As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a facilitator in the LDS’s ARP program. To be a facilitator, one needs to have at least one year of sobriety and be active in the program. As a facilitator, it’s my job to conduct the check in/sharing time portion of the meetings and to take the new folks under my wing. I’m also the one with the experience who imparts it to the group. And experience I have, a just short of a decade’s worth of fighting my demons, addictions, and therapists. So when the subject of Step 3 was the topic du-jour, well, I must say, it’s one of my favorites.
Step 3: Decide to turn your will and your life over the the care of God the Eternal Father and his Son, Jesus Christ.
In short, it’s about control; that you suck at having any and that you trust someone you’ve not seen in this life to have all of it. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s a process and I don’t believe we will ever be able to give up 100% to God. We’re too mortal to be able to do that. But developing the attitude is much, much more important. Step 3 is hard doctrine (very, very hard doctrine). But it is imperative that we as mortals and/or addicts work this step. This step is what separated the men (women) from the boys (girls).
But from an addict’s standpoint, this is the worst. We addicts of all types are addicted in an effort to control something within us. That could be a feeling of inadequacy to trauma of all types. So please have empathy for those who find this step difficult. It’s a lot to overturn years of controlling our ability to not feel to all the sudden, turn over control to God and feel again. Quite frankly, for me, it was traumatic and relieving at the same time.
Setting aside feeling again (that’s a whole separate post for the future), there are two aspects I’d like to prognosticate on right now.
First aspect, a quote:
I have long believed that the study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than talking about behavior will improve behavior. I say to you again that a knowledge of the principles and doctrines of the gospel will affect your behavior more than talking about behavior.
(Washed Clean; Boyd K. Packer, April, 1997 General Conference).
In all the years of therapy, books, study of why I do what I do, I have come to the conclusion that “knowing was controlling” and that was a good thing. But in reality, relying solely on me changing my behavior through the study of behavior is tantamount to keeping control. Now I know all about taking my power back, heck, I’ve been immersed in it for years. But, true conversion from an addict out of control to an addict who is in control means to not solely look for control in psychology. BALANCE! There needs to be balance between the temporal, spiritual and the physical. True control of my addictions didn’t happen until I put my free agency on the Alter of God.
So to depend on the study of one’s psychology as a path to overcoming an addiction, or any other bad behavior is only part of the equation, and cannot stand on its own. Our spirituality needs to be plugged into the equation to make it complete. Sorry, there is no other way to get a handle on our behavior.
Christ, when he was speaking to the ancient Americans after all the earthquakes, whirlwinds, death, destruction, and while there was a heavy darkness throughout the land, exhorted, or even pleaded with those who survived “will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you? Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me.” (3 Nephi: 13-14). Isn’t that what happens in our lives? We have this great shake up, something that forces us to our knees and what are we to do, curse God and die? How about turning to God, placing our free will on his alter and be healed?
God’s mercy is extended to those who repent. Let’s do as Malachi said and “prove God” or in other words, try Him, let’s see what He’s capable of. But remember, we need to be a little patient with Him who knows all just as He has been eternally patient with us.
Second aspect will be tomorrow. The topic; giving up our free agency.