Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The Longest 6 Months of My Life

A reader friend reminded me I hadn't written or checked in on my blog for a while, so here goes...

I'm doing ok; not super fantastic and not down in the dumps. Just ok. Summer has come and gone and I enjoyed it as much as I could have. Now it's time to start preparing for fall (cozy!) and the winter ahead. However, instead of packing on weight for my winter hibernation I'm hoping to get a grip w/ my sweets and carb binges and lose a few before the holidays. Oy vey. If it's not one thing it's another. A long time ago I wrote about addictions, vices, habits, etc. are like fire dancers. No matter how hard I try to juggle them all, I inevitably always let one fall to the ground. But do I throw the rest on the ground and walk away? No, I pick it up and try and keep juggling.

One big thing that happened was I met w/ my Bishop and Stake President in early July and all of us including my wife wrote letters to the First Presidency as part of my application to have my temple, priesthood, sealing, etc. blessings restored. I waited for 7-8 weeks and then finally got an answer; though it wasn't what I wanted. But I knew that was going to be what it was. I've let myself slip a little too much in order to be completely 100% crystal clear ready for those blessings to be restored to me. I knew deep inside the Lord knew that I wasn't quite ready for all of that yet. And it's ok! Though I've been refined in lots of ways, I still need some more refining. A little more finish needs to be added.

Needless to say I was at peace w/ the answer. And my wife was too. Yes, we're frustrated and sad and irritated, but I have no one to be upset or angry with but myself. I'm the one who makes the choice in the end to get a little too comfy and close to other men, or view porn, or masturbate. I'm the one who chooses to live my life the way I do and give in to my comfortable vices. I know what I need to do in order to finish this race the right way.

3 things need to change in order for me to achieve my goal of having my temple blessings restored:

1- My relationship w/ my guy needs to be cooled waaaaaay down;

2- No more porn;

3- No more jerking off (sigh).

My wife, Bishop, Stake Pres and myself all sat down together 2 weeks ago and discussed the letter and my game plan for going forward. The letter said I could resubmit my application in 6 months time and to get my porn vices in check. Spot on. The Lord knows just where I need to be refined. Even before our meeting, I knew what I needed to do. I told everyone right there I will NOT look at porn and I will NOT masturbate for 6 months in order to get my blessings restored. We're talking mid to late February. I told them it's so easy to set that goal, but come 4 or 5 days or 3 weeks down the road and I have a slow day at work or a trigger or a magnificent boner that just won't go away and screams for attention, it's going to be HELL!

Did I tell my Bishop or Stake President just how close my guy and I have become? No. But I know the Lord knows my heart and what he and I have done and where I'm currently at and where I'm headed. Course correction! My guy and I have talked in length about the absolute boundaries we must adhere to and we WILL adhere to them. Otherwise, I'm afraid we'll need to cut each other loose, which neither of us want to do or really need to do. We can control ourselves and keep our little factories in our shorts. Good hell, we're grown men w/ strong testimonies and fighting spirits. We can do this! No, we haven't had sex, if you were wondering. Well, not "technically", but can I say I've kept my covenant of having no sexual relations outside my marriage? No I can't, and it's bullshit! It's bullshit that I let my defenses down and allowed myself to get as close and lusty as I have, especially in regards to where I've been and how far I've come. But no matter! He and I are putting that shit behind us (as hard as it is!) and moving onward and upward. I will not let my SSA-lust dictate the course of my life or my future. I would rather die than give up the good fight. So just know even though I screw up now and again, I'm still fighting like a lion (or bear) ;)

Sometimes in the afternoons I'll look at some porn and jerk off to give myself a little pick me up. It's not exactly the worst thing I could do, I know, but it damages my spirit and makes me feel like poo and distances me from Heavenly Father and Christ and all things warm and light and righteous. It needs to stop. And it has. And it will.

The jerking off part is going to be the biggest challenge for me in this whole deal. Is it really realistic for me to say I won't play tug-of-war with my best friend for 6 months??!! That's a long-ass time! And no, no, no... I do NOT believe it's THAT big of a deal in the end (masturbation). We all do it. We all struggle with it, or have at one time or another. Most men living on the earth today and those men who have lived on the earth since the dawn of time have played w/ themselves. It's our (men's) lot in life. Granted, it needs to be controlled and for most of us it takes our entire lives to learn to master our natural man lusts and tendencies and pleasures. Our drive for sex is our God-given and born instinct and God knows how much I love it. A little too much. Obviously. But do I love slapping the ham more than I love having my wife and children sealed to me for eternity? Do I love choking my chicken more than having the Priesthood and giving blessing to those in need, especially to my children and wife? Do I love spanking the monkey more than worthily and purely serving in the temple and having ALL the blessings Heavenly Father desires for me (that I had at one time!)? That remains to be seen. I'm in to my no porn, no masturbation, and no playtime w/ my friends commitment only a little over a week and that bastard Satan is throwing every single firey dart he can at me. Grrrrr.

Anyhow, that's where I'm at. Basically I have my goal in mind and know what I need to do or not do. I know the Lord and others beyond the veil are on my side as is my family and friends. But to completely give up something on the alter that is absolutely woven in to the very fabric of my life and I love so very much is tough as nails. So if you wonder what I'm doing or where I'm at these next 6 months, I'll be here, just sitting on my hands or slapping my thighs with a ruler.


Monday, July 23, 2018

Iced Tea, Mormon Culture, and the Color Gray

Doesn't the guilt and confusion that comes w/ the territory of being a Mormon sometimes really weigh you down? It does me! A lot! And by weigh down I mean depress and confuse and cause mighty anxiety. There is so much gray area and opportunity for personal interpretation and interpolation. If there's been no official clarification or declaration on things, then what is one to do? Listen to the Spirit? That's great for people who can access spiritual promptings as easy as tuning into a radio station. But for me it's difficult to get an answer or have a surety that the answer that comes is from the Spirit. Maybe it's coming from another Spirit that's fooling me or maybe it's coming from my own effed up brain w/o any supernatural interference whatsoever!

Consider the Word of Wisdom for example. There is so much gray here and people LOVE to glean what they'd like and then tout their interpolation of such things as 'scripture' and God's stance on the matter as revealed through them. Aren't we supposed to take the black and white face value wording of what is prescribed in D&C 89 and then do or do not according to what is written using interpolation by our own dictates with a little peppering of what past apostles and prophets have said about such matters here and there? That's super great and all, but what about those blasted gray areas!? What about those things the prophets and apostles have been silent about or have never given us some clarification and direction of (not just WofW related)!? Then what do we do? Consider the whole cola drinks hullabaloo! WTF was that all about and where did it originally come from!? How about eating meat and the Keto/Atkins meat and fat craze going on w/ no regard to what it says in the WofW. Yet no official doctrine or stance has been mentioned about those gluttonous meat lovers. It's funny what some justify to be ok or not ok in regards to living the gospel and look down their noses at other people who are living the gospel according to their own dictates and consciences. Seems sticky.

According to my own dictates, the Word of Wisdom was designed to keep us free from addiction, poverty, abuse, poor health, selfishness, wastefulness and wantonness. Per my understanding of the WofW, alcohol in any form when taken internally (wine, beer, liquor) = bad news as well as tobacco in any form when taken internally (smoke, chew) = bad news. Am I correct here? Killing animals for sport = not good nor is eating too much meat. Am I correct? Grains, oatmeal, herbs, fruits, etc, when used properly, are good, right? Even barley drinks, when not fermented to become alcoholic, are ok, right? So what about tea and coffee? The original WofW says hot drinks are not good and apostles and prophets have since said hot drinks = tea and coffee. Does that mean cold tea and coffee are bad as well? But the WofW says "hot drinks" and the prophets and apostles didn't say anything about iced tea or coffee.

I'm wondering, what is it about tea and coffee that are bad and why has God 'told us' to stay away from them? B/c they are typically served hot? Is is their addictive tendency? And/or is it b/c of their chemical make up and affect on the body? All of those items may be the reason, but I believe the heat of the drink in and of itself is where the commandment originally sprang from. Served piping hot, tea and coffee are not good for the body, but I do NOT believe that drinking boiling hot water whether in hot chocolate or sugary Tang or any other form is good either! Yet, most self-righteous Mormons are totally ok w/ them and other such drinks b/c they aren't spelled out in black and white or fall under the 'tea and coffee' revelatory verbiage. Can you see how that's totally effed up or am I just picking hairs and looking for a way to justify my sinful behaviors?

I believe (interpolate) it's more than just the tea and coffee thing as Mormon culture has come to group think. I believe all hot drinks come to play here. That's the whole hot drinks ball of wax, folks. To be frank, I drink yerba máte every morning and I know in the back of my mind I am not keeping the Lord's Word of Wisdom as prescribed b/c, A) máte is a form of tea; B) I drink it boiling hot and that CAN'T be good on my mouth, tongue, throat or gut; and C) I need my máte every morning, not as a caffeine thing, but more of a routine and comfort thing to start my day and get my guts moving. That is what the Spirit says to ME. I am dependent on my máte every morning just as much as I am dependent on my Diet Cokes throughout the day. Again, I don't drink Diet Coke a caffeine thing, but as a comfort and contentment thing. In a nutshell, I would be really, REALLY shaken if either my máte or Diet Cokes were suddenly taken away from me. So what makes me any better than the guy who comes home and drinks a beer or two a night? Or why is the person who doesn't drink any form of tea or coffee and strictly eats meat at every meal better and more holy than I am?

And guess what else? Sometimes I drink iced tea and I don't really feel bad about it. Am I justifying my behaviors and picking and choosing what I will/will not do or obey? When and if I'm ever able to go back to the temple, will I feel ok entering the house of the Lord knowing that the Lord knows I drink máte every morning, Diet Coke every night, and that I eat meat at some point every day and every once in a while I may order an iced tea w/ my BBQ rib basket? Should I pass on taking the sacrament this next Sunday? I'm not being facetious here (ok, maybe a little). But can you see how weird and difficult it all it?

As a man who loves his wife and children and has a testimony of the true gospel of Christ and wants to serve God but who also deals with same sex attraction and lust issues, I've had an excruciatingly difficult time knowing and deciding for myself (whether by the Spirit, another Spirit, or my own brain) what is ok and what is not ok in regards to living my life w/ these attractions and keeping the balance in these gay areas of my life. I pray for Heavenly Father to help me know what to do/do not but I struggle knowing if I'm in the clear w/ these things or justifying my behaviors. When do I need to go in and spill my guts to a priesthood authority about what I've done and what should I just keep to myself and work out in my own way knowing that God knows all and he knows my struggles and knows my heart's desire? There are some things a straight man in priesthood leadership in the church will never know or understand! They see things as black and white face value according to what is written in the church handbook and that is that! No interpolation or interpretation or divine revelation through apostles/prophets there. Especially when it comes to all things gay aside from just keeping our pants zipped up.

Being Mormons, we are sometimes raised in environments of a lot of guilt and shame surrounding basic principles of humanity and earth life experiences! We have been given some basic scripture and doctrine and interpretation and interpolation on these things: sexuality, masturbation, Word of Wisdom issues, expectations, chastity, pride, 'perfectness', fulfilling responsibilities, duties, obligations, callings, assignments, etc. etc. etc. in connection w/ church membership and feeling like we're "OK" as faithful and worthy Latter-Day Saints and that we're going to make it. But where is God and the Spirit in all of this? How do I truly know if I'm doing ok? When I feel poopy about something I've done or not doing is that coming from the Spirit or someone else? Are these feelings something that was instilled in me since my childhood or adolescence and part of Mormon culture or group think? Am I dreaming it all up in my own brain? Is Satan implanting these thoughts and feelings in me disguised as an angel of light? Am I doomed to forever wander and wonder if I'm going to make it and my Heavenly Father is happy w/ me and my progress and where I'm at currently at despite my horrendous load and when compared to where I've been and what I've done?

Sigh. Guilt, shame, sin, worthiness, justification, vindication....it's most definitely a difficult journey to navigate and make sense of in this life. Sometimes I feel like I'm going out of my mind! But one thing's for sure: some things in the world and especially in the gospel are inherently and truly wrong and right, black and white. But some things are just gray, and to make matters worse there's a helluva lot of shades of gray!



Thursday, May 31, 2018

Misty Water-Colored Memories


It's been a rather nostalgic and melancholy day for me today. Perhaps it's the weather. It's been an awfully rainy spring in Idaho and for someone whose moods are really affected by the weather, it's not very bueno. Rainy days = despondency. On days like today but during autumn, I look forward to porcupine meatballs for dinner or caramel corn with a horror movie and it makes me feel cozy and desirous to tuck down in a hot bubble bath or in my electric blanket. But more often than not days like today make me feel wistful and blue.

Today I've been thinking a lot about the people who have come and gone from my life. Just like the old adage says: "Some people stay for a reason, season, or a lifetime." Thanks (but no thanks) to the electronic age we live in, it's easy to search for old friends and acquaintances via Facebook and take a quick glimpse into their world anonymously w/o having to actually connect w/ them again. As a former sex addict, I've had unusually more people come and go from my life in addition to just regular contacts I've met via work, school, neighborhoods, church, etc. It's sad to surf through these profiles of old ghosts from my past and trigger bad feelings and along with heavy waves of embarrassment or shame or jealousy or hurt which pang my heart and soul. I've hurt a lot of people; and a lot of people have hurt me. Some of these people probably don't even know I remember them or things we did and shared together or that I still think of them and am curious enough about them that I've looked them up.  But there they are...in living (still) color! Would they feel flattered? Nervous? Pompous? Sad? I wonder if I'm remembered or thought about fondly or painfully by these people or if even at all? Do I bring up feelings of resentment or rejection or hurt or jealousy in them as some do me?

Memories...ick. Ghosts from my past...ick. People, places, mistakes, experiences...ick. Sometimes it all makes me feel like I'm talking a bath in dirty water to even think of them. But all of these people and memories and experiences, good and bad, past and present have helped shape me into the man I am today. Some people I miss and wish I still had contact with or even some kind of a relationship. With others I'm glad to have them long gone! Hasta luego! Some I'm supremely jealous of. Others I'm appalled at. And still others I wish would just blink out of existence and out of my memories altogether. 

So, that's where my mind has been at today. Despite me being content w/ where I'm at and the choices I've made to fight for what I want and who I want to be, I still struggle w/ negative feelings of hurt and isolation and jealousy in regards to my past and the people who haunt it. To those I've perhaps unintentionally hurt: I apologize and ask for your forgiveness. To those I've intentionally hurt: perhaps you deserved it and/or perhaps I was just stupid. To those who unintentionally hurt me: I'm trying to understand and make peace with it as best I can, so I forgive you. To those who intentionally hurt me: screw you! And to those who continue to frost me by being gorgeous, healthy, popular, successful, and "happy" and who have snubbed me time after time in the past, I say poo on you! I don't need you or want you to share in my life.

"The Path of Life" - Amanda Carrington     

People come and people go;
Some pass by, some touch your soul.
Some teach you lessons good and bad;
Some make you smile, some make you sad.

Some will stay and never leave.
Some will go for those we grieve.
Some will give us memories dear.
Some will fill our dreams with fear.

All these people play a role;
They'll break you down or make you whole.
From kids at school till late in life,
These people fill our days and nights.

Life's ever changing kaleidascope;
Names and faces, love and hope;
People came from far and wide,
Individually walking by our side.

To those who played a role in mine
I thank you for your precious time.
May your life's journey be complete
With positive people still to meet.


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

New Warrior Training Adventure

I recently returned from staffing another Mankind Project’s ‘New Warrior Training Adventure’ (NWTA) in the wild wilderness of Wyoming. It was my second such staffing and, as I knew before I left, it didn’t disappoint! I came away feeling refreshed, empowered, energized, focused and determined. I am so thankful for this organization and how much it has helped me find the gold inside myself that I couldn’t see or recognize before. Years upon years of loneliness and isolation and addiction and shame had completed dulled my spirit and almost caused me to snuff out the flame altogether. But a series of random events and people over the past few years have caused me to finally start taking action on improving myself and coming to terms w/ who I am and, (stealing a line from “Clueless” here), do a makeover on my soul. The NWTA has been one of those events that has helped me reclaim myself, my integrity, and my manhood.
I had lunch w/ a friend today and our conversation made me reflect back over the past few years and how much progress I have made in so many areas of my life. Yes, I’m still into guys and yes, I'm still in love w/ my penis. That will never change. But what has changed is my acceptance of these things and my sexuality and awareness and self worth as a man, even a bi, Mormon, married man, which was kind of stolen from me by the assholes I went to school with and then later, addiction and my feelings of self loathing and shame.
Even though I still struggle w/ occasional feelings of inadequacy and intimidation when I compare myself to other men, I feel much more confident and self assured and brave. I recognize when I'm having those negative and shaming thoughts and feelings of myself and I confront them head on! I am able to stand strong in the company of other ‘masculine’ men and not feel like a fairy or faggot or fear an imagined or real judgment they may have of me. I no longer fear being vulnerable in the company of others or fear what others may think, say, or do. As you, reader, are aware, I’ve lived a pretty scary and hard secret life. I was drowning in that darkness of shame and fear for years. But now, I don’t feel those icky feeling as much anymore. I’m one of those people, who for whatever reason, needed to taste the bitter in order to know the sweet and to experience darkness in order to recognize the light and where it comes from.
The Mankind Project as well as other good friends, groups, experiences, and organizations has helped me see other men and the masculine in a healthy new light and be secure in my own masculinity. It has helped me recognize my strengths and abilities and to also see where I may fall short and need some additional work. It has connected me w/ other men who have a completely different and elevated view of masculinity and manhood which is far greater and deeper than any our current messed-up misogynistic toxic American male culture does. These men help me live the best version of myself. They have helped me find and recognize the gold within and challenge me to continue to step into my fears and be a true man. That's a wonderful feeling!


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

This Is Me

Today at work I had a co-worker, who is also a dear friend, ask me if I could chat for a bit with him. We secluded ourselves and he told me he and a bunch of other co-workers (you know who you are) had recently discovered my blog and they were concerned w/ my well-being, spiritual and otherwise. I was totally taken aback. It was one of those ice-water down your neck experiences, you know? Especially since the co-workers who discovered and read it are some of the nicest and purest and genuine people I know and now they know all of these terrible things about me! My past, my triggers, my struggles, my trials, my thoughts, my demons, etc. have all been suddenly exposed w/o my control, consult, or consent. On one hand, I'm embarrassed and shamed as hell. After all, who likes having all their most shameful, disgusting mistakes and sins dragged out into the light especially when I've tried really hard to paint a good-guy image and wear this clean-cut facade to the best of my ability over the years? But on the other hand, I need to own this shit. It's me. It's who I am and where I've been. Granted, I'm hoping my past doesn't become my future and I'm working very hard to make it not become such! But in the end, it's me. I've had a very difficult life and have made dozens upon dozens of mistakes and my challenges and trials are extreme. However, I think I've come a long way over the years and have made significant progress in figuring out who I am, what I want, where I'm going, what I believe, and how to manage this trial and challenge God has given me in this life.

You have to know it's terribly scary and makes me feel very vulnerable and embarrassed to have my anonymity stripped from me, especially among those I work with and esteem as good friends and good people. I'm sorry for dragging you, though unintentionally, into my pit of despair and shame. I pray you can look past my ickiness and continue to see me for the good guy you've come to know and the good I have in me.

So, there it is. Now you know. And I know you know. And you know that I know that you know.
And the beat goes on.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Welcome to Loserville! Population: Me

Yesterday I wrote about how heavily I've been tempted lately to view porn and jerk off. I mentioned perhaps it's b/c it's springtime and it's the call of the wild. Fueling it are my triggers of boredom and stagnancy at work and in life and my insecurities. Another thing that dawned on me this morning that may be fueling my desire to escape into addiction are my feelings of inadequacy, worthlessness and mediocrity.

When I got to work this morning I opened my news feed and began reading about Martin Luther King Jr and his assassination which was 50 years ago today. I took note that MLK was 39 years old when he was assassinated. I am currently 38. My thoughts and feelings immediately began churning and rolling and crashing as I compared myself and my life's achievements (or lack thereof) to his and some of the other great people in history who did so much good in their short lives and who left such powerful marks on history: Christ, Princess Diana, Eva Perón, Martin Luther King, Amelia Earhart, Rudolph Valentino, Mozart, JFK, and the loads and loads of singers, song and music writers and composers, politicians, and actors. All of them achieved so much in such a short life and were obviously important enough that they made it into our history books, public conscience, and Wikipedia pages!

So I sit back and think, what in the hell have I done in comparison to them? What mark have I made in the world? What will I be remembered for? How has my existence on this planet influenced or changed it for the better?

And my heart gets heavy because I realize the frightening and cutting truth: nothing.

I have a basic job at a small marketing company in cold and windy Eastern Idaho where I have lived all of my life and where I'll probably die. I have no political or community influence. I don't have a wow-ey "professional" job or one that pays big bucks. I'm not a lawyer, doctor, professor, leader, politician, executive or anyone of any importance or status at all. At my current job, while I do have 10 years of longevity and experience in my pocket, I still have no cool title, no voice, no influence, no power, and no hope of any future growth or progression. My musical talents, while I recognize I do have some, are still middle-of-the road. My physical attributes, health and stamina are middle-of-the-road. I haven't invented, written, performed, spoken, created or inspired anything worthwhile or notable. My temperature in the gospel and church is lukewarm even though my testimony is rock solid; translation: I'm a vulgar, rough-around-the-edges-type dude. I have no screaming passions nor ambitions nor involvement in anything worthwhile. I'm a basic and boring and mediocre man. To put it bluntly and truthfully: a loser.

Where will I be next year at this time? Or in 2 years? Or 5? Or 10? When I'm on my deathbed at the end of my life and I'm looking back at what I did influentially or socially or professionally or politically, what will I have to say for myself? I worked as a grunt at a marketing company b/c I was too lazy and scared to do anything else or live anywhere else or experience anything new or different and didn't think that I would be able to do anything worthwhile so therefore I never did!? How pathetic is that! The ONLY thing that gives me any comfort at all and helps ground me again is when I try to look at my pathetic life in a gospel and eternal perspective. Then, with my rose-colored glasses on, am I able to say I was successful, b/c I continually fought against my natural man and carnal desires and urges and tried to be an influence for good with others who fight the same battle. I was there for my children and raised them in a home that was clean and safe and cozy and where they knew they were loved. I have a strong and true and shining testimony of the truth and never deterred. I stayed strong in a world of shifting values and negativity and poor choices. I tried and fought hard to be a good, faithful husband and instill in my family righteous principles.

Only then am I able to pull myself together again and continue putting one foot in front of the other as I trod through this blah existence. Even though I am nothing and have nothing (monetarily or earthly) here, I'm sure hoping I'll have something and be someone in the here-after!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Temptations

Temptations are strange. They come out of nowhere often for no reason at all and sometimes are so strong I don't know if I'll be able to turn away from them. I remember a Bishop years ago likened them to watching a play. The person (temptation) comes onto the stage and begins to dance. We can either sit back and watch and continue to let the dancer entertain us; or we can grab a hook and pull them off the stage. The "hook" can be calling a friend, leaving the room, going for a walk, saying a prayer, etc. Sometimes it seems like the theater seats have seat belts in them though b/c it can take everything in me to muster up the strength and resolve to pull the dancers off the stage.
Temptations have been popping up all over in my life again lately and I'm having a helluva time keeping myself in check. It's been a white-knuckle kind of season. Perhaps it's b/c it's springtime and I'm feeling those all-too-familiar rumblings in my loins. I personally believe it's an actual, true thing that we men become more carnal and lustful this time of year b/c it's programmed in us to be such! It's our instinctual and sometimes habitual and natural call of nature to get out there and procreate and/or spread our seed. For me personally, I'm not feeling too tempted to go out and spread my seed w/ anyone else in particular, but solo I've really been struggling. The daily temptation to escape away from work and isolate and view porn and masturbate have been extremely powerful lately. Of course I don't want to simply rub one out to just my thoughts and memories and fantasies in the bathroom. That's too vanilla. No, I want to view some disturbing and graphic and vile imagery to go along w/ that rubbing out. And porn, while it has definitely been a part of my life, isn't my primary go-to or overwhelming temptation. But lately it seems like it is.
The last time I looked at porn and jerked off was 15 March (ides of March). Of course that was intentional. I'm a traditional and orderly guy who likes to have specific dates and timelines to remember and refer back to. But since then, my guts have been writhing w/ temptation to do it again. And again. And again. A porn binge for me is usually a 3-4 day span in which I look at it and masturbate sometimes 6-10 times per day. Then, just as quickly as it appeared, the urge goes away for another few months to a year. Is that familiar to your porn cycle?
I have a hard time w/ personal prayers. I don't like to do them in the morning b/c I'm so not a morning person and prefer to just do the bare minimum in the morning until I'm at work and have had a chance to truly 'wake up' and get my bearings about me. At night my wife and I are so exhausted from life and bedtime battles w/ kids that all I want to do is quickly brush my teeth and get in bed and tucker in and snugz my wife and drift off (which is also why sex is so few and far between these days). Ah, the glory of getting older right? Anyhow, I put a reminder on my phone that will give me a notification to pray every day at 3:00pm. I'm to stop whatever I'm doing and say a silent prayer at my desk or go to the private bathroom and actually kneel down and offer a prayer. It's helped. A lot. So that's a good thing.
Today I was really, REALLY struggling w/ temptation to binge watch some raunchy porn. The only way I can describe is a gray fog. Everything becomes blurry and hazy and I can't focus or concentrate or think of anything else besides just that. I hurried through some tasks by telling myself that my reward in getting them done would be a major jerk and porn fest. So, I went and isolated myself in the private bathroom and was 'prepping' myself for my binge. But then - BOOM! A notification popped up on my phone reminding me it was 3:00pm and I needed to pray. I sat on the toilet and battled back and forth for 10 minutes w/ the thought of ignoring the prompting and/or continuing w/ my porn and JO binge. Finally, I mustered up the strength to pull up my pants, and then knelt down next to the sink and offered a prayer to Heavenly Father and asked him to strengthen my heart and my resolve to get through the rest of my day w/o incident (I typically only struggle w/ temptation for porn and JO in the afternoons while at work...boredom is a huge trigger for me). I left the bathroom and came back to my desk and decided to throw myself into blogging about my experience. And here I am!
I'm grateful for tender mercies and a knowledge that God hears and answers our prayers and is mindful of our weaknesses and temptations. I'm also thankful for the Holy Ghost who, even though He speaks to me quietly, is doing just that - speaking to me! And I'm grateful that I took the higher road today and was able to keep my personal commitments and continue to be worthy of His spirit. These moments of personal triumph over sin and temptation strengthen me and my resolve to continue to fight similar battles in the future.