The other day, I lost a sponsee to a relapse and it’s been really hard. Not only are we really good friends, but I feel we have a lot in common and I feel he has been making great progress.
I went to meeting last night and sat across from both my sponsees and, ironically, we were on Step 12 – Service.
These are the notes I wrote down:
From the manual: Remember that most of us had to “hit bottom” before we were ready to study and apply these principles.
What does that mean?
“I’m trying to be like Jesus” video story.
The no, no, no’s haven’t worked for me. Focus on what I CAN do to be like Him.
28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
Is that not rock bottom enough?
Can one really “overcome” the natural man? This addiction?
19 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.
The natural man will an enemy to God forever and ever UNLESS…
Yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit and putteth off the natural man.
It doesn’t say overcome.
Submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him.
30 But this much I can tell you, that 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.
I also got a great response from Mark about sponsorship and the 90-Day ArpSupport Program. This message was so helpful to me:
I’m thinking that you’re asking about the stepping down after a slip issue. Is this correct? That’s pretty simple really.
Abstinence is required to work the program. There really should be NO slips, if someone is serious about recovery. The 90 day program is not meant to do over and over again. Something begins to be lost when that happens. We hope that everyone who starts out has already hit their bottom and will be ready to abstain, work the program, and recover. Sadly, most aren’t. Even more sad is the reality that of those who prove not ready to abstain, a high percentage of them will never be ready. Some will, but not for a long time. We cannot help these individuals “at this time” and there is just not enough sponsors to spend time working daily with men who are nowhere near ready or willing to abstain. I no longer just reassign these men to another sponsor right away. I personally do some in-depth work with them, strictly on step one, in an effort to help them become honest with themselves about where they really are and what they can look forward to one way or the other.
Our hope is that the truth will humble and motivate them, helping them to hit bottom or raise their bottom.
There is one thing they MUST learn, and that is that acting out and working the steps do not go together!
In the meantime, they have meetings, good bishops, meetings, home teachers, meetings, missionaries in the program, did I say meetings, fellow addicts, AND above all, they have a Savior, to find needed love and support as they work at coming to themselves. Until that time, there is very little we can do for them “steps-wise.”
When we see the relapse of sponsors become a rare thing, as it should be, THEN we will know we are finally getting it right! Our first challenge now, is to see that each and every sponsor who works in ARPsupport is following the exact same format and structure…the format and structure that were meant to be implemented from the beginning, but in far too many cases, have not been, and we have seen relapse increase because of this.
We must pray hard and do all we can do, if this is ever going to change. I have faith that it will. Thank you for your contribution to this effort Nate.
One of the first things that came to mind when I read this was the scripture in Matthew 6:24:
Like he said, there really should be NO slips if someone is serious about recovery. “Acting out and working the steps do not go together!” Just like God and Satan can’t be served at the same time, “…for either [I] will hate the one, and love the other; or else [I] will hold to the one, and despise the other…”
I look forward to a day in recovery today.
I look forward to continuing to try to connect with God on a moment to moment basis.
I feel good about where I am today.