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Same Sex Attraction, Confidence Issues, Weight Loss and other Freaking Hard Things!

Step 2: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity

Romans 12:2 – And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Step 2 was a great time for me to reflect on my relationship with God and Jesus. The exercises and questions serve the purpose of having you ponder the past and present nature of that relationship. Using words such as CAME, BELIEVE, A POWER GREATER, COULD and RESTORE.

I spent a lot of time trying to remember when I first connected to God and felt the power of my Savior in my life. Growing up in the LDS church I was taught about who they were from infancy. I could not remember a time that I did not have an understanding that there was a Heavenly Father and my brother Jesus Christ supporting and loving me. Did I always feel it? No. But that is through my own faults and distancing myself from them. They have never left me, but at times I have abandoned them.

Under the heading “A power greater” I was asked the question:

How has your coming to believe in Jesus Christ affected your relationships in the past or present with those listed below?

  • Yourself: Understanding grace has allowed me to shake off the idea that I am not good enough. I understand more that God and Jesus love me even though I am deeply flawed and that helps me to exercise grace and love for myself more often.
  • Spouse: Seeing him as a son of God and recognizing his divinity. That helps me to understand his emotions better and to recognize that he has them even when he has a hard time expressing them.
  • Children: Helps me to be more loving and patient with them. Allows me to listen to the spirit more so I can be open to receiving inspiration in how to parent them. And it helps me to remember to pray for them as often as I can.
  • Parents: No longer being afraid of talking to them about difficult things. And recognizing them as flawed people, like myself, and therefore being able to extend more empathy and forgiveness towards them.

After thinking about those question and expanding upon those thoughts for each section it helped me to feel closer to my Savior and to God. Closely observing how their influence changes me in every aspect of my life and will help all my relationship flourish in love. This information is not necessarily new but I am able to have a better and deeper understanding of it. The Holy Ghost confirms the truth of it in powerful and meaningful ways.

In the last section of step two it asks you to define the word restore. My definition was pretty basic….to fix or repair, return to its original state. Not really that mind blowing or deep. I then looked up the official definition and found that more profound when applying it in the context of recovery and spirituality. The official definition reads:

“bring back (a previous right, practice, custom or situation); reinstate/ return (someone or something) to a former condition, place or position/ repair or renovate (a building, work of art etc.) so as to return it to its original condition/ give (something previously stolen, taken away, or lost) back to the original owner or recipient.”

The last part of the definition felt especially applicable for me. To have God and Jesus back in my life, allowing them to “restore” me, to give to and bless me with things that I had previously lost. It was a powerful teaching moment with the spirit. And as I continued with that powerful thought I was able to answer how God and Christ have been able to restore me in the following ares of my life.

  • Spiritually: Helping my heart and soul to heal from the damage that I have done to it. Feeling His love and grace in my life and lifting the burdens I unnecessarily carried alone.
  • Fun: By having lighter burdens I am able to laugh and enjoy my time with family and friends more. Also being able to find humor where I could not before.
  • Parenting: Feeling the spirit often and receiving inspiration for my children. Knowing how to talk to them better, understanding their problems and having more opportunities to connect with them.
  • Sexually: Helping me to constantly feel at peace about my sexuality. Confirming to me often that my choice to be with my husband (instead of seeking a same sex relationship) is the right path for me.
  • Friendships: Bringing people into my life who understand and are supportive of my choices. Continuing to challenge me and opening my understanding of how I can have healthy and balanced friendships with women.
  • Relationship with a yourself: Being able to recognize what and who my authentic self is and being okay with that. Understanding the truth of what makes my soul happy and how I feel connected to God and Jesus. Coming home to them.
  • Your Future: Knowing it won’t be easy, but it will get easier. And I have courage and confidence to make correct choices for my life.
  • Marriage: Becoming acutely aware of how I distance myself from my husband, and with that awareness I now have the ability to fix it. To often reflect and give thanks for the blessings I have because of my marriage an how it has made me a better person.

I think the most significant thing I was able to understand about myself through this step is, that whatever the world may think, I am in fact living my authentic life. I may be gay, but my authentic and definitive self is first and foremost, a daughter of God.

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Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over our addiction–that our lives had become unmanageable

“There is healing and spiritual power available as you follow the “we” principle in your life….As a group,”we” can do a lot more than that which can be done alone” (Recovery For Everyone, Douglas Weiss)

It is often said that taking the first step can be the hardest. I believe that can apply to a lot of lifes situations and it is especially applicable to joining an addiction recovery group. In this step the questions are presented in sections and I will highlight each section and what it helped me to discover about my journey through this step.  

We

In this section it asks you to name your support systems that you have currently in your life (family, church, friends etc) as well as talking about what you want from your recovery group/meetings. I found this helpful because it helped me think about what I really wanted to gain from this program. Thinking about the “we” aspect and including my systems that were already in my life as well as my new support group made me realize how surrounded and blessed I am to not go through this alone. And more importantly, God would not have me go through this alone. He never intended for (wo)man to be alone. If He did than what would the point of the atonement and Christs sacrifice be? We are to forever turn our hearts to Him so that He can change them into something better and more Christlike. We can find many individuals to help us along the way but none is more important than our Heavenly Father and our brother Jesus Christ. 

One of the questions that stood out to me the most in this sections was:

What are the goals you can set up to not let shame keep you from being a part of this important recovery “we” group?

For me recognizing that shame does not come from God and serves no purpose in moving me to positive changing behavior has been crucial. All shame does is keep me stagnant and encourage me to wallow in despair and negative self talk. Those feelings are ones Satan encourages and wants me to not move past. Having a group, the ultimate “safe place”, to discuss raw and difficult things is one crucial step in moving past this place of shame which Satan wants to keep us in. I believe it is why the concept of “we” is so important for all of us.

Admitted

In this section I admit and acknowledge what is fact. This is hard and requires brutal honesty with ones self. I took my time and really thought about what I was needing to admit to myself and to others. Admitting it so that I could change it. Some of those things I admitted were that I sexualize and objectify women, I encourage and seek out things that bring lustful thoughts/fantasy to my mind and I often use my need for connection with women as an excuse to seek out female relationships even when they become unhealthy. Admitting those things was probably the most difficult thing I had to do in step one. Just writing it down was painful. It was important and helped me to clarify why I needed to do this. I was also able to decipher the reasons why I was so reluctant to admit those things to myself. Reasons such as using the excuse that I’m gay meant that I could express myself however I wanted to, do things that I had never allowed myself to without feeling shame but also without regard for how it could/would effect my husband. That is purely selfish thinking and I know some might disagree with me, but I believe this to be true with my whole being. Selfishness comes from Satan and it breeds nothing but feelings of entitlement which lead to choices that will ultimately leave us all alone in the end. One cannot sustain a selfish life and have healthy connections simultaneously. 

Powerless

This was an interesting section to go through. The questions were thought provoking and took time to answer. I will highlight a few that stood out to me most.

It started with having me define what it meant for me to be powerless over addiction. I like how this is a reoccuring question in this program because it helps me to focus how I see and interpret things rather than to be told. My definition of powerless is: to participate in a behavior without concious thought/knowledge, acting as a reflex almost, even if it is detrimental to ones health (spiritually, mentally, physically) and/or relationships.

Next was asking me who might try to convince me that I was not an addict and what would I say to them. This was especially profound for me because I often feel that I have to explain my life choices to those who don’t understand them, demean them or think me ridiculous for not accepting that being gay equates to living that way as well. I feel frustrated, hurt and misunderstood often when in these situations. Writing down how I would respond gave me a feeling of power even in the midst of admitting my powerlessness. My answers included: My feelings do not (will not) determine my choices, My spiritual journey/health is more important than what my mind or body wants, God has given me glimpses into what path He desires me to be on and I am trying to follow it, and finally My Happiness is not your happiness, just as your happiness is not mine.

After writing those answers down and finding power in my powerlessness it reminded me of what the scriptures say about finding strength in our weakneses. 

           2 Nephi 3:13, ” And out of weakness he shall be made strong, in that day when my work shall commence among all my people,                   unto the restoring thee, O house of Israel, saith the Lord.”
          2 Nephi 33:4, “And I know that the Lord God will consecrate my prayers for the gain of my people. And the words which I have written in weakness will be made strong unto them; for it persuadeth them to do good; it maketh known unto them of their fathers; and it speaketh of Jesus, and persuadeth them to believe in him, and to endure to the end, which is life eternal.”

In acknolwedging my weakness I am giving myself permission to recognize that I am able to change. Making that which was once weak, strong. Even more, knowing that I cannot do this without God and Christ has helped me to be more aware of my connection to them. To open my heart, to feel of their love and grace, and to be humbled in the process. 

Unmanageable

This section is arranged by topic and has you list out how your addiction has made you lose control of your life in each one. The areas my addiction has effected me the most were in the relationships with my spouse, family, friends and most importantly God. My spirituality declined drastically. Feelings of anger and resentment clouded my thinking and left me wandering through a gray colored existence. Confused yet unwilling to pray to God for the clarity He so oftens provides me, I retreated into unhealthy behaviors and relationships that made things even more confusing. My relationship with myself even became very negative. I did not trust myself or my thoughts and would often spiral into a lot of negative self talk and doubt. It was in this step that I realized how far I had actually strayed from the spirit of the Lord, how much I was disconnected and hurtful towards my husband and that my life would unravel quickly if I did not make some drastic changes to my behaviors and thought patterns. At the end of this step I concluded that my ability to justify my behavior had been ridiculous. Gay or not gay, my feelings and attractions had dictated too much of my life. My goals in life would certainly not be met if I did not take control of my life.

This was an eye opening first step for me and helped me to strip away the gray which had been encircling me for so long. Step 2 focuses a lot on spirituality and ones connection with God. That will be what I highlight in my next post. As always thanks for reading and happy day to you and yours.

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Almost October?? What?!

Wow to say that I’m a slacker in regards to this blog would be a huge understatement. I just re-read my last post from forever ago and was surprised that I had actually completed some of those goals without really trying. It made me laugh and not feel quite as discouraged. 

The big one I followed through on was going to California with my husband. It was a fast planned thing and thanks to friends and family was fairly cheap. It mainly came about because I wanted to go on a trip just the two of us before I couldn’t travel comfortably anymore. Why would that be an issue? Well we are expecting baby number 5 this November! Crazy! Needless to say I didn’t reach my weightless goal for the year but I’m totally okay with that. In a couple weeks our family will be complete and I will have my new baby to snuggle and love. 

What I really wanted to talk about today though was my most recent goal of working a 12 step program, specifically using Doug Weiss material, and finishing it before the end of the year. Because of the program and material I’ve chosen to use I don’t know if this is very feasible but I am trying. I was introduced to the program by a close friend and after trying to use one set of books for a few months I decided to shift my focus and chose another route which has been working for me much better. The reasons I have for using a 12 step program are many and I don’t know that I would single out one thing or another. For me it has been more about giving my life to God and answering really hard questions about myself and the choices that I have made thus far. I want to be better and through the challenges of emotional eating, co-dependency, SSA, and other difficult things I need to take a step back and do some soul searching and get back on track. 

The books I am currently using are titled Recovery For Everyone. This program is not your typical 12 step program. It is way more in depth and comes with a companion book that has 100 excercises to compliment the 12 step book. I would love to say that I could totally buckle down and finish it by the end of the year but I don’t know if that is an unrealistic goal. Especially with a new baby on the way. My plan for my next series of blog posts are to highlight the steps and exercises that seem to be helping me the most. I truly believe that addict or not, a thorough 12 step program can be beneficial for almost everyone. I apoligize for being gone so long and am really excited to get started on my next series of posts. Happy day to all and may God bless you!

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Cliché New Years Goals

So in true new year fashion I am setting some goals for myself and my family. We did something new this year. My husband and I had a meeting with our two older girls about what we wanted to accomplish this year. It was great to include them in our plans and to see them getting excited and thinking about the possibilities of the fresh new year. After our meeting with them concluded my husband and I had our own discussion on a more personal and parental level. After the craziness of the last month it felt really good to connect with him in such a way.
I decided to share my goals on here as a way to be more accountable to myself. I have a long history of goal setting and not actually seing them to fruition. That is goal number one but the rest are not in any particular order. Also if there is anyone out there that wants to join me in some goal smashing this year I find that my success rate goes up if I have partners to help. 

1. Completing at least half of my goals for 2016

          Had to make sure this was on there somwhere. Haha!

2. Not buying and storing sugar items in my home.

          This is a big and seemingly impossible goal for me to set. Anyone who knows me knows that I have a huge sweet tooth. I like candy and desserts of any kind and will often splurge on things of that nature. It’s no surprise that losing weight has been difficult for me to do. But this goal is not just about me. It’s about my family, more specifically my son. My son who is four, and who was diagnosed at birth with Prader-Willi Syndrome (here is a link to more info if you want to read more). To give you just a little of the basic information….he has low muscle tone, low metabolism and has a miscommunication between his stomach and brain which does not tell him when he is full and thus he always feels hungry. We are only in the beginning stages of his constantly feeling hungry and thus far have been able to manage it okay. After this holiday season though I have come to the conclusion that in order to keep him from finding candies and treats  we need to just not have them in the house. Its the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ kind of approach which I know will work wonders for him as well as our family as a whole. I had a moment while laying in bed after a particularly hard food day where I was praying about how to help my son. God then asked me pretty directly, “Do you love your son more than you like sugar?” Well the answer was an obvious yes but after I answered it I paused on that thought. I do love my son more than I love sugar. And suddenly the choice of eating healthier didn’t feel so daunting, so impossible. I can and will remind myself that I love my son more than I want those donuts. I love my son more than that tasty chocolate cake. And through loving my son I hope to be able to say that I love myself more as well.

3. Take the family to temple square and visit friends and family in Utah and/or go camping at least twice this summer.

          We have made a habit of not taking family trips very often and my husband and I both want to change this and give our children the expereince of bonding while we travel together. We want to make it a priority and need to focus on buying less stuff and spending our money on expereinces rather than monetary goods.

4. Plan my meals for the week every Sunday.

          My oldest daughter and I did this yesterday and had fun figuring out what we had and what we could make. Along with that goal I plan to include her and her sister in the cooking process more. I want to make sure they know how to cook some basic meals before they reach teenagehood.

5. Lose 50-100lbs (hopefully eliminating sugar will help with this goal.)

          This was my goal last year. And although I started out doing really well I floundered and failed pretty badly. This goal isn’t really about the number, but more about feeling healthier and happier in my body. Having more energy to play and be active with my husband and kids.

6. Plan and save enough money for a trip to California for my husband and I.

          Any tips or pointers about traveling would be great. We don’t have a lot of money but I am good at saving and I am confident that I can work this out for us. Of course I also plan on asking friends for floor space or guest rooms to sleep.

7. Cook one vegetarian meal every two weeks and eventually make it a weekly thing. 

          We are big meat eaters in this house. I try to put veggies in every meal but I know that we eat what we like and we dont really deviate from that very much. As meat keeps becoming more and more expensive I would like to have more options available to me and my family. For health as well as saving money. Again any tips would be most welcome.

8. Learn to play 5 hymns on the piano and play my guitar more.

          I’m really excited about this goal. I don’t play the piano very well but I can read music. It takes me a long time to learn something but it’s not impossible. My guitar has been in its case in my closet for way too long and its time to dust that off and start playing again. If I could only find my old notebook with my music in it, that would be super helpful. 

9. Write in my journal every week again.

           I have had many years of writing every night in my journal. As my children have increased in number and age it seems to have made it more difficult to keep that going. So instead of trying and constantly failing to write every night I want to try for a weekly enrty. I need to schedule it or it won’t happen but I know I can find an hour somewhere to do that. I’m excited to be more consistent with this again. It’s always such a big help to write.

10. Read scriptures as a family 3 times a week.

         This one is difficult. With young children and busy schedules that will continue to get even busier, this is a real challenge. In order to be successsful at this I need to recognize that we may not have time for a whole chapter, but we can certainly do a handful of verses. It’s the consistency that we need more than anything. 

I’m excited and happy to be at the beginning of a new year. With all the days ahead of me and the endless possibilities. It’s exciting. Happy New year everyone!!

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Weathered

  

  
I’m sure your wondering what is up with the picture of my old sandals. I was cleaning out old clothing and shoes at the end of September and decided these sandals had lived a good life and it was time to retire them. As I sat there though I started to recall when I first bought them, the summer of 1998, and thought what a journey they had been on. I especially reflected on the time I spent in Rexburg and how it started my journey to self awareness and self love.

I was fresh out of high school and my parents were driving across the state of Idaho to take me to Rexburg where I would start my first semester of college. I was starting in the middle of summer unlike all my friends who were leaving in the fall. I was nervous and so very excited. Barely 18, I was confident that I would find myself and flourish at Ricks college (BYU Idaho now). On our drive over we stopped in Twin Falls and ended up at the mall. That’s where I found these sandals. I loved them right away. I’m pretty sure my dad bought a pair for himself as well. I thought that was pretty cool. And after our purchase we continued our journey.

My experience at Ricks college was not at all what I expected. I got along with my roommates okay, made friends and quickly settled in but I felt incredibly out of place. Trying very hard to make connections and then punishing myself over and over when I only wanted and gravitated towards women. At this point in my life I was still very much in denial, but I was becoming more and more aware of my attractions towards women. It was in the forefront of my mind constantly and I didn’t know how to cope at all. I started smoking as a way to escape and to try to control my rebellious attractions. I was never addicted to smoking and honestly I didn’t really enjoy it, but if I focused my attention on that sin, then I wouldn’t feel so utterly consumed by my feelings towards women. In the end I confessed about breaking the honor code. I was expecting an act of mercy because I came forward on my own, instead I was asked to leave at the end of the fall semester. I was stunned, angry and very much heart broken. I quickly fell into a deep depression. I was so ashamed at having to return home so soon after venturing out on my own. At failing. 

As I sat in my room thinking about all that had happened then and all that had happened after up until this moment; and suddenly I felt completely attached to this pair of sandals. Looking at them and how weathered they had become over 17 years of use it struck me how much I felt like theses sandals were a physical representation of the things that I had been through. The pain, the doubt, my crisis of faith and constant abuse towards myself. I found myself moved so deeply that tears formed in my eyes and for a moment I seemed to feel it all over again. And then another image entered my mind.

  
And then I was truly overwhelmed. I sat and was overcome by the love that I feel from and have felt for God and for my Savior. Their love washed over me and I saw my blessed life that is full of love, family, laughter, connection and a spiritual growth that I did not think was possible for a long time. Unlike those sandals that I held in my hands….my Savior has healed me constantly and will continue to take all my burdens upon Himself so that I can come unto the Father and be worthy to be in his presence. It felt strange to have such a profound spiritual moment by just sitting and looking at my old sandals. I was a bit sad but only for a moment as I carefully put them away. It became a symbolic moment to put away the past and to turn and look forward to a future that I know will be amazing. I fully anticipate challenges on every level, but I also recognize that the growth I’ve experienced through those challenges has given me priceless knowledge. 

I want to leave you with a song that has been speaking to me in a very profound way lately. Here is the YouTube link to listen to

Lauren Daigle – Trust in You


Letting go of every single dream

I lay each one down at Your feet

Every moment of my wandering

Never changes what You see


I’ve tried to win this war I confess

My hands are weary I need Your rest

Mighty Warrior, King of the fight

No matter what I face, You’re by my side


When You don’t move the mountains I’m needing You to move

When You don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through

When You don’t give the answers as I cry out to You

I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You!


Truth is, You know what tomorrow brings

There’s not a day ahead You have not seen

So, in all things be my life and breath

I want what You want Lord and nothing less


When You don’t move the mountains I’m needing You to move

When You don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through

When You don’t give the answers as I cry out to You

I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You!


You are my strength and comfort

You are my steady hand

You are my firm foundation; the rock on which I stand


Your ways are always higher

Your plans are always good

There’s not a place where I’ll go, You’ve not already stood


When You don’t move the mountains I’m needing You to move

When You don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through

When You don’t give the answers as I cry out to You

I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You!


I will trust in You!

 

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Opposition in all things

First and foremost I want to thank all of you who have shared your kinds words of support and encouragement. As excited as I was to share my Voices of Hope essay I was super nervous. Thanks for loving me and making me feel safe to share my life experience with you. This experience has been a truly amazing one and has created an open dialogue with people whom I might not have connected with before. It has also offered some opportunities for reconnection and closure with others. It feels amazing. This thing called authenticity. I don’t know how to quite get used to it but I can’t believe I lived this long without feeling it.

 I also understand that some people are not quite sure about this new part of me and that’s okay. Some don’t understand why I need to speak up at all. And to this I will again say that I am not doing this on a whim. I have felt directly inspired of The Lord. And part of it is so that others can see that they aren’t alone in their experiences with same sex attraction. But honestly this is mostly for me. Going through this process has allowed me to break through the walls that I have been hiding behind all my life. I am trying to look at my reflection in the mirror and to not be ashamed of who I am. Tearing away from the secrecy of the hard things I’ve had to go through has freed me from them. And I can recognize that I am a product of all the good, the bad and the ugly that life has thrown at me. But what defines me is my heritage as daughter of God. What defines me is the fact that I am still here and not afraid to live life anymore. I own my choices. I will take credit for them all. Because they have led me here. To a place where I feel love, beauty, grace and understanding. It’s a beautiful place and the road has been paved by blood, sweat and tears from joy and from pain. I am thankful for it all. I am grateful that God sent me to a world where I can know great joy because I have known great sorrow. How awesome is it that He gave us opposition in all things so we could comprehend the good from the bad that we experience in this life! Otherwise we would be stagnant and unchanging. Knowing no joy because we knew nothing of sorrow. How unfulfilling of an existence that would be. 

So I will continue to thank God for my challenges and my successes. I might not enjoy all the experiences He chooses to bless me with but I think I understand them and there purpose. And I trust Him. I trust Him with everything. 

I want to share a song that has described how I’ve been feeling for the last several months. I listen to it all the time. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. 

Colton Dixon- Through All of It

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The summer journey

This is a project that I have been working on all summer and I am excited to be a part of and share. I am excited to be more open and to be a part of this discussion in and out of my LDS faith. I have a sure testimony that God hears me and loves me. I believe in Jesus Christ and the sacrifice that He made for me in the garden of Gethsemane and on the cross at Calvary. His love carries me daily and enables me to walk the path that God has asked of me. I share my story not to boast but to reaffirm to myself who I am and to be a witness of the power of love. Love for God, love for Christ, love for self and those around me. You can find my essay here on the Voices of Hope page or here on Facebook. Happy reading! 

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It is personal

I don’t mean for that title to sound too ominous but it is something I have been feeling of late. The past couple of months have been a tornado of emotion and experiences to put it mildly. I have been having a rough go of it and I believe Satan is really amping up his game and making it a much more personal level of attacks that I have otherwise experienced in my life until now. We had an adult family retreat with my siblings and parents a couple weeks back. My dad said something that really stayed with me. During one of our spiritual discussion he told us that we should be taking Satans attacks on our lives very personally. I thought about it and decided that I agreed with my father. It is very personal.

Satan knows us, he is our brother and we were with him in Heaven before he was driven out by our Father for apostasy. And because he is miserable he desires that we would all be miserable with him and thus has taken it upon himself to attack all his brothers and sisters in an effort to lead us away from our Heavenly parents. He hates us more than I can comprehend because we have the ability to change our state of being and rise to a greater level of living, whereas he does not. Satan will never be more than what he is now and what he has been since his creation. 

I have never really given it a lot of thought that Satan might be seeking to destroy me on a personal level. Yeah I know that he has his minions and throws temptations and what not our way, but I had never considered that he is coming after ME. It makes sense though if you think about it. The things that have continued to confuse and tempt me are so completely tailor made to my situation, to my person, that it can be taken no other way but personally. Satan wants to make me suffer, to make me like him and to turn me from the light and truth that my Father in Heaven offers me. And I now believe that he has created a blueprint of the things that he will throw at me to try and lead me away from the light. And you know what…it makes me angry. Angry and determined to not let that happen. It makes me angry and sad to know that someone hates me so much that they would want to destroy me. But I cannot begin to understand Satan because I have love in my life. I give love and I recieve love and it is love that saves us all if we let it. I am striving to ultimately exemplify the love of Christ in my life and to help others come to Him. I don’t want to be as I was or as I am now. I know God loves me because I have the opportunity for eternal increase. But just like Satan has a plan, my Heavenly Fathers has a better one. A PERFECT PLAN. I don’t understand all of it but that’s okay. I am still learning and still growing and that’s enough for now. 

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What is addiction?

ADDICTION: Noun – being abnormally tolerant to and dependent on something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming

LUST: Noun – self-indulgent sexual desire; strong sexual desire; Verb – having a craving, appetite, or great desire for

Been thinking about this a lot. At the ripe old age of 34 I think I understand the concept of addiction and what it means. What I am now learning is that addiction can be true of so much more than just the standards we are used to hearing about. You have the usual substances such as drugs and alcohol and other behaviors like gambling, shopping and pornography to name a few. But there is so much more out there that can become addictive. For me I have discovered that it is my thought patterns.

Thoughts can be addictive…what? Let me explain. I am addicted to lustful thinking. I have been for years. No I don’t look at porn or expose myself to more than what the average tv/movie puts out. So what do I mean when I say that I am addicted to lust? It means that I have been increasingly welcoming, dwelling and even seeking/creating lustful thought patterns in my daily life. I cannot tell you the last time I went a day or even an hour without having some kind of sexual thought in my mind. What’s the big deal thought right? Men and women think about sex all the time and they still function. It’s a big deal because I have stopped looking at people for who they are and more often than not I see them as body parts, as objects. I don’t want to do it anymore. I don’t want to love like that. In fact I don’t even consider that love…it is lust. Because of my natural state of being attracted to women my lustful thoughts have been about them. I do remember a time when I just wanted to love a woman. When it didn’t have anything to do with sex really. I wanted to take care of someone, to truly love them. Over the last several years though I have noticed a change in my thinking towards women. At first I thought it was just a growing desire to fill the emptiness left by a woman who abruptly left my life, but I know now that I have let my heart and mind dwell upon sexual desire more than anything. This has caused me to make several very poor decisions of late and hurt some people that I love dearly. I have become selfish and completely focused on things that do not matter. All because it made me feel good for a brief fleeting moment. 

I believe my state of mind was ripe for developing an addiction because of how poor my self-esteem has been. Without realizing it I took hold of those fleeting moments of feeling good and tried to replicate and eventually multiply them. I was tired of feeling awful about myself. Little did I know that this choice would eventually lead to me hurting the people I love most. I don’t know how to fix my self hatred. I don’t know how to accept that I have goodness in me. That my thoughts and feelings DO NOT define the person I am. Outwardly I don’t think I portray a very stubborn person, but I find that I am really stubborn inside. I don’t know how to let my feelings, thoughts and choices go. This constant beating myself up until I am all black and blue on the inside has got to stop. I want to feel and to believe the love that is around me. I understand what it means to forgive others, but forgiving myself, that is a completely foreign concept. I was talking with my husband last night about this and he said that he has heard of people sometimes writing things down and then physically destroying them as a way to let it go. Maybe that’s a good place to start. I’ve been imagining scenarios all day of explosions and such and I think it could be quite cathartic. But I am going to work my way to that. I started the Addiction Recovery Program through the church and have been going through the steps with my husband. It’s been very eye opening and has lead to many discussions and soul searching. I am not naive to think this process will be easy by any means, and I don’t know that I am quite prepared for the decisions that lie ahead, but I do know that this is something I need to do. I want to change my life…so I’m going to start with myself.

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Don’t make me be a girl

Some interesting things have been happening of late in my life. I had taken a break from counseling for a bit because of the holidays and then she went on an extended vacation. So I went back a couple weeks ago and told her I wanted to focus on my low self-esteem. Before I took a break we had talked about how I have always felt uncomfortable in my body. More specifically my feminine body. So we started talking and I just start remembering all these things from when I was 9-12 years old. And then we landed on the moment when I started my period. A little background here…..I was a tomboy. Short hair, skinned knees, ran with the boys, t-ball, high top sneakers….it was fantastic. So here I was enjoying my perfect fun kid life and then here comes 5th grade and early puberty. My body starts a changing. And yeah I was getting boobs but I was 10 and it wasn’t much and I just ignored it. Then my period started. I remeber the day. I was at school. (yeah that’s crappy) I had to go to the nurse. I don’t know if she called home or I just told my mom when I got there but I remember her and my older sister being so excited and smiling about me “becoming a woman”. And then I remember going into our bathroom and being so incredibly mad. It was here that my counselor made the comment, “Well yeah you were mad. You had just been betrayed by your own body.” 

MIND BLOWN!!!!

Hello! I looked at her and was amazed that I had never realized that before. I had up to this point contributed my anger to just having a gross stupid period that would now last most my adult years. I was sooooo incredibly angry at my body. I had at this point in my life already recognized my attraction to girls. I felt like a boy though and so in a sense it didn’t really bother me and I didn’t think anything about it at all mostly. But when my period started that changed. I could no longer deny that I was in fact a girl. And I was angry because I liked girls. And that was wrong. So I was wrong. So I then began my mission to deny myself of anything remotely feminine. In my 10,11,12 year old mind a boy and a girl go together. I need to be as much of a boy as I can so that I can justify, make sense of, my feelings towards girls. This revelation has since sent me down a road re-visiting my past and all my stubborn rejections of feminity.

 I rejected make-up not long after my period started. I was at my grandmas house sitting on the bathroom counter watching my young aunts getting all dressed up for dates. (my grandma sold mary kay so there was always make-up around) I was curious about what and why they were doing what they were. I remeber one of them said that someday I would be doing this to get all pretty for my dates with boys. I remember the emotion like it was yesterday…anger. I distinctely told them that I would not participate in such a things and that it was dumb to have to do that for boys. But I was mad!

I rejected feeling emotion and prided myself on not crying during sappy movie scenes. I could cry fake tears but real ones…yeah those were locked up tight. I bought boy clothes, refused to learn how to use a curling iron and was satisfied with a bun/pony tail. Fiercly rejected the color pink and any of it’s close sisters for fear that I would look to girly. But I was a girl…but I didn’t want to be. I wanted to be a boy. But it wasn’t because I was transgendered or born in the wrong body. It was because I was still trying to be okay liking girls. The only way that would be okay is if I was a boy. I cannot tell you how many times I watched movies where girls became boys or had to dress like a boy (SHakespeares Twelfth Night) and became so firecly jealous of them. If i had been in there shoes I would have been eternally grateful because I could then be as I really was with no shame…with no guilt. Oh how Ionged for it. 

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