This episode, the third in our Mormon Matters Addiction and Recovery series, features another hopeful story, though it takes us through some very dark times before focusing on the light and healing ultimately found. This story, told by Coby and Ashlynn Mitchell, and aided by series co-host Bill Turnbull, takes us through Coby’s twenty-plus year addiction to pornography (which had its roots when, at age seven, he was first introduced to a friend’s stepdad’s pornography collection), its effects on and following his mission, its pervasive influence in the first fourteen years of his and Ashlynn’s marriage and the ways it interfered with their ever really experiencing true intimacy, its role in his engaging in two inappropriate and sexually tinged emotional affairs, as well as Ashlynn’s suffering the devastating effects of betrayal trauma. It also gives an account of their recovery processes, healing aided by terrific specialized therapy, the establishment of good, new habits for relieving physical and emotional stresses, as well as aid that came in interesting ways from Coby’s mother who had been dead for several years. It also addresses spiritual growth and new discoveries about the Atonement and its effects in our lives as we seek to forgive ourselves and others, and when we finally choose to surrender to it, to actually “experience” it firsthand (something far different than how we normally think we “understand” it). Finally, Coby and Ashlynn share their story of ridding themselves of shame, so much so that much of their lives now are dedicated to being open about their experiences and assisting others going through similar struggles.
This is a fantastic conversation. I know you will gain much from it. I sure have! Please share your thoughts and questions in the comments section below!
Elder Dale G. Renlund, “Latter-day Saints Keep on Trying,” April 2015 General Conference talk
Ashlynn and Coby’s website
Ashlynn and Coby’s Facebook page
Email address to contact Ashlynn and Coby