Finding the right person to provide support us is a process. It takes courage, honesty, and humility for us to share our experiences and our struggles. We may feel embarrassed, guilty, or ashamed. But we can take comfort in knowing that everyone has had their own experiences with vulnerability, embarrassment, and remorse. This may help us feel safe, supported, and hopeful. Rather than feeling isolated, we can feel connected to others as we strive to understand and change our behavior.
Where do I begin to seek support?
As we prepare to break away from pornography, we first need to evaluate potential biological, psychological, social, and spiritual factors impacting our behavior and address each one (See “What influences are contributing to my pornography use?”). This may lead us to identify areas where we need support and help from others.
Ultimately, Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are our greatest sources of support. As we seek God in prayer, we can receive guidance on how to seek the support we need. The Lord can help us connect with those who have knowledge, experience, and empathy.
During challenges like this, it may seem difficult to feel God’s love and to trust that He is our greatest source of support. Seeking the support of others can often help us recognize divine assistance.
Who can I turn to for support?
Family members. Our family members are often one of the best sources of love, support, and acceptance. However, we must be realistic in our expectations of our closest family members. We may have caused serious pain for them, and they may also need support. We can offer support during their healing process and seek to make restitution to family members who have been hurt by our choices. Forgiveness takes time, as does rebuilding trust, but the support of family is often the most significant and lasting.
A friend. Consider turning to those who have supported you in your life before. Even if they haven’t struggled with this issue personally, they care about you and can support you. You might also consider turning toward someone else who has or is in the process of successfully overcoming pornography. Working together with someone else who is overcoming pornography can help both of you feel connected, supported, encouraged, motivated, and safe.
Prayerfully consider the people you meet in your social circle, at church, or in support groups. When looking for emotional support from someone else who is overcoming pornography, look for someone who:
- Is of the same sex as you.
- Is further along in overcoming pornography than you are.
- Is aware of and will be patient with the process.
- Shares the same or similar values.
Church leaders. Working with Church leaders is often essential to success. They can help us seek forgiveness and healing as we share the extent of our involvement with pornography. Many leaders are capable and ready to offer support, including our elders quorum or Relief Society presidencies and ministering brothers and sisters. Our bishop can also be a source of support as he guides us through the repentance process.
Support meetings. Support meetings provide support in a group setting. Participants can share their challenges in an atmosphere where others are struggling or have struggled with similar challenges. The opportunity to talk about challenges and victories helps each participant understand his or her own circumstances. This sharing process helps us to learn to disclose and explore our own experiences and may help us identify solutions for ourselves.
Thoughtfully choose a support group that best meets your needs. For example, the Church offers support groups in some locations. (Find a meeting on arp.ChurchOfJesusChrist.org.) In these groups, participants often interact with:
- Volunteer group leaders.
- Group facilitators experienced in recovery.
- Other men and women who are seeking to change.
When you first begin attending a support group, you may feel anxious about sharing your situation with strangers. You may doubt that you will find anyone to relate to. All of this is normal. Most people find that these feelings go away quickly after they realize that everyone there is just trying to be open, work through their own challenges, and find answers and strength from others.
Professional support. Medical doctors, mental health professionals, and others trained in addiction sciences can offer additional insight and perspective. When selecting professional help, it is important to choose someone who is supportive of gospel principles. (For more information on finding mental health help, see “When should I seek professional help?” and “How do I find a mental health professional who is right for me?”)
How can I move forward in seeking support?
As we prayerfully consider the kind of support we need, the Lord can help us to know who to reach out to. We may find that a combination of different types of support is most helpful to us.
When seeking support, we may risk feeling rejected or judged, and we may feel uncomfortable. But as we continue looking for support, we will eventually find the help we need. As we seek help from our Heavenly Parents, the Savior Jesus Christ, and people who care about us, we can find the strength to be accountable and honest as we try to improve and change.
Ideas for Taking Action
- Assess your biological, psychological, social, and spiritual factors. (See “What influences are contributing to my pornography use?”) What type of support is needed for each of your influences?
- Talk to others who are working to overcome pornography. What types of support have been helpful for them?
- How have you successfully enlisted support in other areas of your life? Would similar help be useful to you now?