How can opening up be helpful?
Although some people stop viewing pornography on their own, many find that getting the right help makes all the difference. Pornography use often flourishes in secrecy and isolation, and opening up can help us find emotional support and connection.
Turning to others can also help us understand the difference between guilt and shame. Shame leads us to believe that because we did something bad, we are bad. Guilt helps us to recognize that while we are good people, we made bad decisions. Shame brings a fear that others will reject us if we share our challenges and often leads us to isolate ourselves and hide our behaviors. Guilt helps us realize that even though we made bad decisions, others can still view us as good people who are trying to improve. While some negative reactions, such as expressions of surprise or hurt, may happen, many people will still recognize our goodness. They may respond with care and a sincere desire to help.
When we open up, we allow others to care for us, help us recognize our value, and support us even though we have weaknesses.
Who can I open up to?
An important first step is talking to our bishops and, if we are married, our spouses. We may also consider speaking with others whom we trust, such as family members, parents, or friends. Choosing who to discuss this with is a personal decision that should be made prayerfully. More resources on who we might talk to can be found in the Support Guide: Help for Spouses and Family of Those in Recovery, pages 88–89.
Ponder the following video, then turn to the Lord in prayer for the courage and guidance needed to follow through on any promptings received about opening up to others.
Ideas for Taking Action
Here are some ideas that others have found helpful. Prayerfully consider what actions might be best for you, taking into account that they may or may not be listed here.
- Ponder experiences you have had when opening up about other issues. What did you do well? What do you wish you had done differently? How can you prepare for the responses you might receive upon disclosing your pornography issues?
- Consider how your actions have affected your relationships. If your actions have betrayed the trust of a loved one, prayerfully consider what you might do to restore that trust.
- Visualize feeling love and support from those you trust. Consider how they might encourage you in moving forward.
- Search the scriptures, general conference talks, and other reliable sources for examples of others who acted courageously and with integrity.
- Prayerfully consider who you might open up to. As you make this decision, consider the resources in the Support Guide: Help for Spouses and Family of Those in Recovery, pages 88–89.