Day 16 – Step Work
Gradually, the principles they shared and practiced started to work for us. As we kept coming back, we began to feel something we had not felt in years—we felt hope. If there was hope for others who had been at the very brink of destruction, maybe there was hope for us too! We were grateful to hear that if we would turn to the Lord, there would be “no habit, no addiction, no rebellion, no transgression, no offense exempted from the promise of complete forgiveness” (Boyd K. Packer, in Conference Report, Oct. 1995, 22; or Ensign, Nov. 1995, 19).
Has working the program daily began to work for you? Describe the benefits and fruits of the Spirit you have begun see and feel.
Yes! I’m so grateful to have someone to be accountable to other than my wife or family. It has helped me want to work the steps of the addiction recovery manual consistently. I’m grateful that today is 305 in recovery from my addiction to lust, pornography, masturbation, and other inappropriate sexual relationships.
I’m grateful to be able to recognize feelings of anxiety, tiredness, and especially feelings of the Spirit.
I’m grateful to write out my feelings on paper and be able to see the direction I’m headed.
Will you practice believing that He will enable you to abstain?
Yes. I feel I’ve been practicing that belief now for 305 days or more as I’m striving everyday to submit my life and will over to Him. I do realize that recovery can only happen one day at a time and I have to be alert, aware and willing to submit.
Describe your feelings of gratitude for the Savior’s Atonement and saving power.
Wow, I don’t even really know where to start. In March of this last year I nearly lost my entire family. The problem had started the year before, or even before that, but had culminated in May – July of 2013.
When I came clean and talked to Becky about what had happened, I had no idea at the time about the gravity of what I’d fallen into.
Today, however, because of the Atonement, because of forgiveness, and because of both Becky and my willingness to try to turn our life and will over to God, I’m in recovery from my addictions. The Savior’s Atonement, and trusting in that Atonement, is the only thing that could have helped me be where I am today. It’s really hard to even explain how grateful I am.
Because of the Savior’s Atonement, I am still married. Because of His Atonement, I have hope for today. Because of the Atonement, I have been able to repent and be reborn. Because of His Atonement, I feel hope that Becky can actually forgive me for all the pain and heart brake I’ve put her through.
I’m so grateful for this blessing.
In this atmosphere of faith and testimony, we found hope that began to awaken us to the mercy and power of God. We began to believe that He could deliver us from the bondage of addiction. We followed the example of our recovering friends. We attended meetings, prayed, renewed our activity in the Church, and pondered and applied the scriptures, and our own miracles began to happen. We found ourselves blessed with the grace of Jesus Christ to maintain our abstinence one day at a time. As we took step 2, we became willing to replace trust in ourselves and our addictions with faith in the love and power of Jesus Christ. We took this step in our minds and in our hearts, and we experienced the truth that the foundation of recovery from addiction must be spiritual.
Have you begun to awaken to the mercy and power of God? Describe how this feels.
I really like the statement “blessed with the grace of Jesus Christ to maintain our abstinence one day at a time.” God is so merciful. I don’t know how He has patience with me and can even think to give me a chance to come back. I don’t know how Becky can even think to forgive me or take me back.
I know that it’s only in and through the mercy and power of God that I’m in day 305 of my recovery.
I feel grateful. I feel overwhelmed. I sometimes don’t even know what to feel.
But I’m glad that I am trying to understand what I can do in order to continue submitting to Him.
Have you begun to believe that He can deliver you from the bondage of addiction? Describe how this feels.
Yes, I have. To be honest, it’s a bit scary. It’s a day to day process. If I think too far ahead, I feel like there’s no way. But I know that I can submit my will to Him today. I know I can turn to Him in prayer today. I know that, as I work on the steps of recovery, this is one thing I can do to show Him I’m willing to put on the whole armor of God. What I can’t do is let my limbic portion of my brain try to talk me out of submitting my will to Him.
I can’t get frustrated with myself or others. I can’t get bored or nervous about how business is going to go this month of if the Yeses I got earlier in the month are going to actually pull through, pay, and get started.
I have to do the best I can today, submit my will to God today, and just trust that He will continue to bless my life and the life of my family if I’m living as close to Him as I possibly can.
What I want to think about most is what I CAN do as opposed to what I SHOULDN’T be doing.
How are you doing at meeting attendance, daily prayer, Church activity, and scripture study? Are you striving for improvement?
I attend meetings every week and I’d like to find one more I could attend on a regular basis. I feel I’m doing pretty good at daily prayer but would like to make sure I’m always doing my personal prayers, both morning and evening and during the day. Church activity, even during my addiction, hasn’t been a problem although this is more a “must be seen as” and pride issue – going through the motions isn’t going to cut it.
Scripture study could be better. I’ve been working the steps of the program and have tried to make time to study the scriptures and words of the prophets. Some days are a bit better than others. But overall I feel willing and want to study.
Yes, I am striving for improvement and look forward to studying today.
What “miracles” have you experienced so far?
The main miracle I’ve experienced so far is that I feel I’m gaining back the trust and love of my wife. I also feel like my temper and whole demeanor have changed since coming clean. The relationship I’m mending with my son has been miraculous. The love and emotions I feel for Becky are stronger today than they have possibly ever been. These are miracles of the Atonement – things I couldn’t possibly have done on my own through my own actions.
I also feel it’s a miracle that I’m able to pray in the moment of temptation for lust and the feelings or appetites are gone, or at least distracted by something better. I’m so grateful for this desire and want to keep practicing it forever.
Is the Lord blessing and enabling you to maintain your abstinence? Describe your feelings about continuing in His grace to abstain, one day at a time.
Yes, today is day 305 in recovery from my addictions and from acting out in those addictions. I could only be at this point today by submitting one day at a time. I feel strongly that the only way I can continue to be in recovery and maintain the life I want with my wife and family is through submitting to Him one day at a time, but relying on His grace and by giving Him my life and my will.
How have you placed trust in things other than God? List who and what.
I’ve placed my trust in pornography for quite some time. I’ve put my trust in sex. I’ve put my trust in objectifying women. I’ve placed my trust in my wife, other people – like friends or family, social media for sure. By putting my trust in these people or things, I’m basically saying, “These things will make me more happy than doing what God wants me to do.” None of these things will bring me the pure happiness and joy that God will bring me as I keep His commandments.
Are you willing to place your trust in the Lord? How does it feel to do so?
Yes, I want to put my trust in the Lord. I want to do His will. I know that by doing so, nothing can really hurt me or destroy the peace or happiness I feel today.
By putting my trust in Him, I’m on a “firm foundation”. I don’t know that I’ve ever really understood what that meant until now. It makes me think of the scripture about the fiery darts of the adversary – that if I search the scriptures and do His will, the temptations and the fiery darts of the adversary will have no power over me, to lead me away carefully down to hell.
This feeling is so reassuring and makes me grateful.
I’m now going to take a few more minutes and read through the talk “To Walk Humbly with Thy God” by Marlin K Jensen.
There are quite a few parts I liked as I read this article today. First and foremost, the scripture that King Benjamin shares in his sermon about being humble:
“For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings 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.” 5
I believe whole-heartedly that “the natural man is an enemy to God.” That natural man, for me, is the carnal Nate. Being an enemy to God means that I let pride overcome me – I put my will against God’s will, and I feel I’m right and others are wrong.
Luckily, the natural man has been this way since the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, UNLESS…
- he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit
- he putteth off the natural man
- he becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord
- he 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
How do I yield to the enticings of the Holy Spirit?
How do I put off the natural man?
How do I become a saint through the Atonement of Christ?
How do I become as a child?
Interestingly, some of those answers are things I wrote about in my step work earlier. I have to be willing to submit my will to God moment to moment, day by day. To submit my will to God, for me, means I do the following things:
- Work the steps in the addiction recovery manual and submit them to my sponsor as early in the morning as time and schedule permit
- Study the words of the ancient and modern prophets and the scriptures and write about my feelings
- Write in my journal about my feelings
- Say personal prayers in the morning, at night, and in the moment of temptation
- Also say prayers of gratitude throughout the day as things happen where I can recognize His hand
- Do the AEIOU’s with Becky each night
- Practice patience with the kids
One other part of the talk I wanted to focus on right now is this:
I resonate to the English author John Ruskin’s memorable statement that “the first test of a truly great man is his humility.” He continued: “I do not mean, by humility, doubt of his own power. … [But really] great men … have a curious … feeling that … greatness is not in them, but through them. … And they see something Divine … in every other man … , and are endlessly, foolishly, incredibly merciful.” 13
I really like this concept, especially as it applies to my career, who I work with, and my competitors. I want to always see the best in others and look for things I can implement as I learn from others.
I’m grateful for today’s study and writing. I’m grateful that I made the time to do this. I feel the Spirit and feel better about the direction I’m facing today.