I'm new here....
By chefdalet
2/7/2011 11:24:03 AM
I am new to this group...the box at the top of my screen says that I have been sober 468! October 28, 2009 to be exact. Let me tell you a bit about my journey here. To start off, I am a Bishop, living in a state other than Utah. I am in my 5th year as Bishop, and it has been a wonderful blessing in my life. Many assume that having a calling in the church such as this protects you from temptation and sin...not so. It is your personal comitment to righteousness that keep you from sin. I have dealt with sexual addiction as a part of my life since junior high. While I did all the things outwardly that were expected of me such as a mission, and marriage in the Temple, I did as all addicts do, I buried my secret life from my priesthood leaders, my wife and family. My life was a lie.
Then one day, I awoke to find my marriage of 25 years failing. I was not the same person on the inside that all of my friends and ward members saw on the outside and it was making me sick. My lack of communication and true intimacy with my wife had forced a wedge between us that was growing wider by the day. Not knowing what to do, and wanting desperately to save my marriage, I came clean about my double life. The ensuing weeks and even months were the hardest ever. We fought weekly about small and meaningless things as I started to attend an ARP group in the Stake, and started educating myself regarding the addiction. I found some great blogs and podcasts such as those found at I read all the suggested readings by Patrick Carnes and others. I even flew to San Antonio with my wife to meet Don Hilton and his wife. He is the author of "He Restoreth my Soul",....a fantastic book about the addiction. Through it all, we have grown closer. My wife was finally able to let go of teh anger she felt toward me and my addiction. I didn't blame her for the way she felt, as I fully expected her to leave me. We started praying together more....started observing date night faithfully. I'm learning slowly how to be a better husband, and we are making the emotional connection with each other that had been missing for years. I now longer live my life in a fantasy world. As difficult as the real world is to deal with some times, I fight through it because I have been blessed to have people in my life who love me. The Atonement is spite of all of the "mechanics" of recovery, it is the Lord who does all of the real work, in our hearts and in our lives. Please let me help you and show you a better way.


"Welcome, Chefdalet! It is very interesting to me that even a bishop could struggle with this secret. Thanks for being willing to share your story with us!"
posted at 11:36:30 on February 7, 2011 by katie
Bishops are human too....;-)    
"Oddly enough it wasn't until I had worked with a couple brethren in the ward who were struggling that I was able to admit the truth to myself and others. For years I've been following the usual path of "pray harder, read the scriptures, sing a hymn...." Didn't realize until I started looking around, the power of the addiction."
posted at 11:48:06 on February 7, 2011 by chefdalet
I have to ask    
"First off, welcome and congrats on your sobriety. I'm looking forward to reading your input on things. I'm a fairly recent convert, and I have to did you stay a bishop when you admitted your addiction? I don't mean to offend, but I'm not sure what I think of the idea of having a bishop who is acting out in his addiction. I get that bishops are human too. I just didn't think that they'd be allowed to continue to be a bishop if they were active in their addiction."
posted at 23:45:58 on February 7, 2011 by dstanley
"I had about 40-50 days of sobriety behind me when I came to the Stake President and discussed the addiction with him. I was prepared for the worst, as was my family. I had reached a point where I didn't care what the outcome was, I just needed to be clean. My Stake President is a wonderful, spiritual man who, luckily for me understands addictions. he has a family member who attends AA meeting regularly and is in recovery from alcohol. He took about 2-3 weeks to make a decision, but decided that to allow me to continue serving as Bishop. He said that he didn't know if he was doing the right thing, but had a strong impression that I would be able to help people with their own addictions by staying Bishop. I can tell you that my understanding and appreciation for the Atonement has grown immensely because of my experiences. I feel like I am a stronger and more empathetic Bishop because of my personal struggles. My wife and I have been in conversation with the SP to allow us to start a support group here in our stake come summer time. In all likelyhood, I will be released by then. I have served as Bishop now for nearly 5 years.
I'm not saying that everyone in my position should be allowed to continue in their calling..I don't know that if our roles were reversed that I would have made a similar decision....I actually begged him to release me. He indicated that the time wasn't right, and that he felt I had an important work to do. And so it goes......
In my work with fellow addicts, I have made them aware of my own struggles on a "need to know" basis. Outside of a few close friends and former counselors, nobody knows of my exact problems. The ward is aware that their Bishop is human, and has been through the refiner's fire this past year, as I have alluded to it in my testimony repeatedly. I'm greatful for understanding friends, a Stake President and a wife who are able to see beyond my addiction and continue to love me unconditionally."
posted at 08:42:26 on February 8, 2011 by chefdalet
Just a thought    
"Hey D, I was thinking about your question last night about CHEFDALET's calling as Bishop during his addiction. (By the way, CHEFDALET, great reply. Really enjoyed your post.) I was thinking about why the Lord would have him initially called to be Bishop. Obviously the Lord knew when he was called that he would fall back into addiction. So why call him in the first place?
I believe that the Lord looks at the big picture. He sees us not only where we currently are in life, but sees who we can become. Perhaps the Lord knew this was the only way for him to be able to face his addiction head on and in a way that would finally allow him to find healing through the Atonement. The Lord gives us the experiences we individually need for our growth and salvation. And as he mentioned, he became much more empathetic and helpful to other addicts in return.
I'm very grateful that the Lord sees us for who we truly are, and gives us the opportunities we need to repent. He truly knows us better than we do ourselves! :)"
posted at 11:41:32 on February 8, 2011 by JustMe
"Hi! I am glad you are doing well. I sobered up just after you did! This is a wonderful place to communicate, get and give help!"
posted at 17:14:27 on February 8, 2011 by hubster
Thanks for the answer    
"Thanks Chefdalet and Justme. That helps me. I'm still working on the whole different people different responses thing. Maybe it comes from being an engineer. I'm used to a + b equaling c all the time. :) I'm working on not letting it get me wound up (and I'm getting better). I can see where having experience with addiction would help as a bishop, and I hadn't thought that God would have known when Chefdalet was called."
posted at 00:18:55 on February 9, 2011 by dstanley

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" Is it possible to reclaim a life that through reckless abandon has become so strewn with garbage that it appears that the person is unforgivable? Or what about the one who is making an honest effort but has fallen back into sin so many times that he feels that there is no possible way to break the seemingly endless pattern? Or what about the person who has changed his life but just can't forgive himself?The Atonement of Jesus Christ is available to each of us. His Atonement is infinite. It applies to everyone, even you. It can clean, reclaim, and sanctify even you. That is what infinite means—total, complete, all, forever. "

— Shayne M. Bowen

General Conference October 2006