Advice to My Younger Self
Hi. Looks like you are trying to find answers, trying to make sense of something that feels completely out of control. You are looking for comfort. You are hurt and scared about what this all means; you’re going to want to fix it. Please stop and breathe. There is a way for you to get through this.
First, be brave and claim alone time. You are going to need alone time. When you are alone, get on your knees. Sing a hymn. At first, you’ll feel so dumb singing a hymn by yourself, but the power of the Spirit will fill the room. Then pray. Pray to your Father in Heaven. Tell Him all the hurt and anguish you feel. Don’t hold back. Don’t put conditions on your prayer or restrictions on how to say it; just talk. Let yourself cry. You’ll be amazed at the miracles these conversations will become.
Next, learn how to take care of yourself—physically, mentally, and emotionally. I cannot emphasize this enough! It is central to your healing! Then learn how to provide healthy support.
At first you won’t realize pornography is an addiction, and neither will your loved one. Learn everything you can about addiction. Learn about shame. Learn about the Atonement. Go to the addiction recovery meetings for families. In your humble state, you will learn strength, redemption, and hope from amazing women and missionaries who have trailblazed before you. You will find the Lord placing people and learning opportunities in your path specifically for you.
Finally, and always, learn from the prophets and apostles, who love you.
Trust your Father in Heaven. In your painful state, trust will be a challenge for you. The sooner you learn to purely, unashamedly rely on the Lord, the sooner you will find relief. This will be difficult because of your stubborn nature, but it will change your life.
President Eyring said, “Because you are so valuable, some of your trials may be severe. You need never be discouraged or afraid. The way through difficulties has always been prepared for you, and you will find it if you exercise faith” (“Walk in the Light,” Ensign, May 2008, 125). This message is true. Early on I didn’t believe it, but I know it now. I know it is true. You will know it too because you will become living proof of God’s love.
When you are down, read the Book of Mormon. It will remind you that there are miracles. You will see small and simple miracles (Alma 37:6–7).
Choose love and forgiveness. There is information you don’t know yet about your loved one’s deep pain. Be patient with the pain. Remember, forgiveness rejuvenates.
Eventually you will be grateful for this experience. Embrace the gratitude. Lean into the hope. Let yourself feel God’s love. Enable the Atonement. It is the peace you are looking for now; it works miracles.