Hi! I’m Carol Larson, a child of God who has been redeemed, renewed and restored by my Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. With His help, guidance and intervention, I am sober from my addictions to perfectionism, people-pleasing, and pornography. My former self was a sex addict and perfectionist who hid my real self behind a mask of performance and medicated my broken self with sexual fantasies and self-gratification (masturbation). I feared I was the only Christian woman to ever struggle with porn.
I grew up in a solid Christian home where I was blessed by my parents in teaching me about Jesus and his love for me from day 1. Yet I took on the perception that it was my job to help make others happy by my obeying ALL the rules, even if I didn’t know what those rules were. So at the age of 2 or 3, I figured out (incorrectly) that it was my job to make my parents happy by being a good Christian girl. As I excelled in school (I loved learning and graduated valedictorian), in church (I loved Sunday School and Confirmation), and at home (my mother often told me I was her little angel because I never got in trouble), I was emotionally lonely, miserable, and judged myself as falling way short because I was unable to “go and make disciples” as Jesus commanded since I was a very shy, insecure girl. I cried myself to sleep many nights, wondering if I was good enough.
College helped me to get out of my little shell somewhat and to begin to challenge my thinking about my faith. I had a wonderful pastor who helped me to understand that how I live my life was a testimony in and of itself, even if I didn’t use words. My faith in Jesus grew stronger in college and my dream of getting a job as a medical laboratory scientist and becoming self-sufficient came true. But I was still miserable in my own life as my new career was fulfilling in helping others.
I made friends through a church singles group and soon found a couple of gals to share a duplex apartment with. So very much fun was had by all, yet I took on the need to make them happy at my own expense. And as they moved on in either marriage or a new job, I was left behind and miserable. It was then I discovered self-gratification. It felt so good but left me feeling ashamed as I knew I had disappointed God by “touching myself down there” as I had been taught not to do by my parents.
Then in 1992-1993, several events occurred in my life and I didn’t know how to emotionally deal with them all. The end of 1992 my bff and housemate got engaged. I was happy for her yet knew our relationship would change and loss was big in my mind. Then in January 1993, my father’s barn burned down. I was devastated as that barn was my escape from responsibilities and siblings as a kid, and it was my safe place. I cried then. That spring another housemate was dating my brother and they broke up over spring break. I knew I was in an awkward place and unsure what to do. That summer I went part-time at the hospital where I was working and started teaching at the medical university. I grew up saying I would never be a teacher, but here I was teaching lab students. So my fear of speaking upped my anxiety several notches. Also that summer my father had triple-bypass surgery on his heart after determining he had had a silent heart attack sometime in the past. My bff housemate was married in August and we celebrated as I said goodbye and she moved away. The fall of 1993 brought the death of a special cousin of my father’s and we all cried (because it is acceptable to cry at a funeral). Then in December, my bff and former housemate called in tears as she left her husband due to abuse. I wanted to fix her and others and couldn’t. And I just tried to suck it up and move on.
1993 was also about the time that the Internet was becoming available in homes via a 56K modem. I was computer literate as I had taken some classes towards learning about computers and they were being used at work. So I learned about “bulletin boards” and chat rooms started appearing. Then in 1994 I had a house built in the country and moved in that fall. Still using the slow modem, I discovered I could look at pictures. Out of curiosity, I started looking at pornography. In time, I was hooked and began spending weekends pulling up pictures and masturbating.
Over a span of about 10+ years my addiction to porn became out of control and what I looked at became darker and twisted and violent. When I reached the point of wanting to “go out there and do the real thing,” I knew I was in trouble. Of course I was deeply ashamed of myself and my behavior. I was certain I was condemned by God and would not be forgiven unless I could stop. But I couldn’t stop. I was doomed!
In 2002 I told one safe person my secret. She loved me in spite of my story and did not reject me. I felt a weight lift off my shoulders as I spoke out loud my secret to someone. She encouraged me to see a counselor. It took me three months to get up the courage to do so.
Thus began my recovery journey to overcome my addictions to porn, perfectionism and people-pleasing. And more importantly, I began to develop a personal and very real relationship with Jesus. And I took off my masks and allowed others to see the real me. Surprisingly, I am loved.
This blog site is where I desire to share more about my recovery journey and how Jesus is my strength!
“I love you, GOD — you make me strong. GOD is bedrock under my feet, the castle in which I live, my rescuing knight. My God—the high crag where I run for dear life, hiding behind the boulders, safe in the granite hideout.”
Psalm 18:1-2 MSG
“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
2 Corinthians 12:8-10 NIV