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Facing Addiction

two women talking on a park bench

Many parents who find out a child is struggling with addiction feel like they should have noticed earlier.  Or perhaps they are surprised that such a thing would happen in their family; however, addiction is not limited to any age, gender, social standing, or activity level in the Church.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks reminded church members, “Jesus healed many from physical diseases, but He did not withhold healing from those who sought to be ‘made whole’ from other ailments. Matthew writes that He healed every sickness and every disease among the people (see Matthew 4:23; 9:35). Great multitudes followed Him, and He ‘healed them all’ (Matthew 12:15). Surely these healings included those whose sicknesses were emotional, mental, or spiritual. He healed them all” (8).

Seek Help

One of the keys to dealing with addiction is to seek help, even though you may be worried about the reputation of your son or daughter and the social repercussions that may follow.   
The first principle in the LDS Family Services guide on recovering from addiction says, “Admit that you, of yourself, are powerless to overcome your addictions and that your life has become unmanageable” (1).   
This is true for family members and loved ones as well: You will need, and you deserve, all the trustworthy help and support you can gather. Counseling with trusted loved ones and leaders can be the first step to recovery.

Explore Resources

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has its own modified 12-step program for helping members deal with addiction.   
In many places the Church runs 12-step support meetings, usually conducted by volunteers or missionaries. These meetings are important in helping addicts conquer their addictions.

There are other effective programs that are not Church sponsored but are also helpful.

Bishops are trained in how to help members successfully overcome addiction in their lives, and are aware of community programs and resources.

Make Home Applications

Navigating the realities of addiction on the home front can be difficult. Dr. Glen Latham, author of a successful book on coping with children’s problems, suggests allowing siblings to understand the struggle a brother or sister is having with addiction. Give enough information that siblings are not left guessing and a relatively low curiosity level can be maintained.

Family members are often encouraged to work through the 12-step program and attend family support meetings where available. Working the 12 steps will help you better understand your role and responsibility and help you remain calm and centered during particularly difficult times

Many parents take on so much responsibility that challenges become overwhelming. Control your urge to control and allow yourself to support.

Remember that the Savior has the power to heal all things, and He will do so as we put forth our best efforts, which include participating in treatment programs. Ask your bishop for addiction treatment resources in your area.

two girls hugging a woman

The manual for the Addiction Recovery Program states:

"We have known great sorrow, but we have seen the power of the Savior turn our most devastating defeats into glorious spiritual victories. We who once lived with daily depression, anxiety, fear, and debilitating anger now experience joy and peace." (v).

Take comfort also in Elder Dallin H. Oaks’ reminder to us that “He ‘healed them all’ (Matthew 12:15). Surely these healings included those whose sicknesses were emotional, mental, or spiritual. He healed them all” (8).

Healing from addiction is up to the addict. But healing is possible.


“Addiction Recovery Program: A Guide to Addiction Recovery and Healing.” Prepared by LDS Family Services: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.   
Oaks, Dallin H. “He Heals the Heavy Laden,” Ensign. Nov. (2006): 6–9