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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Being Bullied



 This was my report I submitted for an assignment I had in a class at school to "expand our comfort zone."

Once again I didn’t end up doing the comfort zone assignment I had planned. Instead I ended up deciding to do something on the spot, because it was out of my comfort zone. I was in the Tanner building late Thursday night. It was about 10pm. I needed a place to sing for homework we had in university choral. At this time of night however, the doors to the rooms were locked and I couldn’t find anywhere private to sing. It was late and I needed to get to bed soon. I didn’t want to have to pack up and go and try to find a place to sing at another building. I wanted to just sing right there in the hallway of the tanner building. But immediately I shunned the idea. There weren’t a lot of people around, and this hallway was separated from the main part of the tanner building by a doorway. But there had been some people who had moseyed through the hall. I am not a professional singer by any means and didn’t feel comfortable singing out in the open where others could hear me. Especially since I was going to be using headphones in order to hear the recordings better, which would make singing out loud more awkward.
But it hit me that this was something out of my comfort zone, and that I could do this for my comfort zone assignment. So I sat down in the hall way and started practicing singing the Haitian Noel piece. Once I started practicing the fear of how others would perceive me went away. Well, it didn’t go away completely. I still thought about how others might be hearing me, but for the most part I didn’t seem to care anymore-focusing on doing my assignment instead.
To explain why this was meaningful for me I will need to share a little background information. I was made fun of from Elementary school all the way to my freshman year at BYU. In Junior High I was severely bullied by those that I hung out with. I look back now wondering why I didn’t try to make new friends, but we were all in the same “advanced” classes and they were the only people I knew. It was complicated because they never rejected me in terms of not wanting to hang out with me. I hung out with them, but often conversations turned, or jabs were made, at my expense. One time, in jest, they picked me up and put me in a trash can. In High School the guys on my Water Polo team constantly made fun of me. Even our JV coach treated me poorly-he was a young guy who had graduated from high school just a few years before. And some of the guys in my freshman dorm hall harassed me with prank calls over the course of the year. During the calls they made fun of me.
Over the 14 years I have struggled with a number of personal issues. About three years ago I started to experience severe depression as a result. While meeting with a therapist, I discovered that the issues stemmed from the “trauma” of being bullied while was growing up. I learned that throughout the years I had suppressing the anger I had towards the people who made fun of me, and the embarrassing experiences I had with them. Of course I never knew at the time that I was suppressing them.
This comfort zone assignment was meaningful for me because it gave me practice to not care about how other’s perceive me, or what they think about me. It was while meeting with my therapist that I realized how much I constantly think about how other’s perceive me. It is something that I want to change, and am slowly starting to do so. But it is going to take a long time to recover, discover my self-worth, and stop participating in unhealthy coping patterns and behaviors.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The discouragement/depression after relapse

I'm posting because I need to share what I'm feeling. Perhaps it will help someone understand what it is like for those addicted to pornography/masturbation/sex (sexual addiction).

After 5 days of sobriety, on day 6 I relapsed. I started the 90 day program (arpsupport.org) which was helping a lot. It helped me to choose against the impulsive/habitual masturbation and pornography viewing I've been doing daily. But when a Lust Craving came, I went for it. I didn't reach out to anyone. The desire was so strong.

In looking back at what I could have done I wonder, "How can I stop doing something that I want!?" Or I should say "want in the moment."

An insight that came was, in those moments not wanting to act out just because it is "wrong" won't be a strong enough reason to stop. I have to want to stop for ME. I have to want to stop because it is in my best interest. Basically I have to have a stronger desire to NOT WANT TO act out despite the cravings as opposed to "resisting." Because you can't resist something you want so strongly.

How can I get to this point where I can, in the moment, remember that pornography, noncommittal making out, masturbation, and any other form of lust does not serve me well? This is a question I must ponder.

I'm going to add more to this about the discouragement I am feeling right now at a later time, but going to publish it for now.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

You know you are an addict when...

It is the last day of finals, you have two finals left to take, and you spend an hour and ten minutes in the school library's bathroom masturbating.

Not a good feeling afterwards. Feel really lousy (wasted time, relapsing again…etc.)

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Close call on Day 3 of sobriety

Just had a close call. I wasn't being productive in getting homework done, studying, nor doing any of the priorities I've set aside for myself (mentioned in previous post). I had spent a lot of time trying to get a tutor for one of my classes, which was fine, however after that I didn't get right to the priorities. I wasn't just wasting time, I actually was doing some good things that I will need to do eventually, but the problem is I wasn't doing the things that needed to be done first. I was procrastinating. And its when I'm procrastinating that I am often triggered. I had the temptation to look at pornography while here in the library on campus. I chose not to however. However, I as I prepared to get on homework I had to use the restroom.
It was while I was in the restroom I had the close call. I was very tempted to masturbate. My thoughts started to wander on the borders of fantasizing. And I started to have what Patrick Carnes Phd called "delusional thinking," where I started thinking about how I could find a girl to hook up with later tonight and do immoral acts with her…it's kind of like wishful thinking, but when in that moment you believe its totally possible and will happen. You may be asking, "well couldn't you hook up with a girl?" and the answer is yes, but finding that kind of girl(because I don't know any personally) would be more difficult than I make it while in that delusional state.

I prayed for help, and the good news is help came. As I started to fantasize in my head, which usually leads to acting out there in the bathroom, I suddenly thought, "and what happens after this?" (thinking of what would actually happen if I were to carry out the fantasy). The next thought was, "nothing. this random girl would go her separate way and so would I. There would be no happiness, only sadness and despair." I then after a moment of hesitation got up from the toilet and after washing my hands leave the bathroom.

This is significant because it is not very often that when I start fantasizing I can see reality. Usually reality is impaired and all that matters is that moment and that moment only. I am grateful to my Father and Heaven for allowing my mind to see past the fog/mists of the adversary.

2 Good Days of disciplined decisions

The past two days have been great recovery wise. I am grateful for the principle I learned in my religion class here at BYU. The principle taught by Elder Oaks: to fill the role of we have been given, instead of trying to shrink the role(calling, job, recovery, etc) to be convenient to our circumstances.

I had been putting school before recovery. I often didn't go to meetings because I still had homework to be done, or a test to study for. I had to sit back and look at what my priorities were. What is more important, getting an A or B in a class, or recovering back to a healthy life of confidence, peace, and manageability? Besides, the reasons I often didn't have homework done were effects of addictive behavior.

So I decided to put recovery before school. I made a list of priorities: Morning and evening prayer, daily scripture study, daily work of the 12 steps, 12 step recovery meeting attendance(haven't specified how many days a week I want to be part of that commitment yet), bed before 11pm(critical for me), no TV, and no social media sites(i'm addicted to these and it wastes a lot of time.) I then made a checklist out of these. The checklist is not an ends in of itself though, which was very important for me to learn. The checklist is merely a way to chart my progress of "becoming." Becoming a more disciplined person and becoming more like Christ. Each disciplined decision I make brings me that much closer to becoming a disciplined person.

My last 3 days look like this:

*Note: The "no byu articles" is referring to BYU football and basketball articles. There are a couple of website that list a ton of news articles about BYU sports etc. every day and once I start reading one article I read them all.

Friday, May 30, 2014

There IS such a thing as sexual addiction. Those who don't agree are simply ignorant.

(NOTE: the term sexual addiction is an all encompassing term for any addiction of sexual nature. Including but not limited to: Sex, pornography, masturbation, voyeurism, exhibitionism, beastiality, phone sex, Skype sex, prostitution, and many others.)

Consider the following:

"Addiction has been a divisive term when applied to various compulsive sexual behaviors (CSBs), including obsessive use of pornography. Despite a growing acceptance of the existence of natural or process addictions based on an increased understanding of the function of the mesolimbic dopaminergic reward systems, there has been a reticence to label CSBs as potentially addictive. While pathological gambling (PG) and obesity have received greater attention in functional and behavioral studies, evidence increasingly supports the description of CSBs as an addiction. This evidence is multifaceted and is based on an evolving understanding of the role of the neuronal receptor in addiction-related neuroplasticity, supported by the historical behavioral perspective. This addictive effect may be amplified by the accelerated novelty and the ‘supranormal stimulus’ (a phrase coined by Nikolaas Tinbergen) factor afforded by Internet pornography." - Donald L. Hilton Jr., MD 
Department of Neurosurgery, The University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio, USA


Sexual addiction is as real as any other addiction. In fact it is arguably more addicting than most narcotics except probably for drugs with the addictive caliber of Heroin. I have heard multiple addicts share in 12 step meetings that they were able to quite drugs on their own, but they just cannot for the life of them stop their sexual addiction on their own. They say they need additional help from the 12 steps and from God- which is the core of Alcoholics Anonymous and all the other 12 step programs.

The knowledge of sex being an addiction has been known for many many years. But knowledge of it isn't as commonplace as it is about drug and alcohol addiction. However, the knowledge of sexual addiction is growing rapidly. Sexaholics anonymous started back in the 80's. There are several other Sexual Addiction 12 step recovery programs as well.

There are sexual rehab addictions throughout the United States. Believe me, I researched them and ended up going to one myself.

But most importantly I know that sexual addiction is the real deal because I live it. I cannot even begin to explain it. Only other addicts, regardless of the addiction, would understand. I have even paid over 40,000 dollars to go to rehab(which helped me to discover so many things and change in SO many ways, but unfortunately fell back to old habits and patterns once i went back to school).

I don't know how to describe it…acting out sexually through pornography, masturbation, phone sex etc. despite always feeling depressed afterwards. Despite going to meetings for the purpose of helping me not to do those things, despite hurting those I love, and despite other life obligations like school. Staying up all night until 6am scrolling through TV channels trying to find sexual content suitable to satisfy my lust. Then sleeping in and missing class when I should be studying for a test I need to take tomorrow…

Its like every day I jump into a pool of sharks(for the rush) despite knowing I will lose a limb like I always do every time I jump into the pool. Who in there right mind would jump into a pool of sharks knowing they will lose their other arm or leg, as they have previously??? I ask you who in their right mind would do such a thing?
NO ONE. No one IN THEIR RIGHT MIND would. And that is EXACTLY the problem. Step 2 of Alcoholics Anonymous states, "Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity." Addiction is insanity. What people do to get their "fix" regardless of the consequences is the definition of insanity. I am currently living it, and my life is completely unmanageable.

So the next time you hear someone say that Sexual addiction isn't real, or that pornography isn't addicting, send them my way. I'd gladly give them my addiction to educate them.

Links:

  1. Sexaholics Anonymous
  2. Sexhelp.com (Website of Patrick Carnes who is considered the leading expert in sexual addiction)
  3. Overcomingpornography.org (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints webpage for helping those with sexual addiction)
  4. "He Restoreth My Soul-a guide to overcoming the chemical and spiritual bonds of pornography addiction by Neurosurgeon Donald L. Hilton Jr.







Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Victory

Intro

Recently I started recording "victories." Times when I was either severely tempted, or the opportunity was there, to "act out." (note: "acting out" is synonymous with "using" in the way alcoholics and drug addicts use it)
So recently I started recording these victories to remind myself of progress. It is very easy to focus on the negative and become severely depressed with each slip or relapse.

I am going to try posting my victories on here and see how I feel about it. Whether I continue doing it here, or go back to writing it down personally I don't know.

One of the hardest parts about sexual addiction is that you have access to your drug 24/7. Perhaps not access to every means of acting out, but a sexual addict always has the 2 most basic forms of acting out-their thoughts and themselves.
Unlike drugs, one does not have to leave the house and find a dealer to "use" sexually. Lust can hit you at any moment and the you can lust with your thoughts anywhere, and for however long, you want. And no one knows. Also, the sexual addict is only one closed door away from being able to act out sexually with him/herself (yes their are female pornography/sex addicts).

The Victory

So on to the victory I just had. I was in the restroom, which for me has been one of, if not the biggest, challenges during the struggle with addiction. I was in the restroom and had strong urges to masturbate. I really wanted to, but I was able to focus on "the pain" (remembering how i felt in the past after acting out-in this case yesterday). I was able to think of the pain and also focus on how I want to be able to attend the Temple when one of my best friends gets married soon. I was also listening to some spiritual music-efy music for those who are familiar with EFY). This helped a lot. I was able to get out of the bathroom without acting out.