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


This is the fifth of an on-going series by Susan about her experience in the Spouse and Family Support Group. 

Four years ago I was seeking support for myself after discovering Jeff’s pornography addiction. I attended the SAnon meetings in our area of Ohio and learned very valuable information. But I felt something was missing for me. I wanted more than to lean on a “higher power;” I wanted the healing that came through Jesus Christ. So I continued to work the 12 steps of the ARP until I finished my first time through the book. Still, I didn’t feel this book was written for the spouse of an addict as it often says “your addiction.” So I went to Utah to seek out a friend that I believed could help me.

She was experiencing good recovery from an addiction of her own. Now an active member of the church she leads groups, shares her story, and supports others in recovery. One Sunday I found her at church and told her of my situation. Within minutes after church she came to me with a whole list of support groups that I could attend. She explained how the Spouse Support groups worked and offered to attend with me. I told her this was all good, and I would certainly attend, but Jeff was really the one that needed to get fixed. She tried to explain to me that it wasn’t my job to make sure that Jeff got the help that he needed, that was his job. I shouldn’t be owning it. I didn’t think I was owning it. I had read the books!  I read about surrender and thought I was well on my way…as long as I was making sure he was well on his way too.

Obviously, my friend saw the disconnect in my thought process and finally said “Susan, you can’t save him. He already has a Savior.” It was in this moment that I saw what I hadn’t before.

Oh. Yes. I finally began to see. My recovery is my recovery, Jeff’s recovery is his. The words of SAnon came ringing back, “The 3 C’s: you didn’t CAUSE it, you can’t CONTROL it and you can’t CURE it.” And more importantly, I can’t save him.

Boy it’s hard to let go! Especially when you are a wife and mother, and your main job is to fix and take care of things. When the biggest thing in my life is broken, how can I let go and “let God?”  I can’t save him. I can’t save ME. I needed Jesus Christ and that is what I said I was out to find, healing that comes through Jesus Christ, and I have found it. This moment, for this purpose is the reason that the Savior came. One of the many reasons, but personally for me, I needed him for this.  The price IS paid. The way IS possible. The healing IS real.

The original 12 Step ARP has been powerful in my personal healing. After that first time through I went back and started over. I didn’t let it bother me that it talks about “your addiction” and inserted other words like “trial, character weakness, hardship, anger, hurt, pain,” etc. I continued to go through the steps, starting again after step 12. Just like the scriptures, I learned something new each time I went through it. I don’t see it as 12 steps and done, I see it as 12 steps and start over.

Today I use the Spouse and Support Guide from LDS Family Services. Patterned after the 12 Step ARP Guide, it is directed to me, the spouse of an addict. Step 5 is “Working Out Our Own Salvation.” For me this is the surrender step. An especially helpful section is “Accepting That We Cannot Control Our Loved Ones or Heal Their Addiction.”

Another very impactful resource for me is “Healing Through Christ”

There is so much hope. There is so much healing. And it is all possible because of our Savior Jesus Christ.