As the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous discovered, something profound can happen when addicts invite God or a power higher than themselves into their lives and efforts at recovery. Through understanding addiction as a symptom of spiritual “dis-ease” and addressing recovery as an attempt to restore a healthy balance between one’s own ego and desires to run things versus the will and wisdom of God or the universe, AA and its Big Book and Twelve-Step offspring programs have saved countless lives. What are the spiritual principles at work in addiction recovery? Do addicts at their wits’ and wills’ ends discover secrets that are also at work in others’ vital spiritual lives? Can non-addicts increase their own spirituality from interacting with recovering addicts and applying Big Book insights in their own spiritual journeys? However one ends up viewing the answers to these question, it’s undeniable that powerful things happen in addiction recovery work that are worth close examination (along, of course, with proper celebration of the returns to joy in recovering addicts’ lives).
In this podcast, Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon and recovering addicts “Keith,” “John,” and “Bill” discuss addiction and recovery, AA’s Twelve Steps, and the spiritual powers that seem to be unleashed in the interaction of addicts sharing and teaching another. They also introduce and discuss the LDS Church’s Addition and Recovery Program (ARP) that is modeled after AA’s Twelve Steps but which has also adapted–in some ways successfully but still needing additional development–its approach to better match Mormon gospel teachings and to handle special concerns that arise when recovery programs become affiliated with institutions. The panel also discusses the special challenges Latter-day Saints often face in recovery, but also how the unprecedented levels of honesty and disclosure that operate in recovery work can help build even stronger LDS communities.
Minute for minute, and right up to the very end, this is one of the most insight-packed of all Mormon Matters episodes. We hope you will enjoy it, learn from and feel blessed by it, and then share it. Oh yeah, and also discuss it in the comments section below!
Links to Resources, Books, and Discussions
(Listeners, please suggest others!)
Heart t’ Heart (independently run 12-Step program geared primarily toward Latter-day Saints)
“The Spirituality of Addiction and Recovery” episode of the Speaking of Faith podcast (now On Being)
The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous (Amazon link)
The Spirituality of Imperfection: Modern Wisdom from Classic Stories, by Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketcha (Amazon link)
He Did Deliver Me from Bondage, by Colleen C. Harrison (Amazon link)
Willpower Is Not Enough: Why We Don’t Succeed at Change, by A. Dean Byrd (Amazon link)