Sunday, March 13, 2016

Reminder

I had a much needed reminder today at church. It was in reference to Elder Uchtdorf's general conference talk that he gave a few years ago.  Here is the link.
Is There a Point of No Return?

Read this, hopefully you'll benefit from the reminder as well.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

More Truth

This is somewhat of a continuation of my last entry. So again, if you do not care to know details from my past, then just skip this entry.


As I stated in my previous post, I no longer want to be weighed down by the parts of my past that seem to anchor me down. Because of my life experiences, my brain was rewired, so to speak. When a person's brain is rewired at such a young age, their life path changes. It doesn't matter how active in the church I was. It doesn't matter that my family ate dinner together every night. It doesn't matter that my parents did the best they could to protect me. Once it happened, then kept happening, my brain went further & further in a different direction than everyone else.

As I stated in my previous entry, at some point, I began to act out what I taught, by myself. Then it escalated to acting out what I saw in magazines that were accessible. By the age of 13 years old, I was experiencing almost everything that a married couple would experience together.

With sexual & pornography addiction, boundaries change, people are less reserved, when it comes to intimate talk & behavior, & they are more reserved when it comes to typical behavior. I hated physical eduction classes. I didn't want to play sports. I didn't like just hanging out & chatting, because I didn't know what to talk about. All I knew was my secret behaviors.  It was pretty miraculous that I wasn't taken advantage of more than I was because of how weak my boundaries were.

By the age of 19, I was pregnant. I married my current husband & we've raised our family together. I wish that I could say that everything was happily ever after. I've been the most difficult wife I've ever met. My rewired brain picked fights, got angry over dumb things, couldn't communicate what I wanted or needed. I felt like a child a lot of the time in the first 6 or 7 years of our marriage. I went through phases of extreme sexualized behavior, then none at all. My dear husband has endured my addictive personality for 21 years, so far.  It has been very hard for him at times. I can't speak for him, but I know there has been times that he has wanted to walk away.

So let this be a warning, if not anything else. Pornography is POISON. Don't look at, don't act out what you've seen. RUN!! Talk to someone, talk to your Bishop. Talk to your parents. Talk to God. DON'T LOOK. DON'T ENTERTAIN IT.  Just once is TOO MANY times. You are addicted after just once.  There is a drug that is spreading throughout the world. It's is called Krocodil (pronounced crocodile). It is a knock off of heroin. Which means it's a cheap form, which has a horrific side effect. Look at this picture.
Once injected into whatever part of the body that you choose, the flesh and muscle begin to rot away. Look at this picture again. Look at it. This is what pornography & all that sexual addiction entails, does to your heart, your mind & your soul. This is how I've felt on the inside for years & sometimes I still feel this way.  So again, DON'T START!
If you've been introduced to it by others, or if you've been abused in any way, seek help. Like I said before. Go to your Bishop. Go to a counselor at school. Go to your parents if you can. Go to God, pray to Him. He is always there & will put someone in your path to help you. That is what He did for me. I've had so many helpers along my journey. I hope that somehow this is help along your journey.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

TRUTH

DISCLAIMER: in this entry, I will be sharing things from my past. I've been told that by keeping certain things under wraps, I'm living ashamed & I'm poisoning myself. I've wanted to give up and be done with the battle that goes on inside me. So it was suggested that I give up & let go of specific things that seem to haunt me and hold me down, like an anchor, that I mentioned in my previous blog entry. So, I'm going to let go of this specific anchor. 
If you do not wish to see a deeper more personal side of me, then I suggest that you just skip this entry. I only share this because, my hope is that maybe someone, somewhere, reading this will benefit from something that I share. 

As the title of my blog says, this blog is about my journey through addiction recovery, as I go through this journey, I'm realizing that so many other parts of my life are intertwined into my addictions & my recovery. In order for me to recover completely, then I must include everything that lead to the addictive behaviors.
Throughout the 12 steps, we are told to speak the truth, to be honest, to stop denying things and to face the truth, no matter what. Step 1 says to Honestly admit that you are powerless to overcome your addiction and that your life has become unmanageable. Step #4 Says to Tell the Truth by making an HONEST moral inventory of yourself.   There are many scriptures that talk about the Truth.
John 8:32 says:  "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."  So, with those thoughts in mind, I have decided that I must make this post. Take it for what it is. Please no negative comments. If you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all. Here goes.

In Step #1 it says: "Many began this path when barely older than children."  This is absolutely true in my case. I was introduced to sexual behaviors when I was only 4 years old. I was only 4 years old, I didn't understand what was happening at first, but after multiple events, I realized exactly what was happening.
When something like this happens, a person is changed forever. My personal boundaries changed, I became more vulnerable and and easy prey. It didn't stop with that one person. From the time I was a child of 4 years old, to the time I got married at 19 years old, there were 9 seperate perpatrators, that sexually mollested me.  (It took me 5 minutes to finish that sentence). Yes, I said 9.
It doesn't matter how I ended up in their path, or the length or depth of the abuse. What matters is that it happened & once that switch is turned on, in a person, it can never be turned off.
In my case, as I grew older, the things that I was taught to do to others, I began to do to myself. Eventually, I was introduced to acting out what I saw in magazines & it just spiralled from there.
I'm sure that if you have a child, you've seen the movie "Inside Out". If you haven't, you should rent it on Redbox or Netflix. In that movie they talk about "core memories". Because of the events that happened when I was so young, a lot of my real "core memories" weren't happy. They were distorted and negative.
So ever since then, I have seen the world through a different distorted set of glasses. I see the glass half empty. I see the bad side of everything. I've been depressed for as long as I can remember. Then I was diagnosed Bipolar about 10 years ago.
The abuse turned into self-abuse, which turned into an addiction. Then because I knew what I was doing was wrong, I began to hurt myself. I cut myself, I burned myself. Now I fight trying to not  sabotage my positive efforts.
Why would I bring this up, if my blog is about addiction recovery?  Just like I quoted earlier, from step #1, "Many began this path when barely older than children."  In my case, I was a child. Maybe your path started in a similar way. Maybe you will understand my writings more, or you will relate more.
During the entire time that I have been writing this blog, I always tried to share a positive message in every entry. A lot of the times, it has been very difficult to find a positive spin on things. I wasn't faking what I've said before. I've just decided that my blog will be more realistic, I will share the positive & the negative as I go through my journey. I already feel better, being more honest.
I hope that in me sharing what I've just shared, someone will relate. I hope that something I say, will help someone, somewhere.
Allow the truth to come into your heart & mind. I know it's hard. I know how ashamed I was, so I have a small glimpse into your desire to run away or bury all the negative. But just like I said earlier, the more we fight to hide it, the more it will drag you down like a negative anchor and drown you. So, please allow the truth to come out. When trying to heal wounds, you must allow the infection out or it will begin to poison the whole body.
Now is the time to allow the truth to make you free.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Anchors

About 6 years ago, my family & I were attending, my Husbands side of the family, family reunion. We were at a lake, staying in the family cabin. We were enjoying water skiing, swimming, tubing, wake boarding etc. One afternoon, a stranger approached us as we sat in our yard & pointed down towards the water. The lake was low that year, so it was quite a walk to arrive at the waters edge.
The stranger told us that there was a boat anchored down, but it was taking on water. The anchor was tied so tight that as the waves came crashing in, the water went right into the boat & the boat was sinking. She described the boat's color size etc, and that was when my brother-in-law realized it was his boat.
Every man that was available, including my husband, ran or drove down to the water to try & save the sinking boat. After an evaluation, it was determined that the boat had taken on way too much water. They had to manually remove water by the bucket full, until the boat was no longer stuck in the sand below. The process of removing the boat from the water took 5 men, 4 to 5 hours & ended up being a complete loss for my brother-in-law.
   This is not the actual boat, but it gives you a visual idea of what we were dealing with.
It was determined, that at some point, the anchor rope loosened & the boat started to float away in the waves. Someone came by & thought they were helping by retying the boat to the anchor, only they tied the anchor way too tight. When a boat is anchored, there must be a little slack in the rope, so that when the waves do come, the boat just rides the waves, instead of smacking against the waves and possibly taking on water.
   Thinking about this story, I thought about when we are anchored in our addictions, eventually we will end up just like the boat, nearly completely under water & drowning in our addictive behaviors. This is exactly what the adversary wants, he wants us to anchor ourselves to him & the activities that will sink us further and further. I remember those day. I remember feeling like I was drowning, fighting to catch my breath, but not able to because my addictive behaviors demanded to be satisfied.
    But if we properly anchor ourselves in the Gospel, our anchor withstands the storms, but we also have tied ourselves correctly, with just enough slack in the rope to withstand the storms.
This picture will give you an idea of the correct way to anchor a real boat, which in turn helps us to understand the best way to anchor ourselves in the gospel. Notice the rope is not straight down from the boat, so as to give it space to weather the waves. If the rope were straight down, the rope would not give us help when the waves came.
Looking back at this story when my brother-in-laws boat sunk & thinking about addictions; I'm so thankful that I'm no longer drowning and taking on the waters of addiction. I'm so thankful that my boat/my life is anchored in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
If you are still fighting addiction, keep fighting, so long as you are fighting, that means the adversary isn't winning. Go to addiction recovery meetings, go visit with your Bishop, talk with someone in your family or a close friend. By doing these things, your anchor of addiction changes into an anchor in the Gospel and the storms of life are easier to withstand.
Here are several quotes about being anchored in the Gospel.
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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

HOLLAND

I've been praying a lot more lately for help in seeing the glass half full. Well, on Sunday, the Lord sent me a message. It was given to me through a speaker in Sacrament meeting. The topic was enduring to the end. I wasn't absorbing what he was saying very much until he read this. This message was written for parents of children with disabilities. But I think that it applies to a whole lot more than just that. So read it & I will share some thoughts at the end. 

There are many parts of my life that I regret. There are parts of my life that I have felt like I was standing in Holland looking everyone coming & going from Italy, begging to go to Italy. There have been times that I have felt cheated because I didn't get to go to Italy. But this little message, reminded me that there is so much good, actually tons of great things in Holland, that I have overlooked for days, weeks, months & years. I am now trying really hard to find the tulips and see the windmills & enjoy the positives of Holland. 
Look at your life. I'm sure that there are many parts of your version of Holland that you are overlooking. When you see them, Thank The Lord for them.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Internal Battle

I was born and raised in the church. I have held callings. My family & I have never fallen under the "inactive" status of church attendance. On the outside, my family & I come dressed & prepared for our meetings. We fulfill our callings. We pay our tithing, we have family prayer & we try to have family home evening. Just like almost every family, mormon or not, we are busy.
But when I'm alone, driving home from work, or sitting in the bath, or wherever I may be, I don't feel like that good Mormon wife & mother that I try to be. I still feel like the hard core addict, at least I have the past 4 to 5 days. Nothing has happened, I haven't fallen off the wagon, I haven't relapsed or slipped up. I am going through the cycle of my bipolar. It's in these moments that the fog rolls into my mind & nothing positive gets through. I usually avoid blogging when I'm in this frame of mind. I hibernate in my home & hide from the world. But there are days & sometimes weeks that I survive deep inside the fog in my mind. My heart & mind hurts, I recall all the negative things I've done or have been done to me. It's in these times that I want to end it, because I'm so tired of fighting.
My counselor told me to use my coping skills & if that doesn't work, then I should go have myself admitted to the hospital. I don't want to go to the hospital again. I don't want a whole new medication regimen. I don't want to miss another family holiday. So today, I will curl up on the couch, watch a movie & take a nap. Eventually, this should pass.
 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

RUN

Some of you might have heard the saying, "Once an Addict, always an Addict."
To prove this truth, I was on yahoo, reading some news & I saw that a soap opera that I watched from the age of 4 until the time changed when I was a Senior in high school, is celebrating their 50th Anniversary.
The article then showed 50 highlights of the past 50 years. I was immediately drawn in & read through the list & watched the clips. I remembered almost half of the episodes.
As soon as I was done reading the list, I realized how addicted I was & could be again. This is exactly what they mean by the saying. If some sort of addiction from your past, came back, what would you do?
Would you entertain it like I did? Would you jump in head first & not look back? Or would you say, 'yeah I used to know about that once' then walk or run away?
I'm going to run.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Tender Mercy

It's funny how sensitive the Spirit is. One day I can feel great & I feel the spirit, then the next day, it's gone. Sometimes it's gone becaue of choices that I've made, sometimes it's gone because the chemistry in my brain won't allow me to feel the spirit.
Since my previous post, I've continued along the roller coaster of living in a Bipolar Mind. I've talked to people in my support system, I've journaled a lot. I started with a new counselor. I've returned to regular ARP meetings, they just seem to fit me better, so no more spousal & family support meetings, back to the ARP.
My junior year of high school, I decided to join the Swim Team. I loved swimming at our local community center, it wouldn't be much different than that, so I thought. We had practice at 430 am for 2 hours, then we had practice after school for 2 hours as well. I swam for 4 hours every day for almost 4 months. Something didn't feel right anymore, so my parents took me to the doctor. I had punctured my eardrum in my right ear. So I was not allowed to swim. I still came to practice, while the rest of the team swam, I ran the bleachers, I did sit ups, push ups, hopping up & down the bleachers etc. I did that for another 2+ months, with doctor appointment after doctor appointment, I still received the answer of "No you can't swim yet". After my initial injury, I only swam in 2 or 3 more competitions. I was saddened that I didn't finish the way I wanted to, but I did finish.

About a week or so ago, I had rough few days. I was getting up for the day. I had made my bed, straightened up my room & had gotten dressed. I went to grab my watch & glasses & something caught my attention. On the corner shelf where my glasses, my watch & loose jewelry sit, something else sits in the back ground.  I picked it up & dusted it off. My name was etched on the front of it, with the words, "MOST DEDICATED SWIMMER".
While I held the trophy in my hands, I thought of the trials & issues that I had to deal with during that season of swimming. When I was given the trophy, my coach even pointed out to the whole team how dedicated I was even with my ear issue.
Then I stood in my bedroom, I felt the spirit tell me, "see you've done hard things before, you can get through this too. Let this trophy remind you that you will be successful".
I'm very thankful to The Lord for the Tender Mercy of reminding me that I can do hard things.



Sunday, August 2, 2015

Testimony

This last month has not been easy. My internal stability turned quickly into instability. I had to take a break, a long break from life. I think in a way, I'm still on a break. I don't have it all together yet, or maybe it's that I've changed. I'm not sure.
I wish that I could explain or describe this "phase" that I went through; I will just say, I hadn't felt that way in 12+ years.  I am calmer, I don't think that I am loud & obnoxious anymore, but I don't know. I've returned to work & I'm functioning as normally as I can, I guess. Like I said, maybe this break has changed me somewhat.
I knew that Fast Sunday was rolling around & I knew that because of the up's & down's I have experienced this past month, it probably wasn't a good idea to share my testimony, or even speak in a public setting. So I decided that I would not share anything. My goal was to go through the 3 hours doing my best to do as little talking as possible.
There was only about 12 minutes left in my sacrament meeting, then I felt I had to say something. I don't remember all that I said, but the basic jist of what I said was that I'm very human. I've sinned, a lot. I carried my sins around for years not allowing The Lord to take them from me. I've carried the pains of other peoples sins against me around for many many years. Then I got to the point that I would give them to him then take them back again. Then I would think that I am not worthy or allowed to be happy, so I would allow my past to haunt me.
Sometimes I have felt really good & I've functioned well, then there are times that I've been low, sometimes really low. In those low times, it is more difficult for me to feel the spirit. People can tell me that the Lord loves me or that I'm great person & I won't believe them. It takes longer for things of the spirit to sink through & for me to believe those things.
I rambled a little bit, then I said that I didn't mean for sacrament meeting to turn into an A.A. meeting. Then I said that I just wanted to say how thankful I was for Jesus Christ, for allowing me to repent & for atoning for me & for taking away the burdens that I continually try to carry. I was very thankful for The Lord & for Jesus Christ for those things.
At least 10 people came up to me & thanked me for my testimony. I told them that I felt like I was rambling & not sharing my testimony, but I felt I should share.
My Branch President as well as many other people said that they felt the spirit was very strong in our sacrament meeting.
I thought about it & they were right, I felt the spirit slightly stronger than usual. It's funny, at the end of church, when we got home, I was physically drained. An overwhelming amount of the spirit always causes me to sleep. Even now, trying to type this has me feeling tired.
I hope that you got to feel the spirit today, somehow.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Spiritual Strengthening

As I said a few posts ago, I've been going up & down A LOT lately. The past few days I have found small things that have helped me & spiritually strengthened me. 

Here is a link to a short video that helped me. 
Henry B Eyring

I've mentioned this hymn before because I love it. Here's a link from YouTube with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing it. The Lyrics are listed below. 
Mo Tab 

Come, thou Fount of every blessing, 

tune my heart to sing thy grace; 
streams of mercy, never ceasing, 
call for songs of loudest praise. 
Teach me some melodious sonnet, 
sung by flaming tongues above. 
Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it, 
mount of thy redeeming love. 

Here I raise mine Ebenezer; **
hither by thy help I'm come; 
and I hope, by thy good pleasure, 
safely to arrive at home. 
Jesus sought me when a stranger, 
wandering from the fold of God; 
he, to rescue me from danger, 
interposed his precious blood. 

O to grace how great a debtor 
daily I'm constrained to be! 
Let thy goodness, like a fetter,***
bind my wandering heart to thee. 
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, 
prone to leave the God I love; 
here's my heart, O take and seal it, 
seal it for thy courts above. 


**Ebenezer: stone raised by Samuel to commemorate victory over the Philistines 
at Mizpeh; also referred to as a Stone Symbol of The Lord's help in times of trials.

***Fetter: a chain or bond fastened round the ankle; shackle. In the song the person singing to The Lord is asking the Lord to help them be BOUND to The Lord. 

I love this song so much. I've analyzed it over & over again & this song is exactly what I want. 
I want my heart to be TUNED to The Lord.  There have been many times that I have felt extra strength from The Lord, so I have my own versions of an Ebenezer, they are scripture verses, blessings that I've received & hymns, like this one that have reached my spirit & reminded me that The Lord is here for me through all of my trials.  I am prone to wander into worldly things, I am prone to be prideful & walk away from The Lord, it's the "natural" part of me. I would love to be bound like a FETTER to the Lord all the time. The only way I can be bound to Him is through my own efforts, so I must keep my covenants & do my best. 
I hope that my small explanation might help you see & hear this song in a new way. 

Another place that I find spiritual strengthening is reading stories about others that have gone through the Addiction Recovery Program. You can read stories about real people that have struggled in a wide variety of addictions at this link.
Addiction Recovery Stories

I hope that something I share or something that you find in this post or other posts will help you & strengthen you through your recovery process or help you while a family member or a friend is going through addiction recovery.