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Friday, February 12, 2016

My Story

I used to think to myself that I would carry this secret to the judgment seat of God. No one would ever know. And now here I am putting it on the internet for all my friends, family, and people I don't know to see.

My name is Cassy Hulse and I have fought an addiction to pornography since I was 11 years old.

I was in 6th grade when it first started. I had been exposed to pornographic images various times throughout my younger years, but that year was the first time I sat at a computer and looked for it. I think it was mostly curiosity at first, but before I knew it, I was viewing it every chance I got. I knew when I first started looking at porn, that it was something that I probably shouldn't be looking at. I had heard about pornography, but it didn't dawn on me that I was actually looking at pornography until it got to the point where I couldn't stop looking at it.

Back in 2003, when the addiction started, it was much easier to find actual pornography than it was to find addiction help for pornography. The only time I heard about pornography was at church, and it was always geared towards the boys. I felt completely lost in my addiction and was too scared and embarrassed to tell anyone or ask for help. Not only did I feel dirty, but I felt weird, because apparently only boys were supposed to struggle with porn (I'll definitely be talking more about this in a later post).

The years after that were a roller coaster. All through my middle school and high school years, while trying to understand who I was and where I fit in the world, I battled an addiction all on my own. Not a single soul knew.

Religion played a big part in my wanting to overcome the addiction. I was taught that sexual relations outside of marriage is a sin (which I still firmly believe that is true) so I rationalized, "Well, I'm not actually doing anything with anyone, so it's fine." Every scripture and every church talk (sermon) that I read both pierced me with guilt and also meant nothing as I rationalized and justified my behavior. I tried to do what I thought was right and I tried to stop, but I often easily gave into the desire and need to view pornography. There were many days when I would diligently study scriptures in the morning but then view porn at night.

Overcoming the addiction was a lot like falling into a giant hole. For many years, I felt like there was a giant barrier on top of that hole that blocked out any light or any person from getting in. Eventually, after many attempts at quitting the addiction, failing, giving up, trying again, it literally came down to taking one day at a time. Little by little, I started to see cracks in the barrier. Over time, as I learned more about the gospel of Jesus Christ and the enabling power of His Atonement, I was finally able to understand how to be changed and that I couldn't do it on my own. The barrier was cracking, but I needed help lifting it off. Reaching out to my bishop helped me start that process.

The past 5 years have given me a greater perspective and a better handle on my addiction. I no longer consider myself addicted, although I will always have an addiction to pornography. Sometimes I slip up, but now I know how to move past it, and learn from the mistakes.

I tell my story for one purpose: There is someone who needs to hear it. Someone who is fighting an addiction and is losing hope. Someone who doesn't know how to help a friend or family member who is struggling with it. I'm here to tell you that there is hope. I know, because I found that hope, and I'm here to share it with anyone who needs it.

Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments at battletogether16@gmail.com

17 comments:

  1. I am so proud of you for not only being strong enough to share this but for also being strong enough to reach out and work to handle your addiction. You are an amazing woman and I am so grateful that God brought you into our lives. I love you so very much and I am extremely proud to be your aunt. Please remember that you are never alone and that I am here for you in any way I can be...no judgement, only love! Again, I love you so very, very much!

    BreSha

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    1. Thanks BreSha! I'm super grateful to have so much love and support and that was really important for me while I was going through the addiction. I'm glad I've over come it now though, so I can help others who are still facing it :) Love you!

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  2. You are amazing! You are courageous, brave, and strong. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Thanks Irene! I really appreciate it :)

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  3. I just love you honey. You know I've always been proud of you and I always will

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  4. You dont know me. But your story has impacted me. I appreciate your honesty. Your courage to stand and be a light for others is appreciated. I will share this with other moms of ternagers. WE MUST HELP ALL OUT YOUTH WITH YJIS BATTLE! Thank you

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    1. Thank you so much for your support! The more people who know this story, the better. We need to arm everyone with this so we can beat this plague together!

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  5. You dont know me. But your story has impacted me. I appreciate your honesty. Your courage to stand and be a light for others is appreciated. I will share this with other moms of ternagers. WE MUST HELP ALL OUT YOUTH WITH YJIS BATTLE! Thank you

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  6. Cassie, you are amazing! And I love you. Thank you for sharing your story. People really need to band together! I have been pondering how to protect my family against pornography, and I think that this is an important part. Sharing our struggles, building each other up. We could fight back more if pornography were less of a taboo subject. Way to go!

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  8. I can't think of a better way to come out of the dark and free yourself. Good for you. The battle against pornography addiction is a very difficult one and once you're addicted the battle never ends. I have been there myself. When I was young it was not easily accessible but it was there. When I got home from my mission it seemed like everyone had the internet and it was everywhere and just at your finger tips. It seems like the longer you can keep yourself from it the easier it is to stay away. I have never told anyone outside of my mission president and Bishop and I have never felt the need to tell anyone else until now. I support you and your cause. Sorry I'm not a girl. :) Keep fighting the good fight.

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    1. Thanks so much! Good luck to you and it's ok that you're not a girl, we all gotta support each other haha.

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  9. Having just gone public with my story last month, I know the courage it takes to do so. You are a blessing to those that will embrace what you can share with them! Thank you for your bravery!

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