I started using alcohol at age 15 and it felt like the perfect solution to my childhood trauma and dysfunctional home life. My values changed almost immediately, and I went from having LDS background to the other end of the spectrum. I got a DUI when I was 16 and many underage alcohol misdemeanors. I was kicked out of high school and was ashamed that I had a GED and not a high school diploma. I was pregnant at age 18 and was able to stop drinking but started again shortly after my daughter was born. I didn’t have any more legal consequences after that first DUI, mostly because of luck. My biggest consequence from drinking was that it stunted my growth as a human being.
My recovery from alcohol has really been about recovering from the reasons why I drank, which I can address now that I am not drinking. My threshold for being unhappy was fairly low, in comparison to others’ stories. This is not to undermine or deny what I went through. I had withdrawal symptoms from alcohol, shitty relationships, and no sense of self. When people in AA say, “If I drink, I will die,” I don’t entirely relate. If I drink, I may die eventually and my disease will continue to progress, but more likely, I will be miserable in my existence. I won’t achieve my purpose, be connected to a higher power, or have fulfilling relationships. I have learned that my addiction to alcohol is a symptom of trauma, and drinking was merely a coping skill. Alcohol worked very well to numb my pain and it helped me disassociate. I didn’t even know I was disassociating until I started my recovery journey. It becomes more and more apparent that I didn’t know how to cope with my feelings or know how to be comfortable in my skin.
My personal work and successes have been on self-forgiveness and love, forgiving others, learning healthy boundaries, and being the best mother possible. I am in recovery from alcohol and co-dependency. I am learning how to feel my feelings, cope with life, and stand up for myself and my worth. I live in Idaho, and I am a single mom to 3 amazing, beautiful daughters. I am so proud of myself for breaking the intergenerational patterns in my family.
My curiosity about sobriety started about 3 years ago. I started listening to podcasts in the beginning of my recovery and found The SHAIR Podcast with Omar Pinto. I loved his voice and his energy. I have found his interviews to have a profound impact on my ability to see my addiction as an opportunity and not a dirty secret. I eventually became a member of his FB group and then joined the SRC where I have connected with so many amazing people in recovery. I feel the SRC group has kept me sober.
I can access meetings via Zoom which has been crucial to me since I am at home with my kids and haven’t found an AA group in my community where I feel connected. The connection with others in the group has saved me from loneliness and isolation. I have found a sponsor in one of these groups who was willing to complete the 12 steps with me which has been transformational! I am almost 5 months in my recovery from alcohol and 95% of the time, I don’t even think about drinking. I am so grateful for the SRC, the SHAIR podcast, my sponsor, the step work, and online recovery.
Is pornography a drug? Can it become a true addiction? How does it affect your relationships? Today’s guest is Garrett Jonsson. Pornography was his secret vice and almost destroyed his marriage. He says that pornography is the new drug and his mission is to raise awareness about its destructive nature He is so determined to help people combat porn addiction that he ran 30 marathons in 30 days, handcuffed during each one of them. He then biked 3,800 miles across the United States, dragging chains behind him to symbolize the heaviness of addiction. Now he works with Fight the New Drug, an organization that is raising awareness about the harmful effects of pornography using only science, facts, and personal accounts. Garrett shares the insidious escalation of his porn addiction, how it damaged his life, and how he freed himself through recovery.
Sexuality is molded by experience, culture, and biology. Garrett was first exposed to pornography at the age of nine. Coming from a family that encouraged deep respect for women, he noticed that pornography was degrading but gradually became desensitized to it despite his morals. Throughout his life, his addiction to pornography worsened, but he prided himself on discipline and self-control. He lied to himself that it was becoming a problem.
When he married his wife, he hid his pornography habits. For six years, he would consume porn daily and sometimes multiple times a day behind her back. The pornography perpetuated false expectations from his wife. He thought that if he was in the mood, she should be in the mood. Pornography never said ‘no’ to him, and he demanded instant gratification. This lead to a repetitive cycle of fights that almost ended their marriage.
One night after one of their arguments, Garrett thought he ruined the relationship for good. This was the first time he realized the damage pornography was doing to his life. It made him into a deceitful, arrogant, and resentful person. He finally confessed to the secret to his wife and began the road to recovery. Now he is focused on engaging in healthy behaviors to become the best version of himself.
Studies have shown that porn stimulates the same areas of the brain as addictive drugs, making the brain release the same chemicals. And just like drugs, porn triggers pathways in the brain that cause craving, leading users back for more and more extreme “hits” to get high.
Fight the New Drug
Fight the New Drug is a non-religious and non-legislative nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide individuals the opportunity to make an informed decision regarding pornography. Ten years ago, Fight the New Drug was founded by four college students who recognized a need for a movement educating individuals about the scientifically-proven harms of pornography. Today, there are over four million Fighters worldwide who are changing the conversation about pornography, over 1,100 articles published on FTND.org, and have reached more than 800K individuals in our live presentations.
Consider Before Consuming
Think about all of the things you consider every day to help keep yourself, your loved ones, and your community happy, healthy, and hopeful. Now consider this: There is an ever-growing body of research demonstrating significant negative impacts, for yourself and the ones you love, in the consumption of pornography. It can change the way you think, harm your ability to connect with other people, and can contribute to changing the world in negative ways. Join us every other week as we consider the harmful effects of pornography using science, facts, and personal accounts. But, we’re not just inviting you to consider the potential negative consequences of pornography but also the benefits to a life free of porn and its influence.