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Fight the Good Fight
Member of LDS church trying to change my bad habits in life I have allowed myself to live with..
Welcome! How can we help? There's a lot to read in these forums, so feel free to look around! Don't be shy in the feeds either - everyone here is really supportive and empathetic to one another. This is a good space to be in on the internet. We are proud of you and your desire to change
I've hear everyone say take it day to day. My question is what are some things you guys have done to help lose the desire to give in when life is stressful at times?
That's a tough question. I've written some stuff in the past in these forums as well as a bunch of people. As a warning, forgive me if I write long passages as it helps me formulate what I'm trying to say. If you want to do a deep dive into the topic, I'd recommend a lot of the posts in the other forums in this group. I really respect what most if not all people on here have to say. It's hard to say what you need definitively because all of us here have slightly different struggles.
As for desire itself, ask yourself why you are trying to quit. Is it for a spouse? To get married? Do you want to feel clean, or be worthy to do things in the church? Are you feeling tired of the guilt and loss of the Spirit in your life? Is it to get closer to the Savior? Whatever you read from below, tie it in with your motive for changing your life.
That said, I'm a bit of a planner and I like to break things down. Whatever you do, Just keep trying. I find that, for me, when I put in the effort, or just keep going despite really discouraging relapses, my desire to quit slowly increases. Below are a few things I try to keep myself strong and to keep pushing forward, mistakes and all:
To start, looking at your addiction and figuring out it's nature is a good start. Knowing your enemies goes a long way to defeating them. Maybe ask yourself:
- How long have you been addicted - how long has it been a habit that has run your life?
- What is the range of your habit? Like is it just old magazine stuff to whether is it hardcore or niche stuff? Do you spend tons of time and money on it? What would you sacrifice to have access - your honesty, your family, work performance, etc.?
- What have you tried to do to quit? What seemed to help? Did you make any gains? What made that attempt fail?
- What are some of the triggers that cause you to fail? Like what other reasons do you look at porn? Release from stress and anxiety? Guilt from other things, or prior use? Feeling naturally "horny" or aroused?
Other things that have helped me:
Seek help from others. Talk to your bishop. Find an accountability partner. I used to do the Addiction Anonymous, or Addiction Recovery Program in the Church - the 12 step program. I moved away from any nearby groups, so it's been trickier trying to implement that. The first step was to acknowledge Honesty: "Admit that you, of yourself, are powerless to overcome your addictions and that your life has become unmanageable." This doesn't mean you can't change that, but it's a good step to realize how this statement fits about your porn use. Getting help is a strength, not a weakness. Call them when you are tempted.
Knowing your triggers, when you have relapses, what is the patterns - helps you avoid the pitfalls whenever you are stressed by something else. For example, knowing you typically relapse after a terrible day once you are alone in your bedroom with your computer should mean you might want to think about other plans than hanging out there on bad days. Or don't surf the web alone at night, at least on bad days. Do something else, like hit the weights, take a long walk in the park, or call family.
I once got great advice with filling in the times I was "bad" or relapsing a lot with something that is "good" or productive in my life. Take that sexual energy and put it to use for something wholesome. Find a project you haven't started but always wish you did. Exercise helps. Cold showers help. People HELP a ton!! Make this a pattern so it happens, stressed or not.
Also, don't forget to pray, read your scriptures, and do your best to do spiritual things in your life. These may not always help in acute moments or right away (prayer does help), but the reservoir you slowly build with spiritual things will eventually raise your default willpower, and you will not sin as much.
For acute temptations, I did the fortifyprogram.org program for a long time. They had this STAR acronym that you can google, basically breathing techniques and self questions that can help you reorient yourself in critical moments.
@rudager1980 , the list goes on. There are so many creative and good things people on this site and in this group do to get closer to our Savior and become free. As you make the effort, mistakes and all, He will help you feel stronger, have a greater desire to break away and come closer to Him. Feel free to ask for specifics on any of these or what people have already written.
Thank you so much for taking the time to write all this..I appreciate the info you have given me..I guess for me it's avoiding times that can be triggers and lots of prayers and scripture reading to help the desire to change be more effective in my life.
No problem! Again, I recommend looking what others have said/written on this LDS group. This is a safe place to be on the internet, or at least this group is!
Maybe tell us how your plan works in a little while. I'm not on here all the time, but telling all us what helped/didn't help you will be good for everyone, old and new!
Hey brother, welcome to the LDS group. You’ve asked the million dollar question! @Phantom Avalanche shared some very good advice and tips. And many others here have too.
I agree with what you’ve written about being aware of the triggers in your life. We each have different things that trigger us. I like to think of it as staying away from the edge of the cliff. Looking back I can see how reckless I’ve been with my freedom. I’d like to think I’m a bit wiser now and hopefully a little more mature too.
Find things to do to stay away from the triggers. I believe this helps show Heavenly Father our commitment to change. And yes, lots of prayers and scripture study is very helpful, in fact it’s essential. I have as one of my scripture study goals to study the teachings of Jesus. I am really enjoying it. I have been pondering a few verses all week, the same verses. I’m not a quantity reader, although I do like to complete reading the Book of Mormon each year. I really like to take my time and be a quality reader. I like to gain understanding of what I’m reading. I like to gain insights. I like to know what others have said about the verses I read. I like to go off on tangents and study additional references to what I reading. I also like to have conversations with Heavenly Father about what I’m reading. Anyways, I’m rambling on. Here, I’ll leave you with a scripture I’m sure you’re familiar with from Alma 31 verse 5.
“And now, as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just—yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them—therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God.”
I can honestly say that if it wasn’t for the truth within the Book of Mormon I’d have a lot more addictions than PMO today and goodness knows where I’d be, or even if I would have made it to the age I am.
Sorry to be the latecomer to the party. I've been away from the site for a while. I agree about knowing your triggers. I'm also a huge fan of journaling. Stuff I've read suggests that pen and paper is perhaps the most valuable way. But I find that logging in here, seeing what people are doing, and writing out my thoughts, feelings, experiences, goals, etc. is very helpful too.
I read somewhere that statistically, getting good advice has a nominal impact on a person's life (there are probably several reasons for this), but that giving good advice has a significant impact. I think that perhaps sometimes telling others what to do is really us telling ourselves what to do. And/Or perhaps, as was mentioned by Phantom Avalanche, writing it out helps clarify the thoughts, and they get reinforced and become more meaningful that way.
In that same vein, I find it helpful to remind myself why I am fighting this fight. Sometimes that is me repeating in my head why. Sometimes that is my typing it out here. Sometimes that is me looking at others' struggles here or elsewhere and saying "yeah, glad that's not me, and I don't ever want it to be!"
I have had some success just changing venues. Our habits are sometimes tied to a place or situation. If we are trying to change our habits, changing our location or situation can make it a little easier. Typically, I struggle the most in the afternoons at work when I am alone. We moved our offices, and being someplace else made it so much easier. I made it over a year without losing a battle, and it was one of the best periods of my live emotionally and spiritually.
A last tip, as others have said, filling your life with really good things can really help. What do you love? When you are tempted, do what you love instead. When I am struggling at work, it is often when I am working on a project I hate. I tell myself I have to get back to work, then I dither and am tempted, or worse I lose the fight and give in. Maybe its a bit irresponsible, but now I tell myself, "as long as you aren't getting any useful work done, you might as well get something cool done." Sometimes that is a cool work-related project, and sometimes it is just a hobby, but it makes me happy, and not losing fights to P&M makes me happier, and more productive. On the balance, I think its a win.
Thanks everyone for commenting and questioning. I needed a pick me up this afternoon, and this helped me.