This episode, the fourth in the Mormon Matters series on Addiction and Recovery, features the stories and insights of two wonderful people, James Cottrell and Bill Casper, whose journeys with addiction and recovery intersect in nearly every moment with their Mormonism. All guests in this series have been LDS, and what was just said above about the intersection between their addictions and religion applies in many ways to all of them, but in this episode we make it far more a focus than in the previous three. And it yields quite interesting results, especially on the topic of “confession” and getting “right” with one’s church—something the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous suggests but that often does not receive much emphasis in contemporary AA circles. In this case, James and Bill speak openly about how important this step was for them in their recovery and their growing confidence that it will continue—recoveries that previous featured re-lapses (in James’s case, largely, he feels, because he had skipped this step). Raising this question here led to a conversation about confession to ecclesiastical leaders in general that went into places that we don’t often talk about in the Mormon Matters community of listeners or in similar circles. More than in the previous episodes in the series, James and Bill go into the spiritual transformations they have undergone in the process of their recovery, the power of the various steps in facing addiction, the importance of meeting with others going through similar things, and much more.
Warning: This episode features “tire meets the road” Christianity.
Please listen and share your thoughts in the comments section*** below!
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Thank you Dan for another wonderful podcast. These gentlemen seem so happy now, may God bless them in their journey. I am the wife of a pornography addict. He finally chose recovery 2 years ago after being caught by me yet again. He never once has come forward on his own. I am still suffering the loss of what I thought my 20+ year marriage was to what I found out the reality is.
I hope that gives some background as to what I am going to say. I call it the “Mormon Messages Syndrome”. I watch the stories of redemption on the Mormon channel or listen to them on these kinds of podcasts and wonder about the loved ones off screen and how this has absolutely ruined their lives—the parents who will never be able to retire because they’ve spent their life savings on drug rehab for a daughter, or in my case, the painful trust issues and heartbreak that destroyed me and caused my teenage daughter to be afraid of her porn addict dad. Why aren’t those stories told more?
As Mormons, we are really good at embracing Alma the Younger but consequences are real and some last a lifetime. The gentlemen on this podcast, while humble, did seem to embrace the idea that this was the only way God could get through to them. I doubt their families feel the same way. I know I don’t. I am pretty sure God could have made me into the woman he needed me to be without 20 years of betrayal by the person I thought I could trust the most. I go to a 12 step group for support and specialized counseling, but God doesn’t take away the consequences. Please consider an episode where you interview the spouse of a drug addict, sex addict, and alcoholic. Our stories are worth hearing. I did listen to your podcast with Ashlyn and Coby and betrayal trauma was slightly touched on, so thank you for that.
There are so many like me who wonder if worthiness even matters anymore. If alcoholism or porn can lead you to understand the atonement from a very real point of view, maybe even better than keeping the commandments with exactness, then why do we even preach against sin? Why not just teach, “here are two choices, one isn’t better than the other, both lead to equal outcomes in the end.”? I would love to see a dialogue about that because podcasts like these are so painful to hear. I am tired of hearing that “I am the man (woman) I am today because of my sinful past.” Ask the family and see if they agree. Wouldn’t that be a provocative podcast. Thanks for reading all this and for all your good work.