8. We Need to Quit Believing That If They Just Have Enough Faith, They Won’t Have to Do the Dirty Work. I once sat in a room of LDS men who were attending a support group for those with a “pornography problem.” I was one of the first in the meeting to share my experience of recovery. I talked about going to 12 Step meetings outside the Church several times a week, having a sponsor, making daily phone calls to help others and to help myself stay on the right track, and having increased mental strength and spiritual growth as a result of working through the 12 Steps. I also said I planned to do this for the rest of my life and looked forward to helping other men find recovery like I had.
Many of the participants in that meeting sat open-mouthed, almost stunned, as they listened and contemplated how much time I put into staying in recovery from my addiction every day. When I finished sharing my experience, several of these men immediately clamored to proclaim their colossal faith in the Savior and how they fully expected to be healed or cured (they used the words interchangeably) of their “problem.” It was clear that they saw faith in Christ as a shortcut that would save them from the many inconveniences and timewasters to which I was subject. I was, after all, an addict; they just had a “little problem.” Remember, as Mormons, we’re big on proclaiming that “it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” The scripture does not say that “it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do—except in the limited circumstances of a ‘pornography problem,’ in which case we line up with the evangelical Christians and just go with the notion of grace alone.”
9. We Must Recognize That The Wives of Addicts Need Someone to Talk To—In Addition to a Bishop. Many wives of sex addicts are screaming on the inside. They are confused. They are in pain. This hurts more than anything else they have ever experienced in life. They need to talk with someone who has been there, who has felt and survived the anguish, and who can speak of hope and recovery from the perspective of one who has lived it. Bishops simply cannot provide this insight.
Without hesitation, we recommend S-Anon, a support group for those affected by another’s sexual behavior and based on the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. I want to be clear about this: These meetings are full of some of the most inspiring, dynamic and beautiful women on the planet. They are helping each other achieve a recovery from the fallout caused by their husbands’ behavior that is nothing short of miraculous. It is not a stopping off place for failed, miserable women before they disintegrate and disappear forever.
When the wife of a sex addict sits down in a bishop’s office, one of the first items on his checklist should be to encourage her to begin attending S-Anon meetings. We can give you the phone numbers and e-mail addresses of LDS women who are willing talk about their experience of surviving a sex-addicted husband and how S-Anon helped them return to the land of the living. You can e-mail us at our general e-mail address at Recovery [at] RowboatAndMarbles [dot] org.
10. We Should Make Sure That Wives Get Information About Sex Addiction. Light and knowledge amount to a death sentence for addiction. Addicts therefore do everything they can to keep their spouses in the dark about their disease and recovery from it. We ought to give every woman in Relief Society a copy of the essay “A Letter to The Wives.” We should let her know about the recovery website, www.RowboatAndMarbles.org. The site will instill hope and help her know what is really going on inside her husband’s brain. The site also has a links page that contains a list of other useful and informative websites geared towards those of the LDS faith.
Dr. Donald L. Hilton, an LDS neurosurgeon, has written a groundbreaking book about recovery from sex addiction entitled He Restoreth My Soul. The subtitle says it all: Understanding and Breaking the Chemical and Spiritual Chains of Pornography Addiction Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The S.A. Lifeline Foundation, a Utah-based non-profit organization that provides information and education about pornography addiction and its impact on individuals, families and society, has published Understanding Pornography and Sexual Addiction: A Resource for LDS Parents and Leaders as guide to help those now suffering in silence. It fills a huge need among rank and file Church members and leaders by providing them with practical information and recovery tools for assisting addicts and their families in their quest for a solution to their nightmare.
11. We Need to Quit Thinking That We Have to Wait for the Church to Perfect a Program That Will Solve the Problem. That thirteenth Article of Faith of ours is not just window dressing. “If there is anything…of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.” Many of us in recovery enthusiastically report that Sexaholics Anonymous (www.sa.org) and S-Anon (www.sanon.org) are praiseworthy—and lifesaving. The programs for sexual sobriety and recovery are here with us now and they work!
12. We Must Recognize That There Is Hope for Recovery from Sex and Pornography Addiction. Those of us who have found true sobriety and recovery are living proof.