Here’s my assignment for Day 3:
We invite you with all our empathy and love to join us in a glorious life of freedom and safety, encircled in the arms of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. We know by our own experience that you can break free from the chains of addiction. No matter how lost and hopeless you may feel, you are the child of a loving Heavenly Father. If you have been blind to this truth, the principles explained in this guide will help you rediscover it and establish it deep in your heart. These principles can help you come unto Christ and allow Him to change you. As you apply the principles, you will draw on the power of the Atonement and the Lord will free you from bondage.
Have you experienced the “chains” of addiction? How?
Yes, I’ve definitely felt the chains of addiction in many of their forms. First off, that I would even do the things I’ve done to hurt my wife and family is never something I ever considered before. Although, I think, in the back of my addictive mind, those thoughts were always there. But again, these are the chains of addiction.
I wasted so much time. I put off what I wanted most for what I wanted now. I broke covenants, both with Heavenly Father and with my wife.
And now I’m feeling the consequences of breaking away from those chains.
I feel the chains starting to come back as well when I get stressed or feel overwhelmed. Luckily, today, I know that I can submit my will over to God and He will help me break free from the chains and live another day in recovery. I’m grateful for this understanding and pray that I can continue to put my trust in Him to deliver me.
Do you feel lost and hopeless? Describe what this is like.
Today I don’t feel lost and hopeless but in the past I have. In the past, I felt so lost that I didn’t even realize I was lost. I was lying to myself and believing the lies. I was justifying my sinful state and telling myself and others that I was a victim and that I was just doing what felt right. NOT TRUE!
To feel lost and hopeless is an awful feeling. It feels lonely. It feels like there’s no way out. It feels like the only option is to continue in my addiction and give up on everything else. I started questioning everything I have believed. I started questioning commandments and God’s teachings.
But today I don’t feel those feelings. Today I want to submit completely to Him and not look back. Today I’m hopeful and feel like “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Do you feel blind to spiritual truth? What does that mean to you?
I don’t feel blind to spiritual truth today, but in the past I’ve definitely felt that. I remember when Mandy was having her hard time and was leaving the Church. I remember not having anything to say. I remember not getting any impressions or direction. I tried to share, but everything just came out stale. I now recognize that this is teaching without the Spirit. This is walking in spiritual blindness.
I remember when Becky and I would have talks about what was going on, I had nothing to say. I was living a lie, both to myself and to her. Today, on the other hand, I feel I have thoughts and feelings to contribute. I feel I’m being guided and directed. When Becky and I talk, I always have things to share about my own recovery and what I’m learning, and occasionally some of the things I share seem to connect with Becky too.
I’m grateful to recognize the difference today. I’m grateful to not be spiritually blind today. I’m grateful to be working in recovery and feeling led by a higher power.
Do you consider yourself to be in bondage? How?
In the past, definitely. I was so tied down to my addiction. I thought about it all the time. Sometimes the thoughts were about how I could get out of it; but most of the time the thoughts were about acting out and when I could get my next fix.
This bondage took me to places I never want to go again. This bondage alienated me from Heavenly Father, from my wife, and from my kids – all the people who are most important to me.
This bondage almost caused me to lose all those special things.
I’m grateful that today is a new day that I don’t feel in bondage. I know that Satan is always trying to wrap me back up in his chains. But, like Moses, I want to just tell him to move on and get away. I don’t want to feel those chains or flaxen cords again.
I’m grateful to be able to write these feelings out and recognize where I was and where I am today.
Today could be a bondage day but I’m praying and submitting my will to Him and know that He will direct me for good.
Now to my study.
What I’ve read so far has been very applicable and I feel like I have a much better understanding of what we believe regarding grace and how it can be applied in my recovery process.
If I allow sin to block my communication and relationship with God, I start alienating myself and the power of the Atonement and Jesus Christ can’t be with me. In this way, it’s like what I wrote about today in my recovery: I am spiritually blind, I am chained to my addiction, and it will ultimately lead to spiritual death and eternal damnation.
Damnation is an ironic word, especially as it relates to the River and Powerhouse analogy where Christ is the River of Water and we are the powerhouse: without Christ and his involvement in our lives, we have no power against the power of the destroyer and we have no direction.
With Christ, however, we can do all things. The key is, I have to exercise my faith unto repentance in order to avoid the water “damning” up and causing alienation from that power or God.
I’m grateful to have read these things.
Today I’m going to read the next article I’d found about grace – it’s called Receiving Divine Assistance through the Grace of the Lord by Elder Gene R Cook.
This is a great question:
How many of us, at times, try to resolve life’s challenges ourselves, without seeking the intervention of the Lord in our lives? We try to carry the burden alone.
I feel that one thing I do that I can be better at is not praying for guidance, direction, or help with my career. I “try to carry the burden alone” and at times can get frustrated or feel overwhelmed. Instead, I need to rely more on Heavenly Father and put my trust in Him.
I want to have this attitude. I want to rely on Him for all things.
How clear Christ’s question was to a sinking Peter, after he had walked on the water: “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” (Matt. 14:31.) The moment Peter doubted and took his eyes off the Savior, he severed himself from the power of Jesus Christ that had sustained him on the water.
I’ve felt these same doubts from time to time. I’ve doubted that submitting my will to God, whatever that meant at the time, would really help me overcome or recover from my addiction.
I took my eye off the Savior and look what it did to me.
How many times, likewise, as we have prayed for assistance or help with our problems, have we severed ourselves from the power of God because of doubt or fear, and thus could not obtain this enabling power of God? (See D&C 6:36; D&C 67:3.)
…remember that the effect of grace in our lives is conditioned upon repenting of our sins.
I really appreciate these words. Through Christ and through repentance, I can have the grace of God to strengthen me and help me and guide me.
I like this comment too, although I have questions about what it means:
Let us be submissive to the Father’s will, recognizing that His will is preeminent. How thankful we ought to be to submit to His will, because He and His Son will never do anything “save it be for the benefit of the world.” (2 Ne. 26:24.)
What does “His will is preeminent” mean?
preeminent: surpassing all others; very distinguished in some way.
This talk was also good, although I fell asleep twice and ended up going and taking a morning nap.
I want to continue studying about grace and how I can use it and apply it in my life.
I’m grateful for another day in recovery and am grateful I took a nap to rejuvinate me.