Step 01: Honesty

August 4, 2006

1. Admit that you, of yourself, are powerless to overcome your addictions and that your life has become unmanageable.

In the LDS Addiction Recovery Manual, the first step is directly associated with the quality of honesty.  This is a good association.  The first step is about becoming honest with yourself and becoming honest with others.

You have to admit to yourself that you really are addicted.  You need to find out what that really means.  Your decisions have affected yourself, your family, your friends, and probably a lot of other people for good or ill.  Your future decisions will continue to do the same.  This is why honesty becomes important.

Since you are an addict, everyone around you has learned to not trust you.  It is a coping mechanism and a necessity for survival.  You have become so inured to covering up your addiction that you often cannot distinguish truth and fiction in your motivations.  It is hard for you to think clearly about anything; it is impossible to think clearly when it comes to your addiction.

In fact, you have probably spent an awful lot of time training yourself to not think clearly about your addiction.  Being addicted means doing a lot of things that you find personally disgusting in order to fuel that addiction.  Therefore, you have probably spent a lot of time coming up with extenuating circumstances that force you into addiction.  This may even be borrowed from popular concepts regarding the church and psychology.  You have become adept at explaining away your slips to yourself and to those surrounding you (at least to your own satisfaction; those around you simply have given up on trusting you again).

This is why honesty is important.  You have to admit that you drank, smoke, ate, looked at pn, gambled, etc. because you wanted to.  That is the only reason.  Your mother/father/spouse/sibling/relative/child/boss/teacher/pet did not make you.  You choose all those horrible things that you did.

Also, in being honest, you have to admit that everyone else also chooses to do horrible (or at least bad) things.  It is just as prideful to assume that you are the worst sinner ever as it is to assume that you are the second sinless person.  You are not either, so don’t pretend to yourself that you are.  Everyone makes mistakes; yours don’t particularly stand out.  I am not saying this to encourage you to avoid the consequences of your mistakes; I am saying it because I want you to understand that you are not a monster.  You can be redeemed.

God loves you.  He honestly loves you.  I say that in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


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