Sunday, February 2, 2014

Learning the Atonement--Here is Hope

The night when I questioned having a testimony.  I set out on a bit of a journey to find what I did or did not believe.  It was not an easy journey, but I knew that I needed to know what I believed.  I made a more concerted effort to read my scriptures and pray.  I made a journal to help me figure a lot of things in my life out.  In many ways I felt like I was back in primary.  My issues were still there, but I noticed that things were improving somewhat in that regard.  I still wasn't attending church in Twin Falls, but I did go when I returned to Burley, which happened fairly frequently that semester.

In May 2008, I graduated with my degree from CSI.  I officially finished my degree in the summer of 2008, with a degree heavily tied to the construction industry.  Because of the joys of the economy during this time, jobs completely disappeared, and I moved back to Burley with my parents.  This soon became one of the longest periods of my life.  I found it difficult to feel much self-worth when I was creating nothing to society.  I soon found myself being overtaken by depression a bit again.  Unfortunately, one of the escapes that I turned to was pornography.  The progress that I had been making went completely out the window, and I relapsed in a big way.

Through a series of events in December/January, which I may talk about in a future blog, I decided to return to school, and I decided to attend Utah State as an engineering major.  In January 2009 I also started a new calling in my home ward.  I started teaching the 12/13 year old Sunday school class, the subject of which was Teachings of the Prophets--I can't remember the exact name, but it's something similar.  For those who don't know it is a class which teaches the basics of the Gospel.  What better way to re-learn the Gospel than teaching the basics?  This calling really helped me during this time, it helped with my lack of self-worth, and the additional time studying the Gospel helped me feel the love of the Savior in my life.  This started my longest streak of days without turning to pornography which lasted some time into the beginning of my time at USU.

My first year at USU, I was trying to set myself up for success.  I still wasn't in my scriptures too often, and prayer was spotty.  I was going to church every week though, and it made a huge difference in my life.  Eventually I relapsed again, but unlike last time.  I took this as a personal challenge.  I was done having my testimony shaken by this thing, and I knew that with the help of my Savior I could overcome this obstacle.  I remained active in the Church, and was doing my best to bring my life back in tune with the Gospel.  This year was extremely tough for me mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.  I was able to let a lot of things go in my life, I changed my major, and I lost ~70 pounds.  I was just starting to become a different person, but I just couldn't seem to get rid of my addiction.  I struggled with these things for the next three semesters, but I was always able to pick myself up after each fall.  I was making progress in my addiction.

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