I have observed the incredulous look on the face of a newcomer who hears someone express, in a 12-Step meeting, that they are grateful for their addiction. I have also heard the same person, no longer a newcomer, share the feelings they had at that first meeting, and the gratitude they now felt for the path that brought them to the Lord, through the program.
I was a member of the Church for fifteen years before I attended my first 12-Step meeting. I had learned about the Lord. I had learned about the Atonement. I understood what my spiritual goal was: to return to live in the Celestial Kingdom with my Heavenly Parents and the Lord in a state of exaltation. But I really did not understand how to get there. I was so imperfect. I knew it had something to do with the Atonement, but I didn’t know how to access that power.
When I began working a 12-Step program I began to progress spiritually. I found a new understanding of what it meant to walk in faith and how to obtain it by working Steps 1, 2 and 3. I was able to really begin the repentance process and apply the power of the Atonement by working Steps 4 through 10. I learned how to receive personal revelation and connect with the Holy Ghost in Step 11. Finally, I learned about enduring to the end, service, and missionary work in Step 12.
The Church taught me “What.” The 12-Steps taught me “How.” How can I not be grateful for the addiction that brought me to the Steps?
Elder Dallin H. Oaks explained why we should be grateful for our trials in his April 2003 General Conference address, “Give Thanks in All Things.”
When we give thanks in all things, we see hardships and adversities in the context of the purpose of life. We are sent here to be tested. There must be opposition in all things. We are meant to learn and grow through that opposition, through meeting our challenges, and through teaching others to do the same… When we understand this principle, that God offers us opportunities for blessings and blesses us through our own adversities and the adversities of others, we can understand why He has commanded us again and again to “thank the Lord thy God in all things” (D&C 59:7).
- Are you grateful for your trials/addictions?
- If yes
- Write about your gratitude for the adversities that caused you to turn to the Lord.
- What difference has this made in your relationship with Him?
- If not, are you willing to become grateful?
- What footwork do you think the Lord would like you to do to help you feel gratitude for those things?
- Write about the relationship you would like to have with the Lord and how becoming grateful for your adversities might help that relationship develop.