What Works?

In a meeting with my bishop last week, he stated that he had seen a change in me.  He asked me what was different this time, as opposed to previous times when I had tried to repent.

Here are some of the things that came to my mind:

This is an Addiction: I finally realized what I had never understood before.  I have an addiction.  It is not just a “bad habit.” I now recognize that I was, and am, powerless over this addiction. Also based on study, I now better understand how addictions affect the brain, our thought processes, feelings and emotions. And just that knowledge has helped.

I Need to Surrender: To overcome this addiction I need to surrender my will to that of my Savior. Only He can fight this battle for me. If I try to fight it by myself I will always loose.

Dailies are Called Dailies for a Reason: I now have things I do every day. When I wake up in the morning I roll out of bed onto my knees. I thank Heavenly Father for a good night’s sleep and then ask to have His spirit to be with me as I study the scriptures. I then grab my smart phone and a hard copy of Preach My Gospel and climb back into bed. I then look up scriptures referenced in Preach My Gospel using the Gospel Library App on my smart phone. Often I will highlight those scriptures if I have not already done so.  After spending half an hour in the scriptures, I get down on my knees at the foot of my bed and have a real prayer.

My Prayers are Totally Different: My prayers are totally different now. I used to just pray using “lists.” I had a mental list for things I was thankful for, a list of people to bless, a list of things I wanted help with, etc. I now try to tell Heavenly Father what I am feeling, the challenges I face; my hopes and my dreams. I still try to fit in items from my “lists,” but they come second to my “conversation” with the Lord.  I also pray out loud. That has been a real but positive change for me.

I Attend 12 Step Meetings: For the last almost 14 months I have been attending at a 12 Step meeting each Wednesday. These meetings have had a huge influence on helping me to change. I have real heroes in those meetings! I feel the Spirit when I’m there! To me the Spirit I feel there is second only to the Spirit I feel in the temple. To emphasize the importance of those meetings in my life, I have only missed three Wednesday night meetings since I began.  As soon as Sunday is over, I look forward to Wednesday night.  Many of the changes I have made in my life are a direct result of comments and suggestions from my heroes in these meetings. And recently I started attending a couple of additional 12 Step meetings a week.

I Attend the Temple Weekly: I have a short term goal to attend the temple weekly. It has been a source of comfort and inspiration. I also make it a point to put names on the prayer roll each time I attend. Some of those names are family members and others are names of guys I know from the 12 Step Program. Even if I don’t know their last names, Heavenly Father knows who they are.

I Have a Support Person: I now have a real support person. I say real, because for several months I used a therapist as a support person. But that’s not an ideal arrangement. I try to report in to my support person daily and meet with him in person once a week. And I know if I needed him he would be there. I would never consider calling a therapist daily. Plus my therapist has never been addicted. That makes a big difference. My support person is also one of my heroes and I want to follow his example.

The 12 Steps Work: I found out that if I really try to work the 12 Steps that they will work for me. I haven’t gotten to Step 12 yet, but I am trying to be thorough in working on each step. I think I need to go back to steps 1, 2, and 3 often to remind myself that I cannot do this by myself.  And I know that even when I get to Step 12 I will still need to work on all the steps.

I Recognize Tender Mercies: Over the last couple of months I have become acutely aware of the many tender mercies that are constantly happening in my life. I think just the fact that I can now recognize them and give credit where credit is due—to the Lord, has been a positive influence helping me change.

I Am Beginning to Recognize My Character Weaknesses: This part is scary. I know I have lots of character weaknesses. And I am just starting to recognize them. I wish I didn't have so many and they are so well developed. I have been perfecting them my whole life. Here are just a few:

Until recently I was oblivious to the extent of these weaknesses in my life, and the need to change. I now know, without a doubt, that I cannot overcome them by myself. I really do need the Lord to remove them from me. I really do want Him to change me from the inside out.
The following are links to related posts on these same subjects:

  1. Addiction:
    The Science of Pornography Addiction
    Throwing Marbles at a Battleship
    Am I Addicted?
  2. Surrender:
    Healing = Courage + Action + Grace
    The Continuous Atonement
  3. Dailies
    Regular Maintenance
    Early Morning Scripture Study
  4. Prayers
    How My Prayers Have Changed
    Don't Let Your Prayers Get in the Way *
  5. 12 Step Meeting & Brotherhood
    We Desperately Need Each Other
    Fighting Lust with Intimacy *
    Recovery Is Like A Jigsaw Puzzle
    The Importance of a Text Message
    Friendship among Brothers
  6. Character Weaknesses
    Step 6 and The Iceberg
    Finally Completing Step 6
  7. Tender Mercies
    Multiple Posts


Michael said...

Awesome!! I love what you wrote about allowing the Savior to fight your battles for you. I can't get enough of that concept. It's truly liberating and fills me with hope. Glad to hear you're receiving recovery!

Unknown said...

Wow--awesome work on those links. I'm familiar with a few, but I'm going to have to spend some time to look through all of them.

I agree with your statement about the spirit in recovery meetings. This week when I got out of the meeting I felt such love and excitement that I would have described it as a holy/spiritual experience.