I’m studying Section 1 in the addiction recovery manual and it talks about HONESTY. One of the things it says is:
…considering the costs of your addiction. You can list what is important to you. Look at your family and social relationships, your relationship to God, your spiritual strength, your ability to help and bless others, your health. Then look for contradictions between what you believe in and hope for and your behavior. Consider how your actions undermine what you value. You can pray that the Lord will help you see yourself and your life as He sees it – with all your divine potential – and what you risk by continuing in your addiction. A recognition of what you lose by indulging in your addiction can help you find the desire to stop.
I could continue copying from the manual…
I think this information is poignant to my progress in overcoming this addiction. My addiction to pornography, lust, masturbation and sex has been something I’ve battled with off and on since I was in 5th or 6th grade.
As I make a list of things that are important to me now, I realize how much I have to lose if my behavior doesn’t change.
What is important to me?
- My membership in the Church
- My relationship with God
- My testimony
- Extended family
- My job & businesses
- Friendships at work
- My health
- My calling
- The young men I work with
- The influence I can potentially have on them for good
- My mission & the people I taught there
How does my addiction undermine what I truly value?
- Becky: as I look at pornography or lust after women, my relationship and closeness with Becky drastically suffers. Not only am I coveting other women, but my attraction to Becky can be flawed. Not only that, but the way I treat Becky can change too: as I’m caught in my addiction I’m generally frustrated and short tempered, easily agitated, and mean. Becky is my best friend, my sweet heart, the perfect fit for me. I’m so blessed to have such an amazing wife, mother to our children – I would never want to damage our relationship more than I already have.
- Caleb: the way I treat Caleb also suffers, for similar reasons noted above. I’m not patient with him; I don’t have the excitement to play with him, and the Spirit is not there to guide me as to how I can best raise Caleb in righteousness. Although he has no idea about my problems with pornography, he can “feel” that something is different.
- Madi: my relationship with Madi suffers for the same reasons. Not only that, but my respect for women overall is affected. The only way I can truly raise my kids in this difficult world is with the help of the Spirit. Any “dabbling” with pornography or lust takes the Spirit right out of our lives; when that’s gone, things are a lot more difficult.
- Chloe: she’s so little. I love her so much and know that NOW is the time, the most important time, that I overcome this addiction with the help of my Heavenly Father, my sponsor, and the addiction recovery program. I’m grateful I’ve committed to making this program an important part of my life.
- My membership in the Church: there are some obvious consequences that can and have come due to this addiction – not being able to bless others, not being able to take the sacrament, temple attendance, exercising my priesthood, fulfilling callings, not being able to be called to serve, not making the necessary progress to achieve one of my overall goals: to serve multiple missions with Becky and my family, not realizing my full spiritual potential and influence due to lack of the Spirit, doing some of these things unworthily, etc.
- My relationship with God: this has suffered the most. Not only do I feel weird praying, but the closeness I’ve felt in the past hasn’t been there for quite some time. It has come and gone from time to time, but my prayers seem to be shallow and not well thought out. Scripture study is one of the ways I’ve felt I can get this back but my CONSISTENCY with the two basic things – personal scripture study and prayer – has been weak at best.
It really helps to write this information out so I can “see” the effects my addiction has on the people and things I care most about.