Dealing with online addictions, we at Saavi, hear stories of hope and recovery from people of all backgrounds and beliefs. This is the story of one individual who had a problem with addiction and found tools to help him recover. I hope his story inspires you, to move forward with your recovery. Saavi, is not affiliated with the LDS Church or any other organization, but we wanted to share this story of personal transformation and triumph. If you have a story to share, contact me at gregd at saaviaccounability.com. This is one man’s journey, towards healing and accountability.
One Man’s Journey…
Let me tell you a bit about my journey. To start off, I am a Latter Day Saint (Mormon) Bishop, living in a state other than Utah. I am in my 5th year as Bishop, and it has been a wonderful blessing in my life. Many assume that having a responsibility in the church such as this protects you from temptation and sin…not so.
It is your personal commitment to righteousness that keeps you from sin. I have dealt with sexual addiction as a part of my life since junior high. While I did all the things outwardly that were expected of me such as serving a two year mission for the church and marriage in the Temple, I did as all addicts do, I buried my secret life from my leaders, my wife and family. My life was a lie.
Then one day, I realized that my seemingly happy marriage of 25 years failing. While we were there for each other physically, there was no emotional intimacy. No oneness. I was not the same person on the inside that all of my friends and fellow church members saw on the outside and it was making me sick. My lack of communication and true intimacy with my wife had forced a wedge between us that was growing wider by the day. Not knowing what to do, and wanting desperately to save my marriage, I came clean about my double life.
The ensuing weeks and even months were the hardest ever. We fought weekly about small and meaningless things as I started to attend an addiction recovery group in the area that was sponsored by the church, and started educating myself regarding the addiction. I found some great blogs and podcasts such as those found at www.porntopurity.com. I read all the suggested readings by Patrick Carnes and others. I even flew to San Antonio with my wife to meet Don Hilton and his wife. He is the author of “He Restoreth my Soul” …a fantastic book about the addiction.
Through it all, we have grown closer. My wife was finally able to let go of the anger she felt toward me and my addiction. I didn’t blame her for the way she felt, as I fully expected her to leave me. We started praying together more….started observing date night faithfully. I’m learning slowly how to be a better husband, and we are making the emotional connection with each other that had been missing for years. I no longer live my life in a fantasy world. As difficult as the real world is to deal with some times, I fight through it because I have been blessed to have people in my life who love me.
The Atonement is real…..in spite of all of the “mechanics” of recovery, it is the Lord who does all of the real work, in our hearts and in our lives. The details of my addiction are mine to keep. Suffice it to say that I was in deep with pornography of nearly every kind. My appetite for it grew daily until the day I came clean.
I had about 40-50 days of sobriety behind me when I came to my local church leader (Stake President) and discussed the addiction with him. I was prepared for the worst, as was my family. I had reached a point where I didn’t care what the outcome was; I just needed to be clean. My Stake President is a wonderful, spiritual man who, luckily for me understands addictions. He has a family member who attends AA meeting regularly and is in recovery from alcohol. He took about 2-3 weeks to make a decision, but decided to allow me to continue serving as Bishop. He said that he didn’t know if he was doing the right thing, but had a strong impression that I would be able to help people with their own addictions by staying Bishop.
I can tell you that my understanding and appreciation for the Atonement has grown immensely because of my experiences. I feel like I am a stronger and more empathetic Bishop because of my personal struggles. My wife and I have been in conversation with the Stake President to allow us to start a support group here in our stake come summer time. In all likelihood, I will be released by then.
I have served as Bishop now for nearly 5 years. I’m not saying that everyone in my position should be allowed to continue in their service….I don’t know that if our roles were reversed that I would have made a similar decision. In my work at church with fellow addicts, I have made them aware of my own struggles on a “need to know” basis. Outside of a few close friends and former counselors, nobody knows of my exact problems. The ward is aware that their Bishop is human, and has been through the refiner’s fire this past year, as I have alluded to it in my testimony repeatedly.
I would like to thank groups like Saavi Accountability and Porn to Purity for providing resources to assist those struggling with addiction.
I’m grateful for understanding friends, church leaders and a wife who are able to see beyond my addiction and continue to love me unconditionally.
To read more from this author check out his blog at Click here
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