Several months ago, our stake started an addiction recovery program (ARP) for pornography. In time, there'll be another group established dealing with other addictions like drugs and alcohol. I was asked to co-facilitate the group. Having worked with addictions for more than two decades, I have seen first-hand their debilitating and destructive nature to individuals and families. Many marriages have been torn apart as a result of the behaviors that accompany an addiction.
LDS Family Services has developed an inspired program based on the 12 Steps of recovery. The program includes weekly evening meetings at church buildings around the country, where participants share their struggles and successes. They also read and discuss topics from a workbook called "ARP: A Guide to Addiction Recovery and Healing. Written with support from church leaders and counseling professionals by those who have suffered from addiction and who have experienced the miracle of recovery through the Atonement of Jesus Christ."
I have personally witnessed many miracles when it comes to recovery. Not surprisingly, the church has taken the non-denominational 12 Steps and improved upon them with language specific for Latter-Day Saints. The workbook includes scriptural references, quotes from prophets and apostles and other leaders. Mainly though, it allows the individual to come closer to the Savior. I believe that anyone could benefit from working the steps, even if one is not addicted to a certain behavior or substance. After all, none of us are perfect.
I understand that I may have a certain bias in favor of the church, but it's based on my experience since I converted 20 years ago. The leaders never rest; in fact, they are always seeking to make improvements. One such improvement took place this past week, when we received word in regard to helping those who might not be able to attend these meetings. Below is a portion of the e-mail we received:
"A new Central LDS Addiction Recovery Program Call-in Meeting has begun. The purpose is NOT to replace actual attendance at face to face meetings now being held throughout the world. Such face to face meetings are always preferable. However, for those who might be unable to attend such meetings, this call-in meeting can be a valuable asset that is most certainly better than not attending at all.
'Inability to attend in person could be due to living in a remote location, being homebound, having no transportation etc. For such individuals, attendance at this call-in meeting is a good option. The content of the meeting is essentially the same as a regular meeting following the same format and dialog as that used in regular meetings.
'To the extent possible, LDS Family Services will keep track of locations from which participants call. When multiple callers are identified from a given area, they will notify the particular area or stake of the possible need to establish face to face meetings in that area. The following is the information needed to attend the meeting:
"1. The meeting is held every Tuesday evening from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm MST/MDT.
"2. Dial into 801-240-2663 (Local/International) or 877-453-7266 (US Toll-free)
"3. Follow the prompts to enter the Meeting ID, 537277, and join the meeting."
I am so grateful for the inspired leadership that would allow many more brothers and sisters the opportunity to overcome and heal from their addictions, regardless of their circumstances.
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