Originally published: May 10th 2020
I have been suffering from addiction for nearly 20 years. My addiction began out of curiosity and was fueled by secrecy, rebellion, and the high. In taking the first step to be honest, I had to be honest with the one person I’ve deceived the longest, myself.
Step 1 – HONESTY
KEY PRINCIPLE: Admit that you, of yourself, are powerless to overcome your addictions and that your life has become unmanageable
The ARP manual is located at the end of this post or available here.
I did not realize that my dishonesty with myself and others solidfied my addiction. I’ve not met a single person who didn’t first decieve themselves before becoming addicted to some substance or harmful habit later.
Overcoming Addiction One Step at a Time
Because I was addicted to multiple substances and harmful habits, I couldn’t see where I was or where I needed to go. I couldn’t see I was miserable. I couldn’t see my addiction lead my life and that I was no longer in control of my fate.
Russell M. Nelson of the [Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] observed: “Addiction surrenders later freedom to choose. Through chemical means, one can literally become disconnected from his or her own will” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1988, 7; or Ensign, Nov. 1988, 7).
Once I began being honest with myself, I realized I wanted a family. I wanted to be with people I trusted, and I wanted to be trusted. I wanted a husband I knew was honest, and I wanted all of this for the children I would bring into this world too. It was a hard decision to disconnect from those tying me to my addiction, but to this day, I can’t believe where I am, and I know I didn’t get here on my own.
I chose to follow the ARP’s manual to my best ability, I attended meetings in person, and I listened to the videos and life stories of recovering addicts. After graduating with my Bachelors of Science in Marriage and Family Studies, I couldn’t help but thank the Lord for all he has done to help me get where I am today. As other’s congratulated me on my accomplishments, I would repeat this scripture because there is no way I could have done this without the good Lord.
“I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own
wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is
brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God.
Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strengthAmmon (see Alma 26:11–12).
I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but
I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all
I know that because of the atonement of Jesus Christ, I was able to be strengthened to choose to be honest with myself. Because I try to be honest with myself and rely on the Savior’s merits, mercy, and grace, I am here. I still make mistakes and there is still trial and hardship, but life is better. I have more peace, more joy, and more happiness living my life this way. Through Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice, I have been able to be honest, and that’s the first step to recovery.
I was first introduced to the Addiction Recovery Program (ARP) Manual at age 18. In the last 11 years, I’ve tried and failed many times to overcome multiple addictions, but “no failure ever need be final” (Thomas S. Monson). I began accomplishing more than I could imagine once I tried to learn true doctrine, true principle, and apply what I’ve learned in this manual. I have been able to abstain from multiple destructive behaviors for over 4 years and have experienced for myself and know that “The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior. “ –Boyd K. Packer