Tuesday, March 26, 2013

36 Things: 34

34. Publish guest postings on porn and sexual addiction.

See: Guest Posts On Pornography and Sexual Addiction

I had reservations about using my blog to publish guest posts about these topics, first because I wasn't sure myself how I felt about them (and the wide slinging definition of the term "addiction") and I wasn't sure how my audience would receive them. In the span of the series I had to take many walks around the block to remind myself why I wanted to do this "thing" in the first place.

I wanted education.

And I was educated.

For the first time ever, in my four years of mothering, I would read the guest posts and feel a deep sense of protection for my children. I suddenly felt like a "lioness at the gate" mother, ready to stand solidly against tactics aimed to hurt my children. In the weeks of publishing those stories I finally became in touch with the side of motherhood I felt I've lacked so far--the warrior mother.

Now, hooray for that.

But also, it was devastating in a way. It meant my easy life of denial and fantasy started to melt away. My eyes started to see the affects of addiction. How lasting and long and painful addiction can be for loved ones. This education was a bitter pill, hard to look at, hurtful to swallow. I learned to see addiction the way John Bradshaw defines it, "An addiction is a pathological relationship with any mood-altering experience that has life-damaging consequences." Addictions can be behavior, emotions or chemical relationships. Addiction is how we medicate our loneliness and we all have them.

Including me.

And that's how I found myself in my church's 12 Step Addiction Recovery Program. First to heal myself from the chaos and havoc found in loving people with addictions and second, to come to terms with my own addiction (anger) and face it with recovery and sobriety and of course, God.

(I'm doing pretty well with that by the way, learning to stop the obsessive thoughts anger fires my way. Not that my ideas are wrong, or my pain isn't justified, it's learning to stop thinking I have no option but to FEEL ANGRY. I am learning I have a lot of options when I see wrongs--I have a voice, to begin with...)

I am so grateful for those who came forward with stories--not only for the ones I published but the ones I read privately. I think we have much more to express as it pertains to our addictions. Yours, mine, ours. Thank you for inspiring me to become better, even if it's requiring some hard looks at my core.

So that's where thing 34 took me--reading piles of books and discovering new light and feeling better in little increments. I'm feeling a little less control and little more compassion for myself. It's slow, but good. God is good. God is so good to me.

What did you think of the series?


26 comments:

House of Tong said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tiff said...

I completely loved this series. It was utterly heartbreaking to read, but it opened my heart to understanding so much about the problems with pornography.

And it scared me. In the most productive way that fear can possibly work, I knew that I did not want porn in my boys' futures. (I have five boys!!) The statistics seem stacked against me, but I am empowered with knowledge now too. My sons have their agency, but my husband and I are working hard to not only establish rules and filters and so on to keep this stuff out of our home, we are also trying to have open communication and lots of listening so that if anything does arise, they will (hopefully) feel comfortable coming to us. If there was one thing this series taught me, it is that porn likes to hide in the dark.

My 13 year old son was doing a google search for an origami model the other day and the link redirected to a porn site. He was on my phone and he closed out of it immediately, but he could have left it at that. Instead he came to me and told me in trembling voice what he had seen. It was so hard and embarrassing for him, and he cried like his heart was broken. Because of what I've been reading in this series, though, I was so much better equipped to deal with the situation. I told him he was not ruined for having seen those images. I told him that he is growing up in a world where they are everywhere, and like it or not, he is going to see them sometimes. The trick is to get away from them as fast as possible. And then tell someone. I told him I was so proud that he told me about it. It was hard, but he did it.

The thing about telling somebody, even when it's embarrassing, even when you weren't seeking anything out, is that it sheds light on what happened. And darkness has a hard time staying where there is light.

Thank you again-a million times-for posting this series and shedding a little light.

House of Tong said...

12 Steps is a great thing. Been using since I was a teen to help with my anger issues (and, i still do). It's a lifelong awkward awesome process and Im happy for you yo. I wish more people were open to it as I feel the world could use more healing.

Anywho, I love that you empower others!! xoxo

Natasha said...

I thought the series was heartbreaking, powerful, educational, sad and hopeful. In others words, completely necessary.

Thank you for being brave enough to host it and thank you to all the writers for being courageous enough to share their stories.

Rachel Staves said...

The series was wonderful. Thank you. It helped me to not feel alone. It helped me to heal from my experiences of dealing with a loved one and his struggles. The answer to my prayer was to walk away from him (one of the hardest things I have ever done), but I still carried the pain for years. It wasn't until recently that I was able to truly set myself free, with the help of my great husband who helped me to climb out from that dark place in my heart, who listened to my stories and helped me to forgive and learn.

Mare said...

I too am addicted to anger, and your pointing it out has been so eye-opening for me!!

I liked the series (though often sad to read), but I missed your posts!

Shauna said...

LOVED IT!! I wish you would post more!! Maybe once a month??

Shauna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
T said...

I love these series. They educate and promote understanding. You never know the silent stuggles that may be happening to the people around you. Thanks for hosting them!

Shawna Faye said...

It was a great series, and something that needed to addressed. I think there is so much taboo surrounding the problem that it never even gets talked about outside of stern conference addresses.

colbyjay said...

Your series needed to happen. So many blogs written by people in our culture sugar-coat their lives and when discussing trials, choose to focus on the spontaneous trials or "acts of nature" that are sprung upon their victims, through no actions of their own. The lessons we can learn from these people are valuable and helpful, as all of us will experience these hardships at some time or another.

But some of the deepest, most painful trials are ones that come as a consequence of choices and human frailty. These are the experiences that, I fear, are often glossed over or submerged. There seems to be a sort of echelon in our culture of trials. The ones that are random and undeserved seem to garner more sympathy and attention from bystanders, than those that are brought on by choices. Notice I don't say mistakes or poor choices, because I believe all choices are the reason we are on this earth- to learn and grow. How can a choice be labeled a mistake if someone learns great life lessons that fine-tune and improve their character?

But I digress- The consequences of an addiction or other choice, are all the more painful because one is dealing with the shame, guilt and regret that comes along with the devastation of its said consequences. And because very few people who are suffering through these trials receive much sympathy or support, it makes them all the more isolating.

Hopefully your series can help us all understand that people who are caught up in addiction need just as much sympathy as those suffering from the illness of a child, an accident, etc. At the end of the day, I don't believe God makes a dichtomy of suffering- that's a human thing. And it's a human err in my opinion.

We are only here to love each other through whatever suffering we are enduring, free of judgements and categories. And hopefully we can accept that although we may not suffer from some of the brutal consequences that come from choices, we should render all the love and concern in the world, only because we have felt that same suffering ourselves.

Beth Benson said...

it was eye opening to read it from so many different perspectives. It affects more than I had realized and in more ways.

Cailey Boren said...

It was so eye opening to read each day. It made me realize how many amazing people have such terrible addictions and want more than anything to be free of them. The devil and his powers are real, but God and his powers are ten fold. Makes me want to be that much more compassionate & careful with my own life.

Margo Lister said...

12 steps can be applied to anything. I wish eveyone would see the value in that.

Awee said...

I would love a follow up series on talking to our kids and how to protect them. I have done a ton of research and would help out if you are interested. I have 4 boys and a husband (who is a recovering addict).

Laura said...

i found it sometimes hard to read, especially one after another. i needed to break it up with some less heavy stuff at times. and often left feeling icky and sad. a month of articles was a little intense for me personally, but i appreciate your courage in bringing forward a topic often left in the dark and putting a human face on something that so dehumanizing.

Ryann said...

Thank you thank you thank you. You are brave and wonderful and I think of being with a dear friend when I read your posts. I just read Awee's comment and would love for someone who's researched a lot to share what they've found. I have four sons and one daughter, and I'm convinced we all need both education and protection. Pornography scares me a lot and I want to be courageous and compassionate instead of fearful.

kristy said...

The best educations I have received to date. Your blog has been an answer to prayer multiple times. Thanks for being so honest and open.

kristy said...

Best education and sources I have received to date. Your blog has been an answer to prayer multiple times. Thanks so much for being real, honest, and open.

Thora said...

I appreciated reading it - it was hard, and led to lots of conversations with my husband (who always can tell what I've been reading about on the internet by what issues I'm dying to discuss with him...), but it was a good hard. I learned more about addiction, and addiction recovery than I have ever known, as well as a better understanding of the atonement - and our own limitations as people. A whole month at a time was a heavy dosage - sometimes I would walk away for days, and then come back and read more than one post at once, but I'm greatful that you posted them.

Charity Suzuki said...

I wasn't crazy about the series. It could be the broad definition of addiction wasn't addressed enough for me.

I was often left wondering if I would label the person as an addict vs the author's definition. But maybe that's not up to me to judge.

I do like stories of hope and resilience though just for some reason this wasn't my cup of tea.

LDS OCD Blogger said...

I think we all could use the 12 steps. I'm sure that there are many folks in the Church that feel uncomfortable with the idea of addiction but we are all tied in somehow to addictive behaviours such as food, media or approval (notably all non-alcoholic / drug related).

Alice Wills Gold said...

I am well aware of the church's 12 step program. I used to facilitate at the meetings, but found that because they didn't focus on my end of the spectrum: codependency, they didn't help me as much as the support group I attended at the methodist church in TN. It's funny, I haven't read your blog in a while, but a while back I pegged you as one of me. Great series. Proud of your bravery.

S Meaders said...

Enlightening. Strong. Heartbreaking. Hopeful. Good.

janel said...

I loved it. Thank you for helping us all grow as we mourned with the writers, and recommitted ourselves to resist temptations and find strength to pull our trials for those we love.

Hope Sparrow said...

My husband and I attend the 12 steps meetings together and I can't express enough the power in each of the steps. If you want to draw closer to the Savior, the 12 steps will get you there and change your life.

Everyone in the meeting bear testimony of the steps working in their life. It's beautiful! I can't tell you how amazing and uplifting those meetings are...you have to see it for yourself.

Thanks CJane for the series! It brought some great women over to the Hope and Healing LDS forum. They are now getting the support they need, because you shared your voice.