When hope is lost
By roger
9/21/2010 12:24:03 AM
When we are trapped by our addiction or compulsions, we are sent into a proverbial tail spin. We begin losing things. Self respect, self worth and self love are early casualties. We don’t even understand ourselves. We are often angered by our behaviors and seeming lack of moral strength. Often we see ourselves as if we were two people, the good and worthwhile Dr. Jekyll and the out of control, despicable, destructive Mr. Hyde. We develop a disgust for ourselves. We become very judgmental. We may mount effort after effort to stop and change our behavior(s), with seemingly no success. We always fail. We lose hope.
This is the dark place. The dismal, dreadful existence devoid of hope defies true and accurate description. We feel only despair. As our situation progresses, we feel things slipping away. One of the strengths of our faith is the quiet confidence we have in the Plan of Happiness. (Alma 42: 8) We know that following a righteous life, there is a reuniting of loved ones, the joyful reunion with our Father and the Savior. That understanding brings peace and comfort to every day.
This, however, is not the case for the addict. He has lost hope for that. He has made too many mistakes. As with his behaviors, which are so contrary to the commandments continue, he realizes he will not pass judgement, because he is unworthy. The promised blessings no longer apply for him. His peace, his confidence, his comfort, are deemed forfeit by his court of self judgement, and he is left feeling very alone and condemned.
Somewhere in this process shame sets in. That inner decision that there is something wrong with me. The scriptures say, Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect (Matt 5: 48). We live in a society of very good, moral, righteous people, but we don’t measure up. “I mean, everybody else seems to not have a problem with this...” We harshly judge ourselves. We have come up short. We are not worthy. We are not good enough. We are a piece of garbage and even worse. We bombard ourselves with hateful self-talk statements and thoughts. They have a toxic effect on us. Our motivation becomes challenged. Our will is compromised. Our view of life, the world and our place in it has changed significantly, and we feel there is very, very little that we can do to change things.
The loss of hope sometimes presents some startling features in addicts. Often they come to recovery with parts of their faith intact. They know that God lives. They know that the gospel is true, and that Joseph Smith was a prophet. They know the Savior died for all humankind, well sort of.
Addicts often become convinced that the healing powers of the atonement can apply to all the world, but somehow excludes them. I have done too much. I am unworthy, my sins are just too gross. That is the manifestation of the loss of hope. Healing is available, but not for me. I am defiled and have forfeited my rights to the blessings. It no longer applies to me. Their life takes on an underlying sense of despair and is reduced to going through the motions.
The loss of hope is a paralyzing condition. Without possibility of success, we feel no motivation or strength to try. We become helpless and feel compelled to our fate; we are reconciled to being addicts. Can you imagine how Satan must feel at such a turn of events. His work is done. He can turn his attention elsewhere without much concern that there will be change. The addict is locked up by his own loss of hope, imprisoned without bars, but absolutely unable to progress or heal.
Addiction is not a maze we will escape without help from others. We need their guidance. We in fact, cannot heal alone. Finding hope again, and the entire healing process requires the loving help of others and our submission to their assistance. One of the features of working the Twelve Steps is that we become reliant on our Heavenly Father and his Son. They are the actual source of our healing which begins with the restoration of hope, gifting us with the mighty change of heart which Alma spoke of. (Alma 5: 12, 14)
In the language of The Addiction Recovery Program: Step 3: Decide to turn your will and your life over to the care of God the Eternal Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. (LDS Family Services, 2005) When we begin to turn our will and life over to Him for His care and keeping, we find the dawn and return of hope.


So true!    
"Good description, Roger. Thanks for the reminder that there is hope."
posted at 13:59:43 on September 21, 2010 by Anonymous
Abide With Me Tis Eventide    
"I love the line in the hymn, Hope of the hopeless Lord Abide With Me."
posted at 05:27:30 on September 22, 2010 by migail3

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"The Savior teaches that we will have tribulation in the world, but we should "be of good cheer" because He has "overcome the world". His Atonement reaches and is powerful enough not only to pay the price for sin but also to heal every mortal affliction… He knows of our anguish, and He is there for us. Like the good Samaritan in His parable, when He finds us wounded at the wayside, He binds up our wounds and cares for us. Brothers and sisters, the healing power of His Atonement is for you, for us, for all. "

— Dallin H. Oaks

General Conference October 2006