Listen to Bryton talk about his journey of healing through the Son’s of Helaman program in this “Like Dragon’s Did They Fight Podcast” hosted by Karen Broadhead.
Today I am one of the coolest people I know. I’m an advanced martial artist, a skilled rock climber, a natural leader, and people and kids who meet me think I’m incredible almost immediately. I’m a blacksmith, a leather worker, an Eagle Scout, I can build mid-evil war machine in an afternoon using logs, ropes and random paraphernalia in my backyard. A year ago, I felt like the ugliest scumbag to crawl the earth.
Looking at me you wouldn’t be able to tell, but I am addicted to pornography and masturbation. I became an addict at the age of 8. I knew it was wrong but couldn’t seem to stop. When I became a teenager and puberty kicked in, it got much worse. We tried one-on-one counseling and the Church’s 12 step program. It didn’t work for me. I suffered from lost battles several times a week and the accompanying guilt and self-loathing smothered my desire to become incredible.
I finally found help after 8 years of pain in the Sons of Helaman program. I entered the program at the age of 16 and began to have more frequent success. I began to gain skills and confidence. I got a little momentum and then crashed. I skulked in the mud for a few weeks then got back up and started again. I made it to Lieutenant and felt great to have 4 weeks under my belt, and then I lost again.
I went through this cycle for a long time. I’d be up and running and I’d make it to 4 weeks and then all of a sudden I’d trip and grind my face into the asphalt for a few weeks. I did this for almost 9 months. I’d have success and I loved going to group every week, and then I’d lose and life would be terrible, especially just before I went to Sons of Helaman every week.
Then, miracles of miracles, I made it past week 4! I had momentum! I felt great! Life was incredibly good as the calendar turned and Thanksgiving passed. Christmas was approaching and I was hoping to give Jesus the birthday present of winning. I became a Captain and was approaching week 9 when I suddenly lost. I was horrified! I’d promised Jesus that I would win for him! I’d broken my promise and I was going to heck. I analyzed the situation and was ready to move forward when I lost again!
For the next several months I never got more than 2 weeks. Frequently I was stuck at week 0, grinding my face into the asphalt and skulking in a mud puddle. I continued to go to group and I continued to learn. I would come away each week feeling ready to take on the world. I gained skills I had never imagined. I learned how to notice emotions. I learned to prophesy. I learned how to gauge how stoned I was or how stoned someone else was. I learned to truly lead and I really wanted to win.
Then I began to win. I had decided to be a freak. I’d carry index cards with power statements everywhere. I slept with my limbs tied down and listening to General Conference talks. I wrote letters to God and to my Future Wife. I received revelations and studied the scriptures. I chose to never again be normal or mediocre.
Summer came and I was Lieutenant again. I doubled my Border Patrol and made it to week 5. I went to work at a Cub Scout Camp and dedicated my all to change those kids’ lives. I made great friends but remained a good freak. I woke up earlier than I had to. I listened to Conference Talks when I went to bed. I complimented young women frequently. I controlled and changed my emotions frequently. I became cooler and stronger each passing day.
Then just as the camp closed for the year, I did it. I completed 84 days, 12 weeks! I had become a General! It had taken me more than a year and a half to do it but I graduated from the Sons of Helaman program. Since then I have continued to grow and have become much more incredible than I was on August 4, 2012 when I achieved the miracle I had hoped for. My skills have grown exponentially and I’m preparing to serve a full-time mission in Vancouver, Washington.
I did it; your son can do it too. You need to understand that my situation is not what normally happens. Most boys don’t become addicts until they are 12 or 13 years old and I’ve only met one other person who was addicted before then. It also usually doesn’t take a young man a year-and-a-half to graduate. However, I’m grateful that it took me so long to get it right. If I hadn’t been in the program as long as I was, I never would have learned as much as I did.
If your son is stuck in the program, have hope. He is learning more than average and when he finally gets it, he will become outstanding and incredible. Continue to help him and stand by his side. Love him and do your best to let him know that you love him. Learn all that you can about how you can help him. When you go to the meetings and use what you’ve learned, it will let him know that you care and want him to succeed. This will work wonders for your son and he will want to make you happy and proud. Most of all, trust in God. He knows all and is teaching your son line upon line and precept upon precept. When God is done molding him, he will be a miracle worker and a true warrior. Have faith, have hope, and move forward. Good will happen. – Bryton –