Step One

Step One is titled “Awareness”.  In this step we come to admit that we are powerless over the addiction of another and recognize that our lives have become unmanageable.

2 Responses to Step One

  1. Elder Russell M. Ballard said “addiction surrenders . . . freedom to choose. Through chemical means, one can literally become disconnected from his or her own will!”. This applies to all addictions, whether chemicals introduced into the body or chemicals produced by the brain such as in pornography or gambling. It is important to understand that our loved ones are controlled by there addiction. It is less about what they are doing to us and more about the bondage that has trapped them. For example, saying, “if you really loved me, you would stop destroying your life” makes as much sense as saying “if you loved me you wouldn’t cough to someone who has pneumonia.

    As we realize our loved ones are powerless over their addiction, how much more powerless we are over their addiction. Elder Richard G. Scott reminded us “do not attempt to override agency. The Lord himself would not do that. Forced obedience yields no blessings.”

    When we try to control the addiction, it controls us. As we try to control someone else it causes contention, enhances the feelings of fear, anger and despair. When we focus on the actions of someone else we lose focus of ourselves and our responsibilities and behaviors.

    These comments are in majority quoted from the book material for step one but I have a testimony of the power, healing and peace that comes as these principles are applied.

    The first time I worked through step one I viewed it as being told not to attempt to physically control my husband. I thought I did not have a problem with this at all because I wasn’t monitoring his computer use, I wasn’t threatening consequences if he did certain things, etc. The second time I went through this step I realized there was a lot more to it than that. It involves always wondering what my husband was doing even if I wasn’t checking on him. It involves always wondering what he is thinking, and over analyzing what he did and why he had done it and what his testimony really is. All of my thoughts in some way came back to my husbands addiction and it made me fearful, anxious and I was always stuck in the past and the hurt. I realized this is also what step one is about. As the reading material states, “to calm the struggle in our own hearts and minds, we have to feel the loving influence of our Heavenly Father and our Savior.”

    It was the hardest thing for me to learn how to do and I am still working on it but I have been learning how to let go of the worries and constant thoughts and turn them over to my Savior because he truly is the only one that can heal me and my husband. Letting go has been the greatest blessing for me and my husband. As I have learned how to do this I have felt a peace I didn’t think I would feel and I am better able to love and support my husband which has in turn helped him in his recovery and in fact has been much more effective than the guilt trips I use to put him on.

    As I stopped focusing on my husband I was better able to focus on myself and what I needed to do to keep the spirit of the Lord with me, how to keep myself in a safe place emotionally and enjoy my life and my family. I have been able to become aware of my strengths and my weaknesses so I can become a better person. As I have done so I have grown so much and in fact have become grateful for this trial because I would not have grown in this capacity without it. As Elder Wirthlin said, we should not ask why me but rather what can I learn from this experience. Elder L. Lionel Kendrick stated: “we cannot always control everything that happens to us in this life, but we can control how we respond.

  2. In the handbook there is a supplemental lesson to step one in the appendix entitled “processing our emotions” that I would like to leave a few comments about. I love one of the sentences in the first paragraph that states, “negative thoughts can create negative emotions. We may not be able to stop negative thoughts from entering our minds but we can control whether we allow them to remain”. I have found this to be so true. I cannot stop thoughts from coming in but I can choose whether to entertain them. When I do entertain them I feel angry, sad, despair or fear. When I push them out I feel strength, hope and faith. So by choosing my thoughts I essentially choose my emotions. I know that sounds easier said than done and it is not easy. I have been working on this for ten months now and I still have to be aware and work on it but the more I do the easier it gets and the happier I am.

    The lesson also states that to resolve our painful emotions, we stop fleeing from them and gain the courage to recognize, feel and express them appropriately without harming others and goes on to state that emotional pain can purify our souls IF we humbly receive the lessons our emotions can teach us. I testify this statement is true. Although the past ten months have been my most painful and hardest months, I have also learned more about myself, about my Savior, about His plan and ultimately have grown emotionally and spiritually. I am grateful this has been my experience becauase I know how easily I could have let the emotions control me and I would lost, and suffered more rather than gained.

    The lesson then describes the various emotions we may experience including shock and confusion, denial, anger, sadness and acceptance. It also describes codependency which basically means allow our mental and emotional health to be directly connected to and dependent on what other people are thinking and doing. This places us in a vulnerable position. We must take responsibility for our own emotions. Something the lesson states that I need to be better at remembering is “that feelings aren’t facts. No matter how intense the feelings may be, they are only feelings. They are reactions to, rather than reflections of, reality.”

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