Monthly Archives: January 2016

Answer to Prayer – Hymn of Comfort

Sheet music for Hymn 114: Come Unto Him. One morning, years ago, during a particularly dark time in my life, I awoke with a melody in my mind. I could hear it clearly, but it was unfamiliar to me. I had been praying very fervently for comfort from the Lord and it seemed to me that this melody might be related to that prayer.

It sounded sort of like a hymn, so I found my LDS hymn book and began looking through the pages one song at a time, hoping to find a melody that followed the pattern of the one in my head. I had looked at over a hundred hymns, and nothing seemed even close. I was beginning to wonder if I was on a wild goose chase, when I turned a page and found it clearly and poignantly staring up at me from the page. Even more astonishing were the words . They were comforting, uplifting and so relevant to what I was feeling!

Hymn 114: Come unto Him

I wander through the still of night,
When solitude is ev’rywhere–
Alone, beneath the starry light,
And yet I know that God is there.
I kneel upon the grass and pray;
An answer comes without a voice.
It takes my burden all away
And makes my aching heart rejoice.

When I am filled with strong desire
And ask a boon of him, I see
No miracle of living fire,
But what I ask flows into me.
And when the tempest rages high
I feel no arm around me thrust,
But ev’ry storm goes rolling by
When I repose in him my trust.

It matters not what may befall,
What threat’ning hand hangs over me;
He is my rampart through it all,
My refuge from mine enemy.
Come unto him all ye depressed,
Ye erring souls whose eyes are dim,
Ye weary ones who long for rest.
Come unto him! Come unto him!

Text: Theodore E. Curtis, 1872-1957
Music: Hugh W. Dougall, 1872-1963

Reading these words and singing this song brought me solace, comfort and peace in that moment and has done so many times since. Uplifting music is one of the tools of the 12-Step program. I find the third verse particularly poignant with regard to my recovery. He is my refuge from my enemy (at times my addiction, at times Satan himself). Depression seems to be a close companion to addiction. When I was active in my addiction it was very difficult to see things clearly. Were my eyes not “dim?” And I certainly did long for (emotional) rest.

I have come unto Him. I have learned to turn to Him for comfort and peace; for the power to do the hard things He asks me to do. The storms (which do come) go rolling by yet I can have peace and serenity. I can feel His presence. I can “be still and know that [He is] God.” (D&C 101:16, Psalms 46:10)

I don’t recall ever waking up with a melody in my mind prior to or since this experience. It was then, and continues to be a witness to me that God knows who I am. He knows what I need. He has the power to meet those needs directly, and through others.

I am grateful for my testimony of this.

  • How does the Lord answer your prayers?
  • How does uplifting music help you “Come unto Him”?
  • What can you do today to better rely on the Lord to be your “rampart” or “refuge from your enemy”?

Please share your thoughts about this post by commenting below.

Related Posts: Staying Abstinent: Using the Tools – Part 2

What is a 12-Step Sponsor?

What is a Sponsor?Some days I am filled with awe at the privilege I have been given to support others as they work the 12-Step program. A sponsor (or “support person”) is someone who guides another through the Steps by sharing their own journey. A sponsor doesn’t tell the person what to do. They share what has worked for them. They hold up a “mirror” to help the person they are supporting see things about themselves that would be difficult to discern on their own.

How it works

There is no set way to sponsor. Typically each person who sponsors will have a certain way of working with their sponsees. When someone asks them to be a sponsor, they will explain how they do it. The sponsee will share with the sponsor what their goals for working the program are and how they want to go about it. Each of them can then decide if it seems like they would work well together.

The elements of a sponsor/sponsee relationship usually include regular contact (phone, email or text) during which the sponsee reports on their abstinence and what they are doing to work the program. This might include attending meetings, making outreach calls, reading/studying program literature and/or writing among other things. The sponsor may share their own experience, strength and hope with the sponsee to help them progress. The relationship can stay in place as long as it continues to work for both parties.

How I sponsor

I like to talk to my sponsees by phone each day, Monday through Friday. However, some of my sponsees cannot call every day, so we decide on a schedule that will work for both of us. I like them to text me on the days we don’t talk. I am looking for answers to three questions when we talk/text.

  1. How has your abstinence been since we last communicated?
  2. What would you like to share with me from the program reading/writing you have done lately?
  3. What do you have coming up between now and the next time we communicate that could make you vulnerable to acting out in your addiction?

This last question helps my sponsees to think ahead and make plans so that they will not be “blind-sided” and react by turning to their addiction in a moment of stress.

During our conversation I listen carefully to what my sponsee says and try to “hold up a mirror” and reflect back to them what I hear. Many times my sponsees have not been able to see their behavior and attitudes objectively and they appreciate my perspective on what they have shared. I sometimes feel inspired to suggest a specific book, article or talk to read and write about. Also, when appropriate, I share my own experience and what has been effective for me in the past with regard to the program work or challenges my sponsee is currently working on.

Being a conduit for the Spirit

I love being a conduit for the Spirit. As I talk to my sponsees, I often hear myself making suggestions or observations that I know did not come from the recesses of my own mind. I marvel that I can be an instrument in the hands of the Lord in this way. I sometimes hear thoughts and ideas coming out of my mouth that I needed to hear and apply myself!

Being a spiritual “midwife”

I love watching as those I sponsor get their feet under them, start to find healing and hope, and begin to rely upon the Savior and the power of His Atonement to receive the strength they need to make better choices. I love hearing about how their lives are improving. I feel joy as they start to let go of the heavy burdens that they have been dragging around and find happiness and hope in their lives. As they come to experience the true “change of heart” promised by the Savior, a new person is born, the old shortcomings and character defects being shed as the son or daughter of God emerges.

  • If you are already a sponsor, are you careful not to tell people what to do, but rather share your own experience, strength, faith and hope?
  • If you are not already a sponsor, are you willing to humbly seek the counsel of the Lord as to whether you are ready to sponsor, and if you are not, ask Him what you need to do to become ready?
  • How will you let newcomers and others know that you are available to help them find success in the program?

Please share your thoughts about this post by commenting below.

Related Posts: Being a 12-Step Sponsor is Like Serving a MissionStaying Abstinent: Using the Tools – Part 1


Read to Learn; Write to Grow

Read to Learn - Write to Grow. As I work on my recovery, I learn so much from reading. This includes 12-Step program literature, scriptures, spiritually uplifting talks by Church leaders, books and other sources. I get new ideas, see things I may not have seen before and gain understanding. I learn new tips and techniques for dealing with temptation or stress. I find metaphors that help me make sense of my own strengths and shortcomings and the journey I am on. I learn about the program and about the recovery process.

Nevertheless, most of this happens in my head, not my heart.  Reading about it does not make it a part of me.

We have long been counseled by our Church leaders to keep a journal. There are many different kinds of journal writing. Some people primarily record the events of their lives. Others share their deepest feelings, hopes and dreams. No matter what kind of writing you do, and whether you write in a journal or notebook or on a computer, I have found that writing accesses a different part of your brain than pondering or speaking.

When I write, I explore how the things I am learning apply to me; to my life. When I write I find new understanding and practical application of what I have read or heard.  I get ideas about how I want to implement these concepts and practices in my life. I make commitments to myself and to God about what I am willing to do today, and start conceptualizing what my life could look like in the future as I become willing to apply more and more of what I have learned.

As I write I report on my progress; report both to myself and to the Lord. I look back at what I have written in the past and see proof of it. As I work to articulate my feelings and my observations I gain keener insight into them and synthesize new ideas I did not even have when I sat down to write.

I am grateful for all that has been written by others; for the raw materials I find there. I am even more grateful for the ability and opportunity to write for myself and co-create the new me with God, starting with who I am today and using those raw materials to become more of what He has given me the potential to be.

I read to learn. I write to grow.

  • How do you use the tool of writing?
  • How does/could writing help you to grow?
  • What are you willing to do today to use writing to co-create the new you with God?

Please share your thoughts about this post by commenting below.

Related Posts: Staying Abstinent: Using the Tools – Part 2Tools: Quality PrayerChange: The AADWAR Process