I’m working on the Inner Gold program and Assignment #3 is the Letter to Your Addict. Here’s what it says:
The purpose of this letter is to state your intentions to free yourself of an abusive relationship that has been going on for many years. This letter should address the lies that the addict has told you in the past, the broken promises, etc. It is a statement of your intentions to no longer be a victim of your addict. It is the beginning statement of resolve to live a healthier and more productive life.
Dear Carnal Nate,
I’m sorry we’re no longer friends. Honestly, I’m not sorry at all. You’ve been in and out of my life since I was in about 6th grade. I had no idea what I was doing at the time, nor do I know why or how we were even introduced. However, our relationship has brought nothing but regret, remorse, and has practically ruined my family.
My intent with writing this letter today is to wish you an indefinite farewell.
I don’t want to hang out any more. I don’t want to associate with you. I don’t want to even entertain the idea of having you come visit from time to time.
I think, in the past, I’ve convinced myself that “just a little visit” would be ok. But I’ve learned through study and prayer that that’s not the case at all. You’re “just a little bit” is Satan’s way of getting in and stirring things up. Your “just a little bit” has proven year after year to be a hole in my spiritual armor: once you’re in, there’s no telling where you’ll lead me.
Our relationship has only hurt me. I’ve wasted time, I’ve lost the trust of my wife and children, I’ve disappointed my parents, and most importantly, I’ve broken covenants I made with Becky and God. Repairing these mistakes has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do and frankly, our “friendship” just isn’t worth it.
I might as well tell you what I’m going to do, or continue doing, to sever our ties. I’m burying my weapons of war – here’s how:
- I’ve blocked the following sites and only use them on rare occasions with permission from my Spiritual Nate and Becky:
- Instagram (never)
- I’ve installed Covenant Eyes willingly and like the protection it gives me and the trust it helps build with Becky
- I’ve eliminated critical thinking about Becky completely – I’m just happy that she’s still with me and has given me one last chance after all the HELL I’ve put her through
- I flee from thoughts about what’s in it for me or when am I going to get what’s due to me: these are selfish thoughts and do me no good – EVER
- I’m committed to not staying up late; instead, Becky and I have a good routine where we read together, talk about the AEIOUY’s and connect emotionally
- Cell phone usage: I’ve eliminated all games on my phone and am working hard to limit my phone usage, especially at night.
Unfortunately, I feel you’ve been lying to me since I was young. You’ve told me things like, “It’s not that bad, sin a little,” or “you’re completely justified and no one will know”. You’ve lied to me so well that I’ve believed it and fell into the darkest traps. I’m sick of these lies and how they ultimately make me feel about myself and about others.
I have chosen today, and forever, to not associate with you any more. I am submitting my will to God through personal prayer, through scripture study, and through writing in my journal. I’m aware of my Super Ego, which at times has unrealistic expectations of myself that causes me to fail, feel shame and then swing to the other side to hang out with you (the ID in my life). My goal is to balance the two sides – expect to do well but not push myself so hard that I give up, quit, and turn to pain prevention and pleasure seeking as a way out. These are YOUR strategies and not the way I want to live my life anymore.
Today is the day I’m living a more healthy and productive life. I’ve felt it already in my relationship with Becky, in my relationship with my kids, and in my relationship with God. I can actually feel again. I recognize the difference between the bitter and the sweet, and the bitter is no longer even something I want to dabble with.
By more healthy I mean that I am exercising, I’m reading, I’m writing, and I’m feeding myself spiritually everyday because I WANT to, not because I have to. By more healthy I mean that my relationship with God, with Becky, and with my kids is the most important long-term relationship I want to strengthen. By more healthy I mean that I’m letting go of things that will only pull me down and invite you back into my life, even if it’s “just a little bit”.
So, Carnal Nate, this is good bye. This is the end. I’m grateful I now recognize who you are and the capabilities you have to bring we down to levels I never thought possible. I’m grateful that, through the Atonement, I’ve been able to free myself from your chains. But most importantly, I’m grateful we won’t be associating today or ever again.
May you die and endless death!
The Nate I’ve Always Wanted to Be
There it is. It was actually quite fun to write that out. Now I’m going to study a bit more from the scriptures.
I’m going to read the next talk from October 2014 General Conference titled “The Sacrament – A Renewal for the Soul” by Cheryl Esplin.
Sister Esplin talks about how the sacrament “becomes a spiritually strengthening experience when we listen to the sacrament prayers and recommit to our covenants.”
How do we do this?
We take upon us the name of Jesus Christ. We promise to always remember Him. We promise to keep His commandments.
President Eyring taught:
[To take upon us the name of Christ] means we must see ourselves as His. We will put Him first in our lives. We will want what He wants rather than what we want or what the world teaches us to want.”
I really like this: it reminds we of what I just wrote to my Addict self. To want what He wants more than what the world (or my Carnal Nate) has taught me to want.
As we partake of the sacrament, we witness to God that we will remember His Son always, not just during the brief sacrament ordinance. This means that we will constantly look to the Savior’s example and teachings to guide our thoughts, our choices, and our acts.
How do I constantly look to the Savior’s example and teachings to guide my thoughts, my choices, and my acts?
I submit my will to God in every moment.
I make it the top priority of my day to read and study His words.
I make it the top priority of my day to communicate with Him, both at the standard times and also during the day as I feel temptations or get distracted.
I “watch and pray always, that I come off conqueror”.
The sacrament gives us an opportunity for introspection and an opportunity to turn our heart and will to God. Obedience to the commandments brings the power of the gospel into our lives and greater peace and spirituality.
Introspection reminds me of meditation. Introspection is a way to be completely honest with myself and others. Introspection is doing steps 10 and 11 from the addiction recovery manual – it’s always assessing where I’m at and how my day has gone, it’s repenting immediately and using the Atonement throughout my day instead of after I’ve committed grievous errors.
Elder Melvin J. Ballard taught how the sacrament can be a healing and cleansing experience. He said:
“Who is there among us that does not wound his spirit by word, thought, or deed, from Sabbath to Sabbath? We do things for which we are sorry and desire to be forgiven. … The method to obtain forgiveness is … to repent of our sins, to go to those against whom we have sinned or transgressed and obtain their forgiveness and then repair to the sacrament table where, if we have sincerely repented and put ourselves in proper condition, we shall be forgiven, and spiritual healing will come to our souls. …
“I am a witness,” Elder Ballard said, “that there is a spirit attending the administration of the sacrament that warms the soul from head to foot; you feel the wounds of the spirit being healed, and the load being lifted. Comfort and happiness come to the soul that is worthy and truly desirous of partaking of this spiritual food.”
This was a great talk. It makes me want to make little booklets for the kids that help remind them how important the sacrament is.
I’m grateful for my study this morning.
I’m grateful for the Atonement and that I can use it today to be closer to Him,
I’m so in love with Becky and never ever want to hurt her again.
I love my kids too – they are a tremendous blessing in my life.