Thursday, January 31, 2013

Step 1: Honesty (Part 2/4)

Key Principle: Admit that you, of yourself, are powerless to overcome your addictions and that your life has become unmanageable.

Remember, you can substitute the word "addiction" for whatever you are struggling with. I use words like anger, weakness, anxiety, fear, and stress.

The Addiction Recovery guidebook is divided into the 12 steps. I call each step a chapter. In each chapter, there are three sections: the informational and inspiring section (I chose that name. It doesn't really have a title for that section. It starts with the key principle, though), the action steps, and the study and understanding. My Step 1 Part 1 post was more about the informational and inspiring section. That section is what motivates me to keep going.

Step 1 has three action steps.
1. Become willing to abstain.
2. Let go of pride and seek humility.
3. Admit the problem; seek help; attend meetings.

Then, the study and understanding section has scriptures, quotes, and deep, thought-provoking questions to help you study and understand how to apply the step to your life.

Become willing to abstain
Did I publicly say that my biggest "addiction" was anger? If not, there you go. Anger is what I struggled with the most. I treated anger as an addiction. Anger is very addictive. I needed to become willing to try to give up my anger. Step one isn't about overcoming it all. It's simply about admitting the need for help and trying to become willing to give up your weakness. If you're like me and you constantly try to control the situation, get angry about everything, have a secret love for getting angry even though it makes you feel miserable, and possibly want to make your spouse suffer because you are suffering, my heart goes out to you. Even if that is not your case, I'm sure there are equally as hard emotions to suffer with, and my heart still goes out to you. All you need is a particle of the desire to overcome that, and God will help that particle grow.

"The only requirement to begin recovery is the desire to stop participating in the addiction. If your desire is small and inconsistent today, don't worry. It will grow!" (pg 1, Addiction Recovery Guide).  Someone emailed me and asked me if I thought I held on to my anger for so long because if I forgave it meant that I would be stuck with an addicted husband for the rest of my life. I want to share with you what I told that person. Yes I was afraid of being stuck with an addictive husband, but there was also so much more. I wasn't just afraid of being stuck with an addictive husband. I had no hope that it would get better, and that is what scared me. I was afraid that I would enter the celestial kingdom alone because he would not be able to enter with me. That is still one of my biggest fears. I don't want to be alone for eternity.

I kind of waffled back and forth on forgiveness and overcoming my anger. I wanted to forgive him, but there were times that I wasn't ready or felt like he didn't deserve it. I can go on and on about forgiveness, and if any of you are interested, shoot me an email and I can write a whole blog post about it or just answer specific questions. But anyway, the point is that there were times that I thought it would be so easy to start over. Meaning, I was not pregnant, hadn't been married for very long, and the thought of divorce was very appealing at times. I was (still am) young, and I'm sure I could find another husband. But I didn't want to give up. And this program gave me the little hope and starting motivation that things could get better. I didn't start out with tons of hope. I had the small desire to forgive and maintain my marriage. It wasn't always consistent (it is more-so now though :D I LOVE my husband and know we can make it through anything!!), but it did grow over time. After all the spiritual confirmation I had to marry him, it would have been so dumb to throw that away. God granted me strength to make it through the hardest part of that trial, along with the many other trials that hit me at the same time.

I prayed a lot that God would help me see the potential my marriage had, and He blessed me with strength. I consider myself very blessed that my husband is doing as well as he is in his recovery. I know women who haven't been able to attend the temple with their husband for years. I know women whose husbands were excommunicated and are working their way back into the church. I know many women who haven't given up on their marriages, despite how hard it is. But I also know women who are going through divorce. I'm so grateful that those trials are not hitting me, at least not right now, and I hope they never do. Maybe it will be years before I can go back to the temple with my husband. At least he is making progress, and so is our marriage.

The verses in Alma 13: 28-29 give me so much hope. It tells me what to do and blessings I will receive. If I am humble and call upon God, watch, pray that I will not be tempted above what I can bear, and follow the Spirit, I will be blessed with strength to handle all things. If I have faith and love in my heart, I will be lifted up in the last day. I've learned that we are given tough situations and maybe they are above what we can bear, but God doesn't leave us alone. He gives us strength so that we can bear it.

During all the times that I was severely depressed, I was given strength. All the times I felt like giving up, I was given strength. And when my hope and desire to change my attitude or overcome my weaknesses was so small, God took that pain and carried it for me so I could have strength to hold on and grow.

If you are in the beginning stages of recovery right now, all you need to do is become willing to abstain. Don't get stressed out. Take things one day at a time. Live each day a little closer to God, and He will help pick up the slack. All things will work out for our good if we are faithful.

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