Substance Abuse Users
Recently my church has posted on LDS.org some unedited, authentic videos on The Twelve Steps. Those who suffer from addictions tell the story in a humble, honest way: see (http://www.mormonchannel.org/
12steps). Even I, a person familiar with this topic, cried during every video. Please offer this to your members if they are suffering from addiction, or if someone they know or love suffers from it. In addition, I will list other information on addiction:
Addiction is a disease of the brain. This can cause significant effects on the brain that make it operate differently from a normal brain. Sadly, this disease also involves shame, which silences those who suffer from it. Society tells us that addicts lack will power or are weak, bad people, but that is not true at all. They are actually suffering from an illness, a disease, of the mind. I consider it a blessing to be a therapist who has been close to individuals who have suffered from addiction. Addicts are, instead, strong spirits who have chosen or were given this trial. In all my years of working with addiction I have found one thing to be consistent: people who suffer from this disease have a deep pain threshold. This means that they can experience joy on a profound level as well as feel pain on a deep level. I have also found these individuals to be particularly sensitive in the manner of a gift, because they have the ability to feel on a deeper level than other people. Not only do they feel their own hurts and pains, but they feel the pain of others. I always hear from parents, “I don’t understand why he is addicted. He/She used to be the happiest child.”
The scary part is that most parents don’t do a very good job of teaching our children to set healthy emotional boundaries. Why is it not acceptable for children to say “no” to others? Why can’t they communicate to us that they are not getting their emotional needs met? As a therapist, I have discovered that it is not my job to feel the pain of my clients. It doesn’t mean I don’t, but that Christ’s Atonement is for the feelings of pain. He already felt their pain and sorrow, and continues to do so.
I also have come to find out that most addicts use poor ways of coping with their feelings. Research shows that the majority of them (over half) deal with a multiple diagnosis. They often have depression, anxiety, PTSD, and more. These individuals are self-medicating so that they can at least feel “normal”. Perhaps they were victims of child abuse, and they were typically taught to NOT FEEL their emotions. They simply shut down and perhaps their parents taught them to not honor their five senses. They didn’t have permission too feel. Well.. If they didn’t have that permission then they had to find ways to numb their emotions. Addictions is not about the drugs, or the sex, or food. Those are all symptoms of ways to numb the tremendous emotions that are going on inside of the addicted person.
Healing emotional pain through the Atonement:
Pornography Addiction and talks about great detail about SHAME:
Vulnerability (which is important skill for healing and using the atonement):