Monday, March 9, 2015

Grateful for Recovery

It has been such a long time since I've checked or even attempted to write here but, today I felt I needed to read a couple of blogs and they were very inspiring to me. I felt like writing somethings down tonight and I have no idea if any of it will make any sense but, they are things on my mind so I'm just going to write. I am starting to see the blessings that have come from living the principles of recovery and I am filled with gratitude for the recovery programs and what they are doing for me.

A lot has happened since last May. In July things got rough again between Alicia and I. She asked for a separation and I purchased a camp trailer and moved it onto the property. It gave us enough space to work on our own stuff but still had me close enough to help with the kids and made it easy for them to come and see me. We set up a curfew and boundaries so that each of us had the space we needed. Sometimes we were more flexible with it and other times we were very strict with it. It was not easy.

We were very honest with the kids with what was going on. We told them in the best way we could what was going on with Mommy and Daddy and that I would be sleeping and staying out in the trailer for the most part. It was so hard for me to see the safety they once felt all of a sudden be taken out from under them.

A lot of tears were shed as I wondered what would happen to my family. A LOT! I can't recall a time in my life where I have felt such pain. Not just during that conversation, but through out my time in the trailer. The worst part about it, it was my own doing. I'd put us in this mess. I had created the un-safety. My actions resulted in the things that were now going on with us. But, as hard as all of this was to go through, looking back at it, there was SO much growth on both our parts. And I wouldn't trade that for anything. Because of this healing and growth in our individual recovery, our marriage is now slowly starting to recover as well and boy is it sweet.

I've been over a year sober and I feel that I have slowly begun to see the physical and emotional healing that is promised in all the books. For example, I am beginning to see things more clearly. I could go on and on about clarity but I'll save that for another day. Right now I'm just grateful that clarity is a new form of life for me.

Recovery has done more for me than just kept me sexually sober. It has taught me that I am worth something. I'm not the low life peace of crap that I used to think that I was. Despite my mistakes, I am worth something. I am more confident in myself and don't worry so much about what other people think of me. I say "so much" because it creeps back in and I have to work at it all the time. But it's getting better. That's just one aspect of it. Another aspect is the improvement in my relationship with God and Christ and learning to turn my life and will over to them. What sweet gifts! What sweet fruits!

Real recovery is hard. It's not easy and it's not supposed to be. I don't pretend to be perfect at it at all. I make mistakes and do my best to own them rather than use denial and secrecy to hide them but, I'm not perfect at it. Like I said earlier, recovery; REAL bloody your knuckles RECOVERY has some of the sweetest fruits you could imagine. I have A LOT more work to do. But I feel like I am becoming a different person. As a result, it is starting to affect just about every aspect of my life. With rewards like this, I can handle the pains that come with healing.

Thursday, May 22, 2014


A few months ago someone asked about the surrender process and how to do it. To CB I just want to say I'm sorry for the delay. Since seeing that comment I have attempted to write this several times.

At the time of that comment , I thought I had surrender down. It was working very well for me. Finally SOMETHING was working. Whenever I found myself triggered or having lustful thoughts, I was able to be aware of what was going on, stop it in it's tracks, and acknowledge to God what was happening.  Then I'd physically tell Him I was handing it over to Him. In my mind's eye I would visualize myself handing it over. Sometimes this would work instantaneously, other times I had to do the process over and over until it worked. It is so freeing to be able to do that and not wrestle with it myself.

Then I took a small step toward my addiction. I didn't relapse or slip but I did make a poor choice. Although that choice was small, it messed me up for a good two and a half weeks. Suddenly this process that was working so well wasn't working as well. My mind was on hyper drive and it was much more difficult for me to surrender. I found myself trying to control my addiction instead of surrender it to God.

As I have thought about it, I asked myself how surrender came about for me. The answer over and over at least for me is this. The ability to surrender has come as I have really come to understand, believe, and apply the first three steps.

The first thing was I had to truly come to believe I was powerless over my addiction. For many years I truly believed I could over come this on my own. I thought that I would some how be able to muster enough strength when I became "a more spiritual being." It has even been brought to my attention by my therapist that I still in smaller ways, try to control something that has OWNED me for so many years. When I realized I was truly powerless, and that I NEED the Lord, I think that was when surrender became the only option.

Addiction has royally screwed with my belief in God. Through all of this, there were times I questioned His existence. As I have worked recovery and gone through some of the hardest, darkest, loneliest times of my life, I can see that He is aware of me and my family. Very aware. Right now I'm working step 2. As I have been studying and working this step, I have had situations placed before me that were very difficult where the only place to turn was to God, and where only God's will could make everything okay. And He has shown me that; thereby showing me how to come to believe He and ONLY He can restore me to complete spiritual health.

The hardest part now is putting it all into action haha. Realizing it is the easy part. Turning my life over to God and giving up my will is one of the hardest things for me. I want to do what I want to do sometimes. Sometimes I'm scared that what He wants me to do is not what I want to do. Even though common sense and the scriptures dictate that the Lord's will is ultimately what is best. As I am learning to put my trust in Him, I am coming alive spiritually. I am beginning to want what He wants.

I am in no wise a surrender master, but it is working in my life. And like Ben said in his post, what the surrender process teaches us to do is surrender ourselves to God not just the addiction. Because He wants us. The funny thing is, recovery is beginning to turn me into that long sought after "spiritual being."

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Who I Am

I relate very well to music. I always have. I've recently discovered Jason Gray's music. His lyrics are very personal to me and I can tell that he is being vulnerable in his music. Maybe that is why I appreciate his music so much is because of that vulnerability.

The song "Remind Me Who I Am" really hit home with me. In the song, he is pleading to be reminded of who he is to The Lord. Addiction has had a way of making me forget who I am which is exactly what Satan wants. The more I forget, the less I turn to God and the more bound I am. The Lord though, will remind me how precious I am to him if we let him. I am seeing this day by day sometimes moment by moment. Those moments hopefully will lead to a better relationship with my Father in Heaven. The lyrics speak for themselves.

"Remind Me Who I Am"

When I lose my way,
And I forget my name,
Remind me who I am.
In the mirror all I see,
Is who I don't wanna be,
Remind me who I am.
In the loneliest places,
When I can't remember what grace is.

Tell me once again who I am to You,
Who I am to You.
Tell me lest I forget who I am to You,
That I belong to You.
To You.

When my heart is like a stone,
And I'm running far from home,
Remind me who I am.
When I can't receive Your love,
Afraid I'll never be enough,
Remind me who I am.
If I'm Your beloved,
Can You help me believe it.

Tell me once again who I am to You,
Who I am to You, whoa.
Tell me lest I forget who I am to You.
That I belong to You.
To You.

I'm the one you love,
I'm the one you love,
That will be enough,
I'm the one you love.

Tell me once again who I am to You.
Who I am to You.
Tell me lest I forget who I am to You,
That I belong to You, oh.

Tell me once again who I am to You.
Who I am to You.
Tell me lest I forget who I am to You,
That I belong to You.
To You
 I am grateful for good music and inspired artists who help The Lord remind me who I am.. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Gift of Temptation

I've sat down a couple of times to blog during the month of February only to find myself too exhausted to complete a sentence. So I'm bound and determined to finish them even if it is a month or so later.

 That being said, the last Friday in January, I had a really good session with my therapist. We talked about a lot of things that had been on my mind. I talked with him about how hard it is to be an addict and a perfectionist, (cruel freakin world)! He gave me a quote from the book "He Restoreth My Soul." Which is amazing by the way.

The quote actually comes from the SA white book. It says, "Often, seeing we've stopped acting out our habit for a time, we feel we're free of it forever. This may just be the time it strikes again. So the realization slowly dawns that we may always be subject to temptation and powerless over lust. We come to see that it's all right to be tempted and feel absolutely powerless over it as long as we can get the power to overcome. The fear of our vulnerability gradually diminishes as we stay sober and work the Steps. We can look forward to the time when the obsession-not temptations-will be gone.

We begin to see that there's no power over the craving in advance; we have to work this as it happens each time. Therefore, each temptation, every time we want to give in to lust or any other negative emotion, is a gift toward recovery, healing, and freedom-another opportunity to change our attitude and find union with God. We didn't get here in a day; it took practice to burn the addictive process into our being. It takes practice to make our true Connection."

I absolutely love this whole section! This completely changed my perspective and helps me get rid of my shame when I am tempted. For so may years I'd beat myself up over being tempted. I had never viewed it as a gift!

I really liked how it said that we can look forward to the time when the obsession will be gone not the temptation. When Christ was on the earth, he was tempted. He chose to obey and as a result was able to cary out the Atonement. He showed us by His example just what a gift temptations can be.

Being tempted is part of this life. It's okay to be tempted! We are here to be tempted, tested, and proven. The choice is mine on what I want to do with that temptation.  And the consequences are pretty cut and dry. I can use the tools of recovery, work the steps, and build a stronger recovery, or I can give in, act out, and start back at the beginning.  It seems so clear now, the difference between temptation and obsession.

I never thought I'd be grateful for temptations. I just wanted them to be gone with regards to this and at times I still do.  But, in some crazy way I'm starting to view them as opportunities. Opportunities to heal, to become stronger in recovery through The Lord, and build trust with Alicia. Each good choice, no matter how small, is a victory. Those small victories lead to bigger victories over time. In a sense, all victories are huge. It will take years to undo the damage it took me years to create, but that's a topic for another day.

This view gives me peace and claity. I no longer look at temptations as "what's wrong with me?" But as "this is my opportunity to make the right choice." Temptations are my opportunity to put the steps into action. For that, I can say that I am beginning to be grateful for opportunities to heal. I know I am powerless over my addiction, and I know I'm not perfect at this and that's okay. Because Christ is perfect, and throuhh Him there can be power over addiction. His power. His Atonement gives back the choices addiction has robbed. For that I am grateful for opportunities to choose Him.

Monday, March 3, 2014

A Firm Foundation

Yesterday my wife and I were able to attend the first session of the Gilbert Temple Dedication. Not thinking because we attended via satellite at the stake center, I brought my cell phone. One of the requirements of my job is that I be available for call out 24/7.  We got there about an hour early and I figured I could get some scripture study in while we waited. When we were coming in,  they told us no cell phones. Mine was hidden under my coat and on vibrate. Alicia asked if is as going to take it to the car. I told her I needed to keep in on me. "You don't normally to take it when you go to the temple." She replied. I told her that I do, I just normally keep it in the locker. She agreed. But as we walked to the chapel, the feeling to put it in the car was strong. The stake center chapel didn't feel like the stake center. It felt like the temple. I told my Alicia I was going to text my supervisors and let them know I would be unavailable for a couple of hours and took my phone to the car.

When I returned to the chapel, I grabbed a hymn book and decided to read the words to the hymn "How Firm A Foundation." It's a hymn that has had a lot of meaning for me lately. Having the stake center being an extension of the temple brought a special reverence there. I had the opportunity to really soak in the words.

The first two verses to me sound like someone bearing their testimony:

1. How firm a foundation, ye Saints of the Lord,

Is laid for your faith in his excellent word!

What more can he say than to you he hath said,

Who unto the Savior for refuge have fled?

What I take from this is the promise of a sure foundation if I will but have faith in His word and exercise that faith in Him.

2. In ev’ry condition--in sickness, in health,

In poverty’s vale or abounding in wealth,

At home or abroad, on the land or the sea -

As thy days may demand, so thy succor shall be.

 No matter where we are, no matter what we are going through, The Lord has the ability and the desire  to help us. Whatever we are going through in any particular day, The Lord can and will succor us to whatever measure is needed. What great comfort are in the words, "As thy days may demand, so thy succor shall be!" This show me that He knows me, and He is right there with me.

The third verse has really touched me, especially as I sat in the temple today.

3. Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed,

For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.

I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,

Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

These words felt as though God were speaking directly to me. There have been so many times I have felt so very alone in this addiction! To read and feel the words "I am with thee" brought tears to my eyes. That, though I make mistakes, He is still my God, He will not abandon me but help me, strengthen me, and cause me to stand.  When upheld by God, nothing can knock me down for long if I will turn to Him.

4. When through the deep waters I call thee to go,

The rivers of sorrow shall not thee o’erflow,

For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,

And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

Could it be that I can be sanctified through this? I've known my whole life that The Lord uses our trials to bring us closer to Him. But to know I can be sanctified, ME. It brought such peace. The river of sorrow will not consume me because weather or not I can see Him, God is with me, blessing me in and through my troubles.

5. When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,

My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply.

The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design

Thy dross to consume, thy dross to consume,

Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.

The Lord knows trials are going to lie before us and hedge up our way. Some will be of our own choosing, others because of things that are done to us. The Lord doesn't allow us to go through these things to hurt us but rather he wants to refine us. He is carefully watching over us giving us strength as we go through these things. This reminds me of Malachi 3:3 "And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver:" The Lord only desires to refine us and prepare us to return to live with Him.

6. E’en down to old age, all my people shall prove

My sov’reign, eternal, unchangeable love;

And then, when gray hair shall their temples adorn,

Like lambs shall they still, like lambs shall they still,

Like lambs shall they still in my bosom be borne.

7. The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose

I will not, I cannot, desert to his foes;

That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,

I’ll never, no never, no never forsake!

As I lean on Christ, God will not desert me to the challenges and trials that stand before me everyday. I have felt as though all hell has been unleashed on me with addiction, especially as porn and lust saturated as our world is. Yet recently I have also felt that The Lord is aware of me and is there to help me.

I have not done justice to the feelings and impressions left on my mind as I had the opportunity to ponder the words of this song. It prepared me for the other things I learned in the dedication. I have always enjoyed the tune of this song and have even enjoyed singing it but it has new meaning to me now. Yesterday in the temple, this song was The Lord speaking to me. To my spirit. Letting me know that I am not alone, as I have felt many times. He is there to strengthen me and help me. I am powerless over this addiction. I am powerless over all of my weaknesses. But God is not. He has the power to help me overcome my challenges. His grace is sufficient. If I will just let it be the supply I draw from, The Lord will help me overcome whatever trials and challenges lie before me. It is no wonder that Christ is the sure foundation!

Monday, January 20, 2014

I Wish I Knew Then the Things I Know Now

When the world of recovery first entered our home, it entered through my wife. Something I brought into our marriage, something she didn't ask for. Why wasn't I the one who sought out what was needed to truly heal? Why wasn't I man enough to admit that I needed these things. Why did I get defensive when she tried to explain how she was feeling? These are all questions that I am asking myself now because now, I feel like I can see things a little clearer the deeper I get into recovery.

Lately I've been thinking about what I'd say to myself if I could go back in time and give me some advice. Things I wish I knew then. I wish that I would have done things differently.  I think everyone does at times. But more than anything, I wish I had known what I know now.

First thing I’d tell myself is be honest with yourself! This truly is an ADDICTION with real physical and spiritual ramifications! For years I told myself that it was "just a bad habit." It wasn't until I took an inventory that I truly saw it for what it was. It showed me how out of control my life had become. I thought that I wasn't hurting anyone because all it affected was me spiritually. I also thought that when I got married everything would just "go away." This couldn't be further from the truth. I later learned that the problem was lust, and pornography was simply the drug of choice.

Reading the book He Restoreth My Soul  by Donald L. Hilton Jr., MD taught me that there are literally physical side effects from indulging in pornography, in addition to the spiritual side effects.  The book also taught me that the Savior can heal me both physically and spiritually. My recovery truly began as I read this book.

Next, be honest with your spouse. She deserves to know what has been going on. She is as much a part of this marriage as I am. I was always honest with my wife in the beginning. As things progressed, I began to lie. Lying hurt her more than anything. This addiction hurts our spouses more than we can ever understand. It also begins to affect them spiritually and physically. My wife and I recently sat down with our counselor and I disclosed everything, (I highly recommend doing this with a counselor present). Everything was laid out on the table. I was terrified to do it. I didn’t want to cause her more pain. I didn't want to be uncomfortable. It did hurt her. It brought her to the reality of our situation. She described it was someone stealing her memories because, things were not as she thought they were. But to my surprise, this has been one of the best things we have done. Don’t get me wrong, things have not been easy. But from that day forward, true healing began and I have been able to connect with her more deeply than before.

That being said, be patient with her and allow her to feel what she’s feeling. This takes time. It is not something that is healed overnight. Trust and her heart have been broken. She has literally gone through a type of trauma and will exhibit signs of that. She is going to go through a mourning process. Allow her to do it. Be sensitive to her needs and do whatever she needs you to do as she goes through her own recovery. She did not ask for this addiction or the hurt it brings. So be patient.

Third, seek out resources and support. There are so many resources available today! Websites, books, and much more. For so long I thought I could get through this on my own. That I needed to just pray harder and read my scriptures more. When I failed over and over again, I began to believe I was not spiritually enough or I would have been able to kick the habit. There were men I looked up to and thought that if I could only be as good as they were, I'd be able to rid myself of this scourge. I knew I wasn't alone, but I didn't realize that I needed the support of others who are working through recovery as well. I have found great support from guys I have never even met face to face who were willing to share their story and insights with me. I have learned from those who are successfully in recovery that there are principles that, if I will follow, will help me achieve lasting recovery.

Finally, you are not your addiction. Like I stated above, there were times I began to believe I was not spiritually enough or I would have overcome it. I thought that I must not be repenting sincerely enough. What I did not understand was that repentance is not recovery and recovery is not repentance.This addiction is a sickness and although it compels us to sin, and repentance must occur, in addition to the repentance process, the sickness has to be treated. That is why there are the tried
and true steps to recovery.  Realizing this was very eye opening and freeing for me. I am spiritually good enough! My repentance was sincere! I wasn't taking the steps needed to treat this disease. It will take work, it will be hard, and there will be struggles along the way.

I know I have a long way to go, but seeing this addiction for what it is has been a powerfully eye opening experience for me. It has helped me to be more honest with myself and others. It has helped me understand that I can't do this alone. It has also helped me to understand that I am not my addiction. I am a son of God. I have a disease that, through the steps of recovery, will help me recover and heal from the damage done. That healing will come in and through Christ because the steps of recovery are the principles of the gospel that lead us to Him.

Friday, January 17, 2014


Recently I've seen one of the Lord's tender mercies that applied to me personally and it came from two different avenues. Right now I'm on step 3. It's been a challenging step for me mainly because the first two steps, at least for me, were more realizations than actions. Realizing that I am powerless over this addiction and what it's doing to my life. And realizing there is hope in and through Christ. But step 3 actually says, "Okay now that you've realized these two concepts, put your trust in God." DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

It requires me to pray, LISTEN, and then follow the prompting.  Sounds easy enough. But if there is one thing that this addiction has done to me more than anything it is having a lack of confidence in receiving revelation. It would be so nice to just have the Lord come down, look me in the eye, and say, "Danny, I want you to do this..." I can do that. I would know for sure it is His will and not mine that I'd be carrying out. But, then I wouldn't grow. With that in mind, I have been asking Him to show me His hand in my life every single day to teach me to recognize when He is trying to communicate with me. And He has!

Lately I've been reading a chapter a day from the scriptures. I've started with The Book of Mormon. I have always struggled getting through Nephi, let alone getting something profound from his writings, but lately I've really come to appreciate him.

When Nephi and his family were in the wilderness, he talks a lot of the struggles they had. They were in the wilderness for 8 years. They had left all of the comforts of home, Lamen and Lemuel were a pain in the butt, Laben tried to kill them, their women traveled pregnant and had babies. Food was hard to find at times, and anything else you can think of when it comes to traveling in the wilderness in 600 B.C. But through this, Nephi did what ever the Lord asked of him. He became, "Highly favored of the Lord" and eventually became a leader of his people.

While reading about these things, I also watched a movie about the pioneers called Ephraim's Rescue.

 It is the story of Ephraim Hanks and the Martin Handcart Company, the trials they went through, and the blessings they received. In this movie we're shown the trials and struggles Ephraim went through and how he came to find he gospel and some of the gifts the Lord had blessed him with. The movie also shows the struggles of the pioneers. Loss of life, loss of limbs, exhaustion, starvation, being exposed to the elements, and many other hardships. Some, like Nephi and his family, left riches and comforts behind.  When the main character, Ephraim Hanks, arrives, he had realized that some of the gifts the Lord had blessed him with, could be used to bolster the saints.

I've heard some of these stories before but this movie touched me. What came to mind from these two stories is how the Lord prepares us through our trials. Many of the pioneers went on to hold callings in the church after they arrived in the Salt Lake Valley. Some were general authorities, some patriarchs, stake presidents, bishops and relief society presidents. But more importantly some were faithful the remainder of their days and blessed the lives of their posterity for generations. Nephi was prepared to lead a nation, his family, and the church. All were brought closer to God.

My point is, no matter the calling or situation in life, the Lord prepares us through our trials and, if we are faithful, and endure our trials well by seeking to draw closer to God and turn our will over to Him, He will prepare and mold us into what He would have us be.

I've always heard the scripture that says the Lord will make our weaknesses strengths if we humble ourselves before the Him. I have always wondered how on earth He could make THIS weakness a strength? It is a question that has haunted me for years. But I am beginning to see it. That in and of it self is a tender mercy for me. He's known about that question since I first started asking it. It has not been asked recently but He knew I needed to see His hand in my life right now, and so He's making Himself known to me in very personal and intimate ways.

With this new realization, I have new found purpose and motivation in my recovery. I understand that something good can come out of all of this. That gives me hope. I also know that the Lord uses our trials to prepare and mold us into what He would have us be. The decision to turn our will over to Him is ours and it can be a hard thing to do. But when we do, amazing things can happen. I want so badly to become what He would have me be. I wonder what some of the gifts are that He has blessed me with and look forward to discovering and developing them. It is not always going to be easy, and I know I won't be perfect at it but, I look forward to getting to know Him better and trusting in Him more.