“Lifting Burdens: The Atonement of Jesus Christ,”

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Step 6 - Change of Heart

The key principle of Step 6, Change of Heart, is “Become Entirely Ready to Have God Remove all Your Character Weaknesses.”

The addiction recovery program of the Church is spiritual and is a plan of action. If we will follow the principles of the program and allow them to work in our lives, we will find ourselves restored to spiritual health through the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The scriptures are full of references to the heart. The heart is often used interchangeably with the spirit, disposition or character. Just as a strong, healthy heart is critical to our physical well being, a broken, or humble and contrite heart is the condition required for the atonement of Christ to heal and strengthen us spiritually. The Lord desires to bless us with a change of disposition as we turn to him humbly and prayerfully and seek his help to remove those character weaknesses that lead to addiction and sin. Through the prophet Ezekiel, the Lord promised:
“A new heart…will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26

This change of heart is a difficult process, and contrary to the disposition of the “natural man.” However, as you yield your heart to God and grow stronger in humility, the resolve in your heart to not return to past addictive behaviors will become firmer and firmer. You will find yourself wanting to return to fellowship with members of the Church and become a child of God.

The restoration of our spiritual health and change of our hearts may also be described as becoming like a little child. The Lord Jesus Christ loved the little children and, sometimes to the consternation of his impatient and imperfect apostles, took the time to gather them, place them on his knee and love them. He told his disciples and us that unless we become like little children, we cannot enter the Kingdom of God.

“For the natural man is the enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticing of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.” Mosiah 3:19
I believe this scripture captures the essence of and describes the process of addiction recovery. I testify that as we take upon ourselves the name of Christ and are strengthened by His Spirit, our character weaknesses will be strengthened and the atonement will work in our hearts. My prayer for you echoes that of the Apostle Paul:

“For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth , and length, and depth and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that you might be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:14-19

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Step 5 Confession

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.

Many addicts tend to isolate themselves from others, as sometimes they have not felt connected or like they didn’t fit in. However, as they began to attend the recovery meetings, they eventually began to emerge from their isolation as they saw the other participants speak and share about their addictions openly and freely, which gave them hope. Most times, the newcomer will sit the recovery meetings and listen and will not participate in the sharing part of the meetings. That is ok, as eventually they will understand that they are safe to share, and the other participants in the meeting are there to support and care and provide hope in healing through their sharing.

Confessing ones sins is a very difficult process for everyone. It is hard to face a person and disclose to them what they have done and to express the remorse that they feel. Confession is an ongoing effort to repair and reestablish broken relationships. Confession is also seeking forgiveness from the Lord through prayer and through the Priesthood.

Confession demonstrates before God, ourselves and another wittiness, our commitment to a new life based firmly on telling the truth. President Spencer W. Kimball counseled: “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.” Once a person has honestly repented there was nothing left to hide. Alma 22:18 says, we “give away all our sins” so that we could receive a greater knowledge of Gods love and the love and support of many good people who rallied around us.

Start with your bishop. Serious transgressions must be confessed with proper priesthood leaders, and usually the Bishop. The Lord is the one who forgives sins but priesthood leaders play a vital role in the process of repentance. They will keep it confidential, and help you through the process. Confess all mistakes, and resolve all your mistakes. The sooner you begin this process, the sooner you will find peace and joy that come with the miracle of forgiveness.

The following are links to some excellent guidance about confession: Addiction Recovery Manual Step 5 “Confession”, page 29. - “Confession” by J. Richard Clarke “The Path of Growth” - By Elder Dennis B. Neuenschwander Of the Seventy Chapter 4: The Miracle of Forgiveness,” Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, (2006),34–45 “Questions and Answers,” Tambuli, Apr 1985, 29–31

One last thought of mine about repentance and confession. When we sin, we feel like our shoulders bare heavy weights that build up to the point that they practically weigh us down. With every sin, our load gets heavier. But when we confess and repent of our sins, those heavy weights that have held us captive and stopped any positive progress, one by one are lifted, and they no longer weigh us down. Confession is gift that we must initiate and do for ourselves in order to receive it.If we confess, give away our sins, and truly repent, then they are with us no longer, and like the scripture says in Isa. 1: 18 Come now, and let us areason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

Much of this post has taken excerpts from the LDS Family Services Addiction Recovery Program guide.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Step 4 - Truth

Make a searching and fearless written moral inventory of yourself.

By doing so, you show your willingness to trust in God. Now you will make an inventory of your life by surveying or summarizing the thoughts, events emotions, and actions of your life and making it as complete as possible. You commit to honesty, and include your own weaknesses, and not anyone elses. It is far too easy to justify your own bad behavior by blaming people or things. This inventory is where you will take responsibility for your past and current actions, even thought this will be painful, and embarrassing and will create a myriad of emotion within you.

This step is the one that most recovering addicts say is a real turning point, because by writing down what is required, they have to face themselves, the self that they created. It is like looking in the mirror and not really liking what they saw. Because you are facing yourself and your deeds, it is what makes you realize where the true blame lies. This is a step that many would rather skip, but it is vital to recovery. Taking a direct quote from the Addiction recovery guide, it reads, "Addiction crippled our ability to reflect honestly about our lives. It limited our ability to understand the damage and havoc--the liabilities-it caused in all our relationships." This step is difficult and long, but necessary!

Through this inventory, you will align your life with the will of God. You will identify negative thoughts, emotions and actions that ruled your life. By discovering those destructive elements in your life, you will take the first step toward correcting them. This inventory step will open doors to additional faith and hope as you continue to seek recovery and overcome addiction.

So what do you do? Rather than write everything down, I would refer you to the Addiction Recovery Guide in page 21 under how to do an inventory. If you don't have a guide book you can find it online at It is a very personal process and you can speak with others who have done it or follow the suggestions in the guide.

"I invite each one of you to thoughtfully review your life. Have you deviated from the standards that you know will bring you happiness? Is there a dark corner that needs to be cleaned out? Are you now doing things that you know are wrong? Do you fill your mind with unclean thoughts? When it is quiet and you can think clearly, does your conscience tell you to repent? For your peace now and for everlasting happiness, please repent. Open your heart to the Lord and ask Him to help you. You will earn the blessings of forgiveness, peace and the knowledge you have been purified and made whole. Find the courage to ask the Lord for strength to repent now." (Richard G. Scott, in Conference Report, April 1995, page 103 or in the Ensign, May 1995, page 77)

I love the scripture found in Ether 12:27 which states..."If men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." And this can be followed up by the scripture found in John 8: 32 which says...."Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free".

When you take this opportunity to take a deep look at yourself, and who you've become through addiction, you are blessed with an awakening. Your eyes are open much more widely and you can see yourself for who you really are. With your eyes wide open, if you don't like what you see, you have the opportunity to change things. Like the Scripture John says, you will know the truth about yourself, and only then when you can understand truths about your past behaviors, then you can be able to become free from the bonds that have enslaved you through your addiction. I bolded the words "YOU" intentionally so that you could see that your addiction isn't about anyone else, anyone elses choices, problems, things that people have done to you but what you have done to yourself.

With eyes wide open, and through the help of the Lord, you can overcome your addictions, and I know this because I have seen and heard so many stories of recovery while serving as a missionary in the LDS Addiction recovery program. I urge you to find a meeting and go. One participant and family support traveled from one state to our meeting, which was miles and miles, just to find help for their addiction. They did it because it had to be done and they knew it and they found help and hope through attending these addiction recovery meetings. Go to,11664,6629-1,00.html and click on "addiction recovery support groups" and locate the closest group to where you live. Then go, and begin the steps toward you own recovery and receive support from those who have been working the program, through the testimonies of the Missionaries, and the facilitator.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Step 3 - Trust in God

“When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee."

Addiction Recovery Meetings

Addiction recovery meetings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints assist those who desire to recover from addiction. Family and friends whose lives may be affected by the addiction of another are also welcome.

I have had the opportunity to attend many of these meetings as a missionary in this inspired program, and believe they are some of the most spiritual meetings I have ever experienced. The Spirit of the Lord is found there in rich abundance. The meetings are made up of a group of brothers and sisters who share their experience, faith, and hope as they study and apply the principles of the gospel as they correlate with the 12 steps of recovery. These meetings provide a safe place for honest sharing because principles of confidentiality and anonymity are closely adhered to, and appropriate language and behavior are used to invite the Spirit to be in attendance.

The Guide to Addiction Recovery and Healing says, “Participation in a support group or a recovery meeting may not be feasible for everyone. If you cannot attend a recovery meeting, you can still follow each of the steps, with minor modifications, as you work with your bishop or a carefully chosen professional counselor. When attendance at a recovery meeting is possible, you will find it helpful for at least two reasons. First, at these meetings you will study specific gospel principles that, when applied, will help you change your behavior. Second, these meetings are a place to gather with others seeking recovery and with those who have already taken this path and are living proof of its effectiveness. In recovery meetings you will find understanding, hope, and support.

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.