First of all, I provided the means by which my son became addicted. We gave him an iPhone but didn’t put any restrictions on it. This was my worst mistake. Kids want all the newest electronics. And, I was naïve. We had passwords on the T.V. and restrictions on the computer. So, why didn’t I educate myself about the iPhone?
The first thing I noticed was my son was pretty non-committed when it came to spiritual things. He always went to church with us but slept through the meetings. He even would put his fingers over his ears so he could sleep more soundly. I thought it was just a teenager thing. I didn’t have a clue anything was wrong until he met with the Bishop. So, he made the first step towards repentance. But, even after that, he was still involved.
I kept getting promptings to look at his iPod history. I got on the internet to figure out how to do this and armed myself with knowledge. He was pretty good about deleting the history. But, one morning I confiscated his iPod when he was in the shower and he hadn’t yet deleted the history. Bingo. The proof. I think my son was relieved. He had an addiction that he didn’t want but it was hard to say “no” to. And, he wanted to get help.
He first accompanied my father to the L.D.S. Church’s addiction program every Sunday night. My father was fighting his own demons so this was a bonding experience for both of them. After completing the program, he had heard about the Sons of Helaman program and wanted to attend. So, we signed him up.
The first thing after a few months of this program, was it was not going to be an overnight fix. It was going to take a lot longer than I had envisioned. Even so, my son graduated from the program around 5 or 6 months out. I know of some parents whose sons are in the program a lot longer. One of the things I have realized is trying to keep a temperature on how he is really doing now that he doesn’t go every week.
My healing has begun when I have educated myself by reading the book Like Dragons Did They Fight and other recommended reading. I have attended parent meetings and been a part of this mother’s group. I have learned language that my son has learned in the program to communicate with him at home. When I want to read scriptures and he says he doesn’t want to read tonight, all I have to say is “Step 1”. They are taught that there are 5 steps that lead to relapse. He knew exactly what he should do and didn’t argue. It has made my job of being a parent a lot easier.
The healing has come gradually. The most healing I have received is studying about the atonement of Jesus Christ and reading parenting quotes from the prophets. This has provided me with the strength to endure and realize I am not alone in the fight and the fight is ongoing. My son’s healing has come by living correct principals, repenting of his wrongdoings, learning how to activate the Atonement in his life, and staying on the right path. He finally learned that if he works the program taught at Sons of Helaman, he can succeed and reach his potential. I know it is an everyday decision for him.
When I see he is struggling or is angry for no reason, I tell him to go back to Sons of Helaman and I am grateful after they graduate, they can continue to go as needed. His healing has come when he has realized he is not alone in the fight and he can also be a good influence to his peers in helping them with their struggles. Looking back, I am grateful knowing we have a loving Heavenly Father that wants us to succeed, and wants us to feel his love and feel good about ourselves.
One day I saw an old friend who is a bishop. I was telling him about this program and how much it has helped my son. He, in turn, sent one of his ward members to the Sons of Helaman program. He told me afterwards that this young man had never been totally successful with his addiction until he entered the program and has been over a month without an incident. He thinks as I do that this is such a miracle.
I am ever grateful for this program and how it has helped our family.
Gratefully–A Warrior Mother