The Recovery Phase is change making. We have come to a point of understanding how our behaviors have affected ourselves and others, and it is not a pretty picture. Through the doorway of godly sorrow, we develop the desire to make things right. Recovery is the process of making amends and remaking ourselves. It is about change and reinvention, we are seeking…to be reconciled to God; for we know He is the source of our healing, after all we can do. (2 Nephi 25: 23) This is when we do all we can do. Do our part of the work. Put in the needed effort. The required commitment overwhelms many. We still have life to live, jobs to maintain, family to care for, bills to pay, and responsibilities to meet. Remaking ourselves on the fly, is not easy. The low success rates indicate how difficult a task it is.
We have two goals. The first is to extinguish the bond that we have formed between our emotions or feelings and our drug of choice. The second part of the goal is to find Christ and bring ourselves to Him. Both require sobriety and learning new life skills. To achieve them, We must change anything we can change that may be part of the problem. (Holland, 2006)
To extinguish the existing bond between emotions and our acting out, we must find new, healthy ways to process difficult emotions. Over time we extinguish the old bonds by establishing healthy new emotional bonds in their place. Healthy, is the key word here, many addicts fall into the cross addiction trap and just find a new addictive response to their problematic emotions. Addicts also need to remember Carnes’ warning: Significant shifts have occurred…Compulsive use always remains an option. (Carnes, 1992) We can always, easily, fall back into our addiction even after years of sobriety.
The second goal of Recovery Phase, finding Christ and bringing ourselves to Him, is about healing. It is our experience and relationship with Him that is the source of the mending and healing we seek. We seek to qualify for the words He spoke to the Nephites, for I see that your faith is sufficient that I should heal you. (3 Nephi 17: 8)
Elder Jeffery R. Holland teaches how we come to Christ: The easiest and the earliest [step to Christ] comes simply with the desire of our heart, the most basic form of faith that we know. “If ye can no more than desire to believe,” Alma says, exercising just “a particle of faith,” giving even a small place for the promises of God to find a home—that is enough to begin…that simple step, when focused on the Lord Jesus Christ,…[is] the first step out of despair.
Second, 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.
Third, in as many ways as possible we try to take upon us His identity, and we begin by taking upon us His name…. Above all else, loving with “the pure love of Christ,” that gift that “never faileth,” that gift that “beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, [and] endureth all things.(Moroni 7: 45-47) Soon, with that kind of love, we realize…that every time we reach out, however feebly, for Him, we discover He has been anxiously trying to reach us. (Holland, 2006)
The Recovery Phase is concerned with following the steps outlined by Elder Holland: find faith in Him, change everything we can that might be part of the problem, take His name upon ourselves, submit to His will and develop the pure love of Christ in our lives. That will put us in the Waters of Recovery that surround the Savior.
The benchmark which helps us know we are succeeding, and that our recovery is happening, is after sustained sobriety, we can establish and maintain what we come to know as serenity. That sweet, calming influence, that gentle, kind spirit, that profound feeling of peace and comfort, the knowledge that all is well, the very feeling of the pure love of Christ, directed by Him to us.
Blessings to all, roger