There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13
Each day I look for articles about recovery or inspirational stories of people overcoming addictions. I find that no matter the addiction, there are similarities in the approach to overcoming addictions. This daily research keeps me focused on recovery and reminds me that I’m not alone in striving for recovery.
A couple of days ago while reading a blog on recovery, I came across scripture in 1 Corinthians 10:13. The scripture struck me. I did not understand what the phrase “...but such as is common to man...” meant. A quick search on lds.org lead me to a conference talk by Elder Packer given in October 2000. I was touched by the talk “Ye are the Temple of God.” (http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2000/10/ye-are-the-temple-of-god?lang=eng) The part of the talk that impressed me the most was near the end. Elder Packer said:
“Now, what of you who have already made mistakes or have lost yourselves to an immoral lifestyle? What hope do you have? Are you cast off and lost forever? These are not unforgivable sins. However unworthy or unnatural or immoral these transgressions may be, they are not unforgivable. When completely forsaken and fully repented of, there can open the purifying gift of forgiveness, and the burden of guilt will be erased. There is a way back—long, perhaps; hard, certainly; possible, of course!”
Elder Packer continues:
“The choice rests with you; you are not cast off forever. I repeat, these transgressions are not unforgivable.”
Elder Packer’s words caused me to weep. I wept because these words give me hope. They give me hope for recovery and forgiveness.
When this talk was given, I was steeped in addiction. While I don’t recall hearing this talk in October 2000, I’m sure my reaction at the time was one of the following. Either I said to myself that this talk was for someone that couldn’t control their addiction or was much worse off. The second possibility was that I felt hopeless that I could find a way out of my secret addiction.
I have felt deep despair and hopelessness that I would be able to break the chains of addiction and live of life in recovery and sobriety. I felt that I wasn’t worthy of accessing the Atonement and finding forgiveness. I felt ugly, dark, dirty, unworthy, and hollow. Why would the Lord want to help me? I have truly believed these false core beliefs for much of my life. I now recognize that these thoughts are not true. Why would the Atonement only be for those “worthy” to access it?
For me, these false beliefs could be rooted in the idea that to enter the temple and partake of blessing I must be deemed worthy to have a recommend. I have come to realize and now have a personal testimony that a recommend is not required to access the Atonement and receive the cleansing blessings in my life. What a remarkable change I’ve felt in my life when compared to the ugly, dark, hollow, and unworthy feelings I once felt! After 21 months of sobriety and recovery I continue to attend PASG meetings, meet with a therapist, and work at recovery. My journey is just beginning, but I have already felt and experienced the healing power of the Atonement.
If you don’t feel like the Atonement wouldn’t work for you, that you’ve gone too far in your sin, that you are beyond help, or you feel stuck in the dark grips of addiction, please believe in the words of Elder Packer. “You are not cast off. These transgressions are not unforgiveable.”