Monday, October 31, 2011

Encompassed by temptations

“I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me. “And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted. My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep.“He hath filled me with his love, even unto the consuming of my flesh” (2 Nephi 4:18–21).

Do you feel encompassed or trapped? When do you feel this way most often?

Sitting at my computer, trying to get work done, struggling to resist the gnawing compulsion in the back of my mind. That is when I feel most encompassed and trapped.   I discovered a long time ago that I used pornography as a way to avoid pain (or work, or church assignments, or anything else that wasn't "pleasurable"). It was a quick escape, the easy way to forget about the responsibilities I faced.  I have had moments where I've gone to work having made the conscious decision to avoid pornography only to find myself, the moment I sit down at my station, struggling to keep to my conviction. The computer makes it so easy, so anonymous,  so quick.  I am literally encompassed about at work. All I have to do is shut the door to my office and I have access to as much pornography as I want.

It comes in waves though. I can go a week, two weeks, maybe even a few months without feeling much more than an intellectual acknowledgement that an entire world of pornography is just a click away, but then something will happen, some trigger that will remind me of a previous image I'd seen before, or spark some seemingly innocent curiosity, and I will end up spending 10 or 20 minutes looking for ways I can satisfy that curiosity without crossing a line and looking at "actual" pornography.  If I indulge a little, I may spend the entire day back and forth between my work and this "innocent searching."

This is of course, a huge lie, because pornography is pornography regardless of how "serious" it is.  And if I'm looking at it to satisfy some sexual/emotional/chemical need, then the image is pornographic, regardless of the state of undress or the parties present in the image. 

Perhaps this what encompasses me most--this lie that somehow I can live in both worlds successfully, that somehow as long as what I'm viewing is not actually sex, or not actually naked people, that I will be okay.  The ironic thing is that from what I understand of addiction, the dopamine rush and the chemical reaction is charged as much, or more through the anticipation leading up to acting out as the acting out itself, so even if I'm not "going all the way," I'm still maintaining the addiction, feeding it like some virus or infection.  You cannot serve God and mammon for sure, and I cannot kill my addiction if I keep shooting it in the head, but then rushing it to the hospital and hooking up to life support.

It's a little like walking around the liquor store and not buying anything, or on some days, when it gets really bad, its like opening a bottle and taking swig, only to slosh it around my mouth for a moment and spit it out.  Sure, I didn't drink anything, and I may be sober in the strictest sense, but I'm not well.

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