typeawordhere

Same Sex Attraction, Confidence Issues, Weight Loss and other Freaking Hard Things!

Step 2: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity

Romans 12:2 – And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Step 2 was a great time for me to reflect on my relationship with God and Jesus. The exercises and questions serve the purpose of having you ponder the past and present nature of that relationship. Using words such as CAME, BELIEVE, A POWER GREATER, COULD and RESTORE.

I spent a lot of time trying to remember when I first connected to God and felt the power of my Savior in my life. Growing up in the LDS church I was taught about who they were from infancy. I could not remember a time that I did not have an understanding that there was a Heavenly Father and my brother Jesus Christ supporting and loving me. Did I always feel it? No. But that is through my own faults and distancing myself from them. They have never left me, but at times I have abandoned them.

Under the heading “A power greater” I was asked the question:

How has your coming to believe in Jesus Christ affected your relationships in the past or present with those listed below?

  • Yourself: Understanding grace has allowed me to shake off the idea that I am not good enough. I understand more that God and Jesus love me even though I am deeply flawed and that helps me to exercise grace and love for myself more often.
  • Spouse: Seeing him as a son of God and recognizing his divinity. That helps me to understand his emotions better and to recognize that he has them even when he has a hard time expressing them.
  • Children: Helps me to be more loving and patient with them. Allows me to listen to the spirit more so I can be open to receiving inspiration in how to parent them. And it helps me to remember to pray for them as often as I can.
  • Parents: No longer being afraid of talking to them about difficult things. And recognizing them as flawed people, like myself, and therefore being able to extend more empathy and forgiveness towards them.

After thinking about those question and expanding upon those thoughts for each section it helped me to feel closer to my Savior and to God. Closely observing how their influence changes me in every aspect of my life and will help all my relationship flourish in love. This information is not necessarily new but I am able to have a better and deeper understanding of it. The Holy Ghost confirms the truth of it in powerful and meaningful ways.

In the last section of step two it asks you to define the word restore. My definition was pretty basic….to fix or repair, return to its original state. Not really that mind blowing or deep. I then looked up the official definition and found that more profound when applying it in the context of recovery and spirituality. The official definition reads:

“bring back (a previous right, practice, custom or situation); reinstate/ return (someone or something) to a former condition, place or position/ repair or renovate (a building, work of art etc.) so as to return it to its original condition/ give (something previously stolen, taken away, or lost) back to the original owner or recipient.”

The last part of the definition felt especially applicable for me. To have God and Jesus back in my life, allowing them to “restore” me, to give to and bless me with things that I had previously lost. It was a powerful teaching moment with the spirit. And as I continued with that powerful thought I was able to answer how God and Christ have been able to restore me in the following ares of my life.

  • Spiritually: Helping my heart and soul to heal from the damage that I have done to it. Feeling His love and grace in my life and lifting the burdens I unnecessarily carried alone.
  • Fun: By having lighter burdens I am able to laugh and enjoy my time with family and friends more. Also being able to find humor where I could not before.
  • Parenting: Feeling the spirit often and receiving inspiration for my children. Knowing how to talk to them better, understanding their problems and having more opportunities to connect with them.
  • Sexually: Helping me to constantly feel at peace about my sexuality. Confirming to me often that my choice to be with my husband (instead of seeking a same sex relationship) is the right path for me.
  • Friendships: Bringing people into my life who understand and are supportive of my choices. Continuing to challenge me and opening my understanding of how I can have healthy and balanced friendships with women.
  • Relationship with a yourself: Being able to recognize what and who my authentic self is and being okay with that. Understanding the truth of what makes my soul happy and how I feel connected to God and Jesus. Coming home to them.
  • Your Future: Knowing it won’t be easy, but it will get easier. And I have courage and confidence to make correct choices for my life.
  • Marriage: Becoming acutely aware of how I distance myself from my husband, and with that awareness I now have the ability to fix it. To often reflect and give thanks for the blessings I have because of my marriage an how it has made me a better person.

I think the most significant thing I was able to understand about myself through this step is, that whatever the world may think, I am in fact living my authentic life. I may be gay, but my authentic and definitive self is first and foremost, a daughter of God.

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Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over our addiction–that our lives had become unmanageable

“There is healing and spiritual power available as you follow the “we” principle in your life….As a group,”we” can do a lot more than that which can be done alone” (Recovery For Everyone, Douglas Weiss)

It is often said that taking the first step can be the hardest. I believe that can apply to a lot of lifes situations and it is especially applicable to joining an addiction recovery group. In this step the questions are presented in sections and I will highlight each section and what it helped me to discover about my journey through this step.  

We

In this section it asks you to name your support systems that you have currently in your life (family, church, friends etc) as well as talking about what you want from your recovery group/meetings. I found this helpful because it helped me think about what I really wanted to gain from this program. Thinking about the “we” aspect and including my systems that were already in my life as well as my new support group made me realize how surrounded and blessed I am to not go through this alone. And more importantly, God would not have me go through this alone. He never intended for (wo)man to be alone. If He did than what would the point of the atonement and Christs sacrifice be? We are to forever turn our hearts to Him so that He can change them into something better and more Christlike. We can find many individuals to help us along the way but none is more important than our Heavenly Father and our brother Jesus Christ. 

One of the questions that stood out to me the most in this sections was:

What are the goals you can set up to not let shame keep you from being a part of this important recovery “we” group?

For me recognizing that shame does not come from God and serves no purpose in moving me to positive changing behavior has been crucial. All shame does is keep me stagnant and encourage me to wallow in despair and negative self talk. Those feelings are ones Satan encourages and wants me to not move past. Having a group, the ultimate “safe place”, to discuss raw and difficult things is one crucial step in moving past this place of shame which Satan wants to keep us in. I believe it is why the concept of “we” is so important for all of us.

Admitted

In this section I admit and acknowledge what is fact. This is hard and requires brutal honesty with ones self. I took my time and really thought about what I was needing to admit to myself and to others. Admitting it so that I could change it. Some of those things I admitted were that I sexualize and objectify women, I encourage and seek out things that bring lustful thoughts/fantasy to my mind and I often use my need for connection with women as an excuse to seek out female relationships even when they become unhealthy. Admitting those things was probably the most difficult thing I had to do in step one. Just writing it down was painful. It was important and helped me to clarify why I needed to do this. I was also able to decipher the reasons why I was so reluctant to admit those things to myself. Reasons such as using the excuse that I’m gay meant that I could express myself however I wanted to, do things that I had never allowed myself to without feeling shame but also without regard for how it could/would effect my husband. That is purely selfish thinking and I know some might disagree with me, but I believe this to be true with my whole being. Selfishness comes from Satan and it breeds nothing but feelings of entitlement which lead to choices that will ultimately leave us all alone in the end. One cannot sustain a selfish life and have healthy connections simultaneously. 

Powerless

This was an interesting section to go through. The questions were thought provoking and took time to answer. I will highlight a few that stood out to me most.

It started with having me define what it meant for me to be powerless over addiction. I like how this is a reoccuring question in this program because it helps me to focus how I see and interpret things rather than to be told. My definition of powerless is: to participate in a behavior without concious thought/knowledge, acting as a reflex almost, even if it is detrimental to ones health (spiritually, mentally, physically) and/or relationships.

Next was asking me who might try to convince me that I was not an addict and what would I say to them. This was especially profound for me because I often feel that I have to explain my life choices to those who don’t understand them, demean them or think me ridiculous for not accepting that being gay equates to living that way as well. I feel frustrated, hurt and misunderstood often when in these situations. Writing down how I would respond gave me a feeling of power even in the midst of admitting my powerlessness. My answers included: My feelings do not (will not) determine my choices, My spiritual journey/health is more important than what my mind or body wants, God has given me glimpses into what path He desires me to be on and I am trying to follow it, and finally My Happiness is not your happiness, just as your happiness is not mine.

After writing those answers down and finding power in my powerlessness it reminded me of what the scriptures say about finding strength in our weakneses. 

           2 Nephi 3:13, ” And out of weakness he shall be made strong, in that day when my work shall commence among all my people,                   unto the restoring thee, O house of Israel, saith the Lord.”
          2 Nephi 33:4, “And I know that the Lord God will consecrate my prayers for the gain of my people. And the words which I have written in weakness will be made strong unto them; for it persuadeth them to do good; it maketh known unto them of their fathers; and it speaketh of Jesus, and persuadeth them to believe in him, and to endure to the end, which is life eternal.”

In acknolwedging my weakness I am giving myself permission to recognize that I am able to change. Making that which was once weak, strong. Even more, knowing that I cannot do this without God and Christ has helped me to be more aware of my connection to them. To open my heart, to feel of their love and grace, and to be humbled in the process. 

Unmanageable

This section is arranged by topic and has you list out how your addiction has made you lose control of your life in each one. The areas my addiction has effected me the most were in the relationships with my spouse, family, friends and most importantly God. My spirituality declined drastically. Feelings of anger and resentment clouded my thinking and left me wandering through a gray colored existence. Confused yet unwilling to pray to God for the clarity He so oftens provides me, I retreated into unhealthy behaviors and relationships that made things even more confusing. My relationship with myself even became very negative. I did not trust myself or my thoughts and would often spiral into a lot of negative self talk and doubt. It was in this step that I realized how far I had actually strayed from the spirit of the Lord, how much I was disconnected and hurtful towards my husband and that my life would unravel quickly if I did not make some drastic changes to my behaviors and thought patterns. At the end of this step I concluded that my ability to justify my behavior had been ridiculous. Gay or not gay, my feelings and attractions had dictated too much of my life. My goals in life would certainly not be met if I did not take control of my life.

This was an eye opening first step for me and helped me to strip away the gray which had been encircling me for so long. Step 2 focuses a lot on spirituality and ones connection with God. That will be what I highlight in my next post. As always thanks for reading and happy day to you and yours.

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