Lesson Helps

FHE: Overcoming Addiction

Conference Talk:
For more information on this topic read "O That Cunning Plan of the Evil One", by M. Russell Ballard, Ensign, Nov. 2010, 108–10.

Addiction of any kind means to surrender to something, thus relinquishing agency and becoming dependent on some life-destroying substance or behavior.

(M. Russell Ballard, "O That Cunning Plan of the Evil One", Ensign, Nov. 2010, 108–10.)

“If With All Your Hearts,” Children’s Songbook, p. 15.

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32)

Object Lesson:
After several years of research and development, LDS Family Services introduced a new workbook to be used in all Church-sponsored recovery groups titled A Guide to Addiction Recovery and Healing. It was adapted from the original Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous into a framework reflecting the doctrines, principles and beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The Guide is unique in the history of Church publishing. It was written by individuals who have suffered from addiction and who have experienced the miracle of recovery through the atonement of Jesus Christ, with support from Church leaders and counseling professionals. (Individuals With Addictions Find Hope and Help. LDS.org/newsroom August 2008)

Following is an excerpt from the introduction to the Guide.

Whether you yourself struggle with addiction or associate with someone who does, this guide can be a blessing in your life. The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous have been adapted into a framework of the doctrines, principles, and beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They are presented in [a] guide as key principles at the beginning of each section. This guide will help you learn how to apply these key principles; they can change your life. . . .

By being humble and honest and calling upon God and others for help, you can overcome your addictions through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. . . . If you suspect you are addicted and if you feel even the smallest desire to break free, we invite you to join us in studying and applying the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ as they are taught in this guide. We assure you that if you follow this path with a sincere heart, you will find the power you need to recover from addiction.

(Addiction Recovery Program: A Guide to Addiction Recovery and Healing, [Salt Lake City: Intellectual Reserve, Inc., 2005], p. v)

Jeff grew up in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints but fell away when he went to college. After a spiritual awakening, he began working his way back into full Church fellowship. He had given up alcohol and tobacco but couldn’t give up his addiction to pornography. “I fought and struggled with it,” he said. “I had tried everything and was failing miserably.”

As the Church’s addiction recovery program didn’t exist at the time, Jeff’s bishop (minister of his congregation) suggested he attend a local 12-step program for addiction. Jeff agreed to attend.

He went to the first meeting with sweaty hands and butterflies in his stomach but to his surprise found that the people there were just like him: normal people one sees at work, church and school. For the first time in his life he felt safe to share his story and begin working on his addiction without the fear of gossip. (A central tenet of all 12-step approaches and the Church’s recovery program is confidentiality. Creating an environment where trust is enhanced and people can work on their issues without the fear of being ridiculed and shunned is essential.)

“The magic of the group meetings is that everyone is in the same boat,” he said. “They didn’t run from me and hate me. They said, ‘I know how it is. I know what you’re dealing with.’”

Jeff benefited from the association with other group members who had experienced the same addiction and had worked or were working their way through to recovery. “I found that for me, the program is rooted in the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

“It was a rocky road in the beginning, but with a lot of meetings and working the steps I became free from these addictions,” he said. “I didn’t become free from temptation, but I no longer felt compelled to give into temptation. I was finally free to choose to turn away from these addictions and was free to choose better things in life.”

Jeff quotes from the Book of Mormon, a book regarded by Latter-day Saints as a companion scripture to the Bible, when describing how meeting regularly with other addicts helped him. "I had to leave isolation behind and 'meet together oft, to fast and to pray, and to speak one with another concerning the welfare of [our] souls” (Moroni 6:5).

“These are things I couldn’t do honestly anywhere else,” he added. “It’s a process that takes time, but it works.”

(Individuals With Addictions Find Hope and Help. LDS.org/newsroom August 2008)

Create an obstacle course in your house and take turns running through it. Obstacles could include things such as: jumping over an ottoman; crawling under a table; weaving through a slalom course of kitchen chairs; revolving a hula hoop five times around your waist; slithering through a tunnel made from couch pillows; stepping on a series of pieces of paper taped to the floor; walking along a 2 x 4 piece of lumber; or hitting the ceiling three times with an inflated balloon.

After everyone has run the obstacle course, explain that we must face each obstacle (or problem) in life as it comes, overcoming it before going on to the next.


Almond Chocolate Pie

1 graham cracker crust or baked 9-inch pie shell
1/2 cup almond slivers, toasted
1 (7-ounce) chocolate bar
1/2 cup half-and-half
18 large marshmallows
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Place almonds on a cookie sheet and bake for 5 to 7 minutes at 350 degrees F. Almonds should be light golden brown. Remove from oven. Be careful not to overcook; almonds will continue to brown after being removed from the oven.

Place the chocolate bar, half-and-half, and marshmallows in the top of a double boiler and heat until chocolate bar and marshmallows are melted. In a large bowl, whip the cream until stiff; fold cream and almonds into chocolate mixture. Pour into crust and refrigerate to cool. When cool, place in freezer. Remove from freezer 1 hour before serving. Makes 1 pie.

(Lion House Pies, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2010], p. 16.)

*For a printable pdf, click here.

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