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April 26, 2013

He Does Deliver Me From Bondage


I think of how this problem was so complex, difficult, and most seemingly impossible to overcome. Doesn’t matter how many times I committed to quitting the behavior I always found myself back where I started.

So what finally changed for me that I am now capable of being clean today? I feel I could write volumes on this subject regarding my long struggle to get to where I am now. I have plenty of story and experience to tell. To sum up all my experience let me tell you this, don’t give up. God our eternal Father loves you. This was a concept I had great difficulty grasping but it’s true. God loves us all and is deeply interested in our recovery. It’s not only the rotten addictive behaviors but also everything that lies underneath, the things we don’t tend to notice quite so much because we are not very honest with ourselves.

For me, I had to come to realize how much I really needed God’s help to overcome the behavior, and all my character weaknesses. To put it plainly, I came to realize I needed God’s help every single day to overcome pride. Hard to believe it at first, but pride is and continues to be the underlying issue for all my problems to this day, and will be the number one thing for me to overcome. Just read the talk by President Ezra Taft Benson on Pride. Google it, you will find it. I think he describes it quite perfectly.

So what do I do to overcome pride and find sobriety. Well at first it was very difficult, because I had the answers but found it difficult to implement the principles. The scriptures speak of receiving a change of heart through the merits and grace of Christ. I realized I didn’t quite have the desire to give up pornography. So I prayed and asked the Father to help me change my heart so that I had an unconquering desire to overcome the addiction. I never really found that to work as I had hoped, but I did find my perspective change where I came to realize I had a lack of desire to serve God, and even an unbelief that he could actually cure me. Though I had been through Step 3 ‘Trust in God’ several times, I found I was really quite weak in this area. So I had to pray for help to become willing to trust in God.

Well, if I went through this step by step I could end up writing a novel. Simply to say, my experience was a line upon line, precept upon precept experience. I didn’t find sobriety all at once and I believe a great deal of people don’t either. You see those guys who seem to have the light bulb experience, where the light just flips on and all of a sudden they go from days to months and months to years without a single relapse. I understand some people are at a level where they can do that.

It’s easier to think of it this way, we are all at our own level. It doesn’t matter what level we are on. If we don’t give up and keep pressing forward we continue to rise in our understanding and we will become better and better even if we don’t see days, weeks, or months of sobriety in the way we would like to. This process, as far as I can tell is the same for everyone. Here a little, there a little.

Some are farther up the road than others. For instance, I had a friend who was one of those light bulb people. It was like from the moment he came to his first meeting he reported every week he was clean. I could only marvel with amazement at how he was able to do it. The thing he would say every time was “one day at a time.” That phrase never really clicked for me. I tried to follow this method of one day at a time, focusing on getting through one day at a time. It just never worked for me the way it seemed to work for him. Roughly three years later, when I was reading a book called ‘Clean Hands, Pure Heart’ written by Phil A. Harrison I read of a principle called surrendering all things to Christ. I felt something inside of me awaken, a revelation, understanding of what sobriety was all about. I realized very quickly from that moment that I will face pride and temptation for the rest of my life, and the only way I would overcome was to do it one day at a time by relying on the merit and grace of Jesus Christ my Savior. After that, it became very clear to me that there was not one weakness, not one temptation I could not surrender to Christ. By asking him to strip the pride from my heart and the temptations which so easily beset me, I have found myself time and time again delivered.

Enough of that said. I wish, whoever reads this, to know the true meaning of friend. Because that is what Christ is. He’s our brother who will save us. We just have to let Him.