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Falling After Your Mission

I had zero problems with pornography while I was on my mission. I had totally repented and was serving with a clean conscious for the full 18 months. My time in the mission and even the months leading up to my mission were full of scripture studying and proselyting. I was focused and there was nothing that was going to distract me, including pornography.

But then it was time to go home. 
I had really great structure for the first few months. I went to bed and got up at a decent hour, I read my scriptures every day, I said my prayers . . . but it wasn't the same as on my mission, as I'm sure most RM's will attest. 
All of a sudden I could sleep and wake up when I wanted, I could watch TV, I could get on the computer. The possibilities of how I spent my time were endless....
And then it happened . . . I slipped up.

I thought, "How could I let myself do this, especially after the covenants I've made?"

I felt that familiar ache in my chest that feels like someone…

Recovering from Recovery: How I Move Past My Slip-ups

Having slip ups are the worst. And don't I know it. Addiction recovery is hard, especially when you constantly demand perfection of yourself but you keep failing because you are not perfect - no one is. It becomes so discouraging for both the person addicted and his or her loved ones. I've had so many people reach out through this blog and tell me, "I was clean for so long and I just threw it all away because of the slip-up I had the other day" or "I thought I was past the addiction, but it always comes back in the end."

I'd like to remind anyone reading this blog that I do not claim to be a professional. I speak purely from experience and from what I've learned from other people's experiences whether told at conferences, group meetings or through email. That being said, here's small insight into what a slip up is like for me and many that I've spoken with:

You experience an exciting high when you're acting out (aka viewing pornograp…

Made Strong Through My Weakness

When we're in the thick of an addiction, it's not uncommon to make unrealistic expectations for ourselves. When I was in the thick of my addiction, I would say, "That was the last time I'll ever look at porn." I would make it a few days or maybe a couple weeks, and then I'd be over powered and I'd fall. After each fall I would think, "How could I be so stupid? Why am I so weak?" Anger and grief would consume me in this endless cycle of short-term success that led to extreme disappointment and failure. I would often wonder why God wouldn't just take away my addiction, especially if I was doing things I knew I was supposed to be doing, like praying and reading my scriptures regularly.

In the Book of Mormon, there's a story of 2,000 young men who fought to protect their families against a vicious army. In Alma 58:10, it says, "Therefore we did pour out our souls in prayer to God, that he would strengthen us and deliver us out of the ha…

Childhood: Where Dreams Are Created and So Are Addictions

I was 11 years old. School had just let out, and I took a pit stop walking home to enjoy the warm, sunny day. I sat on a swing in the park and out of nowhere, there was a man standing by me. He lit a cigarette and shoved it in my mouth. I coughed a little, but soon I got the hang of it, and I held it in my mouth myself. I wanted more, and lucky for me he had a free never-ending supply.
This story might seem a little far-fetched, but replace cigarette with pornography and it's exactly what happened to me and what's happening to children everywhere. With today's technology and easy access, it's not a question of if your child will see pornography — It's a question of when.
Here's the real version of my story: I was sitting in the comfort and protection of my home. I was on the computer doing my homework. A porn add popped up, and shoved its way into my vision and long-term memory without me ever consenting to see it. I clicked out of it, shocked. But it was enou…

Fighting Addiction: How to Step Up Your Game

Saturday I got to attend the Utah Coalition Against Pornography in Salt Lake City. It was basically this giant convention where we had break-out sessions with different speakers and professionals in the world of addiction recovery and the dangers of pornography. Before the conference, I thought that I understood my addiction. I thought that I knew how it worked, the triggers, and what I had to do to keep from falling. It's vital to know and recognize those things, but long story short, I learned that there is so much more to an addiction than just being addicted, and I had been missing some vital tools and information. 
1. "The only way I got out of my addiction was being open about it." I heard this from many speakers. This means confiding in people you trust. When you hide your addiction or even if you're in recovery and you have a slip-up and you don't tell anyone, that gives power to the addiction. If you're willing to be open about it and honest with th…

Girls Fight it Too

There were so many moments in my life where I felt like I was getting shamed into a corner to hide further and further away from anyone finding out about my addiction. Being addicted to pornography is already taboo, but when you're a girl, it's a whole new level of taboo.
I can't count how many times I sat at an LDS youth fireside or General Conference and heard this phrase: "Now, speaking to the young men, I caution you to stay away from pornography." These leaders who meant so well had no idea the immense confusion and self-loathing that repeatedly bulldozed me into the ground with this simple comment.
Not only was I sinning, but apparently I was sinning in a way that only boys were supposed to sin. I felt like there was something wrong with me, but I had no idea who to turn to for answers. Even years after, as an adult, I finally told my bishop about my addiction, I still wondered if I was the only girl who struggled with this.
In recent years there has been …

Seven Lies from Satan

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When you're going through an addiction, you are experiencing some of the lowest points of your life. You experience thoughts that are much more powerful than just your negative thinking. These are straight-up lies that attacked me on a daily basis from the adversary and once I recognized them as lies, they were much easier to conquer. My hope in sharing this is that you can recognize these lies as ones you've probably had before and then be able to stop them in their tracks. If you're not addicted to pornography, this will give you an idea of what might go through someone's head during their addiction.

Disclaimer: These 7 lies and how I combated them are completely based off of my personal experience. You may have experienced different doubts and may have overcome them in a different way, so basically, this is my acknowledgement of the fact that I'm not an expert, so proceed with an open heart and mind.

1. It's not that bad. There are worse things you could be…