Key Principle: Admit that you, of yourself, are powerless to overcome your addictions and that your life has become unmanageable.
1. Become willing to abstain.
2. Let go of pride and seek humility.
3. Admit the problem; seek help; attend meetings.
Let Go of Pride and Seek Humility
I love Step 1 because it's the base that I always have to go back to. Yeah, I've been through all of the 12 steps, but they aren't there to just go through once. They are there to help guide us back to Heavenly Father and discover the Atonement to help with us the healing cycle. The process of healing is a cycle. For me, the phases go something like "negative circumstance," "negative emotion," "explosion," "regret," "humility," "reconciliation," and "joy." There isn't a science for how I just identified that cycle. I pretty much just made it up according to what I think I typically go through and in what order. That cycle also doesn't always have to do with the addiction. But in my eyes, the addiction is what made me feel more susceptible and vulnerable to extreme negative emotion, and things that I haven't fully dealt with resurface sometimes in the cycle. I constantly have to walk myself through the 12 steps, sometimes all 12 in a day, to help myself overcome my temptations and weaknesses and draw closer to Christ.
My husband said something last night that made me mad (unintentionally). While I was trying to fight the anger, he said something else that made me mad/really sad (again, unintentionally). I ended up falling asleep trying to fight off what Satan was trying to throw at me. I woke up this morning mad. And I got more angry and more fuming until I just exploded and ranted all my anger to him. Then, of course, I made him mad at me. I have been trying to fight it (the negativity and depression) all morning, but I ended up just ruining both our mornings. So, while I was petting my dog and crying (tender mercy that she even sat in my lap for as long as she did), I realized what a fool I had been. I was thinking about what my post was supposed to be about today, and I kept thinking of letting go of pride and seeking humility because that is the action step I left off on yesterday. And I was like, "Holy cow, I am such a dummy." If anything, I have been extremely prideful and not humble at all. I have willingly allowed myself to ruin both our mornings, and let me tell you, it's going to take quite a recovery.
As I was petting my dog and crying, I kept asking myself what I want in the long run, trying to look at the eternal perspective. Sometimes (more than I'd like to admit), in the moment, I want to be angry, and I choose to be angry. There is always a choice. But eternally, I'd give anything to be happy and to have my happy husband with me. Right now, we're not on track for that, thanks to my pride this morning. And I'm still having a hard time forgiving him and myself.
How do we let go of our pride and seek after humility?
"Pride and honesty cannot coexist" (pg 2 Addiction Recovery). Well, I think part of it is really looking at the situation. When we always think that others are at fault, there is probably something wrong. If you always think others are at fault, you are probably holding on to some pride. If I have pride, I can't really look at the situation and see where I am at fault. Usually, I have part of the fault, but I deny that with my pride.
"The central feature of pride is enmity--enmity toward God and enmity toward our fellowmen. Enmity means 'hatred toward, hostility to, or a state of opposition.' It is the power by which Satan wishes to reign over us" (Pres. Benson, pg 2 Addiction Recovery). I definitely felt some enmity this morning. That enmity wasn't even just dedicated towards my husband, but also God. Because there are some other trials we are struggling with, and I was just mad at everyone, God included. Recognizing that and really opening up my eyes to the situation, allows me to let go of my pride.
The problem is I know that I need to accept God's will and timing. I know that. So, if I know that, why do I keep feeling this pride and anger and hostility resurface for things that last week I was being patient about? It's because I'm not perfect. And that's okay. I don't need to be perfect right now. When I mess up, I can repent and move on. Perfection is the goal, not the means to the goal. And I can only be perfected through Christ.
This morning I was really mad. It scared me because I haven't felt that mad in such a long time. But as I sat with my dog, I asked myself what to do. I felt so alone, but I knew that deep down inside, I know what to do. My lonely thoughts turned towards my Savior. He felt alone many times, especially the night that He suffered more than any man will suffer. He suffered all our pains, afflictions, and temptations, and His disciples, whom He asked to watch, kept falling asleep. He probably wanted their presence to help Him feel not quite so alone, but they kept falling asleep. Then, on the cross, He asked God why He had forsaken Him. So, Christ knows how I feel. And, then, as I was sitting there, I had this thought hit me, "You are not alone." I looked out the window to the clear blue sky. I watched birds fly around. I saw my dog looking at me with love that only a dog can give you, and I felt God. I felt Christ lifting me up and telling me it would be okay. I can apologize to my husband. I will probably mess up again in the future, but He is here for me and He knows what I am struggling with. He knows that Satan is powerful because He has felt Satan's temptations, and He knows that I am weak. He reminded me that I am a daughter of God, that He created me, and that He is taking care of me and that all my trials are helping give me strength. What a little weakling I would be without all my trials that have given me strength lol.
Pride is hard to overcome. True humility is hard to find within yourself. I still struggle with it, even though this is my third time going through Step 1. I'm always grateful when I study humility, though, because it reminds me of who I am and it helps me be more grateful for what I have.
As I am going through the steps, I don't just do what it has in the steps. I like to also go onto lds.org and search for more resources of a certain topic I am struggling with. With Step 1, I have done many searches on humility, gratitude, and God's love. Throughout the whole thing, I have done many searches on the Atonement and the plan of salvation. Studying the gospel and applying it to my life has changed my life for the better, and I'm grateful that I can go back and read in my journals what I have learned.
Ps, sometimes you should apologize, even if you don't want to. That also helps you find humility, and if it's a sincere apology, it almost always eases the tension. So... I have an apology due later today when my husband comes home.
**Also, I want you all to know that I know it's not as easy as simply making the choice to not be mad or forgive or whatever. Even after all this, I still feel really mad and ready to explode again if the opportunity presented itself. I really have to keep myself in check sometimes, but I know that with the power of God, I can do all things, even overcome my anger. I know that I will have to pray a lot and be on my guard, but it should be worth it for my husband's happiness and for us to have a good Friday night together. That's all I wanted to add.