Receive, Then Share

In the beginning of Step Twelve in Healing Through Christ, it says “Our hope for the future is bright because we have come to realize that applying these spiritual principles will empower us to face all of life’s challenges. What is the message we offer? Our spiritual awakening has brought us to understand that our Savior knows us and our needs perfectly and can give us the power to do what we could never do on our own…. We have learned to personally rely on the Atonement of Jesus Christ to heal our wounds, open our hearts and literally transform our lives.” And then Elder Scott counsels: “There are many around you who are confused and are seeking solutions to life’s perplexing problems. Share your testimony of truth and the power of faith with them.”

I can become very enthusiastic about some new thing and urge others to try it out, too, and then loss interest. But the step material is not really a new thing–this is an expression of the faith and beliefs upon which my life is founded. So it is new but also tried and true. And it is probably the most important thing; to know and love Jesus Christ, to feel the power of the Atonement in my life, to be cleansed of sin so I can receive the Holy Ghost–that is what is of most worth. And I am so eager to share these gospel principles and Twelve Step tools.


When I was starting to come out of a horrible depressive period, when all I wanted to do was leave it behind and never look back, the Lord asked me to share my experience. It was agony to do it. But this is pure joy. I’m so grateful for the joy I’ve felt as I’ve worked, and worked hard, on the Twelve Steps these past months. I’m grateful for the way the Lord has walked me through them, given my mind understanding and my heart the experiences to feel deeply His love for me, and provided a glimpse into what my life can become as I become worthy to feel the Spirit more deeply every day. I’m grateful that I can share without hesitation and without personal pain. President Faust says: “To whom do we look, in days of grief and disaster, for help and consolation…They are men and women who have suffered, and out of their experience in suffering they bring forth the riches of their sympathy and condolences as a blessing to those now in need. Could they do this had they not suffered themselves?” I’m grateful that there have been people I can look to who have suffered and brought forth the riches of sympathy and example to me. And I hope I can become part of this circle of giving by doing that for others.





by Jeff

Dear friends, my name is Jeff and I am a recovering sex addict. Step 9 in the Addiction Recovery Program is Restitution and Reconciliation with the key principle to “Wherever possible, make direct restitution to all persons you have harmed.” I had very mixed emotions as I started step 9. I had prepared and was wanting to make amends from my preparation in step 8, however I still had some people on my list that I was apprehensive about talking to and asking their forgiveness. I decided to split people into groups according to how reluctant I was to talk with them and decided to start with the “easier” ones first. (I anticipated that some would be “easier” but none of them were “easy”).

I can see the wisdom in not waiting to start because I felt the temptation. I rationalized that maybe I needed more time in my recovery to prove that I really had changed before starting. I also anticipated that several of the discussions would be bad experiences and might cause harm to others so I should wait. As I prayed about it, went to meetings and talked with others in the path of recovery, I heard encouraging experiences. It helped me remember what the Lord had done for me in forgiving me and helping me through each step in the process. I resolved to start with the “easier” conversations and leave the “impossible” ones for the end.

I started with Susan, and my first apology did not go as planned. She was obviously hurting with the effects of my addiction and working on her own recovery. At this point we had both agreed to put our marriage “on hold” and not make any drastic changes or decisions for 12 to 18 months. This was great advice from our counselor because we had good days, bad days, and some very bad days. Selfishly, I had put Susan first on my “easier” list because I had already told her everything in step 5, had asked her forgiveness many times along the way, thought it would help her see that I was serious about fully repenting and finishing the program, and I thought it would be easier on me to start with her to see how it went. What I didn’t see at the time was that my thinking was all about “me” and what I wanted. I wasn’t really thinking about Susan and making amends and restitution. When I talked to her, apologized and asked for her forgiveness, she said forgiveness was a process and she was working on it with the Savior. She expressed that the conversation felt like I was going through a check list to get it done rather than being genuine and real and wanting to repair our relationship. This wasn’t what I wanted to hear, but what I needed to hear in order to understand the real point of step 9 – talk to people to really make amends and in the process restore a relationship or start to build a new one. She asked me to have her be the last person I talked to in completing step 9.

So I revised my approach in preparing to talk with people. I reviewed the specific things I needed to discuss with each person and prayed and thought about what kind of relationship my Savior would want me to have with them going forward and what I really wanted. My children were now first on my “easier” list. This did not mean it was easy to approach them. While I thought they would quickly say they forgave me, I worried that they would lose respect for me as their father or would be angry at the emotional distance and the emotional damage I had caused them while acting out in my addiction. After praying about each one, I talked to each them individually and had a wonderful conversation with each of them. Each reacted a little differently but they were each so forgiving and understanding. It opened up real discussions about feelings, emotions and experiences that we had shared through the years. The healing for each of us was tremendous and strengthened our relationships. This has opened up my communication lines with my children to talk like never before.


This same patterned continued as I talked to my family and my wife’s parents. With each positive experience, my realization that the Savior was helping me connect and heal through the process grew. I found added strength in my daily recovery efforts and a broader circle of love and friendship than I had ever felt before because of my self-imposed isolation. I decided to do as many in person discussions as I could. We took our family vacation in Utah and I took advantage of the opportunity to talk with most of the people that remained on my list. All but one of the conversations were positive experiences that I now cherish.

I then came to the hard ones where I needed advice and help. I prayed about each case, talked to my counselor, talked with Susan, and for a one case got advice from my bishop. I decided on an approach for each person, prayed about it and moved forward. I needed to spend more time in prayer for these people to make sure my heart was right and that I truly forgave from my heart and could ask their forgiveness without holding resentment. With some people I wrote letters or made phone calls and others I needed to talk with in person. These conversations were brief and to the point, but sincere and heartfelt after my preparation. Some discussions were harder than others but with the help of my Savior I was able to stay focused on my intent to apologize and not justify. I was able to feel peaceful confirmation after each discussion that I had done what needed to be done.

The last person on my list was Susan. While our marriage was in suspended mode, building our relationship was not. We were continuing to re-build our relationship and find ways to really connect with each other. Susan had been observing me through the process to see if I was really making amends and building relationships or just getting my checklist completed. As she saw the connections I was making, it gave her hope that the connections we were building were real and that I was really changing. This time when I apologized and asked her forgiveness, I was thinking of Susan instead of myself and was open to talking about the effects of my actions on her and how we could repair and strengthen our relationship as we continued on our recovery journey.

As far as my recovery journey, the spirit confirmed that my efforts at making restitution and reconciliation were acceptable to the Lord. I was clean and forgiven. This does not mean I am free from the consequences of my addiction with effects on relationships, the temptations I still face daily, and the emotional damage I continue to identify and work through. It does mean that I am able to have the daily companionship of the spirit as I strive for continuing progress in my recovery. I have greater connection with family and friends and there is no one that I am embarrassed or uncomfortable being around. While I remember my sins, the pain is gone and there are no topics that I fear will come up in discussions. I have learned what repentance is for me. My objective now is daily accountability.

Strength in the Struggle

∙Susan & Jeff are sharing their personal recovery journeys to help others in similar circumstances.∙

by Susan

impossible-no-2016Hello friends. A friend of mine just told me of her missionary that is having a difficult time and asked for my advice. As I thought about it I reflected on my own path of discovery, recovery and everything associated with it. There is strength in the struggle. I wouldn’t want to rob this missionary of the growth that he will experience through this adversity, at the same time I understand how as a parent we want to protect our children from things that we know are going to hurt. When they are small, this is easier and obvious. But when they get older the things that could hurt them are not as obvious or within a parent’s control.

I wonder, as these events of my life were playing out, what it was like for our Heavenly Father to watch. He knew what I was heading for, he knew that I could not see the events of Jeff’s life that would have this impact on me. However, he was preparing me. As I mentioned in an article before, the Friday before I discovered his addiction I was driving and the spirit clearly said to me, “Your family is about to experience a tragedy.” The Lord did not prevent the tragedy, but he gave me the opportunity to prepare for it.

Surely the Lord knew all of the hardships that the early members of the church would be facing. Being ostracized by family members, losing loved ones as they came across the ocean or traveled across the long trail to Utah, the persecution that they would face and the violence they would experience, but He did not prevent those tragedies, either. On days of tragic events I’ve heard people express, “Where was God today? Why didn’t he prevent this?” He was here. He was right here. And in D&C 122:7, after outlining all of the possible things that could happen, said, “all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.” There is a similar line in my patriarchal blessing that tells me I will have the opportunity to grow through adversity and choose to overcome. (Honestly, I did not take that as good news.)

Last month I wrote about the betrayal trauma I’ve experienced. In the depths of my depression, when I could not turn to Jeff, I still did not feel alone. God was right there. Even when I didn’t feel peace and thought that my life was over, there was a microscopic feeling in some remote corner of my heart that things would work out. D&C 6:33-34 spoke solace to my soul and gave me an understanding I hadn’t had before. That understanding was in one little word. As I personalized it I heard: Fear not to do good, Susan, for whatsoever ye sow, that shall ye also reap; therefore, if ye sow good ye shall also reap good for your reward. Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail.

LET! That was the word! LET! Let it happen. Bring it on. It is coming so be prepared. What was my preparation? The Sunday School answers! Prayer, repentance, forgiveness, scripture study, fasting, service, attending church, fulfilling my callings, temple attendance, faith, etc…these things do more to thwart the fiery darts than anything that the world has to offer. These things build upon the foundation of my Savior Jesus Christ. “My reward,” as spoken of in the above scripture, is not an earthly one. If I sow righteous choices, it has no bearing if someone else will too. If I am kind, it does not take away the agency of another to not be kind back to me. That is not the cause and effect. The cause is Jesus Christ and the effect is what I will become through Him.

So, “fear not.” I don’t know what is on my horizon. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. But I know what I have learned and what I continue to learn. I do better when I put my faith where it belongs, in my Savior. There IS strength in the struggle.

Step Eleven: Seek through prayer and meditation to know the Lord’s will and have the power to carry it out.

by Paul

As I start to write this article I’ve been thinking on what I can say that will help someone else with their own recovery. So instead of sitting right down and getting to work, I went for a hike in the woods with my dog to think and meditate. I was also thinking of everything that I had to do today, things like helping a family move, going to a ward fall festival, doing the dishes, the laundry, meeting with the missionaries, home teaching, and finding some time to can apples.

I came home from the fall festival feeling very low in the spirit and also like a complete failure because I knew there was no way that I was ever going to be able to get all of these things done. I called my wife and in tears explained my frustrations on not measuring up to what I felt was an acceptable example of what a Latter-day Saint should be able to do. It was then that I remembered a radio program, called Gospel Solutions for Families that I listened to the other day. The part of the broadcast that came to mind was that Satan says like “Are you there yet,” “Have you done anything yet?” Whereas God asks “Are you progressing?” It was then that I realized that I don’t need to be perfect, I just need to do the best that I can. (

I realized that Satan wants me to be frustrated, sad, and feeling like I don’t measure up. But when I realize that, I know that I need the Savior in my life daily and look for His uplifting spirit in my life. As it states in Step 11, you begin to understand and appreciate your need for the Savior, Jesus Christ, and His role in your life, and to treasure the Light of Christ. That is when I went to work and stopped letting Satan influence my life today.

not-aloneFirst, I told myself that I am in control here and I have three great co-pilots in my life, God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost. I started to pray and ask the Lord how I can progress today. So I went to see a less-active family and had a great visit. Then I was able to get some things done around my house and have a nice dinner with my family.

So in the past when I have had a frustrating day I would turn to my addiction. But through prayer and meditation, the Lord put me to work, much like President Hinckley’s father told him on his mission “forget yourself and go to work.” So a day that could have been a disaster has actually turned into a pretty good day.

In John 14:26 we read: “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” When we turn to the scriptures, pray to the Father, seek personal revelation that we are entitled to, and seek the Lord’s will and carry it out, then the Lord will bless our lives. When we turn to the Lord we will be better able to resist temptations, have more faith that the Lord will strengthen and help us from being deceived.

There is a Mormon message that I like. A man goes to cut wood for his family in the winter but gets his truck stuck while driving. Through all his efforts to get unstuck nothing works. He finally says a prayer and goes to work cutting wood. After the pick-up is full, and he is ready to go home, he says one more prayer starts the truck. He is able to get out. It was the load of wood that made the difference. We will always have challenges and trials, but if we pray read our scriptures and trust the Lord then the Lord can work miracles in our lives. (

I am grateful that the Lord has blessed my life with trials because it is through these trials that I have learned that He does truly love me and accepts me even with all my faults. I know that as I read my scriptures and seek for personal revelation daily in my life that I will continue to grow and learn more about myself and God’s plan for me