The Personal Story of One Girl's Addiction to Pornography

Tuesday, October 22, 2013



I have a dear friend who has struggled with a pornography addiction for seven years and who bravely agreed to let me interview her as a way to reach out and help others (both women and men) who may be struggling with a pornography addiction, as well as give insight to those who may know someone who has an addiction. She is an active member of the church and a student at Brigham Young University. This interview is for an article that will be published next year in a much-edited form, but I wanted her sincere, unabridged voice to be heard the way that I heard it. Speaking with her has touched me and has changed my perspective on sin and the Atonement, as well as having changed my life. 

(Her name has been omitted to keep her identity anonymous. "A" merely stands for "Answer.")

M: How did this all start? When did you realize that you had an addiction?

A: The first encounter I had was the summer after seventh grade. It was just on YouTube. It wasn’t super explicit or anything, but it was the first time that curiosity was aroused. Like addictions always do, it just kind of escalated. I guess I admitted I had a problem to myself in 9th grade. The first person I told was my older brother at the end of 9th grade. It wasn’t until a few months later that I told my mom and she encouraged me to see my bishop. I saw my bishop when I was sixteen. Then I worked with him, and then we got a new bishop, and I kept working with new bishops and leaders and told more and more people. Then, when I was 18 I went to college. When I got here, that’s when I found out about the addiction recovery group and started going to those meetings.

M: What was your family’s response?

A: They were incredible. My brother was the first person I told. He just sat me down and put his arm around me and kept telling me that it was okay. He told me anything he knew that he thought would help me. He told me he wouldn’t tell anyone until I was ready. When I told my mom, I remember, it was after a young women’s activity. I was really active in young women’s. Everyone got along with me, everyone was my friend and it came really naturally to me. But I always felt really guilty, like a fat liar all the time. Leaders would always tell me how great I was. But I was like, “You don’t even know who I really am.” Everything they said was invalid because of a secret I kept. 

I got home from mutual one night. I was sitting in the kitchen, and my mom was just cleaning dishes.  I just said, “Mom, there’s something I need to tell you.” And after I told her, she just said, “That makes so much sense.” It was because I had this aversion to being touched. She always asked me if someone had been molesting me, but I said no. She said, “That makes so much sense that you would feel so… you don’t want to be violated, you don’t like being touched.” She sat me down on the couch and straight-out asked me questions, because our computer is in the family room. She said, “Aren’t you afraid that people will come in?” And I said, “Yeah, but I did it anyway.” After that, she put locks on the computer. She started checking up on me.  But she always asked me, “Do you think this will help you?” She never acted like disgusted or shocked or anything. I didn’t understand that other people’s reactions would be different. I think my mom kind of understands because she was a convert to the church as a teenager, so she’s more realistic when it comes to things in the world. 

While I was in the middle of telling her about my shame, my young women’s leader called me right at that moment. She just called to tell me how awesome she thought I was. She said she knew I wasn’t perfect, but she just really loved me and thought I was amazing. When I hung up the phone, my mom was like, “That was God speaking to you and telling you what He sees in you.” She never negated any other good thing I was doing, even though that was my natural instinct—to feel that any good thing I could do was counteracted by the bad things I did. She encouraged me to see my bishop even though I didn’t want to at all.  You technically don’t have to see your bishop, but I would definitely recommend it. She never pushed me, though. 

I decided to see my bishop. It was hard because he had been my bishop since I was eight. He was there when I got baptized. It was really hard, but it was good. He said it was a really common problem in the church, even for women. That was the first time it occurred to me that it wasn’t normal for a woman to have this problem. He said, “even women”. He kind of said it in a way that seemed like it was a man’s problem but women can sometimes have it, too. Then I realized I had never had a young women’s lesson on it. There was a lesson on media, talking about how you shouldn’t watch bad media. I remember feeling really guilty. But I remember mostly feeling really guilty because they didn’t even mention it. I felt like, “Oh, my gosh, they don’t even feel like they need to mention it.” I guess it’s just not a thing on most women’s radars… except for me. My bishop gave me an assignment of a few scriptures to read. I read all of them, and I came back and I remember he was so shocked at the work I had put into it. He said, “I’ve never seen someone work so hard.” And I said, “I really, really, really want to be over this.” 

I thought that would be it. I just kind of assumed it would go away. But it didn’t. It was really frustrating to me that I had repented so many times, since I was thirteen and I realized what I was doing was wrong, I would pray and repent and read my scriptures—I read my scriptures every single day to try to compensate, because I read that if you read your scriptures you’ll be able to overcome temptation, so I read the whole Book of Mormon when I was thirteen. I read it every single day for six months, and I was convinced that if I would do that I would be able to get over it. But I didn’t. And I felt betrayed that it didn’t work. Satan made me feel like I wouldn’t ever get over it, and that it wasn’t going to work because it wasn’t working right now. But I definitely think that, because said my prayers all the time, read my scriptures, wrote in my journal everyday—I did everything I could do to make up for what I was doing. I definitely think that it helped me. It helped me gain a testimony, like doing those things always will. It also helped prevent me from doing other, worse things I could have done, which I’m grateful for. Even though I have this addiction, I still have a testimony of the Church. If I hadn’t kept being obedient in the other areas, my addiction could have taken me off the deep end.

M: So you went above and beyond what is expected of young women as a way to try to compensate. Would you want to tell the other people who may be struggling with this that their addiction does not negate the good things that they’re doing?

A: For sure. That’s still something I’m working on every single day, something I have to tell myself over and over again. Some days there’s just a really strong... like Satan has a really good strategy. “You’ve already messed up today, so why read your scriptures? What do you think—that you’re going to be a good person because you read your scriptures?” I am a firm believer that there’s not some chalk board in heaven where they’re saying, “Good thing, bad thing, good thing…” It’s a way of life. Failure in one area of your life isn’t going to take away from all the good things that you’re doing.

M: I know we read and hear a lot about how a man’s addiction to pornography affects the women in his life and the way he sees them—because you are a woman, how do you think that affects you?

A: It’s definitely been hard. A lot of times in General Conference they’ll say this is a problem for men and women, but somehow our culture doesn’t catch up to that idea. It’s talked about all the time in priesthood. Even culturally, not in the church, there’s this idea that women are not as much sexually driven, and that it’s women’s job to fight men off. You try to make sure that you’re not a temptation for men. 

M: I was recently watching a TED talk about the difference between guilt and shame—guilt is “I did a bad thing”, shame is “I am a bad person", and I think in a religion that emphasizes good works it can be hard to differentiate between the two, which sometimes makes it hard for us to truly accept the Atonement. It’s difficult for us to realize that God’s love never wavers and our divine nature never changes.

A: The difference between guilt and shame, I think, is a huge thing. I remember one experience I had. It was my sophomore year in college. I remember I messed up again for the millionth time, and I was so frustrated with myself. I was praying, but I was yelling at anything that would listen, “Heavenly Father, how can you forgive me? I keep doing it, then I keep apologizing, but I keep doing it and then apologizing. Why do you keep buying it? I’m not even buying it anymore!” 

But then I got this overwhelming impression saying, “Stop pretending you understand how much I love you or how I can forgive you, because you never will be able to. Just trust that I can. That’s all you need to know.” 

It just hit me that we try to project our own understanding on God. We think that because we keep messing up He should stop trusting us, but that’s not how God sees it. He sees our potential and our desires. He sees everything about us, things we don’t even know about ourselves yet. So obviously, he has a different perspective on our mistakes than we do, because He’s God. We need to stop projecting our human, our tiny, tiny perspectives on Him. I feel like when we look around at the world for understanding, it often doesn’t come. That’s been really hard for me since coming to school. I go to one addiction recovery meeting a week because there’s only one I’m allowed to go to. It’s a men and women, general addiction, drugs and alcohol, eating disorders, everything like that. And it’s awesome! I love it! But it gets hard being with the people there who have normal meetings specifically for their addiction. 

I’ve called the administrative offices for addiction recovery and asked, “Are there any meetings for women?” And they say, “Yes, we have meetings for women—women who are affected by their husbands’ addictions.” But I say, “No… do you have any for women who have addictions?” And they say, “Yes, but they’re in Springville or Draper, not here at BYU. Sorry!” 

I went ahead and went to a women’s meeting, but it was all about helping women whose husbands keep messing up all the time, that they should be patient with them, don’t take it personally.  It helped a little, because I thought, “I should be patient with myself.” It didn’t help very much, though, because it was this attitude of “boys will be boys.” There’s just this idea that a woman having this problem would be appalling. Every time I go to a meeting, it’s the same: “I have an eating disorder.” Or maybe it’s self-harm, because that’s what college girls struggle with. College boys struggle with pornography addictions. They have a men’s pornography addiction meeting literally every day of the week, two, three, four times a day. And I can’t go because it says, “Men only.” It’s just so frustrating to me because I feel like for guys it’s like, “It happens a lot. Just repent.” But I know that there are girls out there who struggle with this addiction! 

You wouldn’t guess by looking at me that I have an addiction. I was on the seminary council, I went to church and mutual and the temple every week. I read my scriptures and say my prayers every day. You look at me and you think, “She has it all together.” Every time I tell people, they’re completely shocked. I know that there are other people like me that exist. I know that they’re there. It just makes me sad that they can’t come forward. I had to claw my way out to find help, I had to force people to help me. I have the kind of personality where I can do that, but some people can’t. Some people don’t have parents or a support group like I do, who will help them to not have that shame. So they’ll stay in that little shell. I went through personal counseling with a sex addiction counselor. I went online and I found an online women’s support group. For people who don’t have help like that, I honestly don’t know how they deal with the shame. Things my counselor has told me are, “Don’t be ashamed, because shame is not productive. Shame only makes addictions worse because it leads to despair, not hope.”

But about what you said before, I remember my sophomore year I had a breakdown. I was curled up in the fetal position on my couch, just crippled by my shame and despair. Not only had I been struggling with this since I was thirteen. I’d been repenting since it started. I had been seeing bishops since I was thirteen. I felt like I had been exercising faith throughout the whole thing. But my roommates came in and I didn’t want to tell them what I was going through because they weren’t the type of people who would understand. One of the girls was just so good at life and it’s so hard for her to understand weakness. She has a very “just do it” personality. The other one was kind of judgmental, someone who would look at another girl and say, “Her skirt is so short.” I didn’t feel like I could tell them, but I had an impression that I should probably tell them what was going on. After telling them, I said, “I know I’m disgusting. I know you may not want to be around me anymore.” 

My judgmental roommate said, “No, I don’t feel any differently about you.” I retorted, “I’ve heard you say that you think porn addicts are disgusting, and that you don’t want to be around them. Now you’re telling me you don’t feel any differently about me—you’re lying.” She said, “It’s different when you know them.” I said, “It shouldn’t be, because that’s who I am.” 

It’s hard because people say things like, “Porn addicts are so gross, they’re so disgusting. If I’m around them, they’re probably looking at me all weird.” They don’t understand that they are talking about people. That those people exist. That they have other things about them. I mean, yeah… I do think about sex a lot. I try not to. It’s really hard. That’s a big reason why I do have a testimony of modesty. I know how hard it is. I don’t think it’s our responsibility to dress modestly just so others won’t have bad thoughts, but, you know, whatever we can do to help each other out—that’s good. I like it when people do the same for me.

Different people’s addictions stem from different things, there’s different things about it. It’s been a long journey for me to remember that people, if they knew, they wouldn’t say things like that. It’s so hard. Satan tells you, “If people say that they love you, they’re lying to you. You’ve heard your friends say that they would never marry a porn addict. You’ve heard guys say that they want a girl who is virtuous, whose price is above rubies. And you’re not.” But that’s not how God sees it.

 M: I think this will be a good thing for people to realize, that the people they’re talking about—if they knew those people they wouldn’t feel that way. I think one thing people may not be able to understand about people who are addicted to pornography is why. For men, they like looking at naked women because it’s sexually stimulating. But for women—what is the why behind that?

A: Honestly, I don’t know. I ask myself why every single day. After a certain point, it’s not that you enjoy it—it’s that you’re crippled without it. At first, I was curious because I didn’t really know anything about sex. It was new. One thing leads to another. There are so many different things to explore. I’m just a curious person by nature. I like knowing things. I wanted to know what this was. They’ve done studies that show that pornography stimulates the same receptors in your brain that crack does. It stimulates the pleasure center in your brain. There are so many different kinds of pornography. Women are frequently addicted to romance novels because that caters to the more emotional side of things. There’s a spectrum of things that appeal to different wants and needs. It goes deeper and deeper down. I've viewed things that appealed to the side of me that likes hot guys. I've also viewed things that dealt with the desire for an emotional connection. But, at a certain point, it’s just addiction. You need something to stimulate that part of you, so you’ll just go to the next step, which makes you need it even more. Honestly, half the time, when I’m done… I’m disgusted. I can see why people would be disgusted, because it is disgusting. But you’re brain gets on that track of, “This is the only thing that will make me happy.” With drug addicts, too, after you’re done you feel horrible, you don’t even feel good. It’s just what your brain tells you you need. A lot of it isn’t even about what you’re seeing, it’s just what it evokes in your brain. Pornography has so many facets. It can get anyone on anything. There are so many ways to get you.

M: If you could give one last message for anyone who might be struggling with this or need a different perspective on this, what would that message be?

A: I have two messages—one for people who are struggling with it and one for people who want to know how to treat people who are struggling with it. 

 To people with addictions, I would say to remember that your addiction doesn’t define you. We know that God has a plan for our lives. I know that God plans for our mistakes. He knows you so well and He knows what will make you the person you need to become. Your mistakes are part of that plan. Christ can take those mistakes and make them into something positive. He doesn’t just erase them—He takes them and uses them to make you into a stronger person. I wouldn’t trade my addiction for anything. Because of it, I know without a doubt in my mind that Christ lives and that He atoned for my sins and that repentance is real. Because of this, I know Christ. When I’m down on my knees, in the pit of despair, He’s the one that comes to me. Because of this, I’ve developed compassion. Because I’m still not over it, there’s still more things that it can teach me. I don’t know what they are, but I know that I’m a much stronger person than I ever would have been without it. Allow Christ to be there for you. Don’t confuse your mistakes with who you are.

To people who want to understand more about people with addictions: They all say, “Hate the sin, not the sinner.” The Atonement covers all sins. Instead of focusing on sin, we need to focus on how great the Atonement is. Focusing on how bad sin is isn’t going to help anyone—it leads to despair, hopelessness, and isolation. The most important thing is to remember that the Atonement covers all sins. Luckily for us, we don’t have to deal with the darkness of sin if we choose to focus on the light of the Atonement. 

73 comments:

  1. This is a great interview Morgan. I'm glad that you not only have the guts to delve into this subject, but were comfortable enough and mature enough to approach the subject with a friend. Addictions and difficulties are hardest when they are happening in the same household, or in the same circle of friends or family. Like her roommate said "It's different when you know them." I think this made me realize that since God knows all of us, its like that for him all the time. Thank you for this. Very well done.

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  2. I appreciate so much the message in this blog post. Thank you to the woman for her courage in speaking up. We need more of us!! There has been a gathering of sorts as of late and it is an amazing movement. So proud of her for seeking help for something that the world perceives as terribly shameful. YAY!!

    I was a bit disheartened, though, to hear that she was told there are no sexual addiction recovery meetings for women in her area. They are wrong. There are two in Orem alone, and I attend both of them. There are also other resources that I will list below.

    www.bythelightofgrace.com (my person sexual addiction recovery blog)
    www.healingheartsthroughchrist.blogspot.com (phone meeting information using the Healing Through Christ material)
    www.ldsaddictionrecoveryblogs.blogspot.com (a number of women who struggle with sexual addiction blog there)

    I would like to extend a personal invitation for this brave woman to connect with me. I appreciate her spirit of resilience so much. She (or anyone else) can reach me at bythelightofgrace (at) gmail (dot ) com.

    Thank you both for giving a much needed voice to this not so male problem!!

    Much love,

    Sidreis

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    1. Sidreis, thank you for sharing these here. I'm glad for the sake of the interviewee that there are groups nearby!

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  3. First, thank you so so much for addressing this. And thank you to your friend who was so brave to talk about it. So many things touched my heart and reminded me of who I am, and that my addiction does not define me, and that there is hope, and that there is another person who has felt so many things I have felt battling this addiction. I have GREAT news for her! There is a PASG (Pornography and Sexual Addiction Group) for women struggling with the addiction. It is brand new and part of the BYU mission! It is at the Bell Tower (Oak Hills Stake Center, I think it's 928, but that may be wrong...) stake center just to the North of the temple in Provo! They meet in the high council room, and they are really trying to get this group to take off, but only a couple come, sometimes just one. It's not family support or general addiction. It is specifically for this addiction! I wish I knew another way to get in touch with you, but please, please, please pass this onto her! It is on Thursday nights at 7:30. If she just turns on North Temple Drive it is the first church on the left, directly across from the MTC field. Just park where you see cars and head on up the stairs, we would love to have her!

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  4. First. Your name is Morgan. That's commendable in itself.
    But second, and more importantly, your friend's willingness to share her road to recovery is very inspiring. It's an extremely difficult subject to talk about let alone understand fully, so it is very telling of her courage and of your willingness/friendship to become a part of the healing process. Thank you to the both of you—honest accounts such as this help enable others to seek recovery.

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    1. I saw your name and thought, "I know a Morgan Crockett!" And then I clicked through to your blog and read about your Jerusalem experience two years ago. Sounds like you had a wonderful time. And your writing is great.

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    2. Hey Michelle! Ya, Jerusalem was great. And thanks for the compliment. :) Hope you're doing well!

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  5. Tell your friend that her story strengthens me and my faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I've had a lot of painful experiences with pornography and to hear her perspective has given me a lot of comfort and understanding. She is a great example of pressing forward through great trials with great faith in Christ. Thank you.

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  6. Incredible. Whoever this young lady is, I admire her. She articulated many things that have been on my mind for years, and said some deeply profound things that I have long forgotten. She has helped me more than she will ever know, and she has deepened my understanding of the atonement.

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  7. This is a great interview. Thank you for sharing. Have you heard of "The Heart of the Matter"? It is a documentary film about pornography addiction, but more specifically about healing. Check out there facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Shamedfilm. Perhaps you, and your interviewee, can get involved. Best of luck to you both!

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  8. Morgan!
    I'm in your YSA ward, and I found this floating around on my newsfeed.
    I cannot tell you the amount of light the two of you have shed on this issue,
    Pornography/sexual addictions are very real and intense issues, that are often a taboo of sorts, especially when it comes to women.
    I loved what was said here, and it gave me so much as I have known loved ones, that have had personal encounters & struggles with this as well. I am definitely sharing this message of love and peace.
    xo Bre'an

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  9. I'm so happy for the step this interview is in helping society (both LDS and in general) realize that women can be addicted to sex as well. Also, there are several women's sex addiction groups in the Valley, if "A" hasn't been able to find one yet. Thank you both so much for speaking out.

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    1. awesome interview :) I love this. I love seeing how much shame a person can shed and how far we can all come through the help of the Atonement. I also struggle with sexual addictions (been in recovery 7 months now) and am an LDS female (standinginholierplaces(dot)com). It's so interesting to read about the experiences of others. I love the message of HOPE weaved throughout this whole thing.

      The one thing I would comment on that I didn't agree with was the generalization that men look at naked women because it's sexually stimulating. I think all generalizations are dangerous, and even if that is true, it's not true for all men. Sexual addiction is addiction like this girl states. And when it comes down to it, the addiction is about what I viewed or read, etc. It was all about the fix. All about the dopamine coursing through my veins. That was it and pornography was what facilitated that. And ultimately the "why" doesn't matter and doesn't get us anywhere except for 'crazy' haha. I am where I am, and it is what it is - and then I ask myself how I can move forward.

      Good luck to you on your journey though! So proud of all the work you have put in for so many years! God is so patient with all of His children and will be there over and over and over for us. Thank you for speaking out :)

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    2. Here, here! Great article. I am commenting on Annette's thread because I agree with her one comment on the generalization on men's reasoning for being attracted to porn.

      I, too am an LDS woman with a sex addiction. I have grown up in the church, was exposed at 13 for my first time to porn and have been riding the addiction train ever since, although porn is only a snippet of what can provide a "fix".

      I am BLOWN AWAY at this lady's courage to open up so quickly about it to family, and love the love and support she seems to have been surrounded by ever since. Thanks for sharing. Thanks for knocking another brick off the Wall of Shame around this topic. I applaud you!!!

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    3. Morgan, thank you for posting this very insightful interview. I wanted to share my perspective as a man who has struggled with pornography for several years. Pornography is everywhere. I drive by billboards for breast enlargement, receive junk mail catalogs for women's lingerie, and see trashy commercials on TV. It seems virtually impossible to avoid.

      Before marriage, it seemed so simple to block out pornography. Everything about sex was off limits at the time. However, that all changes after marriage. As a married man, it is expected and normal to have sexual desires for your wife. Those feelings came naturally to me. On the other hand, my wife struggled with the change from abstinence to marital fidelity.

      I mistook my wife's disinterest in physical intimacy as a sign of weakness on my part. I was sure that I had to change in order to appeal to her needs. I have tried everything. I let her bleach my hair. I let her buy my clothes. I have bought weight sets and exercise equipment to try to look like the men to whom she has expressed an attraction. As I was contending with these feelings of inadequacy, I happened upon a pornographic ad online. I gave into the temptation.

      After years of giving into the temptation, it has become easier to justify my addiction. Maybe you are right and I just need the sexual arousal. However, that sounds like an oversimplification to me. I would be lying to myself if I said that I didn't enjoy being aroused, but I truly believe that the cause of the problem runs much deeper.

      I believe that every human being has an inescapable need to love and feel loved by others. Although men try hard to mask their feelings, they are not immune to depression, anxiety, fear, or loneliness. I want so desperately for my wife to show me that she loves me. All too often, I feel like I am displaced by other pursuits in her life. She would rather watch TV, surf Pinterest, spend time with friends, or play Candy Crush on her cell phone than be with me. I just want to rip the TV out of the wall, smash her cell phone and laptop, and scream "Can't you see how much your neglect hurts me?!"

      Pornography has been my outlet. For just a minute, I can pretend that I'm desirable. I can pretend that my wife is interested in me. When the moment is over, my problems resurface and are compounded by the deluge of guilt and self-loathing that I immediately feel.

      I feel like this addiction will haunt me forever. Even if I find a way to beat it, I will never escape what I have done. I will always be lumped with the other men who have been lured away by pornography. I'll never feel comfortable when someone condemns pornography in conversations. I'll be branded as a pig or a pervert.





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    4. Hi Eric- I was moved to respond to your comment because of your last paragraph. My husband is a recovering porn addict, having recovered through the LDS AA 12 step program. We both went through the steps 6 years ago and have continued to sponsor other addicts ever since. I have worked with many women, met many men who were involved with pornography. I have learned a few things about them that I also know are true of you. Porn addiction happens to GOOD people- people who are loving and kind and wonderful. Many times, these addictions start as curiosity and them burst into a full-fledged flame of unstoppable need. Their addictions are almost always based on the need to escape circumstances and feel relief. Porn addicts are loving mothers and fathers, great friends and co-workers. They have fallen into a trap and need help getting out- that's all. There are a hundred different traps that any one of us could've fallen into ourselves. I just wanted you to know that if and when you choose to seek help you will be joining a group of AMAZING men and women who have become humble enough to seek help getting out of the trap. Pornography is misunderstood- addiction is misunderstood by many people, but don't for one minute think that you will be alone. You will be surrounded by people who understand, people you can relate to. In recovering, you will even find a place in your heart to love those who misunderstand you and even may brand you as a pig or pervert- but in your own heart, you will will know the truth. You will know that Christ, through His amazing grace and mercy and infinite atonement has taken your sin away and left you clean- "white as lambs wool" with no trace. You will remember your past sins, but the sting of shame will be gone. You will feel clean and whole and nothing anyone else says can touch that because your confidence will come from Christ Himself. And that will be all that matters. Good luck to you friend.

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    5. Hello Eric, I also am moved to respond to what you wrote. I have heard my husband express the same feelings that you are expressing here, that he feels as though everything comes before him. And yes, there are many times when I would rather play Candy Crush (and a bunch of other games.. I have my own addictive personality) than be with my husband and once again realize that a true connection is not going to happen. Because it takes honesty to connect. Even when I was unaware of my husband's addiction, it was there in our interactions, and I couldn't figure out what was going on, but it definitely got in the way of my being able to feel comfortable with our intimacy. I sometimes thought there was something wrong with me because I loved my husband, but his touch made me uncomfortable! I believe that my spirit was aware and it caused dischord. Smashing things isn't going to make anything better, only being honest will. When my husband is being honest with me... when I am AWARE of where he is in his struggle, and he's allowing me to be a part of it? That is when he is the most attractive to me. Yes, I am disappointed that this is where we're at, and at times my mood is all over the place, anger, frustration, grief, but I would much rather be dealing with that than with how things were. I also wish you luck. Have you read the strengthening marriage article at overcomingpornography.org?

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  11. I love the article.
    I'm a fella who has been in and out of recovery for years now. I've served a faithful mission. I've been a temple worker and the sort.
    But I always had that same feeling of how could the Lord forgive me so quickly when I was so apt to fall.

    It is wonderful to hear stories of those struggling and working to overcome this insatiable addiction and having success.
    God Bless you and those struggling with the rest of us.

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  12. Stories like this break my heart.

    I was in this girl's shoes for many years. I detested myself and tore myself apart with guilt and shame. I hid my "flaw" and wondered if anybody would ever want me because of how "disgusting" I was.

    I finally realized that there was a simple answer.

    I had a paradigm shift one day. I realized that sex was JUST sex. It is put too much on a pedestal in both LDS and non-LDS culture, it is ascribed too much importance. Second, I realized that I wasn't broken, I didn't have anything wrong with me, I simply had a high sex drive that I was trying to ignore. Once I let go of this suppression of part of myself, the addiction/compulsion vanished. I became the master of myself.

    These stories of LDS "porn addicts" break my heart, because most of the time, it is due to a person denying the fact that they simply have a higher than average desire for sex, and that trying to completely pretend it doesn't exist creates an environment for automatic "acting out" to relieve the internal stress.

    Honey, there isn't a single thing wrong with you. You are completely and perfectly normal. You are a wonderful person, and looking at or wanting sex doesn't change that in any way. There is nothing vile or disgusting about sex, or the desire thereof. It kills me to see people letting their lives be taken over by the suppression of a completely natural and normal desire.

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    1. I will say that this is only true to a certain extent. In fact, many addicts behavior is in response to a lower than normal drive. I have done sufficient research to understand that many men, for example, with low testosterone levels use pornography as a way to "cope" for those lower levels. In fact, the same research has proven that viewing pornography is not AT ALL the same as sex and it releases very different mixtures of chemicals in the brain. Porn and masturbation have a lot higher levels of testosterone, for example, which becomes one of the "drugs" your brain depends on. These men often actually have very low sex drives when it comes to actual intercourse; not due to having "spent their appetitie" on porn, but merely due to lower levels of certain chemicals.
      To categorize an addict ad "just having a higher sex drive" is actually demeaning to some people and is not completely correct. It may be in some instances, but there are a large variety or reasons someone may become addicted to something like pornography.
      I will agree that you do have to look at it empirically sometimes and understand that an addiction is literally just your brain wanting a chemical bath so bad that your amygdala takes over your cortex and reason to the point where you lose control.

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  13. Thanks for sharing. This has been an increasing issue causing so much pain and destruction in personal and family circles. Today it is still consider a taboo to even talk about and even share because it goes down to the core of one's personal being. It comes to the hidden, secret life of oneself. I remember a lady saying, "I didn't know it can be an addiction?!" And she was one of the high-muckimuck staff. Satan deceives people and knows their weaknesses by say, "Adult entertainment" Well, he is a punk!! I am glad to hear that she was able to intervene before going down to the deep end of destruction. Some are less fortunate and are bearing the consequences for the rest of their lives losing family, friends, and relationships. and on top of that living with that scarlet letter they have to wear where society will not accept the mistakes one had made.

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  14. I know what my priesthood leader told me really helped: There are 10000 facets of your individual character, this is but one, and you have a lot more good ones than bad ones.

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  15. I think this article has a lot of potential to be helpful to people on both sides of the pornography issue, whether struggling with addiction themselves or others trying to understand it. 2 things I would critique though, which a couple people have already brought up:
    First, the statement in the interview that "you technically don't have to see your bishop" doesn't agree with church doctrine. For those working through repentance of sexual sins, meeting with a bishop is a vital and required step in repentance. I say that not out of being critical towards those with this problem, but as one who has struggled with it myself for years and have at times struggled with the question of what is appropriate to bring to the bishop and what isn't. The answer: there are sins that you don't have to speak with a bishop about in order to repent from, but this isn't one of them.
    Second, you probably realize this now Morgan after some of the other feedback, but the blanket statement that men look at pornography for sexual stimulation is a gross misrepresentation of the truth, and honestly demonstrates a very close-minded attitude toward the issue. Pardon my directness, but that's like saying that people cut themselves because they like the feeling of the blade, or the bleeding, or the look of the scars that follow. Or like saying the anorexic doesn't eat because they like the hunger pangs that brings. Women and men alike need to stop seeing men as mindless creatures driven only by a hunger for physical pleasure. I know for many that last statement seems exaggerated, but at whatever point along that spectrum you are, the "boys will be boys" attitude is only hurtful in the long run for both sexes. I'm familiar with one bishop having stated that based on his experience meeting with many people who struggle with pornography addiction, he never felt it was about lust, but rather about having a means of escape, essentially a coping mechanism. It's certainly not an addiction anyone is proud to hold onto. Imagine how frustrating it is for the addict who wants nothing more than to be virtuous, who loves and is kind to those around them and treats women with respect and honor, lives every other aspect of the gospel with strict obedience, and yet finds themselves trapped in a pornography addiction that disgusts them and has no idea why they can't just let it go. At least in regards to members of the church, of those that I've met who struggle with pornography, the profile I've just given is much more representative than the common picture I think most draw for themselves of the sex-crazed male who doesn't care to resolve their problem.

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    1. As far as the "you don't technically have to see your Bishop" advice goes, I would completely agree with this girl's wonderful mother. You don't have to see the Bishop. No one can force you to do that. Do we force people to repent? No, but we do highly recommend it and encourage it, which is what her mother did. Speaking with the Bishop may be an essential step in the repentance process, but I think that you are misinterpreting the tone of "have to". This is more about her free agency and less about her required steps to full repentance.

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  16. A, I have been exactly in the place you are. After almost 20 years of an agonizing cycle of repentance and shame, I started to get healthy when I changed my thinking in three critical ways.

    One, I stopped thinking of pornography in a moral sense. Rather than attaching morality to it (I am moral when I don't look at pornography or I'm immoral when I look at pornography), I simply view it as a neutral choice. I can choose to look at it or I can choose not to. Taking a morality-neutral perspective of pornography has been one of the greatest blessings because it has helped me break the repentance and shame cycle, which has led to less obsession about pornography in my life. Sometimes I look at it. Sometimes I don't. Not obsessing about the morality of the choice has led to less pornography in my life.

    Two, I started seeking a truly personal relationship with God. I didn't look to anyone else but God for comfort, direction, and validation. I didn't look to my parents, friends, priesthood leaders or anyone else. I realized that for so long in my life, I viewed myself through the lens of how I thought others viewed me. I realized the shame I experienced was due, in part, to internalizing messages intended to help, but which actually did damage. My church leaders told me I just wasn't spiritual enough. I was told I was committing a sin as serious as adultery. I was told all my sins I had repented of all came back each time I looked at pornography. While I don't believe these messages were given to me with the intent to cause harm, they did. I took them very seriously because they came from my church leaders as I counseled with them. Over time, I realized that internalizing these messages was part of what was causing my pain. Turning to God and seeking a truly personal relationship with God, independent of what I thought anyone else thought of me, helped me a great deal.

    Three, I stopped viewing myself as an addict. I attended the same groups you did for years. They were a blessing and a big part of my journey. But over time, I realized I was not an addict. I was normal. Countless numbers of normal people look at pornography. I was one of them. Some people obsess over pornography (and other things) in ways that cause a lot of damage to themselves and others. Some people rack up credit card debt, lose jobs, get kicked out or drop out of school, begin abusing themselves or others, and have healthy relationships wither away due to obsessing over pornography (and other things). I experienced none of these things in my life. My heart goes out to the people who do and I pray they find the help they need. But as I looked at my own behavior, I realized I was normal. I was not an addict. I was normal.

    God bless you in your journey.

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    1. Momo I loved how you said "I started seeking a truly personal relationship with God. I didn't look to anyone else but God for comfort, direction, and validation." I have found in my own life that this is the key to true healing!

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    2. #3! Yes. This is exactly where I am at with this. I had my first exposure to pornography at probably 10 yrs old. I joined the church at 22 and am now 33. Do I fall sometimes? Yes, I do. But (for me) viewing it as an addiction is unhealthy. The word addiction tells me I can't get free. But when I see my sin as a mistake, something that I can move on from, I feel so much better about myself.

      Look at it this way: if someone occasionally judges people (like the roommate mentioned in the interview), are they addicted to judging? Or if a person is prone to anger and hurtful words, are they an addict? How about Someone who drank casually for years, joins the church, then has a few fall-backs and has a drink at a party with old friends? Addict? I think not. Sin? Absolutely. All sins that can be put behind us through sincere repentance.

      Of course, this is MY personal feeling and experience. If a person is much more engaged in viewing pornography, and not just slipping up on rare occasion, this may not be the approach to take. You may need more aggressive treatment, group therapy, etc. I have been in that position as well.

      So thank you @momo for sharing! We are indeed all normal! Just regular people with a weakness that does not define us, but helps us to become more christlike through our mortal experience.

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  17. I really appreciated this article. There is definitely a difference between the doctrine of the church and the culture of the church. Your willingness to be open and honest with your struggles will bless the lives of many of the women in our faith and help shape the culture of the church. Further, the shining example of a woman overcoming pornography - not just judging and shunning it - will be a comfort to many of the men who are undergoing the same challenges. Men need shining female examples - it gives them hope and motivation. And you are shining brightly.

    I believe you are living up to the Savior's counsel to Nicodemus: "For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God" (John 3: 20-21). You love truth, and you have come to the light. As hard as it was, you came to the light. And because you have done it, all of your experiences - your mistakes, your sorrows, your trials, and your repentance - have worked together for the greater good, and you are wrought in God.

    God bless you, sister, for your faith, your humility, and your Christlike example. My heart has been touched, and my soul edified.

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  18. Excellent interview! Very enlightening, and provides hope for all of us! Thank you for having the courage to ask the tough questions and thank you to this wonderful young lady for her strength and conviction. Through the Atonement we all can be made whole! God Bless her and all of us who struggle with our own addictions and demons.

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  19. Love, love, love this post! Thank you so much anonymous for sharing your thoughts and story. And thank you Morgan, for doing such a great job interviewing and sharing this story with us. I know a lot of people commented on the "men like to look at naked women" thing being too general etc. I disagree with all of them. I thought it was a great question, and one that many women are thinking. Like A said, many women are attracted to romance novels, so it is sometimes hard to understand the appeal of images. It's a good reminder that different people are affected by different things. And the answer allowed me (and others who read this, hopefully) to better understand that it's more about the addiction than anything else.

    I also love the quote from the counselor saying “Don’t be ashamed, because shame is not productive. Shame only makes addictions worse because it leads to despair, not hope.” I think this is true of a lot of things, not just addiction.

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  20. I LOVE that this is being talked about more! Thank you to both the blogger for caring to interview (sensitively) about this, and to the interviewee for being brave enough to share your experience! We need so much more of that!

    I am a pornography and sex addiction therapist in the SLC area and I am currently working on putting together a new women's pornography group. Another therapist I work with and I are also trying to do more firesides on this issue, especially reaching out to and educating more people about the addiction for women and what help is available. The groups we do are not 12 step groups, though we encourage those, but we offer psychoeducational, therapeutic groups that have been designed by several LDS experts on pornography addiction. These are very powerful groups and have been considered an extremely important part of the recovery for most who attend. If I knew there were enough women interested in a group like this in Utah County I would be willing to put that together. This is something I am very passionate about as a member of the church and as a mental health therapist and I would LOVE to help in any way possible - both female addicts themselves, family members, bishops who want to understand more or want lessons/presentations in their wards, or anyone else with questions or a need for resources. Please let me know if I can help in any way.

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  21. Thank you for sharing your story. I hope many people read it and learn from it.

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  22. This was very insightful and touching to hear of "A's" experience and her desire to seek for healing through the Atonement.

    As she mentioned, the Church has many different types of Addiction Recovery Program groups, which can all be found through AddictionRecovery.lds.org, in case others are wondering how to find out about meetings.

    Also, just as "A" talked about seeking Christ, the Church also has a great website that focuses on letting Christ's Atonement heal those affected by pornography, in any way.

    OvercomingPornography.org is a great resource and has several stories of women who struggled with similar addictions.

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  23. This quote hit home for me, regardless of what your individual struggle is, whether it's pornography, word of wisdom, language, impatience, or whatever - this applies. Thank you so much for sharing!!!

    "The difference between guilt and shame, I think, is a huge thing. I remember one experience I had. It was my sophomore year in college. I remember I messed up again for the millionth time, and I was so frustrated with myself. I was praying, but I was yelling at anything that would listen, “Heavenly Father, how can you forgive me? I keep doing it, then I keep apologizing, but I keep doing it and then apologizing. Why do you keep buying it? I’m not even buying it anymore!”

    But then I got this overwhelming impression saying, “Stop pretending you understand how much I love you or how I can forgive you, because you never will be able to. Just trust that I can. That’s all you need to know.” "

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    1. That got me too. I wonder time and time again how God can forgive for the same mistake a billion times, but seventy times seven, right? He preaches it, and He follows it.

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  25. Dallin H. Oaks had some powerful words relating to this. Here's the link.

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  26. Excellent post! I rather skimmed it so I apologize that I can't comment on all the details. This addiction is so deep and multi-faceted. I've come to realize that this addiction is just one part of mortality for some of us in order to teach us the atonement on perhaps a level we would not have discovered. I've gone through so much therapy and well over a hundred recovery meetings but the primary solution remains: to develop a loving relationship with God, with myself, and with others. yes, there is a lot of shame and guilt with this. Acting out to porn is simply NOT okay. It is wrong. But we aren't 'wrong' just defective. It is frustrating because sometimes the recovery process takes several years. I've yet to meet an addict strong in recovery who didn't spend a long time going through all the methods possible. This is the point of mortality. This is an issue that has humbled us to the dirt and requires that we remain sober one day at a time. It requires surrender of all negativity and fear and resentment on every level. I think recovering addicts can be some of the most humbled and spiritual people i've ever met. But this goes for any person who has been shaped and molded by the pains/struggles of mortal life. It is a divine process.

    When I think of a Zion, a perfect society, I think of a society where we all share things in common. More empathy. More compassion. And then there are no poor among us. More acceptance. More love. The objective of all we do should be to improve and to deepen the breadth of our characters and not to judge or belittle or snub. Imagine if we all lined up and declared our worst. Would we all be so shocked? I would think not. Vulnerability is a risk but so is isolation. I'm not one to talk bc I still don't share with anyone. There is a tremendous amount of fear involved. Of rejection. Of judgment. It is downright painful. Thank goodness for support groups and sponsors!!

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  27. I feel this could be super heartwarming but I also feel that it's just the religious aspect being talked about here. For someone who isn't religious, this article doesn't offer much in the way of facts. For instance, I don't understand how is this girl addicted to porn? Did she watch it daily? Was it once a week? I don't want to point fingers or delve too deep but if it's an actual addiction is defined as a 'continued behavior'.

    I understand she suffered physical problems stemming from this addiction but how 'continued' was this behavior? I'm in no way knocking on any religions. Good for her for finding help when she needed it, I have never been addicted but I can sympathize. I am a female who watches porn. But if I were to compare my viewing time to hers, would I also be labeled as addicted? I just feel that this story could do with some more facts.

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    1. Amen, Nolan.

      Author: "I think one thing people may not be able to understand about people who are addicted to pornography is why. For men, they like looking at naked women because it’s sexually stimulating. But for women—what is the why behind that?"

      Because women don't find looking at naked men sexually stimulating, right? lol.

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    2. Addiction has less to do with frequency and more to do with the patterns that emerge from the behavior. Addicts can go long periods of time between events and still be addicted.

      I also cringed when I read the line: "I think one thing people may not be able to understand about people who are addicted to pornography is why. For men, they like looking at naked women because it’s sexually stimulating. But for women—what is the why behind that?"

      That line perpetuates many myths and stereotypes in Mormon culture about pornography. Porn is not about sex. It's about escape, the emotional "high" a person gets from an orgasm. Much like alcohol or drugs. Men look at naked women so they will be sexually stimulated so they can masturbate so they can get a high. And women do the same. They might be looking at naked bodies or reading a romance novel but the purpose, and the addiction, is the same.

      This blog has a lot of great resources: http://rowboatandmarbles.org/

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    3. I agree with Lauren. People who are struggling to understand porn addiction might find it helpful to compare it to drug or alcohol addiction. It may start as an attempt to escape depression or loneliness, or because of peer pressure (just like drugs or alcohol) but after that the "why" is just that it's an addiction (again, like drugs or alcohol). Also, I think a lot of the reason Relief Society and Young Women's don't talk about this like Priesthood or Young Men's is the unfortunate perception that pornography problems are "normal" for guys and "weird and rare" for girls. This makes girls more unwilling to talk about such problems, their peers are often more judgmental about them, and their leaders don't think they need to address these issues. As long as that's the case, of course young women with these problems will feel weird and won't want to talk about them! I hate to sound like I'm coming down on them cause I know their trying their best and often do a great job, but it's the Young Women's teachers that really needs to change their attitude first. It's not like young men in Priesthood are constantly standing up and confessing or sharing uncomfortable details with the Quorum. It's just the teacher saying "Look, this is a problem that happens to some people, so let's address it, without getting judgmental." Young Women's needs to do this too. Growing up these days, if you aren't taught about pornography in church, you'll just learn about it somewhere else, probably from a very different and more potentially destructive viewpoint. For non-religious people, I would replace "church" with "teachings in your home". Ultimately parents are supposed to teach about this sort of thing, but realistically, many don't. My parents only talked to me a very little about it, and only a good deal after I needed it most. It's harder for the older generations who didn't grow up with this sort of thing to know how to address it.

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    4. I think the way you really understand if you have an addiction is when you try to STOP doing the behavior. I also find a problem in calling it an addiction, rather it is a weakness. We all have the same weakness, but that it manifests itself differently in each of us. For many it manifests itself in socially acceptable ways. The root of the problem is actually self control. Which is also selfishness. When you aren't in control of your passions, desires, and appetites the true YOU isn't actually in control. When you are seeking to satisfy your passions, desires, and appetites you are being selfish and only concerned with yourself. Stop focusing on symptoms. Porn would be a symptom. Similar to a headache, most of the time we all just focus on taking medication to take away the symptoms of the headache instead of trying to figure out the actual root cause of the headache. So we take tylenol. Don't just keep taking tylenol, instead look to the actual root of the problem and work on fixing that. My suggestion is that the root problem is one that we ALL share. It is self control, it is a lack of control over our passions, desires, and appetites. Work on controlling that.

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  29. It's good to know that I am not the only one. I overcame it only after meeting the man I fell in love with. During our courtship, I did feel the attraction and my mind went wild, but for some reason, I couldn't watch the videos anymore. It was hard to resist him though because of the influence of those videos. For 4 years, I had had the same experience. Repent from the first time, time and time again, feeling ashamed and worthless. But I stayed close to the Lord: VERY active in my church callings, visiting members, going to the temple when I had the chance. For all these years, I felt like I was the only one with this problem, which made me feel even worse. We are not alone! Oh, and in Romania, there is no support group, no Addiction Recovery Program... it was just me, and the rest of the world telling me how awesome I was... I love to think of 'Morning will come'... the atonement gives us peace, hope, healing...

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  30. I don't know if it's your great editing or the interviewee's great articulation (or maybe it's both), but this is a really great post. Thanks.

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  31. I find it odd that she wasn't able to participate in a pornography addiction group at BYU. When I was there I went to such a group, and it wasn't restricted to only men. We had one young woman in the group. She was clearly nervous about being there at first, but my heart soared with admiration at how brave she was to talk about her problem with a bunch of men. It didn't take very long, however, for all of us to feel comfortable around each other. I think your friend should be allowed to join such a group.

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  33. Something I've learned in the course of a great deal of repentance is that the Atonement has no time limit. We are the only limiter to how fast God takes us back in. He's always there, and His love is always present, but we're the ones who have to choose to come back even when we don't feel like we can.
    In other words, we only lose when we stop trying. As long as we never give up, then we will eventually be among those who "will overcome all things." (D&C 76:60)

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  34. I LOVE that she had the courage to share this! Thank you!

    My favorite points:

    *We need to drop the whole, "even women can have this problem" attitude. When I struggled through this through my teenage years, I felt even dirtier and more isolated for having a problem that was just supposed to be one for guys. The way your friend described the fact that she felt like a huge liar all the time--that if only people knew who she really was, they'd be disgusted--mirrored my experience. Unfortunately, I did not have parents or siblings or anyone I felt I could discuss the issue without feeling even more of an outcast, so I became quite emotionally unhealthy as I drained most of my energy in keeping anyone from ever finding out my shame.

    *We need to simply focus on the Atonement, rather than the "love the sinner, hate the sin" mantra. My shame for having such a loathsome sin was debilitating beyond words, and it took every ounce of strength I possessed to finally see my bishop. It wasn't, however, until I met the most amazing man who became my best friend, confidant, therapist, and husband that I finally moved toward recovery. He had dealt with the addiction as well, and has always been completely understanding of the female side to the struggle.

    *We must not project our puny perspectives on God, and his incomprehensible ability to love and forgive. I put this into practice from a terribly young age, convinced of my lack of worth. I literally became physically sick every time we brought up the Young Women values, "Choice & Accountability" & "Integrity" because I spent the entire lesson further condemning myself and feeling convinced that it was already too late for me.

    In the end, the best thing to fight darkness is to shed light on it, and this kind of interview shines a brilliant light where countless women--LDS or not--are currently huddling in darkness, isolation, and despair (right where Satan wants them to be). When we are able to share our experiences and connect with each other in our struggles, strength and hope are cultivated.

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  35. So beautiful. Thanks for sharing this. And thank you to your friend for her beautiful insights.

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  36. Absolutely wonderful. Seriously, thank for friend for the guts to talk about this.

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  37. Thank you for sharing... It helps me understand better about addictions. It is a cycle that takes time to break and take control of. The article brings the beautiful message that the Atonement makes everyone rubies and lovable. I commend the woman who came forward and do this interview. Thank you for speaking up for those who can't.

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  38. Amazing article. From someone who has seen the effects of pornography in my own family, the honesty on the subject is extremely refreshing.

    Thank you thank you.

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  39. Hi. Is there anyway I can get your friends information? My friend posted this one Facebook so I decide to look. As I read, I felt as if you were interviewing me. I've been in the same position she has been in and I felt the same way she did. This is truly inspiring and so up lifting. It has given me hope for me and I feel that everything is going to get better. If you can, my email is judyblume_87@hotmail.com. I would really like to talk to her if at all possible. Thank you!!

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  40. Words cannot express how much this touched me. Thank you so much for sharing this. I've been dealing with this same addiction and I've felt much the same way. Not that I want anyone to have to go through what I'm going through, but there's a part of me that feels better knowing that I'm not a freak.

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  41. So brave, so lovely, so true. Thanks for this gift.

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  42. I wish this article went into more depth about the actual addiction. What is considered an addiction to pornography? It appears as though the issue was a feeling of guilt which is brought upon by religious doctrine. She was an upstanding person. living a moral life, but was constantly in a state of regret and shame because of her beliefs. An addiction is a repetition of behavior despite adverse consequences, but every aspect of her life other than the feeling of shame brought about by the churches attitudes toward human sexuality, was something any person should be happy to attain.

    Was this addiction keeping her from school? From loving her family? From being a kind person? How often was she viewing pornography? Was it to the point of skipping school to stay in her dorm and watch porn? I believe the pain she felt was real, but to classify this as an addiction seems ill fitted. I wish her all the best and know, without a doubt, her foray into the pornographic scene will not hinder her from having a full, meaningful life. If you read this "A" please know that there are plenty of people out there who support you for everything you do.

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    1. Glad there is someone reasonable on here. Mormons misuse the word "addiction" ALL THE TIME. If you send a Mormon with a "porn addiction" to a non-Mormon counselor to talk it over, the first thing the counselor says is "you are normal and don't have an addiction." Ironically, the thing that keeps "addicted" Mormons looking at pornography is hearing people talk about it all the time at church and making them feel guilty. Then they self-soothe their guilt by doing something that brings them pleasure, like looking at porn.

      If the Mormon church wants to help people get over their porn habits, all they have to do is STOP TALKING ABOUT IT ALL THE TIME!!

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  43. I saw this on Facebook, and I had to read it. Something about it just pulled me in, and I am glad it did. I read the whole thing, and as I read more and more it touched my heart more deeply. I feel EXACTLY like she does. I am 17 and a member of the church. I have had a porn and sex addition for as long as I can remember. I have felt the shame of having everyone think I'm so normal and innocent and know that I'm not. I know how hard it is to repent, and mess up again and yell at yourself for slipping. I have heard all the things Satan says, and it's nice to know that they aren't true. Part of me knows that it is just Satan, but another part of me believes him. I know what it's like to look at porn, to get your satisfaction, then feel disgusted with yourself because of what you just did. I have felt like my sin was the worst- and that I was probably the worst sinner in the whole room (I was able to listen to God with that and see that the Atonement is for all sin, and it's not a matter or how bad the sin is). I have looked through the addiction meetings, and found support groups for men or wives, but not for me. It is frustrating to sit in YW and not hear a single thing about my problem; because what if there are other girls who need it? I feel alone in my struggle (besides the ever constant companionship with God) and I know that others deal with this, but I never hear about women with porn addictions. It bothers me immensely and I am glad you agree. It helped me so much reading these sincere words. Some of the advice I have already done by myself, and some of it I needed to hear. When I read, "But then I got this overwhelming impression saying, “Stop pretending you understand how much I love you or how I can forgive you, because you never will be able to. Just trust that I can. That’s all you need to know.” I started crying. So thank you. Thank you so much and please tell whomever you interviewed that...it changed my perspective, and it strengthened me. It helped me more than I can explain.

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  44. From one with personal experience, I've learned that all addictions, are an effect of the "natural man." We are born on Earth separated from the presence of God, the effect of this separation is sin. We sin to "defend against the darkness," which darkness comes from the absence of light. So, in order to stop sinning, we need to fill our lives with light so we are no longer in darkness. Or in other words, we are born separate from the presence of God, so we sin; then in order to stop sinning we must be born again into his presence. When we are in his presence we have no reason to sin.
    We enter the presence of God when we have his spirit with us, when we can actually feel his love and light in us. Every moment we have his spirit, the Holy Ghost, in us, he both cleanses us and changes us. The result of this changing is the eventual being born again into a newness of life. A life filled with joy and hope and boundless love, a life of discipleship to Christ. Thus we have effectively cast off the natural man and been born again as new men or women. Having no desire for sin, and continually filled with the love and hope of Christ. I know that this is true because I'm living that way, I haven't fully overcome my old self yet but I know I will. I'm well on my way, through the atonement of Christ I'm becoming better every day as He teaches my new ways and I live them.

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  45. Great article. Here is another wonderful resource: http://www.fightthenewdrug.org/
    This website is aimed at teens but is GREAT for everyone . . . those who are struggling, those who want to help, and even those who had no idea. Our Stake President invited this group to do a fireside for the parents and youth of our entire stake (really everyone). It was very well received, and very effective at opening the conversation and providing additional tools, resources, hope, and help.

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  46. Beautiful interview. I love it just the way it is. Congratulations to your friend for having the courage to overcome it and share her story, and congratulations to you for having a wonderful interview with her!

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  47. These are things I have struggled with, the same questions, the same self doubt, even the same age. This was something I needed to hear, to know that my struggles are like anyone else's and they do not define me and they do not keep away future blessings or opportunities to be a disciple of Christ. Oh, this article was warming to my soul. Literally, as I was reading it and feeling the spirit, my husband told me that I'm awesome, just as this girl's young women's president did. I know my Heavenly Father loves me and trusts me, even though I am tempted and tried and do not always succeed.

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  48. I enjoyed this perspective very much. I work as a therapist with pornography and sexual addiction at Addo Recovery and we have very few women who have come forward asking for help with their own addictions. However, I have been asked to start groups for teen girls because the problem is growing exponentially. Research shows females typically start looking at porn for other reasons than males, typically it's social exposure; however, enough education and support are not being given to females who obviously become entangled in this addiction. I especially loved the quote, "A lot of it isn’t even about what you’re seeing, it’s just what it evokes in your brain." It is the same as she states as using crack, or heroin, and it's about the effect, not the activity. I'm excited for this to be published and I hope she finds nothing but love and support from others!

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  49. I love all of them..... The one part that called " its something that God tells that you're amazing because she did not fear in saying her shameful side"

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  50. Awesome interview. I'm really, really impressed by the courage of your friend. It seems like worrying about decent guys being repulsed by her addiction is an issue ("You’ve heard guys say that they want a girl who is virtuous, whose price is above rubies.") but personally, I think someone who has this much experience with the Atonement and struggles so much to overcome her sins is definitely worth getting to know better.

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    1. It's true that most decent guys are easily repulsed and disappointed by bad girls, especially girls who are addicted to porn even with handsome, scantily-clad and/or nude, yet trashy guys that they won't forgive them but rather abuse them instead. There are no resources available for husbands of female porn addicts nor female porn addicts at all. Instead, female porn addicts have to suffer abuse at the hands of their husbands and society. And bad girls do attract abusive manly witches spelled with a B. Good guys don't love bad girls at all because they want to feel more secure and better about themselves since they are the head of everything and feel more masculine and bad girls do emasculate guys more often. And this is why good guys want unattainable, emotionally unavailable girls who are demure, aloof, cold, mysterious, and indifferent as well as loners but it's usually insecure guys who want these girls, even if they are decent guys. In other words, it sounds like the writer is referring to insecure guys who want a virtuous girl over a bad one, making decent guys sound insecure.

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  51. I LOVE this story and your friend's testimony of the savior. I am working with a group that is aimed at helping parents to warn their young children about the dangers of pornography and helping parents arm their children with SKILLS (what kids CAN DO) to protect their brain from this poison. A new book has just been published which gives parents a dialog for talking to their elementary school age kids about this difficult subject. There are 54,487 parenting books on Amazon, but only ONE that you can read to your 7 year old about the dangers of Internet porn. Morgan - if you are interested in reviewing this book for your blog, please contact Kristen Jenson at her website pornproofkids.com

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  52. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pornography_addiction

    "'Internet pornography addiction' has never been formally considered or debated by the DSM, and there is no diagnosis of pornography addiction in the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)."

    Mormons: Please, for the love of all that is holy, stop misusing the word "addiction". You are making people feel unnecessary guilt and shame for being normal.

    The pain this young lady feels is real, but it only exists because someone taught her to feel that way. Trust me: the moment you stop thinking that porn use is some horrible activity that will send you to hell is the moment you will find yourself free from your "addiction."

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  53. This is an amazing interview! My husband is a recovering porn addict who's under the online porn addiction therapy program "GreatnessAhead" and I believe this is extremely beneficial not only to the partners alone, but to the recovering addicts too in being able to understand the journey through the experiences of others, which will therefore lead to self-reflection, realization and being able to come up with some personal ways (alongside the ones set by the program they're in) in finding the perfect routine to eliminate porn from their system for good. Thanks for this post. All the best.

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