Baby Steps

Hi.  My name is ________ and I’m an addict….

In recovery meetings around the world, held in churches, basements, offices, or parks, this is how people begin spilling their guts about what really goes on inside their heads.

There are reasons why those those meetings are anonymous.  Chief among those reasons is that most addicts share a fear that if anyone really knew them, really knew how they thought, what they did, how they felt, no one would accept them, let alone love them.  This fear consumes them and drives them into a life of secrecy and seclusion.

And addiction thrives in secrecy and seclusion.

For many people, recovery meetings are their first timid attempts to reach out and connect honestly with another person.  The anonymity and confidentiality provide a safety net for their fears of rejection and loneliness.

A blog is the last thing an addict would want to write.  Fiction? Sure.  Poetry? Maybe.  But a blog? An online public journal with my picture out there for the world to see? Oh, hell no!

So why would I, a long-time 12-stepper and recovering addict, choose to start this blog?  That’s a good question.  Let me think about that a moment…

Maybe it’s because I’m getting older and I don’t care as much about what people think about me?  Nope, that’s not it.  I still have a big problem being a people-pleaser.

Maybe I have finally overcome my fears?  Nope.  I’m terrified.  And I’m still not sure if I’m actually going to push that ominous button at the bottom of this page that will publish this.

Okay, here is my official answer:  I’m doing this because I know what hopelessness feels like.  I’m doing this because I know how it feels to have my god-given agency taken away by addiction.  I’m doing this because I know there are countless people who think they are beyond help.  And I’m doing this to illustrate what recovery looks like, because most people have a false picture of what their life will be like without their addiction.

I’m also doing this because it is important to my own recovery and healing.  In fact, it’s right there in the program.

Step 12: Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, share this message with others and practice these principles in all you do. (A Guide to Addiction Recovery and Healing, LDS Family Services)

“Those of us who have partaken of the Atonement are under obligation to bear faithful testimony of our Lord and Savior.”(President Howard W. Hunter, “The Atonement and Missionary Work,” seminar for new mission presidents, June 21, 1994, 2).

Honestly, this isn’t something I really want to do.  But I have a strong feeling that this is something my Heavenly Father wants me to do.  And I want to trust him.  I want to believe that He has something in store for me that I can’t even comprehend at this point.  President Ezra Taft Benson taught:

“Men and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, raise up friends, and pour out peace. Whoever will lose his life in the service of God will find eternal life” (“Jesus Christ—Gifts and Expectations,” Ensign, Dec. 1988, 4).

So here I am, ready to click this little button and see what happens.  And I begin this blog in the same way I have been sharing about myself in weekly meetings for several years:

Hi.  My name is Wes, and I’m a recovering addict.



Filed under addiction, LDS, Mormon, Uncategorized, Writing

3 responses to “Baby Steps

  1. Did I ever tell you that you are my hero? And here I am with all my petty little problems writing under a pen name . . . .

    • Nobody’s problems are ever petty or little. You are my hero, too. And one of my inspirations. Another hero of mine passed away today, Jacki Larsen. I am glad I wrote this blog before she passed. It was appropriate.

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