This post is part 1 of our series: Overcoming Pornography Addiction.
Today we’re hearing from Brandon of the blog And So I Fight. I stumbled upon this blog several months ago and I’m so glad I did. It’s written by Brandon and Cherae, who are fighting for their marriage and inspiring others along the way as they talk openly about their journey through pornography addiction, infedelity and recovery.
I’m so impressed with Brandon and Cherae, their honesty and their determination. Their blog title is perfect- these two are fighters for sure! I asked Brandon to tell a little about his story, his struggle with pornography addiction and the resources that have helped him to be 15 months sober- congrats Brandon! Tomorrow we’ll be hearing from Cherae. – Celeste
I was exposed to pornography at the age of six. It was something that at a young age put a barb in my chest. The adversary knew that he had planted a seed that might lead me down dark paths. As I grew older and matured some of the thoughts of the things I had seen as a kid became appealing to me. As a young teen the pornography mixed with masturbation became exciting and soon became something that I was constantly seeking to indulge in. I never thought it was a big deal. I had friends that often spoke about pornographic images so I figured that I was normal. If everyone was doing it was it that wrong?
It was when I went on my mission that I realized how strong the draw was to the images and the lusting. Lust is the absolute root of pornography addiction. As I went through my mission in a foreign country the magazines and content were readily available. It was difficult to stay away from the practices that were already ingrained in my behavior. I struggled with the addiction while I was out on my mission.
When I got home things did not change but they only got worse. The internet was up and running and images were available and there was so much content that I could fill hours of time viewing. I struggled with school due to my addiction.
Cherae and I got married in August after being home from my mission for just over a year. After being married for two years I was caught looking at pornographic images. It took a toll on the marriage but I never disclosed everything. I down played everything, which is typical of addicts. I was told to pray and read my scriptures and that everything was going to be ok. That worked for a short amount of time before I found myself in the addiction again.
Everything started going down hill from this point. I started acting out in other ways and saw no end to where I was going. I thought so often that I would just out grow this. I even thought that maybe if I just died somehow that it would all work out in the end.
Fast forward to December 5, 2013. This is the day when I was caught again having viewed pornography. I confessed to the porn but that was all. On December 14, 2013 I wrote my wife an email. Some might say it was a chicken way to confess but there is no way my wife would sit down in front of me and listen to everything. Sending the email was the best thing I could do to get everything in front of her.
It was a bit of a relief to come clean but I knew that once the email was sent that my life as I knew it was over and that I had just lost my family due to my actions. I knew that at that point I had to get help. I knew I was addicted. I knew that I had to give up everything. My employment situation changed, my living situation changed and I was only focused on getting help.
As I started to dive into recovery I was amazed at the resources that were available. They were everywhere. There were more people in these recovery classes than I expected. It was a relief to me to know I was not alone. I went to LifeStar, LDS Addiction Recovery Program (ARP), and Men of Moroni. I read everything I could to get the help I needed. I’d listen to ARP meetings on the Mormon Channel while running and soon found the hope that I had once lacked.
As time continued on I found that the thoughts and lusting was getting easier and easier. By that I mean I found that I could control the thoughts. The thoughts still show up but they are certainly less frequent. Men of Moroni taught me how the adversary attacks me. This has been vital to understand in my recovery. LifeStar taught me so much about the addiction and the group there helped me build my confidence that this addiction can be overcome. ARP teaches me so much. I am now a facilitator at the meetings in Bountiful, Utah on Wednesday night. If you are in the area, they are at 7:30pm at the Viewmont High School seminary building.
I love being in the place I am right now. I am so thankful for my continued recovery. I am now over 15 months sober and see that I can do this for the rest of my life. The most important part of my recovery has been and continues to be step three, turning my life and my will over to the care of Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. As I continue to do so I feel closer to my Savior. I understand that an Atonement has been made for me and for everyone. I am a loved son of God. His grace sustains me each day as I continue to do His will.
Looking back I wish I could have gotten help much earlier than I did. There are so many resources available that can provide help to get out of the addiction. If you are struggling and know you are in a rut that you seem just can’t get out of then start going to meetings. There are 120+ ARP meetings in Davis County, Utah alone on a weekly basis. Find a meeting wherever you are. They are online to be viewed from wherever.
Men of Moroni has meetings weeknights and on weekends as well as online. Going to the first meeting is difficult. The doors feel like they weigh 10,000 lbs. Get inside, open up and work the program. Your recovery will reflect your dedication to the steps. If the message is not clear, help is available but recovery will not take place until the process is completed. Going to meetings in my experience is the only way for this to happen. Meetings=healing and recovery.
For the spouse, I am sure that Cherae will elaborate on this, but go to meetings. Getting into group settings will help with the trauma. See a therapist. (Maurice Harker is awesome and would be my recommendation for anyone in the area), but go see someone who understands about pornography addiction. If the therapist starts justifying anything in favor of the addict then it would be advised to see another therapist.
Hope and healing can come but it will not be easy. Cherae still has hard days and had a major trigger today. I understand that she will be in pain for a long long time and that I need to be patient with her because I have caused the trauma she faces each day.
Reach out. Call someone, tell them what is going on. Pornography addiction should not be swept under the rug. It is difficult but open up and find others who are going through the same situation. You might be surprised when you find out your neighbor is going through the same thing. Know that this horrible addiction can be overcome. The betrayal trauma can also be relived.
Help is out there. Go open the doors to recovery.