Brad Barber co-hosts The Next Step Podcast, which is based around the Church’s Addiction Recovery Program (ARP) and addiction in general. He grew up in the Church in southern California, served a mission, and attended Brigham Young University. Brad has seen many friends caught in addiction and became involved with ARP after hearing podcast co-host Jay’s testimony of the program and wondering why there weren’t ARP addiction meetings in his area. Brad is a husband, father of 4, educator, High Counselor, surfer, and a sinner.
If you were the Bishop or Scout Master and none of your boys were earning merit badges or becoming Eagle Scouts, you would want to make some changes.
If you are a Stake President or ARP Group Leader and none of those in your meeting are getting sobriety or finding recover, you are going to need to make some changes.
A young man may have broken his mother’s heart by not earning that Eagle Scout award, but someone not getting recovery may lose their life and/or family.
Join me in discovering how we can more fully support the addiction recovery program that is supported by the Church.
A Brief History of This Inspired Recovery Program
The good news is there is a simple program for this problem and it is the 12 Steps. Whether you are a Bishop striving to know how to best minister to those with addictions in your congregation or called to serve in the Church’s Addiction Recovery Program (ARP), this information will be a great resource for your efforts. Additionally, both those you minister to in this regard, and their families desperately need to know about these inspired resources.
The 12 Steps were developed in the early 1900s by Bill Wilson and Dr. Robert Hollbrook Smith (AKA Bob) in Akron Ohio. They were originally developed to curb the problem of alcoholism. The method has been adopted around the globe and is the foundation of support groups to help people find recovery from not only substances but a variety of compulsive behaviors and attitudes.
A 12 step program is a set of guiding principles outlining a course of action for recovery from addiction, compulsion, or other behavioral problems. As summarized by the American Psychological Association, the process involves the following:
- Admitting that one cannot control one’s alcoholism, addiction or compulsion;
- Recognizing a higher power that can give strength;
- Examining past errors with the help of a sponsor (experienced member);
- Making amends for these errors;
- Learning to live a new life with a new code of behavior;
- Helping others who suffer from the same alcoholism, addictions or compulsions.
Our church adopted the same 12 steps from Alcoholics Anonymous in the mid-1980s and the ARP manual that we have today was created. However not until the Church put this information onto what was formerly known as LDS.org and LDS Tools, was it widely known. The Church subsequently released a series of videos where people shared how they found recovery through the 12 steps.
We now have ARP meetings most days of the week in most parts of the world. For many people called to lead these meetings, this is their first time being exposed to such a meeting. As you know, we do what we have always done when we get a new calling, take what we learned from previous callings and apply it to the new one. Hopefully, the below information will be helpful in your sacred efforts of supporting those in recovery.
“Bring All That Is Good”
It is important to realize that the church did not create these 12 steps nor the meeting format. President Hinkley said to those of other faiths:
“… bring with you all the good that you have, and let us add to it. That is the principle on which we work’” (interview with Philippines Television, 30 April 1996).
We adopted the 12 steps from Alcoholics Anonymous and provided an ARP workbook that gives context to the steps in relation to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Within the step work, there are scriptures and quotes from our church leaders
We host meetings in our buildings where we gather and follow the same meeting format that has been around since the early 1900s, without the coffee in the back of the room.
In these meetings, those seeking recovery can meet others who found recovery through these 12 steps. Those who found recovery still attend meetings to share hope with those newcomers who are hopeless. They are able to be that “trusted advisor” referred to in the workbook and sponsor them through each of the 12 steps.
You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know
If you are called as a leader who oversees the ARP in your area, you may not have experience with the 12 steps. The good news is there are many resources in and out of the Church to help you as you are serving to curb the plague of addiction that is ravaging the world today.
Here are some things to consider:
- Are you aware of other 12 step meetings in your area (see full list below)
- What have you learned by attending other 12 step meetings? (Want tips on how to be prepared to visit a 12 Step meeting? Listen to my previous podcast with Kurt.)
- What have you learned by meeting with those who lead these other 12 step meetings (in and out of the Church)?
- If you have members attending one of these other 12 step meetings, invite them to come and support the Church’s ARP, 12 step meeting.
- If you do not have people in recovery in your ARP meetings, there are people in these other 12 step meetings who would be more than willing to sponsor someone.
- Do you celebrate recovery times with sobriety coin? It is sort of like merit badges for scouting. If it has been a tradition of 12 step meetings since the 1900s.
- If your numbers are few, have faith that it will grow. This is the Lords inspired program and he wants them to find recovery as much if not more than you.
- Carry the message, not the people. The message is “attend meetings” (newcomers to AA are told 90 meetings in 90 days), get a sponsor and do the steps.
Additional Ways to Empower Those in Your Meeting
Here some things you may want to avoid:
- If your meetings are small and not that many people share, do not fill the time with a lesson.
- If the shares turn into testimonies, remind the group that the sharing portion is to share about the step you just read or the step they are currently working on. Newcomers tend to model their shares off of fast and testimony meetings. The sharing portion of a 12 step meeting is to share about the step they are currently working on.
- Taking advice on how to run a 12 step meeting from someone who has not done the 12 steps. Well-meaning people without experience are just well-meaning people.
- Missing meetings as a leader. If your schedule does not allow you to be there nearly every week, it may be better for someone else to lead. Your consistency will help them be more consistent.
- Referring to those in the meeting as “You” and not “Us” or “we”. (See Luke 19: 9-14)
President Nelson said:
“There’s trouble ahead,” before leaving Tahiti last month. “Prepare for attacks from the adversary. Please protect yourself from Satan’s traps, including harmful drugs and pornography.”
If you are involved in the support of an addict in any way (ministering, leader, calling, family or friend), please realize that the Lord has entrusted us with a sacred duty in bringing these inspired resources to the addict and their family.
We have been attached and we are on the front line to provide aid, comfort and hope to those who have been attacked. We need to be as well trained as the medical personnel in a physical war. Fortunately, there are many resources available to us. I invite you to seek inspiration through these resources and be sure those you are striving to support in their recovery are also aware of them.
- Feel free to drop us a line if you have any questions: email@example.com
- The Next Step Podcast (Apple)
- The Next Step Podcast (Android)
- The Next Step Podcast is a semi-weekly podcast where talk about the 12 steps of recovery and do a segment called “ask the addict”. This is where we talk with those who found recovery through the 12 steps. We also speak with spouses and family members.
- Find an ARP meeting
- AA – Alcoholics Anonymous
- ACA – Adult Children of Alcoholics
- Al-Anon/Alateen, for friends and families of alcoholics
- CA – Cocaine Anonymous
- CLA – Clutterers Anonymous
- CMA – Crystal Meth Anonymous
- Co-Anon, for friends and family of addicts
- CoDA – Co-Dependents Anonymous, for people working to end patterns of dysfunctional relationships and develop functional and healthy relationships
- COSA – an auxiliary group of Sex Addicts Anonymous
- COSLAA – CoSex and Love Addicts Anonymous
- DA – Debtors Anonymous
- EA – Emotions Anonymous, for recovery from mental and emotional illness
- FA – Families Anonymous, for relatives and friends of addicts
- FA – Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous
- FAA – Food Addicts Anonymous
- GA – Gamblers Anonymous
- Gam-Anon/Gam-A-Teen, for friends and family members of problem gamblers
- HA – Heroin Anonymous
- MA – Marijuana Anonymous
- NA – Narcotics Anonymous
- N/A – Neurotics Anonymous, for recovery from mental and emotional illness
- Nar-Anon, for friends and family members of addicts
- NicA – Nicotine Anonymous
- OA – Overeaters Anonymous
- OLGA – Online Gamers Anonymous
- PA – Pills Anonymous, for recovery from prescription pill addiction.
- SA – Sexaholics Anonymous
- SAA – Sex Addicts Anonymous
- SCA – Sexual Compulsives Anonymous
- SIA – Survivors of Incest Anonymous
- SLAA – Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous
- SRA – Sexual Recovery Anonymous
- UA – Underearners Anonymous
- WA – Workaholics Anonymous