12 Steps to Change

    Step 1: Honesty - David’s Story on Sex Addiction Recovery

    Step 1

    David’s story on sex addiction recovery using the 12 steps program5:32

    The one thing David had promised he would never do was ruin his marriage. But when his addiction to sex and pornography hijacked his self-control, he found himself doing just that. David thought maybe he could simply get over his addiction without help from anyone. That is when he learned that confession is the first and vital step to recovery.

    Step 1 - Honesty: Admit that you, of yourself, are powerless to overcome your addictions and that your life has become unmanageable.

    Those who face addictions often struggle with the consequences of their choices for many years, sometimes for their whole lives. The outcomes that are portrayed in this video series do not reflect the possible range of outcomes that may be experienced by others. If you or someone you love is experiencing these challenges, or would like more information about addiction recovery, please visit addictionrecovery.lds.org.


      Honestly, I was prepared to lie until I was dead. If there was a sexual thing that you could pay for, I bought it. Normal people don't get triggered to do immoral things 20 different times on a five-mile trip to work.

      That's not normal, but that's my life. The one thing from the age of six that I swore I was never going to do was ruin my marriage, and yet here I was doing it. And I knew that if I told the truth, that I would lose my marriage because the truth was going to wreck my marriage.

      It was going to hurt my children in ways that I would never be able to make restitution for. I was unfaithful to my wife and to my church and to my children. When my son turned seven, I realized, "He's going to need to be baptized at eight," and that was something that I knew I couldn't do. And so I made this stupid deal with myself that if I stopped acting out for a year, that somehow that would be OK, that it would be all right for me to baptize my son.

      I could just skip the confession part of the repentance process, and it would be OK. So that year I did better, mostly because I was self-medicating with lighter forms of pornography to avoid actually engaging in sexual activity with other people. Some people think that sex addiction isn't real. And I ran my life into the ground because I couldn't stop.

      I was in the shower listening to a song, and I wasn't really thinking about anything in particular. But I was singing along to the lyrics, and it said, "Lights will guide you home and ignite your bones, and I will try to fix you." And the Spirit just hit me, that all these years in my addiction I had felt like if I could just be honest, that I could maybe get some help and be able to change. But as long as I was lying, I was on my own and I could not stop. And it was like the Lord was saying, "If you can do this, I can make you a better man. I can change you."

      So I called my bishop and I said, "I've been unfaithful to my wife for several years, and I need your help." This was devastating to my wife. Instead of filing for divorce the next day, she just had me leave.

      Step one is to admit that you of yourself are powerless to overcome your addictions and that your life has become unmanageable. As an addict, you think that "If I admit defeat, then what's left?" In recovery, that's the first step.

      Once I started being honest--once I admitted that I really was powerless over my addiction and that my life was unmanageable, that I couldn't manage it anymore--hope came pouring into my life. She would have me come home from work long enough to put the kids to bed every day. My marriage was hanging by the finest of threads, and the fact that there was a thread at all was a huge miracle.

      There's a sentence in the addiction recovery manual. It says that "because of the love and grace of the Savior, you do not have to be what you have been." I'm here because the Lord has rescued me in a way that I don't even have the words to describe.

      Each one of us is made of the same stuff. And we have a Father in Heaven who loves us, and He wants to make us into the people that we can become. And if we will turn our lives over to Him, we can draw on all the powers of heaven to change. And that's my testimony.