I grew up in the church, so I've always had the gospel in my life. You could call what I had a sex addiction, although I never really thought of it like that while I was going through it.
In high school, my family moved and my dad did not come with us. That separation was extremely hard on my younger brother and me, so by the end of my senior year I started getting into some trouble. I would date guys for short periods of time, but our relationships were always physical. I never developed any deep relationships. Each relationship became worse, but I always rationalized my behavior.
I stopped going to church and I wasn't happy. I had times when I tried to change. I would talk to my bishop and he'd give me good counsel, but then I'd slip up again and feel so guilty that I'd stop going to church. When I was 21, I fully returned to my old lifestyle and addiction. I became depressed and frustrated, and I felt too guilty to talk to anyone about it.
Wanting more than this from life, I prayed fervently for courage to talk to my bishop again. When I did, he was so loving and only seemed to want to help, not punish. That meant a lot to me. I learned about Christ-like love through him. He suggested I see a counselor at LDS Family Services and gave me a blessing.
I soon met with the counselor and she offered, more than anything, a listening ear. She gave me a room to cry in and validation that I was not crazy. I realized I wanted a temple marriage with someone who loved me for who I am and not just my body. It gave me courage to come to church again. I was getting stronger.
After I found the vision of what I wanted and what was most important, I took the necessary steps to get there. It took a long time, but I felt the love of my Savior as I made those changes. I felt forgiven and loved, having learned how the Atonement could work in my life. It became something real and personal. I soon met a returned missionary and we started dating. In the beginning, we started to move down the same path I was used to in relationships. But we wanted to make it right, so we counseled together with our bishop. He helped us to have a healthy relationship, and our weakness became a strength. After dating for eight months, we got married in the temple for time and all eternity.
Today, I am active in the Church and married to a wonderful, faithful man. We have two beautiful boys. I have had several callings and have been able to serve in the Church. I don't feel like I have secrets to hide anymore, or guilt weighing me down all the time. My life is not perfect, but it is joyful. I can now live happily and progress each day.