Addiction Recovery Program - A Guide to Addiction Recovery and Healing
Step 2: Hope
KEY PRINCIPLE: Come to believe that the power of God can restore you to complete spiritual health.
When we realized our powerlessness over our addictions, most of us felt stripped of any hope. Those of us who had grown up with no concept of God were certain we had exhausted every avenue of help. Meanwhile, those of us who believed in God were convinced He was too disappointed in us to help. Either way, step 2 presented us with an answer we had either never considered or else had discarded—to turn to God and find hope in the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
Finally humbled, we reached out for help. Following what felt to us like the tiniest ray of hope, we began to attend recovery meetings. When we first came to meetings, we were filled with doubts and fears. We were frightened and possibly even cynical, but at least we came. There we heard men and women honestly describe what their lives had been like, what happened to change them, and what it was like to live in recovery from addiction. We discovered that many of the people we met in the meetings had once felt as hopeless as we felt. But now they were laughing, talking, smiling, attending meetings, praying, reading scriptures, and writing in their recovery journals.
Gradually, the principles they shared and practiced started to work for us. As we kept coming back, we began to feel something we had not felt in years— we felt hope. If there was hope for others who had been at the very brink of destruction, maybe there was hope for us too! We were grateful to hear that if we would turn to the Lord, there would be “no habit, no addiction, no rebellion, no transgression, no offense exempted from the promise of complete forgiveness” (Boyd K. Packer, in Conference Report, Oct. 1995, 22; or Ensign, Nov. 1995, 19).
In this atmosphere of faith and testimony, we found hope that began to awaken us to the mercy and power of God. We began to believe that He could deliver us from the bondage of addiction. We followed the example of our recovering friends. We attended meetings, prayed, renewed our activity in the Church, and pondered and applied the scriptures, and our own miracles began to happen. We found ourselves blessed with the grace of Jesus Christ to maintain our abstinence one day at a time. As we took step 2, we became willing to replace trust in ourselves and our addictions with faith in the love and power of Jesus Christ. We took this step in our minds and in our hearts, and we experienced the truth that the foundation of recovery from addiction must be spiritual.
As you take the steps recommended in this guide, you will experience the same truth. It is worth every effort. This program is spiritual, and it is a program of action. If you follow these principles and allow them to work in your life, you will find yourself being restored to spiritual health through your newfound relationship with the Lord. His Spirit will help you begin to see your choices more honestly and clearly; you will make decisions in harmony with gospel principles.
For some of us this miracle was almost instantaneous; for others, recovery has been more gradual. However it may occur for you, you will eventually be able to say with us that through “steadfastness in Christ,” you are rescued from addiction and enjoy a “perfect brightness of hope” (2 Nephi 31:20).
Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught of the power of the Lord to help you:
“We should not underestimate or overlook the power of the Lord’s tender mercies. The simpleness, the sweetness, and the constancy of the tender mercies of the Lord will do much to fortify and protect us in the troubled times in which we do now and will yet live. When words cannot provide the solace we need or express the joy we feel, when it is simply futile to attempt to explain that which is unexplainable, when logic and reason cannot yield adequate understanding about the injustices and inequities of life, when mortal experience and evaluation are insufficient to produce a desired outcome, and when it seems that perhaps we are so totally alone, truly we are blessed by the tender mercies of the Lord and made mighty even unto the power of deliverance (see 1 Nephi 1:20).
“Some individuals who hear or read this message erroneously may discount or dismiss in their personal lives the availability of the tender mercies of the Lord. . . We may falsely think that such blessings and gifts are reserved for other people who appear to be more righteous or who serve in visible Church callings. I testify that the tender mercies of the Lord are available to all of us and that the Redeemer of Israel is eager to bestow such gifts upon us” (in Conference Report, Apr. 2005, 106–7; or Ensign, May 2005, 100–101).
You will see the tender mercies of the Lord in your life as you learn to watch for them and as you come to believe that the power of God can indeed help you recover.
Pray; read and ponder the scriptures
As you let go of pride and begin to consider bringing God back into your life, you will start to think in more prayerful terms. Eventually you will find yourself ready to kneel and pray aloud. You will find how good it feels to express your feelings and needs to God. You will feel you have reopened a conversation with someone who will always answer you, not always with a yes but always with love. At last you will begin to experience the healing effects of breaking out of self-imposed isolation.
The desire to communicate with God will lead you to study the words of modern and ancient prophets. As you hear of others who found answers in the scriptures, your hope will grow that you can find answers too. As you write your thoughts, you will receive additional impressions from the Spirit. Study prayerfully, and the Lord will give you answers to your questions and needs.
A great place to begin your study is with the verses at the end of each chapter in this guide. Each verse was selected with recovery in mind, and each question is asked with the hope that it might help you apply the verse to your life. Take a few minutes every day to seek what the Lord desires to communicate to you.
Believe in God the Eternal Father and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost
Most of us grew up with some concept of God, and as members of the Church we at least had some knowledge of Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. We may even have had a simple belief in Them, but often we did not connect our personal struggles with our need for God’s power in our lives.
The action required in step 2 is simply to become willing to practice believing in the love and mercy of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and the accessibility and blessing of the Holy Ghost. Our testimonies are that you can come to know the perfectly united love of the Godhead by watching for evidence of Their love and power in your life and in the lives of others.
Study and Understanding
The following scriptures may help you in taking step 2. We recommend that you use these scriptures and questions for discussion, study, and writing. Remember to be honest and specific in your writing.
Belief in God
“Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend” (Mosiah 4:9).
Many witnesses in heaven and in earth testify of God’s existence. What evidences of God and His love have you experienced?
Faith in Jesus Christ
“Preach unto them repentance, and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ; teach them to humble themselves and to be meek and lowly in heart; teach them to withstand every temptation of the devil, with their faith on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Alma 37:33).
Many of us tried to get out of our addictions through sheer willpower or through having faith in a friend or therapist. Sooner or later we found that our faith in ourselves or others did not enable us to overcome our addictions fully. Write about your feelings today of being humble and willing to turn to Christ and His gospel above all other sources of help in your recovery efforts.
The Savior’s compassion
“Straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief” (Mark 9:24).
This man sought help from the Savior and obtained it. Jesus did not rebuke him for his doubt. Write about the Savior’s compassion and patience.
How do you feel about sharing your feelings with the Lord?
The gift of grace
“Let us . . . come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
In the Bible Dictionary, grace is defined as “divine means of help or strength” given through the “bounteous mercy and love of Jesus Christ” (“Grace,” 697). This gift of divine strength enables you to do more than you would be able to do if left on your own. The Savior will do for you what you cannot do for yourself. His grace is the means by which you can repent and be changed. In what ways have you felt the gift of grace in your life?
How can the gift of divine strength enable you to maintain continuous recovery?
“Believest thou in the power of Christ unto salvation? . . . If thou believest in the redemption of Christ thou canst be healed” (Alma 15:6, 8).
When we think of healing, we usually think about our bodies. What else about you might require the healing power of Jesus Christ?
Write about your need to draw on the redeeming (liberating, transforming) power of Christ.
“If ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words” (Alma 32:27).
Becoming aware—or awaking and arousing your faculties—is an important part of the process of learning to believe. In what ways are you more aware today of Jesus Christ and His power in your life than you were last week? last month? last year?
Deliverance from bondage
“They were in captivity, and again the Lord did deliver them out of bondage by the power of his word” (Alma 5:5).
The word of God will be powerful in releasing you from bondage. You can find the word of God in the scriptures and the talks you hear at conference and read in Church magazines. You can also receive God’s word directly through the Holy Ghost. Write some of the things you are willing to do today to receive His word to you.