When?

When?

If not now, when?

Questions of recovery.  We are not asked them just once in our recovery life.  But several times as we passage along the recovery highway, we come to stations of new commitment.  Places where we must leave the old behind and assume the new.

These questions are not easy answered, and more specifically they are not easily implemented.  We so resist change, even when it is for the better.  Even when it would transform us from fearful, anxious or depressed, we resist.  Even when change would mean freedom from our darkness, our loneliness and frustrations we cannot let go.

It is really about faith and trust.  Two commodities we addicts often find in very short supply.  Faith seems the easier of the two.  We find enough evidence to come to believe with some level of conviction.  But our faith often lacks the critical mass to overcome our inertia.  Or our shame steals it’s power with the lie that even though we believe fervently, somehow we, ourselves are unworthy of any blessings or help.

Trusting, now that is a different cat.  That is hard.  Taking the step into the darkness of the unknown is not part of our nature.  Most often trust has never been part of the repertoire.  For whatever reasons, it is a life skill that has escaped us and for many of us it was just plain stolen by our history.  Trust proved to not be useful at times.  Those in whom we put our trust hurt us badly.  We have learned to not go there.  And yet in recovery, we learn it is required.

Now is the time.  Intellectually, we know that.  But the truth of it unleashes waves of uneasiness that well up inside of us.  Major waves of emotion that scream fearful, anxious warnings.  We cleave to our insanities, our isolation, our codependency, our acting out.  We know they are destroying us, but we can not go without the comfort they afford.

Even when we have left our drug of choice behind us, we still struggle to trust.  We struggle to give up the supporting behaviors, we cling to our character defects, our entitlements, our self pity, our rationalizations, our pride.  We are afraid we can not do with out them.  But they are a tether.  They keep us in the addictive orbit, we are free of acting out but not free of it’s gravity.  Sobriety without recovery. It traps many.

Now is the time.  The results are nearly unimaginable to the addict.  Many have raised their voices as witnesses.  Trust the path, do the work.

 

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Make yourself available for recovery…

One of the requirements for recovery or the healing from an addiction, is that we make ourselves available for it.

On the physical level, we have to be present for meetings, counseling, reading, all of the activities that help gain understanding and build skills.  AA’ers often take on the 90 meetings in 90 days commitment, putting themselves physically in the way of recovery, placing themselves in a place where recovery is known to occur.  They are then available for recovery.

The concept makes sense, but many addicts find reasons to resist.  They avoid meetings because it will be embarrassing to go, don’t “believe” in counseling, remain convinced they can do this on their own, and are way too busy to read.  In a result that should surprise no one, recovery escapes them.  They are unavailable for it.

We have to likewise make ourselves emotionally available for recovery.  Chris Franklin, a Seattle based addiction therapist identifies “emotional mismanagement” as a common problem in all addictions.  The mismanagement, things like denial, thinking errors, the love affair with our drug of choice and character defects, all play a part in the development and the sustaining of addictive behavior. They makes us emotionally unavailable.

Appropriate emotional management, then becomes a key to recovery.  When we retain the old denial patterns, perpetuate our thinking errors, keep using our “mistress” drug of choice and ignore character defects, recovery also eludes us.  We are unavailable.  This detours many from the recovery highway.

Spiritually we must also make ourselves available for healing.  If we do not put ourselves in places where the spirit can access us, we will not feel it’s healing power.  We will not experience his life changing love.  We must not only properly position ourselves but also quiet ourselves to hear the still small voice.  Quiet the anger, entitlement, anxiety, depression whatever is going on in our lives that might drown out the spirit’s voice.  We must quiet the emotional storms that lead to our acting out and the resulting “blackout” of the spirit.

Wanna leave your addiction behind?  Start by making yourself available for recovery…

Posted in Addiction, Attitudes of recovery, Coming to Christ, LDS Addiction Recovery, Pornography Addiction, Recovery Skills, Recovery Tool Kit, Relapse Prevention, Rules for Recovery, Sexual Addictions, Spouses & Family, The 12 Steps, Understanding Addiction | Leave a comment

A Call for Spouses Stories

Hi, I am Roger Stark, author of “the Waterfall Concept; A blueprint for addiction recovery.”   I have begun compiling a new book entitled ”The Spouses Guide to Addiction Recovery.”  I have decided upon a format that follows Alcoholics Anonymous”s “Big Book” with a section of personal stories.  The 4th edition has over 40 personal stories of individual recovery.  They are read and quoted often and continue to bring healing and understanding to all that read them.

I believe that spouses of addicts in the LDS community have, by way of the struggle brought upon them, developed wisdom and understanding that would be helpful in a like manner.  Your understanding was gained the “hard way,’ sharing might make it easier for those just entering into the maze of recovery.  The unique features of our culture make addition even more “cunning and baffling” that it is for those not of our faith.

Some suggested topics might be:  Do I go or stay?  How much do I really want to know about the acting out?  Is there hope for recovery?  How do I take care of me?  What boundaries should I set?  Why should I work the 12 steps? I’m not the addict!  How do I practice self-care?  How much do the kids need to know?  How do I deal with my ward family?  What do I disclose to whom?  And another other subject that might be helpful.  Your story maybe of great value to others, would you consider sharing it?

If you have interest, please email me at roger “at” waterfallconcept.org.

 

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Disarming the Triggers

In the history of the recovery world, when the term “trigger” (an event or situation that causes acting out,) was brought into the lexicon, recovery helpers quickly adopted the concept. Everyone was talking about triggers and what to do about them. It got to the point that a recovery conversation didn’t go very far without triggers being brought up.  Many thought they now understood addiction because they understood triggers.

Some addicts even learned to use them as an excuse for addictive behavior, “While I didn’t intend to act out, when I saw that picture it just triggered me.”

I don’t talk much about triggers. I didn’t really realize that until an attendee at one of my seminars asked what he should be doing about his triggers. I have to admit that I had a little bit of a problem answering him because I was dealing with the realization that I don’t think in terms of triggers.  (My mind was racing on that subject instead of responding with full attention to him.)

But, here is my point:  If triggers are affecting us, there’s a whole bunch of recovery work we have not been doing. That “pre-trigger” place is where I choose to place my focus for recovery. Focus on how we conduct ourselves and manage our emotional life when there are no triggers present, when we are just living. It’s how we manage our lives when we we are “out of our addiction” that determines how vulnerable we are to triggers. If we can figure out that part of our lives, we can disarm the triggers. They will misfire. They will have no effect on us.

So here are some examples. Sex addict guy can spend a lot of time sexualizing things. When someone uses a word in a sentence with absolutely no sexual reference intended, SAG (sex addict guy) can turn it into a sexual joke. Someone might say,” I had a hard day at the office today.” SAG will respond with, “Oh, a HARD day, huh?  What did you do, look at porn?” Everything in his conversation is twisted to make sexual reference. There are constant running jokes about sexual activity in his conversation. His mind and his conversations are never far from sex.

Contrast SAG with a former addict who has learned to live in the moment and quiet his mind. His normal state of affairs, is to avoid sexual innuendo. He is not thinking about it, he is not reminded of it, is not laughing about it, it is simply not on his radar.

Suppose the 2 of them come upon a provocative scene. A potential “trigger” if you will. Which one will be impacted by the trigger? I guarantee you that SAG guy will be all over it. He will be triggered. Our 2nd fellow, if he has really mastered living in the moment, may not even be aware of it. But certainly he will be far far less affected by the scene.

Beer drinking dude, (BDD) is “triggered” by the sound of lawnmowers.  At least that is what he thinks.  The triggers work because he maintains some thinking errors.  In his heavy drinking days, nothing “tasted better” than a cold beer after mowing his rather large lawn on a hot day.  The sound of a lawn mower, makes his mouth water and long for a beer.

Here is the thinking error:  “A beer sure would taste good right now!” is not a completely true statement.  It ignores some realities that might leave a very bad taste in BDD’s mouth.  BDD is on probation for his 3rd DUI.  A beer violates his probation and could send him back to jail.  One beer for BDD has never been enough, there is always a second, and a third, and on until oblivion is reached.  Then BDD makes very bad decisions (like driving) that get him in trouble and usually in jail.

The truth about a beer right now is: “It can send me to jail, I won’t stop at one and I will end up in a lot of trouble.  I don’t need that anymore.  I don’t want anything to do with a beer right now.”  Fixing the thinking error will keep BDD safe even on a hot day when all the lawnmowers in the neighborhood are running.

Triggers are just too late. If we are trying to ward off our addictive behaviors at the trigger stage we are simply too late. And, probably a dollar short too.

 

Posted in Addiction, Attitudes of recovery, LDS Addiction Recovery, Pornography Addiction, Recovery Skills, Recovery Tool Kit, Relapse Prevention, Rules for Recovery, Sexual Addictions, Spouses & Family, Understanding Addiction | Leave a comment

This isn’t a little cleanup and coat of paint job…

Addicts generally come into addiction recovery, thinking that it is no big deal. The higher the intellect or IQ of an addict, the more likely they will believe that the war with addiction will be won in a matter of days or perhaps on the outside weeks.

Here’s the reality. If this were a remodeling project, (and in a very real way it is the rebuilding of a human being,) we would talk not in terms of paint, cleanup and decorating, but in the wholesale gutting of the building and the complete rebuilding of the infrastructure. If you are a ship we would put you in drydock. As a patient in the hospital you would be in intensive care.

This is the reality of recovery, we must make wholesale changes in the way we think, in the way we behave, and in what we believe about ourselves.

“Half measures avail us nothing.” In fact, I believe, that I can scientifically prove that three-quarter measures achieve us nothing either! This is an “all in” deal.

There is a reason we act out in our addictions. We have our own peculiar emotional benefits from using our drug of choice. We’re quite invested in the process, it means everything to us, it is how we manage our emotional lives. Giving that up is no small thing. My granddaughter resists with all the energy she has when she thinks I am trying to take her blanket away from her. Addicts don’t fare much better. When they are truly faced with giving up their addictive behaviors their resistance manifests very clearly.

Well, very clearly to everyone but the addict. You see the addict has a wonderful denial program built-in to the system that justifies, rationalizes, supports and protects the addiction. As one social commentator said when talking about the male reaction to suggestions that porn viewing may be harmful, “Men get angry when they think you’re taking away their porn.” All addicts feel that resistance, it can only be overcome by humility.

Addiction recovery is often the most difficult battle encountered over the lifetime. It will take all we have, in fact it takes more than we have. We only can make up the difference by relying on our higher power.

 

Posted in Addiction, Attitudes of recovery, Coming to Christ, LDS Addiction Recovery, Pornography Addiction, Recovery Skills, Rules for Recovery, Sexual Addictions, Understanding Addiction | Leave a comment

Mood Management

“My mind is a bad neighborhood that I try to not go into alone.”

While Anne Lamott’s humorous adage makes us smile, she does identify a significant problem for many: The moods found in the ‘hood of our mind can challenge our mental health, well-being and happiness.

They are pretty hard to totally avoid — the blahs, the blues, icky moods.

All are vulnerable. As psychcentral.com puts it, “Everyone experiences the blues because of troubling events such as the loss of a loved one, job difficulties, money problems, family issues or illness.” In some situations, like the grieving process, experiencing the blue moments leads to healing from our loss. But at other times, the blues and blahs insulate us from happiness and contentment.

Moods are a normal part of life. People who experience the blues aren’t broken, just normal. The key to a healthy, nurturing emotional health is to not get lost in, or overtaken by the blues. Many do the opposite, by way of their emotional management and inner-chatter or self-talk — they take to wallowing in their blue moods. Like throwing gas on the fire, the moods can then rage against them, incinerating happiness, confidence and sense of well-being.

Here are seven suggestions for healthy mood management:

Live in the moment: As the old saw goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Living in the moment reduces significantly our exposure to blue moments.

“Find the narrow gate that leads to life. It is called the Now,” is a wisdom of Eckhart Tolle, a “living in the moment” guru. “Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have.” When we bring ourselves into the present and truly experience each unique moment of our lives, we have no time for living in the past or future.

Living in the past generates guilt, shame and disappointment. Those lost in the future create anxiety and fear by their endless worry. Both past and future are petrie dishes for the blues. Tolle continues, “The greater part of human pain is unnecessary. It is self-created. Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose.”

Spend your emotional capitol living in the present moment, not in the past which we cannot change, or the future which is not yet real. The blues and blahs will visit far less often.

Exercise: “We often hear about the physical benefits of exercise (e.g., increasing heart health), less often are the psychological benefits promoted,” says the Association for Applied Sport Pyschology.” Yet, engaging in a moderate amount of physical activity will result in improved mood and emotional states. Exercise can promote psychological well-being as well as improve quality of life.”

Exercise is a mood buster. Along with “improved mood, increased ability to handle stress, and improved self esteem, exercise results in increased feelings of energy and the decrease in symptoms of depression.”

Even a brief walk at low intensity can improve mood and increase energy. As little as 10 minutes of aerobic exercise can have a positive effect. “For long-term benefits, exercise three times a week for 30 minutes per session at a moderate intensity,” says the Association for Applied Sport Pyschology. “Programs longer than 10 weeks work best for reducing symptoms of depression.”

Practice Service: Helpguide.org suggests, “Volunteering provides many benefits to both mental and physical health. Volunteering can provide a healthy boost to your self-confidence, self-esteem and life satisfaction. You are doing good for others and the community, which provides a natural sense of accomplishment.”

Service is helpful in combatting depression. “A key risk factor for depression is social isolation. Volunteering keeps you in regular contact with others and helps you develop a solid support system, which in turn protects you against stress and depression when you’re going through challenging times.”

Remember your 10 worst days: Sometimes feeling better is all about perspective. I keep a list of my 10 worst days on the wall above my desk. I review occasionally when things aren’t going so well. It has been years since I have added a new day to the Top 10. Reviewing the list gives me hope and courage. I survived all those days, some of them have turned out to be blessings. It helps me remember my own strengths, and encourages me that “this too shall pass.”

Reframing current moods in the context of our experience can have a therapeutic, mood-raising effect.

Watch your favorite movie: Sometimes I think that my son was raised by the high school football classic, “Remember the Titans.” He watched it countless times. One day I asked him why he watched it so often. His answer surprised me. “I just feel better after I watch it.” He had learned a way to regulate his mood.

Just the act of taking care of self by allowing the taking of time to watch one’s favorite movie can change mood. Many mothers especially feel endless demands on their time and energy. It can be waring. Taking a moment of enjoyment for self sends a rather clear message, “I deserve this, and I am worth it!” That very true statement, in and of itself, can be a mood buster.

Connect Spiritually: Connecting spiritually means much more than the Sunday school answers of pray, read the scriptures and go to church. It means contemplating your place in this universe, the wonder of life itself and the connection we all have as we walk this path. No matter what our sense of God or religion is, connecting to the powers that guide our universe can bring comfort, peace and serenity into our lives.

Take others with you: One of the 12 steps of the self-help movement challenges those working the steps to “share this message with others and practice these principles in all you do,” this is also an appropriate guide for accomplished “mood busters.” One of our human quirks is that we are often chameleons when it comes to mood. We tend to take on the mood of those around us, or at least be affected by them. By avoiding down moods and being healthy in our approach to life, we can effectively raise the mood of those in our sphere of influence.

Tuning forks pick up the vibrations of any other tuning fork and cannot avoid joining in. Being healthy and managing the elements that can create “bad” moods can be just as contagious among friends and associates. Eyore from “Winnie the Pooh” is known to be a mood killer for those he comes in contact with. Individuals that learn good mood management techniques are not. They serve as healthy emotional tuning forks whose “good vibrations” are shared by all that come in contact with them.

“Seven suggestions for escaping icky moods” published by ksl.com written by Roger.

Posted in Addiction, Coming to Christ, Healing Childhood Sex Abuse, LDS Addiction Recovery, Recovery Skills, Relapse Prevention, Self Esteem, Spouses & Family, Understanding Addiction | Leave a comment

When Food is the Addiction

As an addiction counselor, I frequently meet with skepticism when I refer to food addictions. “How can food be an addiction? Don’t we have to eat?” people ask. Well, yes. From our earliest moments of life, we eat and find comfort and nurturing in process the doing of it. But that doesn’t mean we can’t get the process all fouled up.

Stephanie Brown, Ph.D., defines addiction as, “The inability to predictably and consistently stop drinking, using drugs, eating, gambling, acting out sexually or other behaviors once started.” She continues with the statement, “Addiction can occur in what ever generates significant mood alteration.”

From our mother’s breast forward, eating fulfills a need and brings satisfaction, nurturing and comfort. As we age, we have the opportunity to explore the pleasures our palate can provide, thus enhancing the pleasure and mood-altering ability of eating.

The problem occurs when we move from self-nurturing to self-indulgence to compulsion. As Leon F. Seltzer, Ph.D., notes, “We may learn that, as a result of poor food choices or binge eating, we’ve developed diabetes or heart disease.”

Brown points out that the problem begins with with the process psychologists call “conditioning.” By repeatedly feeling relief from difficult feelings through the nurturing effect of food, “an emotional attachment, or relationship, if you will,” is formed, “an emotional bond to … food … that becomes a compulsive attachment.”

When eating becomes compulsive, we really begin to have problems. At this point when difficult feelings present themselves, our urge to eat is stronger than our will to say no. Even if we have decided to “do better,” our decision process is compromised and we are on the self-indulgence side of the equation. We will eat, not because we are hungry or need to, but simply because we feel compelled to.

It is a battle we will not win without making some changes. The emotional bond between difficult feelings and food overpowers us and must be extinguished if we want freedom from the compulsion. Since the bond was created over time and has possibly been practiced for many years, it’s not a simple process — especially if we happen to have some of the addictive personality traits.

The long-term solution is learning to make good food decisions and re-conditioning, but that doesn’t happen instantly, and usually can’t be accomplished without changes and some help.

Reversing the equation is the goal. We look for things that will raise our will and lower our urge so that we can write the equation as: The will to say no is greater than our urge to eat.

Here’s how: Structure is where we begin. Taking the decision out of our hands is a good way to stop making bad food decisions. That can be accomplished with structure. Plan the day’s eating in detail before it happens. If you don’t have a choice, you won’t make a bad one.

This isn’t a life-long commitment; the goal is to learn to make good food decisions. That’s why reworking our urge/will equation is a priority, but a “time-out” from decision making can create a safe haven, a more controlled environment, where that change can occur.

Food planning is a key component of the many weight loss programs on the market; Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, Weight Watchers and others all provide easy ways to plan food intake. These types of programs have a lot of benefits. One participant, Terryl, said, “One of the main things I got out of my Weight Watchers involvement was learning portion size: How to feel full and not deprived, and most importantly how to not over eat.”

Reframe you attitude about dieting. So many people spend a lot of emotional capitol lamenting what they are “losing” by going on a diet — the deprivation of it all. That regret or sense of loss stimulates resentment and other difficult feelings that, in turn, fuel our urge to eat. If we can eliminate the difficult feelings, we can diminish the urge substantially.

Focus instead on what you are gaining: a healthy new part of your lifestyle. Improved health, greater energy, improved self-esteem can all be by-products of a switch to healthy eating. There is much to celebrate!

Learn new eating skills. During this decision making “time-out” period, educate yourself about what a healthy eating lifestyle looks like. Learn about nutrition, appropriate potion size or perhaps new cooking skills for eating in a healthier way. Educate yourself so that you can maintain the weight loss you achieve.

Righting the equation: Raising the will and diminishing the urge. There are a number of things that can help us raise our will to say “no” to the inappropriate urge to eat. One is accountability. Joining a program that holds us accountable by weigh-ins can be very helpful. When the urge arises to go off our planned menu for the day, we can dispute that urge with the statement, “I could eat that, but I have a weigh-in tomorrow. I know I am down a couple of pounds and I don’t want to mess that up.”

Helpful support is another way of raising our will. Self help groups like Overeaters Anonymous provide safe, confidential, non-judgmental sources of understanding. They also provide a forum for venting difficult feelings and are a source of encouragement and support that strengthens participants.

Weight loss buddies can also be a great resource. Finding a partner with similar goals can provide a safe haven to vent frustrations and struggles and provide encouragement. Sometimes a telephone call when we are feeling tempted to go off diet can suck the life right out of an urge.

Disputing urges is a great skill for diminishing their power. In addiction recovery, we learn that all urges have a beginning, middle and an end. Sometimes we can out live them by just ignoring them. Other times we can challenge them with good disputations that put them in their place. “Yes, in my old days, I would eat all of that chocolate cake, but I am doing things differently now and I really like the results. That cake isn’t worth giving up how well I am doing.”

Don’t be discouraged by your slips. This is a process, not an event, and it takes time to accomplish. Consistent effort and resilience will see you through to new, healthy eating habits.

Published by ksl.com Page 2, written by Roger

Posted in Addiction, LDS Addiction Recovery, Recovery Skills, Relapse Prevention, Spouses & Family, Understanding Addiction | Leave a comment

Winning the day…

There is probably no more used and worn phrase in the recovery lexicon than “One day at a time.”  Yet seldom does a recovery discussion wander very far from it.  This one day we are living is where our recovery happens.

Tomorrow is not real.  We can not heal there.  Not yet.  Our chance will come when we get there.  Don’t allow your mind to escape to a fantasy future that you script, it is not connected to reality.

Yesterday has escaped us and remains unchangeable.  No new recovery can be gained by letting your mind live there.

So this is the day we must do the work.  This is the day we must win.  This is the day we must hold our selves accountable and stop our lying denial.  This is the day we must find a way to walk away from the urge.  This is the day we must replace dysfunction with healthy living.  This is the day we must heal our inner broken heart.

This is the day we must win. For the reality of it all is, this day, this moment, is all we have.

Posted in Addiction, Attitudes of recovery, Coming to Christ, LDS Addiction Recovery, Pornography Addiction, Recovery Skills, Recovery Tool Kit, Relapse Prevention, Self Esteem, The 12 Steps, Understanding Addiction | Leave a comment

Be Not Afraid…Be Not Dismayed.

Please consider the following points about how we might better manage our emotional lives  This is the outline for part of a recent presentation.

Be Not Afraid: The Lord has said, Fear thou not; for I am with thee…I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. (Isaiah 41:10)

Defining Be not afraid:  A feeling of agitation and anxiety , of disquiet or apprehension   A reason for dread or apprehension.  Fright, dread, terror, panic, alarm, dismay, consternation, trepidation.

Often fear is self generated:  If you take each challenge one step at a time, with faith in every footstep, your strength and understanding will increase. You cannot foresee all of the turns and twists ahead. My counsel to you is to follow the direction of the Savior of the world: “Be not afraid, only believe. (James E. Faust, “Pioneers of the Future: ‘Be Not Afraid, Only Believe’,” Ensign, Nov 1997, 42)(Mark 5:36)

Our emotional storms interfere with our reception of the Spirit:  As problems and difficulties have come in my life since, I have tried to face them as best I could, relying more on the help of our Heavenly Father than the comfort from tears. I learned the lesson that life’s burdens don’t seem to be so great if we don’t allow ourselves to get paralyzed into a stupor of inactivity by our sorrow and pain. As children of our Heavenly Father, we should learn to be happy, to trust in Him, and to not be afraid. (James E. Faust, “Be Not Afraid,” Liahona, Oct 2002, 3)

Our inner dialogue can hurt or help us:  You talk to yourself constantly…and you become the architect and creator of the emotions you later experience through this self-talk.  Emotions do not come as the result of an observation or an experience but rather as the result of the things we say to ourselves about those…situations. (Marilyn J. Sorensen, Phd, Breaking the Chain of Low Self-Esteem, Wolf Publishing Co., Sherwood, OR, 1998)

Develop a willing heart:  ..willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him...(Mosiah 3:19)

He asks for childlike submission and willingness:  …Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:1-3)

Learn to quiet yourself:  Somewhat to my surprise, I found myself praying, “Heavenly Father, it doesn’t matter what I want. I don’t care anymore what I want. I only want that Thy will be done. That is all that I want. Please tell me what to do.”  In that moment I felt as quiet inside as I had ever felt…(Henry B. Eyring, “As a Child,” Ensign, May 2006.)

Be Not Dismayed..The Lord has said, ...be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. (Isaiah 41:10)

Defining Dismayed:  To destroy the courage or resolution of by exciting apprehension.  To cause to lose enthusiasm; disillusion:  To upset or alarm.  A sudden or complete loss of courage in the face of trouble or danger, The sense of dread, or consternation.

As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he. (Prov. 23: 7)

Sometimes we think too much:  It is rudimentary LDS doctrine that we are a spirit child of Heavenly Father that has been placed here on earth in a physical body to gain the experience and lessons of life.  The body was provided to help and house our spirits in this process.  The body is really a “tool” of the spirit, a tool that creates our presence and allows the interactions necessary in God’s plan for us.  If the body is the tool, the spirit is surely meant to be the operator of the tool.  The spirit should be in charge of managing, directing, and using the tool.  Very, very often it is not.

Creating mental storms:  When we fall victim to our own compulsive thoughts we create emotional storms of anxiety, fear, depression, etc.  Those storms of emotion disrupt our connection with self.    We get lost in them. We lose our ability to be in and experience the present moment. Like violent thunderstorms or tornados these emotional storms can lay us emotionally desolate, unable to nurture our connection with the spirit.

Our thoughts shape our lives… James Allen has expressed it this way in his book As a Man Thinketh:  “As the plant springs from, and could not be without, the seed, so every act of a man springs from the hidden seeds of thought, and could not have appeared without them. This applies equally to those acts called ‘spontaneous’ and ‘unpremeditated’ as to those which are deliberately executed.  “In the armoury of thought he forges the weapons by which he destroys himself; he also fashions the tools with which he builds for himself heavenly mansions of joy and strength and peace. (L. Tom Perry, “Discipleship,” Ensign, Nov 2000)

The Savior offers the solution:  O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments—then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea” (1 Nephi 20:18; see also  Isaiah 48:18).  The words of Lehi are a clarion call to all men and boys of the priesthood. Said he with great conviction: “Awake, my sons; put on the armor of righteousness. Shake off the chains with which ye are bound, and come forth out of obscurity, and arise from the dust” (2 Nephi 1:23).  (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Rise Up, O Men of God,” Ensign, Nov 2006, 59–61)

Living in the LDS NOW!  Sometimes we get lost in the past, reliving, remembering, sometimes we get lost in the future with worry and anxiety…now, this present moment is where we can most effectively live our lives.  The past is history we can not change it.  The future does not exist yet, it is not real.  Only now can we live and act and grow.  Only now can we access the Saviors love.

“The spirit and the body are the soul of man” (D&C 88:15.):  Both are of great importance. Since thoughts precede deeds, you must first learn to control your thoughts. (Russel M Nelson, Self-Mastery, ensign, Nov 1985) The doctrine explained in the scriptures, the revelations, tells us that we are dual beings. We know there is a spirit and a body. “The spirit and the body [when they are eternally combined, become] the soul of man”   So there are two parts of you. There is a spirit inside of a body. (Boyd K. Packer, “The 20-Mark Note,” NewEra, Jun 2009, 2–6)

The spirit should be the operator: Put yourself in the position of operator of the tool.  Consider your body and mind as tools of your spirit.  Be the watcher or observer.

This moment is all we really have:  This moment, right now, is the oasis between the anxiety of the future and our depression of the past.  This is the moment in which we live our lives, this moment is the one in which we access the Saviors love.

Seek ye first the kingdom of God…Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?  And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin; And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of these.  Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient is the day unto the evil thereof.  (3 Nephi 13: 26-34)


 


Posted in Addiction, Attitudes of recovery, Coming to Christ, LDS Addiction Recovery, Recovery Skills, Recovery Tool Kit, Relapse Prevention, Self Esteem, Sexual Addictions, Understanding Addiction | Leave a comment

I want what I want, when I want it…The Addict’s Mantra

An addict’s mantra is, “I want what I want when I want it,” and his or her emotion-based decision-making process is driven by it. The urge to use drugs has become stronger than the will to say “no,” and it results in the continual response of behavior based on placating self. Once addicts find themselves in full-blown addiction, they don’t concern themselves with the needs of others. They get lost in themselves and their gratification.

Heavenly Father has a different model in mind for us.

Elder James E. Faust said, “In this life we have to make many choices. Some are very important choices. Some are not. Many of our choices are between good and evil. The choices we make, however, determine to a large extent our happiness or our unhappiness, because we have to live with the consequences of our choices. Making perfect choices all of the time is not possible. It just doesn’t happen. But it is possible to make good choices we can live with and grow from. When God’s children live worthy of divine guidance they can become ‘free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon.’”

The spiritually based decision-making process Elder Faust describes (with Nephi’s help) leads to a life where each choice is made freely, without the interference of compulsion. One is able to “act for themselves and not to be acted upon.”

In a spiritually based decision-making process the will does not get compromised. Instead, an individual can make “choices we can live with and grow from” that avoid the difficult consequences of addiction.

President Ezra Taft Benson taught what a spiritually based decision-making process looks like. He suggested the following six questions as a guide in decision-making:

1. Is it contrary to the revealed will or commandments of God?

2. Could it harm any individual, family or group?

3. Would the decision make (me) a better person?

4. Could it retard or injure spiritual or moral growth?

5. Could it create unhappy or unpeaceful memories?

6. Could a blessing be derived from this particular action?

Elder Boyd K. Packer suggests more help in establishing a spiritually based decision-making process, especially when making major decisions:

“Work it out in your own mind first. Ponder on it and analyze it and meditate on it. Read the scriptures. Pray about it. I’ve come to learn that major decisions can’t be forced. You must look ahead and have vision. Ponder on things a little each day…measure the problem against what you know to be right and wrong and then make a decision. Then ask Him if the decision is right or if it is wrong.”

Making this change in the decision-making process is a critical step for addicts seeking recovery. The “how” of it, however, often feels impossible. Compulsions reinforced over time can be very difficult to break or extinguish. The will to change becomes very weak.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland provides an answer in his directions for bringing one’s self to Christ:

“We must change anything we can change that may be part of the problem. In short we must repent….We thank our Father in Heaven we are allowed to change, we thank Jesus we can change, and ultimately we do so only with their divine assistance. Anything we can change we should change, and we must forgive the rest. In this way our access to the Savior’s Atonement becomes as unimpeded as we, with our imperfections, can make it. He will take it from there.”

As the addict begins to “change anything we can change that may be part of the problem,” a move from selfishness to accountability occurs. Accountability allows for “access to the Savior’s Atonement,” as Elder Holland says, and “it becomes as unimpeded as we…can make it.”

The atonement is the healing, through divine assistance, that strengthens the will and diminishes the urges of addiction. These changes result in a transformation in the decision-making process, moving it from being emotionally based to spiritually based.

From Yourldsblog.com a part of Your LDS Neighborhood News written by roger posted1/9/2012.

Posted in Addiction, Attitudes of recovery, Coming to Christ, LDS Addiction Recovery, Pornography Addiction, Recovery Skills, Relapse Prevention, Rules for Recovery, Sexual Addictions, Spouses & Family, The 12 Steps, Understanding Addiction | Leave a comment