Wings of Glory Recovery Program
Dedicated to my son Jonathan
I will always love you . .
The “Wings of Glory Recovery Program" is a 13-week, self-help recovery program. It combines music, journal writing, specific daily and weekly goals, and workbook assignments to help people heal from their addictions. While this program was originally designed to help people with alcohol and drug addictions, it can also be used by those who suffer from any kind of addiction or compulsive behavior.
No One Is a Lost Cause
While most people use the word “addict” when referring to someone who is addicted, I do not. I never use the word “addict.” I think the word “addict” is all too often used as a label. I always say, “people who are addicted.” People who are addicted are people, not just addicts, and they have feelings, and hopes, and dreams—just like people who are not addicted. I don’t think anyone should ever slap the label “addict” on a person, think he or she is a lost cause, and walk away. These are real people we are talking about, and no one is a lost cause.
Recovering From Addiction
I would like to share the hope that Wings of Glory brought to my son, Jonathan, who struggled with both drug and alcohol addiction and acute depression during much of his lifetime. His recovery story spans twenty-one years from 1989-2010. I have told Jonathan’s story in three of my books, Wings of Glory: The Story behind the Songs, Wings of Glory: Addiction, Recovery, and High Self-esteem and in the memoir that I wrote about his life after he died, Freedom from Addiction—A Mother’s Story of Hope.
Wings of Glory
The same week my son, Ben, sent me the final version of our album, Wings of Glory: Songs of Hope and Healing from Addiction, Jonathan, stopped by our home to see me. It was now late at night, and he had been drinking. He was extremely depressed about everything going on in his life. He had tried and failed so many times to get off drugs and alcohol that he now felt it was hopeless. For over twelve years now, he had been in and out of rehabilitation programs, hospitals, and jails and nothing seemed to help him maintain long-term sobriety. He was now living with people who were also abusing drugs and alcohol and just trying to survive day to day. When I greeted him at the door, he asked if he could talk to me alone outside.
After we walked out to the backyard together, he put his arms around me, pulled me close to him, and began talking to me in a way he had never done before. I started crying because I felt like he was saying his last goodbyes to me.
He said, “Look at you, Mom. You’re so beautiful. You’ve had eleven kids, and you’re still so beautiful!”
He touched my face, stroked my hair, and then he said, “I love you, Mom—always remember that. I really do love you. And I know you love me—I’ve always known that you loved me.”
Then he started to cry. Finally, he regained his composure and said, “I know you’ve done everything you could to try to help me. You’ve worked so hard on your album—I’m really happy for you—I know how important it has been to you to get it finished. But I have a song I’ve been writing too—I want to sing it for you.”
He then sang me a heart-wrenching song about death and dying and all of the pain he was going through, and how he couldn’t go on living in this kind of misery any longer.
I started crying again as I held him close to me, and then I said through my tears, “Don’t give up yet, my precious son. Please, don’t give up yet. Ben sent me a copy of Wings of Glory today. I have been praying for years that you would stay alive long enough to listen to this music. I know it’s already 1 o’clock in the morning, but I want you to come into the house and listen to it with me tonight.”
He resisted, but I gently pulled him into the house, and we sat down together on the couch. I turned on the CD player and then took both of his hands in mine and held them as we listened to all twelve songs on Wings of Glory.
When it was over, he sat there for several moments in silence, and then said quietly, “I think this album is going to help a lot of people.” I could see a flicker of hope in his eyes once again. The music had kept him alive that night.
Before he left, I gave him his own copy of our album, but it was many more months before he would listen to it again. He wasn’t ready to stop drinking or doing drugs yet. My heart continued to break for him, but I knew there was nothing else I could do.
As our album was being produced, I decided to write down some of the experiences that had been going on in our family’s life and what inspired me to write each song.
As I wrote each of these stories, I would give Jonathan a copy to proofread for me. I wanted to make sure my facts were accurate and that what I was writing wouldn’t offend or embarrass him.
I will always remember the night he proofread the story and lyrics to the song, “Reaching Out.” I had been out of town and didn’t get back until the early morning hours. He had called me twice around 2 a.m., and his messages were waiting for me on my answering machine. I could tell by his voice that he’d been drinking, but the messages he left me were profound.
The first time he called he said, “I just finished reading the lyrics to ‘Reaching Out.’ I can’t believe that you know me so well. You’ve never even had a drink, but you know exactly how I feel.”
The second call came about fifteen minutes later. This time he was crying. He said, “I just finished reading the story to ‘Reaching Out.’ As I was reading what you wrote about friendship, I suddenly realized something I never knew before. You really are one of my best friends. I guess I should have known that before, but I didn’t. Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks for being my friend.”
My tears didn’t stop for a long time after I listened to his messages. When I called him the next day to thank him for his kind words, he laughingly apologized for calling me so late and then seriously replied, “I really meant what I said last night.” He then retold me everything he had said the night before—now that he was sober— because he wanted to make sure I knew his feelings were sincere.
While my relationship with Jonathan was improving during this period of time, he still kept relapsing and my concern over his drug use continued. I knew it was nothing I could control, but I kept hoping and praying that someday the music from Wings of Glory would touch his heart and help him heal.
The next few years were times of great struggle for him as he tried to get off drugs. After spending more time in jails, hospitals, and drug rehabs, he was in great despair. He had lost all hope that he would ever be able to stay sober. One day when I went to visit him, he calmly told me that he wasn’t even going to try anymore and wanted to say goodbye to our family forever. While I could intellectually accept his present decision, I knew I would never stop hoping and praying in my heart that he would one day find freedom from all his addictions.
Then two days later, to my surprise, Jonathan had a complete turn-around. He said he wanted to talk to me, so I went to pick him up. When he got in my car, he looked like he hadn’t slept for the last two days. He was very emotional and, with his voice breaking, quietly said, “Do you have Wings of Glory in your car?’
I said, “Yes. What song do you want to listen to?”
With a sigh of resignation, he quietly replied, “Whatever song you think I need to hear the most.”
I silently prayed for inspiration, and then turned on, “You Have a Savior” (The Way Back). He sat and listened to the all the words and music with his head dejectedly drooping to his chest. When the third verse began to play, he couldn’t hold back his weary, regretful tears any longer. The words were hitting too close to home.
When the song ended, he wiped away his tears and said with a determined resolve, “I know I need a Savior. I have been fighting this truth for years. But I now know there is no other way.”
That was the beginning of his way back. He later wrote to me and shared how Wings of Glory changed his life.
Jonathan’s Wings of Glory Testimonial
“When my mother and brother started making this album, I didn’t really feel a part of it, but I knew they needed an outlet to express all their pain and sadness that came from seeing me abuse drugs and alcohol for so many years.
“My mother would ask my opinion about the lyrics from time to time, but I never thought these songs would ever be so powerful and inspiring. It wasn’t until late one night, after drinking, when I was reading the lyrics to ‘Reaching Out’ that I realized these words were exactly how I felt. It was so amazing to me that my mother could express in music the sorrow I’d talked to her about for so many years as she captured my feelings and put them into lyrics.
“It was then I could see my mother and brother weren’t just putting together an album. They’d created something that would inspire people to want to get sober and remain clean. Each song touches the root of every problem drug addicts or alcoholics have in their lives.
“When my mother first gave me a copy of the Wings of Glory album, I really had no desire to listen to it. I was smoking crack daily, and I was always high. My soul was hardened. I didn’t have the need for good little things that make you feel warm inside. I wanted to stay cold and hard for life.
“It wasn’t until I finally made the decision to get clean that I started looking for any means for sobriety. I looked at the album and said to myself, ‘Is this album really going to help me stay clean?’ Even though I was still struggling with drug abuse, I put the album in and started listening to it. The music and the voice of my brother singing the lyrics penetrated the walls of my heart and soul that had been hardened through years of drug abuse. This was the beginning of my transformation into the person whom I knew God wanted me to be.
“I’d made many attempts throughout my life to get sober through different means. Many times, I’d pray I could stop. But all the prayers in the world couldn’t stop me. I’d feel guilty, but guilt didn’t stop me either. Listening to these songs has given me the desire more than anything else in the world to get clean. Every song describes a part of my life.
“When I’m through listening to this music, I feel a peaceful feeling about my life. I’ve made a lot of mistakes, but I don’t have to keep beating myself up. I can change.
“The lyrics in Wings of Glory are of God. My mother was truly inspired, in the realm of her talent, to see into the perspective of the addict, the addict’s family, and into my own mind. I know it was only through the true nature of God's influence that she could have done this. I bear witness that the Spirit of God and Jesus lives in this music, in the words, and in the testimony of others who have used this album to cope and overcome destructive behaviors. I am a witness of this.
“I am also a witness to the shattering wreckage of heroin, crystal meth, crack/cocaine, and all types of hallucinogens—and the unhealthy behaviors that go along with them.
“My hope is that those of you who struggle in this hopeless battle against drugs and alcohol—that only ends in murder, suicide, or prison—will find strength and wisdom within yourself by listening to this album.
“When in a rehab, as you all probably know, the environment is still not always healthy. But, by listening to the Wings of Glory album once a day, throughout the day, or even just one song, whichever one I feel inspired to listen to at the moment, keeps me in the spirit of recovery. It reminds me to stay focused on the task at hand—which is to separate myself from my addiction (which I now refer to as the “Beast”)—so that I may be one with our Heavenly Father in purpose and in thought.
“My mother did a wonderful job capturing the excitement that God wants us to have while here on earth in the album’s song “Wings of Glory.” I have captured this song within my own heart. The Wings of Glory album restores my conviction to stay clean every time I hear it.
“I would exhort whomever uses this album as a tool to overcome drug and alcohol addiction to also search the scriptures—for this is why they exist on the earth today—and they will guide and direct your path.”
Helping Others with Wings of Glory
The first day I went to visit Jonathan at another rehab in California, I brought a copy of my album, Wings of Glory: Songs of Hope and Healing from Addiction, and the companion book, Wings of Glory: The Story behind the Songs.
As I was waiting to speak to the director to get permission to give these two items to Jonathan, I visited with a gentleman who was acting as the receptionist. This man was a client who’d been in the program for a long time and was now on the last level before graduation. He was an older, black man with kind eyes and a cheery laugh. He went out of his way to be friendly and explained how their program worked. He reassured me that my son was in good hands and would get the help he needed while he was there.
I noticed he had a large, well-worn book on his desk that he’d been reading when I walked in. I asked him the name of his book and if it had anything to do with the program. He replied that it was called The Life Recovery Bible but it wasn’t part of the program, but twice a week he met with other clients to study its teachings together. He then laughed and said, “Everyone tells me I need to get a new copy of this book because it’s so old, but this one was given to me years ago by a good friend who had read it for years himself. My friend is now dead, and every time I look at this book I remember how he took the time to teach me about Jesus. I’ve been carrying this book with me ever since the day he first gave it to me. I’ll never get rid of this book.”
I asked him if I could look at his book, and he carefully handed it to me and let me look through its pages. He told me where I could get a copy if I were interested, and I told him I would like to get a copy for myself someday. He said if Jonathan was religious he could be in their study group when he got on the next level.
When the director of the program arrived, I went into his office and showed him my music album and book and asked if I could give them to Jonathan. He said that Jonathan couldn’t have any outside music or reading materials while he was on this first level, but I could bring it back to him when he was on the next level.
As I left the director’s office, the gentleman I’d been speaking with was still sitting at his desk in the lobby. I went over to him and said, “I brought this album and book that I wrote to give to my son, but he can’t have them right now. I was wondering if you would like to have them.”
He carefully took the album and book from my hands and read the titles out loud, “Wings of Glory: Songs of Hope and Healing from Addiction. Wings of Glory: The Story behind the Songs.”
He turned the album and book over and looked at my picture on the back of each one and then looked up at me and said, “You wrote these? You really want to give them to me? I would love to have them! Will you autograph them for me, please?”
No one had ever asked for my autograph before, and I felt a little bit embarrassed. He was making me feel like I was some kind of celebrity, which I was not. But he was so humble and sincere in his request that I took the pen that he was holding out to me and carefully signed them and gave them back to him. I then shook his hand as he thanked me profusely for my gift. As I walked out of the lobby, he put the Wings of Glory album in his CD player on his desk and began listening to it.
After leaving the lobby, a funny memory popped into my mind as I reflected back to my childhood when my father would make me practice my penmanship every day and stressed the importance of having legible handwriting. I didn’t want to do it, but he said that I would thank him someday. I thought to myself, “Maybe this is why he insisted I practice my penmanship! Okay, Dad, thank you!”
I went to another room and waited for over an hour till Jonathan could visit with me. We had a long, meaningful talk, and I felt hopeful he’d make some good friends here and learn something that would help him stay sober long-term. As our visit came to an end, I stood up to say goodbye to Jonathan, but saw the gentleman whom I had met in the lobby walk in and look around the room. When he spotted me, he quickly walked over and said, “I was hoping you hadn’t left yet because I need to talk to you for a minute.”
I saw that he had tears in his eyes and seemed quite emotional. He looked at me for a few moments and then hesitatingly began to speak, “I just finished listening to your Wings of Glory music and read your little book. I just want to thank you again for giving them to me. They’ve changed my life.”
He then handed me his special book, The Life Recovery Bible, and said, “I want you to have this.”
I was totally shocked and exclaimed, “Oh, no! You don’t need to give me anything! I know what this book means to you, and you should keep it. You have treasured it for years. Seriously, you don’t need to repay me in any way. I gave you my album and book as a gift. You don’t owe me anything in return.”
Haltingly he said, “I am a poor man. The only thing I own is this book. The reason I want you to have it is because your Wings of Glory music and book are incredible. They have transformed me. I never believed in myself before, but now I do. I feel I can go out and accomplish anything I want to in the future. You’re a special lady. I will feel honored if you will accept my book as my thanks to you.”
I started to cry as I took his precious book and held it in my hands. I looked in his gentle, tear-filled eyes and said, “If you really want me to have it, I will accept it. Thank you. I will always remember you when I read your book.”
I gave him and hug and said goodbye, and he slowly walked out of the room. I then turned back to Jonathan to give him a hug and a kiss goodbye. As he kissed me on the cheek, he whispered in my ear, “I told you your music and book were good, Mom!”
I smiled at Jonathan through my tears and walked to my car carefully carrying the well-worn, much-loved book. Although I knew I would probably never see this wonderful man again, we had become friends. As I drove home, I felt overwhelmed as I thought about the significance of his gift to me. It had always been my hope that Wings of Glory would help other people besides those in my own family. Now I knew for sure that it would.
Writing the Recovery Program
I wrote the Wings of Glory Recovery Program for a compelling reason. While Jonathan had the desire to change after he began listening to Wings of Glory, he didn’t seem to know how to do it. I could see how the Wings of Glory album was creating a desire within Jonathan and many other people to want to change, but for some reason they couldn’t change. They were inspired, they were motivated, they were determined—but they kept relapsing. It was if they were all dressed up on a Saturday night, they had gas in their gas tanks, their cars were running, they were ready to go—but they had no place to go. I realized then that the music alone was not enough to help Jonathan heal.
I could tell by watching his behavior that Jonathan desperately needed to have something concrete in his life to give him the structure, routine, and continual encouragement he needed to stay sober. This was my motivation to develop the self-help “Wings of Glory” Recovery Program.
The night I had my first draft completed was the same night Jonathan called me once again in deep despair and told me he couldn’t go on living anymore. As I explained the basic concepts of my program to him, he expressed a little bit of hope that it might help him. I asked for his help to finish the program, and he agreed to come back home for a while, follow the house rules, and help me to work on this program.
After being with us off and on for a few months, Jonathan continued to struggle and decided he needed to check himself into a long-term rehab. One night he called me from this rehab to tell me what had happened that day. He said:
“This morning when I woke up I was so depressed that I didn’t want to get out of bed, but I decided I would force myself to get up and just brush my teeth so I could at least check one thing off my list today. So, I got out of bed, brushed my teeth, and checked it off the list.
“I had been planning to immediately go back to bed, but then a strange thing happened. The thought popped into my head that as long as I was up, I should go take a shower and get dressed. After I did that, the thought came to me that I should listen to Wings of Glory while I read a few scriptures. So, I did. And then I just kept going. By the end of the day I had checked everything off the list, and I felt great!
“I realized that the reason I ended up having a great day was because of you. When I was feeling so depressed in bed this morning, I remember you once saying to me, ‘If you are too depressed to do anything else, at least get up and brush your teeth every day.’ I did it, and it was awesome! Your little program really works! Thanks, Mom!”
When Jonathan started listening to Wings of Glory every day, reading the scriptures, praying, and following the Wings of Gory Recovery Program, he stayed drug-free after leaving the rehab and was so proud of himself.
Jonathan stayed sober this time for over three years, but his mental health was taking a steep decline. He quit using my recovery program, isolated from his friends, and was exhibiting some very strange behaviors. One night, my brother and I made the difficult decision to check him into a psychiatric hospital against his will. He was so angry with us, but over several weeks the doctors were able to stabilize him after finding a combination of medications that finally worked. When Jonathan left the hospital, he continued taking his medications for a while, but then he made the unwise decision to stop using them. A few months later, in a state of extreme depression, Jonathan committed suicide.
While Jonathan’s life was now over, I knew he was proud of himself for his three years of sobriety. He once told me, “I’ll kill myself before I ever use drugs or start drinking again.”
I knew my Wings of Glory album and recovery program had helped him stay alive, be drug-free, and do much good to help others for many years. The first time he told me he wanted to commit suicide was when he was fifteen. He died when he was thirty-five on March 5, 2010. Medication could have kept him alive; I wish he would have been willing to use it.
My mission now is to help other people who suffer from addictions and mental illness. I want all people to have the joy and peace that comes from living happy, purposeful, productive lives.
Using the Album Wings of Glory for Recovery
I want to address this part of my story to any person who is suffering from addiction at this time.
Although I have not had to personally face the difficulties of drug and alcohol addiction, my heart goes out to the many wonderful people I’ve known throughout my life—family members, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances—who have had to deal with the pain of their own addictions on a daily basis.
It is my prayer that the songs from the Wings of Glory album will give you the desire to change. I know change is usually a gradual process, and relapse sometimes happens, but I encourage you to never give up—no matter how many times you may have tried and failed.
After listening to this album, if you have even a spark of hope that you can be healed from your addictions someday, I will feel that all of our family’s efforts have been worthwhile. I know as you push forward with faith and implement the principles taught in this book, that you can still lead a productive and fulfilling life.
Music has proven effective in helping people heal from many types of major health issues, both mental and physical. If you are addicted, the simple act of listening to inspiring music can be a valuable therapy tool as you seek true freedom from addiction.
The Wings of Glory album is not an end-all, cure-all. You may need a rehabilitation center or halfway house. You may need to find a good doctor and the right medication. You may need the help of a support group. You may need to get individual counseling. Be humble and willing to accept direction in your life. Continually pray for the right people to come into your life who can guide you. Most people can’t recover by themselves. If you need help, ask for it.
Recovery is an individual journey. No one can make you take the journey. No one can take the journey for you. It is completely up to you. You must be willing to keep trying, and trying, and trying. But always remember, you are not alone. There are people who care about you and can help you if you will do your part.
Each of the twelve songs on this album has a special message for you, but the most important message of Wings of Glory is that your Heavenly Father loves you. No matter what you have done, no matter what mistakes you have made, no matter how bad you have messed up your life, you must believe that you are still of great worth in the sight of your Father in Heaven. He truly loves you.
Never forget the eternal truth that you are a child of God.
Our Heavenly Father knew that we would all make mistakes and need help in purifying our lives so we could return to His presence after our earth-life experience is finished. That is why he sent His son, Jesus Christ, to atone for our sins. Our Savior loves you with all his heart.
He will make your sins “as white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18) through your sincere repentance and the miracle of His grace.
There is a spiritual power in these songs that is intended to help you increase your faith in God, instill in you a desire to change, and give you the confidence that you can build a new life for yourself.
My purpose in writing these songs was threefold. First, I wanted to inspire Jonathan with the confidence that he could break free from addiction’s chains of bondage. Second, I wanted to help each of my children, my husband, and myself heal from the pain and sorrow we have endured as a family the last several years. Third, I wanted to reach out with a message of hope to all who have suffered from the devastation and despair of addiction.
Wings of Glory is about sorrow. It is about hope. It is about healing. It is about creating a life for yourselves and your loved ones that is filled with faith, love, and real joy. It is a message I share with enthusiasm because I know the ideas taught through these songs are correct principles that can transform lives.
The Wings of Glory Recovery Program is a 13-week, self-help recovery program. which encourages the achievement of specific daily and weekly goals. It also uses the album, Wings of Glory: Songs of Hope and Healing from Addiction, the booklet, Wings of Glory: The Story behind the Songs, and the Living Drug-free Workbook to teach correct principles about living a life free from all addictions. For more information about using this program successfully, please read the booklet, Explanation of Self-Help Programs.
The Wings of Glory Recovery Program is designed to be simple. The only hard part about this program is being consistent. But, consistency will gradually come over time as you commit yourself to the program.
This program can be completed in thirteen weeks, but you can take longer if you need more time.
Please read Healing Scriptures from the New Testament and check off the Daily Dozen and Five Elements goals. Also read the 13 Choices for Happiness & High Self-esteem and Believe. These are both located at the end of this program.
Listen to at least one song from the Wings of Glory album every day and the entire album once a week. Also, find other beautiful music that uplifts and inspires you. Music has the power to help heal you and draw you out of the darkness from addiction. New inspiration will come that helps you understand who you really are and how to move forward with your life in a positive, confident way.
After completing this recovery program, it is important for the continued healing from your addictions to begin the 13 Choices Happy Life Program, which follows the same format as the recovery program. It will help you discover true happiness and high self-esteem while maintaining an addiction-free life.
Free Download: 13-week Wings of Glory Recovery Program
Five Elements of Recovery
The information I share about recovery from addiction comes from my own personal experiences with my family and friends. I am not a trained professional. I am simply a concerned mother and citizen.
Everything I have learned about recovery from addiction I have learned the hard way—one principle at a time.
I have talked to many professionals.
I have sat through many therapy sessions and self-help groups.
I have listened to many lectures.
I have talked to many parents.
I have cut out many magazine and newspaper articles.
I have read many books.
I have talked to many teenagers.
I have walked through many hospitals and rehabilitation centers.
I have visited many jails.
Gradually, over the years I began to form my own opinions as to what really works and what doesn’t work. I finally came to the conclusion that people must have Five Elements of Recovery in their lives to break free from the cycle of addiction: Faith in God, Desire to Change, Accountability, Family Love, and Friends with Integrity.
I believe all five of these elements are essential to recovery. With all five of them, there will eventually be success. Without all five of them, recovery will be much more difficult.
When people consistently exercise faith in God’s healing power, have the desire to change, take accountability for their actions and participate in some type of recovery program, learn how to give and receive unconditional family love, and only associate with strong and supportive drug-free friends, they can break free from the bondage of their addictions and become the people they truly want to be.
Individual self-worth can be restored, friendships can be mended, and families can become strong once again.
1. Faith in God
Lacking faith and having feelings of bitterness or unworthiness keep people who are addicted from ever tapping into the greatest source of strength there is around them—God’s healing power. Once you experience God’s power, you will never forget it. Once you embrace God’s power, you will never want to let it go.
2. Desire to Change
The desire to change must come from within. No one can force another person to change. The physical and emotional suffering that comes from addiction often instills the desire to change. Equally important, there must be hope. People who are addicted must know there really is a way that they can change their lives.
Willpower alone is usually not enough to heal people’s addictions. If you are addicted, take responsibility for your life. Find a mentor, professional counselor, or some type of program that provides you with the structure you need while you learn how to make necessary changes in your life and report back to them as you achieve your goals.
4. Family Love
Unconditional love within families is vital. No matter how hurt and rejected family members might feel, they all need to love and forgive each other. Love is not enabling others or being codependent. Love means radiating real affection from the heart. People who are addicted will recover faster when they are loved and give love to others in return.
5. Friends with Integrity
One of the hardest trials people who are addicted have to face is finding new, strong friends who do not use alcohol and drugs and who will support them in their recovery. Saying good-bye to old friends and habits may leave people feeling lonely and vulnerable, but, like a snake shedding its old skin, it must be done.
13 Choices for Happiness and High Self-esteem
The 13 Choices for Happiness & High Self-esteem began when a young teenage girl in a drug rehab asked me, “Do you have high self-esteem? Can you tell me how to get it?”
I initially came up with five choices that she could start making that day that would improve her self-esteem. Over the next several years I continually analyzed my own life to see which choices helped me feel better about myself and which choices caused me to feel worse. My list gradually grew from five choices to thirteen choices.
The most surprising discovery was that I didn’t have to be perfect in doing any of these choices to have high self-esteem. All I needed to do was desire to make these choices a part of my life and then do the best I could. Finally, I got it. Change happens gradually. Focus on correct principles, and let it happen.
I choose to worship my Father in Heaven every day and live a Christ-centered life.
I choose to keep my body healthy and clean and avoid addictive substances at all times.
I choose to use my mind to create, explore the universe, and find my place in it.
I choose to share my feelings kindly and honestly with others and strive to be peaceful.
I choose to look at all people as equals and never judge or compare others to myself.
I choose to accept full responsibility for all of my choices and never blame others.
I choose to educate myself on a daily basis so I’ll be useful to the betterment of society.
I choose to work within the time frame I’m given without being stressed or rushed.
I choose to keep my surroundings clean and beautiful and live in a house of order.
I choose to enjoy my work, live frugally, and use my means to help other people.
I choose to only see and listen to those things that uplift and inspire the human mind.
I choose to be the transitional figure in my family to free future generations from abuse.
I choose to obey all of God’s commandments and love and honor each of His children.
My message is simple, yet powerful—believe.
Believe . . .
God truly exists as our Father in Heaven, and He knows us each by name.
Believe . . .
He has given us a Savior who will help carry our burdens and heal us from sin and sorrow.
Believe . . .
He has placed us here on earth in families so we can protect and nurture one another.
Believe . . .
He has given us friends to help us truly enjoy life and lift each other up during personal trials.
Believe . . .
He wants us to feel the natural highs that come from the rich outpouring of His love.
Believe . . .
He blessed each of us with high self-esteem when we were born.
Believe . . .
He will bless us to discover high self-esteem within ourselves once again.
Believe . . .
He has given each one of us our own wings of glory.
Believe . . .
He has given us the power within ourselves to fly.
Believe . . .
I Believe Jesus Christ has the Power to Heal all Illness and Addictions
Jesus saith unto him,
Thomas, because thou hast seen me,
thou hast believed:
blessed are they that have not seen,
and yet have believed.
Then said Jesus unto the twelve,
Will ye also go away?
Then Simon Peter answered him,
Lord, to whom shall we go?
Thou hast the words of eternal life.
And we believe and are sure
that thou art that Christ,
the Son of the living God.
But he was wounded for our transgressions,
he was bruised for our iniquities:
the chastisement of our peace was upon him;
and with his stripes we are healed.
But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness
arise with healing in his wings . . .
I said, Lord, be merciful unto me: heal my soul;
for I have sinned against thee.
Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me,
and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise.
. . . I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears:
behold, I will heal thee:
—2 Kings 20:5
The Three C’s of Addiction
Individuals often try alcohol and drugs for one of three reasons. These are called the “Three C’s of Addiction”—Curiosity, Conformity, and Confusion.
Some individuals are so curious about what others are saying about alcohol and drugs that they want to find out for themselves if it’s true. They don’t really think about the risks involved in experimentation and often act impulsively. By the time they learn they don’t really want to be involved, they’re trapped.
Other individuals want to be part of a group so much that they are willing to do anything it takes to fit in—even if conformity means going against their own conscience and using alcohol and drugs. Generally, these people’s self-esteem is so low that they are always looking to others for approval and acceptance.
There are also the high-risk individuals who are just so confused about life that they don’t know what else to do. They make a conscious decision to use alcohol or drugs in the hope that they can find some relief from their feelings of isolation, depression, or emotional pain. Of course, their pain only gets worse.
The Three I’s of Prevention
The “Three C’s of Addiction” must be avoided and replaced with the “Three I’s of Prevention”—Intelligence, Independence, and Intuition.
First, you must replace curiosity about drugs by using your own intelligence to gather the facts. Gaining knowledge of the long-term consequences of alcohol and drug use will educate you without having to experiment with drugs and learn the hard way.
Second, you must not give in to conformity, but prize your independence. As you begin to value yourself as an individual and always think for yourself, you will keep your values and standards high and be able to act as a leader to those around you.
Third, you must avoid the confusion of life by listening to your intuition. As you get in tune with your feelings, you will sense spiritual promptings and feel personal guidance in your life. There is always a feeling of peace when making the right decision.
The bedrock of intelligence, independence, and intuition is concrete. These “Three I’s of Prevention” provide a firm foundation upon which all people can build their lives.
Overcoming Addictions and Compulsive Behaviors
When talking about discovering high self-esteem, it is necessary to talk about addictive and compulsive behavior. Unfortunately, they always seem to walk hand-in-hand.
One dictionary definition of self-esteem is “to think well of oneself,” and one dictionary definition of addiction is “the condition of being a slave to a habit.” If we suffer from any type of addiction or compulsive behavior, we will not be able to think well of ourselves as long as we continue doing those things which make us slaves.
People who suffer from any kind of addictive or compulsive behavior are most likely also suffering from low self-esteem. These problems are enormous, the consequences are severe, and there are so many people—children and adults alike—who are suffering from these debilitating feelings.
Low self-esteem affects not only their feelings towards themselves, but it also has a rippling effect that undermines their ability to make and maintain lasting relationships with parents, children, or spouses and all other people they may want to associate with throughout their lives.
We are all one step away from getting on a road that leads to an addictive or compulsive behavior. Each hour of the day we are faced with many decisions. The environmental influences around us, or our own poor choices, can start us down a spiraling path that takes us away from everything we love and cherish.
A moment of weakness when faced with peer pressure may contribute to drug abuse. Continuing to take prescription drugs after an injury is healed may contribute to an unplanned addiction. Misguided competitiveness and physical insecurities may contribute to steroid use.
The click of a mouse on the Internet may contribute to an addiction to pornography or gambling. An obsessive concern about looks, or compulsive need for self-control, may contribute to eating disorders. Using food to soothe emotional needs may contribute to obesity. The impulsive use of glittering credit cards or falling into schemes to “get rich quick” may contribute to crushing debt. The list goes on and on.
Entrapments are all around us. We must continually be on guard against every enticement that can enslave us.
People who suffer from low self-esteem will predictably find some type of addictive or compulsive behavior to mask their negative feelings about themselves. Until they seek help for these demoralizing challenges and embrace God’s healing power, they cannot have high self-esteem. Once they discover high self-esteem, they will find the strength within themselves to resist these traps that bring such unhappiness.
Some people mistakenly think they have high self-esteem when what they really have is self-confidence. While having self-confidence is an important part of having high self-esteem, it’s not everything. Self-confidence gives people the courage to stand up and do or say whatever they feel is right at the time. Self-esteem is the quiet whisperings of the soul that allow people to feel completely at peace with themselves when no one else is around.
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (John 14:27).
“When I Do Good, I Feel Good”
There is a quote by Abraham Lincoln that is so true: “When I do good, I feel good. When I don’t do good, I don’t feel good.” You cannot expect to feel good about yourself if you continue to do those things that you know from your past experiences will cause you to feel bad about yourself. Life is a continuing series of trial and error experiences.
While you will learn from your mistakes, you don’t have to learn everything the hard way. You can also learn from other people’s experiences. But even after you know what you should do, changing your behavior may still be extremely difficult.
Sometimes it is the easiest things in life that are the hardest to do: getting up in the morning when the alarm clock rings, having a little daily exercise, eating like we know we should, being on time. The list goes on and on. The question is, “Why do we not change?” It might be because of low self-esteem.
When people have low self-esteem, they doubt their ability to make real progress in their lives. They often live with masked feelings of lingering depression. Every time they try and fail at something, they often become too discouraged to try any more. However, as you discover high self-esteem, your confidence in your ability to change will rise dramatically.
Seven Suggestions for a Peaceful Life
The following suggestions are a few practical ideas that contribute to a peaceful life. It is a short list that teaches you, as Abraham Lincoln said, to “do good” so you will “feel good” as you strive for the goals you desire in life.
Spend time outdoors every day. The early morning sunshine is especially good for lifting feelings of depression. Find a quiet retreat where you can enjoy nature.
What goes into your eyes goes into your mind and soul. Spend time looking at art that reflects the beauty of God’s creations. Use your hands to create your own works of art.
Look forward to choosing a vocation that brings personal satisfaction. Be willing to gain more education and training to achieve your goals. Volunteer your skills to help other people succeed.
Try to organize your priorities to maintain a “balanced life” as taught by Brigham Young: Eight hours of sleep, eight hours of work, and eight hours of recreation and service to others.
Do not view pornography—it is addictive and destructive. Be pure and chaste before marriage and true and faithful to covenants between husband and wife after marriage.
Your environment affects your behavior. Whenever possible, do not live where other people smoke, drink, or use illegal drugs. Keep your belongings clean and orderly.
Never use tobacco, alcohol, or illegal drugs. The use of any one of these addictive substances encourages the use of the others. Be a leader and encourage all your friends to also avoid these substances.
For some people, meeting new people and making new friends is not difficult. For other people, meeting new people and making new friends is one of the most painful things they ever do in their lives. Here are some ideas to remember when trying to make new friends:
Have a heart full of love. If you are sincerely interested in someone else, they will feel those feelings of care and concern coming from you and it will help them feel comfortable around you.
Be willing to talk. Start talking a little bit about yourself to someone new so they can get to know you, and then start asking questions about them. If you have been willing to share a little bit about yourself, they will be more willing to open up and share with you.
Enjoy the moment. While you are in the company of someone else, see what you can learn from them in the few minutes you are together. You may never see that person again, but things may work out where you become lifelong friends.
Friends can be found at school, church, work, sporting events, parks, libraries, grocery stores, movies, or even standing in line at the airport. Just start talking and being friendly and see what happens. You might meet the kind of friend you need right now.
In all honesty, it is very difficult to find and keep good friends. We never know what people are really like when we first get to know them. So, we must keep trying out different relationships and see which ones are going to grow into mutually satisfying, long-term friendships.
Friends can be from many walks of life. In an ideal world, we would be friends with everyone, but we don’t live in an ideal world. So, we need to learn to be discerning about whom we choose to have as our closest friends.
Pray for guidance in finding good friends. With some relationships, you must choose to end the friendship when you feel it is necessary. Some friends want us to lower our standards. Some friends are emotionally draining. Some friends become physically abusive. Although it is sometimes quite difficult, we need to pull away from these types of friends and start looking for different friends.
It is better to be without friends for a while until we can develop new friendships with people who share our same values. Remember, “He is rich who hath two friends.”
Getting Out of Unhealthy Relationships
An unhealthy relationship is any relationship that is emotionally and/or physically abusive, is filled with negativity that pulls you down, or is one that you simply feel in your heart isn’t right. If you find yourself in an unhealthy relationship, you must get out of it. Abraham Lincoln once said: “Stand with anybody that stands right . . . and part with him when he goes wrong.” President Lincoln had experience dealing with disappointing friendships. His counsel is concise. If your friends are doing things you don’t like, and they aren’t willing to change, it is time to part ways and find new friends. The most important thing it takes to get out of an unhealthy relationship is courage:
Courage to listen to your inner feelings that are telling you what you should do.
Courage to go through the feelings of grief, loss, and loneliness that come with any separation.
Courage to go to new places and meet new people to find real friendships that will be rich and rewarding.
Good friends are out there. God will bring them into your life as you put your trust and confidence in Him.
Trust in the Lord
Changing friends is one of the hardest things you may ever have to do in your life. It is especially difficult when you need to break off a wedding engagement with your fiancé—even when you know in your heart it is what you should do. Sometimes you might feel afraid of being alone or emotionally responsible for taking care of your girlfriend or boyfriend.
But if this relationship is pulling you down, you must make the break as soon as you are certain that you should, or your own life will suffer because of it. The scriptures teach us to trust in the Lord. When we put aside fear and increase our faith in the Lord, he blesses with the courage we need to get out of unhealthy relationships and the confidence in ourselves that we can make new, better relationships over time.
The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me? It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes (Psalms 118:6, 8, 9).
Within our families, we need to continually try to nurture these relationships and develop long-lasting friendships whenever possible. If we have repeated negative experiences with certain family members, we can choose to limit how we interact with them, while not cutting them off completely except when it’s necessary for our physical or emotional health. We can continually pray for our family members that we can all healed from our past mistakes and become good friends over time.
Each of us is always in the process of growth and change. We are changing and all our family members are changing. During all these changes, we need to learn how to be tolerant, understanding, and forgiving of one another.
When we make a mistake, or offend someone, we need to apologize. Apologies won’t change the past, but they do provide peace for the present and a brightness of hope for the future. The best way for nurturing friendships within the family is the age-old “Golden Rule”:
And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise (Luke 6:31).
Three Eternal Friends
Gordon B. Hinckley lovingly taught, “Always let your Father in Heaven be your friend, to whom you may go in prayer. Never assume that you can make it alone. You need the help of the Lord.”
Neal A. Maxwell testified: “I witness that Jesus Christ is the only name under heaven whereby one can be saved! I testify that He is utterly incomparable in what He is, what He knows, what He has accomplished, and what He has experienced. Yet, movingly, He calls us His friends” (John 15:15).
Lorenzo Snow encouraged, “Make up your minds to live humbly and in such a way that you will always have the Spirit of the Lord (Holy Ghost) to be your friend to make such suggestions to you from time to time as shall be needed under the peculiar circumstances in which you may be placed.”
Friends come and go in all our lives. Some friends are loyal and faithful. Some friends are not. Yet, there are three constant friends you can keep throughout your life. They are Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost.
You are not alone.