I was first exposed to soft-core porn when I was 11 years old at my cousin’s house. Less than a year later I had my first run in with the hardcore stuff at a friend’s house during a sleepover. And just like that I was hooked. I told my dad during the drive home, but we didn’t do anything about it. So I spent the next few years trying to get my fix every few months, whenever I could. At 14 I started hanging out with Mr. M. I started to spiral after that. I lost at least once a week from that time on, with maybe a month of sobriety during my best time. During my senior year of high school I had lost all of my progress. I read Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and I knew exactly what was going on in his head. I was afraid that I was turning into a real life version of them. So in March of 2009 I went to LDS Family Services to look for help, and they told me about this group called Sons of Helaman. So I decided it was worth a shot, because they said that group therapy helped guys break addictions faster.
I spent a little less than the next two years hovering at one to two weeks of success (at a complete maximum), followed by crashing and burning. Each week was a struggle, and there were a lot of times I felt like giving up entirely. But I knew that there were things that I couldn’t get if I gave up. A mission, a marriage to an awesome woman, a successful life. I couldn’t have those if I gave up. So even if I lost, I wouldn’t give up. One thing I always held onto was the fact that I was stubborn, and I would never give up.
Things finally started to change for me when I started reporting my days to a good friend. I took things one day at a time, and promised myself that I would make it so I wouldn’t have to let her down or tell her I failed. So everyday it was to make it to the end of the day. After that I went 7 weeks, 10 weeks, and now going on 15 weeks. I’ve gotten my mission call and I finally have control over my life. I feel like I can do anything that I really put my mind to now! It is a night and day difference.
It was also interesting that the time I most wanted to give up was after I failed at 10 weeks. I worried that I would never be rid of this. Maybe I could find some non-LDS girl to marry, and live an alright life as an addict. The thing that kept me from throwing in the towel at that moment was the thought, “How ungrateful would you be to the Savior if after all this progress, you gave up?” I remembered it was the Savior who had really been giving me the strength, and the change of heart necessary to win. So I recommitted myself then to keep fighting.
You are probably reading this thinking, “Well, that’s great for him. But my situation is different. I’m worse off than anyone else, and if people could really see what’s going on, they’d see how screwed up I am.” I know. I was there. I used to think that this was part of who I was, that I was a horrible person. But I’m not, and neither are you. We’re like a ball of gold that was dropped into a bucket of oil. Are we dirty and slimy right now? Yes. But are we still gold underneath that? Definitely. Satan wants you to forget how good you really are, and how much good you can do. You have great things in store for you. God is your perfect father. He sees you as infinitely worthwhile, and he wants you to be happy. Give your life over to Him and He will make sure that you turn out to be the best person you can.