Tuesday, February 24, 2015

"How Did Your Addiction Start?"

If you guys haven't checked out Addo Recovery, please do. They are rockin' the addiction recovery world, So very proud to be working with them on multiple different levels.

Anyhoo...

I recently interviewed with them for their new online TV show, 'Addo TV.' The interview has been produced in segments...

One of which, is below:

Friday, February 20, 2015

A Progression of Sorts (draft 1)

Once surrounded by darkness, now an ember of light
Hopeless, once was, a future now bright

A progression of sorts, her journey has been
Striving not for perfection, but for courage to reign

Fear, once easy, her weakened heart to grasp
Vulnerability and compassion, true virtues at last

The battle, forever, for her happiness, her soul
Forever facing forward, eternity her goal

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Fifty Shades of Impurity

Fifty Shades of Grey has become somewhat of an epidemic; threatening to destroy what little innocence remains in this world. 

I will preface this post by acknowledging that I have never read the book, nor ever will. The same, of which, applies to the film being released on Valentines Day (of all days). 

The spread of such nightmarish spiritual toxicity reminds me of an experience I had a while back. I was sitting in my 12-step group listening to a woman expressing how she wished she could handle "touching the gray like normal people." Her statement struck me, not as funny, but as worrisome. It led me to deeply ponder the concept of light and dark, and the resulting 'gray' when the two become blended.

What do I mean by 'touching gray?' Well let's first examine what the word actually means.


gray: adjectivegrayer, grayest.
  1. of a color between white and black; having a neutral hue
  2. dull, dreary, or monotonous
  3. of a neutral tone, intermediate between black and white, that has no hue and reflects and transmits only a little light.
  4. dismal or dark, especially from lack of light; gloomy
On one end of the gray spectrum we have white, or light, which is clean and unstained from the blackness of the world; purely untainted from sin. It represents the pure Light of Christ and everything that is virtuous and of grace.  

On the opposite end we have black, or dark, which represents the inky blackness and impurity of the world. It represents the ultimate culmination of sin and defiant abandon into the grasp of the dark one's grasp.  

Our goal in this life is to actively strive to get as close to the white as possible. Of course, perfect whiteness or perfect purity will never happen in this lifetime, but our God given gift of agency allows us the opportunity to choose to get as close to white as possible. Gratefully, so long as we persevere toward such a worthy goal, the Atonement of our Savior cleanses us of all other impurity.

Mixing even the tiniest amount
of black (darkness of Satan) with white (the Light of Christ within us) will surely produce a shade of gray. I venture to say, even one of fifty shades.

So the question is this; Why, when our mortal goal is to be as close to white as possible, would we ever knowingly and willingly mix with dark?

Satan wraps his inky blackness up in a beautiful gift wrapped box; telling us the gift is special, just for us. He makes it enticing and exciting. He uses powerful manipulation so that we will justify and rationalize 'touching gray'.


As easy as it sounds, it is actually quite difficult to give up the things that taint our spirit, and it definitely doesn't happen over night. We simply must come to the point in which the balance shifts. 

Imagine standing in the middle of a teeter totter, our weight evenly distributed, allowing both ends of the devise to hover equally in the air. One side light, one side dark. We need to lean toward the light in order for the weight to shift in that direction. Our desire to be near our Savior must outweigh our desire to be of the world.  

Does Heavenly Father expect perfection? No, and good thing. But He does expect progression
All He wants is for us to continuously strive to do better.  

It really is that simple.

This world is full of darkness that continually threatens to dim our light. However, the Light of Christ can reside in each of us; purifying us from within. 

Let us be spiritual fireflies; allowing our Savior to charge each one of us with His light as we go out into the world providing illumination for others in their dark places. So long as we remain in the presence of our Savior for rescue, refuge and rest, our light will forever burn bright and never be dimmed by even the darkest shade of gray.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The 'B' Side of Phone-Sex

This is an exposure post, of sorts.

I had a conversation with someone a day or two ago regarding phone sex. More specifically, what the whole interaction really looks like.

I was reminded of an old co-worker of mine, Filamer. I know, strange name, but awesome woman. Kind of like me. Haha, just kidding.

Fil and I worked together at the Coco's in Torrance, California. We worked so well together, in fact, that the manager would schedule just the two of us on Monday nights, leaving each of us to man a full half of the restaurant on our own. Some nights were crazy busy, but other nights were slow; giving us plenty of time to talk and get to know one another.

On one such slow night, I noticed Fil studying some papers and asked her what she was doing. She said that she was memorizing scripts for her second job. Not knowing she even had a second job, naturally, I asked her what the job was. Half laughing, she said she was a phone-sex operator.

Keep in mind, this was long before I started recovery, so instead of being shocked, I was actually quite intrigued. So much so that I asked to see the scripts myself.

Now, they shocked me.

EVERYTHING was scripted. NOTHING was allowed to be ad-lib'ed.

I'm dead serious. It was like this...
  1. Operator greets caller and works to determine what caller 'likes.'
  2. Depending on what caller responds, operator chooses one of a number of different scripts at their disposal, and begins the role-play.
  3. Throughout the interaction, operator is scripted to respond a, b or c in response to caller's direction of conversation.
  4. Rinse and repeat as many times as possible in an effort to keep caller on the line.
  5. If caller does not stay within the boundaries of the script, operator responds 'd' in order to get caller back within written (and legal) boundaries.
I just sort of stared at her, marveling that phone-sex is nothing like it is advertised.

She laughed again, and agreed, and even continued to tell me that the 'stereotypical' phone-sex operator more matches the actual truth of things, rather than what the advertisers would like us to believe.

Women behind the scenes who are:
  • Kicked back with their feet up, filing their nails
  • Working on homework
  • Watching TV
  • Listening to music
  • Crocheting
  • Reading 
And sadly, even:
  • Putting callers on mute; mocking and laughing at their requests

The operator is not emotionally or even sexually invested in the call. It's just words to them. Their goal is simply to keep the caller on the phone as long as possible in order to increase sales which, in turn, means more money for them.

It's very real and sad how both participants can get sucked into the false world of lust. One feeding their lust by way of sexual encounter, the other feeding their lust by way of making money.

The adversary has honed his cunning; telling the operator that they are not being immoral because they are not 'physically' participating with the caller, and that they can make easy money doing so because they will never lack for callers.

On the flip side, he tells the caller the same, that they are not being immoral because they are not 'physically' interacting with the operator, while also telling them that no one will ever find out because 'it's just a phone call.'

To both of them, he whispers; "It's OK, you are not hurting anyone."

The truth is, everyone effected by such a callwhether knowingly or unknowinglyis harmed; starting with both parties participating in it.

This is not the life the Savior wants for them, for me, for us, or for anyone.

It's simply a big fat trap.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Do As I Do, Not As I Say

So, I learned something today.

Let me first back up a bit, before I share what I learned.

I was visiting with a friend of mine a week or so ago, and she shared with me a struggle she was having with someone living with her. The person was not being responsible, not contributing to the household and basically being a nuisance. My friend was frustrated because they allowed this person to stay with them for few weeks only, just to help them get on their feet. Also, the person was not on my friends lease, which disallows extended visitors.

The situation was really stressing my friend out, and she wasn't sure what to do.

As a complete joke, I blurted out; "You should totally write a fake letter from your landlord stating that she is aware of the unauthorized tenant, and that you have only a few days to get them out or everyone will be evicted."

Today, I found out she did just that.

My heart dropped when I heard she'd done it, because I knew that I had given her the idea.

It taught me that even the slightest whispering of actions without integrity can lead to dishonest behavior.

It taught me that both the Spirit and the adversary are gardeners of sorts, each patiently waiting for me to plant seeds with my words so they can, in-turn, nurture them to grow.

On the plus side, the note worked and the squatter moved out.
I might be just a little bit happy about that,.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Some Thoughts on Sobriety

So I want to talk a bit about being sober, or sobriety, and what it means, or can mean.  

Most of us relate being 'sober' to Webster's definition: "not intoxicated or drunk."  Over time this definition has also come to encompass drug abuse, and even more recently has come to include a multitude of behavioral addictions.  When sobriety is announced at the beginning of a recovery meeting, it is generally referring to how many days one has not acted out in their addiction.

But, what does it mean to be sober?

1 Thessalonians 5:5-10
5 Ye are all children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.
8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.
10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.

D&C 6:19   
19 ...Be patient; be sober; be temperate; have patience, faith, hope and charity.

Winning the War Against Evil - Elder James Hamula
"Being sober means being earnest and serious in assessing your circumstances and careful and circumspect in weighing consequences of your actions.  Soberness therefore yields good judgement."

So, why is it important to be sober?

1 Peter 1:13
13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 5:8, 10  
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.
10 But the God of all grace , who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that which ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

So, what does it really mean to be sober?  
  • It means keeping our body free of all chemicals and behaviors that will inhibit us from doing the work of the Lord. 
  • It means girding ourselves up with the armor of righteousness and doing all in our power to not offend those Heavenly beings who desire to protect us.
  • It means keeping our minds clear of all worldly noise so that we may hear the sweet promptings of the Spirit.
  • It means knowing our adversary and keeping ourselves aware of all his tactical advantages over us, and acknowledging that only in the protective fold of our Savior are we safe from his destruction.
  • It means to strive to refine our virtues by constantly connecting with our Father in Heaven, and Savior, Jesus Christ.
  • It means constantly striving to remain humble, for the quality of our recovery is directly proportionate to the quality of our surrender.
  • It means finding gratitude and hope in all things, and above all it means constantly fighting with all determination to get home to Father.

It means to never, ever give up.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

A Warm, Godly Hug




hug [huhg]
verb (used with object), hugged, hugging
1. to clasp tightly in the arms, especially with affection; embrace
2. to cling firmly or fondly to; cherish
3. to keep close

*         *     *     *        *

What does it mean to hug? No, really. What does it genuinely mean to hug?

A hug is one of, if not the utmost expression of the purest love.
It communicates...
... compassion
... kindness
... charity
... affection
... understanding
... empathy
It presents as a courageous expression of actively listening to the needs of others, as well as our own needs.

Sometimes we don't realize that a hug is more than just giving. In fact, it is much more, because we receive so much in return:
  1. Hugs are warm; physically, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually.
  2. Hugging builds trust and a sense of safety; nurturing open and honest communication.
  3. It also boosts oxytocin levels; healing feelings of loneliness, isolation and despair.
  4. If we hug for an extended period of time, our serotonin levels elevate; resulting in increased happiness.
  5. Hugging boosts our self-esteem, showing us that we're special and worth loving. The associations of self-worth and touch sensations from our early years remain embedded in our nervous system as adults, therefore the cuddles we received as children remain imprinted at a cellular level; connecting us to our ability to self-love.
  6. Those hugs that are especially tight help relax our muscles; releasing built up tension in our body. They can also take away pain and soothe our aches by increasing blood flow in our soft tissue.
  7. Hugs teach us that there is equal value in giving and being receptive to warmth; connecting and sharing. In essence, hugs teach us how to flow love both ways.
  8. Much like meditation and laughter, hugs teach us to be present in the moment. They free us from our circular thinking patterns and connect us with our heart and feelings. They allow us freedomif even for just a momentfrom the weight of the past and doubt about the future.
  9. The energy exchange between participants results from the deliberate emotional investment in the relationship that the hug represents. It encourages empathy and compassion; two of the most powerful emotions for good. 
  10. Hugging is also synergistic; meaning the whole is more than the sum of its parts. 1 + 1 no longer equals 2, but 3 or even more!
Hugs are absolutely delightfully delicious!

Lately I have been thinking about the day that I will, again, see my Savior...
Oh, how I long for that day.

I want to...
...see Him
...touch Him

I want to...
...feel of His warmth
...feel His strong arms around me

I want to...
...hear Him say my name
...hear Him say 'well done, thy good and faithful servant'

But mostly, I want to hug Him.

I want Him to...
...wrap His strong arms around me.
...pull me close to Him.

And, I want to...
...grip His robes
...and, never let go

In that one Hug, we would each communicate so much to one another:
  1. Warmth
  2. Trust, safety, openness and honesty
  3. Healing, connection
  4. Happiness, joy and belonging
  5. Self-worth, self-love
  6. Comfort, relief, satisfaction
  7. Giving, receiving, sharing, and flowing love both ways
  8. Pure enjoyment of the present
  9. Transparent willingness to live in empathy and compassion
  10. A bold claim to the absolute abundance the hug will surely create
Unfortunately, there are times when my longing for that day erodes my gratitude for my present, because I fail to acknowledge that I actually have access to this very relationship with my Savior right here and now, in my present.

Accessing the many powers of Grace acts as a virtualyet tangiblehug from our Savior. Each time we do so, we increase in love for Him, loyalty to Him, and connection with Him.

Each time we do so...
  1. We feel warm
  2. We trust, and therefore are able to be courageously open and honest
  3. We become healed, for He is the great Physician (no need for a 2nd consultation)
  4. We experience the utmost and unabashed joy
  5. We come to accept, embrace and even love ourselves
  6. We are validated, comforted and calmed
  7. We experience a flow of love both ways, strengthening our bond with Him
  8. We not only feel satisfied, but actually happy, in our present
  9. We gain the ability to feel, express and receive empathy
  10. We are granted the courage to boldly approach His throne of Grace
Ultimately, we become more like Him
We become love

All, from a hug...

Ezekiel 34:11-12,16

"For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick"