“Lifting Burdens: The Atonement of Jesus Christ,”

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Step 5 - Confession

The key principle of Step 5, Confession, is “Admit to yourself, to your Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ, to proper priesthood authority, and to another person the exact nature of your wrongs.”

Step 5 is perhaps one of the most difficult steps to take in the addiction recovery program. It is natural to feel fear and an unwillingness to bear our souls in the confession of sins. However, peace and joy can again come into our lives through this cleansing process and through the “miracle of forgiveness.”

The first step in confession is to confess our sins to our Father in Heaven. In the Doctrine and Covenants we read the following: “I, the Lord, forgive sins unto those who confess their sins before me and ask forgiveness.” D&C 64:7

We must always remember that our Heavenly Father lives and is literally the father of our spirits. He loves us unconditionally and knows our name. Confessing our sins to a loving, caring Father in Heaven begins the process of making positive changes in our lives and gives us courage and strength to eventually confess to another person.

We all have a duty to confess our sins to our Heavenly Father; however more serious transgressions must also be confessed to proper priesthood leaders, usually the Bishop. Only the Lord can forgive our sins, but confidential confessing of sins to a priesthood leader plays a critical role in the process of repentance. Our priesthood leaders have been called of God and are blessed with loving discernment and inspiration in counseling with us. Our priesthood leaders usually understand the addiction recovery process, will prayerfully counsel with us, and will respond with understanding and compassion. We must remember to be humble, honest and fully open with our priesthood leaders.

“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.” James 5:16

We must use care and wisdom in selecting a person other than our priesthood leaders to share our wrongs. We must not share our sensitive information with individuals we might suspect might extend improper guidance, provide misinformation or have difficulty maintaining confidences.

I testify that through properly and fully confessing our sins, we will receive a greater knowledge of God’s love for us and the love and support of many good people who will rally around us. We can take courage in the following statement of President Spencer W. Kimball,

“Repentance can never come until one has bared his soul and admitted his actions without excuses or rationalizations…Those persons who choose to meet the issue and transform their lives may find repentance the harder road at first, but they will find it the infinitely more desirable path as they taste of its fruits.”

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Step 4 - Truth

The key principle of Step 4, Truth, is “Make a searching and fearless written moral inventory of yourself.” In this step, the addict creates this written inventory of his or her life, summarizing the thoughts, emotions, events and actions of life that led or contributed to addiction. The manual, Addiction Recovery Program: a Guide to Addiction Recovery and Healing, provides detailed instructions on how to prepare for, organize and construct this moral inventory. The manual outlines four necessary elements of this inventory – writing, honesty, support and prayer.

The thought of writing a detailed, searching and fearless inventory of ourselves is overwhelming. Completing the inventory will take time, but there is no need to rush through it. In listening to the sharing of recovering addicts who have completed this step, two things are very clear:

1. The written inventory will take a very substantial amount of time and will be difficult.
2. The completed moral inventory was the key to addiction recovery and served to lift the burden of years of damaging behavior and relationships.

Addiction clouds one’s ability to search within and honestly reflect about his or her life. Before the addict can rely on the Savior for help in overcoming addiction, a framework is needed to allow Him to help sort out the past honestly. A written moral inventory provides this framework.

As we prayerfully and honestly open our hearts and put our feelings in writing, we will find that the Holy Ghost will be with us to “bring all things to our remembrance”. To quote the manual, “When you prayerfully write about your life, you give the Holy Ghost an opportunity to help you see and understand the potential lessons that come from each of your experiences.”

After years of damaging behavior, Alma the Younger was forced to do a searching moral inventory of his past sins and relationships:

“I did remember all my sins and iniquities, for which I was tormented with the pains of hell; yea, I saw that I had rebelled against my God, and that I had not kept his holy commandments.” Alma 36:13

Remembering our sins, weaknesses and imperfections and prayerfully writing them down is a painful but necessary process. However, as with Alma the Younger, this difficult process can propel us into a new life of peace and happiness. It took a miracle to turn Alma’s life around. Miracles have not ceased, and miracles can work in our lives to help us overcome addiction, sin and transgression.

I testify that as you commit the significant time required to truthfully write about your past, your damaging behavior and relationships, thoughts, actions and places that contributed to your addiction, little by little, the windows to your heart and spirit will open and light will enter.

“Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:22

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Step 3 - Trust in God

Revelation 3:20 "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."

The program of addiction recovery and healing is spiritual, but it is also a program of action. If you follow the steps and principles in the manual, Addiction Recovery Program: a Guide to Addiction Recovery and Healing, you will find yourself being restored to spiritual health through a newfound relationship with the Lord. In addition, a change of heart will come through daily reading of the scriptures, particularly the Book of Mormon, scriptures from which are frequently quoted in the manual.

Those that have successfully recovered from addiction testify that recovery was more the result of the Lord’s efforts than their own. The Lord will work the miracle, but we must invite him into our lives. The Lord will never take away our free agency, but we must make the decision to allow God to heal and recover us. In other words, changing our lives and overcoming addiction must be our choice, and not the choice of our parents, our spouses, our family or friends.

The key principle of Step 3, Trust in God, is “Decide to turn your will and your life over to the care of God the Eternal Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.” This action step is summarized in the Book of Mormon.

“…and a mighty change was also wrought in their hearts, and they humbled themselves and put their trust in the true and living God.” Alma 5:13

In the third chapter of Helaman, the Book of Mormon describes a people who were strengthened through humility and by yielding their hearts to God.

“Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God.” Helaman 3:35 – italics added.

It is my testimony that fasting and praying will strengthen our ability to yield our hearts to God and abstain from addiction. In the moment of temptation, prayer will strengthen our humility and faith in Christ. We must be willing to yield our hearts to God instead of yielding to addiction in the moment of temptation.

To humble ourselves is a decision that we must make. Satan will try to get addicts to believe that although God has helped others, He will not help them because they are helpless and hopeless. Recognize that this is a lie, and always remember that you are a child of God.

“He did deliver them because they did humble themselves before him; and because they cried mightily unto him he did deliver them out of bondage; and thus doth the Lord work with his power in all cases among the children of men, extending the arm of mercy towards them that put their trust in him.” Mosiah 29:20

Step 3 is a choice. I testify that recovery from addiction happens by God’s power, but only after you choose to seek his help.

Step 2 - Hope

Alma 32:37 "...if ye nourish it with much care, it will get root, and grow up, and bring forth fruit."

Addicts must eventually come to the realization that they are powerless over their addictions. Unfortunately, this realization often is accompanied by a feeling of hopelessness – that either God was too disappointed to help or that all avenues of help had been exhausted.

The key principle of Step 2 – Hope is to “come to believe that the power of God can restore you to complete spiritual health.” Those suffering from addiction must be presented with an answer that they never considered or have discarded – turn to God and find hope in the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

In Alma Chapter 32, Alma teaches us that to begin to have hope, or to exercise faith, we need only have a sincere desire and believe enough to give place to the word. He uses “word” to mean the word of God or the beauty of His gospel of redemption and atonement and compares the word to a seed. We are all God’s children, regardless of our circumstances. His light illuminates every soul. His spirit invites all to come unto Him and enjoy the blessings of the gospel. As the word of God takes root in an addict’s heart, it can begin to grow until it fills that heart with redemptive love.

In answering the questions of the people concerning what to do because they were “afflicted and cast out”, Alma comforted them with these words:

“But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.” Alma 32:27

Just as a seed takes time to swell, sprout and emerges as a living plant, we must have patience and allow the word of God to grow in our heart and nourish its progress through faith and prayer. We must be sure our heart is right, humble and filled with hope in the atonement of Christ, so that we can nurture the word.

It is my testimony that recovery from addiction or overcoming difficulties in our lives must begin simply with planting a seed of hope, exercising “a particle of faith.” That seed of hope can be planted in the heart of the addict through a kind word or deed, beautiful, uplifting music, a passage of scripture, an expression of love and support, and the bearing of our testimony in a loving, forgiving Savior who suffered all that we might be forgiven of our sins and redeemed from our weaknesses and addictions.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Step 1

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

If you are visiting this site for the first time, I want to personally welcome you. You have actually popped in on the first step in the 12 step program and that is good. Maybe you are curious as to what this site is about. Maybe you are visiting because you don't know if you have a problem with drugs, alcohol, pornography, eating disorders, anger, or one or more of the many addictive things that plague so many people. You are in the right place and what you are doing right now, if you will let it, can help you to move toward getting yourself under control and on your way to putting your addictions behind you. I am convinced that this Addiction Recovery program isn't just for the Addicted individuals, but for all people who need to improve their lives, decision making, etc., or who are seeking repentance and seeking the forgiveness of themselves, others and form the Lord for troubles in their lifes.

I know a person who has several serious addictions, however this person either doesn't want to recognize that he is in trouble, or this person doesn't quite know what to do about them. In any event this person is not seeking help, continues to lie and deceive those he loves the most, so that they don't find out just how much trouble and torment he is in. When confronted about his addictions, He assures everyone that he isn't doing the things that people think he is doing, and tells all kinds of stories to confirm this fact. The trouble is that none of it is true. The addictions that this person has been living with are alive and well and not getting any better, and most likely getting worse.

Can you see yourself in the description I have just given? If you can and you can humble yourself sufficiently to admit that you have a problem, then there is help and there is hope in healing. Your wounded heart can heal, and you can find happiness in everyday clean living, if you will just take the first step. Most people are powerless to help themselves, and really do need the help of others. I want you to know that there is one person that you can always count on, that is always looking out for you. Our Heavenly Father loves you and knows you by your name and knows everything about you from the very beginning of your life up until right this very minute. He still loves you even though you have some addictions and troubles that you might feel that nobody could love you. Heavenly Father still loves you and wants nothing more than for you to reach out to him and admit that you of yourself are powerless to overcome the addictions that you have and that you are powerless to do it by yourself. You need Him and He wants and needs you because you are his Child, and He loves you.

I urge you to get down on your knees in humble prayer and pour out your heart to your Heavenly Father. You really can do it and no matter how simple your utterance in prayer, He will listen and will feel so grateful that you are turning to Him.
Like the scripture says..." If you ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ" He will manifest to you truths that you need to know. He will lift and comfort you, and you will know that there is Hope in healing.

I testify to you that God the Eternal Father is indeed our Heavenly Father and that He loves each and everyone of us equally and discriminates with no one when it comes to his love and devotion to his children. I testify that He loves us so much that He sent his beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to earth to atone for our sins. I testify that Jesus Christ atoned for every transgression, every pain and sorrow, every hurt and torment that we suffer through addiction or other devices, and by doing so made it possible for you and I to repent and be forgiven of our sins.

With this great gift and sacrifice, how could we deny ourselves of the blessings that come through repenting of our sins, being forgiven and becomeing clean in every way once again? What a blessing, and such great love from both our the Father and His Son.

Please go to the link that is listed on this blog and look up the Addiction Recovery Program. Find where there are meetings closest to you. Go to a meeting, and get started on your way to recovery. The ARP manuals are available in many languages and you can even print one off for yourself on that website and they are available at any meeting you attend. Read through the introduction and step one, and work the step this week. Journal your thoughts and read the scriptures that are outlined. Ponder, Pray and do your part. Your life can be blessed as a result of your earnest efforts on your own behalf. Take the first step!

Hope ya know we had a hard time

This is a great video for everyone to view. There isn't anyone who gets out of this life with out experiencing some challenges, hurts, sorrows, and all manner of adversities.

Beautiful and inspiring video of Hope - music "Broken" by Kenneth Cope

Kenneth Cope - Broken

[via FoxyTunes / Kenneth Cope]

Broken by Kenneth Cope - Broken clouds give rain. Broken soil grows grain. Broken bread feeds man for one more day. Broken storms yield light. Break of day heals night. Broken pride turns blindness into sight. Broken souls that need His mending. Broken hearts for offering. Could it be that God loves broken things? Broken chains set free. Broken swords bring peace. Broken walls make friends of you and me. To break the ranks of sin. To break the news of Him. To put on Christ ‘til his name feels broken in. Broken souls that need His mending. Broken hearts for offering. I believe that God loves broken things. And yet our broken faith, our broken promises Sent love to the cross. And still that broken flesh, that broken heart of His Offers us a trace and mercy, covers us with love undeserving.

Come to Jesus and Live - Kenneth Cope

Come to Jesus by Kenneth Cope

[via FoxyTunes / Kenneth Cope]

Do you need some inspiration to get clean and sober?

Please view this very inspirational video clip of Nick (below), who from his outward appearance seems to have nothing to offer or live for. BUT.. when you watch it you will see that his positive attitude and outlook on what he has been given to deal with in life, should inspire you to want to make your life better.

Quoting from the video, Nick says that with trials, "It is not the end, it matters how you finnish... are you going to finnish strong? You will find the strength to get back up".

I hope you will find the hope to help yourself with your addiction, because as you look around, there is always someone who has it worse off than you . Is the way you are currently dealing with your life life the way that God meant for you to liv? Nick has learned from his challenges, and is making something out of his life. How about you? Pick yourself up by your boot straps and conquer your addiction. You can do it and must do it because living with addiction isn't the quality of life that God planned for you. Heavenly Father wants you to be happy and you can be just as happy as you choose to be.

This clip is not a part of the Addiction Recovery Program but one that I found that I felt personally could touch your heart.
I also don't know what the language is that is shown at the bottom of the video clip, so disregard it, just listen to the inspirational message that Nick offers. ... Also you may need to have some tissue handy.

So you have fallen? Well get back up! Enjoy this inspirational video.