Saturday, June 23, 2012

To help better understand

     These are words from an addict.... I wanted to share with some of you the feelings that addicts of all kinds actually have. We are so quick to judge, to find fault when others stumble and fall, but how often do we try to change something in our own lives and fail miserably repeatedly? Does it not take time to change? Do we not get discouraged as we learn HOW to change?

     This was written by a man in the midst of this process....wanting you to understand.

    * " Ask me to what length I would go to have this problem taken from me. Would I move to the North Pole? Would I crawl across broken glass? These sound extreme, but I have wanted to change, perhaps for years....but I have no idea how to, all at the same moment. I will likely continue to try the same broken strategies again and again, hoping for a different result. Telling me to "just stop" probably wont mean much to me, because of myself, I have no idea what to do, and I'm scared that I've lost my opportunity for eternal life. If there is a way for me to escape this pit of despair, I want it."

     " Help me begin to see that there is a way to change. Ask me: What is the source of your power? I will  likely say, "Me", for I know no other Savior, despite the fact that I haven't been able to save myself yet. Who is smarter - you or Satan? I will likely say, "Me", for I have no other source of hope. Again, you will expect my understanding to match your that Satan has thousands of years of experience tempting millions of my brothers and sisters, but I am confused and stuck in a self - sufficient, self - deceptive mode of existence."

     " Help me to know that the Atonement is for me. Do I believe in the Atonement? Yes. Do I believe it is for me? No - I  have a long pattern of doubt or at least a sense that it's only for people who have done far less than I have or who have lived clean lives for much longer than I ever have. I  have a distorted view that the Atonement will apply to me only when I can deliver a long period of clean living to the Lord."

I have learned throughout my journey to support those suffering with addiction, that this is real. Whether or not it is an accurate feeling, it is real to them and they genuinely feel that they are hopeless and unworthy of not only changing, but of Gods love. My friends, we can Love unconditionally with out enabling. We can build up rather than tear down, and if we cannot do that, then we must get out of the way because then we become a hindrance to their progression.

To my friends suffering with addiction. YOU ARE LOVED. You are a CHILD OF GOD and His love for you NEVER diminishes. He has never left you and desires for your return. Through His Son is the key that unlocks the chain that so tightly binds you. Take that leap of faith, for what else do you have to loose?

*Letter taken from an anonymous source, from the book " He Restoreth my soul", by Dr. Donald L. Hilton Jr

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Teaching your children about sex

How many of you have ever thought, " Gosh, I wish my parents taught me differently about sex ". How many of you have actually gone about a different way of teaching the sacredness of a sexual relationship to your children? Through this journey, I have heard this above statement countless times. 

Being Christian,...not even that, being Mormon, sex is often a Taboo topic among its members. We hold sexual purity in such high esteem, that I think that we fear that if it is discussed too much that our children will explore that avenue and falter. I know that I was taught that sex was a sin unless you were married. It was a bad thing, and anything pertaining to or related to it was bad, and then all the sudden it was a commandment?! Luckily for me that didn't give me a complex like I have seen it give so many others. 

I do believe that this type of relationship is sacred, special, and should be within certain bounds. I believe that it should be held until you are married and that it should be between a man and a woman. Although my beliefs and understanding has grown with age and experience, how I wish my parents had taught me differently. I wish they would have told me things like how fun it  can be, that it strengthens your marriage and is a vital part of your relationship, that it binds you more greatly to your companion, that it isn't just for procreating ( having babies for those of you who are aren't word nerds ). 

We as parents, and those who are members of my church, we need to do a better job at teaching our children these sacred principles. I personally teach my children that a sexual relationship is like going to the temple. It isn't a secret, it isn't a big NO NO, it is just Sacred and that we should prepare ourselves until we are within the appropriate bounds. We look forward to the day we get to go to the temple, why can't we take that same approach. It is lovely, wonderful, sacred, special, fun, and O.K

I think if we can learn to take the "its bad" out of the equation and take a different approach, our children will have a healthier outlook, both mentally and spiritually, on sex and relationships both before and after marriage. There will always be temptation, and there will always be times that individuals falter, but I think we would see a difference in many aspects if we would take a different step towards teaching our children.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Parents of the Wilful and the Wayward

My thoughts have been turned towards the parents of the wayward recently. I am often humbled those who feel that I am in any way qualified to answer any of your questions regarding addiction. In all reality I am not. I simply go by what it is that I have experienced, my testimony of the Lords healing power, my studies, and the things which I feel the Lord has inspired me to express. I have recently been approached by parents for guidance, understanding, for that pat on the shoulder.....some comfort and knowledge that they are not terrible parents. For them, I post this today. This is what I have found...

"You parents of the wilful and the wayward! Don't give them up. Don't cast them off. They are not utterly lost. The Shepherd will find His sheep. They were His before they were yours- long before He entrusted them to your care; and you cannot begin to love them as He loves them. They have but strayed in ignorance from the Path of Right, and God is merciful to ignorance. Only the fullness of knowledge brings the fullness of accountability. Our Heavenly Father is far more merciful, infinitely more charitable, than even the best of his servants, and the Everlasting Gospel is mightier in power to save than our narrow finite minds can comprehend.

The Prophet Joseph Smith declared - and he never taught more comforting doctrine - that eternal sealings of faithful parents and the divine promises made to them for valiant service in the cause of truth, would save not only themselves, but likewise their posterity. Though some of the sheep may wander, the eye of the Shepherd is upon them, and sooner or later they will feel the tentacles of Divine Providence reaching out after them and drawing them back to the fold. Either in this life or in the life to come, they will return. They will have to pay their debt to justice; they will suffer for their sins; and may tread a thorny path; but if it leads them at last, like the penitent Prodigal, to a loving and forgiving father's heart and home, the painful experience will not have been in vain. Pray for your careless and disobedient children; hold on to them with your faith. Hope on, trust on, till you see the salvation of God." Orson F Whitney

Boyd K Packer also taught, " The measure of our success as parents will not solely rest on how our children turn out. That judgement would be just only if we could raise our families in a perfectly moral environment, and that now is not possible. It is not uncommon for responsible parents to lose one of their children, for a time, to influences over which they have no control. They agonize over rebellious sons and daughters. They are puzzled over why they are so helpless when they have tried so hard to do what they should. It is my conviction that those wicked influences will one day be overruled...We cannot overemphasize the value of temple marriage, the binding ties of the sealing ordinance, and the standards of worthiness required of them. When parents keep the covenants they have made at the altar of the temple, their children will be forever bound to them."

I have not experienced the heartache associated with wayward children and can't fully comprehend what it is that many of you feel or suffer. The anguish you must feel so personally is beyond my grasp. I have however, seen loved ones in this circumstance, and have seen the healing power the Lord has. It is my testimony that  through our own faithfulness, through our own obedience to the Gospel, we are a form of salvation for our children. What I do know from experience is that when we give up on our loved ones with addictions, they to surrender and give up as well. We can place appropriate boundaries and still provide support and love. To the parents, I love you, my heart aches with you and for you, and it is my hope that you in turn can use this experience to uplift and support and provide hope for another in these same circumstances.