“Lifting Burdens: The Atonement of Jesus Christ,”

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Step 2 - Hope

Come to believe that the power of God can restore you to complete spiritual health.

Addiction tends to strip the addict of Hope. If they believed in God before their addiction, they feel that they have disappointed God, and those who have grown up without a knowledge of God certainly had nothing to grasp on to for Hope. Step two teaches us that if we will turn to God, we can find Hope through the atonement of Jesus Christ. The scriptures tell us that God loves the sinner but hates the sin.

Reaching out for help is a humbling experience. Hope can be discovered in the LDS Addiction Recovery meetings. Men and Women honestly and openly describe what their lives had been like, and what had changed them, and what it was like to live in recovery from addiction. Many people who attend the meetings once felt hopeless, but now they are attending meetings, praying, reading scriptures and writing in their recovery journals.

Satan has so many tools and he wants to drag anyone down to his level who will open a door even just alittle. Once he has them in his snare, he feeds them with despair, hopelessness, and takes many with him to the brink of destruction.

God on the other hand is there waiting at the door for you to reach and open it. He won't force you, but waits patiently for you to use your agency and reach out to him for Hope. Heavenly Father provided the entire world Hope though the Atonement of his son Jesus Christ. This hope can heal sin, or the strongest addiction but you have to humble yourself and reach out to Him. The above art is a depiction of Christ at the door. Notice that there is no handle on the outside of the door. The reason is because it is up to you to grasp hold of the handle and open up the door and let him in, or not.

Addiction Recovery meetings are held all over the world. They cost nothing to attend, and everyone including non LDS are welcome. You don't need an appointment, you can just find a meeting and show up. There are no judgements made, and what is shared in the meetings stays there. You will receive a message on the weekly study steps and will have opportunity to share or listen to the participants share their stories of how the steps have helped them in their lives to deal with their addictions.

It is my testimony that there is hope in healing through the Addiction Recovery Program. You can find it by going to,11666,6629-1-3414-1,00.html Scroll down the page to find a support meeting in your area. You can even download the Addiction Recovery Guide and print it off, or you can get one by attending a meeting.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Step 1 - Honesty

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

When people in general have a serious problem, they generally do all that they can to hide it so that others don't know about it. It turns into their secret life and that life in turn, changes a person. They learn to lie, cheat, steal, choose deception, and make up all manner of excuses, just to prevent others from knowing about this new secret life of theirs. They think that if no one finds out, then they are not hurting anyone, including themselves.

A woman who was a wonderful wife and mother, had a serious surgery and was in need of painkillers to move on from her surgery. Over time, innocently she became addicted to the pain killers and the painkillers or drugs began to rule her life. She changed and began her secret life. She did everything she could to get her drugs but thought that no one would find out. She went from doctor to doctor to get perscriptions of her drugs, but once the doctors stopped writing them she had to resort to other ways of getting the drugs she felt she needed. She even resorted to bringing her own children into her secret life, and take them to doctors and she was able to get drugs for herself that supposedly were for the treatment of her children. She also found out that if she could pay the price, she could get her drugs off the internet. She also resorted to get her drugs by raiding the medecine cabinets of her friends, but once she was caught, and not only lost her drug store supply from the medecine cabinet, but lost her friend.

Soon she felt she needed to expand her horizons and sought out other women in her same addicted state, thinking that working together they could get what they needed. These women lied, deceived, and did unthinkable things to get their drugs and traded them back and forth with each other. One time when they went to get them off the street, one of the women got caught, and was almost killed, and the other women's lives were also put in jepordy. Credit cards were ordered, and charges added up into the thousands, putting their families into grave financial debt. They came up with great ways and amazingly believable excuses to justify or hide these charges from their husbands. They were living a lie, and their need for drugs changed them, affected themselves, their relationships with all those who loved them.

Where does it stop? Well this particular story didn't stop here, but went on to destroy families and marriages. Satan doesnt' stop his efforts to destroy the family. If he can find a tiny crack and like a noxious week, squeeze into it. Once he does and once he is in, the crack doesn't stay small, and like the weed it grows and grows until it enlarges develops into a full blown habbit. At this point, Satan won his prize and that prize is you, your family, and all of those those your devious actions have hurt.

The story I just told is true and didn't end where I stopped telling it. Gratefully in time, this story had a happy ending, but not before lives were damaged, family were torn apart and put into financial disaster, and drastic reparation had to be made. This true story is not isolated. If you see yourself in any way shape or form mirrored in this story or you suspect or are willing to admit that you are addicted, then I urge to to do something about it now. Take the first step. Admitting that you have a problem and seeking to do something about it is the first step. Locate an LDS 12 step program in your area and go to it. (you can find the links on this blog) Do it for yourself, and do it for those you love, but just do it, and do it now. If you are reading this, it is obviously time or you wouldn't have sought out this blog. Help yourself and get help now. Don't let more destruction happen.. break the pattern now and get help!

PRAYER, FAITH AND PATIENCE ARE NECESSARY TO OVERCOME ADDICTION In the 24th chapter of Mosiah, the king of the Lamanites appointed Amulon, leader of the priests of King Noah, to be king and ruler over his people. Amulon began to exercise authority over Alma and his people, gave them difficult tasks and brought them under bondage. Amulon knew that Alma had believed the words of the Prophet Abinadi, and in his anger sought retribution against Alma.

The afflictions and suffering of the people of Alma were so great that “they began to cry mightily to God. And Amulon commanded them that they should stop their cries; and he put guards over them to watch them, that whosoever should be found calling upon God should be put to death.” Alma and his people ceased praying in public and out loud to God. They were truly captive and enslaved.

But Alma and his people continued to pray silently in their hearts, and the Lord “did know the thoughts of their hearts. And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage. And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders.”

The burdens that were placed upon the shoulders of the people of Alma were made light and the Lord “did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord. And it came to pass that so great was their faith and their patience that the voice of the Lord came unto them again, saying: Be of good comfort, for on the morrow I will deliver you out of bondage.”

“Now it came to pass that Alma and his people in the night-time gathered their flocks together, and also their grain; yea, even all the night-time were they gathering their flocks together. And in the morning the Lord caused a deep sleep to come upon the Lamanites, yea, and all their task-masters were in a profound sleep. And Alma and his people departed into the wilderness.”

I believe that addicts find themselves in a situation very similar to that of Alma and his people. They are captives and enslaved to their addiction and need the comfort and help of the Lord to be rescued. But before being led out of captivity, they must pray always in secret and in their hearts and demonstrate much faith and patience. I know that our Savior lives, and is ready to rescue us and free us.

Step 12 - Service

Step 12 - Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, share this message with others and practice these principles in all you do.

Service will help you grow int he light of the Spirit throughout the rest of your life. You learned in step 10 that you evaluate your life each day and be accountable for your actions. Then in step 11 you learned to remember the savior from moment to moment so you will have the guidance of the Holy Ghost as constant as possible. Now Step 12 involves the third anchor and that is service to others. This step aids in your continued recovery and a remission of sin and to remain free of addiction, you must get outside of yourself and serve.

Desire to give service is a natural result of your spiritual awakening. (ARP Guide) So, how do we serve? One way is through sharing the message of hope with other addicts or to those who are troubled. When you share with others, you can share your testimony of the mercy of the Lord and let others know that they too can receive this same mercy through the Atonement of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Many addicts feel alone and don't think that they could ever be forgiven of the hurt that they have caused to themselves and to others, but you can stand as a wittiness to the truth of the Atonement.

President Ezra Taft Benson taught: "Men and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their mussels, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, raise up friends, and pour out peace. Whoever will lose his life in the service of God will find eternal life."

When you personally have reached step 12, it is important that you realize that you should not put away your ARP book and say I am done. You should still continue to attend meetings and participate as you have through the entire 12 step process. Open your book and read your journaling to strengthen your own resolve to continue to move forward for the rest of your life. Set forward thinking goals, which will probably be much different than those that you have set while in this program. Now that you are living free from your addiction, you have so much to look forward to and you need to live in maintenance for the rest of your life.

Service is a way for you to be able to maintain your addiction free life. Many individuals choose to become facilitators in the addiction recovery program. Facilitators are not a church calling but a volunteer service and a greatly needed service in the Addiction Recovery program. As you attend meetings and see that after the Missionaries present their part of the Addiction Recovery program, the sharing portion of the meeting is turned over to a facilitator. Facilitators set a positive tone, invite the spirit and give a directed focus for the sharing portion of the meetings. They can draw upon their own personal knowledge to lift and give hope to the other participants. Their sharing is directed toward what they have learned as they work the particular step of study for that week. What a blessing Facilitators are, and how great a service they render.

Services doesn't just stay within the Addiction recovery program. Service can be given everywhere. Serve in your wards and stakes. Serve in your homes and neighborhoods. Serve in your community and in the world. Everywhere you look there are opportunities for service and they are not hard to find if you are looking. One recovered addict is now the High Priest Group leader in his ward, and is constantly involved in helping out the widow's of the ward and he is also a facilitator and and serving as a missionary in the LDS Addiction Recovery Program. In a different ward and Stake, a returned missionary who learned Spanish on his mission, helps out in with the Spanish community and attends and assists in many ways using his time and language skills giving service.

If you think about this world being filled with Heavenly Fathers children, and you realize that you are actually all related through Him, then maybe serving your family members would be easier to think about than serving someone you don't know. Humanity is really just one big diverse family. When I personally think about service, this scripture comes to mind... "When Ye Are in the Service of Your Fellow Beings Ye Are Only in the Service of Your God" (Mosiah 2:17) The result of service is a crowning blessing, as the Lord promised: I delight to honor those who serve me in righteousness and in truth unto the end. Great shall be their reward and eternal shall be their glory. ( D & C 76:56)

I pray that we can all lose ourselves in the service of our fellow beings, because as the scripture says, when we do so, we are only in the service of our God!

Sunday, April 5, 2009


The key principle of Step 11, Personal Revelation, is “Seek through Prayer and Meditation to know the Lord’s Will and to have the Power to Carry It Out”.

One of the greatest blessings of the restoration of the Gospel in the latter days is the knowledge that we have a loving Heavenly Father who lives. He is literally the Father of our spirits and He knows each of us by name. Through prayer and personal revelation, our Father in Heaven communicates with us and guides our lives. Prayer and meditation are powerful antidotes to fear and depression.

Over the course of addiction recovery, we must seek a period of quiet solitude for scripture study and prayer. If you haven’t done so already, schedule time for prayer and meditation, perhaps early in the morning. During this time you can put God first, before anyone else or anything else in the day. Pray to your Heavenly Father, seeking the Spirit to guide you. Then study, using the scriptures and the teachings of the modern prophets to guide your meditation. When this precious time of private meditation has ended, do not cease to pray. Silent prayer, in the depths of your heart and mind, will become your way of thinking throughout your days and focusing on your spiritual awakening.

“Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17-19
As we keep ourselves free from addictions and grow closer to our Heavenly Father and His Son through daily prayer and scripture study, we will be more able to receive the guidance of the Holy Ghost. Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve taught,

“The Holy Ghost will protect us against being deceived, but to realize that wonderful blessing, we must always do the things necessary to retain that Spirit…And we must never do anything to drive away that Spirit.”

The Lord respects our will and our agency. He allows us to choose to approach Him without compulsion. I testify that our Savior Jesus Christ will draw near to us when we invite him to be near.

“Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” D&C 88:63

In the Book of Mormon, Alma testified that when he prayed and fasted, his ability to receive revelation and know the will of God for him increased. Abstinence from our addictions can be considered a form of fasting.

“I say unto you (these things whereof I have spoken) are made known unto me by the Holy Spirit of God. Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself. And now I do know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit; and this is the spirit of revelation which is in me.” Alma 5:46

Step 10 - Daily Accountability

The key principle of Step 10, Daily Accountability, is “Continue to Take Personal Inventory; and When You Are Wrong, Promptly Admit It.

Recovery from addiction is as much a spiritual process as it is a physical one. The first nine steps of the Addiction Recovery Program focus on changing our hearts in a spiritual awakening so that the Lord will accept our repentance and bless us with his healing power. Step 10 represents acceptance of the truth that we must continue to live each day in spiritual principles. My conversations with and observations of recovering addicts often focus on “living one day at a time” and sometimes, in the early stages of recovery, “one hour at a time.”

As we progress in our recovery, we learn for the first time or begin to practice again those spiritual principles and actions that will bring us closer to our Heavenly Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ: daily prayer and meditation; daily scripture study; forgiving others and ourselves; attending our church and group recovery meetings.

Because of the difficult times and adversity we face in the world today, and because Satan desires to have us again give in to our addictions, we must focus on living one day at a time in spiritual harmony with the Savior. Because we are human, we will stray from our new found spiritual principles and practices. If we stray from them, we must repent immediately and ask our Heavenly Father at once to restore our peace though His Spirit. Honesty and humility can strengthen us each day. We will become more conscious of Heavenly Father’s presence in our lives as we call on him daily to help us stay spiritually clean. We will learn to value progress and to forgive imperfection in ourselves and others.

Honest, daily self appraisal will become a way of life as we let go of our fears, place reliance on the Lord, and overcome temptations one day at a time.

It could be dangerous or deadly if we didn’t pay attention to what we are doing while driving a car. Daily accountability and self appraisal will help us stay awake and alert to where we are going with our lives.

We are taught in the Book of Mormon to watch our thoughts, words and deeds:

“If ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives, ye must perish. And now, O man, remember, and perish not.” Mosiah 4:30

As we continue in our spiritual growth, promptly admitting that we are wrong is a difficult discipline to develop. This is contrary to the nature of man, and to the addict’s tendency to blame everyone else for his or her problems. I testify that the Lord is patient and willing to forgive. Knowing that the Lord is willing to forgive us as often as we repent with real intent can give us courage to try again each time we fall short.
“As oft as they repented and sought forgiveness, with real intent, they were forgiven. Moroni 6:8

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.