I've closed my email and this is my last post before I sign out. Here are a few things I've learned:
I'm not alone.I've received many emails from people I now consider friends, supporting and strengthening me. I've been shocked at just how not alone I am in dealing with this issue of SGA in my life. Thanks for your support and kindness you've all shown me.
The Atonement still applies to me.Even though I've messed up, the Atonement applies to me- and you! I've been addicted to pornography for 15 years now, since I was 14. I've been masturbating most of that time too. (I did take a few breaks from those two addictions though). I have felt alone, lost, and like the biggest heathen on the planet because of my attractions and actions. But, Christ's Atonement applies to me. He died on the cross so that I can live again. And be forgiven. And His Grace fills in all the gaps so that I can be made clean, and changes me.
I'm not a freak case.My experience is not completely unique. Apparently it's common to fool around with friends and cousins at a young age and be introduced that way. It's common to be introduced to pornography during adolescence. It's common to hide my feelings and fears. And apparently it's not uncommon to still get married while feeling this way.
I have underlying needs that need to be met.I have been subconsciously using pornography, masturbation and even my SSA to meet subconscious needs. I don't have time to write much about this right now, but I am working on identifying those needs for myself so I can find a healthier alternative.
I don't have to live my life consumed by pornography.I am confident that by incorporating two things in my life I can overcome that addiction for good and nail the coffin shut. First, through preparing myself every day with the Gospel of Christ. Studying scriptures, meaningful prayers, temple attendance, and attending my church meetings are just a few ways there. Second, I can identify my triggers and develop my plan for overcoming them when the temptations for pornography start coming.
I can still live the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to His standards.I hold a current temple recommend, and I am completely worthy of it. I have been free of addiction and bad habits for 8 months now, and that number is growing all the time. While I may have inappropriate thoughts at times, I still can overcome them and replace them with clean thoughts. I am in control of my actions, and I have decided to follow Christ's plan. I know that it will bring me happiness.
I don't need to be with another guy to be happy.Satan paints that pretty picture in my mind sometimes- me being all happy and "true to myself" with another guy. That thought, however, is becoming more and more revolting. I am happy with my wife. I am happy with my children. I am happy living the Gospel of Christ.
My SGA does not define me.What does define me? Being a Son of God. A father. A husband. But not my SGA. That's temporary. That's going to go away. But these other things? Those ones last.
I close with Ephesians 6:
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,
For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things:
Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts.
Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.