Friday, December 13, 2013

To the Wives of Addicts from an Addict

In my study this morning, I read this "O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted!" (3 Nephi 22:11). My first thought when I read this is that it is a perfect description of someone who is dealing with the addiction of a loved one. As I continued to think on this, I began to understand more about how many ways we, as addicts, contribute to your affliction. I thought about how we add to the tempests in your life and how we are not there to comfort you when you need it. With that in mind, I would like to offer my apologies.

First, I am sorry for all of the lies. You willingly gave yourselves to us. You deserve for us to give you ourselves in return. Instead, you got a bunch of lies and half-truths. We lied to you from the beginning. In fact, we lied to you so many times, we began to believe some of those lies, but the reality is that none of them were true. We were lying to ourselves at the same time we were lying to you.

I am also sorry for the damage we have done to your self-worth. We should have been the ones building you up. We should have been your best support. Instead, by our words and actions you made you feel like you weren't good enough, pretty enough, sexy enough, or any number of ways we made you feel like your worth was less than it really is. The truth is you are daughters of God. Your worth is infinite and eternal, and we have no right to make you feel that you are less than you truly are.

I'm sorry for the separation we have caused. You are our wives. You are the ones we should be most involved with, but due to our choices, we have caused an emotional separation between us and you. We have been withdrawn from you when you needed to feel closeness. We have kept a part of ourselves back from you when we covenanted to give our whole selves to you.

I am sorry for not supporting you. You depend on us to help you and lift you, but our addiction has held us back. When you needed us most, we were not there for you either physically, because we were in the midst of acting out in our addiction, or emotionally, because we were dealing with the internal turmoil created by our actions.

I know this is not a complete list of the many ways we have harmed you, but please accept this sincere attempt from one addict to begin the process of repairing the damage we have done. You are truly angels in our lives. We do not deserve your love and goodness, and you do not deserve the torment we have put you through. This may not always be clear to us when we are in the depths of our addiction, but in our moments of clarity, we recognize how wonderful you are and how much we have come to rely on you for our strength.

I would like to leave you with the words of Isaiah that come just a few verses after where I started today. "In righteousness shalt thou be established" (3 Nephi 22:14). You are simply amazing. You will be exalted because of your righteousness, and I hope that we come to our senses and join you on that journey.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Dailies

When I first started to recognize my addiction, I started to read as much as I could find. Some of the greatest sources of comfort to me were the blogs of other LDS addicts and their spouses. One of the concepts that I kept reading about but didn't really understand was the concept of "Dailies".

As I got into a recovery program, I began to understand that dailies are the things we do each day in order to overcome our addiction. Even at this point, I still did not truly understand the concept of dailies. In fact, I am still learning more about this each day.

I started with a daily routine of prayer and scripture study. I later added meditation and a daily planning session to set goals for the day. The problem was, I was doing these things as a method of fighting against my addiction. The problem is that fighting against this addiction does not work.

The further I get into recovery, the more I understand that the battle over my addiction has already been fought and won. I was never even a participant in this battle. The battle over my addiction was won by my Savior, Jesus Christ, through the power of His infinite Atonement.

My daily routine is not a matter of fighting the battle. It is a matter of choosing which side I am on. I place myself on the side of the victor or of the defeated by my actions each day. This is a choice I have to make every day. That is what the concept of dailies means to me now.

I study my scriptures each day because I love my Savior and I want to be closer to Him. I pray each day to develop a relationship with my Father in heaven. I meditate each day to train my mind to focus on those things which are of the greatest importance and to teach me to give my full attention to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. I set goals each day to help me move in the direction I want to go to be able to return to live with those I love and am learning to love more each day.

The wonderful thing about this is that, as I turn my life to my Father and my Savior in this manner, I am supported and sustained by them. I am able to withstand the challenges that face me each day because I choose to put myself on their side.