Questions about Step 1
By rmww
9/16/2013 12:11:49 AM
I hit a personal milestone over the weekend! It's been a full six months since I've acted out on my addictions. I feel SO much more at peace than I did earlier this year, but I know I need to keep making positive changes and NOT let my guard down like I've done so many other times in my life.

One of the changes I have yet to make is to fully engage in a 12 step program. I started reading the LDS recovery manual a few months ago, and would really like to make a devoted effort to go through the program as completely as possible. I have one significant concern so far though, and that relates to how the key principle for Step 1 is worded:

"Admit that you, of yourself, are powerless to overcome your addictions and that your life has become unmanageable."

I'm totally on board with the first part of this key principle, about being powerless to overcome on my own. I tried for years and years to overcome my addiction on my own, and I failed and failed. Sure, I could often abstain for periods of time in the past, but eventually I'd return to bad habits and realize I was still trapped in my addiction. I fully admit that I have a problem, and that I need help beyond my own strength if I'm going to make lasting changes in my life.

The part that concerns me is the last part: "[admit]... that your life has become unmanageable". The manual doesn't really seem to address this "unmanageable" part though. Does this mean that your entire life needs to be unmanageable? What if you have some very positive things in your life that you seem to be managing just fine? For example, what if you have a great wife, a great family, a great career, a great calling in the church, great friends, and great opportunities for service? If you seem to be managing certain aspects of your life OK outside of your addiction, does this mean you aren't ready to move beyond Step 1? Does it mean you are still in denial about your addiction? Does "unmanageable" mean "out of control"? How should one interpret what unmanageable means in this specific context?


The root cause?    
"Hello, welcome and congratulations!

I think that one of the main areas that needs to be addressed in regards to addiction is why? Why is a person addicted to this but not to that? Why are some areas of our lives manageable and others out of control? And as a result of these areas that are out of control they can easily turn good areas upside down in an instant, where then they also become unmanageable

In addition to this, if we are addicted to porn we are out of control and our eternal salvation is in danger. So in a sense our families, careers, callings, friendships, service will mean didly squat if we die in our sins and do not make it back to the Celestial Kingdom. This is not a disease it is a weakness to be overcome in this life.

What causes people to be addicted and then form unbearable compulsions to their drug of choice? And what started the weaknesses that lead to that person giving in to the temptation in the first place?

Why are there some people who can turn temptation away at the thought and seem to be repelled by porn or even inappropriately dressed women or men? And why are others drawn to it like a magnet and become addicted?

I think what is being said in step one is until we get to the root cause to why we become addicted we will probably have to suffer relapses and periods of our lives being out of control / unmanageable?

However through the Holy Ghost our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ can show us our weaknesses and what leads us to giving into temptation so we can make those weaknesses strengths and eventually have more control over our own lives? But are we prepared and ready to listen to that revelation?

I know that sexual sin is a serious sin and when we delve into this sin at some stage we offer ourselves over to the buffetings of Satan. When this happens the compulsions we feel become almost unbearable and this significantly contributes to relapses and continuing in the addiction or even delving further into filthier porn. This can go from all the shades of grey to black.

However I know that our Father in Heaven can help us, support us, heal us and ultimately save us from Satan's clutches if we do our part we will be able to use the priesthood for this purpose.

God Bless!"
posted at 01:59:14 on September 16, 2013 by Aussie
One little step forward    
"First, congratulations on 6 months!

I think the answer to your question is personal to you. Step one is all about true honesty. It is at the beginning of the journey in which you take a good hard look at what your addiction has cost you, your family, friends, etc... Addiction comes with lies and those lies cost something. It is hard to answer your question without knowing more about what your wife and others are experiencing. I have yet to meet a spouse who has sailed through her hubby's addiction. The pain that lust has caused in your life is a good way to begin looking at the un manageability question. Some addicts go so far as to lose everything, while others wake up sooner. I would suggest spending some time on your knees, and in deep meditation and prayer to explore your question. Most likely you will be on your knees more than you ever have in your life, because working these steps takes time. The good thing is that there is no deadline, so take your time to truly explore each step ( think progression, not perfection) You will be working these steps throughout your life and each time you will be un-peeling another layer of the onion as you discover new things about yourself. My hubby has been doing this for three years and I am coming up on 4 years. We are still coming to terms with what happened to our family. Things we did not see in the beginning. As we move forward in the process we become more grateful for what his addiction and my co-addiction is teaching us about the gospel and the grace of a loving Savior.

The key is to stay close to your Savior and as you sincerely seek him he will show you the truth in all things. "
posted at 06:09:19 on September 16, 2013 by angelmom
Sometimes it's good to know the details and relevant facts    
"and the manual was obviously written by recovering alcoholics and drug addicts. Their lives were unmanageable and probably every one of them ended up in jail, losing careers, homes, family, membership in the church, etc. Their lives were out of control. LOL, I remember one facilitator telling how he had an allergy to drugs: every time he took them, he broke out in handcuffs. That's what they're talking about.

So just remember this key fact, that it was written by drug/alcohol addicts and was written with other such addicts in mind, not sex addicts, though we are mentioned. Just tailor it to your needs. The out-of-control, unmanageable aspects mentioned in the manual don't always apply to sex addicts, except that our addictions themselves are not under our control, otherwise, we wouldn't be addicted. In some cases, however, porn addicts run up huge debts and then their lives are out of control.

Another aspect of the manual that perplexes me is when we have to devote one whole step to apologizing to all those people we have harmed. I've never been married and I've had an M/B addiction all my life (no porn , though I was really tempted about a week or so ago) and I'm wondering "Huh????" I can understand apologizing to the Lord. But I have a difficult time understanding who among mortals it was that I hurt other than myself.

They're trying to cover all the bases in the manual, and it's originally taken from the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Step Manual and adapted to LDS needs and beliefs.

So don't sweat the details. If something doesn't apply to you, just move on to the next step or sub-step and work the program. Just make certain that it doesn't apply to you and that you fully understand that.

So if you have no contact with the Spirit, no inspiration, you're shouting at your wife and kids, you've lost callings, your career is in jeopardy or you've lost your job and credibility to your addiction, then your life is out of control and unmanageable. From what you've described, you're not in that category.

Congratulations on your period of abstinence, now I hope it turns into true recovery. I would suggest moving on with the steps and doing the action steps and doing your dailies and turning your life over to the Lord, and he will show you what you need to do to fully repent and heal."
posted at 12:19:29 on September 16, 2013 by dog
Need for a sponsor    
"Dog is right on track with his answer. Not every detail of the manual will apply to us. In SA, we often say, "take what you like and leave the rest."

Having a sponsor is a huge help to me in working the steps. A sponsor helps me realize what I need to be doing each day to get better. My sponsor helps me avoid a lot of hang ups and pitfalls as I work through the steps."
posted at 19:55:43 on September 16, 2013 by ETTE

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"If it were possible to make your road very easy, you wouldn’t grow in strength. If you were always forgiven for every mistake without effort on your part, you would never receive the blessings of repentance. If everything were done for you, you wouldn’t learn how to work, or gain self-confidence, or acquire the power to change. "

— Richard G. Scott

General Conference May 1990