The other day I got an email that gave me an enormous amount of hope. It came from a guy who has started up a website, PASGworks.com. The purpose of this new website is to serve as a “resource for men who attend LDS Pornography Addiction Support Groups [PASG].” The PASG program is the LDS Church’s response to the pornography epidemic. It is based loosely on the 12 Step program of Alcoholics Anonymous and seeks to help LDS men address and overcome pornography addiction in their lives.
Here at RowboatAndMarbles.org, our experience with PASG is limited because the program in our area is not well-supported, is not well-attended and is simply not effective. One of the participants in our area recently waved a hand at the practically empty room and said, “It’s clear that something’s not right here. If this program was working, the place would be packed. LDS men from all over our area would be here because they could get sober and stay sober. No one’s here because no one is finding sobriety here!”
In addition, we deal with poorly trained service missionaries who refuse to look beyond conference talks and the Ensign for insight and understanding about addiction. The recommended reading list found on the LDS Church’s combatingpornography.org is lengthy and contains many books not published or approved by the Church. Why are they there? Because they offer greater education about addiction. We have asked the service missionaries in our area to read those books, but we’ve received only a tepid response. These guys prefer to stick with the Ensign.
My new friend at PASGworks.com tells me that they do things differently where he lives. The service missionary there is a recovering alcoholic who found sobriety many years ago in Alcoholics Anonymous. He understands what it takes for an addict to get sober: many meetings each week, sponsors and the Big Book. The result? In that corner of Zion, you can find a PASG meeting seven days a week! They understand that multiple meetings each week is vital to recovery.
When you start going to their PASG meetings, someone will immediately encourage you to find a sponsor and start working the 12 Steps with him. You’ll draw on the experience of an addict further along in recovery than you are. He’ll teach you things you can’t know yourself. He’ll be your watchman on the tower.
And then there’s the Big Book, the name members of Alcoholics Anonymous use affectionately to refer to their main text. The Big Book teaches people how to get sober and stop acting out with their drug. It doesn’t try to teach people about religion. In fact, one of the big selling points in the Big Book is that it encourages all its members to connect with the Higher Power of their understanding. That means that Latter-day Saints can dovetail their faith in the restored gospel with their addiction recovery program.
The guys sharing their experience, strength and hope at PASGworks.com have been blessed with a service missionary who understands addiction and recovery. Thanks to him they are overcoming the plague that is destroying lives and marriages inside and outside the Church. We need more like him in the Church. And fast.
Good luck to the men of PASGworks.com. May God continue to bless you with the recovery you seek and with more opportunities to share your experience, strength and hope.