“Thy Friends Do Stand by Thee,” Support Guide: Help for Spouses and Family of Those in Recovery (2014).
“Thy Friends Do Stand by Thee,” Support Guide: Help for Spouses and Family of Those in Recovery.
In addition to relying on the Lord, seeking support from others can be helpful as we face our loved ones’ choices. We don’t need to suffer alone. President Henry B. Eyring said, “All of us will be tested. And all of us need true friends to love us, to listen to us, to show us the way, and to testify of truth to us so that we may retain the companionship of the Holy Ghost” (“True Friends,” Ensign, May 2002, 29). Sharing our struggles may be an uncomfortable and vulnerable experience. Many of us feel fearful or ashamed about our loved ones’ choices and do not want others to know about the problem. We may be concerned that others will judge us or our loved ones. Our loved ones who are struggling may ask that we not tell anyone, even ecclesiastical leaders. However, it is acceptable and important to ask for the help we need or desire.
The Lord will guide us to the support we need. He has promised, “I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee” (Isaiah 41:13). He has promised that He will “lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers” (D&C 112:10). President Spencer W. Kimball said this about how God often answers our prayers: “God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball , 82). God has and will put people into our lives to help us and support us during our trials.
What support or assistance do you feel you need?
How will you seek support from others?
We may not always have a positive experience as we reach out to others. While an individual may love us, he or she may also be misinformed, misguided, or unable to help. However, a bad experience should not deter us from finding the support we need. It is important to consider what resources or individuals are appropriate sources of help, when and how to share personal struggles with others, and how to use wisdom in deciding what is safe to share. Some questions to consider include: Will the person I’m sharing with be able to provide me with support? Will he or she have my best interests at heart as well as those of my loved ones? Will he or she keep the information confidential and be nonjudgmental? Is he or she mature enough and ready to receive the information, or will it be harmful to him or her?
What obstacles get in the way of you seeking support?
Whom do you feel prompted to reach out to for support?
Consider the following individuals as you reach out for comfort and support.
Our families have the potential to provide a tremendous source of love and support. One reason the Lord has provided us with families is to listen and be available when it feels like there is no one else. Trusted family members may provide the validation and support we need to continue to face our challenges with determination.
True friends stand by us through difficult times. They listen to our problems and experiences with understanding and love. They give us ideas and suggestions that we may not think about. Genuine friends will tell us the truth even when it is hard, and they will respect our agency and not tell us how to live our lives.
Our priesthood and Relief Society leaders are called by revelation and the laying on of hands by those who have proper authority (see Articles of Faith 1:5). As the Lord’s representatives, they can “use their time, skills, talents, spiritual and emotional support, and prayers of faith to help others” (Handbook 2: Administering the Church , 9.6.2). Our loving Heavenly Father gives guidance and direction to our leaders in our behalf. Bishops, in particular, have priesthood keys and the power of God to bless us. Nevertheless, when speaking with Church leaders, be mindful that, because leaders have different levels of knowledge, it may be necessary to help them understand what we are going through.
Those who have been through experiences with loved ones who have made bad choices may provide valuable insight and guidance. Though not everything that worked for them will work for us, we can still learn from their experience. Their insight and understanding can help us find greater healing and peace.
The Church’s spouse and family support group meetings are free and provide confidential settings where people gather to share their faith and hope. Having a safe place to share our feelings openly and honestly with others who understand or who are going through similar challenges is a great blessing to us. If Church support groups are not available, there may be other appropriate support groups in the community that we can attend that provide help in harmony with gospel principles.
Many of us face significant emotional challenges as we strive to find peace and healing. If therapy is available, a compassionate therapist who is supportive of gospel principles may help us face unresolved issues and view them with a new degree of courage or perspective. Therapy is not necessary for everyone, but it is one helpful option to consider as we strive to find ultimate peace and healing through the Savior. Bishops and other Church leaders have access to resources that can be useful in finding professional help.
What types of support have made the biggest difference to you?
What kind of support would make the most difference in your life at this time?
How can you be a support to others passing through similar difficulties?