I'm writing this post with much trepidation and fear. As usual, it's going to be something very personal.
I can remember some of the feelings behind the most recent incident. I had been feeling empty, lonely. I felt myself craving some kind of connection with another man. I struck me as ironic at the time.
At church that day, a man had actually initiated contact with me. I was walking in the hallway when the man started to poke me from behind. I turned to see who it was. It was a man that I had asked to give the prayer soon after I moved in (part of my calling). We had kind of talked a few times. I am attracted to this man. Finally, we ended up shaking hands, and exchanging a few more friendly pokes. Before priesthood started, I ended up sitting near him and we talked a little bit more. We sat with a seat between us, and he had his arm on the back of that seat. I could see that his hand was less than six inches from my shoulder. I wanted, desired, craved to be sitting next to him. I wanted his arm to be around my shoulders. Basically, I wanted to feel loved by him. I wanted a connection to him, although I didn't quite realize it at the time. I was too busy thinking he would be weirded out if I sat in the seat right next to him. I walked away feeling like I wanted more connection, like I wanted to hug the guy.
The rest of the evening was pleasant. There were some fun and challenging games of Magic: The Gathering with a friend. There was snuggle time with the two kids from the family I live with. I even finished playing Dungeon Siege III. When I finished the game, it was a little after 10. I noticed that I felt lonely, empty inside. The game was beautiful. The story was moving. The end of the game showed me a series of scenes of all the people I had helped during the game. I felt moved.
I was still stuck with that feeling of loneliness and emptiness. Various fantasies rushed through my head, but I pushed them away, trying to stay connected with the feelings of loneliness. Eventually, I succumbed to the temptation to masturbate. It happened again the following morning.
That morning, I had a flood of ideas come to my mind in relation to what had happened. I remembered a scene from the movie Apollo 13 where the scientists had to come up with a way to fit a square peg into a round hole...or something like that. I realized that I was trying to fill a round hole, loneliness, with a square peg, masturbation. And it wasn't working. It isn't working. I've often thought that addiction comes from trying to fill up a hole with something that can't fill that hole. Another idea that came to mind is from my therapist. He told me that if I slip up, I don't fall 'all the way back to square one'. I'm trying on the new idea that when I slip up and make mistakes to tell myself 'Hey, maybe I wasn't as far along as I thought I was, but I'm not back at the beginning'. It's an idea that gives me hope. An even more profound idea that I'm trying is 'I am human. I can make mistakes. That's OK. I'm hear to learn. Life is a process. God is going to love me through this process'. It's funny how the idea of 'I'm going to love myself, even when I make mistakes' can help translate to my relationships with others. Even if other people 'make mistakes' in my eyes, I can still love them. After all, that's what Christ would do.
As for the loneliness, even with the new ideas of loving myself, I still have that round hole. I just need to go find a round peg to fill it with. I just don't have any idea what the peg is supposed to look like.