails either uplifting, faith-promoting, or humorous.  But I also try to be very sincere in any compliments I might give. My goal is not to flatter anyone but to express sincere appreciation for them and their talents.
 
What does this do for me?  It gets my mind off of myself. It causes me to be grateful for the friends I have and appreciate them for what they give to me. One other benefit, even though it’s not necessary, is that sometimes they even respond.
 
Either way, it blesses my life, and sometimes it might even bless their lives.
 
Conclusion
 
I hope my telling you my secret, might be of some benefit.  It really works for me. 
 
Thank you for allowing me to be a friend!

I appreciate you for reading my blog!
 


 

Fasting to Overcome Addiction

When was the last time you fasted—other than Fast Sunday?  Here are some thoughts to consider:

There is great spiritual power in prayer and fasting. Addiction is a spiritual bondage that must be fought with spiritual weapons. Fasting and prayer will enable you to be empowered by the Holy Ghost and allow His anointing to break the yoke that binds you.  —justprayno.org

And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.  —Mark 9:29

The next time you fast, take time to prepare. Prayerfully choose a purpose for your fast. You may want to write your purpose in your journal.  —Fast with a Purpose, churchofjesuschrist.org

Fasting without a purpose is just starving.  —Anonymous

Alma testified that when he prayed and fasted, his ability to receive revelation increased. Abstinence from your addiction can be considered a form of fasting.  —Step 11, LDS Addiction Recovery Program

Fasting intensifies prayer. In the scriptures, I have found at least 49 references to fasting, 25 of those link fasting to prayer. Proper fasting magnifies our ability to pray.  —Fasting with Power, Ensign, April 2009

A step toward self-mastery comes when you observe the law of the fast. Fasting fortifies discipline over appetite and helps to protect against later uncontrolled cravings and gnawing habits.  —Russell M. Nelson

I am going to fast, during the month, for myself and for others who suffer.

A Way Back

 


The quote below gives me great hope!  

"There is always a way back. Jesus Christ (and His gospel) is the way. You have not committed any sin so serious that you are beyond the reach of the Savior’s love and atoning grace. 

As you take steps to repent and follow God’s laws, you will begin to feel just how much Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son want you back home with Them! 

They want you to be happy. They will do anything within Their power that does not violate your agency or Their laws to help you come back. 

How I cherish the privilege of feeling Their love for you!"

This statement was made at a BYU Devotional delivered on September 17, 2019.