Thursday, July 18, 2013

Walking Away from Temptaion

I have struggled for a long time with how to deal with temptations (or triggers, or whatever you want to call them). All my life I have heard terms like "resist temptation" or "flee from evil". I always took this to mean I needed to fight against my temptations. I would try to ignore the temptation. I would sing a hymn. I would read my scriptures. I would do all of these things to fight against the temptation, but I always lost. Fighting the addiction would always lead to me eventually giving in. This would leave me with feelings of worthlessness because I was not strong enough to overcome.

I would read scriptures like 1 Cor 10:13 and think "maybe this doesn't apply to me, maybe it is just for the normal people". Like most addicts, I thought I was different. I thought I was so vile that I was beyond the reach of the Atonement.

I was completely wrong. I am NOT beyond the reach of the Atonement. I am a son of God. Jesus Christ is MY Savior and Redeemer. He is MY brother, and He went through everything to do with the Atonement for ME. It has taken me a long time to understand that if no one else ever lived on the earth, Christ would still carry out the Atonement just for me.

I was also wrong about how to deal with temptations. It always seemed like my options were to fight the temptation until I gave in to it, or to just give in immediately and get it over with. This isn't true. There is a third option for me. That option is to not do anything with a temptation. It sounds a little crazy when you first think about it, but it has all of the power for me.

Think of it like a boxing ring. A temptation comes and puts me in the ring with a champion heavyweight boxer (my addict). I could just stand there and take my beating (just giving in), or I could try to fight him and still take my beating. The third option is to just get out of the ring and walk away. To not do anything is not to ignore my temptation or addiction, I am still perfectly aware it is there. It is also not to try to actively fight against it. I can just acknowledge its existence and then go on with whatever I was already doing.

The incredible thing is this works for more than just the temptation view pornography or masturbate. It also works with the feelings of guilt and shame that have been coming the longer I get into sobriety and recovery. Recently, I have caught myself feeling frustrated if I even encounter a trigger. I would think "I should be beyond this. Why am I still having thoughts like this." I've come to realize these criticizing thoughts are just another way for my addict to get me back into the ring. I don't want to get back in the ring, so I just need to let these thoughts go as if they were actual thoughts to indulge in my addiction because this is what they really are.

My addiction has no more power over me as long as I continue to walk away from the ring.


  1. I like this. I totally agree. I posted about this awhile back. I grew up being taught to 'fight temptation' to be self-reliant. To exercise willpower. And eventually we crack. One on one against Satan...we lose!! And we get so frustrated!!! We have the priesthood! we WANT to be good...why are we losing??

    This is why the idea of surrender as part of step 1 is critical. We pray God to take it. We connect with another addict and tell him what we are feeling. Some how it goes away. For a moment. And then we have to do it over and over. Surrender everything about ourselves. I believe ALL human beings have to learn this.

  2. I know what you mean. I've struggled a lot lately with temptations because for some reason, I just can't fight them. I give in EVERY time. I'm always hoping to have less temptations, but that's not going to happen.

    I'm glad you wrote this. As I was reading it, it was an answer to my prayer. I need to just walk away, physically walk away--from the computer, from the room, whatever. I need to take my mind elsewhere. Thanks for writing this. It gave me something to think about!