Wednesday, April 23, 2014

We all have a Hole to fill....the answer is not always quick.

Today I read a blog post and I don't comment much usually but this is a subject I am familiar with. It was speculating the reasons why Utah has a high porn viewing rate/porn internet search rate and its causes especially in our LDS culture. I started writing and had so many thoughts that didn't stop flowing. I thought I would put them here as well so I would remember. I replied with the following:

I write from the perspective of a woman who had her parents divorce from porn addiction. My dad is very unhealthy and still has a porn addiction. I am married to a recovering porn addict after 30 years of addiction. I have a son who has been addicted for past 7 years.So why is it that the very thing I desperately didn't want in my life was what I got?

I was unhealthy myself. I see it as a case of having a hole and we seek out ways to fill it. In LDS culture we usually don't drink to fill it, have extra-marital sex to fill it, or use drugs to fill it, We are at high risk for 2 addictions that are both harmful and fill the hole. Food addictions and porn addictions. I suffered from a binge eating addiction  and married porn addiction. Unhealthy people attracting unhealthy people because we don't see the unhealthiness.

So this last year we have spent in counseling. I have 2 sons in counseling. After many hard days, I look back on my marriage to a porn addict and can say I am a better person, know the power or the atonement, and know my Savior.  I don't have to be a victim, persecute him, or rescue him. I can be authentic to where I am and find happiness regardless of others.

Maybe porn addiction is just the manifestation of unhealthiness we each must overcome in our lives, and that the holes that must be filled with something.They either are filled by the atonement or by some physical appetite. Porn is easily accessible and easily hid. Perfect for the struggling LDS teen boy (or girl) who has a hole to fill and then get hooked on the quick fix.

The rest of the world has more physically acceptable ways to fill holes in their hearts that are available them and they don't care if they use the variety of physical pleasures at their disposal to fill them. Ultimately the end result is still unhappiness and failed relationships.

The key is to talk about it and let go of the control, the pain, the shame, the walls around our hearts, whether we are the one looking at porn or the one with a loved one who looks at porn. The key is to acknowledge that we are unhealthy in our thinking, our desires, out behaviors, and seek help. Any behavior that controls us is an addiction and the same unhealthiness is a result. We pass it to our kids.

I was studying about Jacob and his deception. I read in Exodus about how the 3-4 generation will be affected by sins but many more generations are blessed by righteousness. In the scriptures we read about putting off childish things. The problem is that we don't grow up. We stay in these states because they are hard to see. I love what Lynne Forrest says about the three faces of victims (also known as the drama triangle).

I love this site:

It is very complex to understand how it starts but it is the nature of being in a fallen world that even we have to admit that as LDS people we have NO upper hand on "control" of the flesh or upper hand on "spirituality". What we sometimes don't realize is that "surrender" is really the path to take. Many people who are not "members" find this path as well. We are just blessed with keys of the priesthood, covenants, and increased knowledge to bless our lives. We have no upper-hand on perfection, sinlessness, or goodness as we control or manipulate others or blame others.

The savior never gave into childish behaviors. He was grown-up in every situation. She trusted, had faith, love others, stood up for righteousness, taught others, was compassionate, took care of himself, nourished his spirit, was never a victim or victimized by others. He didn't blame others. I think shame is part of it. Our culture. Our parenting. Our lack of understanding how we shame other by our words and actions. Our lack of ability to love others when we are unhealthy in our own lives. It spreads like wildfire into the lives of our children.

I had to learn about faith and how to build faith and hope in myself. I had lost that in my life. My goals now are to continue to be happy. To help others find faith and hope in themselves.  I never thought I would be able to be happy for any length of time (even as I professed happiness and perfection to my children and others). I can say that most days I wake up and say, "I like me". My husband does the same. We then can be happy together. We can't love others till we love ourselves. To fill in our holes and dismantle the walls that protect our hearts. Then we can lose the shame.Lose the addiction to pornography (or other hole filler).

 Pornography is different for different people. It becomes pornography when it fills our hole. This same holds true for food, sex, drugs, shopping, gambling, video games, prescription drugs, perfectionism, and anything else used to fill the hole in our heart. I just see that we need to have a shift in how we deal with unhealthy hearts. Porn is a quick fix. People tend to want quick fixes. To much work to look inward, to grow-up, and address the brokenness in our hearts.

My greatest desire is to scream from the roof tops. There is hope. Hope for the addict. Hope for the one betrayed. Do whatever it takes. I have faith again. I have hope again. You can to. My husband has hope. My son sees hope in us and he wants to change to. It is slow but possible. We are examples of how to be grown-up to our children and they will then want that in their lives. They are children and it takes years to learn to put off chidish things. It helps to have healthy adults to show them that path.

Overcoming hole fillers? 12 step meetings are NOT enough. It is one tool in the tool box. Professional counseling is a must. Medication may be needed to help heal brain issues (this was huge for me in anxiety and depression treatment) and it needs to be a psychiatrist. Bishops are not counselors and are not trained to be counselors. They are a great resource and should be used for blessings and should hopefully offer love and spiritual guidance. A good network of trusted loved ones are essential. Just don't do it alone on either side. I can say that counseling and medication were the most important tools for me. I was hesitant to go on medication but my counselor said after so many years of struggle with depression/anxiety my brain had changed. It would help to get brain help. I went to a psychiatrist who knew the medications I had tried and didn't work that family doctors had prescribed. Through using all the tools from these resources, I finally feel like ME. A true miracle.

It is so important that we pray, read our scriptures, go to church and temple but they are tools in our toolbox...not the end in themselves.  I beat myself up regularly (called shame) that if I was more spiritual then I would be a better wife, better mother, better....fill in the blank. The problem is that if we are not educated on how to be healthy we will ALWAYS use physical/temporal things to fill in our holes. Shame is no good. We can't be victims (or blame) to society, the church's culture, the TV ads, the movies, the magazines, the internet, etc but until we turn inward to see what is going on inside our mind/body/spirit we will easily fine something to blame or shame. As we heal, we can inspire others on that same path but it is a path each must walk. Some it takes a path of porn to find the path to loving themselves and happiness. That is OK (can't believe I am saying that), if ultimately Porn (or other hole filler) leads to Christ, healing, putting off childish ways, and ultimately happiness.

Wow that is long. Thanks for letting me share. I think I will post these thoughts on my blog as well.
Sue from Texas

Saturday, April 12, 2014


From Fear to Faith by Howard Lyon

I just listened to the following talk by Elder Nelson. What is the status of my faith? What am I doing to increase my faith? How do I go from fear to showing my faith in my daily life. 

Some things Elder Nelson said that stood out to me:

God declared in the first of His Ten Commandments, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”2‍ He also said, “Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.”3‍ Yet so many people look only to their bank balance for peace or to fellow human beings for models to follow...Problems abound in this world because it is populated by imperfect people. Their objectives and desires are heavily influenced by their faith or lack of it. Many put other priorities ahead of God. Some challenge the relevance of religion in modern life...We can gain great knowledge from the scriptures and obtain inspiration through prayers of faith.Doing so will help us as we make daily decisions...In 1986, President Thomas S. Monson said: “Of course we will face fear, experience ridicule, and meet opposition. Let us have the courage to defy the consensus, the courage to stand for principle. Courage, not compromise, brings the smile of God’s approval. … Remember that all men have their fears, but those who face their fears with [faith] have courage as well.”12 ... Day after day, on your path toward your eternal destiny, increase your faith. Proclaim your faith! Let your faith show!13

I was thinking about recently how we had lots of car expenses. l mentioned in a previous post about how my husband resented me because I was the one that purchased the "kid car" but I did communicate with him about it and did not purchase it without our agreeing. I prayed "If it is not thy will we purchase these vehicles please close up the way". So the trials came. We made more decisions which led to even more expenses but I felt peace. I really had faith that God was in our life. He is leading us. My faith in not in my bank balance for peace. For the first time. 

I remember when we had so many financial trials and my thoughts became, "If only I had money then I will be happy". "If only my husband stops looking at pornography....then; If only I lose weight; if only my husband loses weight; if only i pray, read scriptures, better wife, mother, and on and on....." 

A miracle occurred when I turned my financial life to God and surrendered the fear, the resentment toward my husband and his 20,000 dollars he spent and I payed off through working, the pain in my heart regarding money, the control it had on every part of my life....and then what could I that God knows me and is in the details of my life. 

It was a slow process but when these car expenses came (how was I to know the timing belt would break a few weeks after purchasing it and the valve would be bent?) and the peace was still there. I knew my heart had been changed (not that I am not susceptible to becoming a victim again  of money if I cling back to my own strength). So a few nights ago hubby was finishing up the taxes and he said....we are getting $2,000 back. Well that covers our negative that we had on the engine expenses. See hubby we are being blessed. He had done the taxes previously and the file was destroyed. He had to start all over and because of that he looked into our medical expenses more extensively last year which lead to a lot more than previously thought. See the corrupt file turned out to be good, the engine is paid for, and all we have to do is trust in God. Let our faith SHOW! 

This is easier said than done. It is almost impossible to see fear and overcome it in a faith way. It is hard to do alone. To have a bishop and therapist say you have major issues regarding money. To have them say, "it is just paper. God can give you a money tree if he wanted to. You have serious issues regarding money. It is a faith issue. I want money to be about unity. It must balance and you need to agree. Let money be an area of unity." but...but...but you don't understand. Look what he has done for 20 years. "Yes it is understandable why you feel the way you do. You have become a victim". So long story short. If i sacrificed enough money then I would have enough. If I didn't buy clothes for me my husband would see my sacrifice for our family and want to sacrifice. If I didn't spend, go to the store, lived on less, grow a garden to save money (OK I think they cost lots, take lots of time and don't save you that much. A story for another place), cook more, then I will be financially OK. I was a victim to money and my husbands spending. 

Now we sit down each Sunday and try to use money to build unity. It is not perfect but improving. I have money to spend on me. I actually have to let it build for while till I decide what I want to spend it on. I buy more clothes for me. I get my hair done more frequently. I have a faith in my God that in greater than my bank account. Greater than my engines that get ruined, Cars that get in accidents, 2 ER trips in one month, and the list can go on. 

So my next issue I feel very strongly about but don't know exactly how to pursue but in faith is regarding working Saturdays. I work Saturdays and I find that may of the Saturdays I don't work that due to life we have not had much "connection time" together for the previous month. It becomes a famine in our marriage. I feel strongly that I need every weekend off to grow and nourish our marriage. After 20 years, it is time to fall in love. Time to heal deep wounds. Time to learn to talk, laugh, feel, and love. Time to weed our marriage garden. Time to plant flowers, nourish those plants, and keep weeds that sprout pulled. This takes TIME!!!

So what path do I pursue? I have many things that are crossing my mind. I was at work for a meeting and a position is going to come available for 10-6 during the week. I could work one day during the week and have weekends off. I just need to have faith a way will open up for me to get the position if it is His will. Another option, is to work on a Yoga business. I teach for free right now but I could abandon my missionary goals regarding my class and try to grow a business instead. I could try to do both. Keep free classes and charge for others. I could do all the above. Do my class at the church, work my one day, and grow a paid clientele for my Yoga. My husband could get a raise (obviously something that I have no ability to pursue) and I could quit my job and just teach my free yoga class and just nourish our family relationships. I really would be happy with any of these. I just need to proceed in faith because what I do know is that I need every Saturday with my family. I think my next step I will do is talk to my boss about working during the week as a task nurse. This is what I feel would be the logical next step. Please pray that if it the right thing a way will open up. Just writing this down has help me formulate my thoughts in a coherent way that feels good. 

So today is Saturday. I am grateful to be home today. Feel a humility from my husband that I love and not the stressed out man I have had all week who was short, worked lots and home little. I said after writing this. want to go out tonight? Yes, he says. That would be nice. Yes it would...

Full text conference talk I read:

Let Your Faith Show

Dear brothers and sisters, we express our deepest feelings of love and gratitude‍ for you. We are grateful for our assignments among you.
On a recent flight, our pilot announced that we would encounter turbulence during our descent and that all passengers must fasten their seat belts securely. Sure enough, turbulence came. It was really rough. Across the aisle and a couple of rows behind me, a terrified woman panicked. With each frightening drop and jarring bump, she screamed loudly. Her husband tried to comfort her but to no avail. Her hysterical shouts persisted until we passed through that zone of turbulence to a safe landing. During her period of anxiety, I felt sorry for her. Because faith is the antidote for fear, I silently wished that I could have strengthened her faith.
Later, as passengers were leaving the aircraft, this woman’s husband spoke to me. He said, “I’m sorry my wife was so terrified. The only way I could comfort her was to tell her that ‘Elder Nelson is on this flight, so you don’t need to worry.’”
I’m not sure that my presence on that flight should have given her any comfort, but I will say that one of the realities of mortal life is that our faith will be tested and challenged. Sometimes those tests come as we face what appear to be life-and-death encounters. For this frightened woman, a violently rocking plane presented one of those moments when we come face-to-face with the strength of our faith.
When we speak of faith—the faith that can move mountains—we are not speaking of faith in general but of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ can be bolstered as we learn about Him and live our religion. The doctrine of Jesus Christ was designed by the Lord to help us increase our faith. In today’s vernacular, however, the word religion‍ can mean different things to different people.
The word religion‍ literally means “to ligate again” or “to tie back” to God.1‍ The question we might ask ourselves is, are we securely tied to God so that our faith shows, or are we actually tied to something else? For example, I have overheard conversations on Monday mornings about professional athletic games that took place on the preceding Sunday. For some of these avid fans, I have wondered if their “religion” would “tie them back” only to some kind of a bouncing ball.
We might each ask ourselves, where is our faith? Is it in a team? Is it in a brand? Is it in a celebrity? Even the best teams can fail. Celebrities can fade. There is only One in whom your faith is always safe, and that is in the Lord Jesus Christ. And you need to let your faith show!
God declared in the first of His Ten Commandments, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”2‍ He also said, “Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.”3‍ Yet so many people look only to their bank balance for peace or to fellow human beings for models to follow.
Clinicians, academicians, and politicians are often put to a test of faith. In pursuit of their goals, will their religion show or will it be hidden? Are they tied back to God or to man?
I had such a test decades ago when one of my medical faculty colleagues chastised me for failing to separate my professional knowledge from my religious convictions. He demanded that I not combine the two. How could I do that? Truth is truth! It is not divisible, and any part of it cannot be set aside.
Whether truth emerges from a scientific laboratory or through revelation, all truth emanates from God. All truth is part of the gospel of Jesus Christ.4‍ Yet I was being asked to hide my faith. I did not comply with my colleague’s request. I let my faith show!
In all professional endeavors, rigorous standards of accuracy are required. Scholars cherish their freedom of expression. But full freedom cannot be experienced if part of one’s knowledge is ruled “out-of-bounds” by edicts of men.
Spiritual truth cannot be ignored—especially divine commandments. Keeping divine commandments brings blessings, every time! Breaking divine commandments brings a loss of blessings, every time!5
Problems abound in this world because it is populated by imperfect people. Their objectives and desires are heavily influenced by their faith or lack of it. Many put other priorities ahead of God. Some challenge the relevance of religion in modern life. As in every age, so today there are those who mock or decry the free exercise of religion. Some even blame religion for any number of the world’s ills. Admittedly, there have been times when atrocities have been committed in the name of religion. But living the Lord’s pure religion, which means striving to become a true disciple of Jesus Christ, is a way of life and a daily commitment that will provide divine guidance. As you practice your religion, you are exercising your faith. You are letting your faith show.
The Lord knew that His children would need to learn how to find Him. “For strait is the gate,” He said, “and narrow the way that leadeth unto exaltation … , and few there be that find it.”6
The scriptures provide one of the best ways to find our course and stay on it. Scriptural knowledge also provides precious protection. For example, throughout history, infections like “childbirth fever” claimed the lives of many innocent mothers and babies. Yet the Old Testament had the correct principles for the handling of infected patients, written more than 3,000 years ago!7‍ Many people perished because man’s quest for knowledge had failed to heed the word of the Lord!
My dear brothers and sisters, what are we missing in our lives if we are “ever learning, [but] never able to come to the knowledge of the truth”?8‍ We can gain great knowledge from the scriptures and obtain inspiration through prayers of faith.
Doing so will help us as we make daily decisions. Especially when the laws of man are created and enforced, God’s laws must ever be our standard. In dealing with controversial issues, we should first search for God’s guidance.
We should “liken all scriptures unto us for our profit and learning.”9‍ Danger lurks when we try to divide ourselves with expressions such as “my private life” or even “my best behavior.” If one tries to segment his or her life into such separate compartments, one will never rise to the full stature of one’s personal integrity—never to become all that his or her true self could be.
The temptation to be popular may prioritize public opinion above the word of God. Political campaigns and marketing strategies widely employ public opinion polls to shape their plans. Results of those polls are informative. But‍ they could hardly be used as grounds to justify disobedience to God’s commandments! Even if “everyone is doing it,” wrong is never right. Evil, error, and darkness will never be truth, even if popular. A scriptural warning so declares: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness.”10
After World War I, a rather risqué song became popular. In promoting immorality, it vowed that 50 million people cannot be wrong. But in fact, 50 million people can‍ be wrong—totally wrong. Immorality is still immorality in the eyes of God, who one day will judge all of our deeds and desires.11
Contrast the fear and faithlessness so prevalent in the world today with the faith and courage of my dearly beloved daughter Emily, who now lives on the other side of the veil. As mortal life was leaving her cancer-ridden body, she could barely speak. But with a smile on her face, she said to me, “Daddy, don’t worry about me. I know I will be all right!” Emily’s faith was showing—showing brightly—in that tender moment, right when we needed it most.
This beautiful young mother of five had full faith in her Heavenly Father, in His plan, and in the eternal welfare of her family. She was securely tied back to God. She was totally faithful to covenants made with the Lord and with her husband. She loved her children but was at peace, despite her impending separation from them. She had faith in her future, and theirs too, because she had faith in our Heavenly Father and His Son.
In 1986, President Thomas S. Monson said: “Of course we will face fear, experience ridicule, and meet opposition. Let us have the courage to defy the consensus, the courage to stand for principle. Courage, not compromise, brings the smile of God’s approval. … Remember that all men have their fears, but those who face their fears with [faith] have courage as well.”12
President Monson’s counsel is timeless! So I plead with you, my dear brothers and sisters: Day after day, on your path toward your eternal destiny, increase your faith. Proclaim your faith! Let your faith show!13

I pray that you will be securely tied back to God, that His eternal truths will be etched on your heart forever. And I pray that, throughout your life, you will let your faith show! In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.