Tag Archives: addiction

The Home-Wrecker

I had the best of intentions to write about something else for this month’s blog post, but this past Sunday, our family received some news that shocked us so incredibly that I felt I needed an outlet to both work through it in my own mind and heart.

When a family member warned us that there was some bad news, we thought it might be something concerning our youngest cousin, who was born less than two months ago with intestinal problems and had already undergone an operation for it. In part it was, the bad news was that his parents were getting a divorce. Divorce occurs among LDS couples, but this was particularly shocking to us, because we couldn’t understand, why just after having a newly born baby (their 2nd son), would they want to get a divorce? Sadly, it turns out that the culprit was pornography.

In today’s society, pornography is becoming more prevalent and regarded as something casual. In varying degrees, pornography is all around us, whether it’s on billboard signs, magazine covers, television shows, and Internet sites. Pornography dulls moral sensitivity, prompts voyeurstic flights from the challenges of reality and is, above all, very addicting. It destroys marriages, families and lives. The late president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Gordon B. Hinckley cautioned: “Stay away from the great and terrible flood of pornography that is sweeping across the earth and makes a few men rich while it destroys many others who become enslaved to it. Stay away from it.” Like all addictions, once enslaved, it becomes increasingly difficult for the person to get out. However, like all addictions, there is help and hope to overcoming it. If you know someone with this addiction, I refer you to an article written in the 2005 Ensign about the steps to recognizing and overcoming pornography, entitled “The Road Back: Abandoning Pornography”. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day also has a website called Combating Pornography: Replacing Darkness with Light which can be used as a resource and for encouragement.

My heart goes out to family members, whether spouse, children or parents, of those who are addicted to pornography. I can only imagine their sense of pain and betrayal. Have any of you helped someone through a pornography addiction or a loved one who has been betrayed by it? I wish there was something I could do or say to help my cousin and her children. My thoughts keep returning to my gratitude for the healing power of the Atonement. I know it can heal and give hope to her, her children, her husband and to anyone who seeks the Lord’s help, even when I’m at a lost of how I can help.

Addiction Recovery

Mental health and religion are both too complex of subjects to really tackle in one blog post, but let’s give it a try.

In a nutshell: Like many college-aged young women, I developed bulimia during my early college years. It was a way to treat my depression, self-doubt, negative body-image, and an ever-active stream of intense self-deprecating thoughts I call the negative mind. The bulimia caught like fire, and I found myself addicted to binging and purging.

After about a year and a half of addiction, denial, deepening depression, self-harm, and increasing suicidal thoughts, I entered a treatment center for eating disorders (the center was not affiliated with any religion). I was there for 4 months, experiencing the highs and lows of learning how to live again.

Heavenly Father blessed me with mental strength that has kept me on the path to recovery, and 7 years later, I consider myself recovered. This does not say that I do not struggle with depression or body-image problems still, but I’ve learned how to deal with them in healthy ways.

Now how does this relate to Mormonism?

I’ve put an incredible amount of thought into the connection between my religion and my eating disorder for years and years. My conclusion: Being a Mormon did not contribute to developing the bulimia, nor did it save me from it. It’s what happened in-between I would like to address.

Ironically, the connection between my faith in God and my eating disorder was my disconnection from God. Women with eating disorders feel worthless, like dust of the earth, like wastes of space. Like I took my feelings of worthlessness out on food, I also took it out on God. I left Him out completely. I didn’t feel like He would care about someone so lost and “selfish” as me.  Just as I assumed everyone else around me thought I was boring and useless, I assumed that I was the same to God. God loves everyone. I was the exception.

Recovery did not only involve learning how to love myself, but also how to let God into my life again. I’ll spare you the details, but recovery was very painful and difficult. If I hadn’t worked on my relationship with God, I would have been lost.

My relationship with God is fiercely personal. I know He is there and directs my path. I am so grateful that I was lucky enough to receive treatment (too many people don’t or can’t get it). My life since has been one blessing after another.

I can’t explain why I’ve been able to recover while some other girls are still stuck, and even one has since passed away from heart failure brought on by anorexia. I don’t profess to be an expert on the subject, but this is my experience as a Mormon woman.

I totally reject any claim that Mormon doctrine causes female self-deprecation. The Mormon culture, perhaps, but not the doctrine. Open any magazine in any store in the world, and there is crap about how we aren’t perfect enough. Trust me, I’ve lived in enough foreign places to know that this is a worldwide phenomenon.

I could go on and on and on. If you are suffering, don’t let God slip away from you. You need Him to watch out for you and give you strength.