Monday, December 31, 2012

Or So I Thought...

There is this book that I wanted for Christmas.  I heard about it from a perfect stranger I sat next to in a movie theater a couple of months ago.  She told me about the premise and it sounded awesome, much like the Hunger Games.  I immediately wanted to get it.  But I forgot about it for a while.  Until I saw Book 2 of the series staring at me in Walmart a week or so before Christmas.  Hmm.  So I manipulated the situation in order to get both books.  I text my husband right there in Walmart and strongly suggested he buy Book 1 for me for Christmas.  He said he would.  I then picked up Book 2 and placed it in my cart for HIM for Christmas.  Good plan, right?

Or so I thought...

Christmas morning we opened all our presents.  My hubby had indeed given me Book 1 for Christmas.  Funny thing though - when he bought Book 1 he also saw Book 2 and purchased that one as well.  So in the end, we ended up with two Book 2's.

After things calmed down late Christmas day morning I began reading Book 1.  I was immediately drawn in and sunk myself into the characters.  My world blurred and I became absorbed in the scenery of the story.  I loved it.  I'd have to stop reading every now and then to complete dutiful tasks like get my toddler down for his nap, make the deviled eggs for Christmas dinner later that day and clean up the living room for the 100th time that morning, but it was all OK!  Because I had my new awesome book to get back to.  It was waiting for me.  And not only that - I had a whole other book waiting for me on the other side of Book 1!  Life, was good!

Or so I thought...

I picked up the book again... and out of no where the two main characters kissed.  It was so innocent.  I mean really.  It was just a kiss.  But "just a kiss" translates to "just a trigger" and let's be honest, there is no such thing as "just a trigger."  Justifying something by saying it's "just a little trigger" is highly dangerous.  The Spirit was telling me it was dangerous as I sat there, momentarily frozen.  But I didn't listen.  I didn't stop.  I ignored the Spirit because I believed Satan's lie.  I rationalized and said "It's just a kiss.  It's no big deal!"

Or so I thought...

I read some more and felt secure in my justifications because for a period after the kiss, nothing else triggery happened.  It was just full of the stuff I really loved, the safe stuff, good vs. evil stuff.

I went to bed that night with my book right next to me, on my nightstand.  My scriptures were behind it.  The Ensign was behind it.  Yes, at that moment, my book was more important than anything.  It numbed me.  It helped me escape reality.  I told myself that one trigger wasn't a big deal.  I got through it.  I withstood it.  I was strong enough.  Which meant.. I could also handle whatever was presented to me in the book the next day.

Or so I thought...

I woke up the next morning and found comfort when I saw my book right there, waiting for me.  I did the usual house cleaning before sitting down to read again.  Just as the day before I immediately lost any touch I had left with reality as my eyes licked the words on the pages.

And then it happened.  The scene I thought I was strong enough to handle was introduced.  I knew it was coming before it arrived because books are good that way.  They lead up to those scenes.  But by then the Spirit was gone and I had no resolve left.  My agency was gone and I couldn't turn away.  My eyes rhythmically flitted over the words, opening up long locked compartments of dopamine within my brain.  It was all over.  I couldn't say no.  The dopamine was so strong that I couldn't even concentrate on the story anymore.  I put the book down beside me and just sat there, swimming in it.  I was completely bound...

Or so I thought...

After a time I felt my emotions begin to return.  Even though it was hurt, and shock, and pain I welcomed it.  It was much better than being numb.  I never want to be numb again.  I sat there on the couch and I felt tears sting my eyes and I thought "I need to get up!"  I stood, and walked upstairs.  By the time I reached the top the tears were hot on my cheeks.  I knew what I'd done.  I knew what happened.  I knew I'd been trapped. I cried out to Heavenly Father - apologizing profusely for going there.

DANGIT!!!

I looked back on what happened and I assumed I'd be OK with books because my addiction never really included reading inappropriate material.  For me, it's always been images.  I figured I'd be safe with a book, especially a teen book.

Or... so.... I ....thought.....

That's the problem.  *I* thought.  I didn't listen.  I made decisions on my own.  I didn't consult the Spirit.  I only cared about what *I* wanted.  I didn't care about anything else.  I got lost in selfishness.

Let me tell you - the book itself was only a very small fraction of the problem.  Everyone remained clothed in the scene I read, and it wasn't 'pornographic.'  But it triggered me into a pornographic place.  That book was the key that opened Pandora's box - and once opened, I jumped right in and rummaged around looking for treasures.

I'm absolutely terrified to read anything again.  Besides church/recovery books I think everything else is off the table.  I never ever want to fall subject to that flaxen cord again. As horrible as that experience was I'm finding gratitude in it.  It scared me into never wanting to toy with anything ever again that will get me where I ended up.

This experience has also helped me recognize the separation between my Savior and I that has come on of late.  Many things have contributed to my distance.  I have been stagnant in my dailies, not blogging has contributed as well.  I haven't attended the Temple in a while either.

As much as I didn't want to, I threw away Book 1 and returned both of Book 2's.  I wasn't so willing to return Book 2 at first though.  I full on intended to let my husband read it first, with Sharpie in hand, to black out any triggery scenes for me so I could read it.  It wasn't until after visiting with my Bishop and him saying "why don't you just get rid of it?" that it really hit me how stupid that idea was.  I mean really.  That's SUCH an addict way of thinking.  It's kind of funny now that I think about it.  But at the time it seemed like the perfect solution.

So I thought...

No, the only solution is to stay close to the Savior and stay absolutely CLEAR away from anything that will potentially trigger me.

I am not strong enough
I cannot withstand
I cannot do this on my own
...nor do I want to.

14 comments:

  1. Thanks for your blog!! I find the most trigger for me is music. It doesn't even have to be bad music all in all but if it's not Classical, Church or Christian radio I struggle. It takes me back to a place or time or person of whom my addiction was consumed in so I just can't listen to it, even the bands that I thought were seemingly good. My issues were always images as well so I thought I'd be ok, but nope I'm not so now I have to steer far far away from it. It is so hard to sacrifice but I know and you know we are super blessed when we do. :)

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    1. Yep you are right!! I had to give up a TON of music. And even now, I rarely listen to anything secular. The top 100 is horrible... when I listen to the playlists... I think I hit next on 1 in 10 songs because they are so inappropriate.

      K-Love is Heaven sent!!

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  2. Thanks for sharing, Sidreis. My last incident similar to yours was about 5 weeks ago. It shook me so much that I don't want to go anywhere near any of it. My wife seems able to handle stuff I can't. I'm really glad you are back!!

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  3. I simply love this post. What can I say more, but thank you for it? Thank you. I think you're so cool!

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  4. Thank you for this post. Your honesty and openness are a strength to me. I struggle with the same triggers, even ones I didn't think were triggers are now triggers because I am working so hard on recovery. It is so hard, but we will all be blessed for staying strong. And we can't be strong without Heavenly Father, Christ and the Holy Ghost.

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    1. So true!! It's good to remember that the adversary doesn't need to work on us much when we are in active addiction - because we are bending to his will on our own... it's when we begin striving to reach for our Savior that he really starts working on us!

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  5. I was raised in an abusive home, and my coping mechanism was reading, and in college it became games, computer/video games. I remember getting lost in them, and lately with the stress in my life I have been craving a good sink your teeth into book. But I know I would get lost. I know I would stay there. But the more I am working on my issues, with the steps etc... The less I am doing that. I went to log off tonight, and realized I had never checked my virtual game today. At all. And it was kinda cool to realize I hadn't thought about it. I thought of it just now, and the craving is there. But I think I'm ok, and it will be ok to still shut off and go to bed. Thankyou for connecting with me on my blog. The more friends the better for me right now. People I can tell anything to and it's ok :)

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    1. I can totally relate to the video games. I used to be a total gamer. My husband and I were addicted to World of Warcraft something terrible. I finally had to give it up because it pretty much consumed every part of my life.

      I'm glad you are feeling connected:-) Your blog is listed on ldsaddictionrecoveryblogs.blogspot.com:-)

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  6. Thanks so much for this. I always have to watch what I read and how much time I spend on it. It's so easy to get lost in a good book and I really have to watch for triggers. I found this website: http://www.thrivingfamily.com/Family/Media/book-review-archives.aspx. I'm going to check it regularly for books. Obviously, they don't have every new book out, but I've already found it helpful as I decide what to read. -Stacey

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  7. I'm going to comment again, since we've been texting. I absolutely love the Percy Jackson and the Olympian series. The follow up is The Heroes of Olympus (love it. love it). I also very highly recommend "Fly By Night" by Frances Hardinge. And if you like Victorian murder mysteries, I love Anne Perry's William Monk series.

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  8. Umm. I would recommend skipping Execution Dock and Acceptable Loss in the William Monk series. They involve the child pornography trade and could trigger some people. It's not written in a salacious way, but I had to skip through them. Just FYI. -Stacey

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Thank you for sharing a moment with me:-)

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"