In this episode we share with you a recorded fireside that was held in Salt Lake City in August of 2017 with a Young Single Adult ward. We interview Steve and Kayla Shields who are dedicated to helping others understand sex/pornography addiction and how they found hope and recovery. Steve runs the website UnashamedUnafraid.com which helps those struggling with sexual addiction find community. Steve and Kayla share their personal story of sexual addiction in hopes of removing the stigma of shame associated with addiction.

Episode Highlights

  • 6.20  Steve’s first interaction with pornography was at age 12.
  • 7:14  Steve continued to struggle with pornography though his teen years.
  • 8:28  His addiction was beginning to escalate. He did not feel he could talk to anyone about this.
  • 9:02  Before Steve left for his mission he did go to talk to his Bishop.
  • 10:42 Steve felt that his addiction was manageable during his mission.
  • 11:35 Once Steve returned home from his mission he fell into old behavior and his addiction began to escalate.
  • 13:10  Steve sought help from his Bishop however, the problems continued to escalate.
  • 15:02  Steve and Kayla got married. Steve was an ordinance worker in the Temple and still struggling with his addiction.
  • 15:22 Kayla shares how she asked Steve before they got married if he had ever struggled with a pornography addiction. Kayla did not want to marry anyone with a pornography addiction.
  • 16:55  Steve felt emptiness from his addiction so he worked harder and served more to compensate for that emptiness.
  • 17:43 Steve was currently serving as a counselor in the Bishopric. Kayla went out of town on a trip with their baby. During that time Steve spent that time acting out on his addiction.
  • 19:07 Steve made a choice to get help. The Lord helped him to see his addiction for what it was.
  • 20:19 Steve choose to speak with his Dad first about his addiction, and then he spoke to a therapist.
  • 21:07 Steve also spoke with Kayla’s Dad about his addiction prior to talking to his wife. He wanted Kayla to have support when he shared this with her.
  • 21:37 Steve spoke with his Bishop about his addiction.
  • 22:07 Steve picked his wife up from the airport as she returned home from her trip. He drove her right to the therapist office first instead of going home. He wanted to share his addiction with her at the office.
  • 22:14 She suspected he was going to tell her he struggles with pornography. There were clues while they were dating.
  • 24:25 Steve shares how numb he felt from his addiction.
  • 25:19 Kayla learned about Steve’s addiction and felt shock. She stormed out of the therapist office. She wanted a divorce.
  • 27:50 Kayla prayed and felt comfort to move forward to heal ther marriage.
  • 28:23 The months that followed were rough, especially as they moved into a new ward and questions followed from ward members.
  • 29:50 What Kayla was feeling was betrayal trauma. She had things she had to heal from as well.
  • 32:31  When you are dating ask questions. Invite them to be honest with you.
  • 34:58  Addiction is very shameful. Talk to those you date in a way that doesn’t put their self worth on the line.
  • 37:36  Be sensitive when addressing the topic of sexual addiction. Addiction brings shame.
  • 38:26 Talk about sexual addiction while you are dating. Build a strong level of trust.
  • 40:31 Start discussing your addiction with the safest person to you and work your way out.
  • 41:48 When discussing your addiction you do not have to share everything at the first time you discuss this. Start where you can.
  • 44:22 Steve felt hope as he saw other people overcome their sexual addiction.
  • 47:57 As leaders in the church it can be helpful to attend a 12 step program for the experience. This will allow you to help those you lead who struggling with addictions.
  • 49:37 Steve and Kayla built trust back in their marriage as she watched him stay committed to recovery and his meetings. When Steve would slip he would openly discuss it with his wife.
  • 51:20 You do not need a Bishops permission to go to a meeting.
  • 51:33 Things that helped to build trust back in their marriage was a phone tracker, filters on his phone/computer, accountability, and speaking your shame. Talk about it out loud.
  • 1:03 Kayla shared how she realized she could not fix this for him.
  • 1:05 Steve shared his testimony of the atonement. There is always hope. You are never too far gone. The Atonement works.
  • 1:08 Kayla shares her testimony that the atonement is real. Don’t give up on those struggling with their addiction.

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