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Being Grateful for Addiction
By doanair
10/4/2006 11:31:09 AM
Maybe I have a lot more growing to do, but I cannot say I am grateful for my addiction. I have heard some say this in my two years of Addiction Recovery meetings. To me, saying this means I am accepting the addiction as part of who I am. Even though I admit I am an addict, I do not want my addiction to define who I am. Saying I am grateful is like saying: “I am glad I have an addiction because without it, I would not be the person I am now.” Instead, I would prefer to say: “I am grateful for the Savior and the Atonement. Without it, I would not be the person I am now.”

The Savior Jesus Christ saved/changed my life, not my addiction. My addiction almost caused me to lose my life. I am not grateful for bowing to Satan’s temptations and succumbing to the weakness (lust) the Lord gave me (Ether 12:27). I am grateful, however, for the Savior’s patience and long-suffering with me and my behavior. He cares enough to continue extending his arm toward me, inviting me to repent and be healed from this addiction. He also has the power to change my heart so I no longer have the desire to sin (act-out).

Some attendees of the AR meetings say “I am a child/son of God” instead of “I am an addict.” I like this approach because they are refusing to let the addiction define their identity. I also hope to avoid letting my addiction define who I am. I am, first and foremost, a son of God. But, due to my choices and irresponsibility, I am also an addict. I think focusing on being an addict may cause me to lose my focus on my true identity.

Comments:

Mother In Zion    
"Donair, Your words are SO very important to remember. I really want to share an experience I had last week while fasting for my son and his wife as well as all of you who suffer with this "addiction". As I thought and prayed for the Savior to continue strengthening my son and bringing comfort to my daughter-in-law, I began to reflect on my own sort of addiction - food! I have abused my body in perhaps not the same way, but I have abused it just the same and have to fight the same sort of impulses and anguish when I make wrong choices (act out). As I was praying that thought came more clearly to me and I realized that I needed help just as my son does, so even though my fast was mainly directed at him, I also added a sort of P.S. for myself. I was absolutely amazed at the result of this fast. The next day I was able to talk to my son about some concerns I have had for a long time and was able to have peace come into my soul. The most remarkable thing of all, though, was that I also received an amazing amount of strength and control over my own appetites. This strength is remaining with me even now and I am amazed at how much I have been able to apply the principals I read about here from those who are overcoming their addictions (by remembering that they are first and foremost a child of God) into my own life and my own struggle. No it isn't the the same struggle, but it is the same strength that will help me conquer my "addiction". I need to remember that I am a child of God and he is my strength. He doesn't want me to live in an unhealthy temple and he alone can help me as I journey down my own walk in life. "
posted at 17:35:18 on October 4, 2006 by Mother In Zion
An interesting paradox    
"I think you make an interesting and marvelous point. I too have wondered about the appropriateness of claiming gratitude for this addiction. After all, I deplore it, I wouldn't wish it on anyone, I would give anything to be rid of it! And that last statement is really, I think, where the gratitude comes in - I would give anything to be rid of it. I have had to give up much to recover from this addiction, mainly, my pride. It's not that I'm grateful for the addiction itself, but I am certainly grateful for the lessons learned in humility while recovering from it - lessons that perhaps may not have been learned otherwise.

We have heard Ether 12:27 so many times - about how the Lord gives us weaknesses that we may be made humble. Paul made a similar statement in his letter to the Corinthians, one that is quoted perhaps less often in the church, and I think he summed up this particular issue best when he said:
"...My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather *glory in my infirmities*, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong." (2 Cor 12:9-10)

Granted, much, if not all, of Paul's "infirmities" were not brought on by his own bad choices, as is the case with many of us in this addiction. Nevertheless, I think the principle is a good one, and I think it is entirely possible to be grateful to this gift of weakness the Lord has given us without being grateful for the inappropriate things we have done with that weakness. This weakness has led me to a greater gratitude, as you expressed, of the Lord's atonement. Should I not be grateful to the catalyst of obtaining this greater appreciation? For those things I have done inappropriately with my weakness, I express deep regret and sorrow, and definitely no gratitude. For those marvelous experiences and inexplicable joy that I have received as a result of the power of the atonement in overcoming this weakness, I express a deep and sincere gratitude. It is in that sense, that I am indeed grateful for this weakness."
posted at 12:46:10 on October 5, 2006 by josh
Ditto!    
"I too have had the same thoughts about being grateful for this addiction. Last week I blogged about being grateful for the weakness. After all, I see the weakness as a gift (since GOD gave us our weaknesses). And I think that's the key. There's a HUGE difference between the God-given weakness and the addiction brought on by repeatedly succumbing to the weakness. I am certainly not thankful for the addiction, because the addiction is what resulted from my own bad choices. God didn't give me the addiction. He only gave me the weakness, and it's my responsibility to determine how I will deal with the weakness. With all my heart, I wish that I had allowed the weakness itself to drive me to humility and the Savior LONG before it became an addiction. But I didn't, so now it's a much larger battle. But the really great thing is, whether it's our God-given weakness or our self-created addiction, the Savior can overcome them both. We don't have to overcome either on our own. With the Savior's grace, he can accomplish things that we have no power to do, like free ourselves from the chains of addiction AND overcome our weaknesses."
posted at 13:45:35 on October 5, 2006 by derek


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"I need not define your specific problem to help you overcome it. It doesn’t matter what it is. If it violates the commandments of the Lord, it comes from Satan, and the Lord can overcome all of Satan’s influence through your application of righteous principles. Please understand that the way back is not as hard as it seems to you now. Satan wants you to think that it is impossible. That is not true. The Savior gave His life so that you can completely overcome the challenges you face. "

— Richard G. Scott

General Conference May 1990