Since September, I’ve spotlighted different steps in the LDS 12 Step Addiction Recovery Program. I have found these steps and videos very inspiring. Though they were made with the intent to help addicts of drugs, pornography and other binding vices recover and regain joy, they can be used by anyone. I call them Repentance Recovery steps. All of us sin or struggle with bad habits. This program can help get us back on track. My daughter and I have used this program to overcome our nail-biting habit we hate, but can’t seem to kick.
Today I want to touch on the last 2 steps: Personal Revelation and Service.
Step 11: Personal Revelation
KEY PRINCIPLE: Seek through prayer and meditation to know the Lord’s will and gain the power to carry it out.
The Church’s belief in personal revelation sets us apart from other Christian sects. We believe that through prayer, study, and sincere repentance, we can come to know exactly what the Lord would have us do in our lives.
Seeking personal revelation helps anyone recovering from sins or addictions to stay upon the ‘straight and narrow.’ Personal revelatory experiences help us live so that our lives reflect the prophetic counsel of President Ezra Taft Benson:
The constant and most recurring question in our minds, touching every thought and deed of our lives, should be, ‘Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?’ (Acts 9:6.) The answer to that question comes only through the Light of Christ and the Holy Ghost. Fortunate are those who so live that their being is filled with both(“Jesus Christ—Gifts and Expectations,” Ensign, Dec. 1988, 2).
In step 11, we make a lifelong commitment to seek one day at a time to know the Lord’s will and to have the courage and power to carry it out.
We study the scriptures because they testify of Him in every instance, especially the Book of Mormon. In testimony after testimony, the prophets of the Book of Mormon describe seeking and finding a better understanding of the Father through the Holy Ghost.
We engage in mighty prayer to pour out our hearts to God in gratitude for Jesus Christ and for the Holy Ghost, and to ask for His power and direction to guide us in all our actions.
As we work to apply step 11, we will come to realize even more that through the Holy Ghost we will receive knowledge or revelation of the Father’s will for us. Through the Atonement, we will have the power (or grace) to carry out His will. We will have eyes to see our blessings, and ears to hear what God would want us to do.
As we keep ourselves free from our addictions/sins, we will be more able to receive the guidance of the Holy Ghost. Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve taught:
The Holy Ghost will protect us against being deceived, but to realize that wonderful blessing we must always do the things necessary to retain that Spirit. We must keep the commandments, pray for guidance, and attend church and partake of the sacrament each Sunday. And we must never do anything to drive away that Spirit. Specifically, we should avoid pornography, alcohol, tobacco, and drugs, and always, always avoid violations of the law of chastity. We must never take things into our bodies or do things with our bodies that drive away the Spirit of the Lord and leave us without our spiritual protection against deception (in Conference Report, Oct. 2004, 49; or Ensign, Nov. 2004, 46).
Step 12: Service
KEY PRINCIPLE: Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, share this message with others and practice these principles in all you do.
To remain free of addiction/sin, we must get outside ourselves and serve. The desire to help others is a natural result of spiritual awakening.
After struggling through a particular challenge or addiction, we gain insight into how to overcome it and we feel empathy for those who suffer similarly as we once did. With the power of God behind us, we can reach out with hope to other addicts, or afflicted and troubled people who are willing to consider a spiritual approach to changing their lives.
The message is that God is a God of miracles, just as He has always been (see Moroni 7:29). Our lives prove that. Sharing this message and our journey with others strengthens our testimony of Jesus Christ’s power and deepens our understanding and desire to stay on the straight and narrow path back to Him. President Ezra Taft Benson taught:
Men and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, raise up friends, and pour out peace. Whoever will lose his life in the service of God will find eternal life (“Jesus Christ—Gifts and Expectations,” Ensign, Dec. 1988, 4).
Enlightening Book on Addiction
I recently finished a fictional story about a marriage in crisis. Shattered Hearts discussed the subject matter of pornography in a very honest, eye-opening, inspiring way. As Sarah discovers that her husband of 15 years is viewing pornography, she feels betrayed. The story shows both Sarah’s and Daniel’s journeys as they struggle to heal, forgive, repent, forsake, and regain joy in their life.
The Church’s 12-Step plan is shown in practical application through Daniel struggling to overcome his addiction (once he is honest and seeks help) and shows how Sarah must use the steps as well to heal herself so that bitterness and anger do not sweep her away into misery. It’s a book I highly recommend if you or someone you love struggles with pornography. It is the plague of the modern day, and educating ourselves about it can help us fight its addicting influence and strengthen our families.
Enduring to the End
The principles taught in the 12-Step Program are inspired of God. I testify that they will help all of us return to Him and find joy in our lives again. Mortality can be tough, especially when sin binds us down to the author of misery, but using these steps, we can return to the straight and narrow path that leads to God and endure to the end…and we can do so with joy.