Recovery Workbook Now Available

The Arbor
The Healing Through Christ Recovery Workbook is now available! This workbook is designed to help men, women, and teenagers who are trapped in sexual addiction find healing and recovery. It is a companion to the Healing Through Christ Family Support Workbook, which is intended for those with a loved one in addiction. The Recovery workbook will support people with sexual and other addictions as they work the 12 Steps and come to Christ for hope and healing.
The Recovery workbook is over 300 pages, and it is divided into individual sections to work each week. You can now order hard copies of the workbook at www.healingthroughchrist.org. The cost is $29.95 and includes shipping. A Kindle version will soon be available for download, and it will cost $14.95.
The Working the Steps section was not included in the workbook itself, but it is currently in final development and will be available at the Healing Through Christ website.
Right now we have one women’s meeting in Michigan that uses the Recovery Workbook. It meets on Tuesday nights at 7:30 pm; more information is available at https://thearborkalamazoo.com/phone-in-meetings/ We currently don’t have a men’s meeting.
We’re excited this day has finally arrived!

Phone Meetings Bring Hearts Together, Too

from Meghan

When I first attended Healing Through Christ 12-Step meetings, I was fortunate to find a meeting 15 minutes from my house. I was able to gather in person with other women and witness the success of the 12 Steps in their life and receive support from the group as I began my own 12-Step journey. I loved how safe I felt in meetings, and I was grateful for the love and acceptance I experienced. I felt a profound sense of loss when I could no longer attend the meetings, and I stopped working the steps.

A few years later I was introduced to phone meetings. But what about the personal connection? What about the feeling of a safe space? What about the love and acceptance I felt from the other people in the meeting? I was grateful for the chance to read and learn about the steps again, but I anticipated missing the sense of community and support I felt in face-to-face meetings.

Boy, was I wrong! I treasure the two phone meetings I attend now, and I feel that precious safety and support from my phone groups. I may not know the other members of the group in person, but I know their hearts and they know mine, and I trust and love each of them. Phone meetings are fantastic, and in fact, they have some advantages over face-to-face meetings.

Phone meetings “are held to eliminate travel, make meetings accessible to more people, and provide a degree of anonymity that is not possible in a face-to-face meeting.” During a polar vortex, when the governor has declared a snow emergency, I continue to participate in my weekly meeting without having to leave my home. People who have limited mobility are not limited in their ability to attend. Those in an area where there are no local meetings can still be part of a vibrant group meeting on a regular basis. When I travel, I call into my meetings faithfully. If you have access to a phone, you can attend a meeting.

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Importantly, we remind participants who call in that while they are welcome to read and share, it is also perfectly acceptable to listen only. This provides newcomers an opportunity to “learn the ropes” and become comfortable with the group before speaking up. Sometimes no one knows about the challenge they are facing, and they can preserve their privacy until they are ready to become an active participant in the group. This is one of the unique advantages of a phone group. It may seem odd, but those who regularly listen only also become an important part of the group. They contribute in spirit, even if they never say a word, and their presence is felt.

Perhaps the most valuable advantage to me is that while I am part of the group, I feel more connected to my Heavenly Father when I am calling in from home. I am not thinking about other’s facial expression, or my own, or checking in to see how others are reacting. I am free to listen more attentively to the Spirit. This attentiveness certainly happens in face-to-face meetings, too, and perhaps this is a distinction that is not shared by many, but I feel more attuned to the Spirit and more likely to write down promptings when I am calling in from my own home by myself. However, I still feel supported by the group, still feel that I can talk about hard things and feel the presence of loving witnesses, still feel the unity of a group walking the same healing path into the Savior’s arms.

Have you tried a phone meeting yet? Do you know someone who would love to be part of a Healing Through Christ 12-Step meeting, but they live far from the closest meeting? All of our meetings have a call-in option; in fact, many of our meetings are call-in only, with no physical meeting space. There are meetings throughout the week, in the morning, evenings, and late evenings after children’s bedtimes. If you know someone who is nervous about calling in alone the first time, invite them over to your home and call in together.

There is so much flexibility with phone meetings; they can meet needs in many different ways. What is consistent is the support and love and insight that we gain from other members of the group as we work this healing program together and feel the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ working in our lives and hearts every day.

Try a meeting this week! You can find a list of our meetings, in the Eastern Time Zone, at https://thearborkalamazoo.com/phone-in-meetings/ or a variety of other meetings listed at http://www.healingthroughchrist.org/support-meetings/

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Desire to Change

Step Six invites me start with my heart, as I prepare to surrender my weaknesses to God. In previous steps I laid a foundation by turning to Him in trust, examining my life, and identifying the recurring patterns of weaknesses that have undermined my happiness and relationships. Now I “humbly and prayerfully seek the spiritual gift of a change of heart” (Healing Through Christ, p. 59).

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It can be frightening and discouraging to admit our weaknesses and prepare to release them. After all, at times they have been our protection, when we had no where else to turn, no other way to cope, no refuge to run to in our search for safety. But as we work the steps, we begin to find new ways to approach our challenges, and we can let go of “devices that once protected us but have now become self-defeating” (Melody Beattie, Codependent’s Guide to the Twelve Steps).

This process was frightening to me because I’ve had a self-critical voice in my head for most of my life, and it felt like focusing on my weaknesses would just feed that voice and make it stronger. But in this step I will be working with the Lord, and the familiar voice of shame is not His. That shaming, hurtful voice comes from Satan, whose name literally means “the accuser.” In Revelation 12:10-11 we read

And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony

I know that voice that accuses me day and night: it points out all of my failings, it tells me to hide in silence and shame, it convinces me I will never change. It is the voice of the accuser. But that voice is a liar.

I am beginning to recognize the voice of my Advocate, Jesus Christ. He offers salvation and strength and entry into the Kingdom of God. His blood overcomes the accuser and renders him powerless. His voice helps me see my flaws when I ask, but that gentle awareness is always accompanied by hope through the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The Spirit tells me that I can change, that He will help me, that through His power I can be transformed. I don’t need to be afraid or be ashamed. As the Lord invites me to see “what I lack yet,” I can become ready to release my grip on weaknesses that have been my lifelong companions, and turn to God with trust that He will help me to come unto Him and be healed.

News that is New!

We have an exciting announcement! There is a new Healing Through Christ phone-in meeting that will start on Thursday, November 8 at 10 am.  As with all other meetings the week of November 4, the reading material for this meeting will be the Introduction, on page 1, in the Healing Through Christ Family Support Workbook. We are pleased to have a daytime meeting later in the week.

As we start over again with the Introduction this week and Step One next, it is a wonderful time to begin a journey through the Twelve Steps. Feel free to invite friends to join you (any time is a great time, though, right?). We have seen growth in several of our meetings, and we are grateful to be able to help more people find hope and healing through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

We have completed the transition to a new phone system, and you can find meeting information, including phone numbers, at the phone-in meetings page on this website.

We are also pleased to announce that we currently have a pilot  meeting for the Healing Through Christ Recovery program,  a powerful program focused on recovery from sexual addictions. It is currently a phone-in group that gathers on Tuesday nights. This meeting is for women only, but we have information on how to join a men’s meeting based in Utah. The reading material for this meeting is currently sent out weekly, so if you would like to join contact us at thearborkalamazoo@gmail.com, and we can arrange for you to be added to the email list, as well as give you more information for how to join the meeting. We hope to add a men’s meeting in Michigan soon.

Finally, we have relocated some of our groups. While most of our meetings are phone-in only, a few face-to-face groups are gathering in homes, and our Wednesday night men and women’s meeting in the Kalamazoo area now meets at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church at 1150 West Centre Ave in Portage, MI. We are grateful for their enthusiastic and gracious welcome, and hope you can join us in our new location.

Announcing Changes

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As the Healing Through Christ program in Michigan matures, it is finally going to become a community-based program, rather than one sponsored by the stakes of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is similar to the way Healing Through Christ functions in Utah and other places throughout the country and the world.

Because of these changes, we will be using new phone numbers and may relocate some of our meetings. We hope to keep changes to a minimum so we don’t interfere with the support and success that participants experience as they continue to find hope and healing through Christ at their 12-Step meetings.

While some Family Support meetings in Michigan are transitioning to using Family Services’ finalized Family and Spouse Support Program, many of our participants want to continue to work the 12 Steps. To accommodate their needs, most of our scheduled Healing Through Christ meetings will continue, with their current leaders becoming community volunteers for the Healing Through Christ programs in Michigan. The Family and Spouse Support Program and the Healing Through Christ 12-Step program may play different roles in recovery, and we encourage you to attend whichever best serves your needs.

This website will no longer be affiliated with the Kalamazoo, MI Stake, but will now become an independent website for Healing Through Christ meetings in Michigan. We will update meeting phone numbers, meeting locations, and other information here. We will also continue to share stories of recovery, and we encourage you to share your stories with us, through thearborkalamazoo@gmail.com.

If you are looking for information on ARP, PARG, and SFSG meetings, we refer you to the LDS Addiction Recovery website, using the Find A Meeting function, at http://www.addictionrecovery.lds.org.

Thank you for your support and interest in Healing Through Christ meetings. Please continue to share your invitations, at church and in the community, to come to a Healing Through Christ meeting and find Hope in Christ through working the 12 Steps of recovery.

God Always Loves Us

from Anonymous

The blessed news of the gospel is that the Atonement of Jesus Christ can purify all the uncleanness and sweeten all the bitterness we taste.”

I love this so much. The reality of mortality is that we make mistakes, we do dumb things, we get tired and weak, and we sin. Despite all that we do to screw up and disappoint ourselves and others, we are still valuable children of Heavenly Father. He loves us.

The choices we make do not shock him at all because He knows us better than anyone else, including ourselves. He never abandons us no matter what we do. We are the ones who turn away from Him when we feel shame, but the feeling of shame doesn’t come from Him.
Satan wants us to feel that way and to hide from God. He wants us to feel bad about ourselves. He wants us to feel like we aren’t worthy of God’s love and grace, but we always are when we’re willing to receive it.
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God always loves us. That doesn’t change based on our behavior. The mistakes we make are part of His plan. We know this because He also planned for us to be saved by Jesus Christ. I’m so grateful that God gave me a Savior to save me from the wrong choices that He knew I would make as I learn to become more like Him. When I make a mistake and then turn to Him, He has the opportunity to teach me. Every time I sin and choose to turn to him in repentance, He turns my bitterness to sweetness. He gives me sweet lessons that make me better and wiser, closer to Him, and more like Him. I love His plan, and I love Him.

What I Know is True

from Brigitte

Feeling worthless and very small caused me a lot of pain all of my life. That feeling was caused by how the world I lived in viewed me, how my parents related to and treated me, and the choices I made throughout my life up to that point. The choices I made the first 32 years were made with what I had learned and experienced. My attitude was one of a victim. The world was against me and out to get me. Happiness was what I was looking for and just could not find. I looked for it in all the wrong places. I tried to find it by outer appearance, social contacts, saying and doing what I thought other people wanted to hear or have me do. I worried about what people thought of me. In other words, I lived a lie and did not even know it. Joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and embracing the gospel of Jesus Christ opened my eyes, mind, and soul to the truth that would help me find the happiness I was looking for.

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I did not understand it all at once. I started to read the scriptures and church books and attended sacrament meetings and all related functions. It was a slow process because of my dyslexia and the inability to read well and comprehend things quickly. I knew that if I stuck with it, I would eventually succeed and succeed I did. Each day that I read and studied I learned a truth, however small. To understand that Jesus Christ loved me unconditionally, that I was of divine heritage, and that I had chosen to come to earth to learn and choose good over evil were hard concepts for me to grasp. It sounded so great and comforting, but my 32-year-old tapes in my head played a different tune, always reminding me that I was not worthy of such a gift. I wanted to be loved; I wanted to belong to that heavenly family!   With that came a new struggle, a new pain, a new feeling.  If my family and the world around me could not love me, how could God love me? Every time I got a glimpse of what that love was all about, and I could imagine the feeling just ever so little, my mind would play the worthless tape and the pain would start all over again. With that pain, I sunk into a deep depression, and the darkness of loneliness and abandonment became my companions. I had made a decision that no matter what it would take or what I had to go through I would never turn back to where I had been. Going back meant to be in pain forever, fighting to move forward meant that I would someday be out of pain. So I fought the depression by hearing the word and promise in my head that I read about in the scriptures, conference talks and other church related books. I took the words of the Lord Jesus Christ to heart and let them begin to heal me. One thing was in my favor: I believed the Lord’s promises with all of my heart, mind and soul. That’s what gave me the strength to put one foot in front of the other and draw closer to the Lord and His love and forgiveness.

Connect with God Throughout the Day

from Kaylee

How can I trust I am receiving communication from God? What can I do to allow God to calm my soul? God brings peace, truth, and great worth to my soul when He speaks to me. I have an inner trembling and it becomes more visible when I am in an uncomfortable position. How do I discover the cause of my inner trembling? What can I do to calm my soul?

pexels-photo-235621.jpegThe earth is covered with snow and ice, the trees are barren, the sky is a light blue. In the distance is a circular golden glow, with white beams reaching heavenward. The wind is quiet and asleep. The earth is still one would think; however, quietly and so subtly the snow is melting and slipping away into the earth. The height of the snow is shrinking, ever shrinking. Calm is upon the land, radiating its own beauty to be appreciated, reminding me there is a season, a time, a moment to be still – reflect – enjoy – partake of the quiet whispering nature brings – reminding me in oh such a quiet way God is near. Breathe in His strength. Breathe in His love. Breathe in His comfort.

He is near. Choose to reflect, rejoice, and partake of all He has to offer. God does live! My willingness to follow God’s guidance connects me to His ability to act in my behalf. Be Still! Like the wintry morning allowing me to choose to have the frozen crust melt away. Away from my heart! Away from my soul! Away from my mind! Away! Away! Away! Ever Away! God bless me this day I pray!!!!!

“I Have Been Supported…”

from Abby

When I started participating in Healing Through Christ, I quickly felt my burdens become lighter as I allowed the Savior to carry them for me.  I felt so much relief and happiness. I mistakenly thought I was completely healed! It was only a short time before negative emotions started to creep back into my life.  Despite my disappointment that overcoming my trials wasn’t going to be as simple as I thought, I found comfort in Alma 36:27, “I have been supported under trials and troubles of every kind, yea, and in all manner of afflictions; yea, God has delivered me…and I do put my trust in him, and he will still deliver me.”  I had felt God’s guidance and love in my life up to that point, and I knew that He would continue to be with me. I knew I could trust Him to support me in all my afflictions. I learned that healing takes time, patience, and endurance. I now recognize that I need the Atonement every day of my life. It’s more than a one-time application.  However, because of Healing Through Christ, I have wonderful tools to help me turn to the Savior for help with the trials that I face.

Through working the steps of Healing Through Christ, I’ve learned the value of keeping a journal.  Praying for inspiration and then writing down my thoughts is a powerful way to recognize and record promptings from the Holy Ghost.  One of the best tools that I’ve gained is the practice of writing a fear list.  Step Two suggests that we make a list of all our fears.  “We write beside each fear on our list, ‘Even if this happens, I will be alright because my Savior will always sustain me.’  Then we prayerfully ask our Savior to take from us the fearful emotional burdens that are creating so much hopelessness and pain in our lives” (p. 23).  It is a helpful way to identify specific worries that we have and to realize that we can trust God to help us through all of those concerns. I have used the same concept to make a guilt list. When I felt overwhelmed with guilt that I had over a damaged relationship with a loved one, I made a list for all of my guilt.  For each item on the list, I honestly asked myself if there were any changes I could make to improve that area of the relationship. For any items on my list that I had already changed or that I had no control over, I prayed that my Savior would take away the guilt that I felt for them.  I also used the same pattern to write a blame list.  I used that list to let go of blame that I had toward a loved one that had hurt me.  I believe that making lists for all of our negative emotions can help us identify our feelings, process them, and give these difficult emotions to Jesus Christ to carry for us.

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Healing Through Christ has changed my life because it has taught me how to let Jesus Christ change me.  I have an increased love for others, and I feel my Savior’s love for me more abundantly.  I’m very grateful for the applications I’ve been able to make in my life as I’ve learned more about my own worth and how to have better relationships with others.  I love Jesus Christ, and I know that He is so eager to heal our broken hearts. I’m grateful for His perfect love.

God’s Way

From Sandy

Almost 2 years ago things started going wrong with my body. I kept going to my doctor and he kept telling me that the different things going wrong were just due to aging! I just could not accept his statements. I started resisting and resenting aging! I fought against it with every fiber of my being. And I started speaking negative statements about my physical situations. I felt my body had betrayed me. I was in such pain I no longer wanted to live.

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In a women’s support group meeting in Kalamazoo, MI, we were studying Step 11, “Seek through prayer, scripture study and meditation to know the Lord‘s will and to have the power to carry it out.” In the promise of Step 11 Elder Bruce D. Porter taught “those who have a broken heart and contrite spirit are willing to do anything and everything that God has asked of them without resistance or resentment. We cease doing things our way and learn to do them God’s way instead.“

At that moment my eyes were opened and I realized that I had been creating a very negative world for myself. I asked God to forgive me and started accepting that aging is part of life’s cycle. Once I applied Step 11 to my life the door opened for a new doctor and a diagnosis of an immune disorder.  My life changed! I got the treatment necessary to help me with the immune disorder and help with the migraines!  I still have challenges that are not fun, but I am accepting the challenges without the resentment or resistance.

I am so grateful for the Healing Through Christ support groups. They have brought me through a very dark valley into the light of Heavenly Father’s will for me. I have applied the attitude of gratitude that President Monson so often spoke to us about in conference. I am grateful for even this challenge. Being GRATEFUL has helped me to move through darkness and actually see some spiritual growth in my life.  My life has become more manageable, joyful and hopeful.