My wife has asked me on several occasions what my triggers look and feel like. What do the urges, aches and hunger feel like now compared to when I first began the process of ridding myself of the scourge of pornography? I have struggled to explain this to her. After a bit of thinking on it, I have finally come up with an analogy that makes sense to me and places my triggers into a visual description.
In my case, my addiction had reached and surpassed the desire and habit of only viewing pornography. I had allowed myself to progress far beyond to a point where I no longer could look upon any woman without the desire to lust after her in my heart. Pornography was all around me.
So, my biggest triggers do not exist only the computer or in cyberspace, but also out in the world. Driving down a busy road and seeing a jogger, making eye contact with the person in the car next to mine, a person standing at the bus stop...these are just a few. My triggers had jumped out of the world of the wireless and landed directly into the goings on of my everyday life.
Ok, so that is enough background. Here is my analogy:
Have you ever driven by a pawn shop or an electronic store when they have one of those flashing strobe lights in the corner of the window? This is a simple advertising technique. The idea is to draw your attention and get you to look at what is on sale.
When I drive down the street, walk through the mall, go out to dinner, or pretty much find myself anywhere in public…. I am surrounded by flashing lights. Even when I am not looking for them, I see them flashing out of the corner of my eye. Before I committed to living the 12 steps, I would happily turn my head in the direction of the strobing light. It seemed I was always on the look out for the flash…. whether I knew it or not…. I would be seeking and searching for it.
All around me everyday I would see the annoying strobe calling my attention to view the goods on display. Of course, looking once was never enough and a second glance was always required. And what happens when you stare into a strobe for too long? You become disoriented and temporarily blinded. Blinded as I was, the fantasies began and then the thoughts would linger and my descent into depravity would continue.
So that was then, but Now? Well, the strobes are still there. They are no less blinding or distracting but somehow through prayer, willpower, and the strength of the spirit, I have discovered I am able to pay them no attention. I simply remind myself, “’Eyes Forward. “ because I have learned that the flashing light doesn't offer me anything but blindness.
I read a scripture last night in 3 Nephi
25 I…. have commanded that ye should come unto me, that ye might feel and see; …..and whosoever breaketh this commandment suffereth himself to be led into temptation.
I know that the obvious interpretation of this scripture is that I need to come unto the Savior and If I do, I will feel and see his love in my life. If I don’t, I will be led into temptation. But I tend to read the scriptures differently nowadays. I find myself reading things into them that are personal to me and my situation. So here is what I heard when I read this scripture:
“I command you to come unto me. But you need to listen and feel for the dangers around you. If you don’t, then with your guard down you will be led into temptation…. “
This interpretation helps me remember that He is giving me warning signs all around and if I fail to heed them, I will be led into temptation……
And again in Matthew 26:41 we are warned…
41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
So what do I do about those flashing lights all around me? Well, I have changed what they mean to me now. They are no longer triggers or advertising techniques. Now, instead of a strobing effect to draw me in, I have redefined them. Now they represent the flashing light warning of the danger in that direction. They remind me to stay on my path and not to be deterred. They remind me to slow down, think about my next action and choose wisely. They are no longer a call to view but instead, a warning to look away. I know now that if I fail to heed the warning that I will easily find myself in dangerous places. Using this kind of thought process has provided me strength and reminded me that it is possible to be in the world without being of it.
The only light that is worthy of our attention in this life is a light that does not strobe or flash but instead is a constant solid beam of brightness. It emanates from the savior Jesus Christ himself. For He is “The light of the world”. His light never blinds but instead is constantly lighting the way to redemption and eternal life.
May we each follow his light and find his strength in us to overcome that we be not led into temptation.
Win the Day My Brothers.