LDS TWELVE STEP ADDICTION RECOVERY PROGRAM
The LDS 12 Step Addiction Recovery Program is patterned
after Alcoholics Anonymous, both with respect to the 12 Steps
and as to meeting format. Alcoholics Anonymous was founded
in 1935 in Akron, Ohio as a result of a meeting between Bill
W., a New York stock broker, and Dr. Bob S., an Akron surgeon,
both of whom were alcoholics. They started to work with alcoholics
in the Akron City Hospital. Bill W. and Dr. Bob and one other
recovering alcoholic were the nucleus of the first AA group.
In the fall of 1935, a second group of recovering alcoholics
was formed in New York City, and a third in Cleveland, Ohio
In 1939, AA's basic textbook, Alcoholics Anonymous, (the "Big
Book") was published. Written by Bill W., this book explains
"How It (the 12 Steps) Works", and AA's philosophy. ......
In 1985, the LDS 12 step Addiction Recovery Program, under
the direction of LDS Family Services, was started in the Salt
Lake Valley. The LDS 12 step program specifically identifies
AA's " higher power" as Jesus Christ. It is through Jesus
Christ and his atonement that an addict can be healed of addiction.....
Most of the alcohol and drug addicts who come to the LDS 12
step meetings are very familiar with Alcoholics Anonymous
and Narcotics Anonymous and their 12 step programs. Many have
been through one to five or more rehabilitation facilities
where the 12 step program was an integral part of the treatment
regimen. Participation in AA or professional treatment based
on the 12 steps of AA is the dominant approach to alcoholism
treatment in the United States. Addicts do not come to an
LDS 12 step meeting because it is a Church meeting, held in
an LDS chapel, where missionaries teach gospel principles.
They come because it is recommended as a "good" 12 step meeting,
the format and steps of which they are very familiar from
LDS Addiction Recovery meetings are held in LDS chapels and,
in the Salt Lake Valley in the County jail and the Utah State
prison. The meetings follow the AA format. Dress is casual.
Meetings in chapels are usually held in a large room where
chairs are arranged in a semi- circle. At each meeting there
is a pair of LDS Addiction Recovery missionaries and a facilitator.
The meetings are opened and closed with prayer. At each meeting
a missionary speaks five to ten minutes about the step under
consideration. Then the facilitator, who is a recovering addict,
"shares" his or her own personal feelings and experiences
as they relate to the step under discussion and bears testimony
that the 12 steps work. Those in attendance are then asked
to "share" their feelings and experiences. Each meeting lasts
one and one-half hours.
You need not be a member of the Church to attend the LDS 12
step meeting. Anyone who has an interest in overcoming the
problems addiction can attend. You need not be a full-blown
addict. Relatives of addicts are also welcome to attend. Only
first names are used. Confidentiality is a foundational principle
of the program. Everything that is discussed or heard at the
meeting stays within the four walls of the meeting place.
LDS Addiction Recovery groups, under the direction of local
LDS Family Service Agencies, are presently available in the
following states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida,
Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico,
Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Washington. There are approximately
88 local agencies of LDS Family Services in the United States
and four in Canada. You can find out if there is an LDS Addiction
Recovery meeting in a particular area in the United States
and Canada by calling the local LDS Family Service Agency.
A new Church website, http://www.providentliving.org,
lists the address and phone number of all existing local agencies.
Alcoholics and addicts are physically sick and spiritually
sick. The spiritual destruction that occurs in the lives of
addicts from the use of alcohol or drugs is terrible. Elder
Stephen L. Richards has stated:
Every commandment of God is spiritual in nature...The Word
of Wisdom is spiritual. It is true that it enjoins the use
of deleterious substances and makes provision for the health
of the body. But the largest measure of good derived from
its observance is in increased faith and the development of
more spiritual power and wisdom. Likewise, the most regrettable
and damaging effects of its infractions are spiritual, also.
Injury to the body may be comparatively trivial to the damage
to the soul in the destruction of faith and the retardation
of spiritual growth.
Elder Boyd K. Packer has stated:
I have come to know...that a fundamental purpose of the
Word of Wisdom has to do with revelation....If someone 'under
the influence' [of harmful substances] can hardly listen to
plain talk, how can they respond to spiritual promptings that
touch their most delicate feelings? As valuable as the Word
of Wisdom is as a law of health, it may be much more valuable
to you spiritually than it is physically.
With addiction prayer ceases, scripture reading ceases, church
attendance ceases. "Street values" soon replace the values
of the gospel. Lying and dishonesty become second nature to
the addict. "Goodness, kindness, mercy, love, empathy, altruism,
self-awareness, courage, willpower, heroism, honor, duty,
truth, and simple decency...are twisted and torn, bruised
and blooded by the disease".
The addict easily falls into the cesspool of pornography and
immorality which are the norm in our present culture. Women
sell their bodies to secure money to buy drugs to support
their habit. The addict often gets to the point where he or
she feels there is no way back: "I have gone too far down;
there is no hope for me." "Heavenly Father could never forgive
Addicts come to the LDS meetings because they are suffering,
because the pain has become too intense to bear alone, and
because they no longer desire to stay in their hole of depression
and loneliness. They coming to the meetings to be healed by
the power of the atonement of Jesus Christ, both physically
and spiritually. Many come because it is their last hope.
They may have gone through four or more rehabilitation programs,
but yet they are still addicted to alcohol or drugs. Jesus
Christ can heal the addict both physically and spiritually.
He can heal the brain and the body of the addict and cleanse
The Savior's atonement is the focus of the LDS 12 step program:
that each person can be forgiven of their sins and when they
are forgiven, the Lord remembers their sins no more. [D&C:
Elder Boyd K. Packer has stated:
Save for the exception of the very few who defect to perdition,
there is no habit, no addiction, no rebellion, no transgression,
no apostasy, no crime exempted from the promise of complete
forgiveness. That is the promise of the atonement of Christ.
The addict must approach the Savior with "a broken heart and
a contrite spirit" and a willingness to incorporate into his
life the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Elder Jeffrey Holland has stated:
Everything in the gospel teaches us that we can change
if we really want to, that we can be helped if we truly ask
for it, that we can be made whole, whatever the problems of
Those who attend the meetings are counseled to read their
scriptures every day, particularly the Book of Mormon, say
their prayers twice a day, and come to as many meetings as
they can. Those who are members or have been members of the
Church, are counseled to attend Church and have close contact
with their bishop.
Although the 12 Step LDS Addiction Recovery Program involves
gospel principles, it is not the "gospel," nor does it replace
the programs of the Church. One of the primary purposes of
the 12 step LDS Addiction Recovery Program is to help addicts
who are disaffected, disfellowshiped or excommunicated members
to regain full fellowship in the Church. Some who attend meetings
turned their back on the Church at a young age and "just walked
away and never looked back." Many have never had testimonies
or any acquaintance with the Spirit and no familiarity with
the Book of Mormon.
The LDS 12 Step Addiction Recovery Program is not designed
to teach the "gospel" to the addict. This is not its purpose.
It is not a missionary class, a gospel doctrine class, or
a priesthood class. The purpose of the LDS 12 Step Addiction
Recovery Program is very limited. First, it is to help the
addict have a spiritual awakening and receive a witness that
he can recover from his or her addiction and be forgiven through
the atonement of Jesus Christ, and second, it is to actively
start the process of repentance, including confession to one's
bishop. Once the recovering addict has this spiritual awakening
and talks with his or her bishop, he or she will start participating
in Church and can be taught all of the other principles and
programs of the Church......
Please Buy: Understanding
Alcohol and Drug Addiction