Day 14 – Step Work
Admit the problem; seek help; attend meetings
When we indulged our addictions, we lied to ourselves and others. But we could not really fool ourselves. We pretended we were fine, full of bravado and excuses, but somewhere deep inside we knew. The Light of Christ continued to remind us. We knew we were sliding down a slippery slope toward greater and greater sorrow. Denying this truth was such hard work that it was a big relief finally to admit that we had a problem. Suddenly, we allowed a tiny opening for hope to slip in. When we chose to admit to ourselves that we had a problem and we became willing to seek support and help, we gave that hope a place to grow. We were then ready to take the next step of attending a recovery meeting.
Participation in a support group or a recovery meeting may not be feasible for everyone. If you cannot attend a recovery meeting, you can still follow each of the steps, with minor modifications, as you work with your bishop or a carefully chosen professional counselor.
When attendance at a recovery meeting is possible, you will find it helpful for at least two reasons. First, at these meetings you will study specific gospel principles that, when applied, will help you change your behavior. President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve taught: “The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior
will improve behavior. Preoccupation with unworthy behavior can lead to unworthy behavior. That is why we stress so forcefully the study of the doctrines of the gospel” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1986, 20; or Ensign, Nov. 1986, 17). Second, these meetings are a place to gather with others seeking recovery and with those who have already taken this path and are living proof of its effectiveness. In recovery meetings you will find understanding, hope, and support?
Are you willing to seek help and support from family members? Who specifically?
Yes, I’ve talked with my parents about the addiction and about how things are going with recovery. I’ve also talked with my wife and we continue to talk about recovery every evening before we go to bed. We’ve been reading books about recovery and we both go to the support meetings and work with a sponsor. I’m grateful to have support from my family as I try to live in recovery one day at a time.
Are you ready to discuss your problem honestly with them?
Yes, I have discussed my problem, especially this time, with both my parents, my in-laws (sort of), and my wife in great detail. I feel their support and love and am grateful I no longer feel I have to hide anything from my family.
Have you discussed your problem with your bishop?
Yes, I’ve met with him a few times and we keep in touch on how things are going, mostly via text. He’s very supportive and has even reached out to me to ask who I’d been meeting with as a professional counselor for addiction recovery. I’m grateful for his support too.
Are you willing to continue to attend meeting regularly?
Yes, I really enjoy the meetings and always look forward to going and sharing with others in our recovery. Because of the meeting, I was able to find the ARP Support process, which I’ve been grateful for. I look forward to being a part of the meetings ongoing.
Which weekly meetings will you attend regularly?
I attend the Thursday at 7:30 p.m. meeting in Springville and have been attending that one for some time. I’ve also been to a Monday at noon meeting for general addiction and also a meeting on Friday’s in Salem at 7:30.
Fill out the “Declaration of Sobriety” document. (Please keep this declaration for future reference.)
Will you begin to report your number of days abstinent in your evening email?
Yes, I’ve been submitting this a little off and on. Today is day 303 in my recovery from my addiction to pornography, masturbation, and lust.
Declaration of Sobriety
A functional definition of pornography would be anything that induces an inappropriate sexual interest for that person. Some images are clearly pornography for anyone. Each person knows in his own heart what is a temptation for him, and that is the true test. We are our own judges (He Restoreth My Soul , 7).
With Dr. Hilton’s “definition” in mind, what will you need to abstain from in order to avoid triggering yourself with the craving to act out?
I really like his definition of pornography. It doesn’t mean a person has to be nude or even partially nude. Anything that “induces an inappropriate sexual interest” is considered pornography. For me, there are a few “weapons of war” that I’ve already buried and I’m willing to bury more as I recognize them:
- And any other social media that invites browsing
- We added Covenant Eyes as a way to filter any site that may be questionable. This service also provides a report to Becky on what I’ve been looking at. This has been very helpful, both in recovery and in complete honesty
- I rarely watch TV anymore.
- I don’t listen to the radio too much either.
- I practice the “chin up” approach – looking at all people from the chin and and practicing this everywhere I go. When I’m tempted to look at someone from the chin down, I try to say a prayer for help and strength.
These are some of the things I’m working on every day. I’m also working the steps of the program with my sponsor and talking to Becky each night. In addition, I’ve been meeting with a professional counselor for the last 3-4 months one time per month.
President George Albert Smith, repeating counsel from his grandfather, once said: “There is a line of demarcation well defined between the Lord’s territory and the devil’s territory. If you will stay on the Lord’s side of the line you will be under his influence and will have no desire to do wrong; but if you cross to the devil’s side of that line one inch you are in the tempter’s power and if he is successful, you will not be able to think or even reason properly because you will have lost the Spirit of the Lord” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith , 191).
Where is YOUR “line of demarcation?”
I would say the best and most distinguishable “line of demarcation” for me is looking at someone from the chin down – lust. If I catch myself falling back into this habit, I need to watch myself and find out what’s going on. I need to recommit to living in recovery and repent.
What does this Prophet of God warn WILL happen when this line is crossed?
I will be in the tempter’s power and if he is successful, I won’t be able to think or even reason properly because I will have lost the Spirit of the Lord. This is so true and is where I’ve been in the past for sure. I’m grateful I’m not there today and I don’t want to be there at all.
How will this affect your recovery process?
It will completely affect my recovery. It will open doors that I don’t want opened. It will muddy the water of recovery. It will cause me to fall into forbidden paths and be lost again. And ultimately, it will cost me my marriage and everything that’s most important to me.
Do you understand that there is no place for this with true recovery, the line must be recognized and respected…or else?
Absolutely I do. I’m grateful that my wife created boundaries and defined clearly both what couldn’t happen anymore (and the consequences) and also what she’d like to see happen in order for me to gain trust back. I’m grateful that I’ve never felt defensive or resentful about these boundaries, but instead I’ve felt grateful and appreciative for her openness with me.
But this much I can tell you, that if ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives, ye must perish. And now, O man, remember, and perish not. (Mosiah 4:30)
What “deeds” must you avoid for sobriety and worthiness?
Looking at people from the chin down. Looking at pornography in any of its forms. Listening to inappropriate music. Reading anything that is suggestive. Browsing on the internet. Unburying my weapons of war. Discontinuing to work the steps, go to meetings, say my personal prayers, or do the AEIOU’s with Becky at night.
What “words” must you avoid for sobriety and worthiness?
Talking about sex or bringing the topic up is not a good idea. Listening to words, like on the radio, that talk about that type of stuff. Being careful what movies I watch.
MOST IMPORTANTLY, what “thoughts” must you shrink from and cast out immediately if you are to achieve lasting sobriety and worthiness?
Any inappropriate thought has to be washed out immediately. I know thoughts will come, especially as I’m still somewhat new in my recovery process. But I have to be willing to pray immediately for help and ask Heavenly Father to forgive me for having those thoughts. I also have to recognize that those thoughts come from the limbic part of my brain, the IT, and that I don’t want those thoughts and can choose to eliminate them right away.
Are you willing to practice and improve in all these areas one day at a time?
Absolutely! I’m happy to say that I’ve been committed to this process of submission for the last 303 days.
Do you clearly understand the necessity of adhering to these guidelines, of your own free will and choice, because of your own desire to do so?
Yes. And I’m grateful that this is my choice and that I don’t feel someone is watching me or monitoring my progress. This is MY CHOICE to recover.
Will you take the responsibility for this and learn to rely on the Lord for success?
Yes, one day at a time. I know that if I think too far ahead, it will make me nervous. But I can handle today for sure and am willing to pray in the moment of temptation.
Date of last “acting out.” This is YOUR sobriety date: February 2, 2014
Inspired changes to boundaries added over time, as the Spirit directs:
(I will add to this for sure as I recognize things that may not be helpful.)
I Nathan Moller, understand that this is a “Declaration” of my commitment to daily abstinence and consistent effort “towards” my complete victory over lust, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ…that these boundaries and guidelines for spiritual safety and progress will be adjusted as I learn and grow, as directed by the Holy Ghost.