Dear friends, my name is Jeff and I am a recovering sex addict. Step 7 in the Addiction Recovery Program is Humility with the key principle to “Humbly ask Heavenly Father to remove your shortcomings.” I kind of went through step 7 and step 6 repeatedly as I was working the 12 steps. I asked Heavenly Father to remove my shortcomings every day and then would work on them. I continued to repent of my failures and try again. Some character weaknesses are harder for me to give up than others. However, as I continued to work on them, and felt the spirit more consistently, my faith and confidence in my Savior’s love for me and His willingness to guide me continued to grow.
My feelings of “losing my identity” or “giving up who I was” slowly gave way to a growing excitement of who I was becoming through Christ. I learned that I had to willingly and fully offer my sacrifice of my broken heart and my contrite spirit to the Lord as I asked for His help. When I reached this point, my attitude changed, my prayers changed and my outlook on life changed. I was finally willing to give up all my sins, character weaknesses, and my prideful desire to do things my way. I was happier and had a much more positive outlook on my future and life in general. I was able to trust God that whatever came for me, He would help me through it and it would be for my good. It has become somewhat of an adventure of discovery.
One example is our family move to China. There we so many pieces that needed to get aligned to make the move a possibility that I was very doubtful it would happen. There had been many other opportunities that had always fallen through. In addition, I wasn’t sure whether it would be a good thing for my relationship with Susan or a bad thing. I received an answer to prayer that it was the right thing for me to pursue with work so I did. It was fascinating to see each piece fall into place to make it a great experience. The project was approved, the budget was approved, a person who was a roadblock with work was reassigned which cleared the way. Arrangements for someone to take care of the house fell into place. My daughter, who did not want to miss her senior year of high school with the friends she had grown up with, received an answer to prayer that changed her attitude. Even with my commitment to move, Susan was not sure whether it was the right decision for her to go to China with me.
I had to go on faith and trust the answer that I received. We moved and there were plenty of ongoing challenges, and the ups and downs of life and relationships. However, it was a wonderful growing opportunity for me personally and for my family. I also had a growing confidence that while I could remember my sins, I was no longer consumed by the guilt nor embarrassed for my mistakes because I was clean and forgiven. I found I was much more willing to talk about my mistakes and what I was learning from them. This was something that I had feared for 30 years that drove me to the secrecy which helped feed my addition. Sharing what I am learning and what wonderful things the Lord has done for me has become a source of joy to me as I realize we are all on a similar journey — we all make mistakes that we can only overcome through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Sometimes I can help my brother along the path, and many times there is someone helping me. Through all of it, my Savior continues to lead me along the path of slow progress as I press forward one day at a time.