I’ve been thinking about some of the tools I’ve been using that have helped me in my recovery from my addiction. I want to write about them so I won’t forget.
1. The Atonement!
To some this may be a “duh,” but I wanted to write about how I have been using the Atonement in my recovery.
One of the ways that comes to mind immediately is praying for help before the temptation even comes. A perfect example of this is the other night when we were shopping at the mall. Malls are a classic place, where, in the past, I may “people watch.” What “people watching” is to an addict is lust. And lust is the start of my addiction most of the time.
I first must be aware of where I am and potentially what I’m going to be surrounded by. I then need to think to use the Atonement by saying a prayer, asking for help, and being specific about the kind of help I need – in this case, keeping my chin up (not looking at women from the chin down – ie. objectifying or lust).
Using the Atonement in this way has been probably the most CRUCIAL tool in my recovery.
2. Covenant Eyes
This tool has been helpful for a couple reasons. First, we have the settings set to a level that will warn of any content that is questionable. We’ve also blocked specific sites that I know are triggers: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social networks. Not only has this protected me from “accidentally” going to those sites – which I know is never really the case, but it’s also kept me away from sites that may have content that I didn’t even know about.
Second, this tool has been a great way for my wife to re-establish some level of trust with me. She is the manager over the account and is notified when pages have been blocked. We can then talk about these pages, what happened, why or if I was even there, etc. It’s encouraged me to talk to her BEFORE she sees the report just to let her know I was somewhere and a page got blocked that I wasn’t aware of. She’s also able to see my history which makes me feel good and not worry about hiding things or keeping things secret.
3. Reading Books Together with my Wife
When things first came out about my rock-bottom experiences, I was always scared to do or say anything that may trigger more feelings of pain or sorrow to my wife. One thing that helped us understand one another was reading a few books together about addiction and recovery. One I remember, the first I think, was “Love You, Hate Porn.” Another was “What to do about Me.” Neither of these books was an easy read for either one of us, but they both provided examples that both of us could relate to and gave us hope that there was a light at the end of this dark tunnel. We were also able to talk about things together using similar language that made sense.
4. AEIOUYs at Night
This was a tactic I learned in the “What to do about Me” book.
I=What did I do for me?
O=What did I do for others?
U=Underlying feelings or problems
Y=Yays for today
This is almost like doing a Step 10,11, & 12 each night with my wife. We talk about what we did to maintain abstinence in recovery, we talk about how we exercised that day, what we did for ourselves, what we did for others, what feelings of pain, resentment, anger, or hurt we have, and our yays for the day.
This is a bonding time, a time to connect, it can be a scary time, and it’s a trust building activity.
It’s been a great tool in my recovery.
5. NO SECRETS!
Tool number 4 and number 5 go together. But I am working on taking number 5 a step further. If something has happened that day, could be anything, but something that I don’t feel good about, I don’t wait until the end of the day to talk to my wife about it. Instead, I try to talk to her right away. Tell her how I feel, share my thoughts, whatever. Sometimes this comes as a journal entry. Sometimes I’ll call her, or sometimes I’ll just go out of my office and talk to her in person. But I can’t think of anything I’ve been hiding or am not willing to share with her.
This has been so helpful in recovery. It’s regained some of the trust I lost; it’s kept me practicing Step 1 on an ongoing basis, and it’s helped me be aware of my choices and actions on a continual basis.
I’m grateful for these tools and for recovery from addiction. I look forward to another day in recovery.