Thursday, March 13, 2014

Advice for a Teenager Struggling with Addiction

I had a meeting with my Bishop last night. During the interview, he asked me what advice I would give to a teenager who is struggling with pornography and sexual addiction. I was not prepared to answer that question. As I though about it, the first thing that came to mind was that the teenager needs to talk to someone about what is going on. After all, we all know this addiction thrives on secrecy and lies.

As a follow up question, the Bishop asked if I would advise them to talk to their parents. I really struggled with this question. Looking back at my teenage years, there is no way I would have told my parents. Knowing myself, any negative reaction at all from my parents would have driven me further into the addiction. I would have felt I could never tell anyone again about what was going on. On the other hand, a loving response from my parents may have helped me to find recovery earlier in my life and may have kept the addiction from sinking so deep.

As an adult, I would definitely say the dealing with any possible anger or negative reaction from my parents would be better than the years of silent suffering on my own. I'm not sure I would have understood that as a teenager though.

The more I think about it, the more I think my answer would be to seek the guidance of the spirit. While all of our stories are very similar, each individual circumstance is unique. I don't think there is a single answer that fits every situation.

The one thing that is common is that we all have a Father in Heaven and a Savior who love us. They want us to be happy and to return to them. They will always respond to us with love and kindness and encouragement as long as we are striving to put our lives in accordance with their will for us.

I'm sure others have thought about this question, so I'm going to put it out here for others to answer also. What advice would you want to give to a teenager who is struggling with pornography and sexual addiction?


  1. As a mother of a child who has a porn addiciton, this person NEEDS to tell their parents. They can't overcome alone. They ALL NEED help and therapy. I see how my fears pushed my son away from me and they need to make sure they don't engage in any unhealthy behaviors as parents that would shame the child. The teen needs professional help as well. My son has tried for 6 years to overcome. He is now in counseling, attends the church's 12 step groups, and now has another senior who he can call and talk to. It free's the parents to have the right support in place so they don't feel to overwhelmed and can let go and just love the teen.

  2. The hardest thing for me to learn is that I have no power. I can not control or overcome the addiction/problem on my own. I must rely on the Lord. Until this point in my life-- and most definitely as a teen, I knew I could do it on my own. I could do anything I put my mind to. Humility and trust in the Lord is the key to recovery.

    I have been loving these verses from Alma 36.
    3. And now, O my son Helaman, behold, thou art in thy youth, and therefore I beseech of thee that thou wilt hear my words and learn of me; for I do know that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles and their afflictions and shall be lifted up at the last day.
    27. I have been supported under trials and troubles of every kind, yea, and in all manner of afflictions; yea, God has delivered me from prison, and from bonds, and from death; yea and I do put my trust in him and he will still deliver me.