Dear Shannon

Advice to My Younger Self


Shannon holding a picture of herself from several years ago.

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Dear Shannon,

I understand that you recently discovered your husband’s addiction to a number of substances and unhealthy behaviors. I know how you feel—hurt, shocked, embarrassed, betrayed, angry, and confused. The good choices you made as a young woman led you to the temple, where you began your life looking forward to the “happily ever after.” However, right now you have serious doubts as to whether you will ever be truly happy. As someone who loves you dearly and has gone through the five years that you have before you, I want to offer you some words of encouragement that I hope will bring you comfort.

First of all, your husband’s addiction has absolutely nothing to do with you or your three precious boys. It is not a measure of his love for his family. You are not to blame, because you have done nothing wrong. Your best efforts to save him from this addiction have failed because you are not capable of being his savior. Your husband has one, and His name is Jesus Christ.

Next, it is very important to know that despite how you feel at this moment, you are not alone. There are many among you that suffer quietly as you have. They are from the best families and have kind and pure hearts. Addiction is a “latter-day plague,” and none are immune from its grasp. As you set aside your pride and humbly reach out for support, you will find others with whom you can share these experiences. Your family, friends, bishop, and ward family will be a great support to you, and you will grow to love them deeply because of this experience.

Finally, I know that growing hurts. You have been ripped from the safety and security of your previous life and thrust into a world that requires you to stretch and grow. I promise you that these difficult experiences will allow you to change and develop into the woman that Heavenly Father wants you to be, and you will find pure joy as you work to rebuild trust, forgive your husband, and give your heart away serving others that suffer.

You see, your husband’s addiction will actually be a turning point in your life. It is the mechanism by which you will literally be brought to your knees before your Savior. You will not be able to come through this trial alone, and once you make the decision to yield your will to Him, you will be blessed with great power and peace. You will grow to trust your Savior completely, together with your addicted husband and also with all other aspects of your life, as you surrender your heart and will to Him. The healing power of the Atonement will come alive for you and your children as you learn to understand the grace of God through this personal experience.

It will not be easy, but it will be worth it.

I love you,

Shannon

Dear Shannon