One Powerful Step

I admitted I am powerless over lust and that my life has become unmanageable. (Step 1, Sexaholics Anonymous.)

Years ago I worked this step as a married man, desperate to save my relationship with my wife. This time I worked this step as a divorced man, ready to admit I have no control over lust and that my choices have led to a life I cannot manage on my own. Feels very different this time. I feel that I’m owning it more.

The last time I worked this step I had the guidance of a good man serving me as my sponsor. I’m working with a different sponsor this time, and his guidance has proven just as indispensable.

I’ve tried working these steps on my own without a sponsor. Every time I’ve failed. The only times I’ve felt real recovery and enjoyed real sobriety is when working closely with someone who’s successfully worked the steps and is still working them daily. I don’t believe there is any other way to do this. Not for me, anyway.

It makes sense, I think, that I would need a guide. By working the Twelve Steps I admit I am powerless, that my life has become unmanageable, and that I am practicing insanity to some degree (Step 2: “came to believe that a Power greater than myself could restore me to sanity”). I used to believe Jesus could be my guide. Certainly He can and I do ask Him to guide me. Now I believe that He often guides and helps me through other people.

For Step 1 my sponsor invited me to make a list, an autobiography of sorts, to document every thing and every way in which my addiction has made my life unmanageable. The purpose is to help me work Step 1 in my heart as well as in my head.

It was effective! I wrote down everything I could remember—every attempt to abstain and every relapse that followed (or at least the periods of time in which that cycle perpetuated given I cannot recall the thousands of individual attempts and relapses). I wrote down every relationship my addiction killed or damaged, every person I harmed with my selfish behavior. I noted my progress and and my failures over the years. Escalations in pornography content and new behaviors that evolved when the old ones no longer provided the same high.

Writing and reflecting made me sad to see how much time and effort I’ve spent trying to manage my life as an addict. I’ve learned a lot to be sure, but I’m still addicted. I’m still stuck in this. Clearly I cannot do this on my own. I am literally powerless over lust.

I write that last sentence and immediately recognize how foreign a concept it must be to those who have never been an addict or loved one up close. It made no sense to me for years and I’m still learning what it means (obviously, given I’m on Step 1). “Why don’t you just stop? If you wanted xyz enough, you would just stop.” I remember thinking those words to myself many times. The solution can be that simple when addiction isn’t the problem. There are myriad self-help books for changing behavior and habits. I’ve read dozens of them, all very helpful. I’ve also read a handful of books on addiction and I am telling you they are not the same beast! Telling or expecting an addict to “just stop” is as helpful as telling or expecting a sick person to just stop feeling nauseated. I have to remind myself this often, because I still speak unproductive words to myself from time to time.

I need spiritual healing, yes. But studying scripture, praying, repenting for a relapse, and confessing to my bishop is not enough.

I need physical health, true. But exercising, eating healthy, and having a healthy sex life with my spouse is not enough (also, the latter being an option I’m no longer willing to include in my life now that I’m divorced).

I need emotional intelligence and mental health, absolutely. But meditating, therapy, communicating, learning to cope healthily with life’s challenges aren’t enough.

I need to recover myself from an addiction. It’s literally an enslavement. I’m learning that my recovery requires a very specific, well-defined, and proven program fueled by connection to God and fellow addicts seeking recovery. So far I’ve found more success in working these twelve steps than I have found in any other idea or program, and I’ve tried many.

Reading my Step 1 to my sponsor today felt good. We talked about my history after I finished reading it. He shared his experience in working his Step 1. Felt good to feel understood. When he left I felt a burden lifted, but different from what I feel after confessing sin to my bishop. This wasn’t a confession but a shared understanding. He knows exactly what I’ve done and what I’m doing now because he’s done it too. I know he knows it, and he knows that I know. There’s power in that, which cannot be overstated and which I am struggling to describe.

Now I’m working Step 2. I still have a gnawing fear that the twelve steps won’t work for me. But I’m choosing to believe it can.

Moving forward!

Writing this blog helps me reaffirm what I’m learning, so thank you for reading.

Journal Entry: 10 July 2014

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

My friend invited me to speak to a group of young men at church today about pornography. I didn’t feel ashamed to do it. I wanted to warn those boys. I want them to see what pornography can do to a man and his family. It gives Satan power to destroy everything.

I read to them from my journal. Felt like the best way to capture what addiction was like for me when I was still deep in its clutches. I hope it helps them in some way.

The journal entry was titled, “Days Sober: 155”. I read it now and I feel a deep sorrow for that man. I know his pain and I remember it well. I’m still working toward lasting recovery, but oh what gratitude fills me when I see I am no longer that man! How far my choices and my God have brought me! Since then I have lost my marriage. But by the grace of God I am not broken beyond repair. I still have His support, and I have a strong network of friends and fellow brothers in recovery. And I am progressing. I am not alone.

Here’s the entry:

I’m not sure what I’m feeling. I’ve been feeling it for the past few days. It’s like I’m in the addiction again, but I haven’t acted out. 

No, I have been acting out. I’ve been a dry drunk. Taking drinks mentally. I’ve been lusting and fantasizing, sometimes without restraint. I’ve been entertaining thoughts of adultery.

What the hell?!?!?! What is wrong with me?! 

I’m still sick. I’m still addicted. I feel more free than ever before but I’m still tethered to this. 

I’m so tired of being addicted. I want to be free. I want to be free once and for all. I want to be healed. I feel so very tired.

I don’t want to give up. I don’t want to pretend that I’m okay. Well, part of me does. 

Is this too much to ask? Why am I not free yet? Why do I have to go through this? Why the hell did I ever choose to indulge in pornography? Why did I do all that stupid crap as a teenager? kissing, dancing, necking, petting, sex… WHY. WHY DIDN’T I JUST FREAKING LISTEN. WHY DID I THINK I COULD SIN AND BE HAPPY?

I wish I could go back. I wish I could say no. I wish I had listened. I would have listened. If I had known then what I know now, I would have listened. 

Today I feel tired. I feel sad and depressed. I want to be angry. I want to feel angry and mad at everyone. I just want to blame everyone else for my problems. I want to focus on their weaknesses and mistakes and rage over them. I like feeling angry. It burns off whatever crappy emotions build up inside of me. 

I think I could run. That might help.

I know I need to turn to Heavenly Father with a willing heart. I’ve been turning to Him but not willingly. I think those prayers helped though. I think they were a cry for help when I didn’t want to be helped. And I think Father in Heaven heard me.

I want to feel close to my wife again. I want to feel confident about life. I want to be filled with hope for my future, even if only for tomorrow. I want to look forward to it all. I want to think about my life and not feel overwhelmed and heavy. 

I feel tired. I’m sorry for all I’ve done. I’m sorry for my selfishness. 

What can I do? How do I deal with stress and loneliness? How do I handle feeling inadequate and ashamed?

God, please help me! Please. Please, I need Thee. I need help.

A good thing that happened today: God softened my heart so that I would repent for leaving Isla in her bedroom tonight before bed. I got impatient and frustrated with her so I left her in her bedroom with the light off and the fan running. She was sitting on the floor trying to change into different pajamas. I felt a prompting to go back to her and apologize but I didn’t want to. I wanted to be angry. After a while she started crying. I ran up to her bedroom as fast as I could. I turned on her light, knelt down in front of her, and pulled her close to me. I’m so, so sorry for leaving her like that. She said, “You leaved me, Daddy. You leaved me here.”

I want to be done with this. I want it so badly! I want to be a good father and husband. I want to love my dear ones the way they need and deserve. I love them so much and so often I don’t treat them accordingly.

Please forgive me, Father. Please have mercy on me and change me so that my daughter and wife will have the man they need. I’m sorry.

Free Delivery and No Hidden Fees

I have so much to share but little time right now. Suffice it to say I am working the 12 steps and enjoying freedom from my addiction! I also finally accepted my divorce and am experiencing rapid healing and growth now that I’ve let God back in. It’s truly amazing and a miracle.

I just read this and want to share it:

But behold, he did deliver them because they did humble themselves before him; and because they cried mightily unto him he did deliver them out of bondage; and thus doth the Lord work with his power in all cases among the children of men, extending the arm of mercy towards them that put their trust in him.

Mosiah 29:20, The Book of Mormon

He is mighty to save, and all that is required is my surrender and trust. No gotchas, no fine print, no legal jargon, no hidden fees. No fees at all! His salvation is free, and only He can give it. I am grateful!

There is No Step Zero

Gettysburg, USA, at sunset. Copyright Michael Hargiss.

I had an important realization last night while I was cycling around the outskirts of Gettysburg and listening to Russell Brand’s book on the 12 steps.

I’ve been feeling a growing desire and faith to work the 12 steps again. I’ve also felt discouraged by my acting out. I’ve also realized I don’t feel ready to stop my addiction. I know it’s bad for me, I know it’s caused me nothing but pain and heartache, I know another relapse isn’t going to make me feel better, I know one more “wank” as Brand puts it isn’t going to solve a damn thing. But it sure is an effective distraction “from now, for now.” And I am afraid of going through this divorce without it. I am afraid of not having this powerful distraction. How weird is that? I mean I think it’s understandable and yet it makes zero sense. I am literally afraid to stop doing the crap that got me here. But I need those distractions (or so I think). Truthfully, I need them as long as I’m not working toward resolving the pain from which I need to distract myself. What a terribly destructive catch-22.

So lately as I’ve wanted to work the 12 steps again, I think to myself, “How can I work the 12 steps if I’m not even willing to abstain?” The idea seems dishonest to me. Disingenuous. I am a lot of things but I am also honest, and I feel like a hypocrite at the thought of working the 12 steps to addiction recovery while not being willing to let go of my addiction.

I was pondering all this while cycling along a small paved road outside Gettysburg last night, stone monuments passing by to my right and the sun setting to my left, the orange light warming the skin on my arms. (Yes, I’m a rather romantic exerciser.) In that moment the Holy Spirit whispered a new idea to my mind and heart. “You can work the steps anyway, and working the steps will help you find the willingness and faith to abstain.”

It was so simple and reassuring. I couldn’t help but smile! I can work the steps and I should work the steps. I will never get better until I work the steps.

It’s as though I’m in a deep hole (my addiction) and the Lord has given me a supernatural shovel (the 12 steps) to dig out, and He’s even offering to dig with me! So, what should I do? Start digging, right? No? I should plop down in my muddy pit and despair that I’m still hesitant to let go of my carnal desires and favorite sins? “I want to dig but I also don’t want to, so I shouldn’t dig until I fully want to.” ???

And what is faith if not a hesitant but trusting leap into the unknown? What is trust without doubt? Trust without a reason to doubt isn’t trust. A step of faith without a reason to hesitate isn’t faith. A step of faith with reason to hesitate but stepping forward anyway is faith! Trusting someone while I have a gnawing fear of disappointment but choosing to trust anyway is trust!

I can effectively work the 12 steps while being willing to be willing to forsake my addiction. What a liberating concept! I can exercise faith in my God’s ability to save me in the midst of my fear that I’m not going to function without my addiction.

And you know what really excites me about this? As I was pondering this new truth (new to me), I felt the Lord saying to me, “I will give you a new heart and a new spirit as you work these steps and repent. That’s why I gave them to Bill—not as a reward for abstaining but as a means to abstain.”  (Bill is the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous and the first to publish the 12 steps to addiction recovery.)

Isn’t that the point of the 12 steps to addiction recovery? To work through all the heaping, smelly piles of crap I’ve accumulated during and before this addiction? To give me a fighting chance at recovery instead of sitting in a rowboat throwing marbles at a battleship

There is no “Step 0: Abstain from your addiction for three weeks and worthily partake of the sacrament.”  (!!!)  There is no prerequisite to the 12 Steps. There is no prerequisite to faith in Jesus Christ (or whatever name you give your Higher Power) and repentance. Faith in my Higher Power and repentance are the prerequisites to peace. Working the 12 steps are the prerequisites to addiction recovery.

Keeping things simple feels good, and it feels good because it’s empowering to me. As my mission president and his wife frequently testified, “The gospel of Jesus Christ is true because it works.” I’ve worked the 12 steps before and when I did I enjoyed the longest period of sobriety and active recovery I’ve ever had. And I can do this honestly. I can honestly acknowledge the dichotomy inside me. I can honestly be willing to be willing, and I believe my God will change my heart to be willing inasmuch as I thoroughly trust Him.

Step 1 …

Twisting and Untwisting

Denali National Park in autumn, Alaska, USA, North America

Last week was the first week of living in my new home apart from my wife and children. I missed my children terribly. I work from home and I’m accustomed to seeing them frequently every day. But now we’ve begun shared custody and I’m only with them on the weekends. It was painful, and I missed my wife. I felt very lonely. By the end of the work week I had relapsed. I felt angry and sorry for myself.

Friday morning I had a session with my therapist. What he shared with me moved me off the dark path I was thinking and walking. I want to share it with you here.

He calls them Cognitive Distortions. They are common patterns of unhealthy thinking, especially prevalent in the minds of people who suffer from major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and others. I imagine all of us have thought in one or more of these ways whether or not we suffer from a mental disorder.

  1. ALL-OR-NOTHING THINKING: You see things in black and white categories. If your performance falls short of perfect, you see yourself as a total failure.
  2. OVERGENERALIZATION: You see a single negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat.
  3. RATIONALIZATION: You pick out a single negative detail and dwell on it exclusively so that your vision of all reality becomes darkened, like the drop of ink that discolors the entire beaker of water.
  4. DISQUALIFYING THE POSITIVE: You reject positive experiences by insisting they “don’t count” for some reason or other. In this way you can maintain a negative belief that is contradicted by your everyday experiences.
  5. JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS: You make a negative interpretation even though there are no definite facts that convincingly support your conclusions. One form of this is also known as “Mind Reading.” You arbitrarily conclude that someone is reacting negatively to you, and you don’t bother to check this out. There’s also the “FortuneTeller Error.” You anticipate that things will turn out badly, and you feel convinced that your prediction is an already established fact.
  6. MAGNIFICATION (CATASTROPHIZING) OR MINIMIZATION: You exaggerate the importance of things (such as your goof-up or someone else’s achievement). Or you inappropriately shrink things until they appear tiny (your own desirable qualities or the other fellow’s imperfections). This is also called the “binocular trick.”
  7. EMOTIONAL REASONING: You assume that your negative emotions necessarily reflect the way things really are: “I feel it, therefore it must be true.”
  8. SHOULD STATEMENTS: You try to motivate yourself with shoulds and shouldn’ts, as if you had to be whipped and punished before you could be expected to do anything. “Musts” and “oughts” are also offenders. The emotional consequence is guilt. When you direct should statements toward others, you feel anger, frustration, and resentment.
  9. LABELING AND MISLABELING: This is an extreme form of over-generalization. Instead of describing your error, you attach a negative label to yourself: “I’m a loser.” When someone else’s behavior rubs you the wrong way, you attach a negative label to him: “He’s a damn louse.” Mislabeling involves describing an event with language that is highly colored and emotionally loaded.
  10. PERSONALIZATION: You see yourself as the cause

I had fallen into all-or-nothing thinking, overgeneralization, and rationalization, among others: “I have failed at the most important thing in life—my family. I’ve lost everything important to me. I should have known this would happen because I always fail at everything to do with this addiction. Why did I think I could beat this addiction? I’m an idiot for getting into this addiction. I hurt Jess and my children, and now the pain has spread into both our families through this divorce. I want to be with my children. I am miserable and depressed. I can’t change this. I don’t want to live separated from them during the week. I miss my best friend. I can’t be happy without my children and wife.”

Interestingly and surprisingly, simply reading the list of cognitive distortions out loud helped me see the truth. It awoke my brain. I could clearly see the error in my thinking and I felt as if a fog was lifted from my mind: “Yes, this is extremely painful for many people including myself, but I can still be healthy and happy in this life. I can still be a good father to my children; they need me. I can still beat this addiction with God’s grace. I am in pain and I am sick but my soul is not dead.”

Last night, however, I felt the same fog descending on my mind and heart, and my addiction called to me. This morning I woke up feeling depressed and forlorn. I remembered the cognitive distortions. I read them and the fog lifted from my mind, but my heart still felt heavy. I couldn’t focus. So I took the day off from work to focus on my wellbeing. I cleaned, read scriptures, watched uplifting videos on lds.org, listened to uplifting music, showered, told a couple of friends what I’m feeling, and more. And now I’m writing this blog post. I still feel the pain but it is bearable now, and I feel important.

Hopefully readers will find similar relief by referring to this list of cognitive distortions in moments of pain and darkness.

 

French Bread

Not sure what to say except I’m in a lot of pain and I felt a prompting to write about it here.

“Pain” is the French word for “bread.” So there you go.

My wife decided to divorce me. I feel hesitant to share details, particularly what she’s told me about her thoughts and feelings behind her decision. I don’t want to misrepresent them here and I don’t want to paint her choice in a negative color. Suffice it to say I think her choice is understandable and she deserves to feel loved and emotionally safe in her marriage. My multitudinous relapses over nine years made her feel the opposite.

Of course I feel sad. My emotions have been all over the place since she told me a couple months ago… depressed, lonely, angry (a lot of that one), abandoned, scared, fearful, stressed, confused (a lot of that one too), guilty, ashamed, lost, and I’m sure more which I can’t recall at the moment.

Oddly enough I also feel relieved given any future relapses won’t affect her directly. Not in the same way at least.

So now we’re figuring out this thing called divorce and I hate it. The state law here requires a twelve-month separation period before filing for divorce. I haven’t decided yet whether I like this law. A growing part of me wants it to be done and over with because it’s so painful… just rip the bandaid off already, please! Another part of me wants to hope that something will change her mind between now and the end of the twelve months. I’m afraid to hope for that. At the very least, this separation gives us some time to figure out the depressing details such as finances, when I’ll get to be with my children, etc.

Given my depression and this divorce I’m amazed I can still function at all. I have God to thank for that. Despite my choices causing this nightmare, I’ve felt His support with more intensity and focus than I think I ever have in my life. I purposefully distanced myself from Him after Jess told me her decision, particularly the specific guidance she received from Him while making her choice. Since then I’ve periodically turned to Him when I feel lost or overwhelmed, and every time He’s been right there for me in a powerful way. I felt Him sustaining me through the final weeks of my college education, enabling me to study and retain information even though I felt only half awake and couldn’t recall my coworkers’ names or remember to eat. I felt Him guiding me while I searched for a new place to live even though I hated doing it and I had no idea where to begin except that I want to live close to my children… He gave me three distinct confirmations where I’m supposed to live now, and I’m scheduled to move in before the end of this month. I’ve felt His support while working; He makes my brain think clearly enough to do my job well despite the restlessness and inability to focus which has now become the norm for me. I’ve felt His immediate reassurance every time I scream-pray in the moments when I feel an overwhelming surge of loneliness, anger, confusion, and fear. I don’t know how to describe it… He’s just there and He fills me with love every time I turn to Him, more quickly and more deeply than I’ve ever experienced before. This gives me hope and faith to keep moving.

Friends and family have also been amazing. People reach out to me almost daily, close friends and family as well as friendly acquaintances who offer their sincere support. I feel lost most days but after talking with one of these people I feel calm and able to take another painful step forward.

Of course no trial would be complete without Satan. I am extremely vulnerable right now and he knows it. He’s been kicking me while I’m down, taking advantage of my weakness. He really must be miserable if picking on a person in my current state is his favorite thing to do. He’s a jerkwad. Get thee behind me. (Modern translation: “Bye, Felicia!”) That’s all I’ll say about him.

A big part of me wants to be angry at my wife. A part of me is angry and I think that’s OK for now so long as I don’t seethe or let it steer my thoughts and decisions. I feel angry at her for leaving me when I need her most, but I don’t subscribe to the notion that a marriage relationship should be unconditional. Patient, yes, among other virtues; but not unconditional. (She stayed with me through nine years of relapses so I’d say she nailed the patience and long-suffering parts.) She told me she genuinely believes I will get better and conquer my depression, trauma, and addiction. Because of this I don’t believe she’s giving up on me, thought it’s extremely difficult not to feel that way. When I let myself think about this I end up at the conclusion that I’m simply not worth the pain to her anymore. I don’t know what to think of that conclusion but I’ve decided not to let my mind settle on any interpretations for now.

Some good has come out of this though. The day after she told me her decision I knew I needed to finally tackle the sexual abuse trauma I’d experienced in my youth. I’d put off working on it with my therapist for over three years because I was terrified of reliving it. I don’t know why or how to explain it but despite finding myself suddenly drowning in a new traumatic experience, I knew in my bones that I had to begin healing from the trauma of my youth and I had to do it *now.* (Maybe my mind and body could sense it would all be too much for me to bear if I didn’t start unloading?) My therapist and I dove in, and the sessions were extremely painful… but the healing has been powerful! I feel my addiction has less power over me because I’m finally processing those core events. It’s like I finally let a surgeon remove a decades-old, acid-leaking, miniature car battery from my chest. Breathing is easier and I feel more free.

Oh, and everything makes me cry now, so much so that it amuses me haha. Not that there’s anything wrong with crying—I believe it’s healthy and normal. But lately even the dumbest radio commercials and bumper stickers will get me teary-eyed. I just think it’s kind of funny and it makes me laugh to myself every now and then, which is nice.

Like I said, I’m not letting myself hope that my wife will change her mind. Of course I would welcome that but for now I feel a strong need to focus on Me. I cannot control her choices. A dear friend counseled me to seek Heavenly Father’s will for me and focus on that. I’m trying to do that and it helps. One day at a time helps too. Also, choosing to trust Heavenly Father that I can be healthy and happy without understanding Jess’s decision or His direction to her… that helps too. I feel His loving support now as I write this.

Thanks for reading. I feel better.

Honesty and Vulnerability go well together

night_sky_stars

 

A couple weeks ago I attended a Sexaholics Anonymous (SA) meeting for the first time. It was powerful! Everyone was so welcoming and helpful. I was also struck by how honest and vulnerable everyone was.

I’ve been to multitudinous LDS Addiction Recovery Program meetings and they’ve helped me immensely. In those meetings I first learned I’m not alone in this war, and through those meetings the Lord gave me faith to not give up. The most memorable and meaningful ARP meetings I’ve attended were the ones in which I and my brothers were vulnerable, when we openly shared our fears and doubts with each other. No hiding, no shame, just open honesty.

Unfortunately in my experience a common theme in many ARP meetings I’ve attended is “hope-imonies.” Instead of being vulnerable by sharing what’s on our minds, or being honest about where we are and where we want to be, the meeting becomes a “testimony” meeting where we all say we “know” that the 12 Steps work… except most of us haven’t worked them to full recovery (with the exception of the facilitator and a veteran or two), so we don’t actually have a witness that they work. We certainly want them to work, and we may believe that they work, but that’s not the same as knowing it. I was describing this to my therapist and he said, “Ah yes, a hope-imony meeting.” For me those kinds of meetings aren’t so helpful because they’re not honest, vulnerable, or even truthful. And don’t get me wrong—I’ve done it too. I have shared many a hope-imony in those meetings.

I remember the first time I heard raw vulnerability in an ARP meeting. That evening I went because I needed hope. I had recently relapsed and I wasn’t sure the meetings were helping me. When my turn came I passed. A couple shares later, one man’s words caught my attention. He said (I’m paraphrasing), “I’m grateful to be alive. Years ago I was in a dark place. I had borrowed my drug of choice from a dealer I’d known for a long time, but I didn’t have the money to pay him. A couple guys showed up at my apartment, dragged me into the basement, tied me to a pole and beat me till they thought I was dead. By the grace of God someone found me and I woke up in a hospital some time later. I should’ve died in that basement. But God rescued me and gave me another chance. I’ve not been perfect since then, and I’ve relapsed since then, but after that night I knew God was with me—not just because of the fact someone found me, but because when I woke up in that hospital I felt it. I felt Him with me. I thought, ‘How can you be with me? I’ve done so many terrible things. I’ve hurt everyone I’ve ever cared about. I’ve pushed you away countless times. How is it you’re still with me?’ And I felt His love for me there in that hospital bed. That’s how I know God loves me. So I’m grateful to be alive today. I still have things to learn and I’m still working on this addiction thing, but I know God’s with me. And that keeps me going.”

This man’s story gave me hope! It still does every time I recall it.

I’ve found this genuine openness and honesty in numerous ARP meetings since then and it’s powerful every time. For whatever reason, I find it more often in SA meetings. And I love it! I need it! It strengthens me and encourages me to be honest and vulnerable with myself, others, and God. In my experience, honesty breaks my cycles of acting out, and vulnerability keeps me from going back. So I try to be honest and vulnerable when I share in meetings. I get so much more out of them when I do. I’m learning to practice these principles in all relationships and areas of my life.

I want to be clear I’m not trying to encourage people to abandon ARP meetings in favor of SA ones. I plan to attend both meetings. I only want to share what’s helping me on my road to recovery. I hope someone reading this finds it helpful.

Healing Wounds I cannot Heal

Close-up of a dandelion

 

“Restoring what you cannot restore, healing the wound you cannot heal, fixing that which you broke and cannot fix is the very purpose of the atonement of Christ. …

“I repeat … there is no habit, no addiction, no rebellion, no transgression, no apostasy, no crime exempted from the promise of complete forgiveness. That is the promise of the atonement of Christ.”

President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “The Brilliant Morning of Forgiveness,” Ensign, Nov. 1995.

I pray as I repent of my sins that the Lord will have mercy on me and heal the wounds I cannot heal, especially the ones I have inflicted on my loved ones and myself.