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: http://www.lynneforrest.com/articles/2008/06/the-faces-of-victim/
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