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.
Admit the problem; seek help; attend meetings
This is the last action step for Step 1. Admit the problem. Yeah, the spouse's problem is fairly easy to admit, but admit that your problem is beyond that. It's not all the spouse's fault. Even though my actions do stem from my husband's actions (regarding the addiction), I really have the agency to choose my actions/reactions to what he does. And also, if I can make the effort to understand him and his addiction better, my reactions don't have to be negative. My reactions can be compassionate and loving. I can't control what he does with his addiction, but I can control how angry I get. Unless, of course, I feel like my anger is out of control, which it sometimes is, and then that is another problem that needs to be addressed.
I like to blame my husband for everything that goes wrong. That sounds so horrible, but it's horribly true. If I'm angry, it's because he acted out in his addiction, which hurts. Or he hasn't talked to me enough lately. Or he did something selfish. Or he wasn't considerate enough to unload the dishwasher for me. The list of excuses goes on and on for me. It's so easy to pretend that it's all my husband's fault when he has done something so hurtful. It's so easy to point everything back to that. It's also easy to think that because he has wronged me so badly, he can never make up for it, or all of my wrongs can't even add up to equal it. A wrong is a wrong. Even though my pain from his acting on his addiction is A LOT, I don't have the right to keep doing little things that hurt him. Lately, I've been doing much better at recognizing when I do wrong and seek forgiveness.
When you constantly blame others for your actions, it's really hard to put some of the blame on yourself. I was in denial of my own blame for a while. But, when I realized what problems I was contributing to our marriage, it was really refreshing. We could work together to overcome things instead of battling against each other. We were able to seek help together, and we attended meetings together--he went to his support group, and I went to mine. Then, on the way home from group, we talked about what we learned and impressions we had.
Don't get me wrong--it was H.A.R.D. I definitely don't enjoy admitting I'm wrong because I want to be perfect. Really. Admitting my faults is quite a challenge for me. I am stubborn and prideful. But I've been able to get help with overcoming that flaw and others and help with my healing as I have attended the addiction recovery meetings. I have met great friends who help support me. And, each addiction recovery meeting is a very unique spiritual experience. If you ask me, bringing the Spirit into your life is the best thing you could do to start the healing process. Even if you already study the scriptures regularly and do spiritual things, there is nothing like the spirit I have felt at addiction recovery meetings. It's a very special place. I think it's because those of us involved with someone who suffers from an addiction have been trusted with a lot from the Lord, and there is a special place for us. He gives us special blessings to help us through this trial.
The title of this blog is "12 Steps with Christ." That is because as I have gone through the 12 steps, I have come closer to Christ than ever before. He has literally walked me through them and given me the strength I need to keep going. The first step in truly finding Him is admitting that we are powerless to overcome this alone. Until I admitted that, I was too stubborn. That stubbornness put some blocks in the way so the spirit couldn't reach me. Once I was more humble, the spirit could reach me on so many more levels. And I'm still growing!
Read through the "study and understanding" portion of the step on your own. It's worth it, I promise. You can get a copy of the pdf here, possibly from your bishop, from any ARP meeting, or possibly a Deseret Book or distribution center. That last option, I'm not sure about, so don't quote me on it. I got mine from my bishop, so I know at least some bishops have them, and I know for sure that the missionaries at the meetings have them, or have access to get you one (but I think they are something like 3 bucks).