Staying Abstinent: Using the Tools – Part 2

Tools of the ProgramMy last post was Part 1 of a list of tools to use to help you stay abstinent by turning to the Lord instead of your addiction, or other inappropriate behavior in stressful situations.  Part 1 described the tools of Prayer and Meditation, Meetings, Service, Sponsorship and Telephone Calls.  Here is Part 2, which covers Writing, Music, Program Literature, Scriptures and Talks. There will be a part 3, but it may not be the next post, because I have some other things I want to write about, so watch for it.

Writing

love writing. I find that when I have a pen in my hand I use a different part of my brain than when I am just thinking or talking.  If I just start writing about something that I am struggling with, I often find that in the very act of writing, my mind has become clear and I can see and understand things that were hidden from or confusing me. When this happens it becomes much easier for me to stay abstinent. For more on writing see my post on written prayer.

Music

Music can change my mood in an instant in a way that few other things can.  Identify music that lifts your mood and music that helps you connect with the Savior.  Keep a written list, and/or a playlist on your electronic device.  Create or find a Pandora station that plays what you need to hear.  Memorize a hymn or other song and sing it to yourself when you need a pick-me-up. Listening to the right music can help me become willing to be abstinent!

I had an amazing spiritual experience with music that was an answer to prayer once.  It was a particularly difficult and stressful time in my life and I woke up one morning with a melody going around in my mind.  It was not familiar to me, but it sounded like a hymn tune.  I got out my hymn book and started turning the pages, one at a time, looking for a melody like the one I was hearing in my head. When I got to page 114 it jumped off the page at me.  I didn’t recall ever having sung or heard Come Unto Me before, but the words – and melody – brought such peace to my heart and solace to my soul! I have memorized and used it for comfort in difficult times ever since. 

Program Literature

Have you ever escaped from dealing with the reality of life by reading a novel or watching TV? Then you know how media can serve the purpose of distracting you from whatever is causing stress in your life.  The problem with using those things to escape the moment is that when you stop reading or watching nothing has changed.  I have found that turning to my program literature, such as the ARP manual, The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, Al-Anon, or another 12-Step program, or He Did Deliver Me from Bondage by Colleen Harrison can distract me for the moment, and also remind me of the progress I am making and why I WANT to be abstinent.  Additionally I can find specific thoughts or principles in this literature that can help me turn to the Lord for the power to address the challenges I am facing, instead of my addiction or some other behavior that will not bring me peace or serenity.

Scriptures

The scriptures can also provide great insight and help when we struggle with life.  Use your Topical Guide in the back of Bible to search the scriptures by topic.  Use the footnotes to lead you to other scriptures that might be relevant.  Memorize scriptures that seem particularly helpful.  The scriptures contain direct counsel from the Lord.  If you are looking for guidance from the Lord to help you deal with a situation you can often find it in the scriptures. See my Resources page for some of my favorite program-related scriptures.

Talks

There is an awesome additional resource for obtaining counsel from the Lord: the writing and talks given by the General Authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  They are contained in the monthly Ensign magazine, and can be accessed  on the Church website.  The General Conference Addresses can be watched, listened to, printed or downloaded here. There are additional wonderful Devotionals and other talks given by Church leaders and BYU personnel which can be accessed at the BYUtv website or at BYU Speeches. Since the Church has created its own channel on Youtube, lots of great talks and videos are available there. Finally, checkout MormonChannel.org, another great site with lots of uplifting content where you may be able to find the guidance you need.

I have links to some of my favorites talks and links to sites where you can order the books I mentioned on my Resources page.

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