a conversation with my 18-yr-old son
Last week my high-school age kiddos went to a seminary morning side at 6am. My son came home and decided to tell me how great it was. He said that the presenter talked about a young man who overcame his pornography addiction by reading scriptures. I was impressed that my son listened so well that he could recount so many of the stories to me, but also curious as to what else the young man did to overcome his addiction. In an effort to listen more and talk less, I left the conversation at that.
But when he came home from school you better believe we had another conversation:
Me: So I am curious about the story of the young man who overcame an addiction. What else did the guest speaker say he did to overcome his addiction. A 12-step group? Seeing a counselor?
Son: No, he didn’t say anything about that.
Me: Hmm, well reading the scriptures is an important tool in healing, but it will not stop him from returning to the addiction later on when things get tough again.
Son: Yea, but if he has the Spirit with him he will be able to withstand temptation.
Me: That will help him, but he needs more than one tool to know how to fight this. He needs to see a counselor to help him understand why he chose to go to porn in the first place. If he doesn’t understand why he did it he will return to it again. The statistics say most young men look at porn again after their missions. Why? Why would they return if they knew it was wrong? Because this is about the brain, son. About the pathways we create in our brain to deal with sadness, pain, and emptiness.
Son: We learned something about this in my psychology class.
Me: Oh I am sure you have learned all about the brain in your psych class. Think of your Dad. Reading scriptures was not enough for him, he tried that. For 30 years he tried to overcome with addiction with just scriptures and prayer! Finally with therapy and 12-step he is overcoming it. So if a good man like your dad can’t overcome it with just the one tool of scripture study, I doubt most can.
If you date a young woman some day who had a problem bulimia, anorexia, porn, or even gambling, and she says she overcame it with just scripture study I want you to run because she doesn’t have the tools yet. She needs therapy to give her the tools to understand why she turned to those things in the first place. And if she has all the tools, that’s great!
Let’s hope this mom is helping the one and only young man she has influence over learn that collecting many different tools is the key to real lasting change.