The Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ is the heart and core and center of revealed religion.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie Christ and the Creation

August 5, 2013

Addiction, Adversity, Enabling Power, Grace, McClanahan

Comments Off on Through Grace, We Regain the Hope We Have Lost

The change that has happened to me is I’m not miserable all the time. Sometimes it’s not easy. Perhaps the Lord doesn’t see fit to take it all from me right now, but He strengthens me so I can bear it patiently and cheerfully, and I can progress. He lightens it just enough that I learn the most that I can.

The gospel teaches that grace comes through the Atonement of Jesus Christ (see Ether 12:27). Grace is an enabling power that makes recovery possible. It is “divine means of help or strength” that helps us do good works we wouldn’t be able to do or maintain by ourselves.

Suzanne, who went through the program herself before becoming a Church-service missionary, says, “I knew that God could tell me what to do, but I never knew He had the power to help me do it. Now I understand the grace that comes through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.”

Through grace, participants regain the hope they have lost. One participant, Edward, grew up in the Church, but his childhood insecurities left him feeling that he wasn’t as good as other people. He says, “I didn’t understand the Atonement, and I didn’t love myself, so nothing really mattered.” When he was in his 20s, he started drinking and using drugs in an attempt to dull his negative feelings—a pattern that continued for 20 years.

When he was arrested a second time for drunk driving, he was ordered to get treatment. In the Church’s program, he learned that receiving forgiveness and regaining a sense of self-worth were possible. He attended church every Sunday, studied the 12 steps, and applied these gospel principles and actions to his life. He became willing to turn his life over to Heavenly Father and, in the process, learned how to love himself and how to let the Atonement work in his life. “I couldn’t overcome all these things by myself,” he says. “The Savior can do for me what I can’t do for myself.”

Those who struggle with addiction aren’t the only ones who can experience a mighty change: loved ones find that as they apply the 12 steps to their own lives and attend recovery meetings, they can experience the blessings of the Atonement in regard to their own grief. In some areas the addiction recovery program provides support groups for family and friends, who discover that the Savior can heal them of the pain, anger, and guilt that loved ones sometimes feel.

When Deborah learned of her son’s drug addiction, she was plagued by feelings of guilt as she thought about how she could have been a better mother. Then she discovered that she could apply the steps to herself. She says, “What I learned in the program is that no matter how my son is doing, I can still be happy and have Heavenly Father in my life.” She adds, “On the outside I look the same, but my life has completely changed on the inside.”

Shannon, whose husband faced a pornography addiction, attended the support group for spouses. As she participated, she noticed a change in herself as well. At first she focused on the pain she felt over her husband’s addiction. But then, as she started learning and applying the steps, a miraculous change occurred. She says, “I began talking less and less about my husband and more about what I had learned from each step. I began to see how the Lord was working in my life.”

Lia McClanahan
Addiction Recovery: Healing One Step at a Time,” Ensign, Jun 2009, 60–65