04 December 2014

40 days and 40 nights

endured my longest streak since i can remember of abstaining from masturbating and pornography.

six long weeks.

the days were long, but the weeks seemed to pass by with more ease than they had in a while.

most of that sobriety can be credited to the fact that i was talking with someone all day every day all night with whom i had very strong feelings for in the past and again recently. it was an amazing feeling being completely open and never feeling like i had to hide any aspects of my past or current struggles. it felt so free and comfortable and i loved it.

43 days i lasted. felt pretty accomplished with it.

but recently certain circumstances have changed and as of now we are no longer talking and im left feeling frustrated hurt and alone.

i know im not "alone" in the sense that there are people who support me and want me to be happy and successful in my goals and dreams.

but when i wake up, when i come home, when i go to bed, i'm alone.

and im not sure what to do about it.

do i try and find a way to be happy in my solitude?
or do i try and use the negative feeling as a motivation to make new friends?

or what i've found to be the best option when seemingly faced with two options, a combination of both.

theres always more options than the obvious ones. the difficult of choice lies in deciding where to invest your efforts.

during those 6 weeks all of my efforts were in talking with this female interest, work, and exercise. and even thou i'm being somewhat successful in my other categories of effort its the loss of the love interest thats having the most affect on me.

and being able to observe that has lead me to the realization that there are 2 questions i desperately would love to know the answer to.

1 - how to feel the joy of success over the misery of loss/failure

2 - how to find happiness in loneliness

01 October 2014

| perceptions |

hello hello
long time no write

beginning to recognize pornography's ability to skewed my perceptions of reality and what is attractive and what is good and cause me to focus on negative aspects and physical characteristics when thinking about a potential spouse.

recently ended a 6 month long relationship with probably the best girl i've dated. and by recently i mean last night.

interesting how i come here to to and release some emotions after having ignored it for so long. 

we had our first real conversation last tuesday. one where we opened up about insecurities and what we want out of the relationship. she was wondering why we weren't progressing. and i was wondering why she was holding on to her insecurities so tightly.

she's an absolutely beautiful woman. and i like her a lot a lot (double intended). but i don't know if it was my fear of opening up because of the hurt from my last relationship or if it was the twisted thoughts from my addiction that kept me from pushing those feelings to the love realm.

but she had some weight issues. and i know this is always a super sensitive subjects for females, and i know what its like to be insecure about your body since i suffer from body dysmorphic disorder, but as a certified personal trainer im uniquely qualified to help her reach her goals that SHE wanted and has wanted for years, goals that she had talked with me about before we were even dating seriously, and i wanted nothing more than to be there with her to work towards that goal together. problem was she had stopped the last month, no progress was being made and it was concerning me because it was difficult for me to initiate a lot of physical affection and would cause me to hesitate and thus create this weird kind of awkwardness that made me feel uncomfortable around her.

i decided to finally broach the subject during our first real open conversation. she asked if she stayed the same as she was today would i be happy. i said no. she took it to mean that i don't like her and want to change her into something she's not. i calmly reassured her that the true reason i wouldn't be happy was because it would mean that you had given up on your goals and no longer wanted to put in the effort to progress and improve.

i know there were two paths that we could go from that point. which is why i titled this |perceptions|. in math |x| means the absolute value of x and when graphed looks like this.

we had reached a point in our relationship where depending on if her perceptions of our conversation were positive or negative we would end up progressing together or splitting up. either she look at it like my boyfriend doesn't like me, appreciate me or is attracted to me and doesn't think im good enough for him. 

or she look at it in the way i was trying to see it like ive got this boyfriend who has been dating me for the past 6 months and wants to be with me and work with me towards the goals ive already set for myself and support me and work towards progressing our relationship to something more than just dating.

unfortunately she couldn't change her perception to the positive and continued thinking negatively about the situation and i couldn't change the awkward physical tension there was anytime i wanted to show her physical affection. and for her letting go of her insecurities and letting me in and letting me be a part of her progress wasn't worth the effort to help our relationship progress.

i think thats what hurts the most. but i know what its like to feel the negative perception as well like youre not good enough for someone and they want you to change into something else before they'll marry you instead of the perception that they just want to help you become the best you.

its all pride and selfishness. sucks.

attitude determines altitude.
give up your pride for something you love instead of giving up something you love for your pride.

02 February 2014

midnight musings: life's storms

ive grown to really not like the analogy of the variety of problems we face in life as "storms".

storms you can wait out. theyll eventually lose strength and dissipate and then the sun will come out. during a storm you can literally just sit there and do nothing but watch the storm rage on and sooner or later it will pass. even with violent and dangerous storms like hurricanes and tornadoes you can just go somewhere else during the bad time and escape it.

but unlike the storms in nature, lifes problems dont just go away.

they stay.

there might not always be the constant downpour of rain, cracks of thunder and bolts of lighting overhead but lifes problems definitely do not just pass by with time as do the rain storms weve consistently been taught to compare them to. 

rain, rain go away
come again another day
... actually, just go away and not come back, ok?!

ive spent a lot of time away from blogging, away from recovery, away from group, away from friends, away from family, away from making new relationships, away from almost any and everything... i tried just waiting, ignoring, and looking for somewhere to just escape all of it with the false hope that at some point this damned storm of problems that i was/am faced with would eventually break/ease up/move on/pass me by. 

i don't even think noah's ark could have survived this storm cause its been raining a hell of a lot longer than just 40 days and 40 nights.

so how am i supposed to get this storm to pass?!

it seems like time is everyone's favorite answer when it comes to emotional healing, but the important thing to realize is that there's two types of time: theres the passing of time (passive) and the time to act (active).

with natural storms, they will pass by regardless of any action we choose to take or not take. we can be completely passive and the rain will go away... but if problems were mountains... it makes a lot more sense that sitting on your butt doing nothing definitely isn't going to get you over that peak.

life's mountains then obviously require the active effort of time for us to climb.

2 Nephi 2:14 "... there is a God and he hath created all things, ... both things to act and things to be acted upon."
2 Nephi 2:26 men are "... to act for themselves and not to be acted upon."

we have not been put on this earth to passively go through life and be acted upon.

biologically, death is simply when there is no movement. 
when there's no activity.

and so that is what i've learned i must now do. even tho something may be a trigger that brings up past feelings/emotions, its better to be moving forward and climbing up the mountain that still sitting in the rain. 

because i was created and given power to act, not to be acted upon.

22 October 2013

treating my emotional appendicitis

i eat healthy.
i exercise... sometimes too much.
i say my prayers.
i read my scriptures.
i go to church.
i set goals.
i plan my day.
i have every righteous intention of doing what i know i need to do to live a happy healthy and successful life...

but i can't. 

it is literally the most frustrating thing in the world to see this huge discrepancy between what i feel i'm capable of doing and desiring nothing more than to act on those righteous intentions, and then just not being able to...

my life has become unmanageable

met with my therapist today.
we talked for around 30 minutes about what i've gone through with the recent and not so recent events in my life.
he then handed me a short questionnaire to fill out.
i scored in the mid 60's.
anything 50 or above is considered to be severe clinical depression.

as of this afternoon 
i was diagnosed 
by a professional psychologist 

"severe" clinical depression.

so theres that...

i guess it is a relief to finally bring whats been holding me back for so long out of the dark and into the light so i can address it and hopefully through the medication i just received and working with my therapist in conjunction with my addiction recovery, finally break free from the vicious cycle that's held me captive and impeded my progress for all these years.

onward and upward

10 October 2013

guide to recovery

so tuesday night was volleyball tryouts for a competitive team that i've been excitedly anticipating. this summer i was consistently exercising for at least an hour every day, 6 days a week but when i woke up the morning after tryouts my body felt like i had been thrown down a mountainside haha 

i was sore all over.

so i did what i know i needed to do so i could properly recover from the high demands that competing at this level required in order to go out and compete at that same level again at practice the next day:

  • made sure i slept at least 7 hours
  • did a warm up and stretched for 15-20 minutes
  • bought ACE bandages and a cold compress
  • iced my shoulder and elbow
  • put icy hot (which is one of my all-time favorite smells) on my calf and shoulder
  • put my rice heating pad on my lower back
  • took Aleve to preemptively battle any inflammation
  • ate a good meal
  • drank a ton of water
  • scheduled an appointment w/ a massage therapist
at last nights practice, thanks to my time and effort i put into recovery, i was fresh and strong and able to compete and play at an even higher level than i did on tuesday which helped to solidify my spot on the "A" team. Woot! Woot!

you may not know this, but physiologically when you exercise you're actually breaking down your muscle. thats what exercise does; it damages your muscle fibers. thats why exercising isn't what makes you stronger. it imposes a demand that your body will then work to adapt to, but where you actually gain your strength from is after your body has repaired and fortified those muscles against future demands.

recovery is just as important as the exercising.

naturally this lead me to thinking about my addiction "recovery" and what inferences i could gain to help in my spiritual recovery. so id like to share 5 important lessons i've learned.

1. recovery is not passive - recovery takes effort. the more effort you put into recovering, the more effort you'll be able to put into overcoming and resisting and enduring the trials and temptations. the 12 steps are just that, steps. you can't take a step without making an effort. recovery works to the degree you work recovery.

2. you need a place of refuge where you can rest - find/create a safe place. somewhere you can be free from the trials and temptations of this world and seek Christ and give yourself time to heal. examples: temple, outdoors, gym, anywhere with your bestfriend, etc.

psalms 9:9 the Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble 

3. eat of the bread of life and drink of the living waters - daily gospel study and weekly church attendance to all your meetings. the living waters are a representation of Christ and His teachings. water is essential to life, and physical recovery, just as constantly studying the doctrines and principles of the gospel are essential to spiritual life and recovery. Jesus is also the bread of life in that his atonement is the only thing that can save us from death, both physical and spiritual. every week in sacrament meeting we literally eat bread in remembrance of His sacrifice.

john 6:35 and Jesus said unto them, i am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst

4. be preemptive against satan's efforts to inflame you - build up your righteous defenses. seek to exercise faith in all that you do before you're faced with a trial of your faith. set boundaries, put on content filters, reach out to friends/family/sponsor, make the decision to protect yourself from sin before sin is already affronting you. put on the armor of god before battle, not during.

ephesians 6:16 above all, taking the shield of faith wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked

5a. schedule an appointment with a professional - meet with your spiritual specialist: your bishops. They are divinely called and set apart as judges in israel to cleanse the church from iniquity and help those who sin find their way back onto the path of righteousness. not a single one of my bishops ive ever met with knew anything about addiction or addiction recovery. they just knew porn was bad and against the law of chastity. they are imperfect men who are not specialists in what we're going through, but it was an opportunity for me to exercise my faith and even when i haven't felt i necessarily gained anything from meeting him, i have been able to feel of his love and desire to help me and of the love that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have for me.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks "the bishop is the judge and the shepherd who has the power of discernment and the right to revelation and inspiration for the guidance of the flock."

5b. schedule an appointment with a professional - don't be afraid to meet with a therapist/counselor. Elder Holland gave an amazing talk during the Saturday afternoon session of general conference this last weekend titled Like a Broken Vessel. there are professionals in dealing with mental health issues and addiction is a disease of the mind. it is not a weakness to seek professional help to recover. 

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland "if you had appendicitis, God would expect you to seek a priesthood blessing and get the best medical care available. so too with emotional disorders. our Father in Heaven expects us to use all of the marvelous gifts He has provided in this glorious dispensation."

hopefully this guide can be a help as you seek out your own recovery whether it be from addiction, abuse, betrayal, or any other emotional and spiritual damaging situation/condition.

remember that you cannot recover yourself. even with physical recovery i can make every effort to create an environment conducive to my body recovering, but it is this amazing wonderful body that recovers by God's divine design. so too must our spiritual recovery be. it is our responsibility to make every effort we can to create an environment conducive to allowing Christ and His spirit into our lives because He is the only one who can truly recover us.

03 October 2013

self talk and affirmations

so last night and today i've thought a lot about "self talk"

if you're unfamiliar with what "self talk" is, you can read a little more about it here

but basically its the little voice inside your head which will tend to either be negative (you're not good at that...) or positive (you got this!)

mine is predominantly negative and extremely critical. for example i may or may not have a mild case of BDD (body dysmorphic disorder). i can finally reach my goal weight and a decent body fat percentage after exercising and being extremely disciplined with my nutrition, but when i look in the mirror i only see things i want to change/improve and my self talk tells me i'm not good enough and all these things wrong with me.

the interesting paradox is when i'm training someone i use that same hyper observant ability to analyze what they are wanting to change and come up with ways on how we'd accomplish that but my attitude is encouraging and motivating and completely positive and any criticism i give to a client is constructive and meant to better enable them to reach their goals. 

a complete 180 of my own "self talk".

i would love for that genuine, positive, passionate, building, motivating energy that i have when helping other people reach their goals to be characteristic of my "self talk" as i work towards achieving my own goals. 

the good news is that apparently you can practice positive self talk and get rid of the negative self talk. yay!

so one way i'm trying to affect a change in my "self talk" is with self affirmations. these are my 10 that i will try and say to myself in the mirror after i shower every morning. i do want to point out that these are not meant to be permanent and i plan on continually editing/revising/updating them as i, my circumstances and my self talk continue to change. enjoi.

  • i live my life with #constantconsistency: i am diligent in the time and effort i put towards achieving my goals and performing all of my responsibilities at the highest level i can.
  • i am a son of God. He loves me, He trusts me, and He has a plan for me.
  • i love exactly who i am right now at this very moment in time
  • i am athletic attractive capable valuable and worthy. i am worthy.
  • no matter how angry, frustrated or emotional i am, i always have the ability to choose what i say and how i act.
  • i enjoy my life my profession my education and my relationships with my family and friends
  • the pressure to perform is so exciting and stimulating to me that the more difficult something is, the more i excel.
  • i am proud of the talents and abilities God has blessed me with and strive to use and develop them to be an instrument in His hands to bless the lives of those around me.
  • because i sincerely care about myself and the quality of my life i am financially responsible.
  • the trials and hardships i face are merely steps to climb guiding me onward and upward towards reaching my true potential.

25 September 2013

mr. wrong

"the only thing that never changes is that everything changes" - louis l'amor

this past year has been one full of change for me.

change of calling
change of employment
change of roommates
change of hobbies: now into running and firearms
change of facial hair: growing a beard
change of college:  BYU to UVU
change of church status: full membership with a temple recommend
change of relationship status: from progressing towards marriage with someone to progressing towards marriage on my own

but the one thing i've wanted to change more than any of all that and have spent time and effort and tears, wishing and trying and struggling to change, is this godforsaken addiction. 

i don't want it. 
i don't. 
but i cant seem to get rid of it. 

i've been through a lot of change.
i'm changing still. 
but its not enough. its never enough.

i feel like i'm stuck in a tar pit.

i can't imagine, i would never wish, for another righteous beautiful young woman searching for her mr. right to become such an important part of my life and be hurt and stained by this tar that has me trapped.

hopefully one day i'll have changed enough to be free and clean from this filth to become the future love of my life's mr. right.

but for now i'm still mr. wrong