are we always addicts or recoverying addicts or recovered addicts???
By ruggaexpat
8/15/2010 2:35:24 PM
I know this could strike up a hot debate but I have been thinking recently about this question. I have read books, articles, blogs and scientific journals about the subject and the vast majority of sources hint that once an addict always an addict. Like I have to walk around with this label on my forehead for the rest of my life. I don't know for sure but I have never heard an apostle say once an addict always an addict and I have never read in the ARP manual anything of that nature.

Personally I hate the labels, I am staisfied with none of them. If the Lord did label me as such then when I get to the pearly gates, I might have to join a line underneath a sign post with either label. If the Lord does not label me as such then why must I or anyone else?

I don't want to become to fixated about the idea of needing the ARP program till the end of time. I think the Lord expects me to use it now and then move on once I feel ready to do so.

I want this to be a phase of my life or a time out if you like where I do some real fixing of myself but then move on.

Does depending on the Lord mean always depending on the ARP program for an addict? I don't think so. Yes for now but surely I can progress to the point where I no longer need to be there for strength to be normal. I know I am making people's stomachs turn with this.

Can we become addicted to the ARP program? Is that healthy? We can depend on it for a time but does it have to be always? Is it in the Lords will for me to attend the program for the rest of my life going in and saying wow great lesson, it has taken me 20 years to finally finish my 4th step. Now I can move onto the 5th. I need to depend of the Lord like everyone else does and if I can recover then that should mean bye bye to ARP program and this site right?


Alma 24    
"I have asked myself this question several times and once posted a blog entry that addiction and recovery is a relative term. This morning, while reading in Alma 24 I had a witness of the Spirit that once the repentance process has been sincerely applied to, once the Lord's Miracle of Forgiveness has forgiven you and once the Atoning Blood of Jesus Christ has cleansed you and changed your very nature so that sin becomes "disgusting" to you, in my opinion, you are no longer an addict.

This is contrary to many 12 step programs. In AA you are always a recovering alcoholic. In Alma 24, the Anti-Nephi-Lehi's were forgiven, their nature was changed, and they were made clean. To protect themselves from sin, they buried their weapons of war deep in the earth.

Another good example was that of Alma the younger's father Alma. When he was in King Noah's court, he said that he was caught in a trap. Remember they were all caught up in Wine, Women and Song. When the prophet Abinadi called them to repentance, Alma listened and after sincere repentance he was chosen to be a Prophet of the Lord. When in Zerehemla he said in Mosiah 26:13 "...he feared that he would do wrong in the sight of God." He was forgiven, he was no longer a wine bibber or a womanizer, he had his nature changed and always retained in his remembrance that sin destroys. He was a new man.

So with us and our spouses."
posted at 19:20:59 on August 15, 2010 by migail3
"A better question might be, why are you unwilling to be an addict for the rest of your life? I agree with Migail that nothing is beyond the Savior's power to heal. But that also presupposes that I do everything in my power to stay clean, and that means staying in the program indefinitely. The Twelfth Step is sharing your recovery with others. This is one of the conditions of the grace we experience. It is complacency and supposing we are completely healed that get people killed. I've buried 4 friends in the last decade and all of them thought that they had transcended the program. Please don't make that mistake."
posted at 19:32:53 on August 15, 2010 by Anonymous
An addiction is not a sin like anyother    
"Addiction is not a sin like other sins(sometimes it's not even clearly a sin eg overeating). It is a strong and powerful dependancy on something. You nature may have changed in that you rely on the Lord, however, you have a strong weakness and it is not always the Lord 's will that it be removed. Most often, you will have to continually be on your wacht for the rest of your days, sometimes as no one is perfect you will have to go back to ARP to strenghten. An alcoholic can never have even one drink. For the porn addict, the world is an open bar and Satan knows your weakness inside out, he is patient and will wait for the moments where you think you are strong and no longer need your meetings and everything is going your way. With an addiction you must ALWAYS and for the rest of your life be wachtfull!!! Satan knows it is a weakness and even your brain and body remembers the paths it took. That is why they say you are a recovering addict for the rest of your life!!!! Be careful and on your guard."
posted at 21:28:21 on August 15, 2010 by Anonymous
"Seems to me that a p/m addictions cause a chemical "high" that is fixable. I think I've read it takes a few years to fix this. Don't you think it depends on the person whether they are addicted for life? The above prophets mentioned all used their bad experiences and put them to good use. Maybe that is key to staying clean?"
posted at 22:30:34 on August 15, 2010 by Anonymous
I like your thinking, Rugga...    
"Like you, I'm not sure we are always an addict - recovering or otherwise. I think that there is an appropriate level of repentance and forgiveness, and sins are washed away through the atonement. Though they be red like crimson, they shall be as white as snow. We become a new creature in Christ, and the new creature NEVER DID THOSE THINGS. We are no longer the same person we once were.

However, does that mean we leave it all behind, never to return to ARP meetings, never to discuss the addiction with anyone else? I don't know.

Something about step 12 stands out in my mind. As someone mentioned above, we are to share this message and practice these principles in all that we do. I don't think this step ever ends. There are other people who need our help, other addicts who need to know about our experiences. They need to know it is possible to overcome, through Christ. For their sake (not ours), perhaps we can't just leave everything behind and come to a point where we pretend like it never, ever happened. We have to help them.

Additionally, the 12 steps are not just for addicts. They are the repentance process for any sin. Therefore, we should consider reworking them throughout our lives to overcome our other dependencies and struggles. We may not always want to call ourselves a "recovering addict," but I feel fairly comfortable forever calling myself a "recovering sinner," at least until my calling and election is sure..."
posted at 23:24:36 on August 15, 2010 by BeClean

What an interesting thread. Your question was a mind game I wrestled with earlier this summer. If the atonement can free a person from addiction why would a person who has gone through the 12 step process still be a
"recovering addict." Does that title mean they don't understand the purpose and power of the atonement? Does it mean that the 12 steps don't really apply the atonement? Below is the answer I came to for myself.

I am convinced that the 12 steps are simply a process of applying the atonement in our lives. So if a person in AA really applies the atonement then they should be made whole from their addiction. Those I have talked with who have been in recovery for years (including my sponsor) talk about freedom from their previous desires. They no longer crave. They know how to deal with triggers. I believe they have been made whole. They are free from their addiction. So why the label? The label is for protection. The danger of their previous addictions is always there. They are only one moment away from what could be a very steep and slippery slope leading to their past life.

Another way to think about it is this. Consider a person who was addicted to alcohol (not LDS) that does not see a moral problem with drinking. He has worked the steps and has been sober for years. At what point would it be ok for that person to return to social drinking. After completing the 12 steps, after 10 years, maybe after 15 years... Never is the best answer--and so the label--"recovering alcoholic" is a protection--a reminder that a return to drinking, even one drink, could easily prove to be a great mistake. One person who had been in recovery from alcohol for over a decade said to me "I am only one drink away from my disease--and that drink very likely would kill me"

I believe (and hope) that I can be completely healed from my sexual addiction. I want to be whole. I want to be the honorable father & husband my wife and children deserve. I'm in the process of recovery. But, as I become whole I don't want to forget where I have been. I think I will always define myself as being "in recovery"--not to deny the atonement but rather for protection. I want to remember that I am vulnerable.

My thoughts. Good questions to ponder.

posted at 00:30:20 on August 16, 2010 by seekrecovery
To all you anonamouses....    
"Or whatever you call yourselves, thanks for taking the time to respond. Beclean and seeking had good stuff so lets take this further then.

I plan on being in the program as a facilitator. My reason is to assist others in overcoming their addictions. Difference though is that I am not attending meetings for my own recovery, but will be doing it to help others recover. Thus continuing step 12. It is also a great way to apply ENOUGH's advice to be involved in combatting this in the community. I am not one of those dudes that will hang from a bridge with a banner saying "Say no to porn." That is an exaggeration but I think facilitating is a great way to contribute. Thus I can always remember where I have come from.

Labels and protection - Interesting for sure. It is one way to think about it. I prefer to remember my vulnerability when I put on my temple garments each day. I do know that not everyone has them so protection in the form of the label is justified for those who want it.

Addiction vs dependency - To me there is a great difference here. Sure both can exist but addiction is an abnormal and unbridled dependency. There are normal dependencies too regulated by boundaries. We can learn to live within boundaries like any normal person.

To anon #1 thanks for your concern for my welfare. Why am I unwilling to be an addict for the rest of my life? Being an addict sucks plain and simple and I have been one and felt suffered as one for long enough thanks. It is a personal decision if you want to carry that label with you (I am sure you have personal reasons to). Please tell me where you read that the addict must stay in an ARP program indefinately to qualify him or her as having done all they can do. Is it not more a question of supping deeply from the counsels given and then applying them daily. This to me is what the program is about, it is not about me signing up for a lifetime of ARP recovery meetings.

Anon #2 Satan can know my weaknesses better than me for sure but I decide. I have free agency that one power I decide to give to him or not. I fought with my choice to preserve before my addiction started and I will do the same to preserve it now until I die. Rah Rah Rah sounding anthem I know but I feel strongly and take the subject of agency seriously.

Ultimately I want to remember where I have come from. I must be involved in helping others through this program. This program is incredible, an emergency float in a sinking world. I am so blessed to have been strengthened by it. It has everything I need to recover.
I want to be whole, I can be whole and I will be whole as that is the saviors promise of full repentance."
posted at 11:54:44 on August 16, 2010 by ruggaexpat
My experience    
"I hate labels, too. I know my opinion will probably differ than most but then again, my experience has been different than most on this site. When I look at my husband, I don't see an addict. I don't see a recovering addict. I don't see a former addict. I don't see anything of the sort. I see my husband. I see my childrens father. I see a Sunday school teacher. I see a Priesthood holder. I don't think you have to label yourself for the rest of your life. If a teenage girl becomes pregnant, she gets the lable "teen mom". Does that label apply to her when she's forty? Of course not. That mistake is in her past and I don't think anyone would lable her a "teen mom" or a "former teen mom" or a "recovered teen mom". If we can repent of our sins and the Lord remembers them no more, why should we lable ourselves and constantly remind ourselves of the mistakes of the past. Now I'm NOT saying that you should EVER let your guard down!! Please don't think that's what I'm saying...because I'm NOT. I just don't think you always need to think of yourself as something when you're not that something anymore.

As far as the 12 step program. Again, my experience has been different than most on this site. My husband has been completely clean for three years. He has never worked the 12 steps. He has never set foot in a recovery meeting of any kind. Likewise, I've never worked the 12 steps. I have read the manuel for a research project I did back in school but I never "worked" the steps. Did I heal from this nightmare? Yes. Did my husband heal from this addiction? Yes. Is it possible to live your life without working 12 steps? My opinion, yes. Is it helpful to work the 12 steps? Absolutely. Is it required? No. I don't think so. I think you have to do what works for you. If the program is what's helping keep you clean then keep doing it! The atonement of Christ is ultimately the ONLY thing that will heal you completely. The 12 steps and the atonement are not synonymous. You can utilize the atonement without any program. I did. My husband did. Attending meetings and working steps are awesome tools but that's not going to fix the problem without developing a love of Christ and a desire to be like him and worship him with your whole being. I know I'll get reemed for this opinion so I'll state again...I think the 12 steps are AWESOME and if they work for you..USE THEM! I'm just answering your question on whether or not you have to use them your whole life. I don't think so. You DO have to use the Atonement your entire life. Without a doubt!! people can let me have it! I'm sure most, if not all, will disagree with me. I can only speak from my own experience...:)"
posted at 11:56:32 on August 16, 2010 by sierra
"It sounds like you are already forgetting how bad things got. That "willingness to go to any length" is not as strong as it used to be, young Anikan, and that's a precarious position to be in. You're forgetting how quickly agency can be snatched away and it all starts with pride. Have you worked the Steps?"
posted at 12:11:47 on August 16, 2010 by Anonymous
Thanks George I never knew...    
"Are you telling me that I have always been an important part of your script?

One can never fully forget how bad things got because of the time and thought provoking analogies chaps like you put into penning heart felt concerns. Cannot find words perfect enough to describe my gratitude.

I mean that from the heart of my bottom."
posted at 13:47:37 on August 16, 2010 by ruggaexpat
"I mean the bottom of my heart"
posted at 13:52:43 on August 16, 2010 by ruggaexpat
I believe they are known as Anonymice...    
"I agree, with you here Sierra and Rugga.

I belive that the atonement can and does redeem us. It can and does renew us, when we repent fully and whole heartedly. The program aside, a label doesn't mean much if Christ sees you as a totally new person.

That being said, you do have to remember the gravity of past mistakes. Without that recognition we risk slipping back into old ways and losing our "new person" status. Whether you use continued attendance within the program, or your garments, or a CTR ring to remember, it doesn't matter. So long as you never forget.

Learning from past mistakes and becoming a better person is all it is really about. Labels or no lables."
posted at 15:46:47 on August 16, 2010 by paul
Thanks for the question    
"I was very relieved to have Ruggaexpat ask this, as I've been asking it also for months. I agree w/ Rugga and Sierra. Thanks so much for your input. I thought I was a little crazy. My husband and I went to the meetings for 4 months, which were very helpful. Then we decided to go to the temple every week in place of the meetings or an institute class. We felt that the addiction didn't need to define who he is. Because, it's not who he is! This doesn't mean he let's his guard down! I agree that the atonement is what heals. I agree when Sierra said, if the steps work for you USE THEM!!! That's great, but it doesn't mean everyone needs to attend meetings for the rest of their least I hope not, I'm still learning. I guess it's just a different situation for each individual person."
posted at 16:08:08 on August 16, 2010 by time2heal
"Being an addict DOES TOTALLY SUCK sometimes. At other times, it feels like the greatest gift a loving Heavenly Father could have given us. You're a really decent guy and I hope you continue to be one of the "success stories". "
posted at 19:14:12 on August 16, 2010 by Anonymous
Hey Rugga    
"I want to make sure you know that in the post above I was sharing my thought process for a similar although different question. My struggle had not come from wether or not I needed to label myself but rather why did others who had overcome addiction choose to label themselves. That is what my post was describing. I believe a person can be healed, made whole, whatever you want to call it and still choose to have a label of "Being in recovery". Does everyone need to be labeled? No!. Should I label others? No! Is it ok for a person to choose to keep a label of being in "recovery"? My thought is yes...but it is for that person to decide.

There are some really healthy good reasons to lose all labels--and to move on. I'd support you in doing this. But on the flip side if a person chooses to keep a label I would not say that they haven't truly repented--it is their choice and they may have good reason to do it...

I agree with what Sierra said. The atonement is what heals and the 12 step program is not absolutely necessary to use the atonement or to overcome addiction. I can think of no scriptural reference or general conference quote stating that we can't utilize the atonement unless we are in a 12 step program! :)

I would propose that to truly use the 12 steps the atonement is required. I believe that those that have gone through recovery using the 12 step program were utilizing the atonement to overcome addiction (Including those who are not LDS and have no idea about the word "atonement"). I'm a huge proponent of the 12 steps and AA. Perhaps to a fault. I attribute them for the progress I have made--the 12 steps have taught me how to apply the atonement in my life.

I do realize that the 12 step program is not the only way. For awhile people in group kept pressing me that my wife needed to attend too. That she needed to go through the steps. So one day on a long drive I started to ask her about why she was no longer angry at me. Why had she forgiven me. It was very evident that she had gone through "recovery" without ever reading the ARP manual or going to a meeting. I learned a lot that day about identity, patience, and forgiveness. She had worked through those things without the 12 step program. It's the gospel and the atonement that count. For some of us the 12 steps and ARP are the vehicle needed to utilize the atonement in our lives. I know I struggled for years with no true progress...the ARP has really be a lifesaving program for me.

I'm a greeny--barely in recovery (63 days today! and 2010 is the best year in over 14 years!) I'm certainly not in a position to judge or give advice. Just sharing my thought processes and experiences--in part to help me--I feel so good after sharing my thoughts and posting. I feel strengthened. I also hope that my thoughts may benefit another.

posted at 23:16:17 on August 16, 2010 by Seekrecovery
out of the mouth of babes...    
"Seekrecovery, you said it brilliantly!!"
posted at 01:47:39 on August 17, 2010 by Anonymous
"Fantastic post.

I think you have addressed the question really well.

I agree with you on all counts.

posted at 06:35:11 on August 17, 2010 by ruggaexpat
Call it what you like    
"Sinner or addict, it doesn't really matter what you call our problem, but for long term seccess we must be active in monitoring ourselves: Mosiah 4 : 29-30 I can not tell you all the things whereby you may commit sin ... but this much I can tell you, that if you do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments and continue in faith ... (There will be trouble)
I think the words of King Ben are applicable to all of us, by no means is the ARP the only way to recovery, most important is to use what works for you. I used the ARP 12 step to get started and continue to use it for support, I love how it is centered in our Savior, he is the only one who can heal me, he is the only way for me to overcome my sins or addiction. I will get off the soap box, I wish the best to all, I love your comments, both the addicts and spouses.
Thank you"
posted at 11:14:18 on August 17, 2010 by Anonymous

Add a Comment:

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

"Man has a dual nature; one, related to the earthly or animal life; the other, akin to the divine. Whether a man remains satisfied within what we designate the animal world, satisfied with what the animal world will give him, yielding without effort to the whim of his appetites and passions and slipping farther and farther into the realm of indulgence, or whether, through self-mastery, he rises toward intellectual, moral, and spiritual enjoyments depends upon the kind of choice he makes every day, nay, every hour of his life"

— David O. McKay