12 stepsIt has been my privilege to be a participant in the LDS family Services Addiction Recovery Program. I attended at first as a person in recovery trying to find answers and help fighting my demon. I had had the experience of attending several other self help recovery groups that utilized the 12 Steps, I had both obtained a sponser and worked the steps in those groups. I found them to be very helpful in helping establish sobriety and completing the beginning parts of my recovery.

One of the things that is accomplished in a 12 Step support group is helping the addict realize that they are not alone and that many others have the same type of struggle. Addicts love isolation, they often need it to act out, but that isolation is a road block to healing, we don’t recover alone. We need the loving support and service of others and more importantly the opportunity to serve others to find and build our own recovery.

Support groups then provide us the vehicle to accomplish those very important steps in healing. Coming to understand that we are not some sort of freak of nature and that our addiction struggle is shared by others is the beachhead upon which we can re-establish hope. Hope is an early casualty of addiction. We try to stop or control our use only to find it is no longer within our power. The urge to use has grown stronger than our will to say no. The Recovery Program meetings are often the place where hope is felt by the addict for the first time in a very long time.

Another valuable gift of the Recovery Program is establishing relationships that give us added strength. The success of others is incredibly helpful in encouraging our own healing. We also find allies whom we can call on in moments of struggle. By reaching out to our program friends in moments of trial we often gain strength against our enemy. Kill your secrets and you kill the addiction, is a recovery slogan. When we can share our struggle with another, our demon is often disarmed and loses power over us.

I could probably go on and list other valuable products of the Recovery Program meetings. But one other reason stands above all others, and is the real reason the Recovery Program meetings help addicts. It is the profound presence of the Spirit found in those meetings. It really lies beyond my ability to describe. But my experience has been, and I have talked with many others that feel the same way, that our Saviors presence is felt in remarkably powerful ways by everyone that sits around that table. Feeling that love changes you. The understanding that He is aware of you and your struggle, that He is there with outstretched arms, gives us a strength we can gain in no other way.

I lost sight of that principle when I was first called to act as a facilitator for the group. I had been itching to teach the group some of the things I had learned in my practice as a clinician treating addicts. I was disappointed in the results. “My” meeting didn’t go very well. When I found the wisdom to create an appropriate setting for the spirit and get out of the way, “His” meetings became very successful.

It is very humbling to witness His love and spiritual outpouring on behalf of those locked in this great battle. Many lack empathy for the addicts self-indulgence. The Savior does not. He offers His love and healing to all who would turn and move toward Him. In the end, He is the reason that Recovery Meetings really work.