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Previous Blog: Day 17
By josh
8/17/2006 12:00:00 AM
I’m a little disappointed that I won’t be able to attend the addiction recovery meeting tonight. Scheduling conflicts won’t allow it, but I plan to review the guidebook (see previous links) later this evening. Last week was week 5, confessing to those you have hurt and to proper priesthood authority. I’ve talked to various bishops about my addiction as I’ve grown up, particularly before my mission, but I don’t think I have truly spoken openly and comprehensively about it. Some bishops didn’t really seem to want to talk about it either. I remember speaking with someone (can’t remember if it was a bishop or mtc leader) while at the MTC. At the MTC, there is an enormous amount of pressure (most of which is self-inflicted – i.e. your conscience) to come clean on anything and everything from your past that may detract from the spirit in your life. As I mentioned to this leader that I had spoken with my bishop about my issues with pornography and m@strbation in the past, he immediately assured me that I didn’t need to talk to him about it then – to put the past behind me. It’s not that I disagree with that entirely, because to a large measure I had tried very hard to prepare myself for my mission and felt pretty good about the progress I’d made. I went on to serve my mission relatively regret-free, although it was not without incidents, particularly during times of depression. However, those two years were definitely the most “sober” time of my life. In all, I don’t think I ever had a priesthood leader or even an adult male that I could talk to openly about this. My father passed away when I was young, and I really didn’t have anyone in my life to go to with something like this. But I don’t want to turn this into a “wo is me – it’s all because of my lousy childhood.” That’s not the case – for the most part, I had a great childhood, and I alone take full responsibility for my addiction.

I am now faced with the awkward situation of being good friends with my bishop, and I am serving as the ward clerk as well. I know he is a very caring person who would not judge me but I still have not chosen to talk to him about it yet. However, I plan to, and this time it will not be out of guilt or because I have to, but because I want to as part of my recovery. I have tried to convince myself that it’s not necessary, but I now think that it is an important step to full recovery, particularly with my desire and pledge to be completely honest in ALL things. I am fully prepared to accept any consequences that may arise from that meeting (taking my temple recommend, releasing me, etc.)

Another good thing that will come from speaking with my bishop will be that I will be able to ask him for a priesthood blessing to help me. Growing up without a father, priesthood blessings were never a part of my life, and to tell the truth, I have issues with them. It’s not that I don’t have faith in them or believe that they are very important, but I just have awkward feelings about them. Perhaps I will discuss my reasons in more detail later. I don’t believe I have ever asked for a blessing my entire life for any reason, and I don’t remember ever offering to give one. I have blessed my wife, my children, family and neighbors who may have been ill, but it’s always made me a little uncomfortable. But my wise wife has mentioned to me that it would be a good thing to get a blessing, and as I have thought more about it, I completely agree. It’s probably not something I ever would have asked for on my own. The only problem was that I could not come up with a single person I felt comfortable asking, especially for something like this. I think that after talking about it and spelling everything out to my bishop, I would be comfortable asking him for a blessing. I plan to use every tool available to me to overcome.

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"Strength comes from uplifting music, good books, and feasting from the scriptures. Since the Book of Mormon was to come forth “when there shall be great pollutions upon the face of the earth” (Morm. 8:31), study of that book in particular will fortify us."

— Russell M. Nelson

General Conference, October 1988