Peace, serenity, God’s love – these are the things I need in my life, and these are the things that are hard to find in my situation sometimes. I testify that through the atonement of Jesus Christ I can find peace, serenity and be able to feel God’s love. God can help me to know what to do through prayer and scripture study, through friends and support groups. This is how I learn how to support and to take care of myself. These things allow me to grow and to learn to be happy.
Patience is hard to have when dealing with addictions. How do I be patient with a relapse? How do I respond appropriately to all the crazy things that happen in my life when I live with and around loved ones with addictions?
I am learning many things as I practice patience and waiting on my Heavenly Father. I am learning independence – to be happy no matter what is going on around me. I’m learning to give myself love and acceptance and not to depend on others for those things. I’m learning to take responsibility for my own growth and learning.
The enabling power of the atonement of Jesus Christ helps me to grow and learn and change. I am so thankful for Jesus Christ. He walks with me and carries my burdens as I practice patience and learn to give my burdens to Him.
In dealing with addictions, it is so easy to fall into unhealthy habits and responses. If I learn to take care of myself, including having a support person, coming to support meetings and listening to everyone’s experiences, it helps me to see clearly, to respond in healthy ways, to not become obsessed.
Anger, obsessions, isolation, fear, and anxiety are some of my weaknesses and bad habits. They are tools the adversary uses to pull me down and to keep me down. I need the Savior’s help in overcoming my own weaknesses. As I grow spiritually and learn to respond in healthy ways through my own application of the atonement, my loved ones who suffer from addictions sometimes will seek change in their lives too.
One way I can respond in a healthy way is to “detach with love”. As I learn to take care of myself and to not rescue my loved ones from consequences, I can respond with compassion and more as the savior would. I attended a conference for group leaders in the Addiction Recovery Program and heard at least one experience where a husband sought help after his wife began to be less dependent and sought spiritual strength and growth through the atonement.
Even though my loved ones have not changed, I have noticed a big change in myself since I started attending support groups. I am so thankful for my own growth and for the hope I have in my life now. This growth and hope have come from the atonement and from attending support groups and from each person who shares their experience, faith and hope. Each one teaches me how to practically apply the atonement in my life.
Love is not the same as forgiveness and trust. One reason I am thankful for the atonement and for support groups is because they have helped me to be honest with myself – to see myself and others more clearly and to see things as they really are, as they really have been, as they really will be.
“Trust God, love people, not the other way around.” Of course I love God as well as trust him. God is perfect and deserves my total love and trust. This saying reminds me that people are not perfect and will always let me down. We all let others down because no one is perfect. I am not perfect and I have let others down. I used to think that love, forgiveness and trust went together. To love someone, I had to forgive them and trust them. This faulty thinking made life very hard. My loved ones would mess up often and I thought I had to forgive them and trust them to love them. I thought I had to be perfect to deserve love and trust, but I would mess up often. But, I am human. I am human in this mortal world and that means I make mistakes. The voice inside me, that told me that I had to be perfect to be OK, was from Satan not God. It’s OK to be human. Another saying that helps me remember I am not perfect and that perfectionism is not something to desire is: “Progress, not perfection”. I can repent and the Savior’s atonement makes up for the past and what I cannot change and what I cannot do. Next, I was able to realize that love, trust and forgiveness are not mashed together. They are separate things. I can love my loved ones, and work on forgiving them, and wait to trust them until they demonstrate actions and change that show me that I can trust them.
I know that the atonement is for imperfect people like me and is meant to be used every day. My love and appreciation for the Savior and for what he did for me, for what he continuously does for me has greatly grown.