6. Thy Friends Do Stand by Thee

“Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands” (D&C 121:9).

Seeking Support from Others

In addition to relying on the Lord, seeking support from others can be helpful as we face our loved ones’ addictions. We don’t need to suffer alone. President Henry B. Eyring said, “All of us will be tested. And all of us need true friends to love us, to listen to us, to show us the way, and to testify of truth to us so that we may retain the companionship of the Holy Ghost” (“True Friends,” Ensign, May 2002, 29). Sharing our struggles may be an uncomfortable and vulnerable experience. Many of us feel fearful or ashamed about our loved ones’ addictions and do not want others to know about the problem. We may be concerned that others will judge us or our loved ones. Our loved one who is struggling with addiction may ask that we not tell anyone, even ecclesiastical leaders. However, it is acceptable and important to ask for the help we need or desire.

The Lord will guide us to the support we need. He has promised, “I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee” (Isaiah 41:13). He has promised that he will “lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers” (D&C 112:10). President Spencer W. Kimball said this about how God often answers our prayers: “God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball [2006], 82). God has and will put people into our lives to help us and support us during our trials.

  • What support or assistance do you feel you need?

  • How will you seek support from others?

Seeking the Right Support

We may not always have a positive experience as we reach out to others. While an individual may love us, he or she may also be misinformed, misguided, or unable to help. However, a bad experience should not deter us from finding the support we need. It is important to consider what resources or individuals are appropriate sources of help, when and how to share personal struggles with others, and how to use wisdom in deciding what is safe to share. Some questions to consider include: Will the person I’m sharing with be able to provide me with support? Will he or she have my best interests at heart as well as those of my loved ones? Will he or she keep the information confidential and be nonjudgmental? Is he or she mature enough and ready to receive the information, or will it be harmful to him or her?

  • What obstacles get in the way of you seeking support?

  • Whom do you feel prompted to reach out to for support?

Identifying Sources of Support

Consider the following individuals as you reach out for comfort and support.

Family

Our families have the potential to provide a tremendous source of love and support. One reason the Lord has provided us with families is to listen and be available when it feels like there is no one else. Trusted family members may provide the validation and support we need to continue to face our challenges with determination.

Friends

True friends stand by us through difficult times. They listen to our problems and experiences with understanding and love. They give us ideas and suggestions that we may not think about. Genuine friends will tell us the truth even when it is hard, and they will respect our agency and not tell us how to live our lives.

Priesthood and Relief Society Leaders

Our priesthood and Relief Society leaders are called by revelation and the laying on of hands by those who have proper authority (see Articles of Faith 1:5). As the Lord’s representatives, they can “use their time, skills, talents, spiritual and emotional support, and prayers of faith to help others” (Handbook 2: Administering the Church [2010], 9.6.2). Our loving Heavenly Father gives guidance and direction to our leaders in our behalf. Bishops, in particular, have priesthood keys and the power of God to bless us. Nevertheless, when speaking with Church leaders, be mindful that, because leaders have different levels of knowledge about addiction, it may be necessary to help them understand what we are going through.

Mentors

Those who have been through experiences with addicted loved ones may provide valuable insight and guidance. Though not everything that worked for them will work for us, we can still learn from their experience. Their insight and understanding can help us find greater healing and peace.

Support Groups

The Church’s spouse and family support group meetings are free and provide confidential settings where people gather to share their faith and hope. Having a safe place to share our feelings openly and honestly with others who understand or who are going through similar challenges is a great blessing to us. If Church support groups are not available, there may be other appropriate support groups in the community that we can attend that provide help in harmony with gospel principles.

Professional Help

Many of us face significant emotional challenges as we strive to find peace and healing. If therapy is available, a compassionate therapist who is supportive of gospel principles may help us face unresolved issues and view them with a new degree of courage or perspective. Therapy is not necessary for everyone, but it may be one helpful option to consider as we strive to find ultimate peace and healing through the Savior. Bishops and other Church leaders have access to resources that can be useful in finding professional help.

  • What types of support have made the biggest difference to you?

  • What kind of support would make the most difference in your life at this time?

  • How can you be a support to others passing through similar difficulties?

Gospel Study

As you study the resources listed below, prayerfully consider how you can apply the principles they teach. 

1 Samuel 20:16–17 (Our friends can support us and love us)

Mosiah 24:13–15 (God will support us in our afflictions)

Doctrine and Covenants 81:5 (The Lord asks others to help us)

Doctrine and Covenants 121:9 (Friends offer support and encouragement)

Henry B. Eyring, “True Friends,” Ensign, May 2002, 26–29

James E. Faust, “Refined in Our Trials,” Ensign or Liahona, Feb. 2006, 2–7

Ronald A. Rasband, “Special Lessons,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2012, 80–82

Finding or Giving Support in Recovery,” OvercomingPornography.org

Personal Learning and Application

The following activities are to enhance your learning and application of these principles. Keep a journal of your thoughts, feelings, insights, and plans to implement what you learn. As the needs and circumstances in your life change, repeating these activities will provide you with new insights.

  • Study and ponder the scriptures in this outline. What did you learn? Who do you have around you that could stand by you and support you? What support do you need from them?

  • Study and ponder the following quote from President James E. Faust: “We can go to others for help. To whom can we go? Elder Orson F. Whitney (1855–1931) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles asked and answered this question: ‘To whom do we look, in days of grief and disaster, for help and consolation? . . . They are men and women who have suffered, and out of their experience in suffering they bring forth the riches of their sympathy and condolences as a blessing to those now in need. Could they do this had they not suffered themselves?’” (“Refined in Our Trials,” Ensign or Liahona, Feb. 2006, 5). In what ways could someone who has been through a similar situation to yours help you? Who do you know that has been through a similar situation that you could turn to? Consider asking local leaders, such as your bishop, quorum leader, or Relief Society president to refer you to someone who has overcome similar challenges.

  • Study and ponder President Henry B. Eyring’s talk “True Friends“ and Elder Ronald A. Rasband’s talk “Special Lessons.” What principles did you learn? How can support from others help you? What sources of support are available to you? What do you feel prompted to do?

  • Consider the principles found in these hymns: “Lord, I Would Follow Thee“ (Hymns, no. 220); “Because I Have Been Given Much” (Hymns, no. 219); “Love One Another“ (Hymns, no. 308).