I'd love your input!
By momlittle3
9/26/2012 10:50:06 PM
I am an ARP missionary and I learn so much from this site. I've shared some of your blogs and thoughts with the group and they have found the information beneficial for their recovery. My spouse and I will be speaking to all the Bishops in our Stake next month about the ARP program. I would love to get your input on what do you wish Bishop's would do or say or ways they can help those struggling with addiction AND also the addict's family members.
I am also asking those who attend the group meetings what their thoughts are and what they would like for us to share.

I appreciate any feedback that you feel like sharing with me.


"In no particular order, I would tell them:

1) Do not ignore the spouse. (I will speak from the wife's perspective.) Often an addict comes in because things got bad enough and the Bishop starts counseling with the addict but never, ever speaks to the wife/spouse. I understand that sometimes the spouse doesn't know and the addict came in to confess to the Bishop before confessing to their partner, but in many cases, the addict came in because they got caught. Bishops need to let the spouse know that he is there for her too. They are often so focused on the 'problem'/addict that they ignore the one without the 'problem'. Oh my! How untrue and damaging is that perspective. Please tell them to be proactive in reaching out the spouse. At times I didn't want to talk to the Bishops, but those who invited, checked-in or reached out gently, helped. Most met with my husband and ignored me. I felt lost and like they were apart of the lie and facade that was my life at church. They pretended and I pretended. I felt like I was supposed to act like nothing was wrong and by brushing over me, they seemed to be agreeing with me. They need to look at the wives and let them know that they are real and that their pain is real. Let them know that they are heard and seen. And I will briefly say that they also need to do the same for the children who may be involved. Don't gloss over the family members.

2) They are not therapists. (Unless they are, which mine is, strangely enough) I've had Bishops try to psychoanalyze me and do personality tests and all that to help me feel better about my situation. They are spiritual guides, not medical providers. Make sure they know that they need to fill the measure of their stewardship but not try to overflow into different areas. They need to follow the Spirit and try to turn their flock to Christ, but if they start handing out diagnosis's then they might want to slow down and question their tactics. I believe the theory from "He Restoreth My Soul" that the successful approach will be the one that includes the multi-prong approach from the right support people in their right sphere. Addicts ideally will have a Spiritual guide, therapist, support group, sponsor, and family. And each of them serve a different function. (Obviously not all of us have each of those, but it is best when we do). Remind bishops what their role is and what it is not. They need to serve as a phone book for other resources to get people the help they need and not think that they are one stop shopping for a cure to addiction. They need get people in touch with appropriate and good help.

3)They need to KNOW the 12 step process. They need to hand out that manual like Kleenex's in their office. Most don't know what it says. Most are not reading and studying it. They need to. Period.

4)They need to know that sexual addiction is not about sex. They will get this if they really study the 12 steps, but a lot of them are so focused on talking about the problems that they end up encouraging 'white knuckling' instead of recovery. This is a huge problem.

5) Obviously you have a 12 step meeting in your area because you are a missionary. The best situation is to have a general ARP group, A woman's only group, and a men's only group. Even if it is small, talk to the Bishops about supporting all 3 types of meetings. Yes it is a lot of time and work load and it is worth it. My opinion only.

6) This sounds so negative, but I would let them know that they can do unbelievable damage. I have had 13 Bishops since I started dealing with this. I would without question say that 11 of them made things worse by misleading my husband and I with council that was damaging. Things like, "Any time he has the urge, you need to have sex with him to keep him from acting out." They need to be informed because they are often part of the problem. They become enablers or shamers. They teach codependency and white knuckling as a said before. They need to step it up. They are not innocent in the addictive cycle.

7) They need to do better at leading the fight to prevent. They need to teach parents and youth. They need to call their wards to action. They need real methods, filters, tools and training to help push back against the Adversary. I say this, but don't know the solutions because that is such a tall order, but I do know that one tool is they need to bring pornography addiction out of the dark and stop making it dirty and shameful to talk about. That just makes it worse.

8) And most importantly.... Tell them that we need them. The addicts and the family members. We can't do this without them..... Tell them THANK YOU."
posted at 12:00:10 on September 27, 2012 by maddy
Thank you!    
"What great feedback!! Keep it coming.... I truly appreciate it and hopefully you will be helping others in my area by helping us teach the Bishops."
posted at 20:01:38 on September 27, 2012 by momlittle3

Add a Comment:

***Anonymous User***     (login above to post UN-anonymously)

"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