Addiction and Recovery Questions

[ 18 ] Comments

by RI Editors

This week we have a few posts about addiction recovery. Sometimes when we have this type of conversation there is a wide knowledge gap between those who have been through the programs, sometimes for decades, while others have absolutely no experience with recovery, or the groups which help those in recovery. Wherever you are on that spectrum, what questions do you have about recovery and/or addiction?

Do you know what addiction is? What can you become addicted to?

This is your chance to ask those awkward questions which you’d feel uncomfortable asking someone who is in recovery, or someone who has relapsed. We don’t have all the answers but we’ll do our best to provide accurate information or refer you to that information.

If you don’t have any questions, what is your understanding of the LDS Church’s stance on addiction and recovery?


18 Responses to Addiction and Recovery Questions

  1. Becky Rose says:

    Can someone ever call themselves healed or no longer addicted especially to porn?

    • Michelle says:


      I think the best resources for answering this question are those who have walked this path and understand what recovery for a sex addict looks like. Andrew at Rowboat and Marbles has written a great post that I think might be relevant to your question. FWIW.

    • Nick Galieti says:

      What constitutes someone as being fully healed? I cut myself a long time ago while working as a prep cook at a restaurant. While the wound has healed, I still have a scar. I no longer have any pain from it, and I am not prone to bleed from that spot simply because it was cut previously, but there is still a scar.

      So, if healing in an addictive sense means that you no longer have the disposition to do evil, I say absolutely 100%. The atonement of Christ and the Father’s grace have all the power needed to accomplish that. However, even Christ returned with an exalted state to this earth with the prints of the nails in his hands and feet, and the marks on his side. I would say he was “healed” from those wounds, but that doesn’t mean it completely fades.

      So, with any type of addiction, be it food, porn, drugs, self-destructive thinking, whatever, we can most assuredly be healed–but that doesn’t mean the scars of those events don’t leave an impression on our life. Being healed in this sense doesn’t necessarily mean that it never happened.

      • templegoer says:

        That’s a lovely thought, Nick. I have learnt over time to love those scarred surfaces, to see in them a great and wonderful beauty. The artist Rothko has helped me to see them more explicitly and illuminated this particular way of seeing. It’s such an expanded view.

        • Michelle says:

          I think he talks about this analogy in his essay.

          I like hearing different perspectives of those who have pondered recovery. I see value in both perspectives I linked to here.

  2. Paul says:

    In my experience, most addicts do not consider themselves “cured,” but rather “in recovery.” The addiction remains, but is managed like diabetes is managed. That is not true for everyone, but it is common language around the tables of 12-step recovery programs.

  3. Jendoop says:

    I’m reminded of a quote from, Pres Kimball maybe Marion G. Romney, who when asked if he would ever go into a situation of temptation (a bar or etc) said he would not because he doesn’t trust himself. That’s why we need commandments, because we can’t bear all things. In that sense we’re all in recovery – temptations easily beset us and so we choose situations in which we will be least likely to be tempted. In short, we’ve all got issues.

  4. j says:

    How does the program the Church offers differ or compare to a 12-step outside the Church?

    • Paul says:

      Most 12 step programs have essentially the same wording as the original AA steps. In most cases. only Step 1 is different, depending on the program.

      The church’s ARP program has a number of key differences from a traditional 12-step program, including (but not limited to) the following:

      1. The church speaks openly of God and Jesus Christ. Other programs refer to a “higher power” or “God as we understand him.” The church obviously does not hide it’s relationship to God. Other 12-step programs take a broader approach to reach a broader sector of people, including even atheists who may look to non-divine sources of a higher power.

      2. The focus on God and Jesus Christ allows the church’s program to focus more on the atonement. A friend of mine who attends traditional AA meetings in addition to ARP meetings says at AA he gets more focus on the steps; in ARP he gets more focus on the atonement; he says he needs both.

      3. The role of a sponsor is very different in ARP compare with traditional programs. In traditional programs, a sponsor is a one-on-one guide who helps a new person walk through the steps. In ARP, a sponsor fills a specific role, but typically does not stay with an individual throughout the steps; the program seeks to have people learn to rely on the Spirit rather than another person. (That said, I’m aware of more traditional “sponsorship” relationships in ARP, though they are not actively encouraged in the program.)

      4. Like AA meetings (or other traditional 12-step programs) and ARP meeting follows a specific format. Unlike AA meetings, however, the meeting follows a rigid schedule, as well. We do a step a week, so that over 12 weeks, all 12 steps ahve been covered. Even “step” meetings in a traditional 12-step program will stay on a step longer than a week, usually until the whole group is ready to move on. Many traditional meetings are not about a particular step, but may choose a different reading or topic to drive discussion in a particular meeting. In ARP, it’s always a step from the ARP guide.

      5. In traditional 12 step programs, there is a very loose leadership structure. Each group is autonomous, within the traditions of the organization. There is typically not a hierarchy of leadership in the group, but rather a group secretary who may make arrangements for a place to meet. But two people could start a new AA (or any other 12 step meeting) at any time. In ARP, there is, as you would expect in the church, an ecclesiastical (through the stake president) and an administrative (through LDS Family Services) structure. That said, the meetings I’ve attended are still very local, very low key, and very much driven by the meeting members (with the exception that we all use the same guidebook).

      • jenhend says:

        Good information to know. I go to OA meetings and I feel awkward about saying Higher Power. I want to say God, Christ, or Heavenly Father instead. It’s hard for me to use their term. It is one reason I’m not fully comfortable with the program. But in respect to the other aspects of OA, I have common ground with other’s, and feel safe and not judged in the group. It is helping me. I have food addictions and I don’t feel going to a church group because of lack of anonymity living in a small LDS community. In my OA group there are only three of us and we don’t see each other at church. So that makes it easier for me right now. I’m a new member of the OA group.

  5. Jendoop says:

    My question is about codependency, it’s been mentioned on several posts on Real Intent. Can you still be codependent in a relationship if the person is not addicted/abusing drugs or alcohol?

    What does codependency look like? How is it different from a healthy marriage or relationship where two people love, support, and are dedicated to each other? Why is codependency so bad?

  6. Michelle says:

    “Can you still be codependent in a relationship if the person is not addicted/abusing drugs or alcohol?”

    Oh, yes.

    Codependency, as I understand it, is wanting to serve and do good and ‘help’ to the point of violating the agency of another. Another definition I like is having one’s happiness tied up in another’s choices or behavior, which is a subjugation of one’s agency.

    I think it can be harmful because of how it can interfere with agency and the atonement.

    • templegoer says:

      That was useful Michelle, I am understanding increasingly that I have been in co-dependant relationships with my children, but I have been learning to change and allow them agency. It’s very difficult within a church community as we view our value in terms of our children’s choices. I actually think that I have been on the less co-dependant end of the spectrum if I compare myself to my ward, and my husband and I have been subject to church discipline when we did not meet our Bishop’s timetable for his interventions by taking our daughter to see him. Well meant, but it takes great confidence to hold out for our own view of things in the face of leaders who describe our relationships in co-dependant terms. It takes very clear thinking to make appropriate challenges.
      I’m also aware that it has been very difficult for our children to carry the burden of our own spiritual ambitions, and I’m now trying to free them from that.

      • Michelle says:

        I think this is all part of the process of mortality and family relationships and ward families. We don’t come to earth knowing how to live and respect truth. We learn by experience how to discern these kinds of nuances and to let God change us from the inside and guide us so that we can know what to do in different situations. And as Elder Maxwell said, we are all each others’ clinical material.

        That quote just came to mind. It was used in a Women’s Conference talk that I was really moved by. Thought I’d share it, fwiw.

  7. This is a great opportunity for everyone to ask questions and get some good idea about addiction and recovery. My question is, what is the life facing of a patient after the recovery in addiction? Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *