What Mormons Need to Know About Addiction

I was scrolling through Facebook absentmindedly as I am often prone to do when a TED talk showed up in my feed. I watched it and I want to share my insights with you, because what I learned can truly help members of this church cope with addiction, and help their loved ones too.

The quote that encapsulates this TED talk is this:

The opposite of addiction is not sobriety, the opposite of addiction is connection.


Watch this TED Talk before you continue reading:

Odds are good many of you skipped and promise to watch it later. But really you need to because it’s great. What I realized while watching it was this: when addicts in the church look to combat pornography, drugs, sex, gambling, or other serious addiction, we tend to jump to our most basic emotion which is anger. Wives leave their husbands, parents ground their children, divorce ensues, and everyone feels broken and distant.

The smothering and omnipresent loneliness that we feel from the effects of addiction feeds the dragon within that growls with hunger. That dragon is further fed by the actions of loved ones. Distance and disconnection feed him just as much as pornography or drugs every could.

From the studies explained in the talk, the cure to addiction isn’t more punishment or more disconnection, it’s more love and more connection. An intervention that barters a connection for an action does no good for anyone. Addicts don’t need an intervention as much as they need someone to intervene. Someone to insert themselves between them and addiction, to create connection, to mediate and counsel.

The best person that comes to mind is Jesus Christ. Many recovering addicts in the church report that furthering or rediscovering their relationship with Christ is what helped them overcome. The connection created between a woman or man and their savior is a golden thread, unable to be cut by anyone. It has the strength to support, and save, and center, and cleanse an addict of every errant sin or toxin in them. Christ again, in the face of addiction, is the one sure way to safety.

Family and friends, you can’t let Christ do all the work. Intervene in the lives of those you love. Insert yourself, tell them you aren’t going anywhere. Tell them you love them despite their addiction. Ask how you can help, and be ready to step up and serve. If they need you to call them on a regular basis, do it. If they need someone to talk to, be available. Create a connection.

To paraphrase the talk you need to watch, connection heals addiction. Get out there and connect again.

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