Thoughts on Step 1 from the 12 Steps of AA or ARP

One of my last posts was on the power of the 10th step.  It’s still one of my favorites and I use it all of the time.  But all of the steps are powerful and they have deep meaning for me.  Overcoming an addiction is a literal battle.  But not one fought person to person.  Rather it’s one you fight within yourself and with the help of caring friends and ultimately a loving God — or a higher power according to your own understanding.  I’m going to write about each of the steps and thought I’d go back to the beginning and start at one.  Which was the beginning of my journey to true sobriety as well. Continue reading

Relapse

I’ve always wondered what would happen and what I would do if I ever relapsed.  Unfortunately (or fortunately?) I can now answer that question.  When I first went through the 12 steps almost 2 years ago I had such a miraculous spiritual transformation I was convinced I would never struggle again.  And then I quickly realized that struggle was part of the human experience but as long as I stayed true to the maintenance steps I would struggle but with the help of God, not fall.  I read that half of addicts struggle to gain full sobriety off and on for a number of years before finally finding recovery and staying recovered the rest of their lives.  I was so thankful that wasn’t going to be me, or so I thought. Continue reading

Have a plan when you go on vacation and stick to it!

Two weeks ago when I left on vacation I was committed to following my plan to make sure that I studied my scriptures at least 15 minutes a day — most likely in the evening.  This would be the difference in my plan this time versus all of the times in the past.  Usually when I go on vacation I’m fairly triggered by the end of it and that would always frustrate me.  After analyzing past experiences, I realized that it was because I wasn’t doing my morning studies which would result in me being more tempted, more frustrated, and more manic by the end of the trip.  But this time would be different. Continue reading

A year and a half later I still reach out to my sponsor

Last week was a difficult week for me.  I was struggling with stress from work, the time I was spending with my recovery groups, time with family, time with church obligations, and on top of that I felt like I was not giving enough attention and effort to my relationship with my wife.  I felt like I was crumbling underneath it all and not doing well in any one of them.  I was beginning to feel self-pity, resentment, fear, and anger.  I ignored it for a few days, but finally I found the humility to admit that I was once again powerless over this struggle and needed to reach out to someone immediately.  Continue reading

The most hope filled 12 step meeting I’ve attended!

This last Sunday evening at my LDS Addiciton Recovery 12 step Meeting we had a visiting leader as the normal leader was out of town.  At the close of the meeting the leader will usually share a thought he has prepared for the night.  What set this time apart from the others is the visiting leader was a recovered pornography addict himself.  You could have heard a pin drop in the room it was so silent.  We hung on every single word he uttered!  It was amazing.  He had us all with his first line, “Brethren, I don’t know if you know this or not, but you are the cream of the crop!  You truly are.” Continue reading

Why do we try to drive the bus when we’re blind?

A friend of mine asked me this question last night in our 12 step meeting. He had recently slipped up and was frustrated with how he got there and how long it took him to get back on the right path.  He said it was like riding in a Bus with God.  When we are willing to let God drive the bus He knows exactly where to go and will get us there safely and on time.  But we usually start to get agitated at the route or the speed and decide we’d be better off as the driver and eventually we push God out of the drivers seat and take over.  But what we don’t realize is that we’re actually blind and can’t even see where we’re going.  So we bump into trees and light poles along the way until finally, we realize how foolish we’re being and we humble ourselves and ask God to drive the bus again.  He’s happy to do it as soon as we ask.  And He is so patient with us.  He doesn’t berate us or punish us (we did that to ourselves as we drove around bumping into things) — He only loves us.  He always loves us.  And He is a great bus driver! Continue reading

Sometimes I just want to be normal

Every now and again I have a bit of a pity party.  It’s the one that goes like this, “Why did this happen to me?  Why can’t I be like normal people?  Why do I have to work the 12 steps the rest of my life?”

Can you hear the baby crying in the background?  Because I can.  I don’t know how often this happens, and I would say that it’s happening less and less, but it still happens.  Usually around the same time I start softening my bottom lines, quit doing daily study and meditation, or stop calling a friend to do 10th steps.  Coincidence?  I think not.

Continue reading

Day 9 of 30: A Friend’s Journey to Recovery

Two days ago I read a friend’s blog about her progress on her own recovery and was absolutely blown away at the power of her story!  It’s been amazing to see her progress and watch the 12 steps working in her life.  She is completely different from when I started following her blog and I’m sure there was plenty of growth before that and certainly there will be plenty of growth moving forward!  THAT is the power of the 12 step program!  I am not kidding, it literally has the power to change who we are.  We become different people than we once were.  We’re less selfish.  We’re more confident.  We’re free of our burdens and able to turn our attention to the needs of others.  We heal.  We grow.  We share our stories with others.  If you’ve been stuck on your own program or have wondered if a 12 step can work for you, read this snapshot into the journey of my friend’s recovery.  It is amazing! Continue reading

Day 6 of 30: Working with Others

This morning I re-read Chapter 7 in the AA Big Book titled “Working with Others”.  The very first sentence of the chapter boldly declares a primary key to continued sobriety:  “Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from [acting out] as intensive work with other [addicts].”  As recovered/recovering addicts we can help other addicts like no one else can.  Helping someone else achieve sobriety and ultimately beat their addiction is one of the greatest joys for a fellow addict.  This chapter has some great advice on how to help others as well as some important cautionary measures to be sure you take. Continue reading

Day 3 of 30: Keys to Recovery

Over the last several years I’ve studied multiple books including He Did Deliver Me from Bondage, the AA Big Book and the Addiction Recovery Program Manual.  I’ve also met with a private counselor, held a private recovery group at my house, attended LDS Addiction Recovery group meetings, and attended SAA Primary Purpose meetings.  Fairly early on I took notes from each of these meetings and I would underline passages in the books and write in the columns.  Every now and again I would come across something that really changed my way of thinking or lead to a new pattern of behavior or was literally the key to my transformation from an addict to a recovered addict (I highlighted it by writing KEY in the book).  Over the next few days I will occasionally list those “KEY” experiences.  Hopefully you find them useful for your own journey to freedom from addiction. Continue reading