Monday, January 28, 2013

Introduction to the 12 Steps

First, I want to thank my husband for that beautiful post he wrote yesterday. I left the room to call a friend, let him post it, and then I read it. I think it was the perfect completion of our background story. Also, re-experiencing those emotions was both beautiful and sad. I'm sure many of you can relate, whether because of addiction or simply because of a hard trial. Isn't it amazing to reflect back on pain you have felt because of a trial and realize that you made it through? That's the beauty of the Atonement. If you haven't had that experience, or if you are stuck in the darkness and can't find your way out (no matter what the trial), I pray that you will find the light, hope, peace, and healing. And I hope that something I write on here will speak to you and perhaps open the door for you to find Christ. We have found Him and so can you.

Jesus Christ is my Savior. I have always known that, but I hadn't experienced the amazing grace of the Atonement until I went through this experience with my husband. And even though I'm optimistic and know that Christ is my Savior and am learning how to lean on His Atonement, I still have bad days. This healing I am going through is a cycle, as many of you probably know or will come to find out. I have spiritual and emotional highs and lows. Not every day is a good day. But, I have learned that it is my choice. And every day that is a bad day, I consciously make the choice to let it be a bad day. That sounds awful. Who would choose to have a rotten attitude when you can choose a good attitude? Me. Sometimes a woman just needs to have a bad day and be angry :)

But keep in mind that those negative feelings about your self-worth are from Satan. He is miserable, and he wants you to be miserable with him. Sometimes, even after all I have gone through and learned, I go into our bedroom and cry and wonder why me? Why do I feel this way? And is God even helping me, or am I making it up. Then God sends me a tender mercy to remind me that He is there, and He is watching over me. Something I've learned about tender mercies is you have to look out for them or they will slip by unnoticed. Like the puppy that comes and licks me when I am crying. Or the child in the grocery cart in front of me in line that smiles at me. Or my student at school who writes me an anonymous note telling me that I am her favorite and most beautiful teacher. To some, those seem like nice little things. To me, they are a tender mercy from a loving Heavenly Father who is showing me His love through others.

I really am working on having less bad days. I am working on choosing light over darkness, and I am so happy and full of joy most of the time. It hasn't been easy. There is no easy when it comes to this. Well, maybe there will be one day because every day that I choose God over Satan, it gets easier.

Let's talk about the addiction recovery program.

The guidebook that the LDS Addiction Recovery Program uses is called "Addiction Recovery Program: A Guide to Addiction Recovery and Healing." The Family Support group is currently using the same guide, but there is supposed to be one specific to family support coming out any day! I guess I don't really know what will happen with my posts when it does come out. I might finish the writing about the 12 steps with the book I am currently using, or maybe I will start over with the new one. I'm not sure. You readers could email me and let me know what you would prefer when that happens! I'll keep you posted on when the family support guidebook finally comes out.

Anyway, what I was going to tell you before we start delving into the guidebook together is that since we use the same book for family support as we do for addiction support, when you read it, keep in mind that it is written for the addict. So, when I come to words like "addiction" I exchange them for what it is that I am struggling with: anger, anxiety, fear, sadness, depression, weakness. But you can look at that however you want. Maybe your first time through, you won't even read it for yourself. Maybe you will read it to get a better understanding of what your loved one is going through or to help your loved one heal. Do whatever works best for you. But I do want to encourage you each to find your own healing because no matter what our trials are, we all need to find healing and peace.

The Addiction Recovery Guide was "written with support from Church leaders and counseling professionals by those who have suffered from addiction and who have experienced the miracle of recovery through the Atonement of Jesus Christ." It's written in a way that makes you feel part of something. It uses the term "we" a lot, which I personally love because it is a reminder that many have gone through what you are going through, and together, you can get through it.

The introduction is really awesome. It gives a good base to the guide, and it was a great source of hope to get me started.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

"We have known great sorrow, but we have seen the power of the Savior turn our most devastating defeats into glorious spiritual victories. We who once lived with daily depression, anxiety, fear, and debilitating anger now experience joy and peace. We have witnessed miracles in our own lives and in the lives of others who were ensnared in addiction."

"No matter how lost and hopeless you may feel, you are the child of a loving Heavenly Father."

"Addiction has the capacity to disconnect the human will and nullify moral agency. It can rob one of the power to decide." 

Are you ready to turn your most devastating defeats into glorious spiritual victories? I know I am! That sentence really gave me just that little bit of extra motivation to start this program.

And it's always nice to hear that I am a child of God. God is the King of the universe. If He is the King, do you know what that makes me? A Princess. Beloved. Beautiful. Divine.

I love that last quote because it opens the door to a little more understanding of what our loved ones are going through. It robbed my husband of the power to decide for quite a long time. It still does. Remember when I said I thought that he could just choose to stop? Well, this is why he can't. His addiction has robbed him of the choice to choose to stop. He can't stop on his own. He tried, and it didn't work. And just like I couldn't stop my anger on my own, he had to turn to God. We had to turn to God together. We had to admit that we could not do this alone. If we hadn't admitted that, we would most definitely not be where we are now.

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