Addiction Recovery Program - A Guide to Addiction Recovery and Healing
Step 11: Personal Revelation
KEY PRINCIPLE: Seek through prayer and meditation to know the Lord’s will and to have the power to carry it out.
As we studied and practiced the steps of recovery, we became familiar and comfortable with a life based on humility and acceptance of God’s will. Gone were the angry, confused times when, if we prayed at all, we prayed either in an attitude of stubborn self-will or whimpering self-pity. We began to live so our lives reflected the prophetic counsel of President Ezra Taft Benson:
“The constant and most recurring question in our minds, touching every thought and deed of our lives, should be, ‘Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?’ (Acts 9:6.) The answer to that question comes only through the Light of Christ and the Holy Ghost. Fortunate are those who so live that their being is filled with both” (“Jesus Christ—Gifts and Expectations,” Ensign, Dec. 1988, 2).
In step 11, we made a lifelong commitment to seek one day at a time to know the Lord’s will and to have the power to carry it out. Our greatest desire was to improve our abilities to receive guidance from the Holy Ghost and to conduct our lives accordingly. This desire was such a great contrast to the attitudes we had when we were lost in our addictions.
If you were like us, before you began to recover you thought hope, joy, peace, and fulfillment would come from an earthly source. Whether this source was alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, dishonest spending, unhealthy eating, or codependency—whatever your particular addiction was—your effort was to get by in a world where you felt confused, lost, and alone. When others tried to love you, perhaps you couldn’t feel it. Their love was never enough. Nothing satisfied the hunger you felt. As you have lived the principles of recovery, however, your heart and life have changed.
You have begun to understand and appreciate your need for the Savior, Jesus Christ, and His role in your life and to treasure the Light of Christ. You have begun to realize you are not just talking to yourself when you feel your conscience guide you. Clumsy and unpracticed as you may have felt initially, you now pray to the Father in the name of Christ for a closer relationship with Him. You deliberately “seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written” (Ether 12:41).
You study the scriptures because they testify of Him in every instance, especially the Book of Mormon. In testimony after testimony, the prophets of the Book of Mormon describe seeking and finding a better understanding of the Father through the Holy Ghost. You have experimented on the scriptures and found them to be true. Prayer and meditation have become the lifeblood of your new life. Where prayer and meditation used to be a neglected duty, your heart’s desire is now to kneel before your Father at least morning and evening and pour out your heart to Him in gratitude for Jesus Christ and for the Holy Ghost.
As you work through step 11, you will come to realize even more that through the Holy Ghost you will receive knowledge or revelation of the Father’s will for you. Through the Atonement, you will have the power (or grace) to carry out the will of the Father. You will know you are blessed and supported by three glorified individuals—God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost—who are united in power and purpose to bring to pass your immortality and eternal life.
You will grow in your ability to resist temptation as you study the scriptures and pray and meditate about them. Learning to receive revelation takes practice and patience. You can prepare yourself by studying what has been said by prophets and apostles and by trying to live according to their teachings. You can prepare by being ready to receive, write down, think about, and follow the guidance you receive. When you express gratitude to the Lord for the blessings you have received, your capacity to receive guidance will increase.
As you keep yourself free from your addictions, you will be more able to receive the guidance of the Holy Ghost. Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve taught:
“The Holy Ghost will protect us against being deceived, but to realize that wonderful blessing we must always do the things necessary to retain that Spirit. We must keep the commandments, pray for guidance, and attend church and partake of the sacrament each Sunday. And we must never do anything to drive away that Spirit. Specifically, we should avoid pornography, alcohol, tobacco, and drugs, and always, always avoid violations of the law of chastity. We must never take things into our bodies or do things with our bodies that drive away the Spirit of the Lord and leave us without our spiritual protection against deception” (in Conference Report, Oct. 2004, 49; or Ensign, Nov. 2004, 46).
Prayer and meditation are powerful antidotes to fear and depression. You “have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save” (2 Nephi 31:19). Only by coming to the Father through Jesus Christ, in His name, with His Spirit upon you, can you continue to progress and grow spiritually. Step 11 represents a commitment to improve your relationship with God through a lifetime practice of seeking guidance daily and obeying the commandments.
Come unto the Father in the name of Jesus Christ for direction and power through private prayer and meditation; receive and study your patriarchal blessing
Over the course of recovery, many of us learned to arise early and seek a period of quiet solitude for study and prayer. If you haven’t done so already, schedule time for prayer and meditation, perhaps in the morning. During this time you can put God first, before anyone or anything else in the day. Kneel if you are physically able. Pray, often aloud, to the Father, seeking the Spirit to guide you (see Romans 8:26). Then study, using the scriptures and the teachings of modern prophets to guide your meditation. Review your patriarchal blessing often. Prayerfully ponder the guidance you find in it. (If you have not received a patriarchal blessing, talk with your bishop about obtaining one.)
Writing will once again be a powerful tool of selfexpression and appraisal as you record your thoughts and feelings in a journal. You can also record impressions of counsel, comfort, and wisdom that come through the Holy Ghost.
When this precious time of private meditation has ended, do not cease to pray. Silent prayer, in the depths of your heart and mind, will become your way of thinking throughout your days. As you interact with others, as you make decisions, as you deal with emotions and temptations—counsel with the Lord. Invite and seek His Spirit to be with you continually, that you might be guided to do the right thing. (See Psalm 46:1; Alma 37:36–37; 3 Nephi 20:1.)
Meditate throughout the day on the scriptures and other inspired literature; continue to pray
In many ways, step 11 is a natural continuation of your efforts in step 10 to stay aware of the truth in your life. As you plan your days, go about your activities, and retire to bed at night, let your heart be drawn out in prayer to God continually. One idea is to take a thought from what you have read in your morning studies and meditate upon it frequently during your daily activities. This practice will help you keep your mind in tune with truth.
By nature, we all tend to be undisciplined, yet by looking to Jesus Christ and the example He has set, you will find the humility to continue submitting to the Father. Like the Savior, you will be able to say sincerely “Thy will be done” (Matthew 26:42) throughout the day. The Light of Christ will guide you and prepare you to receive the companionship of the Holy Ghost. The companionship of the Holy Ghost will become more constant, and your ability to recognize and testify of truth will increase.
Study and Understanding
Study the following scriptures and statements of Church leaders. They will increase your understanding and help you learn. You can use these scriptures, statements, and questions for prayerful meditation, personal study, and group discussion.
Draw near to the Lord
“Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (D&C 88:63).
The Lord respects your will and your agency. He allows you to choose to approach Him without compulsion. He draws near to you when you invite Him to be near. Write about how you will draw near to Him today.
“Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:17–19).
When you remember to be grateful for everything in your life, even the things you don’t understand, you will be able to maintain the continual contact with God that Paul called praying “without ceasing.” Try to thank God throughout the day. How does this practice affect your closeness to the Spirit?
Feast on the words of Christ
“Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do” (2 Nephi 32:3).
In this verse, Nephi taught that when you feast on the words of Christ, these words will guide you in all you need to know and do. Picture how it would be to have Jesus Christ walk and talk with you all day long. Write about the feelings you have when you meditate on this image.
“The Savior said ‘I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost’ (D&C 8:2, emphasis added). . . . An impression to the mind is very specific. Detailed words can be heard or felt and written as though the instructions were being dictated. A communication to the heart is a more general impression” (Richard G. Scott, “Helping Others to Be Spiritually Led,” Doctrine and Covenants and Church history symposium, August 11, 1998, 2).
As your understanding of personal revelation increases, you will recognize it more often and in a greater variety of ways. Write about how you have experienced impressions and revelations from the Lord.
“I say unto you [these things whereof I have spoken] are made known unto me by the Holy Spirit of God. Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself. And now I do know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit; and this is the spirit of revelation which is in me” (Alma 5:46).
Alma testified that when he prayed and fasted, his ability to receive revelation increased. Abstinence from your addiction can be considered a form of fasting. Write about how abstaining has increased your ability to have the spirit of revelation.
“The idea that scripture reading can lead to inspiration and revelation opens the door to the truth that a scripture is not limited to what it meant when it was written but may also include what that scripture means to a reader today. Even more, scripture reading may also lead to current revelation on whatever else the Lord wishes to communicate to the reader at that time. We do not overstate the point when we say that the scriptures can be a Urim and Thummim to assist each of us to receive personal revelation” (Dallin H. Oaks, “Scripture Reading and Revelation,” Ensign, Jan. 1995, 8).
Learning the language of the scriptures is a lot like learning a foreign language. The best way to learn is to immerse yourself in them, to read and study them every day. Write about a passage of scripture that has opened up to you and become a personal revelation to you.
Receiving counsel from the Lord
“Seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand. For behold, ye yourselves know that he counseleth in wisdom, and in justice, and in great mercy, over all his works” (Jacob 4:10).
Our prayers may have been ineffective in the past because we spent more time counseling the Lord—telling Him what we wanted—than seeking His will about our decisions and conduct. Think of a recent experience with prayer. Was it full of counsel to the Lord or from the Lord? Write about your willingness to listen for and receive His counsel to you.