One click. It took one click and my life wasn’t my own anymore. I was in the pits of addiction. A 12-year-old girl. Nowhere I turned could I find something to relate to me as a girl struggling with a pornography addiction. Nothing. I felt too unworthy to pray, to attend church. I was in a deep despair that I couldn’t get out of. I became more and more angry and lashed out at my family. They chalked it up to teenage angst, but the truth was that I was consumed by something that I didn’t dare tell them about. I thought if they looked into my eyes long enough that they would know what my eyes had seen.
Many times I thought about reaching out and telling an adult, but could never get the nerve. I didn’t want them to think I was a bad girl. And a part of me didn’t want to let go of the addiction. A part of me told myself that it wasn’t really that big of a deal.
No big deal.
I got older. And I threw myself into school activities. They were activities that I enjoyed, but I also wanted to escape. I put on a face. I put on the smiles and the humor and I tried to make light of the pain that was growing inside of me.
I started seminary class. And my heart skipped a beat whenever the word pornography came up. No, it wasn’t that bad. Was it?
I cried myself to sleep many nights. I sang Primary songs to myself and wept for freedom. “I’m unlovable,” I told myself. I turned to the scriptures. Love. Love. Unconditional love. I turned my heart to prayer.
It was wrong, but God still loved me. I wanted to overcome it. I wanted to be clean.
I slowly replaced the addiction with good things—scriptures, good books—constantly fighting to fill my mind with good things to replace the constant bombardment of pornographic images that filled my mind at every waking moment. I couldn’t get it out of my head. So I replaced it over and over again. I prayed and prayed some more.
It stretched over a few years. I was no longer succumbing to the temptation to look at pornography. It was still a struggle to replace the images in my mind. But I was happier. My soul felt lighter. I began to feel God’s love again. And realized I had it all along. I just had numbed myself from being able to feel it.
Looking back, I wish I had reached out for help. It would have made the process better. To have support from my family and to be able to feel their unconditional love in spite of what I was going through would have helped me get on the road to recovery sooner.
My recovery couldn’t have happened without the grace of a loving Savior and the Atonement. But it could have been quicker coupled with a loving support system at home, had I been brave enough to tell my family.