Making a decision to have a child–it’s momentous. It is to decide forever
to have your heart go walking around outside your body.
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This post was submitted by a Mormon mom who wanted to share her story for other moms out there who may be feeling alone as they watch their child struggle with sexual/pornography addiction. Many thanks to this brave mom, and to the other women, who have contributed to this recent series on pornography.
For those who do have loved ones who struggle with sexual or other addiction, there are groups in the Church’s Addiction Recovery Program for loved ones of those in addiction (look for Family Support groups or PASG groups (pornography addiction recovery groups)). There are also various “-Anon” programs (Al-Anon, S-Anon, etc.) that many Church members have found helpful. These are spiritually-based but non-denominational programs that help loved ones find healing and peace in the face of having a loved one in addiction.
To all mothers so affected, know that with the Savior’s help, your mother heart can find healing. You are in the thoughts and prayers of many. As this mother so beautifully testifies, your child is under the loving, watchful care of the Savior and Heavenly Father, who are ready to help your child when he/she is ready to seek help and recovery.
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A Mother’s Perspective
I have been reading the Mormon Women posts with great interest. We have a porn addict in our family and have watched with agony his struggle. It has destroyed his marriage and continues to affect his children. He has lost his membership in the Church and is struggling to ‘come back.’
His addiction began when he was 12 through a careless bunch of older boys who threw some hard core porn out of a truck at my son’s bus stop. My son and his friends, being curious 12 year olds picked it up and shared it. Instinctively knowing it was something they shouldn’t be looking at, they hid the pages in their neighborhood ‘hideout’ and took some of it home. I discovered the pages stuck in a box in the attic when I was looking for something. My husband and I had no idea that this would be the beginning of literally years and years of heartache and thousands of dollars spent on trying to help our son overcome this problem. By the time he was 14 it was apparent that he this was a serious problem.
My husband went on every camp out and activity because we were afraid our son would ensnare another boy by sharing his discovery. We spoke with Bishop after Bishop trying to warn them so that they would be extra watchful of the boys around our son. It was long enough ago that their response was anything from outright dismissal to “boys will be boys” and “he will outgrow it.” No one knew the devastating effects this addiction would have in our son’s life.
I can’t help but relate the posts you have from wives of addicts to my place as a mother….a lot of it applies. I have spent many hours pleading with the Lord to help me know what I could do as a mother to help my son. I racked my brain trying to figure out where I had gone wrong and what had happened to bring us to this heartache. After a while, my husband and I realized that there was not a whole lot we could do. It became necessary to ask our son to leave our home when he turned 18 and had graduated from High School. It was not done in anger, we just could not allow him to continue to bring pornography into our home and expose his siblings to such filth. We agonized over this decision but he simply was not capable of staying away from pornography.
Years have passed and now my son is in his late 30s. He has a son and is divorced from his wife. The specter of pornography continues to haunt him and we have watched our happy, funny, delightful child turn into something we don’t really recognize. Pornography has desensitized him. His language is crude, he is uncomfortable around others in our family and covers his discomfort with sarcasm and ridicule.
But just in the last few months we have seen some small changes in his attitudes. He is beginning to realize that he is not happy and will never be happy as long as he cannot overcome this addiction. His son is turning 8 and he will not be able to baptize him. His siblings have gotten married and he has been unable to attend their temple weddings. He is beginning the process of regaining his membership. we have rejoiced at each small victory and continue to encourage him to repent and return. I have no idea how long this process will take and how many missteps there will be along the way. But I have gained the assurance that the Lord has not forgotten him and that he will be able to overcome this someday…..
I like that you had a Mother write about this in her perspective. It is such a hard issue. Almost all children at sometime will see something they shouldn’t and in today’s world the stats are high on that. As parents you have to always be on watch.
I am another LDS mother of a son who has been struggling for the last ten years (since he was also 11) with a pornography and masturbation addiction. I have searched for support as a mother and find it somewhat lacking. I’m actually a 12-step support group leader, but our group consists of spouses and only rarely does a mother walk in. I feel isolated even though I’m trying to reach out. I appreciate your article so much! Do you know of any other resources for mothers? I know much of the church’s material applies, but I yearn for something that specifically addresses my grief and frustration as a mother.
Your comment is timely. I have been observing this lack of specific support for moms of those who struggle with addiction. I know there is a group called Mothers of the Sons of Helaman. I also know that there are motjhers who participate in phone support meetings run by Healing through Christ. I have had conversations with professionals in the healing realm about this need and there may be some things coming, but it is all in process right now. Please feel free to email me at mormonwomen at gmail if you would like more specific information.
God bless you in this struggle. I know for a fact that there are hundreds of people working tirelessly on this issue but I realize that mommas still have a unique need. My heart goes out to you.